Kings fall hard to Thunder in Cousins' return, 126-94

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Kings fall hard to Thunder in Cousins' return, 126-94

Feb. 15, 2011KINGS PAGE KINGS VIDEO
BOX SCORE

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (AP) -- Defense turned into offense early for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

A fast start led to a season high in points as the Thunder cruised past the Kings 126-96 on Tuesday night.

Oklahoma City scored 68 points in the first half, a season high for a half, and led by as many 25 points in beating the Kings for the second time in four days.

"That was about as good as they could possibly play to start the game," Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said.

Daequan Cook scored a team-high 20 points off the bench, and Russell Westbrook added 10 points and 11 assists.

DeMarcus Cousins returned from a one-game suspension to lead Sacramento with a game-high 21 points and 13 rebounds off the bench.

"They jumped on us right from the start and we could never get back in the game," Sacramento coach Paul Westphal said. "It was a great performance by them. We couldn't stop them. We couldn't score."

Kevin Durant went 5 for 18 from the field and scored 17 points. Nenad Krstic scored 16 for Oklahoma City as seven players finished in double figures and 11 different players scored in the Thunder's final game before the All-Star break.

"That was the best all year at the start of the game," Durant said. "The defense was on point. The offensive was on point. We just clicked on all cylinders."

Omri Casspi added 14 points for the Kings, who had won three straight road games before Tuesday.

On Saturday, Oklahoma City beat Sacramento 99-97 when Tyreke Evans' potential winning 3-pointer missed. The Thunder didn't have to worry about that Tuesday. Evans missed the game with plantar fasciitis and the Thunder led wire-to-wire.

Oklahoma City scored 37 points in the first quarter after hitting its first seven shots. It was the third-most points scored in a single quarter all season and most since Oklahoma City scored 38 points in the first quarter against Miami on Jan. 30.

"It all starts on the defensive end for our team," Cook said. "If we bring it on the defensive end, we are going to get rewarded on the offensive end."

Krstic scored seven straight points for the Thunder midway through the third quarter as Oklahoma City took a 28-point lead.

Cook knocked down a 30-footer as the shot-clock wound down to give Oklahoma City an 18-point lead. James Harden found Serge Ibaka for a dunk 39 seconds later, which gave the Thunder a 20-point lead with 7:15 remaining in the first half.

Cook hit another 3-pointer on Oklahoma City's next possession and Eric Maynor scored in transition 15 seconds later to cap a 13-0 run and put the Thunder ahead by 25.

"The ball was really moving around," Brooks said. "When the defense has to chase the ball, we are a fun team to watch."

Barracuda power play leads the way in Game 2 win over Grand Rapids

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USATSI

Barracuda power play leads the way in Game 2 win over Grand Rapids

SAN JOSE – The Barracuda struck for three power play goals, including the game-winner in the second period by Joakim Ryan, in overcoming the Grand Rapids Griffins at SAP Center on Sunday night, 4-2.

San Jose’s victory evens the best-of-seven Western Conference Finals series at one game apiece.

Grand Rapids erased a 2-0 hole to tie the game in the middle frame, but less than a minute after Matt Ford knotted the score at 2-2 with a rocket from the circle on a Griffins power play, Ryan’s blast from just inside the blue line at 15:28 staked the Barracuda a lead they would keep for the rest of the night. 

The Barracuda finished 3-for-5 on the power play, after going 0-for-6 in a Game 1 loss on Saturday.

“The power play was a lot better tonight,” Ryan said. “We got set up more. We were able to get shots through from the point.”

One of those shots came early, when defenseman Julius Berman beat goalie Jared Coreau from long range just 3:35 into the game with San Jose on a man advantage. Later in the first, on another power play, Ryan Carpenter found open ice in the slot and redirected a Tim Heed pass at 10:44 for his team-leading eighth of the playoffs.

“Coming out, we wanted to get the first goal tonight,” Carpenter said. “For Bergman to get that first goal was huge for us.”

Ryan and Carpenter both attributed the power play success to winning faceoffs, which is something coach Roy Sommer wanted the club to focus on after it dropped the series opener, 3-1.

Winning faceoffs often is an indication of a team’s compete level, and that, too, was lacking for the Barracuda in an opener in which Sommer said his team played “dumb and slow.” 

Sunday was a much better performance.

“Whenever we’ve had a bad start, or a bad game, the next day these guys have responded,” said Sommer, whose club is the top seed in the Western Conference. “They’ve done it all year.”

The series now shifts to Grand Rapids for the next three games, with Game 3 going Wednesday. The primary affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, the Griffins posted a 25-11-2 record in their own building in the regular season.

The Barracuda, though, should be a confident group on the road. Against San Diego in the second round, San Jose won all three games in Southern California after splitting the first two at home.

“It’s going to be a hell of a series,” Sommer said. “It’s probably going to go the duration, I imagine. Both teams are kind of feeling each other out and kind of have a pretty good idea of what the other guys are doing now.”

Ryan said: “Honestly, I think they are the team in the league that plays the most like us. I felt like last night they did a better job of taking the game to us. I thought we came out better tonight, and we battled harder, competed more, won more pucks. They’re a really good team, it’s going to be a battle the rest of the series, for sure. They’re not going to lay down.”

Barclay Goodrow’s empty netter with 1:06 left in regulation was the only goal in the third period.

The Barracuda outshot the Griffins, 40-35, including a 20-11 advantage in the first period.

No sweep here: Without Isaiah Thomas, Celtics stun Cavs in Game 3

No sweep here: Without Isaiah Thomas, Celtics stun Cavs in Game 3

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CLEVELAND — Avery Bradley's 3-pointer dropped in with less than a second left and the Boston Celtics, blown out in the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals and playing without star Isaiah Thomas, stunned the Cleveland Cavaliers 111-108 on Sunday night in Game 3 to end the champions' 13-game postseason winning streak.

Bradley's shot from the left wing bounced on the rim four times before going down. It capped a furious comeback by the Celtics, who trailed by 21 in the third quarter before rallying to tighten up a series that appeared to be over.

Marcus Smart scored 27 points, and Bradley had 20 for the Celtics. They were given little chance after losing by 44 in Game 2 and then losing Thomas for the rest of the postseason because of a hip injury.

Kyrie Irving scored 29 points, and Kevin Love 28 for Cleveland. The Cavaliers dropped to 10-1 in the postseason with their first loss since Game 4 of last year's Finals.