Kings fall hard at Golden State

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By Charlie O. Mallonee

Every NBA fan knows that there is nothing harder for a team to do than win game two of a back-to-back schedule. The Kings traveled to Golden State and proved how hard it can be as they lost to the Warriors 98-87 after losing to the Clippers on Friday night. Do not let that score fool you. The game was much uglier than the final score would suggest.

In his post-game comments, Kings Head Coach Michael Malone summed up the game by saying his team did not shoot well and they did not defend well. He went on to say that his team’s effort was less than acceptable.

The game was essentially over after the first half. The Kings shot just 31.7% (13-41) from the field and were outscored by 10-points in the first and second quarters. The Warrior shot 53.7% (22-41) from the field and 46.7% (7/15) from behind the 3-point line. At half-time, the Warriors led the Kings 56-36.

The Kings came out hot in the third quarter by going on an opening 8-0 run to start the period. As the Kings attempted to fight their way back into the game, Golden State kept finding ways to score and keep the Kings at bay. At the 2:28 mark, Klay Thompson hit a 3-pointer followed by a Kings turnover that set up another Thompson 3-pointer. Sacramento never recovered from that sequence.

In the final quarter, both coaches went deep into their rotations to finish up the game. For the Kings, there was the first Jimmer Fredette sighting of the season. The Kings closed up the score but still lost 98-87

The Kings finished the game with a 34.5% (30-87) field goal shooting percentage. No matter what else you do, a team cannot win shooting 34.5%.

On defense, the Kings allowed the Warriors to shoot 51.3% (39-76). Sacramento allowed the Clippers to shoot 50% from the field on Friday night. The Kings cannot allow opponents to shoot that well and expected to win.

The one highlight of the game for the Kings was the play of rookie Ben McLemore. McLemore scored 19-points in 30 minutes of playing time. He also pulled down four rebounds, blocked two shots and added one assist. McLemore may have earned more playing time for himself with his performance against the Warriors.

The Kings will take Sunday off and return to practice on Monday. Their next game will on Tuesday when they host the “new look” Atlanta Hawks at Sleep Train Arena.

For 49ers reinforcements coming soon

By Gabe Schapiro

Despite having a couple of shaky weeks, the San Francisco 49ers (6-2) are having another strong season. They sit in second place in the NFC West, just one game behind the Seattle Seahawks. They have some tough matchups left on their schedule, but the good news is that they have some reinforcements coming.

Before the season even started they were dealing with several major injuries to some key players on their roster, and during the season have dealt with some other odd circumstances that have kept a couple players from being active. While others have stepped up and compensated well, several of those players are on their way back and could be contributing to the stretch drive sooner rather than later.

In Week 16 last season wide receiver Mario Manningham tore his ACL and PCL. It’s been a long road back, but he has now resumed practicing with the team and is tentatively expected to make his return in Week 10 against the Carolina Panthers. While he isn’t a huge difference maker, he could bring a much-needed boost to a passing attack sorely lacking in weaponry outside of Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis. San Francisco should remain a run-first time, but adding another weapon or two for Colin Kaepernick to utilize should help keep defenses honest.

Cornerback Eric Wright was signed in early August, but has spent the last six weeks on the non-football illness list. He was recently cleared to resume practicing, however, and could be activated shortly. The 49ers secondary has been very good so far this season, and represent the third best defense against the pass in the NFL this year. With that said, however, having more depth is never a bad thing. Wright has had his fair share of off the field problems, but there is little doubt that he is still a talented player.

In terms of making a larger impact, the return of star linebacker Aldon Smith appears to be imminent. Smith last played in Week 3, but has been in rehab since. The hope is that he has dealt with some of his internal demons, and has been activated from the reserve/NFI list. The return of Smith, one of the best pass rushers in all of football, could be a huge boon for the an already strong 49ers defensive unit. Despite having only played in three games this season, he still leads the team in sacks with 4.5. It is still uncertain whether he will make his return in Week 10 or 11.

Looking a little farther down the road, Michael Crabtree remains on track to return in a few weeks. Last season he was easily the best receiver the 49ers had, and his return could be huge for the offense. He is truly a game changer, and the plan for now seems to be to ease him back into action with the hopes that he can be as close to 100% as possible come playoff time. In the span of a few short weeks a sluggish passing attack could take on an entirely new look with the additions of Crabtree and the aforementioned Manningham.

It’s impressive how the 49ers have managed to adjust to having several of their key players out for extended periods of time this season. If they can get all of these players back to full strength soon, they will once again pose a scary foe for any opponents as they make another playoff run.

Bulls handled by Eagles, lose 6-2

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By Kahlil Najar

LOVELAND, Colo.  – The San Francisco Bulls (2-3-1-0) lost to the Colorado Eagles (4-2-0-0) 6-2. The only highlights for the Bulls were that Dale Mitchell and Mark Lee extended their four-game point streaks while on the other side of the puck, Kyle Ostrow recorded a hat trick for Colorado.

