...and Doug Martin of the Buccaneers

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...and Doug Martin of the Buccaneers

From Comcast SportsNetOAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Doug Martin never had a homecoming like this during his stellar college career at Boise State.Martin rushed for a franchise-record 251 yards and four touchdowns and Ahmad Black intercepted a Carson Palmer pass after Oakland had cut an 18-point deficit to three late in the fourth quarter as the Bucs beat the Raiders 42-32 on Sunday.Martin, who was born in Oakland and went to high school in nearby Stockton, had a memorable return home for the Bucs (4-4) by scoring on runs of 1, 45, 67 and 70 yards in front of more than 60 friends and family members."Everybody was there. It was awesome," he said. "It's surreal right now. I'm just doing my job out there. I'm honored."Martin, the 31st pick in April out of Boise State, became the first back since at least 1940 to score on three TD runs of at least 45 yards in one game, according to STATS LLC.He finished 45 yards shy of tying Adrian Peterson's single game record of 296 set in his rookie season in 2007 and joined Denver's Mike Anderson as the only backs with at least 250 yards rushing and four TDs in a single game.Martin had 214 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns last week in Minnesota to cap a month in which he was the NFL's top offensive rookie.He was even better against the Raiders."That was a great, great performance," coach Greg Schiano said. "After having a big outing in Minnesota on national TV and winning some awards you wonder how the young guys is going to handle the success. This test he stepped up and met the challenge for sure."But Tampa Bay still struggled to hold onto an 18-point, fourth-quarter lead against an Oakland team that lost star running back Darren McFadden to an ankle injury late in the first half.Palmer threw for 414 yards and had three of his four touchdowns in the fourth quarter as Oakland cut the Bucs lead to 35-32 with 3:51 to go.The Raiders then got a defensive stop and took over at their 38 with 2:42 to play. But on second down, Palmer threw off-target looking for Rod Streater down the left sideline and Black came up with the second of Palmer's three interceptions."Mistakes like that you can't overcome and you can't make and me being the quarterback you can't do that," Palmer said. "I can't throw that ball. You just need to take a sack sometimes if things are off of the same page and come back the next play."Martin then ran three straight times to score his fourth touchdown and put the game away.Josh Freeman threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns as Tampa Bay scored at least 28 points for a franchise-record fourth straight game and reached .500 at the midpoint of Schiano's first season to match last season's win total."It's fun, man," said receiver Vincent Jackson, who scored Tampa's first touchdown. "We have a lot of different weapons. The coaches do a great job of just giving teams different looks, spreading the ball around. ... It's fun to play in an offense like this that can be very explosive.The Raiders, coming off two straight victories against one-win Jacksonville and Kansas City, had no answers for Martin and the Bucs, allowing the three long runs in the second half when Martin gained 220 of his yards."They were kind of backbreaking scores there late, long runs after long runs," defensive end Dave Tollefson said. "We just have to get some stuff cleaned up. I don't think they've burnt down the facility in Alameda yet. I'm not trying to make light of it. We've got another week, and the crazy thing is we're still in this thing, in the division."Along with the loss, the Raiders had to deal with another injury to McFadden, who left in the second quarter because of his ankle. X-rays were negative but McFadden did not return and his status was unknown. He missed 19 games in his first four seasons with foot, toe, shoulder, knee and hamstring injuries.But McFadden would have been no help trying to stop Martin, who broke James Wilder's franchise record of 219 yards in 1983 despite the absence of All Pro guard Carl Nicks, who was placed on injured reserve last week with a left toe injury.Martin helped break open what had been a close game with his huge second half. He gave Tampa Bay the lead for good with a 45-yard TD run on the first possession of the second quarter and then added the two other long runs as he continually faked out the Raiders' front seven and outran their usually speedy secondary."He's turned into a heck of a player here these last two weeks," Bucs safety Ronde Barber said. "He's really jumped onto the scene, just the way he's handled the pressure that he's had to be the main guy here in our offense these past couple of weeks. It's impressive, man."The Raiders scored in the final two minutes of the first half for the eighth straight game this season to take a 10-7 lead at the break on a 25-yard TD pass from Palmer to rookie Rod Streater.NOTES:Tampa Bay is averaging 477 yards and 36 points per game over the past four contests. ... Oakland DE Lamarr Houston blocked a 35-yd field goal attempt by Connor Barth in the first quarter to set up an Oakland field goal. ... The most yards rushing against the Raiders is 266 by Seattle's Shaun Alexander in 2001.

Kings' Cousins: 'Only goal this season' is to make playoffs

Kings' Cousins: 'Only goal this season' is to make playoffs

With their 109-104 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night, the Sacramento Kings sit 10 games under .500 at 17-27. In almost any other season, that would mean that they were dead in the water in the Western Conference playoff race. But this it the 2016-17 season where anything is possible at the bottom.

