W's contain Dirk, top Mavs 99-92 in Oakland

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W's contain Dirk, top Mavs 99-92 in Oakland

April 2, 2011BOXSCORE WARRIORSVIDEONBAPAGE NBASCOREBOARD
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Any chance the Dallas Mavericks had of moving up to second in the Western Conference playoff race is likely over.They can thank Monta Ellis for that.Ellis shook off pain in his strained right ankle to score 32 points, and the Golden State Warriors beat Dallas 99-92 on Saturday night to deliver a crushing blow to the Mavericks' chances of improving their playoff seeding."Basically, looks like we've got the three seed locked up," Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki said.Ellis scored 18 points in a dominant third quarter that helped the Warriors pull away. David Lee finished with 16 points and Dorell Wright added 12 to help Golden State avoid a four-game sweep against Dallas this season.Shawn Marion had 21 points and Jason Terry added 17 in Dallas' second straight loss. Two nights after a crushing 28-point loss to the Lakers, the Mavericks' hopes of improving their playoff seeding took an even bigger hit.They trail the Lakers by 2 12 games for second place in the West with six games left. Oklahoma City is three games back of Dallas, which suddenly can't seem to make a shot."We'd love to get some wins here before we start off, but the playoffs are also a completely new season," said Nowitzki, held to 16 points on 5-of-16 shooting. "We'd love to get some momentum, start making some shots, look a little better. We look a little flat lately, look a little tired. So hopefully we can step it up here."Things have quickly gone sour for the Mavericks.They had a chance to pull even with the Lakers on Thursday night at Staples Center. Instead, they lost 110-82 in a game that had five players ejected, and their effort against Golden State might have stung even worse.Dallas' defense was sporadic to start the third quarter, allowing Golden State to score 13 straight points during one stretch. Ellis had one more point than the Mavericks managed as a team in the quarter to help the Warriors go ahead by 12 points, dazzling with his spinning layups and driving dunks.Even though the Warriors have long been eliminated from the playoffs, Ellis hasn't missed a game this season despite numerous ankle injuries."We just have to learn from these games," Ellis said. "Watch a lot of film and see the good things we did and correct the bad things we did. Treat every game like it's our last five. We still have a job to do and that's to finish the season up strong."Dallas trimmed the deficit to three with 2:28 remaining in the fourth after Marion's dunk and Terry's 3-pointer. The teams traded baskets before Stephen Curry hit a 3-pointer to put Golden State ahead by six and seal the victory.The Mavericks were 37 for 90 from the field, including 5 of 25 from 3-point range."I just kept believing we were about to hit a hot streak," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said.Dallas certainly had its chances.Curry picked up his third foul late in the first quarter when he reached in on a driving Jose Barea, who converted a three-point play on the layup. Curry was forced to sit for the entire second period, and perhaps Dallas didn't take advantage enough in his absence.The Mavericks scored 12 straight points and went ahead 40-30 early in the second quarter. The Warriors answered with a 15-4 run that was capped by Ellis' 3-pointer from the top of the arc, and they went to the half with Dallas leading 50-48."He's done a great job," Lee said about Ellis. "We don't have issues on this team of guys being soft or not ready to play. We're maybe short-handed, but the guys we do have are laying it on the line."NOTES: Warriors SF Dorell Wright made two 3-pointers to tie Golden State's single-season record with 183. Jason Richardon also made 183 in 2005-06. ... Warriors C Andris Biedrins missed his ninth straight game because of a severely sprained left ankle. Golden State is still hopeful he could return for one of its final five games. ... Referee Gary Zielinski tripped over a photographer sitting on the baseline near Dallas' bench in the first quarter. He was still able to blow his whistle, calling a foul on Curry for reaching in on Terry. Zielinski was not injured and laughed after the play.

A's spring training Day 8: Top pick AJ Puk attracts a crowd

A's spring training Day 8: Top pick AJ Puk attracts a crowd

MESA, Ariz. — The A’s are excited about 2016 top pick A.J. Puk, that much was apparent by the crowd the lefty attracted for his first “live” bullpen session Tuesday.

Among those watching closely were executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane, general manager David Forst, manager Bob Melvin and pitching coach Curt Young.

