Ray Ratto

No rest: Warriors tackle playoff-hungry Grizzlies


No rest: Warriors tackle playoff-hungry Grizzlies

March 30, 2011

WARRIORS (32-43) vs.
MEMPHIS (41-33)

Coverage begins at 4:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

MEMPHIS (AP) -- The Memphis Grizzlies have missed the playoffs each of the last four years, but they have their sights set on improving their postseason position as the regular season draws to a close.

Memphis' pursuit of a higher seed in the Western Conference continues Wednesday night when it hosts the struggling Golden State Warriors.
RELATED: NBA conference standings

The Grizzlies (41-33) occupy eighth place in the West - two games ahead of ninth-place Houston, but just two games in back of sixth-place Portland and one behind seventh-place New Orleans. A 111-104 victory Sunday against NBA-leading San Antonio was Memphis' fourth in five games, and may be an added boost of confidence down the stretch.

The Grizzlies have gone 10-7 since losing Rudy Gay to season-ending shoulder injury Feb. 15. Gay was averaging 19.8 points at the time of the injury, which happened the day key reserve O.J. Mayo returned from a 10-game suspension for using a banned substance.

Memphis continued to press forward, and is in position to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season.

"To be a playoff team, you have to be tough. That's requisite number one," forward Shane Battier said. "I think we showed we are a tough team. I would like to play a little smarter. That's the next step. But you have to have toughness, and there's no doubt in this team's toughness."

Zach Randolph recorded his 50th double-double of the season against the Spurs, scoring 23 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Randolph is averaging a career-high 12.4 boards for the Grizzlies, who held off San Antonio's fourth-quarter surge.

"This just shows how far we've come," Randolph said. "Last year, we probably would have let the game slip. We would have put our heads down. This year, we just battle it out. We don't put our head down. We keep our heads up and continue to battle."

Point guard Mike Conley has started all 74 games while averaging a career-high 13.8 points. He had 18 points and 13 assists Nov. 3 in a 115-109 loss to Golden State, which will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season.

The Warriors (32-43) have lost seven of nine after falling 115-114 in overtime Tuesday against Oklahoma City.

REWIND: Thunder send W's to one-point OT loss

Monta Ellis, who scored 39 points in the November victory against Memphis, missed a jumper at the buzzer. He finished with 20 points on just 9 of 30 from the field and missed 12 shots in a row at one point.

"Sometimes good players may struggle the whole game and they have an ability to lock in late," coach Keith Smart said. "We thought we got the right matchup."

Stephen Curry scored a team-high 35 points, while David Lee added 24 and 15 rebounds. Curry scored 26 points Nov. 26 in a 116-111 Warriors loss to the Grizzlies.

Golden State has allowed at least 100 points in its last nine games, and is 29th in the NBA giving up 106.1 points per game. Memphis is just 12-20 this season when scoring fewer than 100.

The Grizzlies have won four straight and nine of the last 12 against the Warriors in Memphis.

If eclipse ends life on Earth, it's bad news for fans of one Bay Area team


If eclipse ends life on Earth, it's bad news for fans of one Bay Area team

If the lunatic fringe of the lunatic fringe is right and the total eclipse of the sun is actually a harbinger of the end of life on earth . . .

- It’s good news for the Giants, who have been eliminated from the National League West race for less than 24 hours, or that they will not have to watch the Los Angeles Dodgers put their feet up on baseball for the first time in 28 years.

Besides, there won’t be any more years, so time becomes meaningless.

- It’s good news for the 49ers, who won’t have to endure a harsh week of practice from freshly irked head coach Kyle Shanahan, who finally saw exactly why the job came open for him in the first place.

- It’s good news for Raiders’ fans, who won’t see their team move to Las Vegas, and because they won't be soul-crushed if they can't beat the Patriots -- who will also die en masse despite Bill Belichick's entreaties to ignore the noise of seven billion terrorized shrieks.

- It’s bad news for A’s fans, who will never learn in what location their fabulous new franchise-saving stadium will not be built.

- It’s good news for the Warriors, who can say in their death throes that they were the last NBA champions ever, and that the Lakers will never get LeBron James.

