Shocker at Staples -- Kings upset Lakers, 100-95

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Shocker at Staples -- Kings upset Lakers, 100-95

Jan. 28, 2011BOX SCORE KINGS VIDEONBA PAGE NBA SCOREBOARD

LOS ANGELES (AP) The Sacramento Kingsseemed downright stunned by what they had just done, throwing towelsand hollering with unfamiliar joy in Staples Center's sparse visitors'locker room. DeMarcus Cousins led the festivities, bubbling with jokesand busting on everything from Carl Landry's shoes to Omri Casspi'sdeodorant."I feel like I won a championship now," the big man said with a joking smirk.Cousins realizes Sacramento'ssurprising 100-95 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday nightwasn't for a title. It's certainly the high point of this young team'smiserable season - and for one improbable evening, the Kings werebetter than the champions.Cousins had 27 points and 10rebounds, and Casspi added 20 points as the club with the NBA'sthird-worst record (11-33) beat the two-time defending champs in theirown building, snapping an eight-game losing streak to Sacramento'sformer archrivals in the process."Obviously they're the best team inthe league, they're the champions, and it feels good," Casspi said."It's a great way to get our first win down here together, and it's agreat way to start a tough stretch of games. We feel really good."Samuel Dalembert scored 18 points asthe Kings (11-33) jumped to a 20-point lead in the third quarteragainst the Lakers' uninterested defense. The Kings then survived theLakers' late rally for their first win over Los Angeles since December2008.Kobe Bryant passed Hakeem Olajuwonfor eighth place on the NBA's career scoring list while scoring 21 ofhis 38 points in the first quarter, but the Lakers sure appeared to getcaught looking ahead to Sunday's NBA finals rematch with Boston."I don't think so," Bryant said in his clipped postgame comments. "Maybe a little bit, but I doubt it."Even though captain Derek Fisher puta two-day ban on all talk and thought about the Celtics duringThursday's practice, the Lakers resembled the disorganized,disinterested bunch that overlooked Milwaukee in an embarrassing homeloss four days before the Miami Heat's visit on Christmas - anotherblowout defeat.Shannon Brown scored 17 points, butPau Gasol struggled with nine points on 4-of-11 shooting, and LamarOdom had just four points while missing all seven of his field goalattempts. Los Angeles has won 10 of 13, but just three of its last sixheading into Sunday."We didn't execute defensively verywell," Bryant said. "We blew so many coverages and gave so many openlooks. We were a little out of sync and slow in our rotations, and itcost us. We just weren't sharp defensively at all. We've still got workto do. We still have to continue to work at it and get moreconsistent."Cousins scored 22 points in thefirst half before finishing one point shy of his career high for theKings, who pulled the upset after losing eight of their previous 10.The Kings earned their thirdimpressive road win in the past three weeks. Sacramento also won at NewYork and Portland before posting its first road victory over the Lakerssince March 2008.Dalembert and Casspi led a crisp18-4 run after halftime, and Sacramento eventually went ahead 81-61midway through the third quarter. Dalembert took over where Cousinsleft off exploiting Los Angeles' 7-footers from the perimeter, hittinghis first five shots after halftime."The start of the third quarter wascertainly the key to the game," Sacramento coach Paul Westphal said."Everything went great for us. We were able to build up that big lead,and they weren't able to chip it away. We did struggle a lot at theend, but we did hold on. That's big progress from some of the thingswe've had happen to us earlier in the year."The Lakers trimmed the lead to 14points heading into the fourth quarter, and consecutive dunks by Bryantand Gasol cut Sacramento's edge to 93-89 with 3:19 to play. But theLakers got just one point out of their next three possessions, andCasspi tipped home Tyreke Evans' missed jumper with 1:29 to play beforethe Kings hit free throws in the final minute."I think we're surprised," Lakerscoach Phil Jackson said. "We played some defense in the fourth quarter,but it seemed to be the only quarter we could really get up and defend.... Their big guys came out and really took it (to) our guys andcarried the day for their team."In Bryant's first game since earninga starting spot at Staples Center next month in his 13th All-Star game,the leading All-Star vote-getter needed 13 points to pass Olajuwon. Hegot them all in the first 8 12 minutes, breaking downcourt for aone-handed jam for the decisive 24,947th point.NOTES: Cousins and Gasol exchangedangry looks and lightly bumped chests with 2:52 to play after Gasolforced a turnover by pressuring Cousins near the Lakers' bench. ...Fans entering Staples Center were told they might appear in "Jack andJill," a movie starring Adam Sandler, Al Pacino and Katie Holmes.Director Dennis Dugan ("Happy Gilmore") was in the building with acrew.