Puk, who shaved about 20 pounds off his 6-foot-7 frame over the winter, looked strong against a group of hitters that included touted infield prospects Franklin Barreto and Yairo Munoz.

Melvin in particular liked the way Puk, the No. 6 overall pick out of the University of Florida, worked his curve ball into the mix. That’s a pitch he hadn’t used since high school, but he dusted it off back in the fall instructional league with some encouragement from minor league pitching coordinator Gil Patterson, and he’s working to sharpen it this spring as a complement to his fastball, slider and changeup.

“It’s just nice to have another pitch that’s slower than my other three pitches,” Puk said before Tuesday’s workout.

“It’s a four-pitch mix,” Melvin said. “He’s really starting to distinguish between this slider and curve ball. It was quite a crowd around his cage too. When you’re a young kid you tend to notice that, but I thought he responded really well.”

Puk, 21, is rooming with shortstop Richie Martin, a teammate at Florida whom the A’s made their top pick in 2015. They also lived near each other in Tampa this offseason and worked out together.

Puk comes off very quiet upon meeting him, but Martin warns against being fooled.

“It takes him a while, but once he feels comfortable he’ll break out. You’ll see.”

Melvin was impressed with Puk’s physical shape, saying he’s fielded his position well in pitchers’ fielding drills.

CAMP BATTLE Jesse Hahn will start the A’s Cactus League opener Saturday against the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs. It’ll be a chance for Hahn to make an early impression in his bid for the fifth starter spot.

“After the year he had (in 2016), it’s important for him this year. We have to show some faith in him,” Melvin said. “He performed well for us the year before. Last year wasn’t really consistent. We’ll try to get him out there and get him off to a good start.”

Kendall Graveman will take the ball in Sunday’s spring home opener against the Angels. Sonny Gray and Sean Manaea both will pitch Monday against the Giants and Jharel Cotton and Andrew Triggs will be among the group throwing Tuesday against the Indians.

PROSPECT WATCH: Sean Murphy, the A’s third-round pick in June, has shown a very strong throwing arm early in camp. Is it any wonder Melvin, an ex-catcher, was impressed?

“The kid can throw, it’s special,” Melvin said. “We really like him.”

NOTEWORTHY: Still no word on when reliever Santiago Casilla will arrive at camp from the Dominican Republic. Melvin said he isn’t concerned at this stage, and noted that Casilla has been working out at the team’s complex in the Dominican Republic and gave a motivational talk to the younger players there.

Cousins thanks Sacramento: 'Wouldn't trade it for anything'

Cousins thanks Sacramento: 'Wouldn't trade it for anything'

The Kings traded DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, prompting the All-Star big man to post a heartfelt message on his Instagram account.

Words can't even express how hard it is for me to have to leave the city of Sacramento and all of the amazing people that I have met while out here. I gave it my all for you and you gave it right back. The most amazing fans on the planet and I just want you to know that your support has meant everything to me. It's hard to believe that it was seven years ago that this young kid from Alabama showed up in Sacramento scared and not knowing a soul. As I look back upon my time here, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have met so many amazing people, many of whom went out of their way to make me feel right at home from day one. Each and every one of you have played such an important part in my life and helping me become the person I am today. I don't just consider you all as fans, you all are my family...and a couple thousand miles aren't going to change a thing. Thank you Sacramento. 
#LoyaltyisLove #sactownkingforever

Cousins, 26, averaged 27.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.3 blocks and 34.4 minutes per game for the Kings this year.

Words can't even express how hard it is for me to have to leave the city of Sacramento and all of the amazing people that I have met while out here. I gave it my all for you and you gave it right back. The most amazing fans on the planet and I just want you to know that your support has meant everything to me. It's hard to believe that it was seven years ago that this young kid from Alabama showed up in Sacramento scared and not knowing a soul. As I look back upon my time here, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have met so many amazing people, many of whom went out of their way to make me feel right at home from day one. Each and every one of you have played such an important part in my life and helping me become the person I am today. I don't just consider you all as fans, you all are my family...and a couple thousand miles aren't going to change a thing. Thank you Sacramento. #LoyaltyisLove

A post shared by DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) on