Is tonight finally the night for LeBron James?

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Is tonight finally the night for LeBron James?

From Comcast SportsNet
MIAMI (AP) -- LeBron James has never been here before. He's been in nearly every imaginable situation everything over his nine seasons marked by three MVP awards, three trips to the NBA Finals with two teams and one decision that changed everything. And now this: For the first time, he's one win from a championship. "I have a job to do," James said Wednesday. "And my job is not done." The job might get done Thursday night, when the Miami Heat -- up 3-1 in this title series -- host the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 of the finals. Even after leaving Game 4 late with a cramp, James is on the cusp of finally becoming a champ. He was swept in his first finals trip in 2007, then he and the Heat fell in the 2011 title series in six games. After countless ups and downs, the 804th game of his career may be the one that ends his title quest. "I have no idea what I'll say before we go out there," said James, who got treatment against Wednesday but said soreness that followed the cramps in his left leg was easing. "It kind of just comes to me when I'm getting ready to go out there and stand on the floor. But hopefully whatever I say will inspire our guys to go out and give a good show." James joined the Heat in 2010 after Miami convinced him that he would have enough help to win a championship -- more specifically, that he wouldn't have to carry the load by himself, like he did so many times in Cleveland over his first seven seasons. The Heat were keeping Dwyane Wade, adding Chris Bosh and filling out the roster with a mix that would be best described as unconventional. If that axiom -- more options are better -- actually needed to be proven, it was done in Game 4. James could not finish the game, though he returned after the first wave of cramps hit and delivered a key 3-pointer. With James watching the final minute, Wade and Mario Chalmers helped close out the Thunder, Miami winning 104-98 to move one win away from the franchise's second championship. "This team, I think we understand that the moment is the biggest thing," Wade said. "We're excited about the possibility of playing better, doing things better defensively, but also offensively. We don't feel like we've played our best game yet, and we feel that's still to come." The Thunder expect the same from themselves. At least, they hope that's the case. No team in finals history has successfully rallied from a 3-1 series deficit, or even forced as much as a Game 7 when presented with that scenario since the league went to its current 2-3-2 finals format in 1985. But Oklahoma City's losses in this series -- in each of the last three games -- have come by four, six and six points, respectively. A play here, a bounce there, this series might look a whole lot different. And that's why the Western Conference champions are conceding nothing. "We didn't get here just to make it here and say we did," Thunder star Kevin Durant said. "We made it to the finals. We want to come in here and we want to try to get a title. It's all about keep competing until that last buzzer sounds, and that's what we're going to do. That's the type of city we play for, a city that never gives up. That's the type of team we are. We're going to keep fighting, keep fighting, and we'll see what happens tomorrow." Russell Westbrook scored 43 points for the Thunder in Game 4 -- and they were for naught. It was the second time in these playoffs that someone had scored at least that many against the Heat. And like Boston's Rajon Rondo, who dropped 44 on Miami in the Eastern Conference finals, Westbrook walked off the court with a loss. "I can't really be too happy about what I (did) because we didn't win," Westbrook said. "It doesn't matter. There's probably a lot of different guys that put up so many points or so many amount of rebounds, and nobody remembers it. The only thing that people remember is if you won the championship, and that's all that matters." It might take more than leg cramps to keep James off the court for too long in Game 5. He was his usual self in practice on Wednesday, laughing with teammates while shooting a few free throws, looking at ease. And most importantly to Miami, he was moving without too much pain. James had to be carried off the court in the fourth quarter of Game 4, unable to walk to the bench. A lot of fluids and rest later, some of the bounce was back in his step on Wednesday. I feel a lot better than I did last night. That's clear," James said. "I'm still a little (sore) because of the muscles just kind of being at an intense level, very tight. I'm still sore. I was able to get some treatment last night. I was able to get some treatment this morning. ... And also with the game being basically at midnight tomorrow night, I have all day tomorrow, too, to prepare. I should be fine by tomorrow night." It's a 9 p.m. tipoff, actually, but the point is made. By Thursday night, James will be ready for the championship stage. And so will his team. What started on Christmas Day in Dallas, watching the Mavericks hoist the banner that will forever commemorate their championship celebration on Miami's home floor last year, could end as the perfect turnaround story for the Heat. "You've got to absolutely immerse yourself into the process and the focus," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "It's Game 5. We want to treat it as a Game 7. But we are preparing for Game 5 to protect our home court and to take care of that business. It's been well documented the experience we went through last year and the pain and all that. It doesn't guarantee anything. Experience is a great teacher. You know, hopefully all those experiences will help us." James says they've already helped him. He could not have seemed more relaxed on Wednesday. The chance he's waited nine years for comes on Thursday night, and James appeared totally comfortable in anticipation of that moment. I've experienced some things in my long but short career, and I'm able to make it better of myself throughout these playoffs and throughout this whole year, and that's on and off the court," James said. "I'm just happy that I'm able to be in this position today and be back in this stage where I can do the things that I can do to make this team proud, make this organization proud, and we'll see what happens."

