Game Notes: Sharks vs. Kings, Game 5

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Game Notes: Sharks vs. Kings, Game 5

April 23, 2011

Kevin Kurz
CSNBayArea.com

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Sharks lead best-of-seven series, 3-1

Projected Line-ups

LOS ANGELES

Scott Parse Michal Handzus Justin Williams Ryan Smyth Trevor Lewis Dustin Brown Kyle Clifford Brad Richardson Wayne Simmonds Dustin Penner Jarret Stoll Kevin Westgarth
Willie Mitchell Drew Doughty
Jack Johnson Rob Scuderi
Matt Greene Alec Martinez

Jonathan Quick

Jonathan Bernier

SAN JOSE

Patrick Marleau Joe Thornton Devin Setoguchi Dany Heatley Logan Couture Ryane Clowe Torrey Mitchell Joe Pavelski Kyle Wellwood Ben Eager Scott Nichol Jamal Mayers
Douglas Murray Dan Boyle
Marc-Edouard Vlasic Jason Demers
Ian White Niclas Wallin

Antti Niemi

Antero Niittymaki

Starting Goalies

After struggling through the first three games of the series and in danger of losing his starting job, Antti Niemi responded with a strong effort in Game 4, making 35 saves in a 6-3 Sharks win. Niemi was pulled in favor of Antero Niittymaki after giving up four goals in just over 20 minutes in Game 3, so it was an important rebound effort for the Finland native.

Jonathan Quick will once again start for Los Angeles despite allowing 12 goals in the last two games, although he cant be faulted for many of them. Quicks 3.49 goals-against average and .894 save percentage are slightly better than Niemis 3.63 and .877 stat line.

Previous Games

The biggest question headed into Game 4 was, how would the Kings react to their historic collapse in Game 3? The answer was, not very well. The Sharks jumped out to a 3-0 lead, and although the Kings came back to within a goal after two periods, San Jose took over again early in the third.

The Kings did control Game 2 at HP Pavilion, however, and claimed a 4-0 victory on the Sharks home ice. They will have to duplicate that effort tonight if they want to keep their season alive.

Roster Watch

There arent expected to be any lineup changes for the Sharks, who have gotten contributions from just about everyone since they began mounting their epic Game 3 comeback. In fact, no less than 12 of their regulars have at least two points in the series.

Los Angeles, on the other hand, will insert winger Scott Parse into the lineup according to media reports. Parse hasnt played since November 15, and had a goal and three assists in five games before hip surgery. Parse may take the place of Dustin Penner, who has been a bust with the Kings since arriving via trade from Edmonton.

Whos Hot

Ryane Clowe has seven points in the series, including back-to-back two-goal games, and is tied for second in the NHL in playoff scoring. Joe Pavelski has scored a goal in three of the four games, while defenseman Ian Whites five assists lead the team.

Los Angeles best line in the series has surprisingly been Kyle Clifford, Brad Richardson and Wayne Simmonds, which has combined for eight points.

Storylines

Its quite possible that the Kings are already finished from a mental standpoint. The aforementioned Game 3 train wreck was obviously the turning point, as the Kings looked poised to take a 2-1 lead in the series with Game 4 at home before everything fell apart. They will have their hands full against a Sharks offense that is firing on all cylinders and will benefit from the added energy provided by its home crowd.

Give the Sharks credit they smelled blood in Game 4 and took full advantage of a wounded opponent, which is something that good playoff teams do. Now, they just have to finish them off.

Warriors bury Clippers rivalry with 50-point barrage in third quarter

Warriors bury Clippers rivalry with 50-point barrage in third quarter

OAKLAND -- The Warriors-Clippers rivalry, dead for a couple years, was buried 50 points deep Thursday night.

There were, and may always be, occasional fits of temper in which both players and officials will be tested. That surely was the case during the Warriors’ 123-113 victory over LA at Oracle Arena.

But scoring 50 points in 12 minutes, as the Warriors did in the third quarter, is a rather emphatic statement that serves as its own embellishment. It sent the Clippers back home, unable to muster even a half-hearted comeback.

“That was incredible,” Kevin Durant said of third-quarter scoring frenzy.

“That’s a lot of points,” Klay Thompson said. “It’s that the most we’ve had all season?”

Well, yes, it is. The Warriors’ previous high for points in a quarter was 45, also against the Clippers, on Jan. 28.

So this was astonishing even to the Warriors, the highest-scoring team in the NBA for three seasons running. This is the Warriors’ fourth 50-point quarter in franchise history and their first since March 1989. They made nine 3-pointers, tying a franchise record for triples in a quarter.

