W's can't dig out of early hole, fall 104-92 to Suns

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W's can't dig out of early hole, fall 104-92 to Suns

Feb. 7, 2011BOXSCORE WARRIORSVIDEONBAPAGE NBASCOREBOARD

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Steve Nash had an expensive bottle of red wine from the Napa Valley tucked in a paper bag in his locker, a birthday present from his teammates that he was saving for another day.They got a taste of everything else.Nash dished out 15 assists and scored 14 points, leading the Phoenix Suns to a 104-92 victory over the Golden State Warriors on his 37th birthday Monday night."It hasn't been a very fun year in large part," Nash said. "But it's been more fun lately."Channing Frye had 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Grant Hill scored 18 to help the Suns build a 23-point lead and hold on late. They made 13 3-pointers and shot 43 percent from the floor in a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicated.The Suns weren't about to blow a game on the seven-time All Star's birthday.They sang happy birthday to Nash - and Mickael Pietrus, who turned 29 - before the game in the locker room in an acapella rendition. Nash ate some birthday pizza, then sliced through the Warriors."Just another night, really," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "He's been doing it forever and I've been there watching him. Nothing that he did really amazed me."Monta Ellis scored 21 points and David Lee had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Warriors, who got within five in the fourth quarter but could not come all the way back."We played terrible. It's embarrassing for our fans that we came out and played the way we played," Ellis said. "We'd been playing great the last few games and to come out and put up a performance like this is very disappointing."It was vintage Suns on display for most of the night.They shot themselves to victory with an array of outside jumpers that even the usually high-scoring Warriors couldn't match. Phoenix went 9 for 15 on 3-pointers in first half, with five different players sinking shots from beyond the arc.Nash had eight first-half assists, and Frye and Pietrus each made three 3-pointers to put Phoenix up by 20 in the second. Gentry perhaps removed his starters a little too quickly in a game that appeared over.The Warriors got within 93-88 with about 4 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter in a frantic rally that even had Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob leading a standing ovation courtside. They scored 11 straight points during the spurt, helped by Phoenix missing eight straight shots with most of its starters on the bench, but just couldn't sustain the momentum.Nash and Co. shed their warmups and quickly put the game away. Frye made a 3-pointer and another jumper, Nash hit a pull-up shot and the Suns went back ahead 104-90 in about a minute to give Nash a fitting end to his birthday.The Suns (24-25) have won four of their last five and are in the thick of the playoff race. They are 2 12 games behind Portland for the final Western Conference spot, and a game back of Memphis."We just have to keep working every day, we have to continue to improve and we also have to get a little bit tougher," Nash said.Phoenix did enough damage early to put any kind of comeback far out of reach.The frenetic pace and slick ball movement by Nash and the Suns were too much for the defensively challenged Warriors to keep up. Phoenix went ahead 77-54, shot 61 percent through three quarters and built enough of a cushion to withstand the Warriors' push."You're not going to beat them at their game," Warriors coach Keith Smart said. "It's not going to happen."NOTES: Phoenix G Goran Dragic missed his fourth straight game after cutting his left foot stepping on a piece of broken glass at his home, requiring nine stitches. ... Nash had not played on his birthday since 2004, when he had 29 points and 11 assists against Dallas. ... Warriors backup G Acie Law missed his second game in a row with a sprained right wrist. ... The Suns and Warriors play again Thursday in Phoenix.

Graveman delivers in front of 'Blue Moon' Odom, rest of A's can't

Graveman delivers in front of 'Blue Moon' Odom, rest of A's can't

ANAHEIM — The A’s collection of individual highlights during their visit to Angel Stadium shouldn’t have equated to a three-game sweep for their opponent.

Jesse Hahn fired eight one-hit innings Tuesday, the same night Josh Phegley delivered a pinch-hit homer in the 10th before the A’s lost in 11 innings. On Thursday, Kendall Graveman turned in perhaps the defensive play of the 2017 season by a pitcher, recording an unassisted double play that was the first by an A’s pitcher in 46 years.

All great moments to relive in the clubhouse afterward, but surely they ring a bit hollow given the final outcomes. The A’s were swept by an Angels team that, like Oakland, has been hit hard by the injury bug. Los Angeles is without key relievers Huston Street, Andrew Bailey, Cam Bedrosian and Mike Morin, not to mention starter Garrett Richards among others.

Yet the Angels pitching staff twice held the A’s to one run over the three-game series, including Thursday’s 2-1 defeat, when the A’s mustered just three hits.

“We’re a little streaky right now,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “… Give them credit, they pitched really well, and they really are down a lot of guys in the bullpen. We would expect to do a little more damage.”

