Warriors begin second half with a visit from Celtics

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Warriors begin second half with a visit from Celtics

Feb. 22, 2011

BOSTON (40-14) vs.
WARRIORS (26-29)

Coverage begins at 7 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

OAKLAND (AP) -- The Boston Celtics have won an NBA title and more regular-season games than any other team since Kevin Garnett arrived in 2007-08.

There's one place they haven't enjoyed any success.

Oracle Arena is the only visiting venue where the Celtics have failed to win since Garnett's arrival, a six-game drought they'll try to end Tuesday night as they open a four-game road trip against the improving Golden State Warriors.

Boston (40-14) has won 218 games over the past 3 12 seasons, riding the league's top defense to two NBA finals appearances and the 2007-08 championship.

Golden State (26-29) has averaged the second-most points in that span, and while it's been held to 96.0 points per game in losing all three trips to TD Garden, the Celtics haven't done so well defensively in Oakland. The Warriors have averaged 107.0 points in three victories over Boston at Oracle Arena, stretching their home winning streak in the series to six with a 103-99 win on Dec. 28, 2009, behind 37 points from Monta Ellis.

Perhaps more impressively, Golden State has rallied from at least 12 down in each of the home wins with Garnett anchoring the Celtics' defense.

Ellis missed out on making the Western Conference All-Star squad, but with Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce in the East lineup, the Celtics were well-represented.

Pierce - who missed last season's game in his hometown of Oakland with a knee injury - turned in an All-Star performance in Boston's final game before the break. After scoring one point and missing all 10 field-goal attempts in a win over Miami on Feb. 13, Pierce bounced back Wednesday with 31 points in a 94-80 victory over New Jersey.

"He's back, because he's a great player and those guys just don't have a lot of back-to-back bad games," coach Doc Rivers said of Pierce. "He was terrific."

Tuesday's game will be the last the Celtics play prior to Thursday afternoon's trade deadline, and Boston could be in the market for a player that would fit seamlessly with a defense that allows a league-low 91.1 points per game. The Celtics and Rockets have reportedly discussed a deal that would land Shane Battier with the East's defending champion.

A much-improved defense has certainly given the Warriors a boost recently. After allowing an average of 107.0 points through 46 games, Golden State has surrendered 97.6 points over its last nine.

STEINMETZ: What would be a successful season for Warriors?

It's an impressive 7-2 in that stretch, including three straight wins heading into the break. Ellis scored 35 points in Wednesday's 107-100 victory at Utah, the Warriors' sixth since Jan. 30 against an opponent with a winning record.

"This is a big step for us," coach Keith Smart said. "Knowing that this team was desperate, they had to try and get a win and our guys fought through it."

The Warriors improved to 15-2 when they hold their opponent to 100 points or fewer, but getting a big contribution from Ellis is still critical. Golden State is 16-5 when Ellis scores 27 or more.

Rondo will be at least partly in charge of slowing Ellis down, but the NBA assist leader has had some huge offensive games against the Warriors. Rondo has averaged 20.3 points versus Golden State since 2008-09, easily his most against any opponent.

Allen's 26.9 points per game in Oakland since 2004-05 are his most in any road venue.

Heyward surprised Cubs fans didn’t boo A’s OF Davis more

Heyward surprised Cubs fans didn’t boo A’s OF Davis more

MESA, Ariz. – The Cactus League crowds are different than the ones packed into Wrigley Field. It was only a meaningless split-squad game on a Saturday afternoon in the Arizona sunshine. Finally winning the World Series must have somewhat dulled the edge.

But Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward still thought Rajai Davis would hear it from the sellout crowd of 14,929 at Sloan Park, the what-could-have-been anxiety bubbling up when seeing the Oakland A's leadoff guy who nearly changed the course of baseball history.

"I was surprised he didn't get booed more, but that's just how our fans are," Heyward said. "They're fun like that. They have fun with the game. They acknowledge it. That's pretty cool for Cubs fans to boo you. If anybody boos you from last year, that's kind of an honor, I would say. To be on that side of things, it means you did something great."

As Alfonso Soriano liked to say, they don't boo nobodies. With one big swing, Davis almost unleashed a miserable winter for the Cubs and ended the Cleveland Indians' 68-year drought.