The Eagles controlled the first and second period of the game as they went up 4-0 on a pair of goals by Kyle Ostrow and individual goals by Ray Sawada and Trent Daavettila. The only highlight of the first two periods for the Bulls was when goalie Tyler Beskorowany stopped Kevin Ulanski’s short-handed penalty shot attempt with 1:38 left in the first period.

Dale Mitchell put the Bulls on the board, 4:43 into the third by beating Eagles netminder Marc Cheverie and make it only a 3 goal lead but then Alex Hudson scored his first goal of the game to bring it to a four goal lead again. Kyle Ostrow then netted his third goal of the game and made it a 6-1 lead for the Eagles. Mark Lee scored on a power play with 5:42 left in the game but by that time it was already too late and the Bulls fell to the Eagles 6-2.

The Bulls wrap up the finale of the three-game series against Colorado tomorrow at 6:05 p.m.

Kings Fall to Clippers 110-101

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By Charlie O. Mallonee

The LA Clippers came to call on the Sacramento Kings Friday night. It would have seemed to be perfect timing as the Clippers had a home game on Thursday and then had to face a road game the next night. The timing did not work out for the Kings as the Clippers came out shooting at 50.0% from the field and won the game 110-101.

The Clippers came out in the first period looking like a team that was coming off a day of rest rather than playing game two of a back-to-back. The Clippers outscored the Kings 24-22. The Kings shooting left something to be desired as they shot just 38.1% from the field. Isaiah Thomas came off the bench to spark the Kings and keep the game close.

The Clippers started off the second quarter with a 9-0 run over the Kings. Just when it looked like the Clips would run away with the period, Isaiah Thomas brought the Kings back to life, but the Kings poor shooting allowed the Clippers to open up a 10 point lead. The Kings brought the game back into the paint and cut the LA lead to three with 4:26 remaining in the quarter. The Clippers used an improved shooting percentage (47.5%) to open up a 54-45 halftime lead.

The Kings shot just 38.1% (16-42) from the field in the first half. Isaiah Thomas led the Kings with 12 points.

The Clippers started off the second half much as they did the first half. Chris Paul put LAC on the board with back-to-back jumpers and strong shooting from the field (51.1%) kept the Clippers on top opening up a lead of 13 at the 7:41 mark. Following a three point play by DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings came back to life cutting the Clippers lead to 68-60 at 5:38. Isaiah Thomas came off the bench at 4:35 and sparked a charge that cut the LA lead to two with 1:25 to play in the quarter. A Travis Outlaw put back of a Cousins shot at the buzzer made it LAC 79 – Kings 77 after three periods.

A Jason Thompson field goal opened the final period tying the game at 79-79. The quarter quickly became a game of outside shooting and free throws. The Clippers would threaten to pull away and then the Kings would find an answer to keep the game close. Sacramento tied the game at 90 with a circus shot from Isaiah Thomas. The Kings took the lead at 6:43 on a Jason Thompson lay-up, but the hot LA shooting kept putting the Clippers back into the lead. DeMarcus Cousins picked up a technical foul at the 2:48 mark and gave LA a three point lead.  The game remained close, but in the end the Kings could not overcome the Clippers 50.0% shooting from the field. The LA Clippers won the game 110—101.

The Kings fell to 1-1 on the young season. They now face their first road contest of the year in Oakland versus the Warriors on Saturday night.

Isaiah Thomas led all scorers with 29 points. DeMarcus Cousins added 24 and Marcus Thornton put up 17 for Sacramento. Chris Paul led the Clippers with 26 points. Blake Griffin posted 20 along with Jamal Crawford’s 18.

The key to the Clippers win was their shooting percentage. When a team shoots 50.0% (35-70) from the field and shoots 50.0% (12-24) from 3 point range, it becomes almost impossible to defeat them. The Clippers could not be defeated on Friday night.

Notes: The Kings on Thursday declined to pick their option on Jimmer Fredette for the 2014-15 season. The move will make the former first-round draft pick an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. Fredette will be free to negotiate with any NBA team including the Kings for next season. The move may also mean that Fredette will not finish the season in Sacramento as his now expiring contract becomes a desirable piece in possible trades with teams looking to free up salary cap room. Fredette did not play in the season opener versus Denver… The Kings had two additional players that were eligible for deals on Thursday, Greivis Vasquez and Patrick Patterson. The team declined to offer either player an extension, but Kings can make both players restricted free agents at the end of the season … The Kings travel to the Bay Area on Saturday night to play the Golden State Warriors for the first time in the regular season. The Warriors will make their first appearance in Sacramento on Sunday 12/1 … The Kings won the season series versus the Warriors in 2012-13 3-1 … Because of the many connections between Sacramento and Golden State, the Kings are anxious to eliminate the references to “golden state light” that some have made about the team.

