IN THE WAKE OF THE WEEK: Panthers declawed, Karl keeps crown
Most thought it was Carolina’s chance to shine on the big stage. The Broncos had all the answers in their 24-10 victory. It was not a Peyton Manning masterpiece, although he did go 7-for-9 in passing in the first quarter. Most may have underestimated the Denver defense that scored points and suffocated Cam Newton. If this was Manning’s last tilt, he went out in style. On the other hand, the downcast and dejected Newton was left to utter, “They played better than us.” It was a marked contrast to what we had seen from the Panthers all season. Denver concocted the formula for victory.
BY GEORGE, HE HANGS IN THERE: After a week of tumult and second-guessing, George Karl received a vote of confidence from Sacramento Kings General Manager Vlade Divac. On the ropes prior to another loss in Boston, he received a noontime call on Tuesday from Divac. George thought it was his dismissal call, but it turned in a different direction. He noted to the press, “My world is basketball, the gym and players. Your world is interpretation, innuendo and gossip. I am not into it.”
SULLIVAN LEADS PENGUINS BACK FROM THE DEAD: Mike Sullivan, former San Jose Sharks forward, has led the Pittsburgh Penguins back into the playoff picture. His steady, but firm hand has witnessed Sidney Crosby get his hands back with an excellent scoring streak after a dreadful start that saw him miss the All-Star Classic two weeks ago. Sullivan is a demanding coach, but the results speak for themselves. A soft, but effective demeanor during his playing days has been transformed into great results behind the bench. Watch for the Pens to continue their improved performance into April.
GOLDEN STATE KEEPS MARCHING: Another successful week by the Bay. The Warriors inch closer to several league records. They are dangerously close to most consecutive home wins in league history. Curry is four games away from eclipsing the NBA record for most consecutive 3-point games. They are on track for most wins in a season. On a 11-game win streak going into the All-Star break. This is the best and most entertaining team in pro sports. With the NFL on break, the world is left to focus on Golden State. A 3-0 week with an eight point win at home versus a strong Oklahoma City squad. The only thing missing was blowouts. Some big road games on the horizon with few games at Oracle. The next six contests are away from home. The march continues.
NU SKI GIRLS SHINING: With a Feb. 19 season finale showdown looming large on the horizon, NU’s girls slalom team is but three points behind Davis for the CNISSF Division II Championship. Led by Sarah Brennan, Zoe Cohen, and Quinn Heppe, they tore up the slopes on Monday at Boreal. They placed third, sixth, and tenth respectively. The big race at Sugar Bowl on Friday is pivotal. A good day could bring Nevada Union the regular season championship.
RAIDERS WILL CONTINUE PILLAGE IN OAKLAND: Well, it is only for one more year, but the Raiders came to terms with O.co Coliseum for at least one more year. Swan song or tale of things to come? No one knows at this point. The Raiders were once part of the three team sweepstakes to go back to Los Angeles. Only the Rams opted out and moved to the City of Angels. The Raiders do have a two year option to play at the worst stadium in the NFL. For now, it is a reprieve for Bay Area fans. Only time will tell if the Raiders switch shop to another city.
BELT IN THE FOLD: Brandon Belt is back with a one-year deal worth $6.2 million. He avoids arbitration, asking for $7.5 million. A healthy Belt could be a large plus during a decade where the Giants have not lost a World Series in even years. A well-known and respected Nevada County Superintendent has already staunchly predicted that the Giants will go all the way in 2016. Belt is an important part to that puzzle!
TOUGH WEEK FOR NU BOYS HOOPSTERS: Once anchored into the third place slot in the tough Sierra Foothill League, the Nevada Union boys suffered tough losses to No. 1 Folsom and Granite Bay on the road. On Senior Night, Rocklin prevailed in a see-saw battle. They have slipped to the fourth and final playoff spot with their final tilt on Tuesday at Woodcreek. The Menary boys will need to shine brightly in this final game…and beyond.
KINGS DIGRESSION: Two weeks ago they had the eighth spot in the West after a five-game win streak. Now, they are 2-8 in their last 10. Yahoo! Sports listed them as the second most entertaining team this week as a result of all the dysfunction. Is the ouster of Karl the cure or can the defense step up? A Wednesday win in Philadelphia gives hope. However, the Kings were hard-pressed to overcome a 12-point deficit entering the fourth quarter. Too much controversy in Sac town between players and management. Someone needs to orchestrate the formula for greater harmony, and success.
SKATING HOME: The San Jose Sharks finished a four-game road trip at 2-2-0. They still have the best road record in the Western Conference of the National Hockey League. In Thursday’s 6-5 home loss in a shootout, they came back from a 4-1 first period deficit. However, back-up goaltender Alex Stalock remains suspect. He is laboring through a tough season. On the other hand, starting goaltender Martin Jones has kept the Sharks in many games. The loss to Calgary could have been avoided. The Sharks salvaged one point, but failed on a 5-on-3 full two minute man advantage late in the game. They hold on to the No. 2 spot in the Pacific Division, but need to make more significant headway, especially at home, in the remaining games. Watch for some activity at the trade deadline to secure another defenseman. Failure to make the playoffs or even to perform well in the post season may lead to a big shake-up in San Jose.
Jim Adams is a regular contributor to The Union. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Little League District 11 postseason is off to a hot start.