Following Sacramento’s win at the Palace at Auburn Hills, DeMarcus Cousins was asked about the playoff picture.

“It’s my only goal this season,” Cousins told reporters following the game. “My only goal.” 

When pushed on the subject, he gave a more complete answer.

“Oh man, it’s eating me alive - every loss or every time another team wins that’s battling for the eighth spot, it’s eating me alive,” Cousins added. “Our only goal is to be in the playoffs this season.”

The Kings snapped a five-game losing streak with the win over the Pistons and they came into the evening just 2-10 over their previous 12 games. 

Once they get through their current eight game road trip, they spend the entire month of February in the Pacific time zone and play 11 over their next 13 games at Golden 1 Center.  

“The one thing I can give credit to this team about is us staying together and being a positive locker room through the ups and downs,” Cousins said. “I’m still confident and I still believe we’re going to make that push for the playoffs.”

Despite the rough patch, the Kings remain just a game and a half out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference standings. No one is running away with that last playoff spot, at least not yet.

 

Lawson, bench unit spark Kings' much-needed win over Pistons

Lawson, bench unit spark Kings' much-needed win over Pistons

Everyone must contribute. With Rudy Gay gone for the season, Sacramento needs a team effort each night out if they are going to have a chance of turning things around. Balancing the roster on the fly is never easy, but it’s the hand that the Kings were dealt when their second leading scorer tore his Achilles last week.

Needing a win in the worst way, the Kings walked into the Palace at Auburn Hills and came away with a huge 109-104 victory. Demarcus Cousins put up numbers, but it was the supporting cast that found a way to rise to the occasion and snap the team’s five-game losing streak.

“We’re going to need everybody on this team,” Cousins told reporters following the game. “At some point, everyone on the bench is going to win a game for us. Tonight, it was Ty (Lawson), it was Willie (Cauley-Stein) and it was Malachi (Richardson).”

Lawson was a magician with the ball. He entered the game with the Kings down just one with 3:36 remaining in the first quarter, but the Pistons caught fire around that time and pushed the lead to 11 with 20 seconds remaining in the quarter.

It looked like Sacramento might fall behind big once again, but then Lawson and the bench unit took over.

“Ty Lawson, Malachi Richardson and Willie Cauley-Stein had a great energy when we were down 11 in the first half,” Joerger told reporters. “Obviously, probably the best Willie’s played all year. Same for Malachi. He got some run, he got a little burn in the second half, felt pretty good.”

Powered by Lawson, the offense instantly opened up in the second quarter as the Kings tracked down the Pistons on their home floor. Sacramento outscored Detroit 37-24 in the frame to take a three point lead into the intermission. Lawson posted nine points and handed out four assists in the quarter.

“When our offense gets sticky, he’s able to create shots for guys by getting kickouts and getting in the lane,” Joerger said.

The 5-foot-11 point guard didn’t let up in the second half, finishing the night with 19 points and six assists in 23 minutes of action.  

“Chico just goes and plays, man, that’s Chico,” Cousins said of Lawson. “If there’s anyone with a green light to just go and play, it’s him. We love what he does with this team. He’s a spark off the bench for us. He gets us going when there’s a slump. We love the little guy.”

Lawson has become a catalyst off the bench for coach Jeorger. The 29-year-old speedster signed a one-year deal with the Kings late in the offseason and he’s quickly found his niche with the team.

“You play with Ty, you can’t help by want to run, because he will pitch it to you and that’s the best motivation - everybody wants to score,” said Joerger.

Cousins and Lawson didn’t do it alone. Cauley-Stein had one of his games of the season, finishing the night with 12 points and five rebounds. Darren Collison added 12 points, Garrett Temple chipped in 11 points and veteran Matt Barnes added 10 points and eight rebounds.  

“It’s a big, bounce back win,” Cousins said. “We were kind of heartbroken about the last lost. We felt we did everything needed to pull a win and it just didn’t go that way for us. We kind of showed our character and showed we could overcome some type of adversity with the win tonight.”

The Kings are back at it on Wednesday in Cleveland when they hit game four of their season-long eight-game road trip. They’ll face LeBron James and the championship Cavs for the second time this month.  

“It’s huge, we had a little stretch where we lost like eight of nine games, something like that,” Lawson told CSN’s Kayte Christensen following the game. “Getting a win going into Cleveland, it makes us feel a little bit better. Now we’ve got to go in and get a tough one.”

A tough one indeed. Cleveland sits at 31-13 on the season, but they are coming off back-to-back losses against the Spurs and Pelicans.