Warriors continue road trip in Indiana


Warriors continue road trip in Indiana

March 1, 2011

WARRIORS (26-32) vs.
INDIANA (26-32)

Coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

INDIANA (AP) -- The Indiana Pacers lost in dramatic fashion their last time out, something they also experienced in January's matchup with the Golden State Warriors.

Hoping to avoid losing three straight at home for the first time this season, the Pacers will to look avenge their last-second loss versus the Warriors when the teams meet Tuesday night.

Indiana (26-32) suffered a 110-108 overtime defeat versus Phoenix on Sunday - its second loss in a row and fourth in six games since starting 7-1 under interim coach Frank Vogel.

After trailing by 11 at the end of the first quarter and shooting just 34.8 percent in its 95-84 loss Friday night to Utah, the Pacers again fell behind early Sunday but erased a 15-point second-half deficit to send the game into overtime.

However, Suns forward Channing Frye made a jumper as time expired in the extra period, handing Indiana back-to-back home losses for the first time since Jan. 14-26.

"We trailed, worked ourselves back into it and still didn't get it done," said point guard A.J. Price, who scored a season-high 18 points off the bench. "We've got to do a better job of getting started in the first quarter and not digging ourselves a hole."

Last-second losses are nothing new for the Pacers, as Monta Ellis hit the game-winning shot with less than a second left to give Golden State a 110-108 victory on Jan. 19.

The Warriors (26-32) have taken three of four from Indiana, but they've lost three straight at Conseco Fieldhouse, and began their season-high seven-game road trip with a 126-123 defeat at Minnesota on Sunday.

Golden State entered All-Star weekend having won seven of nine but has struggled since the break, shooting just 40.9 percent during a three-game slide.

REWIND: W's continue post-break skid with loss to Wolves

The Warriors took a 41-32 lead into the second quarter Sunday but were outscored 35-16 in the third, and couldn't overcome a 15-point deficit over the final 12 minutes.

Golden State's chances for its first playoff appearance in four seasons may be fading.

"It's a seven-game road trip that's going to more or less make or break the rest of our season and this is not the way to start," said forward David Lee, who recorded 20 points and 10 rebounds for the second consecutive contest.

After averaging 9.7 points over his previous three games, Stephen Curry matched a season high with five 3-pointers against the Timberwolves and scored 33 points. He also totaled a career-best 11 rebounds.

Ellis, who ranks among the top 10 in the NBA with 24.9 points per game, is averaging just 17.0 on 34.5 percent shooting during his team's skid.

Ellis, though, could bounce back Tuesday, as he's averaged 40.5 points in his last two meetings with the Pacers, including a 45-point effort - one short of his career high - Nov. 30, 2009, in a 126-107 win.

Indiana's Danny Granger, who scored 25 against the Suns, has also experienced success in the series, averaging 23.0 points in his career - his second-highest mark against any opponent. He's averaged 32.8 in the last six matchups.

The Pacers, clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, haven't lost three straight at home since Feb. 9-25, 2010.

"This is the NBA," said center Jeff Foster. "We've got to bounce back and play better Tuesday against Golden State."

A's spring training Day 41: Maxwell's two-HR day can't stave off bad news

A's spring training Day 41: Maxwell's two-HR day can't stave off bad news

PHOENIX — Bruce Maxwell homered twice against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday, and his reward was a demotion to the minors.

Awkward timing, for sure. But the news itself wasn’t much of a shock to the A’s catcher, who knew he was the odd man out in a three-man roster battle. The A’s like the left-right platoon behind the plate. Stephen Vogt, who like Maxwell hits left-handed, wasn’t going anywhere. Josh Phegley is back healthy after knee surgery and has the advantage of being a right-handed hitter.

“I mean, I could have come out here and hit 1.000 and I probably still would have been in the same situation,” Maxwell said. “I can’t really do much about it. I try not to worry about it. At the end of the day everybody wants to play in the big leagues, but if the opportunity is not there you can’t stress about it.”

Manager Bob Melvin gave Maxwell the news in the dugout after he exited Oakland’s 11-1 victory, and Melvin certainly couldn’t give Maxwell a justifiable reason for the demotion except that the roster math doesn’t add up.

“Great day to have to do that,” Melvin said sarcastically. “But, he’ll be here at some point. We saw his progression last year, he did a great job for us. There’s nothing he did to suggest he needed to be sent down. It’s just a numbers game for him right now.”

