Kings prevail in overtime, finish road trip at 4-1

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Kings prevail in overtime, finish road trip at 4-1

March 27, 2011BOX SCORE KINGS VIDEONBAPAGE NBASCOREBOARD
PHILADELPHIA (AP) The Philadelphia 76ers have become a feel-good story this season, their playoff berth within reach under new head coach Doug Collins.With a chance to improve their standing in the Eastern Conference, they showed they still have to find a way to reach their potential.Marcus Thornton scored 32 points and former Philadelphia center Samuel Dalembert made two free throws in the closing seconds of overtime to give the Sacramento Kings a 114-111 win over the 76ers on Sunday.Jason Thompson added 15 points and Beno Udrih made a big 3-pointer in the closing minutes to help the Kings win their third straight.The Sixers were led by Jrue Holiday's 28 points, while Jodie Meeks added 22. Philadelphia missed a chance against one of the NBA's worst teams to make up ground on fifth-place Atlanta."We are fighting to make the playoffs. Sacramento is playing with house money," Collins said. "Hopefully, we learned. We have a lot of work to do. This was not a good day."There were crackles of excitement, notably Lou Williams' 32-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer that sent the game into overtime, and Holiday's 16-point fourth-quarter, but the Sixers lost at home to a team that won just its 20th game of the season.The Kings trailed by five at halftime, but Thornton's 19-point third quarter helped get them out of the hole. Trailing 91-87 with 4:58 to play, Holiday scored the next nine points for the Sixers - capped by a 3-pointer - to put Philadelphia up 96-91 with 2 minutes left.Sacramento quickly tied it again after Thornton drilled a jumper, then a 3-pointer with 36.6 seconds to play.In the closing seconds of regulation, Udrih made two free throws to give Sacramento a three-point lead, then the team opted not to foul Williams before he shot, and barely guarded him as he went up."We should have fouled Lou, but we didn't," Dalembert said.The Kings outscored the Sixers 8-2 in the closing minutes of overtime, including Dalembert's free throws with 12 seconds to play that gave Sacramento a four-point lead. As he ran down the court to boos, he kissed his lips and pointed to the sky. The center, who spent his first eight NBA seasons in Philadelphia, finished with 13 points and 19 rebounds.The Kings won for the first time in six overtime games."We could've easily folded the tent (because of) how things were going out there," Thornton said. "But, you know, hats off to our guys. We stayed in there and came out with a huge win."After making 12 of their first 21 shots, the Sixers made 28 of 69 the rest of the game. Their bench was worse, shooting 4 for 26 (15 percent) and scoring just 14 points.The Sixers (37-36) have lost two straight and are 4-6 in their last 10 after completing a 16-5 stretch. The Kings owned the boards, outrebounding Philadelphia 58-36 one game after Miami had a 49-31 rebounding edge against the Sixers."They're huge," Collins said. "There's no question. Elton (Brand) had three rebounds in 39 minutes. Evan (Turner) had one in 20 minutes. Thad (Young) had one in 18."Overall, it wasn't a good finishing effort."I knew Sacramento was playing a lot better basketball than the last time we played them," Collins said. "They can score and make it very difficult for you to score. We got off to a good start. I thought it was fool's gold from moment one, and I told our guys that. We lost an edge. We never got it back, and then we fought and almost stole the game."The Kings stole it back in overtime."Our team has a tendency to hang our heads and not bounce back from those kinds of things," Kings head coach Paul Westphal said. "We haven't been a good closing team for most of the year, but lately, we've improved in that area, too. We found a way to score, but mostly we stayed in the game because of our defense and rebounding."Notes: Evans played in his second game since missing the previous 19 with left foot plantar fasciitis, scoring 10 points in 23 minutes. ... The Kings have won four of their past five after winning four of the previous 22 games.

Warriors eye veteran guard Calderon after release of Weber

Warriors eye veteran guard Calderon after release of Weber

OAKLAND -- Briante Weber’s 20 days with the Warriors came to an end Saturday night, creating a roster opening expected to be filled by veteran point guard Jose Calderon.

“We think we have something in place, but it’s not finalized,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after a 112-95 victory over Brooklyn.

Calderon is in the process to be bought out by the Lakers, after which he will become a free agent. Once he clears waivers, the Warriors, according to multiple sources, will be waiting to offer a physical examination and a contract.

Though Warriors president/general manager Bob Myers stopped short of identifying Calderon by name, his insinuations late Saturday night line up with what was learned from league sources.

“You find that in the playoffs, experience matters,” Myers told CSNBayArea.com.

“I don’t want to diminish (Weber’s) contribution and say he’s not capable,” he added. “He could help a team. But I think sometimes you go with experience when going into the playoffs.”

While Weber is 24, with limited NBA experience, Calderon is 35 and has 12 seasons in the league, including three playoff appearances with two different teams. Moreover, Calderon is a career 41.1-percent 3-point shooter.

