Athletics

Warriors continue East Coast swing in Boston

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Warriors continue East Coast swing in Boston

March 4, 2011
WARRIORS (27-33) vs.
BOSTON (44-15)

Coverage begins at 4 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

BOSTON (AP) -- Kevin Garnett's 24-point performance against the Golden State Warriors last week marked his best offensive game in almost three months. He didn't wait nearly that long to top it.

Coming off his highest-scoring effort in nearly three years, Garnett looks to stay hot Friday night against the visiting Warriors as he tries to lead the Boston Celtics to a fourth straight win.

Garnett has helped Boston (44-15) establish a reputation as the league's best defensive team since arriving in the summer of 2007, but his age, an excellent supporting cast and a few nagging injuries have kept him from being the consistent offensive force he was in Minnesota.

Since the All-Star break, he's done an awfully good impression of the player that averaged at least 21.2 points for eight straight seasons. Garnett had 24 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in a 115-93 rout of the Warriors (27-33) on Feb. 22, at the time the most points he'd put up since scoring 26 against Toronto on Nov. 26.

After three more double-doubles that brought his streak to five, Garnett outdid himself Wednesday against Phoenix. He had 28 points and 11 rebounds in Boston's 115-103 victory. The most were the most in a regular-season game for the 14-time All-Star since March 26, 2008, when he scored 30.

"I walked into shootaround before the game and put 20 on the board and said 'that's how many attempts you should have,'" coach Doc Rivers explained. "You shouldn't go through a game where a smaller big is on you and not get 20 attempts."

All of Garnett's points came in the first 33 minutes as he helped put the Celtics up by as many as 29. Boston improved to 10-1 this season - and 32-6 over the past three seasons - when Garnett scores at least 19 points.

Garnett might have to do a little bit more offensively with fellow low-post threat Glen Davis on the shelf for at least a week. Davis hurt his knee going up for a dunk late against the Suns, and was diagnosed Thursday with patellar tendinitis.

That should mean more time for recent acquisitions Nenad Krstic and Troy Murphy, who played 14 minutes and scored one point in his Celtics debut Wednesday - two days after he was bought out by Golden State.

The loss to the Celtics began a four-game skid for the Warriors, but they put an end to it Wednesday in Washington - barely. Golden State was up by 20 points late in the third before watching the lead shrink to one, but held on for a 106-102 victory behind 29 points from Stephen Curry.

"When you've gone through a streak of losing, to get a win - no matter how it ends up - nobody will pay attention to how the fourth quarter went," coach Keith Smart said after the Warriors improved to 1-2 on their seven-game road trip.

If Golden State plans on winning in Boston for the first time since Garnett's arrival, it will likely need more from Monta Ellis than the 15 points he contributed while shooting 6 of 18 last week. Ellis has been held to 17.0 points per game - 7.7 below his average - and 36.2 percent shooting since the All-Star break.

The Warriors also need to slow down Rajon Rondo, who's averaged 22.3 points and 14.0 assists in his last three games in this series.

Al Thornton, released by Washington earlier this week, is expected to be in uniform for Golden State after signing with the Warriors on Thursday.

A's find two bright spots in tough shutout loss to Astros

A's find two bright spots in tough shutout loss to Astros

HOUSTON — Some losses go down tougher than others, and that’s true for Bob Melvin whether it’s April or whether it’s August and his team is playing out the string.

The body language and demeanor said it all for the A’s manager Saturday after a 3-0 loss to the Astros, in which Oakland didn’t advance a single runner past second base.

Houston right-hander Collin McHugh brought a 4.88 ERA into the game over five starts since returning from a shoulder injury. He wound up celebrating his first victory of 2017 after six stellar innings.

“He threw the ball good, (but) I expected us to score some runs tonight,” Melvin said.

The A’s were done in by five ground-ball double plays, including a game-ending 5-4-3 job from Ryon Healy, which was reversed on replay review after Healy initially was called safe.

“Those things are killers,” catcher Bruce Maxwell said. “It just didn’t roll our way today.”

So the A’s (53-70) were left to pick through the scraps of this one to find some silver linings, and there were a couple.

Kendall Graveman held Houston to two runs over six innings, and the damage off him came on a two-run single from Marwin Gonzalez that glanced off the glove of second baseman Jed Lowrie. It was the second strong outing in a row for Graveman, who’s now got four starts under his belt since returning from his second stint on the disabled list this season for shoulder issues.

Most encouraging from his standpoint was he didn’t really have his best stuff, yet still managed to limit an opponent that leads the majors in every significant offensive category, including runs, batting average and homers.

“I think it’s the first one where I’ve been back when I had to kind of pitch and grind through,” said Graveman (3-4). “I didn’t have my best stuff. It’s just one of those where you’ve got to get out there and compete.”

The highlight of the game for the A’s came when center fielder Boog Powell unleashed a strike to home plate that nailed Alex Bregman trying to score from second on Jose Altuve’s single in the fifth.

Maxwell barely had to move his mitt to apply the tag, and count the A’s catcher as the most surprised person in the ballpark that Powell even gave him a chance on the play.

“It caught me off guard,” Maxwell admitted. “I haven’t played with Powell in a long time. I didn’t expect there to be that big of a play at home. He was fairly deep in the outfield as well.”

Powell, a 24-year-old rookie who was acquired from Seattle for Yonder Alonso, said he’s worked on his throwing in the minors in recent seasons.

“I didn’t (have a good arm) back in the day,” Powell said. “I’m definitely improving my arm strength. I pride myself on getting the ball out as quick as I can.”

It’s the kind of play that sticks in the memory bank as Powell tries to make his mark in the wide open battle to be the A’s center fielder in 2018. His throw to ring up Bregman was at least one moment from Saturday night that gave Melvin reason to smile.

“He can play the outfield, no doubt about it,” Melvin said. “It was a big play at the time, and it should give you a little momentum to go back out there and do a little better offensively.”

Despite injury concerns, Foster, Bowman play 20 snaps in exhibition vs Broncos

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AP

Despite injury concerns, Foster, Bowman play 20 snaps in exhibition vs Broncos

SANTA CLARA -- Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster, who was limited in Thursday’s practice due to a shoulder sprain, started the 49ers’ exhibition game Saturday night against the Denver Broncos at Levi's Stadium.

Foster played 20 snaps and recorded one tackle before the 49ers’ first-team defense was removed in the second quarter.

There were some concerns when Foster was included on the 49ers’ pre-practice injury report Thursday with an injury to his surgically repaired shoulder. But the 49ers said the injury was not related to the torn rotator cuff he sustained for Alabama in the national semifinal game against Washington.

NaVorro Bowman, who was removed from practice Thursday with a similar shoulder condition, also started and played every snap alongside Foster. Bowman was credited with two tackles.

With Foster and Bowman on the field, the Broncos totaled just 63 yards of total offense.