Ray Ratto

W's can't dig out of early hole, fall 104-92 to Suns

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W's can't dig out of early hole, fall 104-92 to Suns

Feb. 7, 2011BOXSCORE WARRIORSVIDEONBAPAGE NBASCOREBOARD

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Steve Nash had an expensive bottle of red wine from the Napa Valley tucked in a paper bag in his locker, a birthday present from his teammates that he was saving for another day.They got a taste of everything else.Nash dished out 15 assists and scored 14 points, leading the Phoenix Suns to a 104-92 victory over the Golden State Warriors on his 37th birthday Monday night."It hasn't been a very fun year in large part," Nash said. "But it's been more fun lately."Channing Frye had 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Grant Hill scored 18 to help the Suns build a 23-point lead and hold on late. They made 13 3-pointers and shot 43 percent from the floor in a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicated.The Suns weren't about to blow a game on the seven-time All Star's birthday.They sang happy birthday to Nash - and Mickael Pietrus, who turned 29 - before the game in the locker room in an acapella rendition. Nash ate some birthday pizza, then sliced through the Warriors."Just another night, really," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "He's been doing it forever and I've been there watching him. Nothing that he did really amazed me."Monta Ellis scored 21 points and David Lee had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Warriors, who got within five in the fourth quarter but could not come all the way back."We played terrible. It's embarrassing for our fans that we came out and played the way we played," Ellis said. "We'd been playing great the last few games and to come out and put up a performance like this is very disappointing."It was vintage Suns on display for most of the night.They shot themselves to victory with an array of outside jumpers that even the usually high-scoring Warriors couldn't match. Phoenix went 9 for 15 on 3-pointers in first half, with five different players sinking shots from beyond the arc.Nash had eight first-half assists, and Frye and Pietrus each made three 3-pointers to put Phoenix up by 20 in the second. Gentry perhaps removed his starters a little too quickly in a game that appeared over.The Warriors got within 93-88 with about 4 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter in a frantic rally that even had Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob leading a standing ovation courtside. They scored 11 straight points during the spurt, helped by Phoenix missing eight straight shots with most of its starters on the bench, but just couldn't sustain the momentum.Nash and Co. shed their warmups and quickly put the game away. Frye made a 3-pointer and another jumper, Nash hit a pull-up shot and the Suns went back ahead 104-90 in about a minute to give Nash a fitting end to his birthday.The Suns (24-25) have won four of their last five and are in the thick of the playoff race. They are 2 12 games behind Portland for the final Western Conference spot, and a game back of Memphis."We just have to keep working every day, we have to continue to improve and we also have to get a little bit tougher," Nash said.Phoenix did enough damage early to put any kind of comeback far out of reach.The frenetic pace and slick ball movement by Nash and the Suns were too much for the defensively challenged Warriors to keep up. Phoenix went ahead 77-54, shot 61 percent through three quarters and built enough of a cushion to withstand the Warriors' push."You're not going to beat them at their game," Warriors coach Keith Smart said. "It's not going to happen."NOTES: Phoenix G Goran Dragic missed his fourth straight game after cutting his left foot stepping on a piece of broken glass at his home, requiring nine stitches. ... Nash had not played on his birthday since 2004, when he had 29 points and 11 assists against Dallas. ... Warriors backup G Acie Law missed his second game in a row with a sprained right wrist. ... The Suns and Warriors play again Thursday in Phoenix.

If eclipse ends life on Earth, it's bad news for fans of one Bay Area team

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USATI

If eclipse ends life on Earth, it's bad news for fans of one Bay Area team

If the lunatic fringe of the lunatic fringe is right and the total eclipse of the sun is actually a harbinger of the end of life on earth . . .

- It’s good news for the Giants, who have been eliminated from the National League West race for less than 24 hours, or that they will not have to watch the Los Angeles Dodgers put their feet up on baseball for the first time in 28 years.

Besides, there won’t be any more years, so time becomes meaningless.

- It’s good news for the 49ers, who won’t have to endure a harsh week of practice from freshly irked head coach Kyle Shanahan, who finally saw exactly why the job came open for him in the first place.

- It’s good news for Raiders’ fans, who won’t see their team move to Las Vegas, and because they won't be soul-crushed if they can't beat the Patriots -- who will also die en masse despite Bill Belichick's entreaties to ignore the noise of seven billion terrorized shrieks.

