Urban: Cabrera deal says Giants mean business


Urban: Cabrera deal says Giants mean business

July 30, 2011


Mychael Urban

Say this about Brian Sabean: Hes a man of his word. And then some.A little more than a week ago, during one of his impromptu session with the local press, Sabean verbally spat on the notion that the Giants as currently constructed werent good enough for the club to get where it intended to go. The intended ultimate destination, of course, is right back to Market Street, early November, for another delirious, intoxicating parade.Everyone and their dental hygienist knew that Sabean was going to do his damndest to land Carlos Beltran, but the Giants GM made it clear that in his eyes, Beltran alone wouldnt suffice. He was going to go big, as long as the market allowed him to do so.It has. Since that proclamation, Sabean has backed up his words with action -- the best and only way to engender faith among fans. Talk really is cheap. Acquiring proven, championship-quality talent is not.As such, three very good minor-league arms and a popular outfield prospect with considerable upside are gone. In their stead are starting second baseman Jeff Keppinger, who cost two arms; starting right fielder Beltran, who cost the biggest arm; and now starting shortstop Orlando Cabrera, who came at the cost of Thomas Neal, a gregarious and gifted young man who appeared to be ticketed for left field at AT&T Park sometime in the fairly near future until Saturdays somewhat stunning swap with the Indians.
NEWS: Giants acquire Orlando Cabrera from Indians
Thats exactly the kind of makeover that Sabean alluded was required, and dont be surprised if he makes another move -- the ad reads Championship GM Seeks Catcher With Brains Behind Plate, Brawn In Batters Box -- before Sundays non-waiver trade deadline. Or shortly thereafter; the deadline is a bit overblown that way.Why Cabrera? What does he bring? The first answer is easy: Miguel Tejada didnt work, and Cabrera was the best shortstop available. Emphasis, shortstop.Unlike the Keppinger and Beltran deals, and the deal for a catcher should it materialize, adding Cabrera was not about upgrading the offense. His numbers across the board are nearly identical to those of Tejada, who, quite frankly, is the better and more dangerous hitter between the two.This deal was about getting better up the middle defensively; Cabrera, 36, is only a year younger than Tejada, but hes maintained his range in his old age far better than Tejada, whose timetable for return from his strained abdominal muscle is far from clear.Dont think the lack of news about Freddy Sanchez doesnt factor here, either. Its been said in this space since his shoulder exploded: surgery is the only fix. Rehab is a band-aid all too easy and painful to rip off.So thats part of what Cabrera brings: a better glove than Tejada -- and a better bat than Brandon Crawford, whose roster spot would now appear to be in question given that Giants manager Bruce Bochy recently expressed reluctance to use a rookie as a late-game defensive replacement.What else does Cabrera bring? Class and clout, as evidenced by his short stint with the As, for whom he became a legitimate leader, and by his four playoff appearances in the past four years with four different teams.Thanks to Sabean, who deserves high praise for walking the talk, Cabrera -- and all Giants fans -- should be feeling awfully good about making it 5-for-5.

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.