<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Top News - [BAY ONLY INCLUDES CSN]Sports]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcbayarea.com/newsen-usTue, 28 Mar 2017 05:20:31 -0700Tue, 28 Mar 2017 05:20:31 -0700NBC Local Integrated Media<![CDATA[Roster Longshot Decker Could Claim Outfield Spot With A's]]>Mon, 27 Mar 2017 20:44:38 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/219*120/baseball-generic.jpg

MESA, Ariz. - As the pieces are beginning to fit for the A's 25-man roster, Jaff Decker may be an unlikely feel-good story come Opening Night.

A non-roster invitee this spring, the journeyman has impressed with his all-around game to the point that he might make Oakland's club as a fifth outfielder.

There's other factors that play into it - how many relievers the A's carry will determine whether they keep five outfielders - but things are breaking right for the 27-year-old Decker, who's with his fourth organization and has never made an Opening Night roster.

When Jake Smolinski went down with a shoulder injury that required surgery, it thrust Decker into the competition. Then Monday, the A's released veteran Alejandro De Aza, who had impressed this spring but had an opt-out clause in his minor league deal. The A's think enough of Decker that they cut De Aza loose. On Monday, Decker returned from a minor oblique issue and started in left field, going 1-for-3 in a 10-3 loss to Kansas City.

"I'm super excited," Decker said. "I feel like I fit in well here, and I get along with the guys really well. It's a good group of baseball minds, baseball guys. I hope I have done enough and shown I'm healthy enough to land that spot."

De Aza hit .300 in 19 games and displayed the veteran savvy that seemed to make him a possible fit on the A's bench. Manager Bob Melvin expressed hope that De Aza might re-sign with the A's if he doesn't find a big league opportunity elsewhere.

But Decker, who bats left-handed as does De Aza, is hitting .308 and has his own attributes, including a strong arm and the ability to play all three outfield spots. It's a nice package of skills for a player who, at 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds, doesn't appear the prototypical big league outfielder at first glance.

If the A's keep seven relievers, they will take five outfielders into the regular season. The decision on a seventh reliever appears to be between lefty Daniel Coulombe and right-hander Frankie Montas. But the A's could hang on to both and only keep four outfielders, with Mark Canha being the fourth.

Decker fun fact: His first name is pronounced "Jeff." He's named after his uncle, whose first name was misspelled on his birth certificate. Decker's uncle kept the spelling.

MELVIN ON RAIDERS: Melvin, a Bay Area native who is quite tuned in to the history of local teams, weighed in on the Raiders announcing a move to Las Vegas. That news has a direct impact on the A's, obviously, as a co-tenant of the Coliseum with the Raiders.

"It's too bad," Melvin said. "Like us, they have a rich tradition and unbelievable fan base. They're well supported in the Bay Area. It's tough to have to deal with it."

NOTEWORTHY: In his first start since being named part of the rotation, Andrew Triggs struggled mightily against the Royals, getting tagged for eight runs and three homers in 3 2/3 innings. While stressing that now is no time for complacency in his position, Triggs also said he was approaching the game differently than if it were the regular season. He kept throwing his changeup, his fourth best pitch, in an effort to get more comfortable with it.

"If this were (the regular season), we probably would have said in the first or second inning, this wasn't so great, and gone out there and started back-dooring cutters and working off the sinker," he said. "But we made a concerted effort to work on a pitch, it wasn't very good, and the results showed that."

FAMILIAR FACE: One of the homers off Triggs came from former Athletic Brandon Moss, who connected for a two-run shot in the fourth. The outfielder signed a two-year $12 million contract with the Royals in the offseason.

ODDS AND ENDS: Coulombe had a great day, tossing three scoreless innings. That's three outings in a row without allowing a run for the lefty after a rough patch before that. Melvin pointed out that the ability to throw multiple innings will be important if Coulombe makes the team. … Matt Chapman homered in the fifth, his third long ball of the spring. He's hitting .261 and playing stellar defense. "He's got a lot of enthusiasm and it rubs off on guys," Melvin said.



Photo Credit: Joe Stiglich]]>
<![CDATA[Big Game for Veteran Trying to Lock Up Job With Giants]]>Mon, 27 Mar 2017 19:18:55 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/gorkys-giants-reds-2017spring-ap.jpg

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - For the first time, Gorkys Hernandez did not go back to Venezuela in the offseason to play winter ball. He's hoping that leads to another first. 

Hernandez has never made an opening day roster, but after breaking into the Giants' outfield rotation last season, he entered the winter in a decent shot. To bolster his case, Hernandez stayed in Scottsdale over the offseason to work out at the minor league facility. The added strength didn't lead to any notable results over the first month of games, but Hernandez broke through Monday with three doubles in the final home game of the spring.

"Sometimes (slumps) happen and sometimes you're late (on pitches) and you don't feel comfortable at the plate, but now I feel different. I feel better," Hernandez said. "I'm recognizing pitches and trying to keep it simple and not do too much."

The coaching staff has asked several players to head down to the minor league facility late in the spring and get additional at-bats, and Hernandez took Bruce Bochy up on the offer. He twice played in minor league games, and on Sunday he rotated into different games so he could get six at-bats. Hernandez said that helped him find his timing. 

"Without question, it helped his timing," Bochy said. "He was off. He was getting out front, his timing was off. I think the at-bats he got paid off."

