Lincecum, Giants avoid sweep; hold off Phils 3-1

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Lincecum, Giants avoid sweep; hold off Phils 3-1

Aug. 7, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARDSAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Tim Lincecum's right knee still throbbing, Chase Utley hustled out toward the mound to apologize that his bat had struck the pitcher.A tense four-game series featuring a benches-clearing brawl between NL division leaders ended with an act of sportsmanship."He said, 'Sorry, man,'" said Lincecum, San Francisco's ace. "Bad hop. Bad luck."Lincecum stayed sharp until Utley accidentally lost his grip and the Giants ended the Philadelphia Phillies' season-high nine-game winning streak, tagging Roy Oswalt in a 3-1 win Sunday.
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Jeff Keppinger had four hits as the Giants spoiled Oswalt's return from the disabled list and avoided a four-game sweep."That was one of the biggest games of the year, really," Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff said. "Four-game sweeps are tough to deal with, especially in your home yard."Lincecum (10-9) went down in the eighth inning when Utley's bat skittered back at him. Utley went out to check on Lincecum, who handed back the bat, walked it off and stayed in the game. Utley then hit a one-out single.Lincecum left later in the eighth after Hunter Pence reached with two outs on first baseman Aubrey Huff's error. Javier Lopez relieved and retired Raul Ibanez on a fly ball.Brian Wilson finished for his 34th save in 38 chances, closing out the Giants' second win in 10 games.New Giants star Carlos Beltran left after the seventh. He felt a sharp pain in the top of his right hand on a swinging strikeout to end the sixth. X-rays were negative and Beltran was expected to play Monday night against Pittsburgh.The NL East-leading Phillies, with the majors' best record at 74-40, hadn't lost since dropping two of three to the Giants in Philly from July 26-28.Lincecum allowed seven hits and one run, struck out five and walked one in 7 2-3 innings. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner and four-time All-Star beat the Phillies for the second time in three starts. After walking leadoff man Jimmy Rollins on four pitches to start the game, Lincecum worked from the stretch the rest of the way to "simplify things."He was determined to get the Giants back on track."With the funk we've been in, you hope this is something to build on," Lincecum said. "We don't want to be content just winning one here and there."It was a timely performance for the reigning World Series champions, who have been struggling to score enough runs for their talented pitching staff. San Francisco held its half-game lead on Arizona in the NL West after the Diamondbacks beat the Dodgers.
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"He gave us what we needed," manager Bruce Bochy said.Oswalt (4-7), facing Lincecum in their seventh career regular-season meeting, gave up a season-high 12 hits in his first start since June 23. The right-hander missed 37 games with lower back inflammation. He is 1-7 since beginning the year 3-0."That was better than I thought I was going to be," he said. "It wasn't like I was giving up doubles into the gap. It feels good to be back on the field. Hopefully I can finish out the year."Phillies slugger Ryan Howard went 1 for 12 with eight strikeouts in the series and was 3 for 24 in seven games against the Giants this year. He struck out 12 times in 22 at-bats last October when San Francisco beat Philadelphia in the six-game NL championship series.Orlando Cabrera hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the fifth and Keppinger added one of his own in the sixth.The Giants produced 13 hits and avoided their first four-game sweep by the Phillies since losing in Philly from May 13-16, 1982 - and at home since Aug. 6-8, 1943, while playing in New York.Chris Stewart added a pair of singles and an RBI and Pablo Sandoval had two hits for San Francisco, which loaded the bases against Oswalt in the fourth. Stewart delivered a single up the middle to tie the game at 1. The Giants finally made the most of some chances after going hitless in their first 18 at-bats of the series with runners in scoring position.Huff's fourth-inning bloop single two batters ahead of Stewart ended an 0-for-22 stretch overall with runners in scoring position.Beltran was booed when he hit into an inning-ending double play in the first. But Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino, in the middle of the skirmish Friday, got it worse from the sellout crowd of 42,366 - and fans jumped to their feet and roared when he struck out looking in the third."You know what, nothing compared to New York," said Beltran, traded to the Giants on July 28 from the Mets.Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz took a third-inning foul tip by Lincecum in the facemask but stayed in the game after being examined by trainers. He had two hits.NOTES: Phillies 3B Placido Polanco flew home to Philadelphia to undergo an MRI exam Monday on his sore left hip. He came out of Saturday's game with the injury, which he said had been bothering him for some time and wasn't a result of being tackled by Giants catcher Eli Whiteside during the fracas Friday. ... Oswalt had his third hit of the year with a leadoff single in the third. ... San Francisco INF Miguel Tejada will likely go on a short rehab assignment soon before returning from the DL with a lower abdominal strain. ... Giants LHP Barry Zito's rehab outing with Class-A San Jose was pushed back from Sunday to Monday. He is likely to pitch four or five innings as he nurses a sprained right foot that also sidelined him earlier this year. ... Giants RHP and All-Star Ryan Vogelsong (9-1) tries to extend his career-best winning streak to seven straight decisions in Monday night's series opener against the Pirates. He is 6-0 with a 2.50 ERA over his last 12 outings. Vogelsong won at Pittsburgh in his first start of the year April 28, allowing two runs on four hits in 5 2-3 innings. He matched his career high with eight Ks. ... The Phillies continue their 10-game road trip against the NL West with the opener at Dodger Stadium. Roy Halladay (14-4) looks to win his fourth straight start. Philadelphia is headed into Game 18 of 20 in a row without a day off.