Oakland host Philadelphia Sunday looking to reach .500

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By Joe Hawkes-Beamon

OAKLAND — After gutting out a 21-18  home victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday, the Raiders can reach the .500 mark with a win over another team from the Keystone State, when they host the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday at O.co Coliseum. This will mark the fifth straight sellout for the Silver and Black this season.

The game will be seen locally on Fox KTVU Channel 2 in the Bay Area.

Terrelle Pryor took the first snap of the game and blazed past a slow and old Steelers defense for a 93-yard touchdown. Pryor’s touchdown run was the longest in NFL history by a quarterback, and broke running back Bo Jackson’s franchise record 92-yard touchdown run set in 1989.

Running back Darren McFadden played a key role in the running, racking up 73 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries.

But the strength of the team was the play of Oakland’s (3-4) 10th ranked defense. Oakland’s defense limited Pittsburgh (2-5) to 276 yards of total offense and intercepted Ben Roethlisberger twice and sacking the Steeler’s quarterback five times.

Philadelphia (3-5) is coming off a 15-7 home loss against NFC East rival, the New York Giants. The Eagles looked inept on offense, and was nearly shutout by the Giants if it weren’t for an Eagles’ touchdown on special teams late in the fourth quarter.

Nick Foles, who has been cleared after suffering a concussion against the Dallas Cowboys two weeks ago, is expected to start for Philadelphia in place of Michael Vick. Vick left last weekend’s game  with a pulled hamstring after passing for 158 yards. Third-string rookie quarterback Matt Barkley finished the game for Philadelphia.

Let’s face it, the Eagles are a bad football team that has been playing musical chairs at the quarterback position. Oakland should feed off from a strong defensive effort and raucously loud crowd against Pittsburgh, and continue that intensity against Philadelphia.

.500 mark for Oakland? Could be in the cards.

Reddick Surgery a Success

 

Josh-ReddickBy Charlie O. Mallonee

Oakland Athletics’ outfielder Josh Reddick has undergone successful surgery on his injured right wrist that plagued him throughout the 2013 season.

The surgery was performed at the Newton Wellesley Hospital in Newton, Massachusetts by Dr. Mark Belsky. Dr. Belsky performed a TFCC debridement of Reddick’s right wrist. Reddick is expected to be fully recovered by the start of Spring Training in February.

The injury forced Reddick to disabled list twice during the 2013 season. He first went on the DL from May 7 to 30 after batting just .152 to begin the season. Reddick hit .287 after returning from the DL but the nagging injury continued to bother him – especially at the plate where he was hitting .213 overall. The second stint on the DL ran from August 26 to September 10. Reddick hit .304 in his final 17 games.

The A’s are hoping that the surgery will allow Reddick to come out of the gate 100% healthy to begin the 2014 season.

Major Track Championships coming to Sacramento

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By Charlie O. Mallonee

USA Track & Field has selected Sacramento as the site for the 2014 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The championships will be held June 26-29, 2014.

Sacramento was the site of the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Trails for Track & Field before losing the event to Eugene, Oregon. Sacramento recently hosted the 2011 World Masters Championships, 2010 USA Masters Championships and the 2010 Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships.

Cal State University Sacramento’s Hornet Stadium will serve as the facility for the event as it was for the Olympic Trails. A new $1.2-million track will be installed for the championships.

“Sacramento has a tremendous track & field culture and we are very pleased to be returning in 2014,” said USATF CEO Max Siegel. “The fan support in the region is fantastic, and the weather conditions serve sprinters, field event athletes and distance runners alike. We look forward to another successful partnership with the Sacramento Sports Commission.”

“I’m thrilled to welcome Track & Field back to Sacramento,” said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.  “Sacramento has some of the most passionate sports fans in the United States and I have no doubt that this community will support the event and the athletes like no other region in the country could.”

The Sacramento Sports Commission will serve as the organizing committee for the 2014 event.

Bulls fall 4-1 in Colorado

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By: Phillip Torres

October 30, 2013

LOVELAND, COLORADO-The San Francisco Bull (2-2-1-0) were defeated by the Colorado Eagles (3-2-0-0) on Wednesday night at the Budweiser Events Center.

Colorado came out on fire in the period. The Eagles got on the bored first with a goal by Luke Fulghum. the score came at 2:10 in the first period and put the Bulls in an early hole. The score remained 1-0 Colorado heading into the first intermission.

San Francisco tied that game at one goal apiece in the second period. Dean Ouellet and Mark Lee earned the assists on a goal made by Dale Mitchell at the 4:35 mark in the period. The score remained tied until less than two minutes left in the period. At 1:55 Colorado regained the lead with another goal from Fulghum, it was his second of the game. The Eagles went into the second intermission and third and final period with a 2-1 advantage.

