Monta, Curry, Lee lead Warriors' rout in Portland

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Monta, Curry, Lee lead Warriors' rout in Portland

April 5, 2011BOXSCORE WARRIORSVIDEONBAPAGE NBASCOREBOARD
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) There were no smiles of accomplishment in the Trail Blazers' locker room on Tuesday night.Yes, the Blazers clinched a playoff spot. But they also got thumped 108-87 by the Golden State Warriors - and at home of all places."We didn't play well at all," guard Brandon Roy said succinctly.Portland secured a postseason berth just before the half when the Houston Rockets lost 104-101 to Sacramento.Even with the loss to Golden State, the Blazers still sit in the sixth spot in the Western Conference. But they're only a half-game ahead of New Orleans and only a game in front of Memphis.It will be Portland's third straight trip to the postseason. Last year the Blazers were eliminated in the first round by the Phoenix Suns, and the year before they were bumped in the opening round by the Rockets."It's good to clinch, but that's something that probably won't sink in until tomorrow," Roy said.David Lee had 29 points and a season-high 20 rebounds for the Warriors, who led by as many as 26 points in the second half. Monta Ellis had 30 points and Stephen Curry finished with 28."That wasn't our thing to spoil someone else's stuff, but just to continue to get better as a team," Lee said about tempering Portland's celebration. "It doesn't matter that Portland lost, just that we were able to get the victory."The Warriors were previously eliminated from playoff contention. Golden State has not been to the postseason since the 2006-07 season.Echoing Lee's sentiments, Warriors head coach Keith Smart said his team may have been happy to play a spoiler's role in the past, but not anymore."We're looking for something bigger now. We're trying to do something bigger," Smart said. "We're trying to establish a way of how we play, an identity of how we want our team to move forward, and that's what those young men are doing."LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Blazers, who saw their eight-game winning streak at the Rose Garden end.Ellis hit a fadeaway jumper for the Warriors as time ran out in the first quarter to tie it at 19, before Aldridge hit a 19-foot jumper for the Blazers to tie it at 47 at the break. The first half had 14 ties and 14 lead changes.Ellis gave the Warriors a 72-65 lead with a 3-pointer with 4:48 left in the third quarter. He added another one a short time later that made it 75-66. Golden State scored 37 points in the quarter on 80 percent shooting.The Warriors extended the lead to 92-72 on Lee's 21-foot jumper with 8:03 left. Both teams pulled out their starters down the stretch."You never want to throw away games," Blazers guard Andre Miller said, shaking his head. "They knew that and they're not going to the playoffs."The Blazers had a scary moment late in the first quarter when Marcus Camby stumbled awkwardly over Lee and tumbled with Lou Amundson under the basket.Fans chanted "Mar-cus Cam-by" while the 6-foot-11 forward was seen to by trainers. He was eventually helped off the court and headed for the locker room.The team said Camby sustained a neck strain and was questionable to return, although he did not.Afterward Miller said he didn't think the injury was too serious."He just took a bump to the head. He'll be all right. Probably got a little headache, but he'll be all right."Notes: Andris Biedrins has missed 10 games for the Warriors with a sprained left ankle. ... The Blazers and the Warriors split the first two games of the series this season, with each holding home court. ... Harlem Globetrotters great Meadowlark Lemon was at the game, as was St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson, who went to Oregon State. ... Ellis averaged 32.5 points against the Blazers in the first two meetings this season. ... Golden State's 37 third-quarter points tied a season high. The Warriors also had 37 in the third against Houston on Oct. 27. It was the most points the Blazers have given up in the third this season. ... Miller needs two more assists to become the 14th NBA player to reach 7,000.

Despite loss, Sharks 'in a good spot' headed into bye week

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USATSI

Despite loss, Sharks 'in a good spot' headed into bye week

SAN JOSE – Despite what was technically their sixth loss in the last eight games, the Sharks seemed to put more stock in the point they gained in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Bruins on Sunday night at SAP Center, rather than the one they left on the table.

They have that luxury. 

The Sharks will enter their bye week five points ahead of Edmonton and Anaheim for first place in the Pacific Division, and figure they’re due for some time off after a short summer followed by a World Cup for some, and a brutal condensed NHL schedule for all.

“[We’ve] showed up and played hard,” Joe Pavelski said. “We’ve been in a lot of games. Games we’ve lost, we’ve battled. There hasn’t been any cheat in [our] game. Defensively, we’ve been strong. There’s a lot of good areas in our game that we like right now.”

Playing in the second of a back-to-back against a Bruins team had was coming off of its own bye week, the Sharks fell behind 1-0 on a first period goal by Ryan Spooner, but notched a Patrick Marleau equalizer in a second period in which they outshot the Bruins 16-9. An evenly played third period gave way to overtime, where Brad Marchand scored on a breakaway to give the Bruins their fourth straight win since changing head coaches.

The Sharks spoke before the weekend about finishing the final two games strong before the respite. They ended up gaining three of four points, including Saturday’s 4-1 win in Arizona, and were pleased with their effort against the Bruins as they capped off 10 games in 20 days since the All-Star break.

“It was an important push into this break,” Pete DeBoer said. “To go in up [five points] on the next closest team is a real testament to our group.”

Paul Martin said: “I thought we played pretty well, considering the back-to-back with some travel, and a team that was waiting for us.”

Perhaps the most encouraging performance came from Martin Jones, who was one of a number of Sharks players that was looking particularly fatigued lately. The goaltender entered the game with a 1-0-2 record, 4.46 goals-against average and .837 save percentage in his last four starts, including getting pulled after the first period in Boston just 10 days ago.