Calderon has played sparingly this season and has appeared only once, for five minutes, over the last nine games. In November, his most active month, he played in 11 games, averaging 5.5 points and 3.0 assists while shooting 54.5 percent from the field and 45.0 from beyond the arc.

Not that this made releasing Weber any easier. He had, in a short span of time, become popular with his teammates. Though Weber declined postgame interview requests, Stephen Curry spent a few minutes consoling and encouraging him.

Kerr struggled a bit in announcing that the team was releasing Weber, though the move was made by the front office in consultation with the coaching staff.

“We are making the decision thinking it’s the best thing for the team,” he said. “We make every decision based on that.

Weber played two minutes Saturday, scoring four points on 2-of-3 shooting. He logged a total of 46 minutes spread over seven games.

“He’s a good kid, did everything we asked of him,” Myers said. “But sometimes you’ve got to make tough decisions. Sometimes you’re not even right, but you make the best decision you can at the time.

“But he’s got a future in the NBA. He’ll have options. That’s the best thing about his situation. He’ll be able to choose what’s best for him.”

Sharks Jones, Tierney find more success in Vancouver in 4-1 win

Sharks Jones, Tierney find more success in Vancouver in 4-1 win

VANCOUVER – One of the more appealing NHL road cities, Vancouver dazzles with its beautiful mountain scenery and walkable downtown avenues.

The Sharks undoubtedly relish those aspects of their trips to British Columbia, but more importantly they’ve enjoyed them on a professional basis, too. San Jose won its 10th straight game at Rogers Arena on Saturday, 4-1, kicking off the final push to the playoffs with a victory coming out of the bye week.

“I think we definitely got better as the game went on, and that’s what you’re looking for,” said Mikkel Boedker, who was one of four Sharks’ goal scorers. “We came out with the win.”

Two Sharks in particular have enjoyed their recent excursions into Vancouver. 

Martin Jones was the best player on the ice, making 35 saves in his hometown. He was relied upon early as the Sharks predictably struggled to get their legs underneath them in what was their first game since last Sunday.

Jones made an impressive stop on Loui Eriksson in the first period, and in the second he stopped Jannik Hansen from point blank range with the Sharks holding a 1-0 lead. Later in the second, it was saves on Alex Edler and Hansen again that preserved San Jose’s 2-1 lead at the intermission. Vancouver was outshooting the Sharks 30-16 after 40 minutes, but trailed.

The Sharks rewarded their goalie with scores by Boedker and Logan Couture on the power play to make the final few minutes of the third period relatively easy.

“When [Jones] plays like that it gives us confidence, and we’ve just got to stick with it and keep creating chances, and we did that tonight,” said Boedker, who snapped a 19-game goal drought.

“[Jones] was our best player tonight,” coach Pete DeBoer said.

Jones improved to a perfect 4-0 in Vancouver, all in a San Jose sweater, with a 1.25 goals-against average and .959 save percentage. He spent the bye week in the area, and had several supporters in the stands.

“It’s always fun playing in front of friends and family,” Jones said. “Happy to get the win here.”

Chris Tierney is another player who seems to thrive in Vancouver. He notched a pair of assists and centered the team's most effective line, after getting his first career two-goal game here earlier this month.

His new line, featuring wingers Tomas Hertl and Joel Ward, opened the scoring in the second period, with Hertl finishing off a pass from Tierney after Ward’s breakaway attempt crept just wide of the net. Later, Tierney got a secondary assist on Patrick Marleau’s second period goal, restoring the Sharks' lead at 2-1.

“They did a good job. I thought some of those guys had our better legs early,” DeBoer said of his third line. “It took some of our veteran guys a little longer to get into it.”

Tierney, who was scoreless in eight straight games since his last time at Rogers Arena on Feb. 2, said: “I thought we generated some good chances. I think we can get better, too. We kind of talked on the bench throughout the game of what we can kind of do to improve and where each other is going to be on the ice, but it felt good playing with those guys. It’s easy to create offense with them.”

In seven career games in Vancouver, Tierney has four goals and three assists for seven points.

“Something about the Vancouver air, or Canadian air,” he said. “I always feel good when I play here.”

After dropping a 2-1 overtime decision to Boston in their final game before the break, the Sharks had a five-point lead over the rest of the division headed into a week off. Saturday’s win pushes the lead back up to five points again on Anaheim and Edmonton, and they now have games in hand on both of those teams, too.

It all adds up to a good start in what is the final stretch before the postseason, and a quest for a division title. Overall, the Sharks are 3-0-3 in their last six games, and have just one regulation loss in their last 11 (5-1-5).

“It’s huge, that’s what you play the regular season for,” said Boedker, when asked about the Sharks padding their lead. “You keep trying to gain as many points as you can, and lately we’ve had some overtime losses, but we keep gaining points.”