Warriors lose heartbreaker to Mozgov, Nuggets, fail to clinch playoff birth

By Gabe Schapiro

The Golden State Warriors (48-29) lost the Denver Nuggets (34-44) in ugly fashion, 100-99, Thursday night, at Oracle Arena. Losing by one point doesn’t look so bad on it’s face, but the Warriors let a 20-point lead slip away, got out-worked for long stretches, were thoroughly dominated on the glass, and couldn’t convert on their first chance to seal a playoff birth. Stephen Curry nearly saved the day with a last-second floater, but wouldn’t be outdone by Kenneth Faried, who followed with one of his own.

The Warriors played well out of the gate. They quickly built a double-digit lead, a lead that grew to 20 just four minutes into the second quarter. From there the momentum swung to Denver’s favor, and for Golden State it all went down hill. The Nuggets kept chipping away, as the Warriors play slipped. Denver finally grabbing their first lead of the contest half way through the fourth.

Curry did his best Superman impression to try and salvage the win, but came up just short. He scored the Warriors last eight points to bring them back, very briefly giving them the lead. The last two of those points were a thing of beauty. With less then a minute to play, Curry somehow came down with a rebound, took it the length of the court weaving through several defenders, and floated a shot over Denver’s big front court. The shot gave Golden State a 99-98 lead with five seconds to play.

Unfortunately for Curry and the Warriors, Faried countered with his best Kryptonite impression. In those five remaining seconds he received an inbound pass, backed down Draymond Green, got up a floater of his own that he would sink to drown Golden State’s hopes for a win.

Faried may have hit the game winner, but the night belonged to Timofey Mozgov. The big center scored 23 points to go along with a career-high, and an NBA-high this season, 29 rebounds. He also had three blocks and a steal. Faried chipped in a big double-double as well, adding 18 points and 17 boards.

In the losing effort, Curry was the standout, but did struggle with his shot for much of the night in the face of heavy pressure from the Denver defense. He had a team-high 24 points, six assists, and four steals. Klay Thompson was their only other consistent offensive option, contributing 21 points.

Unfortunately Golden State’s other three starters had very poor nights. Andrew Bogut, Andre Iguodala, and Draymond Green combined for 14 points, on six-of-15 shooting.

The Warriors will have another shot at clinching tomorrow night in Los Angeles, when they will be facing off with the Lakers at the Staples Center. The game begins at 7:30 PM.

Kings win big in Denver 109-95

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Photo credit: media.corp.yahoo.com

By Charlie O. Mallonee

As the Sacramento Kings prepared to play the Nuggets in Denver, there were a number of questions that needed to be answered. Would DeMarcus Cousins be able to play after tweaking is hip from carrying Kris Humphries on his back during the entire Boston game on Saturday? How would the play in the second game of a back-to-back in the high altitude and thin air of Denver? How would the Nuggets play with only 10 players available? Would any of this prove to be a factor in determining who won the game?

The Kings were able to overcome a four point halftime deficit by scoring 61 points in the second half to down the Nuggets 109-95. The win gave the Kings a two game winning streak and built momentum for Sacramento as they ready themselves for Houston on Tuesday at home.

DeMarcus Cousins was able to start the game and scored 11 points in nine plus minutes of playing time in the first quarter. After some rest on the bench, Cousins added four points in the second quarter for 15 points in the first half. Cousins did not let up in the second half and finished with 27 points while shooting 50% (8/16) from the field.

Rudy Gay posted a double-double for the Kings as he scored 32 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Isaiah Thomas put up 33 points and added six assist.

The Kings jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter, but the Nuggets started using the fast break and pulled up even 27-27 after one quarter of play.

The Nuggets came out strong in the second quarter. After putting an 8-0 run, Denver was able to up its lead to 13 points before the Kings began to work their way back into the game. Sacramento used five rebounds by the newly acquired Reggie Evans and five quick points from Isaiah Thomas to close the scoring gap. At halftime, the Kings had reduced the Nuggets lead to just four points, 52-48.

The one glaring stat from the first half was Sacramento’s 12 turnovers. Coach Michael Malone has been calling on his team to reduce the turnovers and the points off turnovers.

The Kings came out after halftime ready to play. Sacramento went on an early 10-0 run, and it was off to the races. The Kings would go on to outscore the Nuggets 35-18 in the third quarter. It was the play of the big three – Cousins, Gay and Thomas – that was the key to opening the 17 point third quarter lead. Ben McLemore was not scoring but was hustling on defense and contributing to the game.

Denver played better ball in the fourth quarter as the Kings second unit saw more action, but it was too little, too late. The Nuggets outscored the Kings 25-22 in the fourth to make the final score Sacramento 109 Denver 95.

