Urban: Deja vu? Sweep could spur Giants moves

163522.jpg

Urban: Deja vu? Sweep could spur Giants moves

June 18, 2011

URBAN ARCHIVE
GIANTS PAGE GIANTS VIDEO

Follow @MUrbanCSN
Mychael Urban
CSNBayArea.com

Admit it. Many of you wear paste-gray rubber bracelets that pay tribute to CSNBayArea.com's Senior Insider, Bay Area sports journalism's longtime and legendary Ray of sunshine, bearing the acronym "WWRW?"What Would Ratto Want?As it relates to this weekend's three-game interleague series between the host A's and, let's get real here, the co-host Giants, we already knew what Ratto wanted even before the second installment of this annual home-and-home exercise in trying to glean relevance from whence very little of it generally exists. He wanted to Pachyderms to sweep, and he explained exactly why in one of his typically sardonic, sensible, stab-in-the-stomach salvos.The main reason: big-league ball in the Bay Area is infinitely more interesting when both teams are worth watching, and we haven't been able to say that for a while now. A sweep, reasoned Ray, could serve as a springboard to something of a resurgence.RATTO: Bay Area rooting interest? A's sweep Giants
No argument there. Certainly most A's fans were pleased with the notion -- once the sting of reading that their boys were not currently relevant wore off, that is.And as of late Saturday night, following another Oakland victory in which the Giants appeared to have "Entry of the Gladiators" -- you know, the classic tune you hear as the clowns come running out at the start of every circus -- stuck in their heads for the second consecutive night, all that separated our Ray of sunshine from getting exactly what he wanted was a Trevor Cahill gem in Sunday's matinee finale.Happy Father's Day, Mr. Ratto. Bully!Don't you dare hate on Ratto for this, either, Giants fans. He actually had your best interests at heart here, too.OK, maybe not. As he might very well say himself, his interests outside himself and his family generally have the heart of a serial killer. He's kidding when he says stuff like that, right?But think about it. What happened last year after the Giants were swept out of this lovely tribute to civic harmony and cooperation of a stadium?They got desperate, they got serious, they got off their butts and they got better. A lot better. See: Nov. 1, 2010, Arlington, Tex.Prior to that sweep here last season, the Giants were content to lean on a sublime pitching staff in hopes that it would hold up under the duress of getting a handful of runs at best every game. They'd recently made it clear that there was no interest in picking up local product Pat Burrell, even thought Burrell was available, ready, willing, dirt-cheap and representative of the type of power threat the Giants lacked.The sweep, though, represented such an embarrassment offensively that the club did a quick and wise and desperate 180 on Burrell, who'd been recruited by BFF Aubrey Huff and former Philly teammate Aaron Rowand during a Giants' road trip to Arizona and was brought in not long after the undressing in Oakland.Energized by a return to the National League, Burrell turned back into Pat the Bat, started batting balls over walls, and soon he was joined by other reinforcements as part of an extreme makeover by general manager Brian Sabean.RECAP: Giants Insider gallery: Offensive woes continue
What have the Giants been doing this year thus far? Let's say it together, shall we?They've been leaning on a sublime pitching staff in hopes that it would hold up under the duress of getting a handful of runs at best every game.Is there another Pat the Bat out there right now? Not really. But there is a Bengie Molina, who represents the catching upgrade -- defensively and offensively if he can get himself in shape -- the Giants desperately need, and what on earth would be so wrong with letting bygones be whatever bygones are, signing Molina to a low-risk deal, giving him some time and Hydroxycut and seeing what's what?If what is good, don't stop there. Keep adding. Keep rolling the dice. See if the magic still has juice. Just keep doing stuff and see what sticks.It worked once. Can't hurt to see if it'll work again.And hey, if it does, everybody wins. Even our Ray of sunshine.

NBA Gameday: New-look Kings get first shot at I-80 bragging rights

NBA Gameday: New-look Kings get first shot at I-80 bragging rights

The Sacramento Kings make the 90 mile commute to Oakland for a match up against the first place Golden State Warriors Friday evening. The Kings have lost three straight and are just 2-11 over their previous 13 games as they transition to a youth movement.

Buddy Hield tied his career-high with 21 points versus the Milwaukee Bucks last time out. He’ll face a different beast against the Warriors. Klay Thompson is one of the best two-way shooting guards in the league. He can light you up from long range and shut you down with physical play on the other side of the ball.

