Warriors

Sharks top Coyotes 3-1 in regular season finale

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Sharks top Coyotes 3-1 in regular season finale

April 9, 2011

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SAN JOSE (AP) Having completed their long climb from 12th to second place in the Western Conference in the final three months of the regular season, the San Jose Sharks can now start looking ahead to the most important time of year.Joe Pavelski scored his 20th goal of the season and Antti Niemi made 35 saves as the Sharks wrapped up the No. 2 seed in the playoffs with a 3-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night."We've come a long way," captain Joe Thornton said. "We had to work hard to get where we are. It's been quite a year, going from 12th to second. We had to do a lot of good things to make up that ground and it's satisfying. But we still have a lot of work to do."Ian White and Logan Couture also scored for the Sharks, who are assured of home-ice advantage for at least the first two rounds. The Sharks will not know their first-round opponent until after Chicago's season finale against Detroit on Sunday.But they felt good knowing they are heading into the postseason on a winning note, especially having pulled out the kind of tight game that will be the norm in the coming weeks."It's good to get back and play in one of these games because there's a lot of nights that this is how it's going to go," Pavelski said.The Coyotes missed out on a chance to finish fourth in the conference and having home ice for the first round. Depending on Sunday's results, Phoenix could meet the Sharks again in the first round, having lost nine of 10 games to their Pacific Division rivals."We knew there was a lot at stake for us," coach Dave Tippett said. "We had a chance to get home ice and it didn't come to be. Our fate will be decided tomorrow in watching that Detroit-Chicago game before the seedings are set. We'll just have to wait to see what it brings."The Coyotes got their lone goal when Lauri Korpikoski blocked Jason Demers' point shot and went in all alone on Niemi and beat him with a wrist shot for his 19th goal with 11:24 remaining.But Couture put the game away when he scored his 32nd goal on the power play with just 1:31 to go - just seconds after Ilya Bryzgalov robbed Thornton with a spectacular, sprawling save.The Sharks broke up a scoreless game with two goals in the second. The first came after a relentless shift when they kept the puck in the offensive zone for more than a minute. Bryzgalov made tough saves on Dany Heatley and Kyle Wellwood, but the Coyotes were unable to clear the puck.White then fired a shot from the point that beat Bryzgalov for his second goal in as many nights after failing to score in his first 21 games with San Jose."That that was a great momentum shift for us," White said. "Fortunately, one of them went in."San Jose added its second goal late in the period with Martin Hanzal was sent off for roughing. Pavelski got the puck in front of the net and beat Bryzgalov with a shot just before being flattened by Shane Doan to make it 2-0. The goal made the Sharks the only team in the league with seven 20-goal scorers.Niemi made sure the game stayed that way heading into the third when he made a sharp stop on Radim Vrbata in the closing seconds of the period with Phoenix on the power play."Wow, was he good," coach Todd McLellan said. "When we made mistakes, he was there to make some tremendous saves. I thought the guy at the other end, Bryzgalov, was also very good. That's playoff goaltending"The Coyotes had the better of the play early in a scoreless first period, recording the first six shots of the game. But the Sharks had the best chance early when Bryzgalov stopped Scott Nichol from right in front of the net with a pad save.Phoenix's best chance of the period was thwarted when Jason Demers made a diving breakup of a breakaway attempt by Doan in the closing minutes of the first."I think we started the game pretty well," Korpikoski said. "We got a couple power plays and didn't score on those. The fact that we didn't get the first goal was the big difference today."Notes: McLellan tied Mike Keenan with the most wins in his first three seasons with 152. ... Bryzgalov started 38 of the final 40 games of the season. ... F Devin Setoguchi played for San Jose a night after being a late scratch because of cramping in pregame warmups. ... The Sharks recalled F Benn Ferriero from Worcester (AHL) and sent Fs Andrew Desjardins and Brandon Mashinter back to the minors. ... Niemi was honored as Sharks player of the year, while Couture won the award for top rookie.

Report: Warriors sign former Pacers forward

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AP

Report: Warriors sign former Pacers forward

The Warriors reportedly added a player on Wednesday morning.

Golden State signed Georges Niang to a partially guaranteed contract, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Warriors already have 15 players with fully guaranteed contracts for next season.

It's possible that Niang ends up signing a two-way contract.

Former Oregon big man Chris Boucher inked a two-way deal with the Warriors back in mid-July.

