From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP)Regular-season NFL ratings on Fox were the networks highestin 16 years.Games averaged a 12.0 rating and 24 share, up 2 percent from last years11.824, according to Nielsen Media Research. Fox said Wednesday it was its bestNFL rating since a 12.529 in 1995 and it marked the first time since the 1970NFL-AFL merger that the NFC package had an increase in ratings in three straightyears. Fox averaged 20.1 million viewers, tying 2010 as its most-viewed NFL season.
OAKLAND -- Though JaVale McGee avoided direct discussion of his feud with retired NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, the Warriors center expressed his appreciation for coaches and teammates coming to his defense.
“My teammates are my brothers, and (coach) Steve Kerr is also,” McGee said after shootaround Saturday morning. “It’s a great organization and I appreciate everything they do for me. That’s why I go out there and work as hard as I can when I’m on the floor. And I know everyone sees that. They see me running up and down the floor, working as hard as I can, and in the gym every day. I’m just doing my thing and trying to be a positive person.”
O’Neal’s constant ridicule of McGee reached a low point Thursday night, when the TNT analyst unveiled a video that showed various gaffes and slights to McGee’s intellect. McGee, who has held his tongue for years despite being targeted, fired back on Twitter.
Both men exchanged several insults and it reached a point Friday where by Kevin Durant and Kerr felt compelled to defend McGee.
Kerr even acknowledged that he harbored a few preconceived notions about McGee, based on O’Neal’s yearslong derision of the 7-footer. Those notions, Kerr said, turned out to be false.
McGee said he enjoys it when people take the time to engage him in conversation and come away realizing he is not a dolt, despite O’Neal frequently implying otherwise.
“I love it when people meet me,” McGee said, “and then they’re like, ‘Oh, you’re actually smart.’ It’s kind of rude, but I’ll take it.”
One of McGee’s teammates knows a thing or two about false impressions. Even after a strong collegiate career, Draymond Green had to overcome doubts that he was worthy of being in the NBA.
So it is no surprise that, to some degree, he understands how McGee feels.
“He’s standing up for himself,” Green said. “A lot has transpired over the course of the past four years with it. And he was just at a boiling point.”
VANCOUVER – The water and Gatorade bottles were all lined up in front of the Canucks’ bench on Saturday morning for their morning skate, each one labeled with an individual player’s number. The purpose was to prevent any further spread of the mumps virus, as five players will be unable to dress against the Sharks on Saturday.
The Sharks went about business as usual when it was their turn to skate. They aren’t really able to take any preventative measures, as the story only came to light on Friday afternoon when they were in the air on their charter flight to British Columbia.
After the morning skate, coach Pete DeBoer joked, “I’ve asked all the guys as they walk by the [Canucks dressing] room to hold their breath on the way out to the bus.”
DeBoer can't do much other than hope that the players remain healthy.
“We had to skate, we had to practice. There’s nothing you can do,” DeBoer said. “You wash your hands. I think our trainers are on it. We’ve got some vaccines set up from what I understand when we get back, but that’s about it.”
Vancouver’s Troy Stecher is the only confirmed case of the mumps, although four others – Nikita Tryamkin, Michael Chaput, Chris Tanev and Markus Granlund – have shown symptoms. That leaves the entire right side of Vancouver’s defense out, so rookie Evan McEnany will be making his NHL debut on the blue line, while Joseph Labate will play his fourth career NHL game up front.
The Sharks will return to San Jose immediately after the game, have a scheduled day off on Sunday, and will reconvene for practice on Monday.
No one in the Sharks’ dressing room had any answers better than DeBoer’s one-liner when it came to trying to avoid the virus, which is spread primarily through saliva and sweat – making it somewhat easily transferable among NHL players, including two seasons ago when several teams dealt with outbreaks.
Joe Pavelski indicated that many Sharks players should be fine, as they had to be vaccinated prior to past Olympic competitions. “You hope it doesn’t spread through your team, because obviously it’s not fun,” he said.
Joe Thornton and Joel Ward will both be searching for the soap, though.
“Just got to wash your hands, that’s what I learned a long time ago,” Thornton said.
Ward said: “Tell the boys to wash their hands, especially Burnzie. That was kind of news to us, so hopefully that doesn’t travel through us. We’ll just knock on wood and [hopefully] stay healthy.”