In the postgame press conference, Kings Head Coach Michael Malone was obviously happy with his team and with the win. The one point of emphasis on the negative side was the 21 points scored off 21 turnovers. Malone pointed out that his team would have to do better versus Houston on Tuesday in Sacramento.

Robinson, Nuggets slow down Warriors

By Joe Hawkes

OAKLAND — Nate Robinson scored 24 points off the bench, with 14 coming in the crucial final quarter, and the Denver Nuggets defeated the Golden State Warriors,  123-116 Wednesday night at Oracle Arena.

Wilson Chandler and Ty Lawson scored 22 points each, and Randy Foye added 21 points on 8-for-12 shooting, including 4-for-7 from behind the arc. J.J. Hickson scored 13 points and grabbed a career-high 24 rebounds. Lawson dished out 11 assists.

Denver out-rebounded Golden State 46-24.

Denver (20-18) has won six of their last seven games.

David Lee finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds and Stephen Curry finished with 24 points and seven assists in Golden State’s first game after a four day layoff. Golden State (25-15) hasn’t played since defeating the Boston Celtics last Friday night at home.

Klay Thompson had 21 points on 9-for-19 shooting from the field. Andrew Bogut had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Harrison Barnes scored 15 points off the bench for Golden State, who was 11-1 in their last 12 games.

Speaking of the bench, Golden State acquired swingman shooting guard Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks from the Boston Celtics  as part of a three-team trade Wednesday, according to a report by Yahoo! Sports.

Golden State sent backup point guard Toney Douglas to the Miami Heat, and the Heat sent veteran center Joel Anthony to Boston.

Crawford is averaging 13.7 points per game in 39 games with the Boston Celtics this season and should give Golden State a guy who can create his own shot, not named Curry.

Brooks, a 6’5″ point guard, is a former lottery pick of the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets in 2011 out of Providence.

Golden State is in Oklahoma City Friday to take on the Thunder.

David Lee Erases Pepsi Center Nightmares, Burns Nuggets for 28 Points in 89-81 Warriors Win

By Matthew Harrington

The standings mean little in December, but by grinding out an 89-81 victory over the Nuggets in Denver Monday night the Warriors gained the peace of mind that were the season to end today, they’d be in playing for the O’Brien Trophy. David Lee exploded for 28 points at the Pepsi Center, site of last season’s devastating season-ending injury, to push the Dubs past the Nuggets (14-13) for sole possession of eighth-place in the Western Conference in a rematch of last season’s opening round of the playoffs.

Lee did the heavy lifting for the Warriors (16-13), registering his ninth-straight double-double on a game-high 28 points and 10 rebounds on a night where most of Golden State’s buckets uncharacteristically came from in the paint. In total, just under half (44) of the Dubs 89 points came in the key. The Warriors managed to nail nearly half (7 of 16) of their shots from beyond the arc despite guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combining for only three treys on seven attempts. The pair still managed a healthy 14 and 13 points respectively.

Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov dropped 14 points on the Warriors to accompany his game-high 11 boards. The Nuggets bested the Warriors on the glass, pulling in 47 rebounds to Golden State’s 42.

Ty Lawson, ex-Warrior Nate Robinson and Andre Miller all broke double-digit points marks for the home team.
The Warriors held a decisive 30-22 lead after the first quarter but had to settle for a 47-43 lead after only scoring 17 points in the second. The Nuggets again limited the Warriors to 17 points in the third quarter to end the frame leading the visitors 66-64. The Dubs took control in the fourth, outscoring the Nuggets 25-15 for the 89-81 win.

Golden State next takes the court at Oracle Arena for a Christmas Day showdown with the fourth-place Los Angeles Clippers for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off. The Warriors will look to avenge a 126-115 loss October 31st that saw Clippers point guard Chris Paul torch Golden State for 42 points.

Kings Start New Era with Win!

Denver Nuggets v Sacramento Kings

By Tony Renteria
Sacramento CA: The Sacramento Kings (0-0) opened the 2013-2014 NBA season by hosting the Denver Nuggets (0-0) and holding off a tough Denver squad for a 09-88 win.
This was the first regular season game with the new ownership group and new head coach, The Kings may be turning the corner after the train wreck the last owners left
The Kings Led at the half 48-45 behind some strong inside play by DeMarcus Cousins who led the team with 14 points and six rebounds. Cousins has become the team leader with new altitude and passion. Cousins finished with 30 Points and game high 14 rebounds. This may be the start of an all star run of Cousins.
The Nuggets were led by Ty Lawson’s 20 points .
The Kings next play the Los Angles Clippers at Sleep Train Arena on Friday while the Nuggets host the Portland Trailblazers on the same day.

Kings hold off the Clippers in the Preseason Finale

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By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings closed out the preseason with a 110-100 win over the LA Clippers Friday night in LA. The game was not the most picturesque affair, but it had its moments.

