Kings, Nuggets meet again in Sacramento

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Kings, Nuggets meet again in Sacramento

April 1, 2011

DENVER (45-29) vs.KINGS (21-53)

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

SACRAMENTO (AP) -- While the Denver Nuggets usually take care of business at home against the Sacramento Kings, it's been a different story playing them in California.

Seeking a fifth consecutive win overall, the Nuggets hope to avoid a 25th loss in 28 road games against the Kings when the teams finish a home-and-home set Friday night.

Denver (45-29), sitting fifth in the Western Conference, improved to 13-4 since shipping Carmelo Anthony to New York prior to the trade deadline with a 104-90 victory over Sacramento on Wednesday night.

The Nuggets are outscoring opponents by 17.5 points during their four-game win streak.

While they've won five straight and 11 of 14 at home in this series, they have lost four in a row at Sacramento while giving up an average of 111.0 points. Denver has dropped 24 of 27 there, including a 122-102 defeat Jan. 6 as Kings rookie DeMarcus Cousins and guard Tyreke Evans combined for 47 points.

Sacramento (21-53) led by as many as 13 on Wednesday but was outscored 63-39 in the second half and had a four-game winning streak snapped.

"Beating a team back-to-back in the NBA is a difficult challenge," coach George Karl told the Nuggets' official website. "I don't care what the records say. They beat us in Sacramento and kind of embarrassed us a little bit on national TV, so they are not afraid of us."

With Anthony out of the picture, the Nuggets' willingness to play as a team has largely contributed to their recent success.

Denver is averaging 24.7 assists since the deal - tied for the fourth-most in the league since the All-Star break - and 3.5 more than it averaged before the blockbuster trade.

"I compare it to when I was in college," said guard Raymond Felton, who helped lead North Carolina to the 2005 NCAA championship.

"We had a team full of good players. Everybody can score. We just kind of came together. Everybody didn't care who was scoring or who was getting the shots. We were worrying more about winning. We had a lot of success that way and that's what's happening so far here."

The Kings also have done a good job spreading the ball around since getting Evans back in the lineup. They've averaged 25.8 assists in four games since the reigning Rookie of the Year returned after missing 19 with a foot injury.

Evans had 22 points Wednesday while Marcus Thornton led Sacramento with 27. Thornton is averaging 22.4 points since he was acquired from New Orleans at the trade deadline and is pleased with the Kings' recent progress.

"We are jelling as a team," said Thornton, averaging 27.7 points in the last three games. "It all comes together having a young team we are picking up momentum going into the next season."

Denver, scoring an NBA-best 107.6 points per game, has averaged just 90.0 on 39.7 percent shooting en route to back-to-back road losses. The Nuggets are 1-13 away from home when scoring less than 100 points.

Forward Kenyon Martin left in the first quarter Wednesday with flu-like symptoms and his status for Friday is unknown. Guard Arron Afflalo, though, is expected to return after missing four games with a strained left hamstring.

Giants hammer three homers in third straight spring training win

Giants hammer three homers in third straight spring training win

BOX SCORE

At Goodyear, Arizona, Joe Panik, Conor Gillaspie and Jarrett Parker homered for San Francisco. Jimmy Rollins singled and scored twice.

Giants lefty Matt Moore went 1 1/3 innings in his first start of the spring, allowing one run and one hit. He walked two and struck out three.

Cincinnati starter Tim Adleman pitched two innings, giving up four hits and two runs.

A's spring training Day 13: Gossett part of fifth starter mix

A's spring training Day 13: Gossett part of fifth starter mix

MESA, Ariz. — An unexpected opportunity came Daniel Gossett’s way Sunday, and the young right-hander took it in stride.

When the A’s adjusted their starting rotation, Kendall Graveman got bumped to Monday and Gossett learned he’d be taking the ball to start Sunday’s Cactus League home opener against the Los Angeles Angels.

“I’m here for what they need me for,” Gossett said. “So anything they need, gimme the ball.”

He spun two scoreless innings in a game Oakland lost 5-3 at Hohokam Stadium. A nice first impression for Gossett, indeed, but the truth is A’s officials were already quite familiar with him.

A second-round pick out of Clemson in 2014, Gossett impressed at three levels of the farm system in 2016, beginning the year with Single-A Stockton and finishing it with Triple-A Nashville.

This is his first big league camp, and manager Bob Melvin even mentioned Gossett as being part of the fifth starter conversation.

“He impressed everybody in the organization last year, so when talking about that fifth spot, who knows?” Melvin said before the game.

The only blemishes on Gossett’s day were the pair of walks he issued. After walking Jefrey Marte to lead off the second, he got a lift from his catcher, as Josh Phegley fired a strike to second to nail Marte trying to steal.

“A pitcher’s best friend, I guess,” Gossett said. He went 10-6 with a 2.69 ERA across 27 starts at all three levels of the minors last year, and his 151 strikeouts led the A’s farm system. Gossett’s fastball ranges anywhere from 90-95 on the gun. He throws a changeup that gets the most swings and misses, plus a slider and curve.

Grady Fuson, an A’s special assistant to the general manager, liked the adjustments he saw with Gossett over the course of last season.

“He’s a super kid, a grinder,” Fuson said over the winter. “He’s a guy that hadn’t struck many guys out and had been very hittable in the strike zone. (In 2016), he started executing to different parts of the zone that limits the hard contact.”

CAMP BATTLE: Alejandro De Aza sparked the A’s first rally in the third Sunday with a triple, then scored on Mark Canha’s double. With Jake Smolinski sidelined currently by a shoulder issue, it’s a good time for De Aza, a non-roster invitee to camp, to make his mark. The door could be open for him to make a push to make the roster as a fifth outfielder.

“He’s an interesting guy,” Melvin said of the nine-year veteran. “He knows how to play the game, he can play all three outfield spots. We’ve seen him before when he’s given us trouble, too, with the White Sox.”

Another contender for a reserve outfield spot is Jaycob Brugman, who has yet to crack the majors but is already on the 40-man roster. He singled home a run in the seventh. Like De Aza and Smolinski, Brugman can play center field, and it stands to reason the A’s will want to carry someone who can back up Rajai Davis at that position.

NOTEWORTHY: Phegley admitted to some butterflies before getting behind the plate for his first game since July, when a right knee injury wiped out the rest of his season.

But he looked good springing up to nail Marte on the second-inning steal attempt. The A’s are counting on Phegley returning to his role as the right-handed hitting platoon partner with Stephen Vogt behind the plate.

STOCK RISING: Melvin was impressed, and entertained, by the first look he got at reliever Simon Castro on Saturday against the Chicago Cubs. Castro retired Kris Bryant to strand a runner at third, the only hitter he faced. But it was what happened before the at-bat that caught Melvin’s attention.

“When he came to the mound he was pretty vocal,” Melvin noted. “He was fired up, telling the guys ‘Let’s go!’ I haven’t heard that too many times out of pitchers, let alone in spring training. So he impressed me with his eagerness to pitch.”

FAMILIAR FACES: Campy Campaneris and Blue Moon Odom each threw out ceremonial first pitches before Sunday’s exhibition home opener, which drew a smallish crowd of 4,072.