Kings' upset run ends with loss to Celtics

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Kings' upset run ends with loss to Celtics

Feb. 1, 2011BOX SCORE KINGS VIDEONBA PAGE NBA SCOREBOARD

SACRAMENTO (AP) Even Ray Allen was fed up.The Celtics were already spending an extra night in Sacramento because of a winter storm back East, and Allen wasn't about to spend it soaking up a loss to one of the NBA's worst teams. On a team with the boisterous Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, the usually reserved shooting guard gathered everybody in the locker room at the half and delivered a speech that left them stunned.
RELATED: Winter storm strands Celtics out West an extra day
"I kind of let everybody have it," Allen said.Allen sparked a stagnant start to finish with 22 points, Rajon Rondo had 17 points and 10 assists and the Celtics overcame a poor opening half to beat the Kings 95-90 on Tuesday night."It's funny. We knew we were messing up when Ray's the one yelling and screaming," Pierce said.Pierce added 15 points and Garnett had 12 to help the Celtics (37-11) pull away in the fourth quarter and clinch the Eastern Conference's best record through games of Feb. 6. That means Boston's Doc Rivers will coach the East in the All-Star game in Los Angeles on Feb. 20.DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans finished with 20 points apiece for a Kings (12-34) team that returned to its losing form. They were coming off wins against two of the Western Conference's elite - the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Hornets - but missed out on their first three-game winning streak this season.REWIND: Shocker at Staples Kings snap Hornets' streak
"Even though we got the loss, it showed how good we can be and the potential of this team," Sacramento coach Paul Westphal said.
The Kings knocked Boston around for most of the first half until the Celtics finally pushed back.Maybe even a little too hard.A physical game spilled over after Garnett dived for a loose ball near the Kings bench late in the second quarter. Cousins stood over the Celtics big man - still wearing a bandage on his head from a gash that opened in the previous game against the Lakers - with the ball already out of bounds. Rondo came to his teammate's aid, exchanged words with Cousins and pushed the Kings forward in the chest."It was all in the game and it wasn't nothing personal or dislike," Cousins said. "That was the Celtics, and I was standing my ground. But it was really nothing."Added Garnett: "We're a very proud team. We don't really do that to other people and just want hold up some decency in this game and respect. We all have each other's back. I guess (Rondo) felt he was standing over me, which is inappropriate to us."Things never escalated past that, although Rondo was called for a technical foul that could draw more attention in the NBA league office. The Kings led 54-45 at the end of a first half in which they dominated the Celtics in almost every phase.The Eastern Conference champions were just too much to handle.The Celtics withstood all the blows and clamped down defensively in the fourth quarter. Glen Davis' fastbreak dunk highlighted the run that put Boston ahead 87-77 with 6 minutes remaining, and the Kings never seriously challenged after that.If only that was the end of Boston's otherwise successful 3-1 West Coast trip."Usually I have to say something at half time. I kind of stood outside the locker room," Rivers said. "Ray and the starters, they let the second unit have it today, and you don't see that very often. They were upset. They weren't upset that they didn't play well, they were upset at the way they played. We don't play that way. That's not Celtic basketball. That's the great thing about having a veteran team."NOTES: The Celtics will fly home Wednesday and don't play again until Friday at home against the Dallas Mavericks. ... Rivers met with friend and Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker, who lives in northern California, before the game outside Boston's locker room. Baker's son was wearing a green Reds baseball cap. ... Kings reserve F Darnell Jackson took a few minutes to leave the court after the first half. He did not return. The team said Jackson had shortness of breath and kept him out for precautionary reasons. ... Kings F Jason Thompson sat out the game with a sprained right ankle.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' skid-snapping win over Rockies

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AP

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' skid-snapping win over Rockies

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — On a day that started with controversy, Giants players called a meeting following batting practice. Perhaps they were talking about when and where to stretch. Perhaps a reminder was given to keep clubhouse complaints in the actual clubhouse. 

Or, perhaps, the players just decided that enough was enough. 

In a rare display, the Giants put a clean and complete game together. They beat the Rockies 9-2 at AT&T Park, getting just their second win since June 11 and snapping a nine-game losing streak to the Rockies. 

Jeff Samardzija continued his hot streak, the lineup was opportunistic and flashed some power, and the defense sparkled at times. Here are five things to know from the throwback night … 

—- Samardzija walked off to a standing ovation after throwing 112 pitches. He was charged with two earned in 6 1/3 innings. Ignore the record and ERA for a second — his FIP is 3.37 and his xFIP is 2.95. He really is having a very good and underrated season. 

—- Here’s another one for your Samardzija file: Over the past two months, he has 82 strikeouts and three walks. 

