IN THE WAKE OF THE WEEK: Good week for the Raiders
RAIDERS CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH: The Oakland Raiders make it to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years! They shrug off two first half turnovers in the red zone and win it again in the fourth. It is San Diego that turns the ball over twice down the stretch. Raiders defense limits San Diego to 263 yards. Oakland beats the Chargers 19-16. If the Chargers move to Los Angeles, it will be a shorter trip… either from Las Vegas or Oakland.
SEVEN OAKLAND PLAYERS PICKED FOR PRO BOWL: They are big reasons the Raiders are back in the playoffs. QB Derek Carr, offensive linemen Donald Penn, Rodney Hudson, and Kelechi Osemele, receiver Amari Cooper, defensive end Khalil Mack, and safety Reggie Nelson allow Oakland to boast the most Pro Bowl selections. By contrast, the San Francisco 49ers have none.
49ERS PASTED IN ATLANTA: It is the worst defense in franchise history. They are last in the NFL in almost every defensive category. On Sunday, they rack up but one first down very late in the opening quarter. They score 13 points by halftime with 0 points in the second half. They allow Atlanta to enjoy a whopping 10 plays of 20-plus yards. Phil Dawson misses an extra point. Final Score: Atlanta 41, 49ers 13. Only two games left with a shot at 1-15.
RICHARD SHERMAN AGAIN: Let’s face it. Some players need to conduct themselves better in public. It is few, but the “few” ruin it for others. Richard Sherman on Tuesday takes on Jim Moore of ESPN Radio in Seattle. When asked by Moore about the Seattle play-calling, the discussion dissolves to Sherman saying, “I will ruin your career. I will make sure you don’t get your media pass anymore.” Unnecessary and inappropriate, but so Richard Sherman.
MCCAFFREY TO SKIP SUN BOWL: As the Stanford Cardinal play at the Sun Bowl on Dec. 30, they will do so without running back Christian McCaffrey. He has begun preparation for the NFL Draft immediately. So much for his concept of “team.” A new trend in NCAA Bowl Games emerges.
WARRIORS ON THE RUN: Some say they are the most exciting team in basketball. Their record speaks for itself, 11-1 in the last 12 games with only three of the wins by less than 10 points. First in field goal percentage with 49.4 as well as points per game with 117. However, fifth in 3-pointers with a 37.9 percentage. They spread the wealth among a talented squad and get the results. Big game Sunday in Cleveland! Plan the meal around it.
WHAT TO DO WITH COUSINS?: It seems like the eternal question. DeMarcus Cousins is an enigma. The New York City bar fight. Leading the NBA in technical fouls. The flying mouthpiece and then the pathetic interview post-game versus Portland. The surly, unsavory demeanor. He is seen as the face of the franchise, but it is an ugly image. Then there is the confrontation with Sacramento Bee writer Andy Furillo. Ailene Voison of The Bee writes, “He bullies everyone. He bullies his coaches, his teammates, team employees and reporters.” Most GM’s around the league are not interested in Cousins because of his adverse behavior. Indeed, what to do with Cousins?
KINGS FAUX PAUS: The Sacramento Kings celebration of outgoing mayor Kevin Johnson goes awry. After Sac City Council members call for the Kings to retire a “Mayor KJ” jersey, it is nixed by Vivek Ranadive and the Kings. It becomes an awkward ceremony. As Ranadive presents Johnson with a special ball (as if he does not have enough already), Ranadive extends his hand but Johnson leaves him hanging. As they pose for pictures, Ranadive is expressionless. As Ranadive tries to embrace Johnson and pat him on the back, Johnson walks off the court. He saved the franchise for Sacramento. The Kings get another moment wrong.
GREAT WEEK IN SAN JOSE: The Sharks are on a 5-1 run. Big wins in Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal. A crucial game in San Jose on Tuesday against the Calgary Flames is a 4-1 conquest. They remain in the top spot in the Pacific Division. The ageless Joe Thornton is a big contributor, but rookie Timo Meier, playing in his first NHL game, nets a beautiful goal in Montreal. Martin Jones plays excellent in goal. The Christmas break finds the Sharks playing hard and shining brightly.
FINAL THOUGHT: Jumbo Joe Thornton plays 1,400 games with 1,364 points for the San Jose Sharks. All-time greatest hockey player in the South Bay. None better.
Jim Adams is a regular contributor to The Union. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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