The three-double day was perfectly timed. Hernandez entered with a .159 average and Justin Ruggiano, the other option as a backup center fielder, had started to put together better at-bats. Monday's game was a reminder in more ways than one. Hernandez showed off the type of speed the Giants won't have on the bench if Kelby Tomlinson is optioned, and he played all three outfield positions, switching from left to right to center. 

The role in play is one Gregor Blanco had for five seasons. The Giants would like Hernandez to be their defensive whiz at every outfield spot, and they're light on true center fielders. If the Giants put Hernandez on the roster this week as expected, he'll be ready to try and be the new Blanco. 

"If they give me that role, I'll try to do the same thing," he said. "Or better."

THE ACE: Madison Bumgarner is going to Madison Bumgarner. He threw seven sharp innings Monday, lowering his spring ERA to 2.52. In 25 innings, he has allowed just 17 hits and struck out 23. Bochy appreciated Bumgarner's intensity Monday against a Reds team that was filled with minor leaguers. 

"That's what makes him so good," Bochy said. "He takes every outing seriously. His preparation doesn't waver."

Bumgarner even added a single, and he liked that it came on a breaking ball. He's worked on getting better at hitting those pitches, which he's seeing more and more. 

"I feel I'm as ready as I can be to start the season," Bumgarner said. 

His next pitch will be thrown Sunday at Chase Field. 

GAME RECAP: The Giants blasted poor Reds starter Cody Reed, hanging 10 runs on his line in 3 2/3 innings. Denard Span had two hits and Aaron Hill had three, driving in three runs. Bochy went with an interesting lineup, leading off with Span, Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence, Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford. He said he likes Crawford in that five-spot. He also plans to hit the pitcher eighth on occasion.

TRAINER'S ROOM: Joe Panik was drilled by a fastball in the lower back and he came out of the game as a precaution. Panik has a nasty welt, so he's in for a night of ice, but there are no concerns. 

QUOTABLE: Posey turned 30 today. As he walked out to stretch, Bumgarner was asked if he was giving Posey a hard time. "No, he's been 30 for the last seven years," Bumgarner said.

 

 



Photo Credit: Alex Pavlovic]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland Leaders React to NFL's Approval of Raiders Move]]>Mon, 27 Mar 2017 23:50:18 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/schaaf-raiders-0327-2017.jpg

Oakland city leaders were feeling the sting and feeling slighted Monday after the NFL owners approved the Raiders' relocation to Las Vegas.

Local politicians said they had been working hard on keeping the Raiders in Oakland and wasted no time criticizing the decision, as well as the team itself. They said owner Mark Davis appeared to have made up his mind about the move long ago.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, visibly angry, spoke just minutes after the NFL vote, saying Davis did not give her city a chance.

"The Raiders ceased all communications with the city of Oakland," she said. "He is always polite to me, never rude or disrespectful, but I do think the manly thing for him to do is to admit we had a viable plan and that he made a choice."

As the Oakland A's flag was cheered at the annual raising on the roof of City Hall, city leaders made it clear they're ticked at the Silver and Black.

"I don't want them now; they can go down to Santa Clara and play," City Council President Larry Reid said about the Raiders. "They don't want us. We busted our tails. They didn't engage with the city of Oakland."

As for the A's, who will soon have Oakland to themselves, team president Dave Kaval said his team shouldn’t be seen as the scapegoat some are painting them out to be.

"We're definitely not happy to see them go," Kaval said. "I mean, it's a very sad moment. We think the fans in the East Bay and Bay Area are tremendous. The A's are a key part of that, and the Raiders have a part of that history as well."

Davis has said if any Raiders season ticketholder wants a refund, he will grant it.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Fans at Ricky's Sports Bar Join in Sorrow, Anger]]>Mon, 27 Mar 2017 23:52:06 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/rickys-0327-2017.jpg

A slew of Raiders fans gathered at Ricky's sports bar Monday to share in the sorrow and disappointment they were feeling after the NFL approved the team's relocation to Las Vegas.

The owner of Ricky's Sports Theatre and Grill in San Leandro said his establishment will continue to support the team, no matter where they play home games. And some fans were feeling the same way.

"My dad took me to my first game when I was 5 years old," said Nancy Battilana, who was celebrating a birthday Monday while mourning the loss of her favorite team, calling it the "worst birthday present I’ve ever had."

Battilana said she won’t pay to see the Raiders play in Las Vegas, but she will cheer them on from home, something heard often around Ricky's on Monday.

Still, others were feeling angry and bitter about the Raiders' impending departure. Rob Rivera, president of the Black Hole Fan Club, said he’s already heard an overwhelming response from season ticketholders who are planning to cash out.

"A big part of our soul has just been damaged and taken away," he said. "There was an option here in Oakland, with the most loyal fans in the NFL, and you guys just ripped that away, with no heart."

Mark Acasio, who is known as "Gorilla Rilla," has had season tickets for 21 years.

"My stomach just dropped," he said. "It's like my girlfriend cheated on me, my wife cheated on me."

Season ticketholders Gary and Nancy Dowell agreed: "This was a big part of our lives they're going to be taking away from us."

Ken Webb, known as "Afro Deesiac," is a 15-year season ticketholder.

"I'm old enough to remember the first time they left," he said. "There's only so much you can take."

The Raiders still have two or three more seasons at the Coliseum, and fans are mixed on what they'll do next.

"I paid for my season tickets this year, and then I'm not buying them next year or the year after that," said Debbie White, a season ticketholder since 2012.

