DeSean Jacksons admission that he was saving himself last year for a new contract seems not to have gone over very well. Or very poorly, for that matter. Evidently we have reached the point in human development where the frank telling of an obviously unpleasant truth can sometimes mitigate punishment.The former Cal star who now toils for the Philadelphia Eagles had points deducted for admitting he didnt give his all in all situations in 2011 for fear that it might jeopardize a future contract but got them back by doing what so many other players havent done in similar situations he admitted it.The reaction to this seeming revelation was odd in that it wasnt regarded as a revelation at all. Most pro football observers (as in, people who get paid to watch pro football) felt theyd already observed it and sussed out the reason, thereby making Jacksons admission more pro forma than damning.And while coaches across the country may be swallowing their faces in apoplexy at the notion that an important player admitted he took plays off to protect himself for payday, the realities of professional football have somehow tamped down the level of outrage among those who regard themselves as being in the community.In other words, it went like this:I didnt play hard all the time because I didnt want to get hurt and screw myself out of the new contract I wanted.Well, thats kind of creepy, but I already figured it out, I get why you did it, and at least you didnt lie to me about it.Thats an evolutionary moment of sorts. In the past, Jackson would have been cut, or at the very least suspended (he was deactivared for one game and benched for another), and there would have been a long line of media types who would praise the team for having dealt so harshly with the miscreant. And upon his return, the quote would have been rubbed in his face at every opportunity:Well, I dont know if he went all out for that one, but he has a history of not doing so.Or:He went all out for that one, which he didnt always do in the past.And that part may still happen. After all, the beast must fed, and the beast eats 24752. When the topic of DeSean Jackson comes up, there will be oblique references to the year he played at less than 100 percent commitment and results in 2011.But there are no signs of overt rage anywhere, even in the places where you would expect it most. Say, like Philadelphia, where overt rage is often the first move in a seduction attempt.Oh, there may be some fans who are furious about Jacksons words matching his lack of deeds, and we choose not to generalize where specificity is required. But our search turned up very little public anger about a guy who admitted he let his contract situation and the need to play safe to protect it affect his performance.And were talking here only about the reaction, not the deed. The deed stands on its own, and you can fulminate it as all you want without any help from us.Maybe people have a greater understanding of the short shelf life of NFL players and the hard facts of a game whose dangers typically far outweigh the securities. Maybe DeSean Jackson is just a more charming fellow than most. And maybe its just August fatigue in a football season that now never ends.All we know for sure is this. DeSean Jackson was honest about something players usually are afraid to be honest about and in a business that despises honesty, is not being held to the fire for that forthrightness. I guess hes just the magician who explains the trick afterward everyone likes to be in on a dirty little secret now and then.And we mean now and then in the "not very often at all" way. A steady diet of honesty when it comes to football never seems to please anyone.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com
LOS ANGELES – Once robust, the fabled Warriors-Clippers rivalry is rapidly going the way of the typewriter.
When the Warriors strolled walked into Staples Center Wednesday night and laid a 115-98 mashing on LA, prompting much of the sellout crowd streaming toward the exits in the fourth quarter, it was seventh consecutive time they have throttled the Clippers.
More deflating for the Clippers and perhaps the rest of the NBA is that this much-hyped game, with LA’s new and improved defense ranking No. 1 in the league, was supposed to be more competitive than the previous six losses.
It was, instead, a 17-point victory, the biggest Warriors rout yet.
Though the Warriors shot a respectable 47.7 percent (but only 23.3 percent beyond the arc) and also lost a tight rebounding battle, 46-45, they did most everything else so well the Clippers were done before the first quarter was over.
They had 32 assists and only 11 turnovers. They held LA to 39.6-percent shooting, while forcing 14 turnovers, leading to 16 Warriors points.
“Defensively, that’s where we won the game,” Kevin Durant said.
“If we defend like that and take care of the ball, even on a night when shots aren’t going in, we have a chance to win anywhere,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Even on the road against a great team.”
The Warriors (19-3) locked up star forward Blake Griffin, holding him to 12 points on 5-of-20 shooting – and an unsightly seven turnovers – mostly under the unyielding defense of Draymond Green.
In a game circled on their calendar, the Clippers’ starting five finished with 41 points – less than the combined totals of Klay Thompson (24) and Green (22).
The Clippers (16-7) lost this game on merit, perhaps more than the Warriors won it. Committing nine first-quarter turnovers, which the Warriors turned into 8 points, LA looked like a team that was not prepared to play an NBA game, certainly not under the microscope of national TV.
The game was advertised never materialized, partly because the Clippers were so bad and partly because the Warriors were appropriately ruthless in taking it.
“It happens,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “You go into a game that you really want to do well, things don’t go well for you, and you lose it sometimes.”
Largely thanks to Clippers turnovers, the Warriors smoked LA in paint points, 58-38, as well as fast-break points, 27-11. The Warriors had 12 steals, including a career-high-tying seven by Stephen Curry.
