Tyreke, Kings look to find scoring touch

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Tyreke, Kings look to find scoring touch

Programming note: Blazers-Kings coverage kicks off at 7 p.m. tonight on Comcast SportsNet California (territorial restrictions apply)

(AP) -- While the Sacramento Kings are the worst-shooting team in the NBA, only one team is allowing opponents to shoot better than the Portland Trail Blazers.These teams are both 2-5 and looking for answers on opposite ends of the court as they meet Tuesday night at Sleep Train Arena.Sacramento is shooting 40.1 percent from the field overall and shot 40.0 percent in Sunday's 103-90 road loss to the Lakers. Starting guard Tyreke Evans is emblematic of those woes at a career-low 36.9 percent - a big reason why his scoring average is also a career-worst 11.4 points."I'm working at it every game," Evans said. "I'm just trying to find a way to be aggressive and still play my game but I just got to do a better job of making shots and running our offense."Portland's opponents are shooting 49.8 percent to rank ahead of only Cleveland. The Trail Blazers have allowed five foes to connect on at least half of their shots through seven games.That defense improved a bit Monday when Atlanta shot 44.3 percent and closed the game on a 10-0 run in handing Portland its fourth straight loss, 95-87.Offensively, the Trail Blazers shot 36.1 percent and finished with a season low in points. They rallied to take the lead after trailing by as many as 15 points."We keep putting ourselves in holes," guard Wesley Matthews said. "We can't keep doing that to ourselves."Sacramento coach Keith Smart will once again have to improvise his lineup with DeMarcus Cousins finishing his two-game ban for confronting Spurs TV analyst Sean Elliott in a hostile manner following a 97-86 home loss to San Antonio on Friday night.Smart was without Cousins and suspended rookie Thomas Robinson on Sunday. Travis Outlaw made his first start of the season and forward Jason Thompson had 15 points and 10 rebounds as he shifted to center in place of Cousins, and Smart will likely use that same lineup.REWIND: DeMarcus Cousins suspended two games for altrercation
Robinson will come off the bench after completing his two-game ban for a vicious elbow to the throat of Detroit's Jonas Jerebko."We'll do the same thing, obviously not having DeMarcus Cousins for another game, but we'll get Thomas Robinson back, so that gives us another energy guy, and another big man," Smart said.The antidote to the Kings' offensive woes could be Jimmer Fredette, who scored a team-high 18 points Friday, although most were after the outcome was decided. Still, the second-year guard's 64.0 percent shooting has made an impression on Smart."It's obvious that young man has worked his tail off," Smart said. "That young man's efficiency rating has gone up, and I've got to make minutes on the floor for him now because he's too positive right now with what he's doing."While Smart is mulling his options without Cousins, Portland coach Terry Stotts has few options with his bench producing a league-low 11.9 points per game. Blazers reserves have been outscored 89-10 by their counterparts over their last two contests.These teams split four meetings last season, with the home team winning every time.

GMs have taken all the fun out of Trade Deadline day

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USATSI

GMs have taken all the fun out of Trade Deadline day

The NHL trade deadline came and went Monday night when the Washington Capitals went chips-in on St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.

(For the record, the actual details of the trade are so absurdly complicated that all you will be permitted to know here is that the Caps got Shattenkirk).

But the fact is that, yet again, all the air rushed out of Wednesday’s trade deadline balloon for the hockey media, and the poor sods on set to babysit all the deal-lets and non-deals will weep bitterly as their phones spit out hour after hour of non-information.

At least that’s the way it is playing now. Maybe Pittsburgh will finally close that long-rumored (well, by me, anyway) Sidney Crosby-for-Phil Di Giuseppe deal, but that’s not the way to bet.

But the trade deadline has been slowly but surely dying as general managers find far greater advantage in making their deals away from the time crunch and the persistent phone calls from other general manager, agents and worst of all, media weasels.

For example, the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans broke the NBA trade deadline as well as the All-Star Game by doing the DeMarcus Cousins deal four days early and midway through the first half, in that order.

And though this wasn’t actually a trade, the Golden State Warriors broke the market back in July by maneuvering their way for the prize of the summer – Zaza Pachulia.

Oh, and the other guy.

In short, the general managers seem to have figured out the simplest way to foil the pressures of the trade deadline – by ignoring the deadline and acting ahead of time, creating their own spoiler alerts by spoiling everyone’s fun before they were fully alerted.

