Warriors own the glass in win over Thunder


Warriors own the glass in win over Thunder


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Even as Oklahoma City stumbles into the All-Star break, Kevin Durant insists it's far too soon for the Thunder to worry.That, says Durant, would only complicate things."We can't panic at all," said Durant after scoring 29 points in a 100-94 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday night. "If we do that, then that's when we'll really start to go downhill. We have to keep it positive, continue to keep working every day and learn from our mistakes."The Thunder made plenty of mistakes against the Warriors, a growing concern for a team that went into the night as the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference behind the Spurs and Lakers. NBA STANDINGS
Five days after an overtime home loss to Memphis and one night after having to hold off lowly Sacramento 99-97, Oklahoma City committed 20 turnovers, had only two offensive rebounds to 20 for Golden State and were outscored in the paint 44-28.
That wound up being the difference as the Warriors led the entire fourth quarter and responded nicely following their 24-point loss to Phoenix on Thursday.RECAP: Flat Warriors run through by Nash, Suns
"We knew we had to rebound ... to have a chance," Golden State coach Keith Smart said. "We couldn't give up second-chance points. Our guys did a great job of going to the glass early."Monta Ellis had 32 points, David Lee added 23 points and a season-high 19 rebounds and Stephen Curry scored 23 points and had a season-high 13 assists to lead the Warriors to their sixth win in seven games.Oklahoma City, the NBA's fifth highest-scoring team going in, failed to reach 100 points for the second consecutive night after hitting triple digits in its previous seven games.The Thunder's 20 turnovers, three shy of their season-high, led to 20 points for the Warriors."I blame it on me," said Russell Westbrook, who had 21 points and five assists. "I've been not taking care of the ball and it's been rubbing off on my teammates. I have to figure out how to take care of the ball and make smart decisions for my teammates and not put them in bad situations."Like Durant, Westbrook shrugged off the Thunder's recent stretch of games as a minor bump in the road. Oklahoma City has one more home game left before the break."I don't know why it would be panic time," Westbrook said. "All three games, we should have won. We just have to close out games and we didn't do that tonight."Ellis made a 3-pointer, then fed Dorrel Wright for a fastbreak layup to give the Warriors (24-29) a 91-85 lead with 2:31 left. Westbrook then scored on back-to-back trips down the court, and following a bucket by Ellis, Green sank a 3-pointer to pull the Thunder within 93-92.With Oklahoma City focusing its defense on Ellis and Curry, Reggie Williams buried a 3-pointer with 47.2 seconds remaining to bring the sold-out crowd at Oracle Arena to its feet. After Durant made two free throws, Curry drove the lane, then dished to Lee under the basket for a game-sealing dunk.Curry's 13 assists were a season high for Golden State. He also didn't turn the ball over, a notable achievement for the second-year guard."Everything felt good out there," Curry said. "I was composed and if I got myself into tough situations, I was able to get out of there. It was a matter of being aggressive, but staying smart about it."The 23 points are Lee's most since he had 31 in a loss to San Antonio on Jan. 24. Since then, the Warriors' prized offseason acquisition had been in a scoring slump and was averaging only 14.1 points in his previous eight games before busting out against the Thunder.Oklahoma City (34-19) struggled offensively and looked out of sync most of the night while playing in the second half of a back-to-back. The Thunder beat Sacramento 99-97 on Saturday, then made the hour-long trip south to Oakland for the nationally televised game against the Warriors where they came up short most of the night.Smart preached to his team before the game about containing Durant, but the Thunder's All-Star selection had nine points in the first quarter while Westbrook sat on the bench saddled in foul trouble.Smart's message to his players kicked in in the second quarter as Durant scored just two points and took only two shots.Westbrook took over, scoring the final nine points of the half for Oklahoma City but Golden State closed out the second quarter with a 10-4 run to take a 47-43 lead into halftime.The Thunder briefly led in the third following a 3-pointer from Westbrook, but Curry and Lee combined for 10 points apiece, 14 of the Warriors' last 17 points, to help Golden State increase its lead to eight points.Notes: The Thunder are 6-4 the second night of back-to-backs. ... Oklahoma City F James Harden left the game with a lower-back injury in the fourth quarter after he fell to the floor after getting the ball stolen by Ellis.