Matt Barnes joined the W’s after being waived by the Kings during the All-Star break. The 37-year-old forward has played nearly 20 minutes per night for Golden State, averaging 5.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 11 games.  

OPENING LINE

Warriors by 17.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Buddy Hield vs. Klay Thompson -- Hield is averaging 14.2 points and 3.4 rebounds in 27.6 minutes over 14 games with the Kings. The rookie shooting guard is shooting 50 percent from the field, 44.9 percent from 3-point range and posted double-figure scoring in all but two games since coming over via trade during the All-Star break. Thompson is one of the premiere player at his position, posting 22.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. The Kings have been on the receiving end of plenty of his scoring outbursts over the years.

WHERE THEY STAND

Kings: 27-44 third place in Pacific

Warriors: 57-14, first place in Pacific

INJURY REPORT

Kings: SG Malachi Richardson (torn hamstring) status unknown at this time, F Rudy Gay (torn left Achilles) out for season.

Warriors: SF Kevin Durant (tibial bruise, knee) out.  

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors lead the season series at 2-1 with a 109-86 victory at Oracle Arena. Golden State holds a 199-186 lead over the Kings all-time and a 71-65 advantage during the Sacramento-era.

QUOTABLE

“I’m trying to kill ‘em, plain and simple. Things didn’t go well there. They’re the enemy now, so we’re trying to kill ‘em - beat them by 50.” -Matt Barnes on his approach against his former team

 

NBA Gameday: Barnes, Warriors welcome Kings to Oracle

NBA Gameday: Barnes, Warriors welcome Kings to Oracle

OAKLAND -- Seeking their sixth consecutive win, the Warriors will get their first look at the dramatically revamped Sacramento Kings when the teams meet Friday night at Oracle Arena.

A win by the Warriors, combined with a Cleveland Cavaliers loss, would give the Warriors homecourt advantage in any NBA Finals scenario.

But the Warriors (57-14) may have to squint to recognize these Kings, who last month traded star big man DeMarcus Cousins -- the team’s mainstay for seven years -- to the Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans and other considerations.

The Kings (27-44) have lost 11 of 14 games since the deal and are slowly sinking out of the Western Conference playoff race.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 17.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Klay Thompson vs. Buddy Hield: It’s a battle between the Bahamians, or as Thompson has said of Hield, “My Bahamian brother.” Thompson has been cooking, shooting 53.2 percent (25-of-47) beyond the arc and 55.3 (52-of-94) percent overall over the last five games. Hield, a rookie from Oklahoma, has adapted well to Sacramento, scoring in double digits in 10 of 11 games while shooting 48.2 percent (27-of-56) from deep and 50.0 percent (60-of-120) overall this month.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L knee sprain, tibial bone bruise) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Kings: F Rudy Gay (L Achilles tear) and G Malachi Richardson (R hamstring partial tear) are listed as out.

LAST 10

Warriors: 7-3. Kings: 2-8.

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors have won two of three meetings this season and 15 of the last 17 overall, including the last seven games in Oakland.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

THE TRANSITION GAME: Though the Kings are playing faster in the post-Cousins era, they still have little chance of matching the pace at which the Warriors prefer to play. Expect the Warriors to push at every opportunity, even if it means committing a few turnovers, in order to coax Sacramento out of rhythm. The Kings rank 26th in fast-break points and actually had a game in which they scored 0 fast-break points.

BOMBS AWAY: The Warriors rank third in 3-point shooting percentage (38.3), while the Kings rank 26th in 3-point percentage defense (37.2). There will opportunities galore for Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Ian Clark and Thompson -- who two years ago torched the Kings with an NBA-record 37 points in a quarter.

THIS “SKAL” GUY: Rookie forward Skal Labissiere, a 6-foot-11 package of raw talent, has been something of a revelation for the Kings. Emerging from the shadows in the wake of the Cousins deal, he has reminded observers why he was such a heralded prep recruit from the Memphis area. This sounds like a job for Draymond Green.

QUOTABLE

“Try to kill ‘em, plain and simple. Things didn’t go well there. They’re the enemy now. So we’re trying to kill ‘em. Beat ‘em by 50.” -- Warriors forward Matt Barnes on facing the Kings, who released him last month.