W's dominate 4th quarter in big win over Bulls

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W's dominate 4th quarter in big win over Bulls

Feb. 5, 2011BOX SCORE WARRIORS VIDEONBA PAGE NBA SCOREBOARD

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Stephen Curry sat in on the coaches meeting Friday, studying, planning and preparing to do something few others have done this season: Stop Derrick Rose.The game plan worked to near perfection.Monta Ellis scored 33 points, Curry had 23 and the Golden State Warriors smothered Rose defensively to snap Chicago's six-game wining streak with a 101-90 victory over the Bulls on Saturday night."I thought our guys followed (the plan) to a T and kind of bottled him up a little bit," Warriors coach Keith Smart said. "We couldn't let him get his game going early, and that's what he's been able to do against a lot of teams. He sets the tone for their team. We had to make other guys make plays."They didn't.Instead, Ellis and Curry sparked a 15-0 run in the fourth quarter that sealed Golden State's third straight win in one of its more impressive defensive efforts of the season, swarming Rose and forcing the All-Star guard into a season-high nine turnovers.The Warriors mixed up coverages and swapped defenders to give Rose looks he said he's never seen."I couldn't get a feel for the game because they didn't let me," Rose said. "I couldn't get to the hole. It was hard but I'll figure it out. It's just something we have to look at on film and see who's the open guy." WATCH: Bulls' Rose crumples stat sheet after loss to Warriors
Carlos Boozer had 21 points and 10 rebounds and Rose finished with a quiet 14 points and 10 assists for the Bulls, who were playing only their second game of a critical road stretch. They were never in rhythm and fatigued early, dropping their first game in more than two weeks.This was hardly the kind of effort a Chicago team looking to be considered one of the NBA's elite wanted to show.Even not at their best, the Bulls took a 75-74 lead on Boozer's jumper with 10:54 remaining. Then it all came crashing down with a spotty defensive effort against one of the more prolific scoring teams.The Warriors ran off 15 straight points behind Ellis and Curry, who had 13 points during the run. The undersized guards blew by Rose and Co., pulling away for an easy victory."I thought our turnovers put them into the open court and then in the fourth quarter we just played poorly," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "That's it."Surely this one left the Bulls frustrated.They have quietly stayed in the thick of the race for the Eastern Conference's top spot despite being short-handed for most of the season, with Boozer missing the first 15 games because of a broken bone in his right hand and Joakim Noah out until after the All-Star break recovering from thumb surgery.They just never could stay consistent against Golden State.Rose had his usual eye-popping plays, perhaps the best coming on a twisting layup over - and around - Warriors center Andris Biedrins that even brought Golden State fans to their feet. Kyle Korver followed with a pair of 3-pointers, and Chicago went ahead by 12 points in the second quarter.All that was quickly erased with a technical foul by Boozer and an uncontested dunk that Ronnie Brewer short-armed and missed badly. Ellis rallied the Warriors with some stealth offense, slicing through the paint for layups and dunks to give Golden State a 48-47 halftime lead.The Warriors stayed steady from there and finally showed some fight during their longest homestand of the season.Golden State has only two games left in a stretch of 13 of 14 at home, and they're 7-5 so far. Chicago and Utah are their only victories during the stretch against teams with winning records."Definitely the biggest win," said Warriors forward Dorell Wright, who added 20 points. "Just the level they're playing, the roll they're on, the way Derrick Rose is playing, this is definitely the biggest win by far this year."NOTES: Thibodeau said Noah is making progress in his recovery but is still likely a few weeks away from returning. "He's doing well," Thibodeau said. "He's coming along, right on schedule, doing more and more every day. He's making good, steady progress." ... Warriors backup SG Acie Law missed the game with a sprained right wrist. ... Rose's previous high in turnovers this season was seven, which he'd done twice.