Fifties are rare, period; the last one by any team in the NBA was on March 25, 2014, when the Lakers dropped 51 in a quarter against the Knicks.

“I had no idea we scored that much,” said Stephen Curry, who scored 20 in the quarter -- 17 in the final 3:37 before halftime. “Obviously, coming back from 12 down to having a double-digit lead, it all started with the defensive end and finding transition.”

The scoring breakdown: Curry scored 20, Durant 15, Thompson 5, Andre Iguodala and Zaza Pachulia 4 each and JaVale McGee 2. The Warriors shot 73.9 percent (17-of-23) in the quarter.

“It all started from our defense, getting rebounds and getting out in transition,” Durant said.

The Warriors forced five LA turnovers in the quarter, off which they scored 11 points. Trailing by 12 at the half, they led by 12 entering the fourth quarter.

The Warriors have defeated the Clippers 10 consecutive times overall. They’ve beaten them 11 straight times at Oracle Arena. The average margin of victory in four games this season is 21.5 points.

This was a matter of how the Warriors responded to the threat posed by LA in the first half.

“I’m not sure what needed to happen,” Draymond Green said. “But I know we took that quarter over. And it was pretty spectacular.”

With Clippers rivalry over, Warriors feed off feud with Foster

With Clippers rivalry over, Warriors feed off feud with Foster

This will come as a sharp blow to Warrior fans who like things the way they are, but they probably can no longer use Scott Foster as an alibi for failure, or a stalking horse for rage.
 
Well, I mean they can, but let’s be honest here – the evidence just doesn’t support it any more.
 
Foster, who no matter what you say is one of the elite officials in the league, has also been cast as a bête noire by all things Golden State. Either he’s imperious, or he’s standoffish, or he makes himself too conspicuous – they’re all standard complaints made of all officials who aren’t otherwise branded as just plain terrible.
 
Only Foster isn’t terrible, given the fact that he has worked a series of NBA Finals, and that remains the gold standard for officiating.
 
But the Warriors bang their heads against the backboard when he works their games, and were on the verge of doing that again Thursday night against the Los Angeles Clippers. Foster called third quarter technicals on Andre Iguodala and the Warrior bench, and J.T. Orr called one on Draymond Green, all in the space of 6:34. The Warriors were unhinged, the fans were unhinged, innocent bystanders were being hit with flying hinges throughout the arena.
 
And in that stretch, the Warriors outscored the Clippers, 26-15, en route to a 50-point quarter (the first in two seasons and the third since the turn of the millennium) and another harsh slapdown of what used to be known as the Warriors-Clippers Cavalcade Of Hate, this time 123-113.
 
It isn’t that any more, not close. Truth is, the Warriors have won 10 consecutive games against the Clips, but probably never quite at decisively as this. At the game’s most lopsided stretch, Golden State outscored Los Angeles, 72-33, in a shade over 17 minutes.
 
Because that’s what they do.
 
Only this time, the comeback was not fueled by the existence of the Clippers, who had outplayed them pretty convincingly for the first 22 minutes and change, but with the officials, who as we have said before irk the hell out of them when their number includes Foster.
 
Who, again, is one of the game’s best officials. I think it’s a personality clash, to be frank, in which both sides can take some blame.
 
Truth is, though, when a team can go for 50 in a quarter and still have time to engage in a feud with the officials, it is making a kinky little statement about what they can do when enraged, and how difficult it is to stop them when they have a serious mad-on.
 
Yes, it is probably stretching a point to make this case, especially when the Warriors make 17 of 23 shots (9 of 15 from three) and assist on 13 of the 17 field goals. It is probably minimizing Stephen Curry’s 20-point quarter and his four assists, or Kevin Durant’s 15 and five rebounds, or David West imposing his body between Green and the officials to keep him from getting T’d up again for the second successive game.
 
But we have already established that rivalries are dying at their feet left and right. In the last three years the Clippers have gone from the Warriors’ arch-enemies to a team that has finished an aggregate 44 games behind the Dubs in the standings, making whatever animosity they can still stir 

Against the Clips a curio of a much earlier time. The Oklahoma City Thunder have come and gone, and even the Durant-Russell Westbrook has lost its last bit of elasticity.
 
Oh, there is still Cleveland, but that cannot be resumed for another 14 weeks at the earliest.
 
The Warriors, in short, have run out of opponents, and given that they will manufacture a foe when one does not otherwise exist, Scott Foster may have to serve for the time being, even if he is nothing but an intermittent prop to amuse the customers when the game cannot provide.
 
Though you’d have to think the third quarter Thursday makes that pretty thin oatmeal. The Warriors ate an entire game in 12 minutes, including the officials. They seemed like they got their fill.