Giants lineup: Ruggiano moves up against lefty Lester

Giants lineup: Ruggiano moves up against lefty Lester

Bruce Bochy and Joe Maddon issued their lineups for Game 2 of the four-game series in Chicago:

Giants (20-26)
1. Joe Panik (L) 2B
2. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Justin Ruggiano (R) RF
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Eduardo Nunez (R) LF
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P (4-3, 4.50 ERA)

Cubs (22-21)
1. Ben Zobrist (S) 2B
2. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF
3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
5. Ian Happ (S) CF
6. Jason Heyward (L) RF
7. Willson Contreras (R) C
8. Addison Russell (R) SS
9. Jon Lester (L) P (2-2, 3.57 ERA)

Seventeen narratives to tide you over until Game 1 of the NBA Finals

Seventeen narratives to tide you over until Game 1 of the NBA Finals

It’s time once again to play, “Narrate That Narrative,” with your increasingly weary hosts, the Golden State Warriors.
 
And we say increasingly weary because, in playing 12 games (slightly less than 29 hours of elapsed time) in 46 days (slightly more than 1,100 hours of real time), the Warriors have spent far more time engaging, rejecting, advancing and goofing with narratives than they have with actual ball-related duties.
 
You know, the idiotic side stories with a two-day shelf life until someone serves up a new narrative, because after all, sports are really just delivery systems for disposable tales of no enduring value and very little transitory value. I’ve known cheeses left too near a heater than maintained their integrity longer.
 
But with another nine days (eight now, in case your narrative happens to be mindless timekeeping) before Game One of the NBA Finals, all we have is narratives. And yes, for that we can very definitely blame the Warriors, for without their refusal to mix in a devastating loss that really isn’t, we’ve had atomic clocks of time on our hands.
 
So muscle up, kids. This is your future until tipoff.
 
LEGACIES: This is without question the stupidest of them all, because trying to figure out an active athlete’s legacy is one of the most pointless things you can do with yourself. The Warriors will either be a budding dynasty or a one-hit-wonder-in-the-making. They will not be the best team of all time (the 1960s Celtics have that locked away), nor will they be the new Buffalo Bills (who unlike the Warriors tried many times and never won). They will be a team still fashioning their legacies, which as it turns out won’t actually be written accurately for decades.
 
In other words, remember O.J. Simpson’s legacy when he stopped playing football, and think of it now.
 
STEVE KERR: His spinal cord has a worse reputation than Stephen Curry’s ankles, and at this point it seems awfully likely that he will be an interested spectator with an all-access credential for the Finals. Thus, he remains the second best coach in NBA history in winning percentage (.848 if you include playoffs), behind only Not Steve Kerr (92.4).
 
KEVIN DURANT’S DECISION: It was a good one. He’s happy. He’s winning games. He’s wired into the Bay Area business community. Russell Westbrook is a year ago and Oklahoma City is a million miles away. Nothing new here, as there hasn’t been since the last time they played nine weeks ago. This story was old in August, and has been dead since January. Stop.
 
LEBRON JAMES: Is he Michael Jordan? Is he better than Michael Jordan? Does he like to troll people? Is he smug? Is he justifiably proud? All fascinating subjects if you just like making stuff up in your head based on your very limited ability to see inside the souls of others. But hey, you paid your fees just like everyone else. Psychoanalyze away.
 
ZAZA PACHULIA AND BRUCE BOCHY: He has become bigger than Andrew Bogut in Warrior lore because of his ill-placed foot in Game One of the Western Conference Final, and because his head was deemed far too large in Monday’s postgame celebration to accommodate a hat. Now you see how these two are linked?
 