"I just can't go to that stadium and pretend everything's great," Webb said. "I just can't do that."

Andy Dolich, a former NFL and NBA executive who's dealt with moving franchises before, said he expects fans will show up.

"Ultimately, I think the majority of fans, based upon the way the team is playing, even with their frustration and their anger, will be coming to games at the Oakland Coliseum," Dolich said.

Some fans said the NFL's decision will make them think twice before tuning in on game day. And while some fans make new plans for Sundays in the fall, there are even a few die-hards that say the fight isn’t over yet.

"Stadium deals are very complicated," said Chris Fry-Lopez, vice president of Save Oakland Sports. "So, for the most part, I’m very sad today, but I’m not done fighting to keep the Raiders in Oakland."

Save Oakland Sports said it is working on a couple of ideas to keep the team in Oakland but added that it isn't ready to announce anything yet.

Raiders owner Mark Davis has said if any Raiders season ticketholder wants a refund, he will grant it.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[NFL Approves Raiders' Relocation to Las Vegas]]>Tue, 28 Mar 2017 00:02:29 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/las-vegas-raiders.jpg

NFL owners on Monday gave the Oakland Raiders the green light to move from their current home in the East Bay to Las Vegas.

The relocation move was approved by 31 of the league's 32 owners during meetings in Phoenix.

"My father used to say that the greatness of the Raiders is in its future, and the opportunity to build a world-class stadium in the entertainment capital of the world is one opportunity that will give us the ability to achieve that greatness," Mark Davis, the owner of the Raiders, said.

Davis added that he has "mixed feelings" about the relocation, and he understands the anger that some fans of the Raiders most likely feel.

"I just hope that in the future as we play in Oakland this year that (the fans) understand it wasn't the players, it wasn't the coaches that made this decision, but it was me that made it," Davis said. "If they have anyone to talk to about it, it should be me. I will, in the coming days, try to explain to them what went in to making this difficult decision."

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf called Monday's announcement "very disappointing news."

"I'm very sad today for the 'Raider Nation,'" she said. "These are the most dedicated, passionate, good-hearted fans that any city could be proud to call theirs. That is what makes my heart so heavy."

With no stadium in place to greet them, it is not exactly clear at this point when the Raiders will pack their bags for Las Vegas. The Raiders maintain one-year stadium lease options in Oakland for the next two seasons. Davis added that the team could even still play in the East Bay during the 2019 campaign as well if the Las Vegas stadium is still in the works.

"We're still the Oakland Raiders and we are the Raiders and we represent the 'Raider Nation,'" Davis said.

Oakland season-ticket holders disappointed about the owners' decision will be allowed to refund their tickets if they so choose, Davis added.

The Raiders' proposal to the NFL included a $1.9 billion stadium plan in "Sin City." A total of $750 million in public funds via a Las Vegas hotel tax along with $500 million from the team and the NFL will be used to fund the construction of the domed arena. Bank of America, the Raiders' new chief financial backer, will also contribute funds.

The fact that no physical stadium location in Las Vegas had been officially determined and no stadium lease had been put into writing could have derailed the relocation proposal, but owners did not appear to find issue with those potential roadblocks.

In the days leading up to Monday's vote, Oakland went "all in" in hopes of enticing the franchise to stick with its original home.

Mayor Schaaf over the weekend backed a plan to construct a new $1.3 billion home for the Raiders on 55 acres of immediately available land just south of the Coliseum.

The East Bay city was slated to chip in $200 million to build the public infrastructure and pay for the preparation of the stadium site, according to Schaaf. Oakland's general fund would not have been tapped into to pay for the build. Rather, construction would have been paid off using revenue generated at the venue. Schaaf reiterated that $600 million in private funds would have come from the Fortress Investment Group and NFL Hall of Hamer and 49ers legend Ronnie Lott.

Mayor Schaaf on Monday once again stated that Oakland's stadium plan was a "fully financed, shovel-ready project."

The last-minute proposal was submitted to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last week, but it appears the effort was not enough to turn heads.

Over the weekend, Goodell wrote a letter, which was obtained by Bay Area News Group, to Schaaf indicating that the plan "does not present a proposal that is clear and specific, actionable in a reasonable timeframe, and free of major contingencies."

He backed that sentiment up Monday afternoon by claiming that the NFL worked "tirelessly" to resolve stadium issues in Oakland for roughly 10 years, but a substantial and well-rounded solution never materialized.

"The points that we always put back to Oakland were we need certainty on a viable plan that will work for the community and the team long term," he said. "It had to be actionable. We understand that contingencies sometimes occur, but major contingencies that put the entire project into doubt are just unreasonable in a case like this."

Davis added that Oakland did not do nearly enough to express its long-term commitment to the Raiders, especially after the Raiders were prevented from returning to Los Angeles last year.

"Oakland had the opportunity to come in and make a presentation to the league and they came in with a five-page piece of paper that had nothing to do with anything," he said. "They claimed that they would wait for us to lose the vote and come back and then they'd have all the leverage."

The Raiders came up short in that vote. The organization's leaders returned to Oakland and managed to negotiate a one-year lease at the Coliseum with two years of options, according to Davis. Both sides then planned to discuss long-term stadium ideas in the near future, but that never happened.