“When we get a steal, especially live-ball turnovers, it’s three-on-one and you’ve got to pick your poison,” Durant said. “We were getting layups, we were getting wide-open 3s – although we missed a lot. But for the most part, when we get out and run that kind of ignites us, no matter if we miss or make the shot.”
So it didn’t matter than Curry failed to make a 3-pointers for only the second time this season, or that Durant endured his worst shooting night as a Warrior, going 5-of-17 from the field.
With Curry, Durant and Thompson all shooting under 50 percent, it was left to Green to operate the efficiency department. He mastered it, going 8-of-10 from the field, including 3-of-5 beyond the arc.
“It was great to get some shots to fall,” Green said. “(My shot has) been feeling good the last couple days, so I said if I got a shot that I would come in aggressive. But still focus in on the defensive end. That’s always my No. 1 focus, especially against a team like this.”
To locate the genesis of the Warriors recent domination of the Clippers, look no further than Green. He suffocates Griffin, who tends to come apart. The Warriors have faced the Clippers nine times since Green was installed as the starting power forward. They’ve won eight of them.
“If you want to take a positive away from this experience, it’s that this isn’t the playoffs,” Griffin said. “So we have some work to do, obviously. It’s a good lesson for us and I think we’ll be better off because of it. We have to allow ourselves to learn from it.”
It’s a theme very similar to that which was expressed the last time the Clippers lost to the Warriors, as well as the time before that, and so on and so on and so on, going back to the days when this was a real rivalry.
The Warriors simply take the W and keep quiet. No gloating. Maybe that will come in the playoffs.
SAN JOSE – Against Ottawa on Wednesday night, the Sharks showed no ill effects from their recent respite. They controlled play in the offensive end for long stretches, earned six power plays, and outshot and out-chanced the Senators for the majority of the three periods.
There was no rust to speak of despite no games since Friday and no practices or meetings on Saturday or Sunday. From the opening puck drop, the Sharks were the better team.
It didn’t earn them a win, though, or even a single point in the standings. Justin Braun couldn’t prevent a bouncing puck from getting past him with about one minute left in regulation of a tie game, and Chris Kelly squeezed a shot through Martin Jones while holding off Marc-Edouard Vlasic. The Sens added an empty netter, beating San Jose for the fifth straight time, 4-2.
Braun offered his perspective of the game-winner.
"It was just bouncing in the neutral zone,” he said. “I feel [Kelly] coming on me, and I'm trying to whack it over to [Joe Thornton and] miss. Miss with my feet. … You want to have that one back. Other than that, I think the boys played pretty well."
While Braun could have played that one differently, the Sharks probably deserved better than to be tied at 2-2 at that stage. They outshot Ottawa, 37-17, and out-attempted the Senators a whopping 78-36.
Despite a strong first period, they fell behind 2-0.
On an early power play, Mark Stone was the beneficiary of a deflected puck in front of the net, when Mike Hoffman’s shot hit both Paul Martin and Brent Burns before squirting to Stone. Erik Karlsson increased the lead to 2-0 with a wrist shot through a screen a few minutes later.
“Take a penalty, they get a lucky bounce, they score a goal, [then] they go up two on a shot through traffic,” Logan Couture said. “I thought we had most of the chances in that first.”
No one had better chances throughout the night than Joe Pavelski, who was the best player on the ice. The Sharks captain was robbed in front of the net twice late in the first period, rang a shot off the crossbar in the second on a breakaway, and in the third his desperation attempt on a loose puck just outside of the blue paint was snared by Ottawa goalie Mike Condon.
Pavelski finished with a game-high seven shots, and 10 shot attempts altogether.
“That’s the way it goes,” he said. “We’ve won games 2-1, 3-2. Tonight we didn’t find that extra one, and some of the chances we had, we have to get it.”
The power play got one in the second period, courtesy of Couture, but could have had more on its six opportunities. That 1-for-6 stood out on the scoresheet to coach Pete DeBoer.
“I thought the power play maybe could have won us the game,” he said.
Even with wins in six of their last seven entering Wednesday night, though, the Sharks are still struggling to score. They have two or fewer scores in eight of their last 11 games, although they’ve managed to go a respectable 6-4-1 over that span.
They continue to get goals from the usual suspects like Couture (seven goals in 10 games) and Brent Burns, who had the game-tying goal in the third period (his fifth in eight games), but the depth scoring just hasn’t shown up nearly one-third into the season. It’s clearly becoming an issue as evidenced by DeBoer’s constantly shuffling his lines, which he did again late Wednesday.
The coach downplayed a suggestion that the depth scorers aren’t holding their water, though.
“We've been managing to find ways to win games and get enough goals to win,” DeBoer said. “Just didn't happen tonight, even though the shots and most of the play was in our favor. We just didn't win."
While the shot and scoring chance discrepancy was encouraging, the last minute loss meant it was all for naught.
“You’re never happy when you lose, especially [when] you give up a late goal, you want to at least get a point out of that game,” Couture said. “I thought we were the better team, start to finish. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t find a way to get the third one.”