CSN, NBC Bay Area Announce 2017 Spring Training Telecast Schedule

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CSN, NBC Bay Area Announce 2017 Spring Training Telecast Schedule

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – February 24, 2017 – CSN (@CSNAuthentic) and NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) today announced its 2017 San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics spring training telecast schedules.  The networks’ regular season telecast schedules will be announced at a later date.

Giants on CSN Bay Area

DAY

DATE

VS

OPPONENT

TIME (PT)

Wednesday

3/1

vs.

Los Angeles Dodgers

5:00 PM

Sunday

3/19

vs.

Milwaukee Brewers

1:00 PM

Thursday

3/23

vs.

Seattle Mariners

6:00 PM

Thursday

3/30

vs.

Oakland A's

7:00 PM

Giants on NBC Bay Area

DAY

DATE

VS

OPPONENT

TIME (PT)

Friday

3/17

vs.

Colorado Rockies

6:00 PM

Saturday

3/25

vs.

San Diego Padres

3:00 PM

Friday

3/31

vs.

Oakland A's

7:00 PM

A’s on CSN California

DAY

DATE

VS

OPPONENT

TIME (PT)

Sunday

3/12

vs.

Chicago Cubs

1:00 PM

Saturday

4/1

vs.

San Francisco Giants

12:00 PM

# # #

49ers could talk QB trades at scouting combine

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49ers could talk QB trades at scouting combine

Four years ago at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, the 49ers agreed to the trade that sent quarterback Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Next week, the 49ers could have similar discussions. Only this time, they figure to be in the market to acquire a starting quarterback.

General manager John Lynch during an appearance this week on KNBR said he was excited about the talent he sees on the 49ers' offensive and defensive lines. But he made no secret of the organization’s intention to upgrade the quarterback position.

“Do we have some places – probably the ultimate position, quarterback – where we need to improve? Absolutely,” Lynch said. “And we’re committed to doing that.”

Seven weeks before the 49ers can add a quarterback in the draft, the team will have ample opportunities to find a solution in the veteran market. Free agency and the trade window open for all NFL teams on March 9.

Free-agent quarterback Matt Schaub, who had his best seasons under Kyle Shanahan with the Houston Texans, is a logical, low-price option for the 49ers to add as a backup. Schaub attempted just three passes last season as Matt Ryan’s backup with the Atlanta Falcons.

The 49ers could solve their long-term quarterback need with a blockbuster trade to acquire Washington’s Kirk Cousins or Jimmy Garoppolo from New England.

Shanahan was part of the Washington regime that drafted Cousins in the fourth round of the 2012 draft. Shanahan disclosed during Super Bowl week that he had a high draft grade on Garoppolo, whom he scouted in 2014 while with the Cleveland Browns.

Paraag Marathe, the 49ers’ chief strategy officer and executive vice president of football operations, intimated this week on “The 49ers Insider Podcast” he has provided the team’s decision-makers with information on previous trades.

“Here are all the other examples of when this position was traded for, and what people gave up to trade,” Marathe said. “That would establish the range for us if we are curious about a player at that position. And then we have a discussion from there.”

Cousins will be 29 next season, while Garoppolo, who has just two NFL starts, will be 26.

Here’s a look at the significant trades in the past decade that have involved quarterbacks acquired to take on starting roles:

2016
Sam Bradford, 29, from Philadelphia to Minnesota
--2017 first-round pick (No. 14 or 15)
--2018 fourth-round pick (TBD)

2013
Alex Smith, 29, from 49ers to Kansas City
--2013 second-round pick (No. 34)
--2014 second-round pick (No. 56)

2011
Carson Palmer, 32, from Cincinnati to Oakland
--2012 first-round pick (No. 17)
--2013 second-round pick (No. 37)

Kevin Kolb, 27, from Philadelphia to Arizona
--2012 second round pick (No. 51)
--CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

2010
Donovan McNabb, 34, from Philadelphia to Washington
--2010 second-round pick (No. 37)
--2010 fourth-round pick (No. 104)

2009
Jay Cutler, 26, and 2009 fifth-round pick (No. 140) from Denver to Chicago
--2009 first-round pick (No. 18)
--2009 third-round pick (No. 84)
--2010 first-round pick (No. 11)
--QB Kyle Orton

Matt Cassel, 27, and LB Mike Vrabel from New England to Kansas City
--2009 second-round pick (No. 34)

2007
Matt Schaub, 26, and 2007 first-round pick (No. 10) from Atlanta to Houston
--2007 first-round pick (No. 8)
--2007 second-round pick (No. 39)
--2008 second-round pick (No. 48)
Source: Pro Football Reference