"A week later I got a call from one of the county board of supervisors telling me, 'Mark, I'm sorry, but the lease that we just negotiated, the three years of leases, are not going to be valid. We're going to raise the rent three times on you,'" Davis said. "At that point, we ended up signing that lease anyway, but then we decided we have to start looking elsewhere to see if we could find a long-term solution."

At that point, the Raiders and the city of Oakland halted communication with the exception of one meeting, according to Schaaf. She did admit that she understands Davis' frustrations with being unable to negotiate a long-term deal with Oakland for the past decade, but she also made sure to criticize him for not taking Oakland's latest stadium plan into consideration.

"I do think that the manly thing for him to do is at least admit that (Oakland) had a viable plan and that he made a choice," she said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[A's Maxwell Hits Two HRs But Won't Make It to Oakland]]>Sun, 26 Mar 2017 22:21:04 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/maxwell-mask-ap.jpg

PHOENIX - Bruce Maxwell homered twice against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday, and his reward was a demotion to the minors.

Awkward timing, for sure. But the news itself wasn't much of a shock to the A's catcher, who knew he was the odd man out in a three-man roster battle. The A's like the left-right platoon behind the plate. Stephen Vogt, who like Maxwell hits left-handed, wasn't going anywhere. Josh Phegley is back healthy after knee surgery and has the advantage of being a right-handed hitter.

"I mean, I could have come out here and hit 1.000 and I probably still would have been in the same situation," Maxwell said. "I can't really do much about it. I try not to worry about it. At the end of the day everybody wants to play in the big leagues, but if the opportunity is not there you can't stress about it."

Manager Bob Melvin gave Maxwell the news in the dugout after he exited Oakland's 11-1 victory, and Melvin certainly couldn't give Maxwell a justifiable reason for the demotion except that the roster math doesn't add up.

"Great day to have to do that," Melvin said sarcastically. "But, he'll be here at some point. We saw his progression last year, he did a great job for us. There's nothing he did to suggest he needed to be sent down. It's just a numbers game for him right now."

The A's batted around in a five-run third, knocking Brewers starter Matt Garza from the game after he recorded just seven outs. They tacked on four more in the fourth, with Maxwell going deep to left-center for a two-run homer off Jhan Marinez. In the sixth, he hit a solo shot off Corey Knebel to right-center and also added a run-scoring single to complete his four-RBI day.

Melvin has spoken often of the improving power shown by the 26-year-old Maxwell, who hit .283 with a homer and 14 RBI in 33 games with Oakland last season in his first major league call-up.

"If you look at the power numbers over the years, he's getting better and better," Melvin said. "He's got the chance to be a 20-home run guy in the big leagues."

NOTEWORTHY: Jharel Cotton held Milwaukee to just a run on four hits over 5 2/3 innings. He bounced back from a wobbly start against Seattle in which he walked five. On Sunday, his toughest challenge was staying loose as the A's offense put up two time-consuming rallies. Twice, Cotton had to play catch while his teammates paraded around the bases.

But it sure didn't affect him, as he struck out seven and walked one in his second-to-last spring training start.

"This one, I was more on the attack, using my fastball more so I can set up my changeup and off-speed pitches," Cotton said. "I know everybody raves about the changeup, but I need my fastball to be there so I can throw that pitch off the fastball."

He had an entertaining ongoing battle with six-time All-Star Ryan Braun. He struck out Braun on a cutter in the first, gave up a homer to left in the fourth, then battled back from a 3-0 count to get Braun swinging through a fastball in the sixth.

"I got him twice, he got me once," Cotton said. "I think I won that battle today."

HEALTH UPDATE: Daniel Mengden, who has missed all of spring with a broken right foot, is scheduled to get his walking boot removed Monday. Mengden said he'll stay in Arizona for anywhere from two to four weeks, taking part in extended spring training. The good news for the right-hander: He's been able to play catch while wearing the boot, so that's a bit of a head-start for him once he gets full mobility with his foot. There's no timetable yet for his return.

ODDS AND ENDS: The A's knocked out 16 hits and recorded double-digit runs for the fifth time this spring. They improved to 16-12. … Alejandro De Aza, fighting for an outfield roster spot, went 2-for-3 with an RBI to raise his average to .300. … With few regulars making the trip to Maryvale Baseball Park, second baseman Max Schrock came over from minor league camp and once again made an impact, going 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI. … John Axford threw a scoreless inning of relief. Frankie Montas handled the final two innings, allowing one hit with two strikeouts and a walk. The hard-throwing prospect is a candidate for the bullpen as a multi-inning guy.



Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Bonds Dusts Off Swing, Cracks HR During BP at Giants Camp]]>Sun, 26 Mar 2017 22:21:17 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bonds-giants-2017spring-usatsi.jpg

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants knew Barry Bonds would step back into the box at some point. It happened Sunday, with Bonds taking a few cracks at BP pitches from Gary Davenport.

Bonds warmed up with a couple of lighter swings and then blasted a homer to deep right. That was enough, as the 52-year-old walked away with a big smile on his face. 

Bonds is in camp as a special instructor, and he still picks his spots to show off his legendary swing. When he was the Marlins' hitting coach last season, he beat slugger Giancarlo Stanton in an impromptu home run derby.



Photo Credit: Alex Pavlovic]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Tame Grizzlies Behind Strong Second Half]]>Sun, 26 Mar 2017 23:06:40 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/warriors-ir-ap.jpg

OAKLAND -- There was plenty of tension and more than a few pulse-stopping moments, but the Warriors found a way to win their seventh consecutive game.

