Giants Insider notes: Nate the Great


Giants Insider notes: Nate the Great

May 6, 2011
Our MLB Insider takes a look at the Giants' 4-3 win over the visiting Rockies on Friday in the opener of a three-game series at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Nate at night: Hoping a return to the shores of McCovey Cove might somehow provide the impetus for an offensive renaissance, the Giants for the first seven innings looked very much like the same tired bunch that scored four runs during a four-game series in Washington, D.C., last weekend. In the eighth, however, a broken-bat blooper by Buster Posey and a clutch two-out double by Pat Burrell set the stage for Nate Schierholtz, who was batting .368 over his previous eight games. Hitless on the evening, Schierholtz put together a gutsy at-bat against Rockies reliever Rafael Betancourt, fouling off a nasty 2-2 pitch before slashing a game-tying double down the left-field line.

Freshening up: Cody Ross, who had scuffled -- 9-for-45 without an extra-base hit -- in his first 14 games off the disabled list, opted for a new look Friday and showed up at AT&T without his signature beard. Perhaps it makes him more aerodynamic, because he came off the bench to pick up that elusive first double of the season to open the bottom of the ninth inning and scored easily when Freddy Sanchez bounced a single up the middle with one out. Like old times: Matt Cain used to be known as much for being a tough-luck pitcher as for having no-hit stuff, but last year the worm turned and he started to get the kind of support from his teammates that turned his gems into wins instead of no-decisions or losses. It's starting to look like the buzzard is back. Cain wasn't exactly lights-out, but he allowed only seven Rockies to reach base during seven sturdy innings on the way to his third consecutive quality start -- only to head home for the night with his second no-decision (to go with a loss) during that stretch. Jump around: Spring training is over for closer Brian Wilson, who spent most of his time at camp in Scottsdale, Ariz., nursing back and oblique issues instead of honing his mechanics and menacing mound presence. So he's essentially been training on the fly, in big-league games, since coming off the DL. As evidenced by his two most recent outings, including Friday's perfect ninth inning, he finally locked into the form that makes the beard so fearsome. Nice tribute: Not long after the 80th birthday celebration for Willie Mays came to a close, the Giants' current center fielder, Aaron Rowand, made a diving catch to end the bottom of the first inning that brought a wide smile to the face of the Say Hey Kid.

Warriors GM Myers shares the one aspect that stood out in loss to Spurs

Warriors GM Myers shares the one aspect that stood out in loss to Spurs

In case you missed it, the Warriors' season opener did not go well.

Final score: San Antonio 129, Golden State 100.

"That was a rough one," Warriors GM Bob Myers said on 95.7 The Game on Wednesday afternoon. "It's hard to evaluate. And I don't want to be critical of the players -- we're all part of it -- but I think effort stands out. I think we were out-competed a little bit. I don't think anybody is gonna run from that statement.

"As you watch any sports event, there are plays that shift the momentum of a game, where it seemed like we were trying to get back in it. And every time we would, they would hit a shot to kind of break our back again, or we would turn it over or there would be a rebound we didn't grab. Some of it is effort, some of it's being ready to play, and then some of it's the Spurs.

"They're good. They don't beat themselves. They never have. You have to beat them ... they earned it, we didn't. And if you wanted a wakeup call, that is about as good of a one as you can get."

The Spurs won the rebounding battle 55-35. They turned 21 offensive rebounds into 26 second-chance points.

San Antonio won the turnover battle (13 to 16), scored more fast break points (24 to 20) and shot eight more free throws (26 to 18) than the Warriors.

Golden State certainly did not look like the overwhelming favorite to win the title, but Myers understands that the team is a work in progress.

"This is the analogy that I think fits the best for me -- may not fit for you guys or the players -- you spend the last 9-10 months trying to climb a mountain, and you're there. You can see it. And you're at the summit, and you can actually see the pole; you can see the flag. And then someone tells you you gotta go back down. And you say, 'Come on, man. It's right there. Can't I just take these last few steps?' And they say it's closed, you gotta go home.

"So we walk down, you spend the whole offseason and you're off that mountain. And now somebody says, 'All right. Let's go.' Those first few steps, sometimes you're not looking at the feet in front of you. You're looking at the top of the mountain and you're thinking, 'Man. I gotta get all the way back up there.' You can't do it that way. You can't look at the top. You have to look at one foot in front of the other.

"And I think some of that will have to be overcome by us -- a team that went to the Finals two years in a row -- recognizing that this is the NBA; you have to play hard; every game does matter; you have to get better. But I think that game last night -- I hope, I think -- reminded our players of that. You can't talk about the playoffs right now. You gotta talk about the regular season. You gotta talk about Friday night in New Orleans."

Walton wins debut as Lakers finish off Rockets


Walton wins debut as Lakers finish off Rockets


LOS ANGELES -- Jordan Clarkson scored 12 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, and the Los Angeles Lakers won coach Luke Walton's debut, holding off the Houston Rockets 120-114 on Wednesday night.

D'Angelo Russell scored 20 points and Julius Randle added 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the young Lakers, who got off to an exciting start in the franchise's first season without Kobe Bryant since 1995.

With a revamped roster coming off the worst season in the 16-time champion team's history, Los Angeles surged in the fourth quarter of an auspicious opener under Walton, the 36-year-old former Lakers forward.

James Harden had 34 points, a career-high 17 assists and eight rebounds for the Rockets, who lost in former Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni's debut on the Houston bench.

The Lakers played an up-tempo, aggressive offensive game under Walton, and nobody seized the moment better than Clarkson, who came off the bench in his first game since signing a $50 million contract. His 3-pointer put the Lakers up 116-112 with 1:48 left, and the Lakers hung on while the Rockets missed a long series of open shots in the final minute.

Brandon Ingram scored nine points in the No. 2 pick's NBA debut for the Lakers. Timofey Mozgov had 12 points and eight rebounds, and Luol Deng had seven points in their Lakers debuts.

After matching the franchise record with 14 first-half assists, Harden tied his career high with his 16th early in the third quarter. The Los Angeles native managed only six points in the fourth quarter, going 1 for 5, and his teammates were a combined 5 for 16.


Hall of Famer Bill Walton proudly wore a purple Lakers T-shirt to his son's official coaching debut. Walton's mother and three brothers also attended the game. "The Walton force will be strong tonight," Luke said with a grin. "There's definitely nerves and excitement right now, but mostly there's no time to think about how incredible this is, and the opportunity. It's more focused on watching film and getting the prep work in for tonight's game."


The Lakers fired D'Antoni after he went 27-55 in 2013-14, the first of a franchise-record three straight non-playoff seasons. When D'Antoni was asked before the game about reflecting on his time in LA, the coach quickly quipped: "I try not to. ... No, I loved it. I actually did. Manhattan Beach is probably the greatest place to stay. Great friends. They treated me nice, (Lakers owner) Jim (Buss) and (general manager) Mitch (Kupchak). It just didn't fit. It just didn't work."


Rockets: Clint Capela, the 6-foot-9 Swiss forward, replaced Dwight Howard in the middle of the lineup.

Lakers: Metta World Peace began his 17th NBA season, picking up three fouls in his first two minutes while guarding Harden. ... Before the game, they solidified their young core by picking up their 2017-18 contract options on Russell, Randle and Larry Nance Jr. ... Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington, director Peter Berg, YG, Kendall Jenner, Karlie Kloss, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver attended the game.


Rockets: At Dallas on Friday in the opener of a home-and-home series.

Lakers: Open a four-game road trip at Utah on Friday.