Manager Joe Maddon kept pushing closer Aroldis Chapman, who fired 97 pitches in Games 5, 6, and 7 combined. Davis timed seven straight fastballs in the eighth inning – the last one at 97.1 mph – and drove a Game 7-tying two-run homer just inside the foul pole and onto the left-field patio. In a now-famous rain-delay speech, Heyward gathered his teammates in a Progressive Field weight room as the Cubs regained their composure.

"They booed him, but only the first at-bat," Heyward said. "The second at-bat and the third, I was like: ‘Eh, they kind of just let him off the hook.' They let him be."

READ MORE AT CSNChicago.com

Stanford falls short, can't complete upset against Oregon

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USATSI

Stanford falls short, can't complete upset against Oregon

BOX SCORE

STANFORD -- Oregon survived its Bay Area trip by the slimmest of margins.

Jordan Bell scored on a putback with 14 seconds left to give the sixth-ranked Ducks their second straight nail-biting victory in a rare Bay Area sweep as Oregon beat Stanford 75-73 on Saturday.

"It stresses Coach out," guard Dylan Ennis said. "It shows us that we can just get gritty, get down and get the win. ... Hopefully if we're down like that again we can fight back and do the same thing."

Bell's game-winner followed Dillon Brooks' last-second, tiebreaking 3-pointer three nights earlier at California to give Oregon (26-4, 15-2 Pac-12) its second sweep of its conference Bay Area rivals since 1976. The other came two years ago.

Tyler Dorsey scored 15 points to lead Oregon, while Brooks added 14.

"It's been a tough road trip for us, two close games," coach Dana Altman said. "That's life on the road. We found a way."

Reid Travis had 27 points and 14 rebounds to lead the way for the Cardinal (14-14, 6-10), but committed a turnover on the final possession to end any comeback hopes on senior day that honored Christian Sanders, Marcus Allen and Grant Verhoeven.

"There's a little extra when you see guys like Christian, Marcus and Grant shedding tears when they're getting called up," Travis said. "It's the last time they get to compete on this court. ... Just looking at that, there's no choice but to be motivated."

Stanford trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half but battled back to tie the game five times in the second half. But it took until that fifth equalizer for the Cardinal to take their first lead since being up 9-8 early in the first half.

Travis' jumper in the lane made it 71-69 with less than 3 minutes left but the lead was short-lived as Brooks hit a jumper at the other end to tie it.

The game was tied at 73 when the Ducks managed four offensive rebounds on one possession before finally converting on Bell's shot with 14 seconds left. It capped a wild sequence that started when Ennis shot an airball on a 3-pointer. Payton Pritchard caught the ball in the air and shot it to the rim before the shot clock expired. Bell was there to put back the second miss for the game-winner.

"It was going so fast I don't even know what happened," Altman said.

Travis lost the ball in the paint at the other end to seal the victory for Oregon.

BIG PICTURE

Oregon: The Ducks capped a 7-1 February with just their second road sweep of the conference season as they peaking at the right time of year. Their only loss in that span came on a late 3-pointer by Lonzo Ball in an 82-79 loss at UCLA. Oregon has one more road game left to finish the regular season at last-place Oregon State, and remains in contention for a Pac-12 title and a top two seeding in the NCAA Tournament.

Stanford: The Cardinal were unable to follow up home wins against California and Oregon State when faced by tougher competition from the Ducks. That has been an issue all season for Stanford, which fell to 0-8 against ranked opponents.

THEY SAID IT

"Something hit my elbow. It might have been the wind, but I don't shoot airballs on game-winners." - Ennis.

POUND THE BOARDS

Oregon had just eight rebounds for the entire first half before getting the four offensive boards on the final possession of the game. The Ducks were outrebounded 37-25 for the game but were outscored by only four points on second-chance opportunities.

CEREMONIAL DAY

Stanford also held a halftime ceremony for former coach Mike Montgomery, who was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame this past November. Montgomery is the winningest coach in school history with 393 of his 677 wins coming for the Cardinal.

UP NEXT

Oregon: Visits Oregon State on Saturday.

Stanford: Visits Colorado on Thursday.