July 9, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARDSAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Tim Lincecum made sure he won't have to be asked about being an All-Star with a losing record.Lincecum labored through six innings to win for the second time in his past eight starts and Pablo Sandoval had two hits to extend his hitting streak to 20 games as the San Francisco Giants beat the New York Mets 3-1 Saturday night.The win sends Lincecum (7-7) to the All-Star game with a .500 record instead of as the first starter with a losing mark since Gil Meche in 2007."Yeah but they're still going to ask me why I'm a 7-7 All-Star," Lincecum said. "Regardless they're going to be questions about that."Lincecum was selected to the NL team by manager Bruce Bochy in a move that appeared to be as much a reward for what he had done in the past as it was for how he pitched in the first half this season.The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner was 1-3 with a 4.91 ERA in his past eight starts, but managed to limit the Mets to one run in six innings.Lincecum retired the first two batters every inning, but failed to set the Mets down in order even once. He avoided damage after allowing one run in the first inning, but the extra work drove up his pitch count and he was pulled after six innings with 114 pitches. He allowed four hits and four walks, with six strikeouts."Just getting through those innings was a battle for me," Lincecum said. "Just getting out of them was good enough for me."Nate Schierholtz and Aubrey Huff drove in runs in the first inning off Chris Capuano (8-8) to help assure that the World Series champion Giants would go into the All-Star break in sole possession of first place in the NL West for the first time since 2003. San Francisco has a two-game lead over Arizona with one game left before the break."It's encouraging," Bochy said. "We still have one game before the break, but it's nice to try to wrap things up on a good note.Santiago Casilla pitched a perfect seventh, Javier Lopez got five outs and Sergio Romo struck out Scott Hairston with a man on first for his first save since 2009.Hairston hit a go-ahead homer in the ninth inning against All-Star Brian Wilson the previous night. That was his 12th longball all time against the Giants, his most against any team. With Wilson unavailable after pitching the past three days, Romo fanned Hairston on three straight sliders."When they say it takes a different animal to be a closer they're right," Romo said. "The adrenaline you get out there is an incredible rush. I haven't had too many opportunities in my career to be in that position. For me the feeling afterward is borderline heart attack."The Mets lost for just the second time in seven games and failed in their second attempt to move a season-high four games over .500New York's only run came when Carlos Beltran and Daniel Murphy hit consecutive doubles with two outs in the first. That snapped a streak of 16 straight scoreless innings for the Mets against Lincecum.But San Francisco answered with two in the bottom half for the only first-inning runs Capuano has allowed in 17 starts this season. Capuano had been the only pitcher in the majors with at least five starts who had not allowed a first-inning run.But after giving up a double to Sandoval and a walk to Pat Burrell to load the bases with one out, Capuano was unable to escape. Schierholtz hit a ball up the middle to shortstop Ruben Tejada, who tried to tag Burrell to start an inning-ending double play.But Tejada missed the tag and his throw to first was late, allowing Miguel Tejada to score on the infield hit. San Francisco added a second run on Huff's groundout 2-1."They weren't exactly tailor made," Capuano said. "They were a little bit in between. They were tough turns."That was all the Giants could muster in six innings off Capuano, who allowed two runs, four hits and four walks to end a three-start winning streak."Capuano made good enough pitches to get out of the jam," manager Terry Collins said. "I thought he threw the ball good. They should not have scored."Sandoval added an RBI groundout in the seventh off Bobby Parnell to make it 3-1.NOTES: San Francisco LHP Jonathan Sanchez (left biceps tendinitis) threw a bullpen session before the game and will likely face hitters on the day off in San Diego next Wednesday before making a rehab start. ... Mets 3B David Wright (back) could start playing rehab games next week and would likely need 30 to 40 ABs in the minors before being ready to be activated.
OAKLAND -- For the Warriors, the NBA Draft was about two things: Waiting for the right time to buy the rights to a player they love and being entertained, for the fourth consecutive day, by the earnest efforts of the league’s underclass.
Not that they would put it quite so impolitely.
“It’s a competitive league. All we do is try to get better,” president/general manager Bob Myers said late Thursday night, insisting that the Warriors are too immersed in their own challenges to look down their noses at the other 29 teams.
But the truth is inescapable. This is the week that touched off the flailing of franchises feeling particularly feeble and futile in the wake of Warriors destructive run through the postseason.
The Warriors were 16-1, the best record in NBA postseason history. Their average win margin, 13.5 points, is No. 2 all time. They demolished LeBron James and the Cavaliers in The Finals, after the Cavs had annihilated all comers in the Eastern Conference. Part III of The Trilogy was by far the most lopsided.
And the Warriors followed that up by buying a second-round pick to get, by most accounts, a first-round talent in Oregon’s Jordan Bell.
The rest of the league is determined to fight back and, therefore, is scrambling and shuffling and trading and posturing in an effort to close the gap on the champs. Those teams, staring up at the Warriors, have to do something to feel productive today while trying to keep their fans from giving up on tomorrow.
No team did more draft-night hustling than their neighbors in Sacramento, who after using their No. 5 pick to select the player they coveted most, Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox, traded the No. 10 overall pick to Portland for Nos. 15 and 20, choosing North Carolina forward Justin Jackson and Duke forward Harry Giles.
The 76ers chose Markelle Fultz, believing he is the final piece to assembling the best young team in the East. The folks in Philly, who avoided the team for nearly a decade, suddenly are on board, buying 14,000 season tickets -- a franchise record.
The Lakers grabbed UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, who will generate an enthusiasm missing at Staples Center since the best days of Kobe Bryant.
The Timberwolves and Bulls completed a major trade, with Minnesota getting All-Star guard Jimmy Butler in exchange for guards Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn, with the teams also swapping draft picks.
This all followed several moves made earlier this week, beginning with the Cavaliers dumping general manager David Griffin precisely seven days after being run over by the Warriors in The Finals.
Griffin’s dismissal preceded by a day the Hawks trading once-imposing Dwight Howard to the Hornets, as well as the Lakers dealing D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Nets for All-Star center and Stanford product Brook Lopez.
Meanwhile, as the Warriors examine their various free-agent contingencies, so much more is percolating around the league:
-Trade talk swirls about Pacers All-Star forward Paul George, who is destined to get out of Indiana, perhaps sooner than later.
-The Cavs are searching, so far without much success, for a team willing to engage in serious negotiations regarding power forward Kevin Love.
-Knicks top executive Phil Jackson, committed to a mission of unknown purpose, announced he’s now willing to shop 21-year-old wunderkind Kristaps Porzingis.
-The Spurs are ready to move on from LaMarcus Aldridge and Danny Green.
-The Clippers -- already with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and JJ Redick set to become free agents -- reportedly are willing to ship out DeAndre Jordan.
-The Rockets seemingly are ready to swap anybody not named James Harden.
-And the Celtics also are known to be on the market, though that is not unusual when Danny Ainge is sitting in the corner office.
The Warriors are the cause for such a mad frenzy, and the sight of their competitors making mad dashes toward their respective futures is the effect. They are two cuts above and that’s tough to take in a league of men who may not mind losing but do not care to be humiliated.
“We never looked at it as far as catching anybody, or people catching up,” Myers said. “Our job is to try to get better each day. And whether that’s through personnel, coaching, developing our players or us in the front office learning and growing.
“I guess I don’t view us as ahead of everyone,” he added. “I know it’s been mentioned by everybody else, but once you start thinking that, you’re in trouble. You’ve to start believing and keep pushing.”
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.”