Sans Monta, W's blown out in Denver, 134-111

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Sans Monta, W's blown out in Denver, 134-111

April 11, 2011BOXSCORE WARRIORSVIDEONBAPAGE NBASCOREBOARD

DENVER (AP) The Denver Nuggets found themselves without a superstar but sporting one of the deepest rosters in the NBA after sending Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups to Broadway.Good thing, too, because their injuries just keep piling up.J.R. Smith's 22 points led nine Nuggets in double figures and Kosta Koufos tied his career high with 18 points in Denver's 134-111 win over Golden State on Monday night, when the injury-riddled Nuggets reached 50 wins for the fourth straight season and clinched the fifth seed in the Western Conference.NEWS: Warriors' decision on Smart's future not imminent
It marked the first time the Nuggets had that many players score 10 or more points since Nov. 24, 1987, when they had 10 guys do it in a game against New Jersey."The bench is deep, there are opportunities for guys to make plays," Kenyon Martin said. "That's what it's all about. Can't worry about who's not playing, got to worry about who's playing, and I think we do an excellent job of that."Yet, the Nuggets are limping into the playoffs.On the same night forward Arron Afflalo and center Chris "Birdman" Andersen returned to action, center Nene strained his left groin and missed the second half, joining four teammates who were sitting this one out.The Nuggets said Nene was day to day.STEINMETZ: Lin might be third guard Warriors are seeking
Afflalo left the game 2 12 minutes into the second half and didn't return. He walked gingerly to the bench during a timeout after scoring 10 points in 17 minutes and said afterward his strained left hamstring tightened up."I immediately got out," Afflalo said. "This ain't the time to make it worse."He insisted he'll be fine by week's end even though this injury has dogged him for six weeks."We've got a week now before playoffs and that's clearly my focus now," Afflalo said. "... If there was a minor setback from today, I'll be over it by playoff time."Afflalo had missed 11 of the team's previous 15 games and had aggravated his strained hamstring before."I've never dealt with an injury like this," Afflalo said. "It's not painful, but it's annoying. It's not one of those things you can play through."Smith said he wasn't worried about all the injuries, "but at the same time I just want everybody to be healthy so we'll have no excuses" come playoff time.Andersen had 14 points and 12 rebounds in his first game since spraining his right ankle April 1."He was dynamite," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "I mean, his bounce, his step and blocked shots and defensive energy and rebounding, he's a force. ... I think he'll be in the rotation when it counts."Especially if the Nuggets face Oklahoma City in the first round, as expected. The Thunder beat the Nuggets twice last week when Andersen was sidelined and there's bad blood brewing between the Northwest Division rivals."I'm not going to comment on that because everybody says I'm stirring the pot," Karl said, "but we did have some injuries in those two games."Andersen had five rim-rattling dunks to spark the Nuggets along with Smith's bevy of 3-pointers that helped them pull away late in the third quarter.Every Nuggets player who played scored in double figures, including Koufos, who didn't play at all in the first half. He finished one board shy of joining Andersen and Raymond Felton (15 points, 10 assists) with a double-double."You have guys that will come off the bench and they can do just as well as the starters," Warriors coach Keith Smart said. "You don't drop off much when Felton comes in the game."Or Anderson. Or Smith. Or even Koufos, for that matter.It's rare to have a roster where so many players produce so much."We've got a lot of good bigs, a lot of good guards," Koufos said. "Our depth is going to help us in the playoffs, so we've just got to get better every day."And healthier.Stephen Curry and Dorell Wright each scored 27 for Golden State. Wright scored 1,333 combined in his first six NBA seasons and has 1,324 already this season with one game left.Curry only played 12 seconds of the fourth quarter after spraining his right ankle. He's also day to day.The Warriors were without guard Monta Ellis, who sustained a concussion in the final minute of a game against Sacramento on Sunday night."Well, you miss your go-to guy," Smart said.The Nuggets were 32-25 when they traded Anthony and Billups to the New York Knicks in a blockbuster traded that netted them five new players, including Danilo Gallinari and Felton.Since then, they've done better than anyone could have anticipated to reach the 50-win plateau again."It's a great run, it's a special year because of it," Karl said. "It's one of my more enjoyable years. The NBA is all about persevering, it's all about not getting too high not too low."Our yo-yo, it was up and down quite often, we had to fight through a lot of interesting circumstances and situations and guys kept hanging together."Even with so many of them sidelined.Notes: The Nuggets were without F Wilson Chandler (left ankle), Gallinari (right ankle), F Al Harrington (rest) and C Timofey Mozgov (left ankle and knee). ... The Warriors have lost in nine of their past 10 trips to Denver.

Instant Replay: Kings shock Grizzlies late for second straight win

Instant Replay: Kings shock Grizzlies late for second straight win

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings aren’t done fighting yet. In front of their home crowd, they pulled off their second consecutive shocker, this time dispatching the Memphis Grizzlies in dramatic fashion by the final of 91-90.

