Sharks' path to playoffs runs through Dallas

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Sharks' path to playoffs runs through Dallas

It is a staple of current orthodox thinking that the Sharks playoff battle will go until the final game of the season, next Saturday against Los Angeles.

Well, theyd better hope it doesnt. As Dean Wormer told Flounder in Animal House (dated reference, sorry), having to beat Jonathan Quick twice in a row is no way go through life, son.

Frankly, San Joses best chance is to put the stake in someones heart now, because they are not entirely trustworthy in those must-win games against Pacific Division opponents.

RELATED: Conference standings

No, their ticket to ride is to steal a game in Phoenix tonight, and then box Dallas twice, Saturday and Tuesday. It wont help them momentum-wise, because clinching early and then cruising takes the edge off a team that desperately needs all the edge it can get.

But thats a chance the Sharks would have to take, because the Kings are a tougher defensive team than either Phoenix or Dallas, and can take a team that scores only fitfully and shut them down entirely.

Phoenix hit a wall in March, going 4-6-4, but it is the toughest out of the Sharks final three opponents (3-1 against San Jose), and they benefit from the return of their captain Shane Doan, whose suspension for sharing recipes with Dallas Jamie Benn is up.

But sweeping Dallas is the dagger the Sharks need to display. They are 3-1 against the Stars, but thats not the point. Dallas finishes with Nashville and St. Louis, who are both better than any Pacific Division team, and it would be most difficult for them to overcome a sweep.

By now, a little thing can become a big one, but the greater truth is that the standings tell you who you are, and San Jose is an average offensive team that hates momentum. Their longest win streak, five games, was in games five through nine of the season; they are team who excels when scoring first, yet they are one of the worst first-period teams in the league. They have spent the last two months losing game after game to non-playoff contenders.

They have, in short, richly earned their discomfort, and we are loath to point out the easiest way out for them. They deserve to have to grind all the way until Day 154.

But these are the facts. They have a better chance of taking Dallas out of the postseason five days before seasons end than either Los Angeles or Phoenix, and in a race where there are four contenders for three spots, you kill the weakest link, or you become the weakest link.

In other words, if theyre not safe at home and dry before Saturday, they arent going to be. And they wont deserve to be.
Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

Draymond fully appreciates 'witnessing greatness' of Warriors-Cavs trilogy

Draymond fully appreciates 'witnessing greatness' of Warriors-Cavs trilogy

OAKLAND -- The hoops historian Draymond Green has a message for those with short memories and cynical outlooks.

The NBA is never better than when The Finals have legendary potential, as is the case with the Warriors and Cavaliers, who next week become the first teams to meet three consecutive seasons to determine a champion.

“It’s a great thing for the league, contrary to popular belief,” Green said Friday after Warriors practice.

Warriors-Cavs Part III is, in fact, a fantastic boon for the league. Interest will peak. Ratings will soar. Storylines will cascade down every mountain, knoll and molehill.

“Right now, you’re witnessing greatness -- two great teams, great players,” Green said. “That’s what it is. It probably won’t be appreciated until it’s over. Say we meet again next year? It still won’t be appreciated -- until we don’t meet again and you realize what you had.”

What fans have is history made, with more in the making.

The Warriors enter The Finals after an unprecedented 12-0 start to the playoffs, becoming the first team to complete three four-game sweeps in a single postseason.

Another sweep, and it’s not inconceivable, would make these Warriors the first team in NBA history with a perfect postseason -- give them the distinction of having the best postseason in American sports history.

The Cavaliers enter The Finals after a 12-1 start and, moreover, with the reheated debate over whether LeBron James has a body of work that equals or surpasses that of Michael Jordan. James is one game removed from surpassing Jordan to become No. 1 on the all-time list for playoff scoring and will make his seventh consecutive appearance in The Finals, something Jordan never did.

Though a Cleveland victory would bolster any argument in James’ favor, a Cleveland loss might be enough to close the case in Jordan’s favor insofar as his Bulls reached six NBA Finals and won them all.

Warriors-Cavaliers has the potential to go beyond what most believe to be the most epic of postseason rivals, that being the Magic Johnson and the Lakers versus Larry Bird and the Celtics. They met only three times (1984, ’85 and ’87) but the NBA went a full 10 seasons with one team or the other in The Finals.

Being a student of the game, Green quite likely knows that -- as well as having a complete understanding of the possibilities ahead.

Even if he suspects others may not.

“But you usually don’t appreciate something until you don’t have it any more,” he said. “Maybe there’s just a lack of appreciation for greatness. When you look at the situation, most people have never reached greatness. So, maybe there’s just not an understanding of what you’re watching.

“I appreciate it. I’m happy we’ve been able to steam-roll people, and I love the fact that they’ve been able to steam-roll people. I just love great things. And I think right now we’ve found two great teams.”

Ayesha Curry shows off rap skills with Steph and E-40 on stage

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AP

Ayesha Curry shows off rap skills with Steph and E-40 on stage

Steph Curry has earned the nickname "Chef Curry" but his wife Ayesha is the real cook of the family.

Ayesha has paved her own path as a successful cook and was brought to BottleRock in Napa for a demonstration. As Steph and rapper E-40 joined her on stage, Ayesha took one of out of E-40's book and did her own remix of Drake's "Energy." 

In this version, Ayesha rapped about what she knows best -- recipes. 

All hyped up, Ayesha dropped the mic to the delight of Steph and E-40 himself.