Seth Curry has career night in loss

by Michael Martinez

picture credit NBAE

SACRAMENTO- The Kings rested their three best players. Rajon Rondo, Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins all sat out Monday night in Portland. With that being said, there probably was not a ton of hope to get a win over the Trail Blazers who are battling for a playoff spot. The Kings lost to the Blazers 105-93.

Surprisingly though, the Kings stayed in the game for the first quarter. Sacramento played well, except Portland could not miss a shot even if they tried.

The Blazers broke it open in the second quarter going up by as many as 16 and shooting slightly over 55% from the field. But the third quarter is where things fell apart for the Kings.

While Portland only scored 23 points, the Kings shot a dismal 25% in the third quarter and scored a measly 11 points. The Kings turned the ball over seven times and could not buy a bucket. The Blazers led Sacramento by as many as 28 points and the Kings never really had a chance.

The fourth was the Kings chance to try and come back but the deficit was just too much, even though Portland shot under 30% in the quarter. Seth Curry scored 12 points in the quarter and finished for a career high of 21. Curry was really the only bright spot as the Kings perimeter defense wasn’t very tough. Portland almost shot 50% from beyond the arc, knocking down 14 shots from the perimeter.

Portland’s Allen Crabbe elicited exactly what the Blazers did tonight. He tied Curry for the game high with 21 points on 8-10 shooting, 3-4 from behind the three point line. The most difficult part of this loss is the fact that Damian Lillard only scored 13 points and the Kings still never had a chance.

Nonetheless, when the team’s three best players are resting, nabbing a victory is going to be pretty difficult. Yet again, the Kings’ defensive woes hurt them as Portland shot lights out.

Omri Casspi had a pretty good game with 18 points. Willie Cauley-Stein added 13 points and grabbed 14 boards as the rookie continues to play well. As the season winds down, this game shows just how important Gay, Rondo and Cousins are to the team. The Kings will take on the Washington Wizards at home this Wednesday at 7 p.m. Hopefully the Kings’ big three comes back and helps them get another win at home.

 

 

 

Michael Duca on Cal basketball

by Michael Duca

BERKELEY–What you want to do is construct a schedule that challenges your team and give it the opportunity to give it different kinds of looks. What a way for Cal (8-3) to rack up a win over the Fresno State Bull Dogs (6-5) an 11 point victory on Saturday night at Haas with a 67-56 victory. It’s silly the way you can beat non-conference teams like this but this is the way you get into the NCAA Tournament.

 

Getting there you need to play North Carolina, Duke, Michigan in the pre season and it really doesn’t matter who else you play you can play 11, 12, 13 non conference games and you want to make sure you win most of them and you want to be sure your team is challenged a little bit in the process. 8-0 at home is good, they lost three away from home not so good but that’s how Cal constructs their pre conference schedule so that their almost entirely at home.

 

The interesting thing is a lot people are wondering how Cal would be this year without Allen Crabbe, without a two time Pac 12 player, who was a good shooter, a good scorer who left early for the NBA and is intimately acquainted with the bench up in Portland now. The answer is their doing just fine the Bears are not relying on just one guy to score for them now their spreading that scoring all around.

 

The Bears had six players in double figures earlier this week against Nevada and three of those players came off the bench. You like to have an eight man rotation that has eight guys that can score in double figures and so Saturday night against the Bull Dogs the Bears spread the scoring around quite as thickly but you did have two guys with double figures in rebounds from Richard Solomon and David Kravish both.

 

One night Justin Cobbs comes and gets you 25 points and the next night he gets eight or nine assists so Cobb can find different ways to adjust his game to what needs to be done on the floor. The conference games will be starting soon enough and there are a lot of very good teams in the Pac 12 this year. Washington is always a tough team for Cal, Oregon is a nationally ranked team, UCLA is a nationally ranked team Arizona is a top ranked team.

 

You have just a variety of squads in the Pac 12 that could give anybody fits on any given night and Cal is always going to struggle when they go to places like Utah or Colorado because of the altitude. It’s going to be a very competitive conference, it will not surprise me Cal in the top second tier after Arizona and UCLA who will be right up there with Oregon.

 

The Cal Bears Tyrone Wallace you look at him on the floor and you think he’s a tweener and it’s the same position that former Bear Patrick Christopher used to play he has the scoring ability to rebound like a power forward with Kravish and Solomon and with that many rebounds to be gathered in right around the bucket and paint he is one of those guys like Kravish was a couple of years ago who has a nose for the ball. I don’t know if Wallace studies and scouts down the other team but he’s got a playbook in his mind where to go on the floor.

 

Michael Duca covers the Cal Bears for Sportstalk Radio each week

Cal plays well, but blinks late in loss to No. 8 Syracuse

By Morris Phillips

Catching the vaunted Syracuse Orangemen a hemisphere away from the Carrier Dome seemed like a good idea for the Cal Bears.

But that’s only if you haven’t checked the numbers: after Syracuse’s 92-81 win over Cal on Tuesday, the Orangemen are a perfect 8-0 at the Lahaina Civic Center, winning Maui Invitational titles in 1990 and 1998.

After beating Cal, No. 8 Syracuse is poised to win a third title, facing Baylor on Wednesday in the tournament’s championship game.  Cal will face Dayton–narrow 67-66 losers to Baylor–on Wednesday in the EA Sports Maui Invitational third place game.

“I thought we played really, really hard, really pleased with the effort,” Coach Mike Montgomery said.  “We had some lapses of things and I don’t think in that level of game you’re going to be able to win if you have lapses.”

In comparison to the Bears loss to Syracuse in last season’s NCAA second round at San Jose, this was a huge improvement for Cal.  Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs played tentatively, and the Bears struggled to figure out the Syracuse zone in a six-point loss that seemed much bigger.  This time, Cal played well in transition, and gave the ‘Cuse a battle, shooting 51 percent and scoring 81 points.

“I thought watching Cal yesterday that their team this year is much better than last year’s team,” Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim said.  “I just think (Jabari) Bird is one of the better freshman composure-wise that I’ve seen.”

The Bears played without center Richard Solomon, who had played 22 consecutive games, but missed Tuesday’s game with an eye injury.  Without their big man, the Bears didn’t back down, getting poised performance by five freshman in their nine-man rotation, and trailing 62-59 with 8:54 remaining when Syracuse pulled away.

“I think the problem was we had some lapses in terms of defense,” Montgomery said.  I think as much as anything, the in-line out of bounds hurt as much as anything.  They probably scored 15 points on in-line out of bounds in the zone.”

Cal was led by Cobbs with 18 points and eight assists.  Bird had 17 points and seven rebounds, David Kravish had 15, and Jordan Mathews 12.  Tyler Ennis led Syracuse with 28 points, and Trevor Cooney added 23.

The Bears outrebounded the Orangemen 30-26, but saw Syracuse shoot 53 percent from the field, and 95 percent from the line, missing just one free throw on the night.

“I like the way we fought without our big guy, Richard Solomon,” Cobbs said.  “I think we played hard and gave them everything we wanted.  Just couldn’t pull it out at the end.”

The Bears fell to 5-1 on the season, and their meeting today with the Flyers provides another opportunity for an significant win as Dayton upset No. 11 Gonzaga on Monday.