Kings get first win in Phoenix since 2005

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Kings get first win in Phoenix since 2005

Feb. 13, 2011BOX SCORE KINGS VIDEONBA PAGE NBA SCOREBOARD

PHOENIX (AP) The Sacramento Kings had one of their best nights of the season, and DeMarcus Cousins wasn't there to see it, let alone be a part of it.
Donte Greene scored 12 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter and the Kings ended a five-game losing streak with a 113-108 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night.Carl Landry added 20 points for the Kings, all but two in the second half. Samuel Dalembert, starting in place of Cousins, had 18 points and 15 rebounds.Steve Nash had 22 points and 18 assists but the Suns lost for the second time in eight games.Cousins, a rookie averaging just under 14 points a game, did not make the trip because of an altercation in the locker room with Greene after the Kings' 99-97 home loss to Oklahoma City on Saturday night.
NEWS: Kings' Cousins kicked off team plane to Phoenix
"We've been coming so close against good teams and getting turned away in the fourth quarter," Sacramento coach Paul Westphal said. "Tonight we pushed through and beat a good team on the road, especially with all the turmoil, or whatever you want to call it."Tyreke Evans scored 21 in Sacramento's first win in Phoenix in 11 tries. Marcin Gortat had 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Suns.Phoenix, which had won three in a row, led by as many as 10 in the first half and was up 81-78 after three quarters, but the Kings opened the fourth with a 15-3 run. Greene scored the last five in what turned out to be the decisive surge. His 3-pointer put Sacramento ahead 91-83, then Nash lost the ball out of bounds and Beno Udrih found Greene inside for a layup that made it a 10-point lead with 6:03 to play.The Suns never got closer than four again, blowing a chance to climb two games above .500 for the first time all season."It's one of those losses that you are going to look back at and it's going to hurt," coach Alvin Gentry said.The Kings said in a brief statement before the game that Cousins would not play "while the organization reviews the situation that occurred in the locker room following last night's game versus Oklahoma City."Cousins reportedly was upset that Greene did not pass him the ball for the final shot. Instead, the ball went to Evans, who missed a 3-pointer.All five of the losses in the Sacramento skid came at home, none by more than five points. The Kings are 6-16 on the road but have won their last three away from home - over Portland, the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix.The Kings have not said whether Cousins would be banished for more than one game."We missed Cuz tonight but we couldn't dwell on it," Greene said. "We had to come out and still play well."There were no hard feelings, Greene said."Things happen," he said. "Everybody is not perfect. We try not to let things off the court distract us on the court. It is life. Everybody is not perfect and we've got to move on."Landry, 0 for 6 from the field in the first half, was 5 of 7 for 12 points in the third quarter. Greene shot 4 of 5 in the fourth quarter to finish 7 of 10.Nash was fouled on a 3-point attempt for the second time in the fourth quarter, but the best free throw shooter in NBA history missed one of three from the line and Sacramento led 109-104 with 27.7 seconds left. Two free throws apiece by Dalembert and Udrih sealed the victory."They just kept scoring and kept scoring and we couldn't stop them," Gortat said. "And when we didn't stop them, we couldn't execute. So, I would say it's obviously a really tough loss which cost us a lot."The Suns used a 22-4 outburst to take a 29-21 lead in the first quarter. Landry's steal and subsequent two free throws - his only points of the first half - cut Phoenix's lead to 48-47. Channing Frye scored the first five in a 9-0 surge that ended on Robin Lopez's steal and fast-break dunk to make it 57-47. Darnell Jackson's 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer cut the Suns' lead to 57-50 at the break.Notes: The Kings played the first of seven in a row on the road, with the All-Star break coming after the first three. ... Phoenix had won 12 consecutive Sunday home games, a streak dating to Feb. 22, 2009. ... After having no dunks all season, the Suns' Jared Dudley got his second in the last three games. ... Sacramento had not won since a home victory over New Orleans on Jan. 29.

'The Kid' Arroyo continues wildly impressive first week with Giants

'The Kid' Arroyo continues wildly impressive first week with Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — In a quiet moment in the dugout Friday, manager Bruce Bochy tried to figure out a nickname for his new budding star. During a week where Christian Arroyo has made the game look so easy, this has turned out to be the most difficult part. 

Bochy briefly settled on “Yo” before that was scuttled because the team’s video coordinator is Yo Miyamoto. Joe Panik said some players have tried C.A. or YoYo, but admitted that neither is all that good. The team’s Twitter account spent a few days trying to make Boss Baby a thing, but Arroyo wasn’t thrilled with that one and the experiment appears to be over. In a back room of the clubhouse, there’s a printout showing Arroyo and Buzz from “Home Alone,” but that comparison is much better made with Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman. 

Perhaps the answer is as simple as the path Arroyo’s bat takes to a fastball. As he watched Arroyo field grounders during batting practice, Dick Tidrow was asked about the 21-year-old. Tidrow, the team’s senior VP of player personnel, has seen and worked with Arroyo since he was drafted. 

“We always just called him The Kid,” Tidrow said. “He would turn around when I called him Kid.”

The Kid is growing up quickly. Arroyo’s second homer of the week was the game-winner Friday, an eighth-inning blast that put a lead in Mark Melancon’s hands. The new closer made sure the new third baseman’s homer didn’t go to waste, clinching a 4-3 win that got the Giants out of the National League West’s cellar. 

