Warriors turn focus to West, fading New Orleans

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Warriors turn focus to West, fading New Orleans

Feb. 15, 2011
NEW ORLEANS (33-23) vs.
WARRIORS (24-29)

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

OAKLAND (AP) -- The New Orleans Hornets seemingly couldn't miss when they visited Golden State last month, turning in their best shooting effort of the season while extending their winning streak to 10.

Right now, the Hornets will take any victory they can get.

New Orleans has dropped to fifth in the Western Conference with seven losses in nine games, a slump it'll look to break out of Tuesday night when it visits the suddenly surging Golden State Warriors.

The Hornets (33-23) shot 62.2 percent and scored 60 points in the paint in a 112-103 win at Oracle Arena on Jan. 26 that pushed them into third place in the West, behind only San Antonio and the Los Angeles Lakers.

NEWS: NBA scoreboard

During its recent downturn, New Orleans has allowed 99.7 points - 8.5 more than it surrendered while allowing the fewest points in the league through 47 games.

The Hornets led visiting Chicago by 11 at halftime on Saturday, but surrendered 55 second-half points in a 97-88 loss that left coach Monty Williams seething.

"I didn't see any effort from a number of positions. ... For the most part we just didn't play smart tonight," Williams said. "They put pressure on us and we pretty much just backed down. There is no other way to put it.

"To me, that was like a playoff game and we just didn't respond."

New Orleans' defense hasn't been good lately, but Chris Paul hasn't offered much help on the offensive end. He's shot a woeful 30.6 percent over his last three games, averaging 13.0 points and 8.0 assists.

"My rhythm is off. I'm missing everything I shoot at the rim. I've just got to keep shooting," Paul said. "I've got to somehow, some way, find a rhythm and find a way to get some easy baskets."

A visit to Golden State, where he shot 7 of 9 last month and finished with 18 points and 17 assists, might be just what Paul needs. The four-time All-Star has averaged 24.7 points and shot 54.9 percent in nine games in Oakland - his best numbers against any Western opponent.

RELATED: NBA stats leaders

The Warriors (24-29), however, have hardly been pushovers lately during a home-heavy stretch. They've won five of seven overall and five of six at home, with Monta Ellis' 33 points leading the way in a 100-94 victory over Oklahoma City on Sunday night.

Stephen Curry chipped in 23 points and 13 assists while David Lee had 23 points and 19 rebounds. Golden State outrebounded the Thunder 47-33, just the 16th time its edged its opponent on the boards.

REWIND: Warriors own the glass in win over Thunder

"I think you just have to keep emphasizing rebounding," coach Keith Smart said. "That's something we said from the beginning of the year. We dropped off a little bit here and there, but we're capable of doing that when everyone does their part of rebounding."

While the backcourt of Ellis and Curry certainly gets the Warriors going, Lee's contributions have been immense. They're 14-9 when he records a double-double.

Golden State was outrebounded 35-28 in the loss to the Hornets last month, but it could have an easier time Tuesday with Emeka Okafor out. The big man hasn't played this month because of a hip strain, and the Hornets have been outrebounded in their past four losses - including a dismal 47-26 margin against Chicago.

Bumgarner throws three innings of no-hit ball in first rehab start

Bumgarner throws three innings of no-hit ball in first rehab start

BOX SCORE

Madison Bumgarner was back on the bump Sunday night in a Giants jersey for the first time since being placed on the DL due to a dirt bike accident on April 21.

Bumgarner took the mound for the Arizona Rookie League Giants against the Arizona Rookie League Angels and did not allow a hit in three innings pitched. The Giants' ace also struck out two and walked one. 

In both the first and third innings, Bumgarner pitched a perfect three up and three down frame. 

Bumgarner was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of his left throwing shoulder and sustained bruised ribs from his dirt bike accident on an off day in Colorado. Pitching in a game for the first time in over two months, Bumgarner was throwing between 88-91 miles per hour, according to Tommy Stokke of FanRagSports. 

After finishing his three innings of work, Bumgarner went down to the bullpen to increase his pitch count, reports Sande Charles of FanRagSports

Before sustaining the injury, Bumgarner was 0-3 with a 3.00 ERA in four starts this season. 