—- It was a good day in the race for another Brandon Crawford Gold Glove. Adeiny Hechavarria, one of the few in the National League who even approaches Crawford, was traded to the Rays. Crawford added to the reel by gunning a runner down on third and making a nifty spin-and-throw in the fourth to rob Ian Desmond of a hit. 

—- There are nights where Denard Span looks like a game-changer, and this was one of them. He had a single, walk and triple in his first three plate appearances, scoring twice as the Giants built a 5-0 lead. He was spry in center, too 

—- Nolan Arenado was 0 for 4. Apparently that’s legal now. (It was actually his ninth 0 for 4 or worse against the Giants, in 81 games.)

—- Bonus sixth fact since the Giants won a game: Sam Dyson, acquired basically for free, is the new setup man. That didn’t take long, and it probably won’t be changing anytime soon. Dyson gave up a single but struck out the other three batters he faced. 

Russell Westbrook wins NBA MVP; Rockets, Bucks take two awards

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AP

Russell Westbrook wins NBA MVP; Rockets, Bucks take two awards

NEW YORK — Russell Westbrook moved past Oscar Robertson and kept right on going to the top of the NBA.

Westbrook was voted MVP on Monday night after setting a record with 42 triple-doubles during his historic season. He led the league with 31.6 points and added 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game, joining Robertson as the only players to average a triple-double for the season and breaking Robertson's single-season record of 41 triple-doubles in 1961-62.

"I remember growing up just being home, playing the video games and stuff with my pops, and my mom sitting there and my brother and just talking about maybe one day I could be the MVP. Obviously I was joking at the time," Westbrook said.

"But now to be standing here with this trophy next to me is a true blessing, man, and it's an unbelievable feeling, something that I can never imagine."

Westbrook's victory ended the first NBA Awards show, which included two wins apiece for the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks.

He received 69 first-place votes and 888 points from a panel of 100 media members and a fan vote to easily beat Houston's James Harden, who had 22 first-place votes and 753 points. Kawhi Leonard was third with nine first-place votes and 500 points.

Westbrook succeeded Stephen Curry, who had won the past two MVP awards. The point guard who plays with defiance on the court got choked up during an acceptance speech in which he brought some teammates onto the stage with him.

The Thunder went 33-9 when he had a triple-double, riding Westbrook's record run into the playoffs in their first season after losing Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors.

"Oscar, guys like him, Magic Johnson, those guys, obviously I wasn't able to see those guys play, but just to look back at history and see the things that they did, it's something that I looked up to as a kid," Westbrook said.

"I never thought I would be able to say that I broke Oscar Robertson's record, and that's just a true blessing."

Earlier, Milwaukee's Malcolm Brogdon became the first player not picked in the first round to win NBA Rookie of the Year in the common draft era, beating out Philadelphia's Dario Saric and Joel Embiid.

Brogdon was the No. 36 overall selection out of Virginia. The common draft era began in 1966.

"I think it's an example for guys that are told they are too short, they are not athletic enough, they are not real point guards, they are not real shooting guards," Brogdon said. "I just think it's an important message for people to see, and it can be done. It just takes a lot."

Teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo won the Most Improved Player award.

Houston coach Mike D'Antoni won his second Coach of the Year award, and the Rockets' Eric Gordon was Sixth Man of the Year after setting a record for most 3-pointers off the bench in his first season as a reserve.

"Obviously I'm just proud of the team and the way they responded all year. Great organization," D'Antoni said of the Rockets' 55-win season.

"This is not an individual award. This is a lot of people, a lot of hard work goes into it, and I'm the recipient of some pretty good players."

In his first season coming off the bench, Gordon set a single-season record with 206 3-pointers by a reserve. He averaged 16.2 points to help fuel the Rockets' run to the surprising No. 3 seed in the Western Conference and edged former NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala of Golden State by 32 points.

Golden State's Draymond Green won the Defensive Player of the Year, ending Leonard's two-year run. Leading the league in steals from his do-everything role with the NBA champions. He had a franchise-record 10 steals in a Feb. 10 game at Memphis while recording the first triple-double in NBA history without scoring in double figures, adding 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

The NBA formerly gave out its individual awards at various points throughout the postseason before switching to the awards show this season and presenting them all at once in front of the league's top players and stars from the entertainment world.

Two of the best moments came during segments that didn't include the NBA's six individual awards.

Bill Russell was presented the first Lifetime Achievement award, welcomed on stage by fellow Hall of Fame centers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, David Robinson, Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo. The 11-time champion as a player and the league's first black coach first pointed at them and joked that he would have kicked their butts, then told them: "You have no idea how much respect I have for you guys."

Former Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams was given the SagerStrong Award for the strength he showed after his wife was killed in a car crash in Oklahoma City. He was given a colorful jacket like the ones worn by Craig Sager, the longtime Turner Sports reporter who died of cancer this past season.