The Eagles scored two more goals in the final period to end the game with a 4-1 victory. The goals were scored by Kevin Ulanski and Kyle Ostrow.

The Bulls will be back on the ice on Friday against Colorado once again. The puck will drop at 6:05 pm.

Philip Torres covers the Bulls for Sportsradioservice.com

Not Quite Right: Sharks Fall to Kings in OT

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By Mary Walsh

LOS ANGELES-

We don’t like the way things ended last year, and we want to try and set things right tonight. -Patrick Marleau, to CSNCA during warmups

It looked like the Sharks were ready to do just that when Logan Couture found Marc-Edouard Vlasic pinching in deep, after getting a quick look at the play. Vlasic’s goal gave the Sharks a lead just 13 seconds into the game. The Sharks looked poised to play a slippery, unpredictable game. In the end, the Kings won in an entirely predictable fashion for them: by taking away the Sharks’ time and space with relentless physical play. After trailing by a goal three times, the Kings won 4-3 in overtime.

At 2:32 of the period, a miscalculation by Matt Irwin in the Sharks’ zone ended with a failed breakout. Justin Williams took advantage and sent the puck back up to Drew Doughty, who tied the game with a snap shot.

The game was Martin Havlat’s first back with the team after a lengthy recovery from off-season surgery. He started on a line with Joe Pavelski and Tommy Wingels. That line produced the Sharks’ second goal. As the Kings were exiting their zone, Pavelski and Wingels converged between Kings, stole the puck, and a quick back and forth between them ended with a patient shot from Pavelski to give the Sharks a 2-1 lead. Wingels and Havlat had a 2 on 1 chance on their next shift. The line looked very much in sync.

The Sharks started the second period with several good chances from the Pavelski and Desjardins lines, but on the Kings’ first good shift of the period, the Kings took the puck from Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart with a hard hit. The home team took over and Jarret Stoll scored off a deflected shot from Slava Voynov.

Antti Niemi added a little surprise move when he came out above the faceoff circle to prevent a dangerous breakaway by the Kings’ Stoll. Near the Kings’ blue line, James Sheppard tried a pass to the slot, but Stoll blocked it and went other way. He had a step on everyone. Niemi’s pass moved the puck to safety, though it bounced meekly back into the Kings’ zone. That pass was more successful than half the Sharks’ passes in the second. Good pressure from Los Angeles rushed the Sharks skaters and led to several giveaways.

Neither team allowed many good second chances, though the Sharks’ fourth line had a few in the middle period. A lot of physical play was the key, and Mike Brown certainly helped there when he got near the net.

A too many men penalty with just over six minutes left punctuated a lack of poise from the Sharks. That penalty kill seemed to help the Sharks briefly regain their focus.

The Sharks caught a break in the form of a goalie interference call against Kyle Clifford at 17:22 of the second period. After some rapid-fire puck movement from the Sharks’ power play, Logan Couture gave San Jose the lead.

The fourth line followed up with a very good shot from Desjardins that just trickled wide of the Kings’ net. Play went the other way, and the Kings answered with a great steal off Justin Braun by Dustin Brown just ahead of the goal line. The Sharks collapsed to the slot before he could get a shot off.

The Kings got their own goalie interference power play not long in to the third period. The Sharks had some close calls and had to make several very quick adjustments to protect their lead while Tommy Wingels was in the box for falling over Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick.

By the middle of the third, the Kings looked like the fresher team, though they had played the night before. The Sharks were scrambling and were called again for too many men on the ice. A beautiful play by Anze Kopitar was too much for San Jose’s penalty kill, and Justin Williams tied the game again.

Momentum shifted when Kings forward Dan Carcillo hit Logan Couture from behind and went to the penalty box for boarding. The ensuing power play for San Jose was fiercely defended by the Kings. There would be no extended passing plays now. The Sharks adjusted, coming up with some fast plays and faster shots, but still didn’t score.

The Sharks stretched out the last seven seconds of the period by icing the puck again and again. The clock ran out and the teams went to overtime.

Less than a minute into overtime, the Sharks went back on the penalty kill. The Kings had a relentless shift in the offensive zone, which ended when Justin Braun hooked LA’s Jeff Carter, possibly preventing a shot puck but taking the penalty. Neither team looked especially fresh during the four on three power play, but the Kings had plenty of room to work with. With 22 seconds left in the four on three power play, Anze Kopitar slapped the puck in from the blue line to give the Kings the win.

Talking about what he needed to do in his first game back, Havlat mentioned a couple of things that the whole team might have done to improve the outcome Wednesday night:

I just have to keep it simple, not try to do too much… I’m just trying to focus on the little things and not think too much. -Martin Havlat to CSNCA during first intermission

The Sharks next play on Saturday, back home at SAP Center in San Jose.