- It’s bad news for A’s fans, who will never learn in what location their fabulous new franchise-saving stadium will not be built.

- It’s good news for the Warriors, who can say in their death throes that they were the last NBA champions ever, and that the Lakers will never get LeBron James.

- It’s good news for the Lakers because they cannot be found guilty of tampering with Paul George. It’s also good news for Jimmy Kimmel because he can’t lose a draft choice (some faceless F-list actor as a guest) as a result.

- It’s good news for the Kings, because they’ll never have to have the difficult meeting about Zach Randolph.

- It’s good news for the Chargers, because they won’t have to answer any more questions about why only 21,000 people were announced as the crowd for their second practice game, or to confront the very real possibility that they could become the NFL’s Washington Generals.

- It’s good news for the Jets, Mets, Nets and Knicks because the end of the planet is the only just solution for them all.

- It’s good news for Cal because it can stick its middle finger to the sky and say, “Here’s your $400 million debt. Try to collect it while we’re all dying.”

- It’s good news for Kevin Durant because he doesn’t have to slalom through the Internet trolls any more.

- It’s bad news for Roger Goodell, because he sure left a boatload of money on the table as he was hurtled into space like the rest of us.

- It’s bad news for Nick Saban because he will have never seen it coming. On the other hand, it’s good news for the people who cover Alabama football because they’ve endured their last journalism lecture from Prof. Nick on why they do their jobs so poorly.

- It’s bad luck for Jim Harbaugh because he will feel like a complete nitwit as he learns just what “an enthusiasm unknown to mankind” really means – the end of mankind.

- It’s bad news for all the sixth graders in America who are being offered scholarships that they will never be used by college coaches they will never meet. Of course, that would have been true even  if the world doesn’t end.

- It’s bad news for the hackers who have been spoiling Game Of Thrones because this is Game Of Thrones, only the dragon is the sun incinerating us all.

- It’s bad news for Kyrie Irving, because he will have died a Cleveland Cavalier.

- It’s good news for America, for the obvious reason that the planet will expire before our current political class can murder it.

- And finally, it’s good news for dignity, because the Mayweather-McGregor “thing” will never happen, and that alone means that even as we are torn asunder, we will know that the deity loves us all because both McGrogor and Mayweather are being torn asunder too.

Of course, if you’re reading this Tuesday, you’ll know the world didn’t end, and we’re just as screwed as we ever were. Oh well. Try to find your happy place, and drink like there’s no Wednesday.

Relationship between Goodell & NFL owners like Game of Thrones, only...

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AP

Relationship between Goodell & NFL owners like Game of Thrones, only...

The National Football League’s 32 bosses ruined all our fun speculation about Roger Goodell’s future by extending his future.

By extending his contract to 2025 – and, maybe more importantly, keeping his salary private so that we can’t use it as a club with which to continually brain him – the owners sent the message that, whatever the state of his petty feuds with allegedly powerful owners like Jerry Jones and Bob Kraft, they are unwilling to overturn the car to spite the roadway.

And he in turn takes great care to keep his supply lines covered, by keeping the majority of owners happy and well-insulated with barrels of cash. It’s Game Of Thrones, only less visually violent and more tactically prudent.

We mention this because as the Oakland Raiders slowly but surely transition to the Formerly Oakland Raiders, we remind you that Goodell’s two jobs are to provide the owners with what they want while making sure they provide him with what he wants. The commissioner doesn’t work for you, and he showed that when Mark Davis went looking for votes to leave, Goodell was giving him hints about what to do and not to do because, while the league might not have thought the Raiders were the ideal candidate to pry open access to the worlds of gambling and international high-rollers, they were the best available candidate.

And while you may want to be angry at him for not minding the needs of the Bay Area, he doesn’t work for you – never has, never will. He has his bosses, and you’re not them. It’s why, for all the criticism he takes – and maybe because he’s the one who takes it rather than his 32 bosses – he keeps his real constituency content, if not necessarily happy.

Now if you want to harm him, you can autocorrect “Goodell” for the names of the 32 owners. It’s clunky, and it unfocuses whatever your anger at the moment might be, but it would expose the real powers for whatever irks you at the time.

We’re not confident you’ll do that, too. Goodell makes a grand target – overpaid, slavishly devoted to oligarchs, willing to bend or deny reality to kick the liability can down the road – and that, too, is worth the money to them.