W's start long road trip against struggling Wolves

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W's start long road trip against struggling Wolves

Feb. 27, 2011GOLDEN STATE (26-31) vs.MINNESOTA (13-46)Coverage starts at 1:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
(AP) -- After two ugly losses following All-Star weekend, the Golden State Warriors will try to get back on track against the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves.Looking for a sixth consecutive win in the series, the Warriors hope to begin a season-high seven-game road trip by handing the Timberwolves a season-worst eighth consecutive defeat Sunday.Golden State (26-31), which has won five straight against Minnesota and six of seven at the Target Center, entered the All-Star break on a three-game winning streak and a 7-2 run.In two games since, though, the Warriors have been outscored by an average of 19.0 points while shooting 38.2 percent from the floor.Monta Ellis ranks among the league's top 10 in scoring with 25.0 points per game, but recorded 15 in a 115-93 loss to Boston on Tuesday night and was held to 16 in a 95-79 defeat Friday night at the hands of Atlanta. Ellis is shooting 33.3 percent over that stretch."We didn't have the kind of energy to play against a team that was going to be energetic, lost a couple of games and was desperate," coach Keith Smart said Friday. "We just have to find our rhythm coming back from the break."Despite its lackluster play of late, Golden State remains within striking distance of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Stephen Curry knows that the upcoming road trip, which features five stops against teams with losing records, will go a long way in determining the team's fate."We need to just get a win and start feeling good about ourselves," said Curry, who's averaging 9.7 points - 8.5 fewer than his season mark - in his last three games. "We have to dig deep on this road trip. Seven games to stay in this race, we still have a huge hole to get out of after these last two games."Ellis has averaged 25.3 points on 54.2 percent shooting in his last eight meetings with the Timberwolves - including 60 total points in two wins this season - while Curry has averaged 23.5 in his last two in the series.The Timberwolves (13-46) matched their lowest scoring output of the season Friday night and fell for the seventh consecutive time, losing 95-81 to New Orleans."I can't speak for everyone, but I don't get numbed to losing," said point guard Luke Ridnour. "It's something that's irritating and annoying. We play this game to win games, and it's not something that I believe you can get numbed to."Minnesota is averaging 89.6 points on 38.3 percent shooting over its season-high-tying skid, but will likely need to come out with a better effort offensively if it hopes to keep up with Golden State, which is scoring 102.4 points per game. The Timberwolves are 3-39 when allowing at least 100 points.Kevin Love barely recorded his 45th consecutive double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds versus the Hornets, passing Moses Malone for the second-longest streak since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976.Love is averaging 18.7 points and 14.7 rebounds in his last seven meetings with Golden State and could inch closer to Malone's 51-game double-double run from Dec. 29, 1978-Oct. 12, 1979.Ridnour and rookie Wes Johnson each scored 22 points Friday but Michael Beasley, averaging 19.5 points, was held to eight on 4-of-16 shooting.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

BOX SCORE

Hit five home runs, and a team has to like its chances of winning.

The A’s simply couldn’t keep up with the Houston Astros’ bats, however, in an 11-8 loss Wednesday night that snapped Oakland’s four-game winning streak. Khris Davis went deep twice, and Ryon Healy, Jed Lowrie and Matt Olson all went deep as the A’s set their season high for home runs.

But Houston racked up 17 hits against Jesse Hahn (3-6) and four relievers and evened this three-game series at a game apiece. It was the second time Hahn has gotten knocked around by Houston inside of a week.

The A’s took an early lead, 5-4, in the third on the second of Davis’ two homers, part of a four-run rally for Oakland. But the Astros answered right back with five runs in the bottom half, and the A’s never recovered from that momentum swing.

Hahn’s struggles continue: Hahn was trying to rebound after the Astros hung nine earned runs on him last Thursday at the Coliseum. Things didn’t improve Wednesday at Minute Maid Park, as the right-hander lasted just two-plus innings and allowed six runs on nine hits. Is this a case of one team simply having Hahn’s number or do the A’s make a move and try someone else in the rotation? It bears watching.

Krush Davis x 2: It was apparent early this would be a slugfest, with Khris Davis homering twice within the first three innings as the A’s tried to keep pace. He led off the second with a shot to left field, then came back with a three-run blast to left in the third that put Oakland up 5-4. The homers were his team-leading 20th and 21st.

Reddick-ulous night: Josh Reddick filled up the stat sheet against his old team in every way imaginable. He went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs, and twice caught the A’s by surprise by stealing third base. For good measure, he turned in an excellent running catch in right field to rob Yonder Alonso.

Strange offensive night: What to make of this night offensively for the A’s? They hit a season-high five homers but also struck out a whopping 17 times. No matter … you can’t hang this one on the offense, because …

The pitching staff just couldn’t hold things down: Josh Smith was called upon to hold down the fort after Hahn departed in the third, but Smith was tagged for three runs on four hits. Daniel Coulombe and John Axford also got touched for runs. Rookie Michael Brady did turn in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Cubs outfielder vows he didn't give Trump the middle finger at White House

Cubs outfielder vows he didn't give Trump the middle finger at White House

WASHINGTON – Albert Almora Jr. didn’t use Wednesday’s Oval Office photo op as a subtle form of political protest, but it did sort of look like the Cubs outfielder gave President Donald Trump the middle finger, at least from that angle in an image that went viral on Twitter.    

“There was two fingers! Look closely, there was two fingers!” a veteran player yelled across the room as reporters gathered around Almora’s locker inside the visiting clubhouse at Nationals Park. 

“Guys were giving me a hard time about it,” Almora said, “but I pointed out the second finger. We’re all good.”

In another White House visit that didn’t look nearly as unofficial or informal as the Cubs said it would be, one snapshot became Almora with part of his left hand in his pocket. Almora stood near Kris Bryant – who held a 45 Wrigley Field scoreboard panel – and Trump at his desk with the World Series trophy.

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate,” Almora said with a laugh. “I’m getting ready to take a picture and I’m posing there. But you guys know that I would never do that to the president of the United States. 

“I respect everybody. It is what it is. We laugh about it now, but there’s definitely two fingers out there.”

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