They couldn’t Thursday, and that it made it tough to savor Graveman’s incredible play the way they should have.

With runners on the corners and no outs, he fielded Juan Graterol’s comebacker and caught Ben Revere in a rundown between third and home. Graveman ran him down and after applying the tag, hurdled Revere and made the tag on Cliff Pennington, who was trying to advance from first to third in the chaos.

“That’s probably the best play I’ve ever seen a pitcher make, hurdling over an (opponent) to get the second out unassisted,” Melvin said. “I didn’t even know how to put that one down on my card.”

Graveman, one of the A’s better overall athletes, was asked if he’d ever recorded an unassisted double play before.

“Never. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen one,” he said. “(Ryan) Madson said he’s never seen one and he’s watched over 2,000 games.”

Incredibly, the last A’s pitcher to pull off an unassisted double play previously was in attendance Thursday night. John “Blue Moon” Odom did it back on July 11, 1971, also against the Angels. Odom attends most of the A’s games in Anaheim, and he’s struck up a friendship with Graveman over the years.

“Every time we come here and even in spring training, I try to catch up with Blue Moon Odom and see how he’s doing,” Graveman said. “He and Wash (former A’s infield coach Ron Washington) are friends so we always cut up about Wash. He’s a great guy. He sits in the front row. He came in and saw me right before stretch and told me ‘I’m gonna be front row watching you.’ That is pretty neat that that happened.”

A’s first baseman Yonder Alonso said he’s never surprised to see Graveman make a great defensive play.

“The guy’s a pitcher, but it feels like he’s a shortstop playing the position.”

Graveman was visited by trainers after the fifth-inning play, but Melvin said it was mainly to give the pitcher a breather and let him get his adrenaline under control. Neither Graveman nor his manager revealed anything specific that bothered Graveman. Seeing him stay in the game and complete six innings of two-run ball had to be encouraging for Melvin.

“The first thing I asked him was ‘What’d you fall on?’” Melvin said. “He said, ‘My butt.’ I said, ‘Well, you’re all right then.’ But you’re not gonna see that play again probably.”

The A’s are giving their manager and fans some accomplishments to marvel over. As they move on to Houston trying to halt a four-game losing streak, they just need to figure things out on the scoreboard.

Raiders' first-round pick Conley opens up on emotions after off-field issues

Raiders' first-round pick Conley opens up on emotions after off-field issues

ALAMEDA – Gareon Conley’s name has been sullied, at least temporarily. He feared it would be long enough to send him free falling down the NFL Draft.

The Ohio State cornerback and top-15 prospect was accused of rape stemming from an April 9 incident in Cleveland, an allegation he called “completely false.”

The Raiders clearly believe him. That’s why they drafted him No. 24 overall on Thursday evening, and expect him to be a long-term solution in their secondary.

Conley wasn’t sure how far he’d fall after being beaten down by one rough week, when the allegation went public. Reggie McKenzie’s first-round selection and subsequent call was more emotional than expected.

“It made it 10 times more special,” Conley said Thursday night in a conference call. “Just having that doubt in my mind, just not knowing (how far I would fall). Just having faith and having doubt, I didn’t know what was going to happen. When it came, it shocked me. It felt unreal, honestly. It still feels unreal.”

Being a top pick was expected after an excellent career at Ohio State. The rape accusation threatened to destroy his draft-day dreams. Conley has not been arrested or charged in relation to the incident, though an investigation is ongoing.

Conley said he volunteered to take a polygraph test that was shared with NFL teams, and reportedly passed the one he took. He said in a statement there are witnesses and video evidence proving he didn’t do anything illegal.

Conley spent the last few days trying to proclaim his innocence. 

He is scheduled to meet with Cleveland police on Monday to discuss the April 9 incident -- he'll also submit a DNA sample, according to ESPN -- where group sex was suggested and a woman claimed she was sexually assaulted.

Conley believes his name will be cleared in time.

“I’m very confident it will be resolved," Conley said. "I took a test today that helps. Then when I made my statement and all the evidence that I have, I feel confident it’ll be resolved.”

Conley admits he shouldn’t have put himself in a compromising position, which occurred at a Cleveland hotel earlier this month.

“I could’ve made way better judgment,” Conley said. “I mean, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I definitely could’ve made a better decision.”

Conley hopes to move beyond it quickly and start focusing on football. He is scheduled to fly west for a press conference on Friday.

Conley is thankful to the Raiders for believing in him despite his recent troubles.

“It’s off the charts, honestly,” Conley said. “Just to know that they have faith in me, not even just as a football player but as a person like that, it speaks highly of them, and I really appreciate it. It’s an honor to be a part of the Raider organization.”