The homer might have surprised Arroyo as much as anyone. He came here with a reputation as a mature and talented hitter, but power is not his calling card. 

“I’m not trying to hit a homer there,” he said. “Get the head out, see a pitch over the plate, barrel something, just keep the line moving. I got a good pitch, elevated it, and fortunately it went out.”

Arroyo already speaks like a hitting coach, but he is not afraid to admit that there are things he doesn’t know. It’s easy to get film on opposing starters, but there’s little a rookie can do to prepare for late-inning pitching changes. Arroyo consulted Buster Posey and Conor Gillaspie before facing Ryan Buchter, who has been in the division for two years. Gillaspie told him Buchter’s fastball has some late life and gets on a hitter. 

“I wanted to see it and the first pitch was a little low so I got a good read on them,” Arroyo said. 

The second one was right at the belt and Arroyo pulled it down the line for his second big league homer. He had just three last year in Double-A, but the Giants felt the 36 doubles showed that power was on the way. 

“He’s got pop,” Bochy said. “He’s not a guy trying to hit homers. He tries to put a good swing on it. But he drives balls and you saw it tonight. We see him more as a gap guy, but he’ll get more power as he gets older. We’re not asking him to hit homers, trust me, but it’s good to see him letting it go.”

The homer secured a win on a night when a lot went right. Jeff Samardzija was sharp, paying for one pitch to Ryan Schimpf that left the park but otherwise pitching seven strong. Panik and Brandon Belt ignited the offense early and Michael Morse came through with a game-tying sacrifice fly in the fifth. Derek Law and Mark Melancon closed it out, with Melancon getting help from Panik, who made a spectacular tumbling catch on a flare to shallow right-center. It was a big first out given that Melancon was pitching for the third straight day. 

“It was going to be in no man’s land,” Panik said. “You give it everything you’ve got. Fortunately the ball stayed in the glove.”

When it was over, the youngest Giant was in for another round of interviews to cap a hectic week. On Monday he made his debut and on Tuesday he picked up his first hit. Wednesday brought the first homer and Thursday was the first multi-hit game. What will the weekend include? Maybe a real nickname? 

For now, the Giants are fine with leaning on The Kid, because many of them didn’t even know how young the star of the week was until he was a couple of days into his big league career.

“I was thinking he was 23 or 24,” Samardzija said. “This has been really impressive.”

Vanderdoes out to 'prove people wrong,' show Raiders his very best

Vanderdoes out to 'prove people wrong,' show Raiders his very best

ALAMEDA – Eddie Vanderdoes knows his UCLA game tape is inconsistent. The powerful defensive tackle admits he wasn’t always at his best, especially after tearing his ACL in 2015. Before that, he was difficult to stop. Afterward, he wasn’t the same player. He doesn’t blame the knee.

He struggled with ankle injuries and weight issues in 2016, a lackluster campaign by his own standard. Since that season ended, Vanderdoes has returned to 100 percent. His ankles are fine. His knee is great. And he lost 40 pounds heading into the NFL scouting combine, preparing for a return to his old self.

The Raiders see great potential in the former Bruin and made him their third-round pick on Friday evening. The Auburn native was excited by the prospect, and believes the Raiders will get his absolute best. His voice was passionate, his determination clear even on a conference call with local press.

“I am going to be the player I was earlier in my career,” Vanderdoes said. “I had a bad season. That wasn’t me. That’s not the person that I am. That’s not the character that I hold. I’m definitely going to bring that to the Raiders’ defensive line. I’m going to bring that energy and I’m really happy to be an Oakland Raider.”

The Raiders will be thrilled if that’s true. They liked what he showed at the Senior Bowl and the NFL scouting combine, where he showed traits that should translate to NFL production.

“I am definitely back 100 percent, very confident with the combine, the Senior Bowl,” Vanderdoes said. “I got my explosiveness back. I got my speed back, my athleticism back. I am definitely at the top of shape right now, so I’m ready to get back to work and show them the player that they saw on the film and the player that they wanted to draft and I’m also looking to turn even more heads and do things that some people might expect that I couldn’t do.”

That includes rushing the passer, being a consistent three-down tackle in the Raiders scheme. He might be a rotational player first, filling the void created when Stacy McGee left in free agency.

“He’s a good, active defensive lineman that we think his best football is in front of him,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “He had an ACL (injury) a couple of years ago. His weight has been up and down. We expect him to come in here and be a real professional and work hard with (head strength and conditioning coach) Joe Gomes and the strength staff and get himself ready to roll. He needs to come in here and add depth to our defensive line and give us a little interior push.”

Vanderdoes believes he can do more than that if he does things right. If his weight stays down, strength stays up and he learns the system well, he wants to compete for a significant role as a rookie.

“I’m coming in expecting to contribute and play right away,” Vanderdoes said. “That’s the mindset that I’ve always had. I’ve came with that mindset that I need to be the guy to step in and do what I do and dominate. I definitely think people slept on me a little bit this past offseason.

“I love the fact that (the NFL) slept on me, I think that’s what motivated me every morning waking up, knowing that I get to prove people wrong. I think I’ve done a good job so far of that, and I’m going to keep doing as well being an Oakland Raider because I know I’m at the bottom again. I have to work my way back up.”