Raiders fourth-round OL refutes pre-draft rumors: 'I'm not legally blind'

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Raiders fourth-round OL refutes pre-draft rumors: 'I'm not legally blind'

ALAMEDA – Florida offensive tackle David Sharpe spent part of his pre-draft process dispelling rumors that he was legally blind in his right eye. The report came out this spring, and Sharpe denied it quickly.

The information reappeared Saturday morning, when NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock mentioned it shortly after the Raiders drafted Sharpe No. 129 overall. The draft analyst said Sharpe might be restricted to the offensive line’s left side.

Sharpe said that isn’t the case. He can play left or right tackle. And his vision is just fine, thank you very much.

“I’m not blind. I’m not legally blind,” Sharpe said. “The information is false, all of it is false. I just had a little cataract removal when I was younger and I’ve been battling that since I was young. But it doesn’t affect my play or vision or anything. I’m not blind.”

Sharpe said his right eye is a little blurrier than the left, but it doesn’t impact his play in any way.

The 6-foot-6, 343-pound blocker was projected to go in the first three rounds, but fell to the fourth. He wasn’t upset about an issue that was a non-issue.

“It doesn’t really make me mad,” Sharpe said. “I just brush it off. It was just false and I addressed it.”

The Raiders had some inside info on Sharpe’s play. Head coach Jack Del Rio’s son Luke is Florida’s quarterback, and vouched for Sharpe’s effectiveness before Oakland made the official selection.

“He actually texted me this morning and said his dad called him and asked about me,” Sharpe said. “There was a little hint there, so that was cool.”

Melifonwu might serve as solution to Raiders' problem covering tight ends

Melifonwu might serve as solution to Raiders' problem covering tight ends

ALAMEDA – The Raiders have struggled mightily covering tight ends. It hasn’t been a one-year thing. They’re notorious for letting that position run rampant over the past four years, allowing talent ranging from Travis Kelce to Gary Barnidge to tally huge totals against the Silver and Black.

The Raiders may have found a solution to that problem Friday in the second round. They selected massive combine freak and Connecticut safety Obi Melifonwu, a 6-foot-4 speedster who can match up well with most anyone.

“Look, this is no secret, we’ve struggled for the last couple of years covering the opponents’ tight ends,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “We think this is a guy that can help out with his length, matchup against some of the bigger tight ends, some of the better tight ends. We’ll put him right in the mix.”

Del Rio can get creative with this kid. Melifonwu is a safety by trade, but can play cornerback – he proved that during Senior Bowl practices – and functions well from the slot. He can also play well in the box against the run game or deep in the pattern, providing versatility to the secondary.

The Raiders have incumbent starters at safety, with free safety Reggie Nelson and strong safety Karl Joseph. Nelson is 33 and entering a contract year, so Melifonwu could develop into a long-term partnership with Joseph, last year’s first-round pick.

Expect Melifonwu to help right away, especially against the recently bothersome tight end position.

“I feel like I’m a solid cover guy, especially versus tight ends,” Melifonwu said. “I feel like the majority of tight ends that I go up against I’m going to be faster than and really be able to cover them.”

The London, England native put on a show at the NFL scouting combine. He ran 40 yards in 4.40 seconds there, and did most every drill well.

“I think it did a lot for me,” Melifonwu said. “I think it showed my character, my poise and the ability to perform under pressure. And really the fact that not only am I an explosive player, I’m a player that has great hips and great range for somebody my size.”

Del Rio supported Melifonwu's solid game tape, which improved as his college career progressed. He finished with a career-high 118 tackles and four interceptions. He also had 2.5 tackles for a loss and three passes defensed. He accounts the improvement to improved football knowledge.

“Just having a better sense of the game of football,” Melifonwu said. “My defensive back coach Anthony Poindexter was a great college safety and a great NFL safety. He really did a great job of helping me fine tune things like run fits, formations and really keyed every week to watch and how to watch the game of football, how to study the game of football which in result, helped me have the season I had.”