The Warriors’ 106-94 victory Sunday over the admirably recalcitrant Memphis Grizzlies was a work in persistence and overcome moments in which the worst of their work was on full display before a sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.

Klay Thompson scored 31 points to lead the offense. Stephen Curry had 21 points and a game-high 11 assists, Andre Iguodala had 20 and Matt Barnes finished with 10 as the Warriors evened the season series with the Grizzlies at 2-2.

The Warriors (59-14) fought off numerous Memphis rallies but turned up the defense in the fourth quarter, holding the Grizzlies to 13 points on 5-of-25 (20 percent) shooting over the final 12 minutes.

The Warriors offset 18 turnovers, giving the Grizzlies 16 point, by shooting 54.2 percent from the field.

Mike Conley scored 29 points to lead Memphis, which fell to 40-33.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

As good as the Splash Brothers were, and they were superb, it was Iguodala’s play at both ends that made a major difference.

Iguodala’s line: 20 points (7-of-8 shooting from the field, 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, 4-of-5 from the line), a team-high-tying seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and a blocked shot. He played 32 minutes and was plus-9 for the game.

TURNING POINT

After the Grizzlies pulled into an 81-81 tie with 25.2 left in the third quarter, the Warriors responded with a 15-5 run to go up 96-86 on a 3-pointer by Curry with 4:57 remaining.

Memphis got no closer than nine in the final minutes.

INJURY UPDATE

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

Grizzlies: C Marc Gasol (L foot strain) was listed as questionable and declared out prior to tipoff. F Chandler Parsons (L knee rehab) was listed as out. C Deyonta Davis and F Jarell Martin are on assignment with Iowa of the D-League.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors travel Monday to Houston, where on Tuesday night they face the Rockets at Toyota Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.



Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Re-Issue Ticket Fraud Warning, Treat Some Victims]]>Sun, 26 Mar 2017 19:06:13 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/warriors+arena-0326-2017.jpg

Imagine the sinking feeling: You've paid hundreds of dollars for tickets to a Golden State Warriors game and then you're turned away at the gate because your tickets are counterfeit.

That scenario has played out for more than a thousand fans this season, Warriors officials said. As recent as Sunday night, 20 people who showed up for a game against the Memphis Grizzlies got the awful news that their tickets were no good, the team said.

So the Warriors took the opportunity to remind people once again about the dangers of buying tickets from second and third parties. They also gave some of the unsuspecting fans a treat Sunday, randomly selecting some of the victims of those ticket scams and seats inside one of two VIP suites for the game against Memphis.

Some of those fans were among 58 who were sent home with bad tickets on March 8 when the Boston Celtics were in town. That night was one of the worst on record for ticket fraud, the Warriors said.

The team also flew in a little boy and his mother from Atlanta for Sunday's game. The two Warriors fans enjoyed first-class accomodations and courtside seats, compliments of the team, after they got burned in a ticket scam earlier this season.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Head to NFL Meetings Looking for Las Vegas Approval]]>Sun, 26 Mar 2017 22:58:01 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mark-davis-vegas-ap.jpg

PHOENIX -- All signs point to the Raiders being approved for relocation to Las Vegas. It could happen as early as Monday, when the topic will be discussed at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix. It could be Tuesday. Or in May. Or at any point in a conference call.

The timing is less important than the ultimate outcome. The when is uncertain. The what seems likely, though not guaranteed, at this stage.

The Raiders need 24 of 32 approval votes to relocate and start construction on new digs.

The Raiders have presented a solid application to the NFL, centered on a stadium proposal in Las Vegas that includes $750 million in public funds for stadium construction. Bank of America, who is financing the project, is expected to loan the Raiders money to complete a financing plan that includes the public contribution and $500 million from the team and the NFL.

The Sports Business Journal reported on Sunday that the estimated stadium cost has dropped to $1.7 billion, and will receive $200 million in infrastructure improvements not included in their construction contribution.

League sources continue to say approval is expected. There is great confidence within the Raiders organization a vote will go their way.

Raiders fans, meanwhile, are reacting with anger and disappointment.

"I mean, I'm going to support the team, but not the politicians and not Mark Davis," fan Martin Lopez said. "I mean, he could stay here, but he doesn't want to."

Some fans were still hopeful, pleading with the team to stay in Oakland.

"That's terrible, to be honest," fan Rachelle Nicole said of the prospect of the NFL owners' approval. "They're home. They're family. I mean, stay here with us."

Still others understood the business aspect of the move.

"I love Oakland, but hey, $750 million toward a new stadium? I'd go too," Raiders fan Roosevelt Johnson said.

Some issues remain, though none are significant roadblocks. A stadium lease hasn't been finalized and a site hasn't been formally announced – it's reportedly set for a spot just off the Las Vegas Strip near Russell Road – so approval would likely come with conditions that could be met in time.

The Raiders worked a sweetheart deal that mines significant money from the public. They don't have investors with direct ties to gambling. And, as important as anything else, the NFL doesn't believe Oakland has a viable plan to keep the Raiders in an otherwise attractive, booming market.

That includes the latest proposal from the Oakland and financial partner Fortress Investments announced on Friday that makes certain concessions aimed at getting the Raiders back to the table.

The Silver and Black haven't worked with East Bay officials in more than a year, as they've shifted complete focus to their Las Vegas quest.