Warriors stay ready, strike gold amid the 2017 NBA Draft scramble

Warriors stay ready, strike gold amid the 2017 NBA Draft scramble

OAKLAND -- Considering their status as reigning champs without a pick, members of the Warriors personnel department could have turned out the lights and left team headquarters to watch the NBA Draft from a nearby tavern.

They instead stayed in business mode Thursday night, observing the draft-night chaos up close, waiting for the right moment and the right player.

And for the second consecutive year, the Warriors paid a team for its 38th overall draft pick, sending a reported $3.5 million to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for the rights to Oregon big man Jordan Bell, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.

“Everybody we talked to had a lot of good things to say about him,” president/general manager Bob Myers said. “He’s one of the few guys we looked at and really wanted to see if we could get. I actually was not optimistic we would be able to get him. But somehow it came to fruition.”

Myers added that the Warriors, along with many mock drafts, projected Bell as a first-round pick.

Bell led the Pac-12 in field-goal percentage (63.6) while shooting almost exclusively in the paint. The 6-foot-9 center/forward was sixth among Pac-12 rebounders at 8.8 per game and 13th in steals at 1.3 per game.

The Long Beach Poly High product possesses a wingspan a fraction shy of 7-feet and bears, by some accounts, a resemblance to Draymond Green inasmuch as he is a defense-first player with a deep reservoir of energy.

It’s a comparison that Bell, asked about it, embraces.

“Draymond, because people always say I’m undersized,” Bell told Basketball Insiders last month. “He’s one of those players you can’t really say what position he is, but he’s a force on defense.”

Moreover, Myers cited Green as one of the players best suited to mentor Bell.

“Draymond is a good one,” the GM said. “He’s not afraid to tell players what he thinks. He’s going to be a good teacher.”

Bell in three seasons became the Ducks’ all-time leader in blocks. He blocked eight shots in a Midwest Regional win over Kansas that sent Oregon to the Final Four. He became during the NCAA Tournament the first player since Hakeem Olajuwon (in 1985) to snag at least 12 rebounds in five consecutive tournament games.

“Defending is one of my best attributes,” Bell told Basketball Insiders. “Being able to switch 1-through-5. Play small ball. Blocking shots. Timing. Decision-making on offense.”

These are the characteristics that prompted the Warriors to put a red-letter “B” next to Bell’s name on their draft board -- even though his offensive skills are unrefined.

“We love his ability to defend,” Myers said. “He could probably defend most positions, and in the NBA that’s huge. To be able to switch pick-and-rolls, rebound, block shots, finish, there are a lot of boxes he checks.

“ . . . We just like the way he plays basketball. We’ll find a place for him.”

The Warriors also are closing in on a deal for one of Bell’s Oregon teammates. Forward Chris Boucher is expected to sign a two-way contract with the team.