The Clippers came out of the box ready to play. They outscored the Kings 30-20 in the first period.

The Kings came roaring back in the second quarter scoring 37 points to the Clippers 21. Isaiah Thomas led the charge scoring 18-points in just 15 minutes of play.

Sacramento continued to stay hot in the third period outscoring LAC 32-20.

The Clippers made a real run at a comeback in the fourth quarter. They the used the 3-Pointer and Free Throw opportunities in an attempt to cut the Kings commanding 19-point lead down to a manageable size. The Clips topped the Kings 29-21 in the final period but ultimately fell short.

The Kings shot 44.0% (37-84) from the field. They were 7 for 27 (25.9%) from 3-Point land.

Sacramento pulled down 50 rebounds to the Clippers 41. They committed 25 Personal Fouls and 11 Turn Overs.

The Kings defense held the Clippers to just 39.2% (29-74) from the field. Anytime you can hold your opponents under 40.0% shooting, a win is most likely the result.

Isaiah Thomas led all scorers with 27-points. DeMarcus Cousins added 20-points. Jason Thompson was the leading rebounder with eight.

Greivis Vasquez led the Kings with 12 assists. Ironically, he scored no points in his 21:44 of Playing Time.

Notes: Guard Trent Lockett has been waived by the Kings. Lockett made two preseason appearances scoring four points (2-3 FG), gathering in two rebounds and posting one assist in five minutes of playing time. The preseason roster is down to 15 players … The Kings have launched an additional section to their website: www.kings.com/hindi. The site features stories, interviews and player information written entirely in Hindi. Kings Chairperson and majority owner, Vivek Ranadive, who is originally from Mumbai, wants the Kings to establish an international fan base. The new section of the website is the first step in rolling out the global initiative … The Kings will open the 2013-14 regular season next Wednesday night with the Denver Nuggets at Sleep Train Arena. The 7:00 PM tip-off can be seen locally on News 10 and heard on the Sports 1140 – Kings Radio Network.

Iguodala press conference highlights; “we have high expectations”

By Gabe Schapiro

This afternoon new Warrior Andre Iguodala was made available to the media for questions, during which he covered everything from his expectations for this years squad to his sons favorite San Francisco 49er (Colin Kaepernick, for those wondering).

Earlier this offseason Stephen Curry revealed that the team has a wins goal for next season that is written in the locker room, and that the number “starts with a five.” When asked about this goal, Iguodala responded that he has “high expectations for us,” but that he “won’t say too much about wins. I would rather fly under the radar.”

While the buzz would still likely qualify as under the radar, for one of the few times over the last 20 years Golden State begins a season with legitimate playoff hopes and beyond. Iguodala was asked about how that changes preparation, to which he said that it’s “a different type of focus. Everything you do is with a winning mentality.” Along those lines he said that during his career with the Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets he has never been in camp this early, and that the workouts during the offseason were never this organized. It goes a long way towards establishing a “sense of team,” and “building a foundation.”

As that foundation is being built, Iguodala spent a fair amount of time discussing how he has begun fitting in to this new environment, on and off the court. Off of it he said that he has played with a lot of good character guys and with pretty cohesive rosters, but that it has been “even easier with this team.”

On the court, known for his suburb defensive ability, he was asked about adjusting to the Warriors defensive strategies compared to what he was used to in Denver. He responded “it’s not much different” and that it makes for an easy transition because “there are some defensive principles that don’t change. There is no gray area, it’s just plain black and white.”

In regards to the impact he had on a vastly improved Nuggets defense last year, Iguodala remarked bluntly “I would say I had a lot to do with it. I had a lot of responsibility.” He continued that in general “I don’t get enough credit for what I brought to some teams.” He touched on the fact that he will be guarding the opposing teams best player most nights, which was a task issued to Klay Thompson much of the time last season. He said that Thompson is “a better defender than people think,” and that he looks forward to being able to help “take the pressure off of Klay. Let him do more work offensively.”

On the offensive side of his game, he again voiced that the adjustments he has to make are minimal. “If anything to just be more aggressive. Go into an attack style.” His ability to drive the ball and be that aggressive playmaker should open up a lot of looks for the dynamic backcourt of Curry and Thompson. On the topic of having those options Iguodala said, half jokingly, “that will be a little stressful. It’s hard to pick one, both can knock it down.” He added that he is “planning on some high assist nights.”

It was all good news from Golden State’s new swingman, as he seems to be fitting in perfectly. It should be noted, however, for anyone who hasn’t already gotten the public service announcement, don’t call him Iggy, “I’ve never liked to be called Iggy.” More creative and fitting nicknames are sure to come for what appears to be a very exciting group. Expectations are high for this club, and they have the expectations of themselves to match.