Will Raptors spell relief for Udoh, Warriors?

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Will Raptors spell relief for Udoh, Warriors?

March 25, 2011

TORONTO (20-51) vs.
WARRIORS (30-42)

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

OAKLAND (AP) -- The Golden State Warriors are mired in a six-game losing streak, but may be hosting the right opponent to break out.

The Warriors have won six straight at home against the Toronto Raptors heading into Friday night's matchup in Oakland.

Golden State (30-42) returns home after an 0-4 trip in which it lost by an average of 18.3 points. The Warriors surrendered their highest point total of the season in Wednesday's 131-112 loss at Houston.

REWIND: Warriors beaten by Rockets, Martin's 34 points

"We are trying to develop and build things as a team," coach Keith Smart said. "This is a painful time we are in."

That pain could be eased with another home win over Toronto (20-51), which has lost by an average of 12.0 points in its last six visits to Golden State. The Raptors have dropped 13 of the last 17 meetings overall, falling 109-102 at home Nov. 8.

Toronto was unable to contain the Golden State backcourt of Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis, who combined for 62 points. Curry has excelled in three career games against the Raptors, averaging 32.7 points on 53.8 percent shooting along with 8.7 assists per game.

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The second-year guard hasn't been as productive during this losing streak, averaging 13.2 points on 42.5 percent shooting. Ellis has also struggled in this stretch with 15.3 points per game on 38.5 percent shooting.

"Our back is against the wall and we need to find a way to win," Ellis said. "We'll play it out and see what happens. We need to grind it out, play together and play smart and stay together as a team."

Veteran forward Dorell Wright was a rare bright spot Wednesday with a career-high 34 points, reaching 30 for the second time in four games.

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"It's OK but it's a team game and we lost," Wright said. "We didn't do what we wanted to do. There are no lessons learned, it's just basketball."

Toronto fell to 2-11 on the road against Western Conference opponents with Wednesday's 114-106 loss at Phoenix. The game was tied heading into the fourth quarter before the Raptors were outscored 28-20.

REWIND: Brooks sparks Suns to 114-106 win over Raptors

"We didn't make any shots," said coach Jay Triano about the fourth quarter. "They went zone and we had open looks and didn't make them, and we didn't move the ball particularly well, but we still had open looks and didn't make them."

The Raptors have had problems with their fourth-quarter offense in the first three games of this five-game trip, averaging 19.0 points.

"We always can try and get better," guard Leandro Barbosa said. "We always can do more than we do in each game, so we know we could have won this game."

Andrea Bargnani scored 27 points and DeMar DeRozan added 19 on Wednesday.

Bargnani, however, has never scored 20 points against the Warriors, averaging 13.0 in nine games. His season average is 22.0.

Mullin sees potential Warriors-Cavs trilogy Finals going six games, but...

Mullin sees potential Warriors-Cavs trilogy Finals going six games, but...

As the defending champion Cavaliers are one win away from advancing to the NBA Finals, the consensus is they will meet the Warriors there and, moreover, that Part III of the trilogy promises to be the most compelling yet.

Chris Mullin is not so sure.

The Hall of Fame forward and current St. John's head coach, a guest Wednesday on the NBC Sports Bay Area Warriors Insider Podcast, perceives a reasonable chance of sweeping the series.

“I’m going on the record saying 4-2, just because maybe I want to see six games,” Mullin said. “I would not be surprised if it’s 4-1 or 4-zero. I think they’re that good.”

Recalling how the Warriors started sluggishly after a one-week layoff ahead of Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Spurs, Mullin conceded there could be some rust but probably not enough to invite a loss.

“I don’t want to lay any . . . pressure, but the Warriors, to me, this team that we’re watching is going to go down in history as one of the best teams of all time,” he said. “I believe that. I think they will stay together and that’s we’re probably going to see four Hall of Fame players that have played together and have dominated and become a dynasty. That’s what we’re going to look back on.

“There’s just a huge disparity between them and the rest of the league -- and not just the Cavaliers. But there’s a huge disparity between them and the Cavaliers. “

The Warriors defeated Cleveland in six games to win the championship in 2015, but the Cavaliers recovered from a 3-1 deficit to take the rematch last June.

Though both teams have made substantive changes, Mullin is more impressed with what the Warriors have done, including the addition of four-time scoring champion Kevin Durant to a nucleus that included All-Stars Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.

Mullin pointed out that the losses of Andrew Bogut, along with subtractions to their fabled depth and chemistry, led some to wonder if the Warriors might lose the magic of the previous two seasons. He also understands that point of view.

“But as I see it now,” he said, “I think they’re deeper and have better chemistry than they did last year when they won 73 games.”

It’s not that Mullin gives the Cavaliers, who have won 11 of 12 games in these playoffs, zero chance to win the series. It is just, in his view, very slim. “Cleveland, they’ve got really good people,” he said. “Their talent, I’m not discounting at all. LeBron and Kyrie and Kevin Love, these guys are great, great players.

“I feel like the Warriors are just a notch above everybody. I really believe that.”

 

Giants promote power-hitting outfield prospect to Triple-A

Giants promote power-hitting outfield prospect to Triple-A

CHICAGO -- The Giants wanted Christian Arroyo to force his way up to the big leagues. Chris Shaw isn't exactly in the same boat, but he is now at the same level where Arroyo was to start the year. 

Shaw, the top power-hitting prospect in the organization, was promoted from Double-A Richmond to Triple-A Sacramento on Wednesday morning. General manager Bobby Evans said Shaw, a first baseman in his first couple of years in the minors, will continue his recent outfield work. Shaw had been playing left field in Richmond and he will be the primary left fielder in Sacramento.

"He's put himself in a position where the next test is the Triple-A level," Evans said. "He was starting to get to the point where he was ready for the next challenge."

It is unlikely that Shaw gets promoted again this season because the Giants do not need to add him to the 40-man roster until after the 2018 season. Arroyo, on the other hand, would have been added after this season anyway. Austin Slater, who also needs to be added at some point in 2017, is more likely to earn a September call-up. The Giants do, however, leave the door open for prospects to force the issue. 

The 23-year-old Shaw was the 31st overall pick in the 2015 draft. He hit 12 homers in 46 games in rookie ball and then slugged 16 in 72 games for the San Jose Giants, earning a promotion late in 2016. Shaw had five more homers in two months with the Flying Squirrels and he opened up this year with six in 133 at-bats. 

In three minor league seasons, Shaw is batting .277 with a .350 on-base percentage and .503 slugging percentage. He has 39 homers in 813 professional at-bats, along with 59 doubles and four triples. In 37 games this season, Shaw has 26 strikeouts and 18 walks.

"He controls the strike zone and he's got a fairly decent eye," Evans said. "He strikes out a relatively low percentage of the time and has a pretty good walk rate for a power guy."

Shaw played quite a bit in the outfield at Boston College but he was a first baseman in the minors until this season. With Brandon Belt locked in at first at the big league level, the Giants started giving Shaw starts in left field. Before leaving Richmond, Shaw made 18 starts in the outfield, totaling 158 innings. 

Listed at 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, Shaw would be big in left, even by the Giants' standards. In the past, scouts -- who admitted they had only seen him at first -- insisted he probably can't handle the position, but the Giants disagree. Shaw is said to have the footwork to handle left, but he's working on getting comfortable with throws. 

"He played a lot of outfield in college, pretty close to 100 games, mostly in right field," Evans said. "We'd like to give him as much time as possible to get comfortable.  We discussed (the outfield) this spring and we made a more conscious decision to get him out there (in left). That was a discussion from the time he was drafted."