The revised Oakland plan didn't move the needle, a league executive said. That point was made crystal clear in a letter NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent to Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf.

"The material that we reviewed earlier today confirms certain information that had previously been communicated orally, such as a willingness to bring bank financing to a stadium project, and a proposed valuation of the land at the Coliseum site," Goodell wrote in a letter obtained by Bay Area News Group. "It also confirms that key issues that we have identified as threshold considerations are simply not resolvable in a reasonable time. In that respect, the information sent today does not present a proposal that is clear and specific, actionable in a reasonable timeframe, and free of major contingencies."

That virtually eliminates the prospect of Oakland planting doubt in NFL owners' minds heading into a pivotal discussion on the topic Monday at the Arizona Biltmore hotel.

It's possible the stadium and finance committee will make a formal recommendation on the Raiders application to relocate. That could precede a vote, and generally holds significant weight among undecided owners.

A league source said the new Oakland plan will be a talking point, though it may not be viewed in a flattering light. That's especially true in light of Goodell's letter.

"At this date, there remains no certainty regarding how the site will be fully developed, or the specific and contractually-defined nature of the participation by Fortress or other parties," Goodell wrote. "In addition, the long-term nature of the commitment to the A's remains a significant complication and the resolution of that issue remains unknown. Other significant uncertainties, which we have previously identified, remain unaddressed. We had hoped that the past two years would have allowed both of us to develop a viable project."

NBC Bay Area's Thom Jensen contributed to this report.

 

 



Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Giants vs. Padres Saturday at 3 p.m. on NBC Bay Area]]>Sat, 25 Mar 2017 11:25:45 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/169*120/455605300_8.jpg

The boys of summer continue their push to opening day! Join us for another San Francisco Giants spring training game on NBC Bay Area, Saturday, Mar. 25 at 3 p.m.

San Francisco's Chris Stratton will toe the rubber against San Diego's Clayton Richard.

Don't forget, you can always watch NBC programming on demand at NBC.com/video/full-episodes or on the NBC app.

For full Giants coverage, visit The Cove.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Spring Training: Nunez Receives Two Cortisone Shots]]>Thu, 23 Mar 2017 22:26:31 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/nunez-throw-us.jpg

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford will return to camp Thursday, show off their WBC championship medals, and then head to nearby Salt River Fields to take on the Colorado Rockies. It'll be a few more days, however, before the Giants have their full infield on the field. 

Eduardo Nuñez said he actually got two cortisone shots in his right shoulder, since an MRI this week showed "something" in two separate spots. Nuñez asked for the MRI because, while he was able to play and make strong throws, he felt pain on a daily basis. He might DH this weekend, but it'll be a few more days before he's cleared to begin throwing. 

The Giants are hopeful that the shots calm all this down, and Nuñez anticipated being ready for opening day. Still, it certainly sounds like this will be a close call. Conor Gillaspie, who is having a huge spring, could get plenty of early time at third. Manager Bruce Bochy doesn't anticipate Nuñez missing Opening Day.

"He should be ready," Bochy said. 

The Giants need all the good injury news they can get. It is expected that Will Smith will announce Friday that he's having Tommy John surgery. 

ICYMI: From this morning, a feature on George Kontos and his rise over the last few years. 

Also, one of the bench candidates, Gordon Beckham, asked for his release. The Giants will soon have to make decisions on Hill and David Hernandez, who have similar retention bonuses due March 28.

GAME RECAP: The Giants played one of their uglier games of the spring, losing 9-2 to King Felix and the Mariners … Matt Moore lasted just 1 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on four hits, two walks, a balk and a wild pitch. It was the same old thing: Moore just all of a sudden lost his command, and because he got up past the 30-pitch mark in the second inning alone, the Giants cut it off. Moore went down to the bullpen and got up to around 80 pitches. He'll make one more start down here, Tuesday against the Cubs ... Joe Panik had a hard double, one of just four hits for the Giants … Chris Marrero hasn't played a whole lot of left field this spring, and he didn't show much to the coaches on a couple of opportunities to throw home. The left field situation remains a mystery. 

POSITION BATTLES: Kelby Tomlinson played six innings of left field in a minor league game, and he had to wait until the sixth to get his first and only fly ball. There seemed to be a lot of interest from decision-makers about how Tomlinson fared, and his action today opens up an intriguing possibility. There's a roster permutation that has the Giants keeping just one reserve outfielder (Gorkys Hernandez) and three backup infielders: Conor Gillaspie, Aaron Hill and Kelby Tomlinson, with the latter two being options in left field. 

FAMILIAR FACE: Angel Pagan made it through the WBC healthy, and he apparently is drawing interest from the Phillies and Blue Jays. Giants people are confident Pagan will get a big league job somewhere over the coming week. 



Photo Credit: Alex Pavlovic]]>
<![CDATA[A's Name Kendall Graveman 2017 Opening Day Starter]]>Thu, 23 Mar 2017 18:07:26 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/graveman-kendall-as-green.jpg

MESA, Ariz. -- Kendall Graveman was announced as the A's Opening Night starter, confirmation of a move that had become obvious the more that spring training progressed.

With Sonny Gray set to begin the season on the disabled list with a strained lat muscle, Graveman is the veteran presence in the rotation and coming off the best 2016 season of any Oakland starter.

His performance this spring only strengthened his status. In his last outing, he threw six innings and faced just one batter over the minimum in that span.

