IN THE WAKE OF THE WEEK: Warriors wilt against Cavs; Kings surge into playoff contention
CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: They trail most of the game to the Warriors. Yet, Golden State sags late and Cleveland wins 109-108 on Christmas Day. Richard Jefferson steps on Kevin Durant’s foot in the closing seconds. Durant loses his balance. The NBA declares that it was a missed foul, but the game is over. It is Cleveland’s fourth straight win over the Warriors. Frustration fills the post-game locker room and Klay Thompson states, “We’re mad, man. The way we lost that game. We gave them a gift.”
GOOD STRETCH FOR KINGS: Sacramento wins four in a row over Portland, Utah, Minnesota, and Philadelphia before stumbling in Portland on Wednesday night. They actually hold down the final playoff spot in the West! Still, they are 17th in field goal percentage and 3-point percentage, 21st in points scored and 29th in rebounds. A lot to work on, but trending positively in the four tight games. If they can hold onto the eighth spot, they would probably face Golden State in Round 1.
RAIDERS WIN/LOSE: No victorious mood in the Oakland locker room after their 33-25 win against the Indianapolis Colts. They open up gaping holes for the run game, create a big lead, and then it all comes crashing down in a heartbeat. Quarterback and MVP candidate Derek Carr breaks his leg in a fourth quarter play. At first glance, their postseason run, let alone Sunday’s game, seems doomed. A steep uphill climb at best. As Carr leaves, the Colts surge and close the gap to 8 before the Raiders pick up a final first down to clinch it. “It is obviously a blow,” quips coach Jack Del Rio.
THANK GOODNESS FOR THE LA RAMS: Chip Kelly goes for broke with a 2-point conversion very late in the game. The 49ers end their skid with a 22-21 win. The 13-game losing streak is over. Colin Kaepernick calls his own number and sprints into the end zone for a successful conversion. The 49ers have won two games, both against the Rams. It is a 15-point comeback in a lackluster contest. As they win, the sideline erupts as if they just won the Super Bowl. However, Sunday’s tilt is against an angry Seattle Seahawks squad.
BROWNS WINLESS NO MORE: Cleveland had not won a game in more than a year. However, they conquer the San Diego Chargers 20-17. They will not go winless. Offensive tackle Joe Thomas offers, “There were a few tears in my eyes. There was a genuine feeling of joy.” They miss joining the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only 0-16 teams in league history.
SHARKS CONTINUE ATTACK: Going into Friday, it is a perfect week again for the San Jose Sharks. Overtime wins by the identical score of 3-2 over Edmonton and Anaheim are highlights. Kevin LaBanc scores the deciding goal vs. Edmonton (his second on the evening) and it is Brent Burns who seals the deal in Anaheim. The Sharks lengthen their lead against both teams and continue atop the Pacific Division.
NEVADA COUNTY STORY OF THE YEAR: The nod has to go to Alexander Rossi and his conquest at the Indianapolis 500. The racing Gods shined brightly on him Memorial Day. Aside from winning the race, Rossi emerges as a great ambassador of the sport. Down to earth, poised, and respectful, Rossi becomes a symbol of sports behavior. He is a man of great character and strength. Subsequently, he gave back to his home, Nevada County. Full marks.
NFL QUANDRY: What to do about officiating. The NFL looks for fixes to the many calls being missed as well as overreaction in ones called. Unflagged hits and phantom pass interference infractions lead the parade. There are also the unnecessary celebrations as well as difficulties with replay that cause criticism. Some call it the No Fun League. The NFL Rules Committee will have their hands full in evaluating the 2016 season.
FINAL THOUGHT: The Nevada Union Miners remain mired in the Sierra Foothill League. A 2-8 football season with no league wins. When will they be liberated into a new league? Maybe in our lifetime.
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