The A’s batted around in a five-run third, knocking Brewers starter Matt Garza from the game after he recorded just seven outs. They tacked on four more in the fourth, with Maxwell going deep to left-center for a two-run homer off Jhan Marinez. In the sixth, he hit a solo shot off Corey Knebel to right-center and also added a run-scoring single to complete his four-RBI day.

Melvin has spoken often of the improving power shown by the 26-year-old Maxwell, who hit .283 with a homer and 14 RBI in 33 games with Oakland last season in his first major league call-up.

“If you look at the power numbers over the years, he’s getting better and better,” Melvin said. “He’s got the chance to be a 20-home run guy in the big leagues.”

NOTEWORTHY: Jharel Cotton held Milwaukee to just a run on four hits over 5 2/3 innings. He bounced back from a wobbly start against Seattle in which he walked five. On Sunday, his toughest challenge was staying loose as the A’s offense put up two time-consuming rallies. Twice, Cotton had to play catch while his teammates paraded around the bases.

But it sure didn’t affect him, as he struck out seven and walked one in his second-to-last spring training start.

“This one, I was more on the attack, using my fastball more so I can set up my changeup and off-speed pitches,” Cotton said. “I know everybody raves about the changeup, but I need my fastball to be there so I can throw that pitch off the fastball.”

He had an entertaining ongoing battle with six-time All-Star Ryan Braun. He struck out Braun on a cutter in the first, gave up a homer to left in the fourth, then battled back from a 3-0 count to get Braun swinging through a fastball in the sixth.

“I got him twice, he got me once,” Cotton said. “I think I won that battle today.”

HEALTH UPDATE: Daniel Mengden, who has missed all of spring with a broken right foot, is scheduled to get his walking boot removed Monday. Mengden said he’ll stay in Arizona for anywhere from two to four weeks, taking part in extended spring training. The good news for the right-hander: He’s been able to play catch while wearing the boot, so that’s a bit of a head-start for him once he gets full mobility with his foot. There’s no timetable yet for his return.

ODDS AND ENDS: The A’s knocked out 16 hits and recorded double-digit runs for the fifth time this spring. They improved to 16-12. … Alejandro De Aza, fighting for an outfield roster spot, went 2-for-3 with an RBI to raise his average to .300. … With few regulars making the trip to Maryvale Baseball Park, second baseman Max Schrock came over from minor league camp and once again made an impact, going 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI. … John Axford threw a scoreless inning of relief. Frankie Montas handled the final two innings, allowing one hit with two strikeouts and a walk. The hard-throwing prospect is a candidate for the bullpen as a multi-inning guy.

Couture's father: Sharks center dealing with 'ugly injury' after puck to mouth

Couture's father: Sharks center dealing with 'ugly injury' after puck to mouth

After requiring a visit to a local hospital in Nashville due to being struck in the face with a deflected puck on Saturday night against the Predators, Logan Couture was able to fly back with the team to San Jose on Sunday morning.

The severity of his injury is still unknown, although his father, Chet, said on Twitter that it was “an ugly injury sadly.”

Another source close to the situation told CSN the injury is “brutal.”

Couture, who lost several teeth, visited with Sharks medical personnel on Sunday and a further update is expected on Monday. 

Perhaps the best-case scenario is that the injury looks a lot worse than it actually is, such as when Marc-Edouard Vlasic was sidelined for one week when he took a puck to the face from the stick Philadelphia’s Shayne Gostisbehere in late December.

Losing Couture for any period of time would be a difficult blow to the Sharks, who have lost their last six in regulation, including Saturday’s 7-2 defeat to the Predators. Couture is third on the team in scoring with 52 points, and has a team-leading 11 power play goals. He entered Saturday’s game with four goals and five assists in his last 10 games, and has arguably been the team’s best player since mid-January.

"You can't replace him, so it would be really tough,” Patrick Marleau said after the game Saturday. “But if that is the case, then guys are going to have to pull up the slack. Definitely we hope he's back sooner.”

Couture was set up just outside the crease in the third period when a Brent Burns point shot late in the second period hit a stick before squarely smacking into the 27-year-old’s mouth. He quickly skated to the dressing room under his own power with just 14 seconds before the intermission.

The Sharks have seven games remaining in the regular season, hosting the Rangers on Tuesday and visiting Edmonton and Calgary later this week. They are tied in points (91) with Anaheim and Edmonton in the Pacific Division.