Manager Bob Melvin said Sean Manaea will be the No. 2 starter followed by Jharel Cotton. The last two rotation spots are still open, though Melvin acknowledged that Andrew Triggs would have the inside track on one if the season began tomorrow.

Jesse Hahn and Raul Alcantara are also competing for those jobs. Alcantara takes the ball against Milwaukee on Thursday.



Photo Credit: Joe Stiglich]]>
<![CDATA[Kevin Durant Makes Strides at Warriors Practice]]>Thu, 23 Mar 2017 23:44:59 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/durant-kevin-alughter-joy.jpg

Kevin Durant has been making steady progress in his rehab.

And on Thursday, he took another step forward.

"Did a little bit more today. Went through some 5-on-0 stuff, some lateral movement," Steve Kerr told reporters after practice. "Seems like he makes a new stride each day. It's a good sign but the four-week mark is a week from now so that's really when we'll have our first real update."

Durant sprained the MCL in his left knee and sustained a tibial bone bruise on Feb. 28 in Washington.

The following day, the Warriors announced that he would be reevaluated in four weeks.

Kerr also said that Durant will travel on Golden State's road trip to Houston and San Antonio next week.

More to come...



Photo Credit: CSN Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[Team USA Dominates Puerto Rico to Win 2017 WBC]]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 23:50:41 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bcraw-us.jpg

LOS ANGELES -- Marcus Stroman tossed six hitless innings, Ian Kinsler slugged a two-run homer and the United States routed Puerto Rico 8-0 on Wednesday night to win its first World Baseball Classic in four tries.

Stroman dominated the tournament's highest-scoring team. Puerto Rico lost for the first time in eight games after outscoring the opposition 55-26. The U.S. territory finished runner-up for the second time, having lost to the Dominican Republic in the 2013 final.

Stroman, who was named the tournament's MVP, avenged his shakiness in the Americans' 6-5 loss to Puerto Rico during pool play. The right-hander from the Toronto Blue Jays retired the side on three grounders to open the game. In all, he gave up one hit, struck out three and walked one on 73 pitches.

He allowed just three balls past the infield until Angel Pagan's double in the left-field corner leading off the seventh, when Stroman departed to a standing ovation, having staked the Americans to a 7-0 lead.

Stroman walked Carlos Beltran leading off the second, but the defense helped him out. Yadier Molina hit the ball to shortstop Brandon Crawford, who started a double play before Stroman struck out Javier Baez to end the inning.

The U.S. pounded out 13 hits and finished with a 6-2 record while making the final for the first time in front of 51,565 at Dodger Stadium.

Kinsler homered off an 0-1 pitch from Seth Lugo into left-center field in the third, scoring Jonathan Lucroy, who singled leading off.

Lugo of the New York Mets allowed four runs and five hits, struck out seven and walked four in four innings. The right-hander won his first two starts of the tournament, including in the second round against Stroman and the U.S.

In that game, Stroman gave up six consecutive singles in a four-run first inning and took the loss against Puerto Rico last Friday in San Diego.

The Americans made it 4-0 in the fifth on RBI singles by Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen.

Fans wore flags of both countries as capes and decorated their faces in team colors. Puerto Rico boosters pounded cowbells, tooted horns and blew whistles early on before their team fell behind 4-0.

Fans were on their feet chanting "U-S-A" when the Americans loaded the bases in the seventh with two outs. They were rewarded with Crawford's two-run single that chased J.C. Romero, extending the lead to 6-0.

The U.S. tacked on another run on Giancarlo Stanton's RBI single off Hiram Burgos past diving shortstop Francisco Lindor.

Burgos' wild pitch moved runners to second and third before he walked Lucroy to load the bases a second time. Kinsler flied out to end the inning.

The Americans led 8-0 in the eighth on McCutchen's RBI single with two outs.

The U.S. defeated two-time champion Japan, while Puerto Rico beat the Netherlands to reach the final.

The three games at Dodger Stadium drew 109,892.



Photo Credit: CSN Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[A's Spring Training: Triggs Strengthens His Bid for Rotation]]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 19:08:31 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/triggs-voft-ap.jpg

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Last year Andrew Triggs was one of an assembly line of starting pitchers the A's ran out to the mound after injuries took their toll.

This spring, Triggs looks ready to assume a more instrumental role. On Wednesday, he stepped up with his best effort of the spring in Oakland's 5-3 victory over the White Sox at Camelback Ranch.

He fared well against a Chicago lineup saturated with left-handed hitters. He commanded his fastball. His curve had bite to it. And with his cutter lacking, Triggs kept hitters off-balance with his changeup and threw five innings of three-hit ball. He gave up two runs, struck out four and didn't issue a walk.

In short, it was everything manager Bob Melvin needed to see as he evaluates whether this late-blooming right-hander is ready for the starting rotation.

"This was his best outing so far," Melvin said. "His best command, sharpest breaking ball. He had good movement on his fastball. Once you're getting out there to 75-80 pitches, you've got a chance to not only evaluate performance, there's endurance involved. Everything."

Triggs, 28, had surrendered six runs in just 3 2/3 innings his last time out against Cleveland. He was much more efficient Wednesday,

"I felt like I had a pretty good feel for most everything in the arsenal," he said.

Most of Triggs' major league work last season, in his first taste of the bigs, came in relief. If he's to pitch every fifth day in 2017, he needs to show he can retire lefties consistently, and remain effective two and three times through a batting order.

