Urban: Deja vu? Sweep could spur Giants moves

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Urban: Deja vu? Sweep could spur Giants moves

June 18, 2011

URBAN ARCHIVE
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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.

Former Kings forward Casspi breaks thumb in Pelicans debut

Former Kings forward Casspi breaks thumb in Pelicans debut

NEW ORLEANS — Omri Casspi has broken his right thumb in his first game with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Casspi says he's expected to miss about four weeks but hopes he can return a little sooner than that.

The forward says he jammed the thumb on his shooting hand while trying to defend Houston guard Eric Gordon in the third quarter of the Pelicans' 129-99 loss to the Rockets on Thursday night.

He says he briefly remained in the game but opted for an X-ray after it swelled up and learned it was broken.

Casspi scored 12 points while playing just under 24 minutes.

Casspi was acquired by New Orleans on Sunday night in a trade with Sacramento that also brought DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans.

Pelicans lose by 30, but Cousins scores 27 with 14 rebounds in debut

Pelicans lose by 30, but Cousins scores 27 with 14 rebounds in debut

BOX SCORE

NEW ORLEANS -- The Boogie-and-Brow era in New Orleans is off to a highly inauspicious start.

The Pelicans' tandem of newly acquired All-Star DeMarcus Cousins and All-Star Game MVP Anthony Davis was no match for the surging Houston Rockets on Thursday night.

Reserve Lou Williams hit seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points in his Rockets debut after a trade from the Lakers, and Houston crushed New Orleans, 129-99.

Davis had 29 points, and Cousins finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds after he was acquired from Sacramento during the break. But New Orleans turned the ball over 20 times couldn't keep pace with the firepower of the Rockets, who hit 20 3-pointers.

Eric Gordon scored 19 points and Ryan Anderson added 17 in both players' first game in New Orleans since leaving the Pelicans. James Harden had 13 points and 14 assists.

Houston led by as many as 35 points when Gordon's free throws made it 100-65 late in the third quarter.

Patrick Beverley had 12 rebounds for Houston. Montrezl Harrell added 10 points for the Rockets, who shot 49.5 percent (45 of 91).

After New Orleans acquired Cousins, nicknamed "Boogie," in a deal involving five players and two draft choices, Pelicans general manager Dell Demps hoped Cousins and Davis would thrive playing off one another while point guard Jrue Holiday initiated offensive sets. But Holiday had arguably his worst game this season, turning the ball over seven times and finishing with only six points and four assists.

The crowd was charged up for both Cousins' debut and Davis' resumption of a sensational season following his record 52-point performance on Sunday.

Both players received rousing receptions during introductions and the crowd roared when Cousins hit a jumper for games' first points.

Cousins and Davis each scored eight in the first quarter, but it was also apparent that the integration of new personnel had New Orleans a bit out of sync. The Pelicans turned the ball over 12 times in the first half, leading to 17 Rockets points.

The Rockets also hit nine 3s in the opening half, including three each by Gordon and Williams, and led 66-50 at halftime.

By the end of the third quarter, the crowd that had been so rowdy at tip-off was starting to file out with their team down 100-67.

TIP-INS

Rockets: Houston has won seven of the past eight meetings. ... The Rockets hit at least 10 3s in a game for the 55th time in 59 games this season. ... The Rockets, now 41-18, have matched their win total for all of last season.

Pelicans: Before the game, New Orleans waived F Terrence Jones and signed G/F Hollis Thompson to a 10-day contract. Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said Jones, who joined New Orleans on a one-year contract this season, was released to help him find a team where he could play more. Thompson played a little more than four minutes and scored three points. ... The Pelicans are now 14-16 at home.

UP NEXT

Rockets: Host Minnesota on Saturday night.

Pelicans: Visit Dallas on Saturday night.