And that leaves the rest of us faced with an empty day of blather after we’ve all gone to the trouble of doubling down on beer and chips.

Ultimately the idea behind the coverage of a trade is to break the news of the trade whenever it happens. And the idea of the trade from the general manager’s view is to better the team and minimize the chance of being fired.

All laudable goals, by and large.

But a trade deadline without some recognizable trades is just another day when you can’t fake working, and who needs that?

What’s needed here then is a trade deadline with teeth and real tangible punishments for everyone involved. I mean, we have chips and guacamole to think of.

For instance, there is no reason why the leagues couldn’t install rules that say that no trade can be announced even to any of the principals (players, agents, medioids, et. al.) except on the day of the deadline. Any teams involved in a deal that breaks the embargo is fined a massive amount of the owners’ (as in both teams’ owners) money.

To make this work, the teams would have to agree no trade could be made between, say, Thanksgiving and the deadline. Or Christmas, depending on how you feel about tryptophan overdosing. But the point is, nothing could get done until the agreed-upon deadline, and it could only be announced to anyone on the day of the deadline.

This is profoundly unfair to the players, of course, but that little issue has never bothered management before when the alternative was money.

It is also not much fun for the media, which has to twiddle its opposables floating rumors that can’t be proven or disproven except on that one day when everyone works from midnight to midnight, wired to the eyelids on six-buck coffee and enough green tea to turn a gall bladder into a souvenir ash tray.

No, this is about making a worthwhile and ironclad trade deadline for the good of the sport, and the business.

Okay, this is about our amusement.

We all like trade deadlines. It gives order to the market, and it centers everyone’s focus on one hyper-adrenalized day to watch out for double-, triple- and quadruple-crosses from general managers wanting to jump each others’ action in search of their own personal Shattenkirks.

It spikes Verizon stock, it makes lots of business for movers and real estate vultures, it provides cheap and disposable fame for about two-thirds of the players in the league, and it makes everyone involved look like twitchy red-eyed zombies on television.

It beats the Bachelorette every time, because among other things it looks a lot more like parents do when they’ve been up all day and night with the colic farms.

In short, a trade deadline is a precious thing not to be discarded just because it’s inconvenient for a few suits and about-to-be-moved employees.

So yeah, Kevin Shattenkirk could have held another day or so. You know, for the good of the game.

 

Curry blames weatherman for career-worst 0-for-11 from 3-point range

Curry blames weatherman for career-worst 0-for-11 from 3-point range

In the wake of a 119-108 Warriors win over the 76ers Monday night in Philadelphia, Stephen Curry had a ready explanation for his 0-of-11 shooting 3-point distance.

He didn’t properly account for the change in weather.

“The weatherman said it’s like a low-pressure system that was coming in (and) I forgot to adjust to the thickness of the air,” he told reporters at Wells Fargo Center.

Curry’s comment may open to interpretation, but it was clear his sense of humor remained intact even after a career-worst shooting night beyond the arc.

He wasn’t the only Warrior finding it difficult to score from deep. Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green combined to go 5-of-20. The Warriors were 6-of-29 from deep, their second-lowest total of the season.

“It’s weird,” he said. “Not to discredit anything they did. The first half we had a lot of open looks that didn’t go in. Klay made a couple down the stretch. KD made one. Draymond made one from the corner.

“Other than that we still took really good shots that didn’t go in. But for us to still have moxie to withstand that and still pretty much have the lead the whole game and allow our defense to get us a win tonight was kind of our M.O.”

Given that Curry owns the single-game record for triples (13) as well as the single-season record (402), it was most alarming that he couldn’t find at least one. And he had opportunities.

“It happens but you have to try and find other ways to impact the game,” he said. “I was trying to get to the paint a little bit more and just try to make plays. One thing is I don’t get down on myself. Obviously, that’s why I got 11 of them up. I still have confidence the next one is going in and that will stay the same tomorrow.”

The Warriors face the Wizards Tuesday in Washington. In Curry’s last appearance at the Verizon Center, last Feb. 3, he went for 51 points. He was 11-of-15 from deep.

“What I love about Steph is he went 0-11 tonight from three but you wouldn’t know it if you looked at his face,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He never loses confidence; he never hangs his head. It is a sign of a guy with ultimate confidence in his ability and the awareness that it is one of those nights.

“He is likely to come out tomorrow and make about seven in a row at some point. So that’s what I love about Steph. He keeps playing.”