Warriors host struggling Magic after sub-par road trip

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Warriors host struggling Magic after sub-par road trip

March 11, 2011

ORLANDO (41-24) vs.
WARRIORS (28-36)

Coverage begins at 7 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Plus

OAKLAND (AP) -- After narrowly defeating one of the Western Conference's worst teams, the Orlando Magic are hoping for a much better effort against another one.

Seeking a season-best fourth consecutive road win, the struggling Magic will try for a sixth straight victory over the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.

Orlando (41-24) sits fourth in the East and is chasing Miami for the Southeast Division lead but has played poorly since beating the Heat last Thursday. The Magic followed that win by losing back-to-back home games for the first time since December, averaging 83.0 points and 17.5 turnovers against Chicago and Portland.

They were better offensively Wednesday night to open a five-game road trip, but they were outrebounded by 15 and trailed heading into the fourth quarter against a Sacramento team which entered with the West's second-worst record.

Jameer Nelson, though, scored 12 of his season high-tying 26 points over the final 12 minutes and led Orlando to a 106-102 win.

"We played poorly. We didn't put much into the game, got crushed on the glass. I'm not happy, but we got a win. We'll take it and move on," coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We've said (we'll change) a lot. We say a lot of things."

Dwight Howard returned from an automatic one-game suspension for picking up his 16th technical foul and recorded 16 points and 15 rebounds, extending his double-double streak to 22 games -- two shy of a career high.

Jason Richardson, who spent his first six seasons with the Warriors, has made 17 of 26 from 3-point range in the last four games while averaging 20.3 points. Richardson is averaging 22.8 points against his former team - his most versus any opponent.

While the Magic had a hard time overcoming the Kings, they've had little difficulty against Golden State, winning the last five meetings by an average of 19.6 points. Orlando won 110-90 on Jan. 3 in the lone meeting this season as Howard had 22 points and 17 rebounds, Richardson added 20 points and eight Magic players scored in double figures.

The Warriors (28-36), who are 12th in the West, return home following a 2-5 road trip which dropped them seven games back of Memphis for the eighth and final playoff spot.

They lost 94-90 at New Jersey on Wednesday as Monta Ellis was held to 16 points, nearly nine below his season average.

REWIND: Warriors end road trip with loss in New Jersey

"We're not happy at all. We won two games on (the trip). That's not enough to get us where we want to be," Ellis said. "We just have to move on from this one and grind the rest of the 19, 18 games we have left."

Golden State, loser of seven of nine overall, has been held to an average of 86.0 points on 38.2 percent shooting in its last two home contests.

The Warriors are 2-6 at home when scoring less than 100 points. The Magic, who have won their last four trips to Oakland, have limited teams to an average of 95.2 points during their last five road games.

David Lee, who missed the Jan. 3 meeting with a bruised back, has seven double-double in his last eight games.

Stephen Curry, scoring 17.9 points per game over his career, has averaged 12.3 on 37.8 percent shooting in three games against Orlando.

Giants spring training Day 39: Nuñez receives pair of cortisone shots

Giants spring training Day 39: Nuñez receives pair of cortisone shots

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford will return to camp Thursday, show off their WBC championship medals, and then head to nearby Salt River Fields to take on the Colorado Rockies. It'll be a few more days, however, before the Giants have their full infield on the field. 

Eduardo Nuñez said he actually got two cortisone shots in his right shoulder, since an MRI this week showed “something” in two separate spots. Nuñez asked for the MRI because, while he was able to play and make strong throws, he felt pain on a daily basis. He might DH this weekend, but it'll be a few more days before he's cleared to begin throwing. 

The Giants are hopeful that the shots calm all this down, and Nuñez anticipated being ready for Opening Day. Still, it certainly sounds like this will be a close call. Conor Gillaspie, who is having a huge spring, could get plenty of early time at third. Manager Bruce Bochy doesn't anticipate Nuñez missing Opening Day.

"He should be ready," Bochy said. 

The Giants need all the good injury news they can get. It is expected that Will Smith will announce Friday that he's having Tommy John surgery. 

