IN THE WAKE OF THE WEEK: Durant quiets Thunder; Kings in the mix
DURANT CAUSES MORE PAIN IN OKC: There are “Cupcake” props, boos at each touch of the ball and altercations, but Kevin Durant is the punisher in the Warriors 130-114 win against Russell Westbrook and the OKC Thunder. Durant gets 34 points with nine rebounds. Durant is dominant. Along the way, there is a verbal altercation with Russell Westbrook and a nose-to-nose exchange with Andre Roberson. He is reviled in OKC. However, for the third time this season, he has the final, triumphant word. 373-310 in the three game series. Warriors average margin of victory is 21 points.
OAKLEY/DOLAN FALLOUT: Knicks owner James Dolan announces that ex-Knick Charles Oakley is banned for life from MSG. Dolan goes on TV to assert that Oakley has anger and alcohol issues. Players mock Dolan who owns the team and the building. Warriors Draymond Green proclaims it “slave-owner mentality.” Michael Jordan is brought in to negotiate a truce. Dolan then relents and lifts the ban. It takes on a life of its own and overshadows the week leading to the All-Star break.
KINGS IN THE PLAYOFF MIX?: Yes, we keep getting mixed signals from the Sacramento Kings. However, they rattle off a healthy 5-2 record over the last seven games. The debacle in Oakland is not surprising. They hung in there well until the middle of the third quarter when the roof caved in on them at Oracle. They go more than five minutes without points. The Kings are in the middle of the pack and threatening the eighth spot. I asked a local basketball expert what he thought. His response was, “I don’t see them making the playoffs, especially with DeMarcus leading the way.” Enough said.
WARRIORS AT THE ALL-STAR BREAK: Golden State is 47-9 at the break, a league best. They are first in field goal percentage and points scored. They go into the break with a 109-86 trouncing of the Kings in which they outscore Sacramento 42-15 in the third quarter. They are 8-2 in their last 10 games and lead the Pacific Division by 12 games, San Antonio by four for the top spot in the West. The playoffs are a few months away. That is when it all matters.
PATRIOTIC BOYCOTT?: At last count, six New England Patriots players have voiced that they will not attend the White House Championship celebration. Some say they do not feel welcomed. Others opt to spend time with family. Why do the protests have to be a part of sport? What happened to respect?
SHARKS STILL HAVE STRONG BITE: Brent Burns leads scoring by all defensemen and is right at the top among all players. Patrick Marleau plays his 600th straight game. Joe Thornton approaches 1,000 NHL assists. San Jose remains No. 1 in the Pacific Division. Sharks continue to excel. With the playoffs two months off, get ready to mount the bandwagon.
NO LOVE IN TENNIS: Former tennis pro Doug Adler is fired from ESPN after comments made about Venus Williams in the Australian Open. He speaks of her “guerilla effect.” The network thinks it sounds more like “gorilla effect.” There is outrage and he is dismissed. Now, Adler files a wrongful termination suit claiming “emotional distress” against the cable powerhouse in L.A. Superior Court. Where’s the love in tennis?
CUETO VS. POSEY/CRAWFORD?: Put March 11 on your calendar. The World Baseball Classic is coming. The U.S. faces the Dominican Republic. If it all plays out correctly, Johnny Cueto may be shimmying, shaking, smiling, and facing Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford. It is a first-round match-up in Miami. The pool consists of the US, Dominican Republic, Canada and Columbia. The top two teams advance. Should be some excellent baseball.
SPRING TRAINING IN FULL SWING: It is time for baseball again! By the end of the weekend, all players will report and be in action. Side notes: Dusty Baker still has no closer for the Washington Nationals. Pablo Sandoval, two years into his $95 million contract with the Red Sox, has lost 30 pounds and will have a shot at third base in Boston. Bartolo Colon comes back for another season at age 43 with Atlanta with 233 career wins, 10 away from Juan Marichal and two away from Dennis Martinez as the greatest Latin American pitcher. It is a great time of year.
Jim Adams is a regular contributor to The Union. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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Despite high winds with numerous heat race cancellations on Saturday, the Reno STIHL National Championship Air Races concluded five days of racing on Sunday with the following Gold Championships in six of its seven classes