Urban: Giants' Beltran plays MJ for a day


Urban: Giants' Beltran plays MJ for a day

Aug. 3, 2011


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Mychael Urban

SAN FRANCISCO -- Is he Batman or Robin?Jordan or Pippen?Washington or Adams?Or if you prefer a more genre-specific example: Bonds or Kent?Who, exactly, is Carlos Beltran?That's what we're about to find out.

Maybe it's an unfair question, the answer to which might have been very different a number of years ago. After Beltran got moved from Kansas City to Houston, for instance, he was very much Batman, Jordan, Washington and Bonds. Especially Bonds. Have you seen the guy's numbers in the 2004 playoffs? Under immense pressure as the expected savior of the Astros offense, he banged out 10 hits -- including four homers and two doubles -- in 22 at-bats during the National League Division Series against the Braves, and just for kicks he threw in a couple of stolen bases.With the pressure intensified in the NL Championship Series, Beltran again pounded out 10 hits -- again with four homers, plus a double and four stolen bases -- over 24 at-bats against the Cardinals.Granted, that was seven years ago. Beltran was 27 and in the absolute prime of his career. He's 34 now, with a history of knee issues that have turned one of the best all-around center fielders of his generation into a mere quality corner man. But based on what we've seen over the past several days at AT&T Park, he doesn't appear yet ready to concede that he's Robin, Pippen, Adams or Kent.Shrugging off a slow start that surely had folks wringing their hands over the immediate future of both the Giants and Zack Wheeler, Beltran caught fire when the Giants got home to AT&T Park, rapping out a pair of triples among his six hits in three games against the hot-in-pursuit Diamondbacks, including a monster game Wednesday to help the champs avoid what would have been a seriously disheartening sweep.He didn't go deep, so we can't call him Bondsian just yet. But coming up large when your team absolutely has to have it from you, and when everyone in the crowd is expecting it from you, well, that's at least got a touch of Jordan to it.

NBA Gameday: McGee questionable for Warriors' preseason finale

NBA Gameday: McGee questionable for Warriors' preseason finale

OAKLAND – The Warriors return home for their final tune-up Friday night, when they face the Portland Trail Blazers at Oracle Arena.

With opening night set for next Tuesday at Oracle, the Warriors will try to close out the preseason with six consecutive victories. Their only loss was delivered by Toronto in the Oct. 1 opener at Vancouver.

The game marks the return to Oakland of Blazers star guard Damian Lillard, and also the return to Oracle of ex-Warriors center Festus Ezeli, who signed with Portland in the offseason. Ezeli, however, is recovering from knee surgery and is expected to sit.

The Warriors are coming off a 123-112 victory over the Lakers on Wednesday in San Diego, while the Blazers (4-2) dispatched Utah 88-84 on that same night in Salt Lake City.

The teams engaged in a spirited battle last May during the Western Conference Semifinals before the Warriors prevailed in five games.


Warriors by 9.5


Warriors: F Kevin Durant, F Draymond Green, C Zaza Pachulia, G Klay Thompson, G Stephen Curry.

Trail Blazers: F Maurice Harkless, F Al-Farouq Aminu, C Mason Plumlee, G C.J. McCollum, G Damian Lillard.


Warriors: C JaVale McGee (L knee strain) is listed as questionable. C Damian Jones (R pectoral surgery) is listed as out.

Blazers: C Meyers Leonard (lower back soreness) and G Shabazz Napier (L ankle sprain) are listed as questionable. C Festus Ezeli (L knee surgery) is listed as out.


- Warriors coach Steve Kerr experimented with playing rotations as recently as Wednesday night. With this being the preseason finale, we should get a much better feel for how the coach will stagger starters with reserves. Will he again try to run five reserves at once in the first half?

- The 3-point shots are going to fly. Always do with these teams, but now even more than before, as the addition of Durant gives the Warriors three extraordinary long-range shooters in the starting lineup and a fourth, Green, who is better than average. The Warriors will try to stretch the Portland defense to the breaking point.

- Curry and Lillard seek to bring out the best in each other, and sometimes that’s exactly what happens. But it was McCollum, who in August responded to a fan asking if Curry could guard him, by answering, “Nope.” Will it matter that this is a preseason game?

Injury report: RB Murray questionable, in line to play Sunday

Injury report: RB Murray questionable, in line to play Sunday

ALAMEDA – The Raiders should get Latavius Murray back in time to play the Jacksonville Jaguars.

That’s good news for the running game and the entire Raiders roster, which is surprisingly healthy at this point in the season.

Murray was listed as questionable on Friday’s official injury report but, barring a setback, is expected to play after missing two games with turf toe.

Murray was limited the entire week, but his return to football activity was a productive period.

“I thought he had a good week of practice,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “It was nice to have him back.”

Menelik Watson also returned this week, but was limited in each practice and deemed questionable for the game. He may be healthy enough to be active, but it’s uncertain whether he or Austin Howard will start at right tackle.

There are several examples of the Raiders bringing returners back slowly this season. They could make Watson an emergency option behind Howard in hopes of giving him another week to get back in the swing of things.

While there are key players on injured reserve, there was near-perfect attendance for Friday’s walk-thru practice before the team left for Jacksonville.

Brynden Trawick returned for this light session after missing two heavier days, though offensive tackle Vadal Alexander was considered a non-participant.

Raiders Status Report

OL Vadal Alexander (ankle)
RB Latavius Murray (toe), OL Rodney Hudson (knee), OL Gabe Jackson (knee), RB Taiwan Jones (knee), OT Menelik Watson (calf), OL Jon Feliciano (calf), S Brynden Trawick (shoulder)

Jaguars Status Report

OT Kelvin Beachum (knee), DL Jared Odrick (hip), TE Neal Sterling (foot), TE Julius Thomas (ankle)

NOTE: Jacksonville’s CB Prince Amukamara (hamstring), S Johnathan Cyprien (calf), S Tashaun Gipson (knee), RB Corey Grant (toe), WR Rashad Greene (Achilles), WR Allen Hurns (shoulder), DT Abry Jones (hamstring), G Brandon Linder (foot), DT Sen’Derrick Marks (knee) and OT Jeremy Parnell (hip) did not receive an injury designation, meaning they will play.