“That’s something we’re trying to move toward,” Myers said of Boucher, who is rehabilitating an ACL surgery.

“But we like players that win. We like players that can play. I don’t care what school they are or what their background is, or what position. Winners. That’s what we’re trying to do, is win. If we end up getting that done, that’s another player that was on a very good team.”

Kings finish 2017 NBA Draft with night that can turn franchise around

Kings finish 2017 NBA Draft with night that can turn franchise around

SACRAMENTO -- The Kings had a big draft night. The kind of night that might turn a franchise around. They entered the evening with three picks, including two in the top 10. With their first selection, they filled the franchise’s biggest need when they drafted De’Aaron Fox and then they went to work.
 
Vlade Divac and his team of front office execs jumped on an early trade, dealing the No. 10 overall selection to the Portland Trail Blazers for No. 15 and No. 20. North Carolina’s Justin Jackson was too appealing to pass on, and like Fox, he fit a major position of need. 
 
Sacramento came back with the 20th selection, taking one of the biggest risk/reward picks in the draft. Duke’s Harry Giles is playing on rebuilt knees, but before that, he was one of the top prospects in all of basketball. If he can stay healthy, the Kings may have drafted the biggest steal of the night. 
 
They topped off the evening with the selection of Wooden and Naismith Award winner Frank Mason III with the 34th overall pick. The Kings entered the night without a single point guard and they ended it with two very exciting options. 
 
“I’m very excited about the talent that we brought here tonight,” Divac said. “They’re going to just be an addition to what we’re trying to build here in the second half of the season.”
 
The Kings turned down overtures to move up to draft Fox. The 19-year-old speedster will step in and immediately compete for the starting point guard spot and he’s very excited to be a King.
 
“It’s just the vibe that I got when I was out there,” Fox told local Sacramento media via phone. “I felt like they really wanted me.” 
 
John Calipari is known for his bevy of All-Star bigs throughout the league, but he’s also produced a long line of big-time guards. Sacramento is hoping that Fox can live up to the billing of other former Calipari guards like Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and John Wall. According to Divac, the Kings were so high on Fox, they would have taken him higher. 
 
“Screaming,” Divac said about the reaction in the room to Fox falling in their lap. “It was a guy that we all loved and in some way, if we had the number 1 pick, he would’ve been our guy.”
 
“De’Aaron is our future,” Divac added.
 
Without a perfect fit at 10, Divac made an adjustment on the fly to add more assets. The decision to trade 10 for 15 and 20 was very similar to the last season when the Kings dealt the eighth overall pick for No. 13, 28 and the draft rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic. By splitting the pick in two, the Kings were able to land two talented pieces that mesh with the current roster build.
 
Jackson and Fox know each other well. The duo played AAU ball together and Fox says he considers Jackson an older brother.  He is friends with Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere from their Kentucky connection.
 
“I feel like we can grow together,” Fox said of the Kings’ young core. “Of course, it’s going to take some time, but every franchise takes time.”
 
Fox is the jewel of the night and Jackson will compete for time at the wing, but Giles is the wildcard. The 19-year-old big can play the four and the five and has elite potential. 
 
“I’m so excited he was there for us at the 20,” Divac said. “That kind of talent you can’t pass.”
 
The Kings have done their homework on Giles. The type of knee injury that he sustained is similar to former NBA players Danny Manning, Amaré Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin. Manning and Martin each played 15 years in the league and Stoudemire lasted 14 seasons before retiring in 2016. After meeting him in person in Sacramento and working him out, they are very confident that he will be able to overcome his injuries and have a successful career in the NBA. 
 
Mason III will remind Kings fans of Isaiah Thomas, another undersized point guard that fell to the second round. The Kansas star posted 20.9 points, 5.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds for the Jayhawks last season. He’s a hard-nosed leader that can jump out of the gym and will instantly become a fan favorite in Sacramento. 
 
It’s a huge haul. Sacramento added two points guards, a wing and a big from some of the best basketball schools in the country. More than that, they added high character winners to a changing culture. 
 
For the first time in a while, the Sacramento Kings have accumulated assets. They have hit the ground running in their attempted rebuild and for one night, they are the talk of the NBA.