Kings hope to dash Houston's playoff hopes

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Kings hope to dash Houston's playoff hopes

April 5, 2011

KINGS (22-54) vs.
HOUSTON (41-36)

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HOUSTON (AP) -- The Houston Rockets know there's hardly anything they can do about the two teams they're chasing for one of the final Western Conference final playoff spots.

Right now, though, they're doing an awfully good job with what they can control.

Eight wins in 10 games have the Rockets within three games of a playoff spot, but there remains little margin for error in a final stretch that begins with a visit from the improving Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.

Houston (41-36) was in 11th place in the jumbled West on March 14, but the playoff picture has become a bit clearer over the past three weeks.

Phoenix and Utah have fallen out, while the ninth-place Rockets have surged to stay within striking distance. Houston fell behind by 14 against Atlanta late in the second quarter Sunday, but rallied to win 114-109 and remain within three games of New Orleans and Memphis - the teams holding the seventh and eighth seeds.

"Ever since after the (All-Star) break, we can say what we want to say about this team and dissect wins how we want," said guard Kevin Martin, who had 35 points. "But at the end of the day, we're just a pretty (darn) good basketball team."

The Rockets play New Orleans on Wednesday, and Houston can earn a tie of that four-game season series. The Hornets, though, would win a tiebreaker, as they have a better record than Houston within the Southwest Division.

That leaves Memphis, which has won seven of eight, as the team Houston can more realistically hope to catch. The Rockets took the season series from the Grizzlies, so they'll only have to finish with the same record to win a tiebreaker.

"We just keep hanging in there," coach Rick Adelman said. "That's all we can do."

Martin's certainly been doing his part. Houston's leading scorer has averaged 28.5 points over his last eight games while getting to the free-throw line 84 times - making 80.

The Rockets are 17-8 when he scores at least 28 points.

Martin hasn't had any huge games against his former team, as he's averaging 17.0 points and shooting 33.3 percent, but Houston hasn't needed one from him. It's won its three meetings with Sacramento (22-54) by an average of 14.6 points, the most recent a 123-101 road rout March 7.

The Kings didn't have Tyreke Evans healthy for that meeting, and since he's returned after missing 19 games with plantar fasciitis, his team has looked much different. Sacramento won the final game without him and has run off four victories in six contests since his return, most recently beating Utah 106-97 on Sunday behind Evans' 24 points and 10 assists.

REWIND: Kings ride Tyreke to win over Jazz

"He has been playing great," said Marcus Thornton, who has averaged 21.6 points since becoming the starting shooting guard March 5. "He's still not all the way healthy so when we get him back to 100 percent we're going to be a dangerous team. We're just trying to bring this momentum into training camp and next season."

Houston has won eight of its last nine home games against teams currently below .500.

Report: Warriors agree to two-way NBA contract with Oregon F Boucher

Report: Warriors agree to two-way NBA contract with Oregon F Boucher

The Warriors bought Oregon's Jordan Bell in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft. And, they reportedly agreed with another Duck.

Golden State is signing Oregon forward Chris Boucher to a two-way NBA contract after the senior went undrafted, according to Shams Charina of The Vertical.

Boucher, at 6-foot-10 and 200 pounds, averaged 11.8 points and 6.1 rebounds in 31 games for Oregon this past season. He also averaged 2.5 blocks per game and shot 35 percent from beyond the arc. 

Boucher suffered a torn ACL in the Pac-12 semifinals against Cal. 

NBA rosters will grow to 17 players with two-way contracts between the G-League and players will make a guarantee of at least $75,000. Players who sign two-ways contracts can make up to $275,000 depending on how long they are on an NBA roster.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants dropping series vs Braves

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants dropping series vs Braves

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The kid who raced The Freeze on Thursday night blew a tire as he hit center field, hobbled for about 50 feet, and then went down for good. He still had a better night than the Giants. 

They blew all four tires in the fifth, giving up eight runs in a nightmare frame that turned a two-run lead into a 12-11 loss. The Giants finished 1-7 on the swing through Denver and Atlanta, and they have lost 18 of their last 23 games. 

But, let’s face it, you’re here already. So here are five more things to know from the night … 

—- Matt Cain was hanging in there until the fifth, and then … disaster. The inning started with Brandon Phillips’ solo shot that cut the lead to one. Then it went single, single before Cain was relieved by Bryan Morris. After that, it was single, single, single, sacrifice fly, homer, flyout, walk, single, pitching change, single. 

—- Morris had to wear it in the fifth because the bullpen is short, and boy, did he wear it. Morris gave up five runs on five hits and a walk. His ERA jumped two full points in two-thirds of an inning. 

—- Kyle Crick made his MLB debut in that horrendous bottom of the fifth. The Giants surely did not want to bring him in with runners on, but Bruce Bochy had no choice when Morris blew up. Crick’s first pitch was a 95 mph heater. After giving up a hit in that inning, he pitched a perfect sixth and perfect seventh. Crick topped out at 97 mph. Pretty, pretty good stuff there. He needs to get a long look the rest of this year. 

—- In the second, Buster Posey hit a ball that went 311 feet and had a hit probability of just six percent. Cain hit a ball 357 feet. Posey got a homer that bounced off the top of the wall; Cain just got a double. Baseball is such an odd game.  

—- On a positive note, Javi Lopez, who calls Brandon Belt “Sparky,” repeatedly referred to Posey as Gerald. He’s going to be good at this job.