Session's layup sinks Kings in Cavs comeback

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Session's layup sinks Kings in Cavs comeback

March 16, 2011BOXSCORE KINGS VIDEONBAPAGE NBASCOREBOARD
SACRAMENTO (AP) After going nearly four months without a victory away from home, the Cleveland Cavaliers have suddenly collected two road wins in the past three games.That's progress for a team with the worst overall record in the NBA that went through a 26-game road losing streak before a March 4 victory over the New York Knicks.Ramon Sessions scored 20 points and the Cavaliers simply outhustled the Sacramento Kings in the second half to post a 97-93 win on Wednesday night.Cleveland opened the season by winning three of its first four road games, but had dropped 28 of 29 since Nov. 10. The Cavaliers (13-53) have struggled mightily anywhere they play since LeBron James left."Our (road) losing streak is gone, it's out the window," said Sessions, who added six assists and five rebounds. "A this point, we just want to get as many wins as we can in the final 16 games."Sessions had struggled the past several weeks, but provided the biggest basket of the game. Following an offensive foul against DeMarcus Cousins, Sessions drove past three defenders and made a reverse layup to put the Cavaliers ahead 95-93 with 16 seconds to play."It was a high pick-and-roll and I wanted to attack their bigs," Sessions said. "I was able to turn the corner, get by (Samuel) Dalembert, and get to the hole."The offensive foul against Cousins left fellow rookie Samardo Samuels on the floor, yet feeling good despite a sore back. It was a tough night for the undersized Cavaliers, who were outrebounded 49-42 and allowed the Kings to grab 17 offensive boards."With Cousins and Dalembert, we're not going to out-physical them, but we managed to outsmart them," said Samuels, who said he played high school basketball against Cousins. "There was no way I was going to bang with Cousins (on the crucial late-game possession). If he hit me, I was going down. Thankfully they called the foul on him."Marcus Thornton had 23 points for the Kings, who have lost seven of eight games and are now just 9-26 at home. Dalembert contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds, Francisco Garcia and Beno Udrih both scored 14 points, while Cousins had 11 points and 16 rebounds."Even though they have a losing record, they have beaten key teams," Cousins said. "You can't let the record determine how you can play or how hard you can play."J.J. Hickson scored 17 points for Cleveland, Luke Harangody had 15 and Samuels added 13.The game was a matchup between teams with little to look forward to until the NBA draft in June. The Cavaliers have the worst record in the Eastern Conference, while the Kings (16-50) have the worst record in the West.The Cavaliers had a lackluster Tuesday practice that angered coach Byron Scott, who hasn't liked the team's effort in recent weeks."It's amazing what competing will do," Scott said. "I've been very critical the last few games. I told them there are three or four things you need to do every night. We did that tonight. We competed the whole game."After an impressive offensive showing Monday night at home in a victory over the Golden State Warriors, the Kings were not sharp against the Cavaliers. Sacramento shot 38 percent and couldn't take advantage of many scoring opportunities from close range."I feel like we let that one get away," Kings coach Paul Westphal said. "We should have won the game. We went 23 of 51 in the paint. You have to finish shots in the paint. They made some plays (at the end) and we missed some layups. It shouldn't have come down to that."After Samuels made one of two free throws to tie the game, Udrih made a reverse layup off a pass from Cousins at the 1:21 mark to put the Kings up 93-91. But two free throws from Harangody tied the game again at 93.Looking to tie the game, Cousins missed a driving layup and Alonzo Gee got the rebound and was promptly fouled. Gee made two free throws with 3.3 seconds left to secure the victory.Thornton hit three 3-pointers and scored nine points in the third quarter for the Kings, who trailed at one point by eight, but rallied in the final five-plus minutes to grab a 74-73 lead heading into the fourth.Trailing by six points at the half, the Cavaliers used a 13-3 run to assume a 65-58 lead midway through the third quarter. But a 3-pointer from Garcia and two more from Thornton quickly helped the Kings take a 67-65 lead with 4:41 left in the third.Cousins had 11 points and eight rebounds in the opening half for the Kings, who led 51-45. Harangody scored 11 points for the sloppy Cavaliers, who committed 12 turnovers.Notes: Tyreke Evans missed his 15th straight game with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, but was shooting and did some light running in Wednesday morning's shootaround. "Tyreke will do a little bit more tomorrow and maybe by next week he will be able to play some limited minutes," Westphal said. Cavaliers guard Baron Davis missed his third straight game due to the recent death of his grandmother. He is expected to play in Thursday night's game in Portland. Garcia made a 3-pointer from the corner at the buzzer to give the Kings a 28-18 first-quarter lead. The Cavaliers' three-game road trip will be over a mere 99 hours. It concludes with an afternoon game Saturday against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Lynch makes former classmate first draft selection as 49ers' GM

Lynch makes former classmate first draft selection as 49ers' GM

SANTA CLARA – Leading up to Stanford’s bowl game, defensive lineman Solomon Thomas was mostly an under-the-radar draft prospect.