JAVALE MCGEE: More fun than Zaza Pachulia, though dealing with Tristan Thompson will probably mean that his fun will be significantly truncated.
 
ANDRE IGUODALA’S KNEE: That’s not a narrative, that’s an injury report.
 
ANDRE IGUODALA’S DEFENSIVE ASSIGNMENT: See above. If the knee is sound, it will be LeBron James. If not, Draymond Green, David West and whatever else will work.
 
DRAYMOND GREEN’S TEMPER: 21 technical fouls, a flailing foot and a hideously timed suspension a year ago, 16 this year, no suspensions. Plus, only two technicals this postseason. His history remains his history, and he has been both targeted and given some slack depending on the official (he damned near chased Scott Foster down the floor one night this year and Foster patiently eased him off the ledge). He has been a voluble and expressive model citizen as these things go.
 
KLAY THOMPSON: Poor shooting in the San Antonio series has condemned him despite his offensive and defensive ratings both being up from a year ago. It’s a talker if shooting is your deal, but he won’t play any fewer minutes in this series than any of the other 11. His “struggles” are a mild amusement for those who still think trying to force drama on these guys is a useful exercise.
 
STEPHEN CURRY: I give up. Is there anything new to say about him?
 
JOE LACOB GIVING AN INTERVIEW TO THE FINANCIAL TIMES: Quick, everyone head for the shelters.

SCOTT FOSTER: Last year's officiating bete noire, now not even worth a mention. If you need something, the Warriors are 20-0 with Ron Garretson and 17-4 with Ed Malloy in the last three years. Just keep it to yourselves.

PLAYOFF HISTORY: Right now, the Warriors could become the first team to win all 16 postseason games, but even if they don’t, they can still go 16-3, tie the record currently held by the 2005 San Antonios and still have a parade. They did good – as long as they win. If they don’t win, the hell they will pay will be at full retail prices with the usual jewelers’ markup.
 
PLAYOFF BOREDOM: If Cleveland wins, this is the series you all demanded. If Boston wins, you get a surprise. But neither will make us happy because the playoffs weren’t sufficiently entertaining for us. That’s how we do our cultural life now – we reflexively turbo-bitch about something because it keeps us from getting diabetes, or some other excuse. As a result, we are the worst generation so far, and those who come behind us are very likely to be worse unless they can cure themselves soon.
 
LUCK: Yep, lucky again. No Yusuf Nurkic to allow Portland to play at its best. A limited Rudy Gobert to allow Utah to play at its best. No Tony Parker and only 28 minutes of Kawhi Leonard to allow San Antonio to be at its best. They were lucky two years ago as well, and the ring was just as big and the parade just as sunshiny. They weren’t as lucky a year ago (Stephen Curry’s wobbly legs, Draymond Green’s suspension, the auto-asphyxia of the last five minutes of Game Seven of the Finals).
 
In other words, it’s good to put yourself in a position to be lucky. Every champion ever, in every sport, on every continent, they’ve all been lucky. Luck is a compliment not wasted on second-round losers. Deal with it.
 
THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS: There has never been a champion that was universally beloved, with the possible exceptions of Leicester City when it won the Premier League last year, and maybe Secretariat. Every other one ever had critics based on style of play, level of success, arrogance, dismissiveness, bullying, plain geography or just, because . . . well, see “turbo-bitching.” It won’t be that hard. It was two paragraphs ago. Suck it up, scroll your screen and move your eyes.

The point is, one word of criticism from Charles Barkley is somehow louder than reams of glowing reviews. Warrior fans are like all the others in that they demand universal worship of their favorite team, and they hear “just a bunch of jump-shooters” no matter what Barkley actually says at any given moment.
 
See, they don’t have to like your team, and it affects nothing. Stop caring. 
 
There will be more, but these are the main ones that should tide you over until game time, whether it’s the series you want (Cleveland) or the series you never expected (Boston). We’re all very sorry if we couldn’t make it the New York Knicks, or LaVar Ball, just to name two narratives you won't have to deal with in the coming days.