Darren Collison battled Mike Conley Jr. all night long at the point guard position. After scoring 19 against the Clippers on Sunday, Collison hit the Grizzlies for 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting and added a team-high seven assists. His free throw with 5.7 seconds remaining proved to be the game winner.

Rookie Buddy Hield continued his hot shooting, scoring 14 points on 5-for-12 shooting. The 23-year-old shooting guard is quickly establishing himself as a big time scoring option for the Kings moving forward.

Willie Cauley-Stein chipped in 12 points, nine rebounds and three assists. 7-footer Kosta Koufos found success against his former team, finishing with 11 points, five rebounds and three blocks before fouling out late.

Ty Lawson led the second unit with 10 points, while Anthony Tolliver went 4-of-7 from the field for nine points.

Conley Jr. received the biggest contract in NBA history during the offseason and he showed why Monday against the Kings. The veteran point guard dropped in 22 points and dished out nine assists as the Grizzlies fell to 40-34 on the season.

35-year-old big man Zach Randolph went to work in the post. The 16-year NBA vet dropped in 17 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, schooling the Kings frontline with the left-handed flip early in the game.

Brandan Wright came off the bench to score 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting and Troy Daniels added 10 points.  

STANDOUT PERFORMER:
Collison is heating up. Over his last two games, the veteran guard has scored 42 points on 16-for-24 shooting and kept his team in the ballgame.

TURNING POINT:
Despite leading by eight on multiple occasions in the fourth quarter, Sacramento couldn’t close the door on the Grizzlies. Collison drew a foul with 5.7 remaining and his team trailing by one. He knocked down both freebies and Randolph missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer to help the Kings improve to 29-45 on the season.   

INJURY UPDATE:
Arron Afflalo missed the game due to a personal matter and Tyreke Evans sat for scheduled rest. Rookie Malachi Richardson is officially out for the season with a right hamstring thickness tear. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles.

WHAT'S NEXT:
The Kings are back at it Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center when the Utah Jazz roll through Sacramento. Following the matchup with Utah, the Kings travel to New Orleans to face former King DeMarcus Cousins on Friday evening.

 

Spurs destroy Cavs by 29, back within two of Warriors

Spurs destroy Cavs by 29, back within two of Warriors

BOX SCORE

SAN ANTONIO -- Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points and the San Antonio Spurs dismantled the ailing Cleveland Cavaliers 103-74 on Monday night in a showdown that turned into a major letdown for the defending NBA champions.

LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol added 14 points apiece for the Spurs, who won their fifth straight.

Cleveland (47-26) dropped its second in a row, set a season low for points and fell a half-game behind Boston (48-26) for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Cavaliers star LeBron James was injured late in the third quarter after taking an elbow to the base of his neck. He remained on the bench for a while receiving medical attention, then headed toward the locker room and didn't return to the game.

His status was not immediately known.

Cleveland has been out of sync recently, losing three of five, and those struggles only got worse against San Antonio. The Spurs led by as many as 33 points to the delight of the sold-out crowd.

San Antonio (57-16) is two games behind Golden State (59-14) for the league's best record entering a home showdown with the Warriors on Wednesday.

Cleveland opted to play its stars rather than sit them for rest, but the trio of James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love sat out the fourth quarter of its second rout in the past two weeks.

James exited with 25 seconds remaining in the third after taking an elbow to his neck from David Lee on a rebound. James continually rubbed the area before collapsing after he crossed midcourt and remained on the floor for about a minute before walking unassisted to the bench. He left for the locker room early in the fourth quarter during a timeout.

James finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in 29 minutes.

The Spurs held the Cavaliers scoreless for three minutes after San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich was issued a technical foul during a timeout with 6:38 remaining in the first half.

Leonard hit a right-handed runner as the second quarter closed to give the Spurs a 64-40 lead.

TIP-INS:
Cavaliers: Cleveland completed its schedule against the West, finishing 16-14. In addition to losing to the Spurs by 29 points, the Cavaliers lost by 35 to Golden State and 30 to the Los Angeles Clippers. . Cleveland F Kyle Korver missed his third straight game with a sore left foot, and the team plans to sit him for several games to see if rest and treatment helps. Korver will sit out Thursday in Chicago and Friday at home against Philadelphia before being re-evaluated, a team spokesman said. The shooting specialist missed seven games earlier this month with an inflamed tendon in his foot. . G Iman Shumpert missed his second consecutive game with a sore right knee. . James needs 24 points to pass Shaquille O'Neal for seventh overall in career scoring. O'Neal has 28,596 career points. . The Cavaliers averaged 116.3 points in their previous four games.

Spurs: San Antonio is holding its opponents to an average of less than 100 points for the 22nd straight season. . Danny Green tied his season high with four blocked shots. . Leonard has scored in double figures in 100 straight games.

UP NEXT:
Cavaliers: At the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.

Spurs: Host the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.