Kings host Portland in first game at renamed arena


Kings host Portland in first game at renamed arena

March 2, 2011

PORTLAND (33-27) vs.
KINGS (15-43)

Coverage begins at 7 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet California

SACRAMENTO (AP) -- The Sacramento Kings have a new name for their home arena, but it isn't clear if they'll play there after this season.

While that relocation drama plays out over the next two months, the Kings will try to build on an emotional home victory and deny the Portland Trail Blazers a fifth consecutive road win Wednesday night.

Sacramento (15-43) will play its first game at Power Balance Pavilion when it hosts Portland (33-27). That comes after the NBA gave the Kings until April 18 to decide if they plan to relocate before next season.

RELATED: NBA extends relocation deadline for Kings

The franchise is in talks with Anaheim, which is looking for an NBA team to share the Honda Center with the NHL's Ducks. In response, Sacramento fans organized a "Here We Stay" campaign and packed the former Arco Arena for Monday's 105-99 comeback win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

"We just wanted to go out there and play well and win the game for our fans," forward Omri Casspi said after the team's second sellout this season. "We talked about it with (coach Paul Westphal) and it was important for us to come and play aggressive and play well."

Marcus Thornton had 16 of his season-best 29 points in the fourth quarter to lead his team to its third win in 13 games and snap a five-game home losing streak.

REWIND: Furious fourth-quarter rally leads Kings past Clips

The guard is averaging 19.3 points in three games since coming over from New Orleans in a trade. Thornton was averaging 7.8 points in 46 games with the Hornets.

"They got me the ball in spots where I can be effective," Thornton said. "This is a young team that likes to have fun. It's been easy for me to get acclimated real fast."

It's unknown if the Kings' renamed arena will see another capacity crowd and the Kings could have a little trouble earning another win there against the Blazers.

Portland enters this game tied for seventh in the Western Conference and is on its longest road win streak in one season since taking five in a row Nov. 1-14, 2009.

The Blazers, though, have lost three of four overall and were handled 103-87 by visiting Houston on Tuesday night. Portland failed to top 88 points in the second straight game after averaging 104.1 over its previous eight.

"We've been a team that scrapped and had movement and energy and hustle," coach Nate McMillan said. "Our last two games, we haven't been close to that."

The Blazers also struggled offensively in their previous meeting with the Kings, shooting 39.5 percent in a 96-81 loss Jan. 24. That defeat snapped Portland's eight-game win streak over Sacramento.

Leading scorer LaMarcus Aldridge (22.3 ppg) registered only nine points in the loss and had one of his worst performances since that game Tuesday with 14 points. He's averaged 16.5 on 44.0 percent shooting in his last two games after averaging 31.9 on 59.3 percent shooting in his previous seven.

Aldridge scored 23 points and Nicolas Batum had a season-high 24 in a 94-90 overtime win over the Kings on Jan. 19, Portland's fourth in a row in Sacramento.

Kaval: A's must 'swing for the fences' in choosing ballpark site

Kaval: A's must 'swing for the fences' in choosing ballpark site

MESA, Ariz. — After spending a few days at spring training, A’s president Dave Kaval heads back to the Bay Area on Tuesday to continue work on the team’s search for a ballpark site.

There are so many factors to consider — location, public transportation access, parking, government obligations to be fulfilled, etc. — it’s easy to understand why it’s such an all-encompassing process.

Kaval shared some detailed thoughts on all of the potential sites the A’s are considering during a visit on the A’s Insider Podcast. Here’s some highlights:

The A’s have narrowed down to four locations in Oakland to build a privately financed ballpark: Brooklyn Basin, Howard Terminal, Laney College and the current Coliseum site on which they play.

Are these four all uniquely different from each other or do they share some common traits?

“I think all of them can fulfill our long-term vision of this urban area around the ballpark,” Kaval said. “Think of Fenway, Wrigley … all of them can achieve that vision. We want to make sure with such a big decision that we swing for the fences. … I think the Coliseum is probably the hardest to create kind of an urban village, but I think it’s possible, and we’re not ruling it out.

"But all the other locations can have neighborhoods around the ballpark where people can live and you can just have a really intimate experience around the ballpark.”

There hasn’t been the same buzz about Brooklyn Basin as Howard Terminal. Located close to the water, does it offer similar attributes as Howard Terminal?

“It’s very close. There’s a couple different places the ballpark could go down there,” he said. “You’re closer to the water, which is exciting, and I think being on the water provides the ability to have water taxis, ferries, other transit options that kind of lower the requirement for parking, lower the requirement for walking or biking. And that actually can be a really great thing for the fan experience.”

Howard Terminal offers a big potential payoff with the terrific views available. But there are some substantial hurdles, not the least of which are the government regulations and approvals required to build right along the water.

“If you want to actually develop something in there, you need to have legislation from the state of California. That’s just something that has to happen,” Kaval said. “So when we think about the steps to get the individual sites (approved) and break ground, it’s just another one you have to do at that site. So you have to weigh, is it worth the time, effort, political opposition that might come up to pursue that type of effort? The site is so iconic that we’ve been keeping it in the mix because, wow, it could just be something that is a game changer.”

That’s just a sample of the many topics Kaval touched on over the course of the podcast.

Lynch: Armstead, Buckner fit 49ers' new defensive scheme

Lynch: Armstead, Buckner fit 49ers' new defensive scheme

Trent Baalke’s final two seasons as 49ers general manager brought defensive linemen to the organization with the club’s top draft picks.

And, for that, new 49ers general manager John Lynch said he is grateful.

Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner may have been chosen when the 49ers’ base defensive alignment was a 3-4, but Lynch said the two Oregon products are versatile enough to thrive in the new system defensive coordinator Robert Saleh will install.

“I think they fit very well,” Lynch said Tuesday on 95.7 The Game. “And that’s one thing I think I want to make sure (to say) because I really believe it, I think Trent Baalke did a great job of getting guys that, yes, they were picked for one system, but I think they transition very well to our system.”

Buckner appeared in 15 games as a rookie after Baalke selected him with the No. 7 overall pick. He ranked second in the NFL among defensive tackles with 73 tackles and was fourth among rookies with six sacks. Buckner was chosen to the All-Rookie team by the Pro Football Writers of America.

Armstead, selected with the 17th overall pick in 2015, recorded 2.5 sacks in eight games last season. He sustained a shoulder injury during training camp and finally underwent season-ending surgery in November.

Buckner and Armstead may be asked to play different positions but they will also be taught to play a different styles this season, Lynch promised.

“They were very much in a read-and-react posture last year,” Lynch said. “I’m excited to cut them loose. When we say ‘aggressive,’ it doesn’t mean that we’re blitzing every play. It means we’re getting off the ball. At the snap, we’re taking the fight to them. And I think these are guys who fit what we’re going to do very well. We’re excited about it.”

The 49ers last week hired defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina, who played 17 seasons in the league. Zgonina served the past four seasons as an assistant defensive line coach with Houston (2013-15) and the New York Giants (2016).

“They’re going to be coached hard,” Lynch said of the 49ers’ defensive linemen. “They’re going to be asked to sprint to the football, wherever it is. That doesn’t just come natural. Those are habits that you have to pick up.”

Every defensive player currently on the 49ers’ roster was brought to the organization to play in a 3-4 defense. Lynch downplayed the practical importance of the team’s defensive label because of extra defensive backs being deployed against three-receiver personnel groupings.

“Seventy- to 75-percent of this game now is played in sub or nickel,” Lynch said. “At that point, that’s kind of out the door. It’s can you stop the run and, then, can you go get the guy throwing the football and bring him down? We think both of those guys have great potential to do that.”