The Giants have gone 21-41 since Bumgarner's injury. They are 27-51 on the year and sit 24.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West. 

After another Giants clunker, Bochy tells players 'enough is enough'

After another Giants clunker, Bochy tells players 'enough is enough'

SAN FRANCISCO — A few minutes after yet another missed opportunity at the plate Sunday, a voice came over a speaker in the press box at AT&T Park and announced a 524th consecutive sellout. It nicely summed up this current stretch of Giants baseball. 

The seats are emptier than they used to be at first pitch, and they were just about abandoned in the ninth inning of an 8-2 loss, but for the most part the fans are still showing up in droves. One woman brought a toaster by the dugout Sunday morning and asked players and coaches to sign it, hoping to recapture the magic from across the bridge. Another, Bryan Stow, made his first appearance of the season at AT&T Park, met with Bruce Bochy, and said he hoped to see a win. As Matt Moore started warming up, a band set up on top of the visiting dugout to play hits that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. 

For a while, AT&T Park was rocking. And then, as has happened so often this summer, the game started. 

The Giants turned in another epic clunker in a season full of them. They have lost 12 of their last 13 games and 21 of 26, but it’s worse than the raw numbers. On most nights, some in the organization have noted privately, they are simply boring. It’s one thing to lose, it’s quite another to do it in this way. 

“There’s no getting around it,” Bochy said after the sweep. “I’ve been through some tough stretches here and this is as tough as any stretch I’ve seen. For some reason the baseball gods are really testing us here and (testing) this group. It’s not that they’re not coming out ready or trying, but enough is enough.

“At some point, we’ve got to find a way to get this thing turned around.”

Even a slight pivot would be welcomed by the faithful. There were scattered boos Sunday, the latest in a growing trend. This is a fan base that has seen the highest highs, but rarely in franchise history have the lows been this low. 

The crowd no longer turns to the rally lights that were used so often in an awful April, but the noise still grows with each new rally. And then, every single time Sunday, the Giants killed off any hope. 

In the second inning, a Brandon Belt bunt single and Brandon Crawford bloop put two on, but a pair of rookies flied out. 

In the third, the bases were loaded ahead of Buster Posey. He flied out to bring one run across, and there were still runners on the corners for Belt, who leads the team in homers. On a 2-2 count, Hunter Pence inexplicably took off for second. He was caught, the inning was over, and the two-run Mets lead was intact. Bochy said he did not send Pence. 

In the sixth, there were two on with no outs for Posey. Both runners bolted to stay out of a double play. Posey popped up to first -- for a double play.

“He’s not a guy that strikes out, so I’m pretty confident sending runners with Buster,” Bochy said. “We can’t keep laying back. We’re trying to force the issue a bit and stay out of double plays.”

In the eighth, the Giants loaded the bases for Posey and Belt. Posey grounded out. Belt struck out for the third time. 

“We’re getting guys out there,” Bochy said. “We’re not doing enough damage.”

Matt Moore’s damage was self-inflicted. He twice gave up homers to the guy — Rene Rivera — hitting in front of the pitcher. Moore said he has stopped throwing his cutter the past three starts and tried to get his four-seamer going, but the Mets were teeing off. Moore gave up five runs on seven hits. He was pulled in the fifth, left to think about mechanics that still aren’t right. 

“The cutter is a little bit different of a pitch and at times it can take away from the four-seam fastball location-wise, and command of the four-seam was starting to go down the more I threw (the cutter),” Moore said. “I’m anxious to get back to it, but the foundation has got to be throwing the four-seam fastball. I need to execute where they’re carrying through the zone, not running or cutting.”

Moore said his confidence is fine and his problems are not physical. Others can no longer say that. Austin Slater, a rare bright spot in this five-win month, was pulled with a tight hip flexor. He was headed for an MRI. 

Slater is too young to be one of the players Bochy approached after the game. He said he talked to a few, though, passing along that “enough is enough” message. Moore, last in the National League in ERA (6.04), was not one who needed a reminder. 

“I’m sitting on a six right now with not a lot of wins and not enough team wins when I’m throwing,” he said. “It’s been 'enough' for me for the last couple of months.”