IN THE WAKE OF THE WEEK: Can NBA get fan interaction under control?
PATRICK BEVERLY UNDER THE MICROSCOPE — The Houston Rockets guard has a heated exchange with a heckling fan immediately following their 115-113 Game 3 loss to the OKC Thunder. So here comes another investigation stemming from poor behavior. To make it worse, the “victim” appears to be the son of the minority owner of OKC. Not the first time it has happened this season. Can the league ever get it under control?
DALE EARNHARDT JR. TO RETIRE — Earnhardt proclaims, “I want to go out on my own terms.” This will be his last season racing the NASCAR circuit for Hendrick Motorsports. A colorful figure who followed in his late father’s footsteps, he has a future of many options. Hendrick wants him to stay on to work with younger drivers. There is also the possibility of television on the horizon. Regardless, he missed the first half of last season with concussion issues. It was a long and difficult rehabilitation. Even with racing in his blood, it is great to know to retire at the right time.
SHARKS BEACHED IN 6 — After a painful OT session for the Sharks in Game 5, Edmonton finishes the job a week ago with a 2-1 conquest at SAP Center in San Jose. Perhaps Edmonton wanted it more. Or was it a number of key injuries for San Jose? Regardless, the Sharks fail to defend their Western Conference Championship a year removed from the playoffs. A great regular season, San Jose stumbles down the stretch and could not mustard enough on the ice to move on.
MARLEAU/THORNTON PLAY HURT — Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton were two players on which the San Jose Sharks depended in the playoffs. However, Thornton suffers a torn MCL and ACL shortly before the end of the season. Marleau competes with a broken thumb. Thornton defies the injury and plays on. However, Coach Peter DeBoer remarks, “Basically his knee was floating.” Surgery is eminent for Thornton.
NEIGHBORS TO THE NORTH — After being shut out with no playoff teams last year, Canada has but two teams left in the NHL Playoffs. Edmonton enters their series against the very tough Anaheim Ducks while the Ottawa Senators match-up versus the New York Rangers. However, the prospects of the Stanley Cup residing in Canada, something that has not happened since the turn of the century, appear bleak.
WARRIORS BEATDOWN ENDS ROUND 1 — And the Trailblazers thought they had a chance? The Warriors roar out to a 26 point lead in the First Quarter! Curry notches 37 points. Kevon Durant plays a mere 20 minutes. It is a final game of mammoth proportions. On the set of TNT, they chant “1 … 2 … 3 … Cancun” as they reference the end of Portland’s season. 128-103 final and the Warriors move on!
KERR SUFFERING — Steve Kerr still suffers from the bungled 2015 back surgery. So it goes. Neck and back pain are enough to prevent him from being at his best in Round 1. He is missing contests as a result of great pain. Is it time to walk away? Yes, winning is intoxicating, but isn’t long-term health more important. It leaves Assistant Mike Brown to take charge, just as Luke Walton did last year. As the Warriors advance into the 2nd Round, it may be without Kerr.
GIANT MOMENT — Michael Morse, the man who helped propel SF into the World Series with a crucial home run in Game 5 vs. the Cardinals, does the same in his first at bat as a returned Giant in the 8th inning as a pinch hitter on Wednesday night. Simply a mercurial moment! It ties the game 3-3. Alas, a Hunter Pence sacrifice fly in the 10th wins this one for the G-Men. Surely, another memorable at bat for Morse.
RAIDERS LAND MARSHAWN LYNCH — Oakland works a trade with the Seahawks and Lynch comes out of retirement to run for the Raiders. He could earn as much as $8 million this season with incentives. Although his last season was a mixture of injuries and ineffectiveness, the Raiders are banking on their hometown boy bringing some excitement in the backfield.
ESPN DOWNSIZES — Of the 4,000 ESPN employees in Bristol, 100 of them are facing layoffs. They desire reporters who are versatile…cover several sports, active on twitter, involved in other projects. It is a sign of the times. ESPN faces lower viewership and escalating costs. They label it an attempt to remain more competitive. How much will the face of the cable giant change? Time will surely tell.
OBITUARY — Michael Mantenuto who played the role of Jack O’Callahan in the movie “Miracle” has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at age 35 in Seattle on Monday. “Miracle’ chronicled the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team. He had retired from acting and enlisted in the Army.
Jim Adams is a regular contributor to The Union. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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As far as experts go, The Union’s “experts” have not exactly lived up to the billing so far this season.