The Pacers selected Niang in the second round (50th overall) of the 2016 draft.

Last year, the power forward appeared in 23 games for Indiana.

He also played in six contests with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants -- averaging 19 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

The Pacers waived Niang last month.

As a senior at Iowa State, he averaged 20.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists, while shooting 39 percent from deep.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Lynch anthem issue could use some clarity

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Lynch anthem issue could use some clarity

NAPA – Marshawn Lynch sat during the national anthem during Saturday’s exhibition opener against Arizona. We’re still not sure why.

It’s assumed by many to be in protest of racial inequality and mistreatment of minorities, a timely sentiment following racially fueled violence in Charlottesville, Va.

Uncertainty remains because the Raiders running back hasn’t explained his reasoning. He contemplated speaking after Tuesday’s practice but decided against it.

That leave us left to wonder what was going through Lynch’s head. Was this a case of Marshawn being Marshawn, an unorthodox fellow who often swims upstream? Was he simply enjoying a seat and a banana, or was it politically motivated and worthy of being lumped into national anthem protests by Colin Kaepernick and others in 2016 and Michael Bennett on Sunday?

It seems that way while connecting dots, especially with Lynch’s support for Kaepernick in a 2016 interview with Conan O’Brien. The public doesn’t know for sure. Bennett made his protest crystal clear on Sunday, with an eloquent explanation following Seattle’s exhibition against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Lynch could’ve cleared things up and didn’t. That leaves many left to wonder. Silence, in these cases, breeds speculation. We’ll try to avoid that here. Lynch doesn’t speak to the press, and I don’t mind a bit. This instance is an exception. Insight could direct this unguided narrative with a Tweet, a statement or a few moments in front of a microphone. His message, if there is one, loses power without backing. If it was designed to illuminate issues in this country, Lynch must direct the spotlight. If his choice to sit wasn't socially charged, then let's put the issue to bed and re-focus on Raiders football.

It’s uncertain whether Lynch will address it this week, this season or ever.

The Raiders hope to avoid the topic altogether and let this incident blow over. It hasn’t been a major topic in the locker room. Head coach Jack Del Rio didn’t add anything in his Tuesday press conference, referring to a Saturday postgame statement on the matter where he called it a non-issue.

The Raiders’ belief, it seems, is that a fire won’t burn without fuel.

Del Rio strongly believes in standing at attention for the national anthem. That’s been clear for a year, when he expressed that sentiment following Kaepernick’s anthem protests.

That didn’t stop Raiders linebackers Bruce Irvin and Malcolm Smith from holding up a fist during the national anthem a few times in 2016, though those actions didn’t last long.

Del Rio said Saturday that he respects the fact Lynch is his own man and hasn’t always stood for the national anthem. There were times in Seattle when he wasn’t present for the Star Spangled Banner. There were times he sat and times he stood at attention. He was never asked whether it was a form protest. Kaepernick started the movement last year, one Lynch couldn’t join while retired from football.

There’s no telling what Lynch will do Saturday against the Los Angeles Rams, the first time he’ll represent the Raiders in Oakland. No matter what he does, it’ll be news. With or without an explanation. Lynch doesn’t feel the need to satisfy public demand for insight, and won’t simply bow to public pressure.

Anthem protests can bring attention to social causes, but they’re polarizing to be sure. That’s the case in public, among football fans and cable-news junkies alike.

NFL locker rooms are full of different personalities, united under a common goal. Del Rio wants his guys focused only on that heading toward a season with lofty expectations.

“We want to have a collection of individuals that come together as a team to play football,” Del Rio told USA Today’s Lindsay Jones. “We don't need everybody in the organization to think the same way I think, or have the same feelings that I have about different topics.

“I mean, we're in America. That's one of the things we have. We have the freedom to be ourselves.”

Lynch is certainly his own man, a unique personality who has devoted great time, money and effort to improving his native Oakland.

Bennett explained his motivation for sitting during the anthem in a first-person narrative posted by Yahoo! Sports, and said seeing Lynch sit wasn’t a shock. Bennett also believes Lynch sat down for a cause.

“It didn’t surprise me that Marshawn Lynch sat, too,” Bennett said. “I think he’s one of the people in the forefront who are making changes in the community. That’s what he believes in. I think we both believe in our community, we both believe that people can be great. We don’t believe that this is the end; we believe there’s more out there – there are more things we can do as people, more ways to challenge ourselves.”