ICYMI: From this morning, a feature on George Kontos and his rise over the last few years. 

Also, one of the bench candidates, Gordon Beckham, asked for his release. The Giants will soon have to make decisions on Hill and David Hernandez, who have similar retention bonuses due March 28.

GAME RECAP: The Giants played one of their uglier games of the spring, losing 9-2 to King Felix and the Mariners … Matt Moore lasted just 1 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on four hits, two walks, a balk and a wild pitch. It was the same old thing: Moore just all of a sudden lost his command, and because he got up past the 30-pitch mark in the second inning alone, the Giants cut it off. Moore went down to the bullpen and got up to around 80 pitches. He'll make one more start down here, Tuesday against the Cubs ... Joe Panik had a hard double, one of just four hits for the Giants … Chris Marrero hasn’t played a whole lot of left field this spring, and he didn’t show much to the coaches on a couple of opportunities to throw home. The left field situation remains a mystery. 

POSITION BATTLES: Kelby Tomlinson played six innings of left field in a minor league game, and he had to wait until the sixth to get his first and only fly ball. There seemed to be a lot of interest from decision-makers about how Tomlinson fared, and his action today opens up an intriguing possibility. There’s a roster permutation that has the Giants keeping just one reserve outfielder (Gorkys Hernandez) and three backup infielders: Conor Gillaspie, Aaron Hill and Kelby Tomlinson, with the latter two being options in left field. 

FAMILIAR FACE: Angel Pagan made it through the WBC healthy, and he apparently is drawing interest from the Phillies and Blue Jays. Giants people are confident Pagan will get a big league job somewhere over the coming week. 

Giants reliever Will Smith leaning toward season-ending Tommy John surgery

Giants reliever Will Smith leaning toward season-ending Tommy John surgery

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Left-hander Will Smith, a key piece of a revamped bullpen, is leaning toward having Tommy John surgery, manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday night. 

Bochy said surgery was the recommendation of both doctors who examined Smith's elbow this week. Smith will talk to his agent before coming to a final decision on Friday. The procedure would keep Smith out the entire 2017 season and likely would cause him to miss the start of the 2018 season.

Smith, 27, missed the first month of camp because of pain in his throwing elbow. He returned March 17, but during a March 20 outing he again felt pain and called for a trainer. A second round of diagnostics revealed a strain and a sprain in the elbow. Smith saw team orthopedist Dr. Ken Akizuki in San Francisco and flew to Los Angeles this week to get a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlen-Jobe Clinic. 

"They had the same opinion," Bochy said. "There is a tear there. You can try to rehab it and if that doesn't work you're behind a couple of months ... It's not a definite he's going to have it done, but two doctors are in agreement on what this is."

Smith was expected to serve as the late lefty for the Giants, getting setup work in the seventh and eighth innings. With Smith out, the Giants will lean on young lefties Steven Okert, Josh Osich and Ty Blach. 

"We're going to have to have someone step up and help us in the seventh and eighth," Bochy said. "That was going to be will's role. He's a guy we were leaning on."

Smith was acquired from the Brewers at the deadline last season in exchange for right-hander Phil Bickford (who is currently serving a 50-game suspension) and catcher Andrew Susac (who is currently injured). After a shaky start, he finished the regular season with 18 consecutive scoreless appearances. 

The Giants have for the most part avoided Tommy John for 40-man roster pitchers. Hunter Strickland, Derek Law and Josh Osich have all had it during their time in the organization, along with outfielder Mac Williamson. Prospect Ian Gardeck is currently recovering from Tommy John. The last Giants pitcher who was likely headed for the roster before having Tommy John was left-hander Eric Surkamp. He had surgery in 2012.

The timetable is different for every pitcher, but the general consensus is that the procedure sidelines a pitcher for at least a year, and usually closer to 16 months. Matt Moore, Thursday night’s starter, had Tommy John on April 23, 2014. He did not return to a big league mound until July 2, 2015, and even then, he was under restrictions. 

Smith is under team control for two more seasons after this one.