Ratto's Top 25: Missing O/U forgivable when holding Stanford to five points


Ratto's Top 25: Missing O/U forgivable when holding Stanford to five points

Friday's Cal-Oregon game took four hours, 18 minutes to play. It had 203 offensive plays. It saw 101 points scored (no big deal) and covered a 90-point over (very big deal). In other words, it was not much enjoyed except by the noted torturer Sonny Dykes, whose team is winning by an average score of 44-41.

Or, for context, roughly three quarters of Oklahoma-Texas Tech.

Fortunately, the Pacific 12 Conference is running a stealth league this year, and Cal will play this coming Thursday night at USC, which means that while they may not beat the 90, they have an excellent chance to beat the 4:18 and both irk and exhaust the fan base one more time.

And now, the things that matter.

1. COLORADO (6-2, 8-0, 3-5): Stanford scored five points. Five. Half of ten. One fist. FIVE, FOR GOD’S SAKE! Oh, and missing the total (50) by five touchdowns is forgivable in this case, because anyone who thought this game was hitting 50 is too unstable to have money.

2. CHICAGO CUBS (playing through the acrid fumes of a town set ablaze by happy drunks): Win a World Series before you pop off, you maniacs.

3. CLEVELAND INDIANS (playing in a town spoiled by championships): The over/under on relievers used per game in the World Series has been set at 9½.

4. TEMPLE (5-3, 7-1, 5-3): A much different team than the one that lost on opening day to Army (which had seven turnovers Saturday), which lost to North Texas, which lost to SMU, which lost to TCU, which never covers.

5. EASTERN MICHIGAN (5-3, 7-1, 3-5): Lost to Western Michigan (8-0, 6-2, 4-4), but had the good sense to ignore the meaningless scoreboard in Kalamazoo for the far more important one in Las Vegas. In other words, simultaneously losing by 14 and winning by 12½ is a good thing.

6. AUBURN (5-2, 6-1, 3-4): Trust is an important thing if you want to bet the Iron Bowl.

7. ALABAMA (8-0, 6-2, 4-4): Like we said, trust is an important thing if you want to bet the Iron Bowl.

8. PATRICK MAHOMES III (52-for-88, 734, 5 TD, 1 INT, 145.6 rating): The Texas Tech (3-4, 5-2, 4-3) quarterback who killed all the video games in the world, broke the Russian hacker network, and still lost by a touchdown. On the other hand, Tech did cover the 16½, and if you had bet the over of 124, you still won.

9. WISCONSIN (5-2, 6-1, 2-5): Cal and Oregon had to cover a 90 total and took all night to do it. The Badgers and Iowa didn’t come close to hitting the lowest total of the day (a pathetic 42½) in a 17-9 win in good weather. Look, fellas, trying doesn’t just mean beating the line.

10. BOWLING GREEN (1-7, 2-6, 4-4): Couldn’t cover against Miami of Ohio. Couldn’t beat Miami of Ohio. Can’t be helped. Can’t be saved.

11. COLORADO STATE (4-4, 6-2, 3-5): Very stealthy cover machine. I say that without knowing a single member of the university – that’s how stealthy the Rams (yeah, that’s it, Rams) truly are.

12. FINLANDIA (1-6): Our favorite vodka-inspired university beat Maranatha Baptist, 27-22, for the Fightin’ Screwdrivers’ first win of the year. Sadly, that is not their real nickname.

13. LOS ANGELES SPARKS (32-11, 21-22, 23-20): Won the WNBA title on a questionable call, which is fine as far as that goes as it didn’t affect the line. But as you can see, not a good team against the number, and barely adequate against the total. If Nneka Ogwumike wants to be remembered as more than a great player and future entrepreneur, those last two numbers must improve next year, She will discover that ABC (Always Be Covering) is not just a slogan, it’s a way of life.