John Lynch had known all about him for a few years. He even called some NFL teams to give them a heads-up to watch No. 90 -- long before he was hired to run the 49ers' personnel department.

After trading back one spot with the Chicago Bears, Lynch made Thomas his first selection as 49ers general manager. The 49ers drafted Thomas with the No. 3 overall pick.

“I want to make it the best draft pick he has,” Thomas said on Thursday.

Thomas first met Lynch during his freshman year at Stanford. Lynch returned to Stanford to finish his degree. They took a class together: Management Science and Engineering.

According to MMQB’s Jenny Vrentas, they even collaborated on a project of whether the NFL’s Washington team should change its mascot name.

“I remember I was star-stuck the first day of class,” Thomas said.

Thomas said they did not talk much in the following years, but Thomas reached out to Lynch for advice before Stanford’s game against North Carolina in the Sun Bowl.

Said Thomas, “In the pre-draft process before the North Carolina game, he told me: ‘Don’t worry about the external stuff going on. Worry about yourself and your team. The best thing you can do is have the best bowl game possible and show you’re unstoppable and unblockable.”

That is exactly what Thomas did in Stanford’s 25-23 victory over Mitchell Trubisky’s team. Thomas recorded seven tackles, two behind the line of scrimmage, and a sack.

A month later, Lynch was hired as 49ers general manager and Thomas first began to think about the possibility of being drafted by his former classmate.

“I thought it was definitely a possibility,” Thomas said. “People really hadn’t watched my film yet, so I didn’t know if I’d go that high.”

Thomas was routinely matched with the 49ers in mock drafts in the weeks leading up to Thursday’s first round. The 49ers swapped their second pick with the Chicago Bears, who moved up to select Trubisky.

All along, Thomas said he wanted the 49ers to draft him.

“In my head I thought, ‘I love that, but I can’t ride the rollercoaster and believe that stuff or I’m going to get my heart broken.’ I kept my mind open and came in blind and tried to be happy for any team to draft me,” Thomas said. “But the best team for me drafted me and the best team I wanted to draft me drafted me.

“I love John Lynch. I love the way he played the mentality that he’s going to bring to the team. Coach (Kyle) Shanahan seems like an amazing man and an amazing coach.”

49ers select DE Solomon Thomas with No. 3 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft

49ers select DE Solomon Thomas with No. 3 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft

SOLOMON THOMAS
Position: Defensive line
College: Stanford
Height: 6-2 ½
Weight: 273 pounds
Selection: First round, No. 3 overall

SANTA CLARA – After some late intrigue surrounding the No. 1 overall pick, the Cleveland Browns went with the player universally considered the top NFL prospect.

Myles Garrett went with the first selection, then the 49ers traded back one spot with the Chicago Bears, who chose North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

The 49ers still got the player they would have chosen with the No. 2 overall pick: Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas with the second pick.

General manager John Lynch engineered a trade that enabled the 49ers to pick up third and fourth-round draft picks this year, as well as the Bears’ third-round pick next year to move back one spot.

With the selection of Thomas, the 49ers have now chosen defensive linemen with their first picks in each of the past three drafts.

The 49ers picked Arik Armstead with the No. 17 pick in 2015. Last year, in Trent Baalke’s final draft as general manager, the 49ers chose DeForest Buckner with the No. 7 pick.

Thomas becomes the highest-drafted defensive player from Stanford in school history. The Minnesota Vikings selected Stanford linebacker Jeff Siemon No. 10 overall in 1972.

The 49ers finished with a 2-14 record last season in Chip Kelly’s only season to land in the No. 2 draft slot. CEO Jed York fired Kelly and Baalke at the conclusion of the season.

Lynch had been shopping the No. 2 overall pick in trade scenarios in recent weeks. The 49ers accomplished their goal, trading back one spot and getting a bounty of picks to help in the rebuilding project.

The 49ers chose Thomas over such players as running back Leonard Fournette, defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and safety Jamal Adams.

Thomas, who spent five years in Australia as a youngster, came to Stanford as a top 25 national recruit. In his final college season, Thomas led the Cardinal with 62 tackles, 15 for loss, and eight quarterback sacks. He was an All-American and chosen as the winner of the Morris Trophy, awarded to the Pac-12 defensive lineman of the year.

Thomas appears to be a fit at multiple positions along the line in new defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s scheme. While he might be best-suited for an interior position, new coach Kyle Shanahan said recently at Stanford’s pro day that he believes Thomas can play the team’s pass-rush position.

The 49ers have struggled to generate much of a pass rush since the departure of Aldon Smith, whom the club released prior to the 2015 season after multiple off-field incidents.

Ahmad Brooks and Buckner tied for the team-lead last season with six sacks. Brooks and Aaron Lynch led the 49ers in 2015 with 6.5 sacks apiece. Brooks and Lynch both recorded six sacks in ’14 to lead the team.

The 49ers have nine draft picks remaining. Their next scheduled pick comes Friday with the second selection of the second round, No. 34 overall.