Jones was impressive, though, making a vital pad stop on the dangerous David Pastrnak in front of the net midway through the third period to keep it a 1-1 score.

“It was a good game. Two teams playing hard,” Jones said. “We can take a lot of positives from that one. It was a good hard game, just didn’t go our way tonight.”

Overtimes have been an issue lately, though. The Sharks have lost their last four games decided during the three-on-three, all coming within the last two weeks. As satisfied as they are with their cushion in the division, it could have been cushier.

Against the Bruins, Tuukka Rask denied Brent Burns on a two-on-one in overtime, and Marchand scored off of the ensuing faceoff, blowing the zone past Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic and corralling a long toss from Torey Krug before sliding it home.

“We get to overtime, shootouts – we expect to get that extra point,” Pavelski said. “We haven’t found it lately. We’ll just keep looking for it.”

DeBoer said: “The points are critical, they’re valuable. I don’t read a lot into [overtime decisions], we’ve won our share over the time I’ve been here. We had a chance to win tonight, too. … I concentrate on the effort, and I thought we got better as the game went on.”

Being focused and energized, as they have been most of the season to this point, shouldn’t be a problem when the season resumes next Saturday in Vancouver. The Sharks are in prime position to win their first division title since 2010-11, and a return trip to the Stanley Cup Final is a distinct possibility.

Losing six of eight won’t be nearly as acceptable coming out of the break as it apparently is going into it, but that’s not something to worry about now, even after another defeat. 

“There are some games you wish you could get back and get those points, but we’re still in a good spot,” Marleau said.

Trading Cousins is the ultimate Kingstastic move

Trading Cousins is the ultimate Kingstastic move

There was a lot of complaining about the lack of defense in this year’s All-Star Game, as though last year’s All-Star Game didn’t happen.

But the Most Valuable Player, which was putatively Anthony Davis for scoring a record 52 points in front of his home crowd, was actually the man with the fewest minutes of all.

Yes, the man, the god, The DeMarcus Cousins. The Very Definition Of A Sacramento King, By Becoming An Ex-Sacramento King.

Cousins, now the second-best player on the New Orleans Pelicans, played only two minutes Sunday, the lowest total by any All-Star since Connie Hawkins in 1971, ostensibly because he told head coach Steve Kerr he was a little ouchy, but more likely because the Kings were frantically trying to trade him and didn’t want him hurting himself in a game with even no contact whatsoever.

Not during the All-Star Break, mind you. DURING THE ALL-STAR GAME ITSELF! Adam Silver must have been vomiting hedgehogs into a bucket at the very thought.

As it turns out, the Kings, who have sworn up and down that they would never consider trading Cousins, did that very thing, closing a deal to send Cousins and forward Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans for a first and second-round pick in the upcoming draft, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway (who is likely to be waived in true Kings fashion) and 2016 first-rounder Buddy Hield.

You remember Buddy Hield. He’s the guy who clocked Cousins in the joy division going around a Cousins pick during the last Pelicans-Kings game, and got tossed for doing so.

In other words, the Kings prefer the guy who punched their best player in the goolies to their best player. This is so Kingsy.

But on the back end, Cousins’ agent, Jarinn Akana, said Cousins is disinclined to sign a long-term contract with his next team, making him a rental who could some day return to Sacramento in a Groundhog's Day remake that would cause the Oroville Dam to get up and walk off the job.

This too is so Kingsy.

This is the greatness of the Kings. They blew up the All-Star weekend during the game itself. They blew it up trying to get rid of their best player when they are within fighting distance of their first playoff spot in 11 years. They blew it up after saying they weren’t considering trading the dynamite at all.

Kingsy, Kingsy, Kingsy. It’s Kingstastic!

And the best part of it all is that the trade leaves everyone deflated and confused and ultimately angry, while the Kings undervalued their only marketable player to invest in a future they have mocked for decades.

You know what we;’re talking about. Gimme a K! Gimme an I! Gimme an N-G-S, throw an extraneous Y on the end of it what does it spell?

Yeah. Right.

It’s remarkable thing, being a King. While we have all amused ourselves with the machinations of the thick-as-two-short-planks New York Knicks and Carmelo Anthony, the Kings have been Kinging this way for most of the last 35 years.

And now, they have decided to feed their obsession with the Golden State Warriors by running even further away from them, by tossing their only bargaining chip for a future player or players that they typically ruin, and Buddy Hield, who just found out that even at these prices life can still be cruel.

Give them their due, though. The Kings could win the NBA title and hock the trophy. They could be invited to the White House when the President is off playing golf. They could increase their Forbes valuation to $5 billion and declare bankruptcy.

Because they are the Kings, and that sentence has rarely meant more than it does now.

Not because they traded Cousins. Trades happen all the time. Wilt Chamberlain got traded twice.

But the Kings handled this with all the skill of a pickpocket with feet where his hands should be. They lied unconvincingly. They talked hard business and ended up with a nebulous deal that guarantees nothing except more speculation come summer. And they have nothing else to trade between now and . . . well, whenever they stopped being so damned Kingsy.

For New Orleans, it is a roll of the dice, an attempt to make the playoffs with a two-headed monster in Cousins and Davis. It may be too much to giver, but without knowing how the Kings will screw up those picks, it remains speculative at best.

Indeed, this is subtraction by subtraction, the standard Kings deal. And whatever the Kings have gained in this trade (hey, you never know), we remain safe in saying that they did it in such a Kingsy way that they may never top this.

Until the next time they do anything at all. Never doubt the power of Kingsiness.