- It’s good news for the Lakers because they cannot be found guilty of tampering with Paul George. It’s also good news for Jimmy Kimmel because he can’t lose a draft choice (some faceless F-list actor as a guest) as a result.

- It’s good news for the Kings, because they’ll never have to have the difficult meeting about Zach Randolph.

- It’s good news for the Chargers, because they won’t have to answer any more questions about why only 21,000 people were announced as the crowd for their second practice game, or to confront the very real possibility that they could become the NFL’s Washington Generals.

- It’s good news for the Jets, Mets, Nets and Knicks because the end of the planet is the only just solution for them all.

- It’s good news for Cal because it can stick its middle finger to the sky and say, “Here’s your $400 million debt. Try to collect it while we’re all dying.”

- It’s good news for Kevin Durant because he doesn’t have to slalom through the Internet trolls any more.

- It’s bad news for Roger Goodell, because he sure left a boatload of money on the table as he was hurtled into space like the rest of us.

- It’s bad news for Nick Saban because he will have never seen it coming. On the other hand, it’s good news for the people who cover Alabama football because they’ve endured their last journalism lecture from Prof. Nick on why they do their jobs so poorly.

- It’s bad luck for Jim Harbaugh because he will feel like a complete nitwit as he learns just what “an enthusiasm unknown to mankind” really means – the end of mankind.

- It’s bad news for all the sixth graders in America who are being offered scholarships that they will never be used by college coaches they will never meet. Of course, that would have been true even  if the world doesn’t end.

- It’s bad news for the hackers who have been spoiling Game Of Thrones because this is Game Of Thrones, only the dragon is the sun incinerating us all.

- It’s bad news for Kyrie Irving, because he will have died a Cleveland Cavalier.

- It’s good news for America, for the obvious reason that the planet will expire before our current political class can murder it.

- And finally, it’s good news for dignity, because the Mayweather-McGregor “thing” will never happen, and that alone means that even as we are torn asunder, we will know that the deity loves us all because both McGrogor and Mayweather are being torn asunder too.

Of course, if you’re reading this Tuesday, you’ll know the world didn’t end, and we’re just as screwed as we ever were. Oh well. Try to find your happy place, and drink like there’s no Wednesday.

Relationship between Goodell & NFL owners like Game of Thrones, only...


Relationship between Goodell & NFL owners like Game of Thrones, only...

The National Football League’s 32 bosses ruined all our fun speculation about Roger Goodell’s future by extending his future.

By extending his contract to 2025 – and, maybe more importantly, keeping his salary private so that we can’t use it as a club with which to continually brain him – the owners sent the message that, whatever the state of his petty feuds with allegedly powerful owners like Jerry Jones and Bob Kraft, they are unwilling to overturn the car to spite the roadway.

And he in turn takes great care to keep his supply lines covered, by keeping the majority of owners happy and well-insulated with barrels of cash. It’s Game Of Thrones, only less visually violent and more tactically prudent.

We mention this because as the Oakland Raiders slowly but surely transition to the Formerly Oakland Raiders, we remind you that Goodell’s two jobs are to provide the owners with what they want while making sure they provide him with what he wants. The commissioner doesn’t work for you, and he showed that when Mark Davis went looking for votes to leave, Goodell was giving him hints about what to do and not to do because, while the league might not have thought the Raiders were the ideal candidate to pry open access to the worlds of gambling and international high-rollers, they were the best available candidate.

And while you may want to be angry at him for not minding the needs of the Bay Area, he doesn’t work for you – never has, never will. He has his bosses, and you’re not them. It’s why, for all the criticism he takes – and maybe because he’s the one who takes it rather than his 32 bosses – he keeps his real constituency content, if not necessarily happy.

Now if you want to harm him, you can autocorrect “Goodell” for the names of the 32 owners. It’s clunky, and it unfocuses whatever your anger at the moment might be, but it would expose the real powers for whatever irks you at the time.

We’re not confident you’ll do that, too. Goodell makes a grand target – overpaid, slavishly devoted to oligarchs, willing to bend or deny reality to kick the liability can down the road – and that, too, is worth the money to them.