14. NEVADA (3-5, 1-7, 1-7): If you can’t ABC, there’s nothing all that wrong with NBC (Never Be Covering, not our corporate overlords).

15. OREGON (2-5, 0-6-1, 5-2): Another fine example of this phenomenon, until Phil Knight screws up and hires someone who prioritizing the art of covering every once in a while and makes our work more difficult.

16. MIDDLE TENNESSEE (5-2, 4-2-1, 4-3): Boxed Missouri, 51-45, which merits a vote even with the barely adequate record against the line.

17. QI (unbeaten, untied and unscored upon in 13 years): Back on the tube for a new season with new host Sandi Toksvig. And no, I could not be less interested in your quizzical confused-puppy-in-a-rainstorm look. Do your own Top 25 if you don’t like it.

18. NEW MEXICO (4-3, 3-4, 7-0): Bob Davie is rumored to be in on the Notre Dame job, even though he has already been fired by Notre Dame. “Touchdown Jesus bets overs too,” said university president John Jenkins.

19. MONTREAL CANADIENS (4-0-0-1, 5-0, 3-2): All covering matters, even with subpar currency.

20. JACKSONVILLE (3-3): Beat Morehead State, 61-49, and sent its offensive videos to Cal and Oregon, just to show them how it’s done.

21. THE HERITAGE CLASSIC (Calgary at Winnipeg, combined records 3-5-0-1, 2-7, 7-2): It’s going to be 48 degrees by game time Sunday, so what exactly is the point of playing outside if outside isn’t going to make an effort?

22. OREGON (2-5, 0-6-1, 5-2): No total too high to beat, no spread ever achievable. Plus, some games end way after Phil Knight’s bedtime – the next day.

23. BOISE STATE (7-0, 2-5, 2-5): As the Buddhist scholar and lecturer Vernon Wormer once said, “Winning and never covering is no way to go through life, son.” This sort of stuff never happened when Chris Petersen was alive.

24. SAN JOSE SHARKS (3-3-0-0, 1-5, 1-5): The crap record against the line and total belie the fact that in the entirely mythical ESPN Ultimate Standings, L’Ailette jumped 58 places from the year before, when they dropped 57 places. I’d like a job like that, where you just make up standings and rankings while drinking out of a janitor’s pail. Uh-oh, wait. I think I have one.

25. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (1-5, 1-5, 4-2): Speaking of the Ultimate Standings, the data here, being ranked dead last overall, in fan relations, and in the bottom 10 in five of the other nine categories reminds one of the actual line from Sally Field’s 1985 Oscar speech: “I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me.” Only Jed York’s phone autocorrects it from “like” to “hate with a near-solar intensity.”  

But hey, Sunday’s another day, for all the good that’ll get you. Just remember, there are 17 days until the election, and six years, eight months and 23 days before the last of the post-election lawsuits are dismissed as being frivolous, or all the lawyers die. Either way, keep a good thought, and go away.

Cubs' Epstein: 'History doesn't really weigh on this club'


Cubs' Epstein: 'History doesn't really weigh on this club'

The Cubs are going to the World Series.

Yes, you read that right.

The Cubs are going to the World Series.

The Curse of the Billy Goat is broken. 

The 71-year drought is over. 

The truly once-in-a-lifetime moment has finally come to Chicago.

Holy cow.

The Cubs punched their ticket to the promised land with a 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Best Pitcher on the Planet in front of 42,386 fans in the most euphoric moment in Wrigley Field's history.

Theo Epstein's vision is one step closer to coming to fruition.

"History doesn't really weigh on this club," Epstein said before Saturday's Game 6. "Just trying to win tonight's game. 

"These guys - a lot of them are in their early 20s and they're not burdened by that stuff. The organization isn't. It's just about trying to win and keeping it simple."