Warriors stave off Wizards' late push in road win


Warriors stave off Wizards' late push in road win


WASHINGTON (AP) Golden State built a 20-point lead by the third quarter Wednesday night, then seemed to take it easy and very nearly paid the price.The Warriors withstood a furious rally by the Washington Wizards for a 106-102 victory that wasn't sealed until Stephen Curry hit three free throws in the final 5.9 seconds.Curry finished with 29 points and nine rebounds as Golden State snapped a four-game losing streak and improved to 1-2 on its season-high seven-game road trip."You're always in control of the game if you're winning, and they had to do so much to get back in it," Curry said. "You don't want to be in that situation, so we have to learn from that and keep that lead and hopefully maintain that throughout the fourth quarter."The Warriors jumped on the Wizards at the outset of the second half, with Curry and Monta Ellis stepping up on offense to slowly boost a nine-point advantage. Ellis' driving layup gave Golden State an 85-65 bulge with 4:07 left in the third and it seemed as if the rout was on."All of a sudden, you look up and you're down 20," said Randy Wittman, who served as acting Wizards coach while Flip Saunders missed the game to attend to his ailing mother.Washington, which has now lost seven straight and 16 of 18 overall, got within 103-102 on Nick Young's deep 3-pointer with 6.3 seconds remaining. Curry hit two free throws to push the lead to 105-102 with 5.9 seconds left, and Young's desperation 3 from the top of the key with 1.7 seconds remaining was well off the mark. Curry added one final free throw."I wish I could take it back," said Young, who scored a game-high 31 points. "But you can't do nothing about it now."For the Warriors, who had big offensive nights only to lose to Minnesota and Indiana in their last two games, it was a familiar story with a different ending.RELATED: Warriors schedule
"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," Golden State coach Keith Smart said.
VIDEO: Keith Smart postgame
The Warriors took advantage of the Wizards' porous defense early, driving the lane with ease to score 25 fast-break points. Ellis finished with 21 points and Dorell Wright added 14.The Warriors also held a 54-40 advantage on the boards, with David Lee accounting for 16."I'd like to think that when we outrebound the other team we have a very good win-loss record, so I try to set the tone and if shots come my way, they do, and if they don't, they don't," Lee said. "My main concern is to continue rebounding."Andray Blatche had 20 points and John Wall added 14 points and six assists for Washington."To fight back and have a shot to tie it at the end is a credit to them, but we can't afford to dig ourselves a hole," Wittman said.Defense was optional for most of the game, not surprising given both teams ranked in the bottom third of the league in points per game allowed.Golden State took control in the second quarter, with its bench players sparking a 9-0 run to break a 42-42 deadlock. Reggie Williams finished off the burst with an emphatic dunk to give the Warriors a 51-42 edge with 5:42 remaining in the period. Curry kept the advantage at nine heading into halftime by draining a 3 with less than a second left.Notes: F Al Thornton, who agreed to a buyout with the Wizards on Tuesday and is expected to join the Warriors on Thursday once he clears waivers, worked out at the Verizon Center before the game. ... Maurice Evans and Jordan Crawford finally were able to participate in their first practice Tuesday after playing in two games since their trade from Atlanta. "We're feeling more comfortable," Evans said. "Obviously, everything didn't come together all at once, but I think we can assist the team by playing with a lot more energy and a fresh attitude." ... Wittman said he wanted Wall and Young to have 10 rebounds between them due to the perimeter nature of the game. The pair finished with two boards.

Alonso strikes a chord with fascinating account of Cuba defection

Alonso strikes a chord with fascinating account of Cuba defection

ANAHEIM — As Yonder Alonso was preparing for the 2017 season last winter, he was tackling another challenge too.

Over the course of three months, the A’s first baseman gathered his thoughts and pieced together a fascinating first-person account for The Players’ Tribune about his childhood experience defecting from Cuba with his parents and younger sister.

Alonso framed the article as him penning a letter to his 8-year-old self, describing the grueling struggle he and his family would go through while reassuring his younger self that it would all be worth it when he finally made it as a major leaguer. Alonso describes in vivid detail the hardships he went through, caring for his sister, Yainee, at night as they dined on meals of microwaved hot dogs and microwaved eggs, while his parents were away from home working multiple jobs to support their family.

Alonso goes on to describe how he would return from college baseball road trips, while he was attending the University of Miami, and immediately head to a night job to help his father clean warehouses and scrub bathrooms.

The story struck a chord within the A’s clubhouse but also among so many people from the Miami area, where Alonso’s family settled after they defected. Alonso said he’s received text messages from many of them.

“I think everybody in this locker room, or any locker room, they definitely have a story to tell,” Alonso said. “And I think it’s awesome when you see a guy just kind of open up a little bit. I’m (usually) not one to open up.”

Athletes are used to reporters peppering them with questions and trying to draw stories out of them. Seldom do athletes take to penning their own story.

Representatives from The Players’ Tribune, an online publication started by Derek Jeter in 2014, reached out to Alonso in early December about writing something. Alonso had a trip planned to Cuba for later that month, before any request for an article came, and his return visit to his native country helped persuade him to go through with it.

“I saw a lot of people,” he said. “For me it was very touching. For my wife as well.”

Alonso met with an editor from The Players’ Tribune during spring training, and they began hashing out ideas. Alonso said he wrote the story himself with assistance from the editor.

“We had ideas, different ways of going about it,” he said. “I think from day one I knew the way I wanted to write it and how I wanted it to come out, which is a letter to my younger self.”

Even after finishing the project three weeks ago, Alonso said he wasn’t sure he wanted to share it publicly. He showed the article to some friends and teammates, including A’s reliever Sean Doolittle and outfielder Matt Joyce. After reading the piece, Joyce strongly persuaded Alonso to carry through with it.

“I told him it was awesome,” Joyce said. “From my perspective, you don’t really get a good sense of what those guys go through, coming over to the States. You just see them later. So to kind of read it in his own words, it was a really cool perspective and a good story to see what a kid across the water, from a different country, goes through to get to this point. I think it’s a very powerful story and message.”

Alonso said his motivation was simple.

“Just letting my family know, and people in this world know, that if you want to strive for something, it can be tough at times. But there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Giants lineup: Belt in left field, Kelby at second base

Giants lineup: Belt in left field, Kelby at second base

Programming note: Dodgers-Giants coverage starts today at 11:30am with Giants Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

Dave Roberts and Bruce Bochy issued their lineups for today's series finale at AT&T Park:

Dodgers (10-12)
1. Enrique Hernandez (R) CF
2. Corey Seager (L) SS
3. Justin Turner (R) 3B
4. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
5. Chris Taylor (R) 2B
6. Austin Barnes (R) C
7. Scott Van Slyke (R) 1B
8. Cody Bellinger (L) LF
9. Julio Urias (L) P

Giants (8-14) 
1. Hunter Pence (R) RF
2. Brandon Belt (L) LF
3. Eduardo Nunez (R) SS
4. Buster Posey (R) 1B
5. Christian Arroyo (R) 3B
6. Nick Hundley (R) C
7. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 2B
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
9. Matt Moore (L) P (1-3, 5.87 ERA)