Catcher Stephen Vogt believes Triggs has the repertoire to do that.

"The nice part about a four-pitch mix is very rarely are you gonna have all four on any given night. So if two go away, you've got two more to back it up," Vogt said. "Today his cutter, usually one of his better pitches, wasn't that great. He needed to rely more on the changeup and he did.

"Then he gets those swings and misses with the big breaking ball. It's fun to make the crowd kind of ‘woo.' It's always a good sign."

STOCK RISING: Another pitcher who helped his cause Wednesday was Frankie Montas, who struck out four over two scoreless innings to seal the victory.

"He continues to do what he continues to do," Melvin said. "He's throwing more and more breaking balls too."

In Montas' four outings, he's allowed just one earned run over eight innings for a 1.13 ERA. He's struck out nine and walked one. In light of Melvin saying his bullpen could use a reliever that can handle multiple innings, Montas has positioned himself squarely in the conversation for a 25-man roster spot.

NOTEWORTHY: The A's have collected 10 doubles over their last two games, and Wednesday they jumped ahead with big offense early once again. Ryon Healy went 2-for-3 with an RBI and is hitting .359. Vogt is also swinging it well. He doubled home two runs in the first and is batting .324.

FAMILIAR FACE: : Tyler Ladendorf, who spent the previous seven-plus seasons in the A's organization, entered mid-game at shortstop for the Sox and struck out in his only at-bat. Ladendorf signed with Chicago on a minor league deal earlier this spring.

ODDS AND ENDS: With their 13th victory, the A's (13-10) eclipsed their win total from all of last spring with 11 games still to go. … Sonny Gray (strained lat muscle) felt good a day after playing catch for the first time in two weeks. He was set to do so again Wednesday. … Rajai Davis (1-for-3) scored two runs and notched his fifth stolen base. … Ryan Madson gave up a run in his one inning of work. His ERA is 7.50 through six outings. He's allowed 10 hits over six innings. … Santiago Casilla, in his fourth appearance, threw a scoreless inning with one hit and one walk.



Photo Credit: Joe Stiglich]]>
<![CDATA[Giants' Cain Still on Track for Fifth Starter Job]]>Wed, 22 Mar 2017 18:55:56 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/cain-matt-us.jpg

MARYVALE, Ariz. - After a series of questions the other day about getting extra rest between starts, Madison Bumgarner smiled and pointed at the personalized calendar taped to his locker. He said he simply operates by the schedule set out by pitching coach Dave Righetti.

A glance at the calendar in Matt Cain's locker might show a reason why the longest-tenured Giant is still in a good position to win the No. 5 starter spot despite continued spring struggles. Because they have two off days sandwiching a two-game series in Kansas City in the middle of April, the Giants can potentially use their No. 5 starter just twice until April 25, a span of 20 games.

If there's any concern about Cain's ability to hold up during the regular season, the early slate could help. The Giants can throw Cain against the Padres and Diamondbacks to start the season, and if it's not working out, they can go a stretch with just their top four as they reevaluate. 

"We'll see once we get a little closer how guys are doing, but it certainly gives you some options," manager Bruce Bochy said. 

Cain has been preparing all along to start April 7 at Petco Park. That hasn't changed.

"That's what I'm looking at," he said. "That's the only thing I'm preparing for, to make sure I'm ready to go 100 pitches."

Cain had another mixed-bag day against the Brewers. The first inning was full of loud contact and Cain was charged with three runs on four hits. But he settled down from there, allowing just one run over the next four innings. In all, Cain allowed four runs on seven hits and struck out four. He said he tried to change speeds more often after the early ambush. 

"I was maybe getting the timing different for them," he said. "Those guys were getting balls where they could hit them. You've got to make a quick adjustment to that, and I had to do that."

Cain threw 70 pitches, another sign that he's locked in for April 7. His competition, Ty Blach, has not been fully stretched out this spring. 

TRAINER'S ROOM: Will Smith will head to Los Angeles on Thursday to get a second opinion on his left elbow strain. The Giants will then know if Smith needs Tommy John surgery, which would end his season. Eduardo Nuñez flew back to San Francisco with Smith earlier in the week to get a corisone shot in his sore right shoulder. He's back, but he'll be down a few days. 

GAME RECAP: Hunter Pence has been slumping for several weeks, but he got on the board in the sixth with a double that spun off the end of his bat and down the first base line. A classic Pence hit ... Jae-gyun Hwang hit a two-run shot to right-center ... Steven Okert did some nifty work to keep his spring ERA at 0.00. With runners on first and third and no outs, he got a double play and a fly ball to left.

ICYMI: Barry Bonds has arrived. Here is a story about his return to the Giants, and here's video from his media session this morning. 

GOOD NEWS: First base coach Jose Alguacil returned to camp Wednesday morning, and he said he's only a few days from returning to game action. Alguacil, who had surgery earlier in March after taking a line drive off the face, was cleared for full activity. Hensley Meulens, Dave Groeschner and Taira Uematsu also returned from a stint in the WBC. 

FLASHING THE LEATHER: Aaron Hill started the prettiest double play of the spring by snagging a Hernan Perez liner with a dive and making a perfect throw to second baseman Gordon Beckham. Hill later smashed a double into the left field corner. That dude is making the team. 

QUOTABLE: "I figured Barry is in town, so I'd show him how it's done." -- Denard Span on a very long two-run homer he hit to right. 



Photo Credit: Alex Pavlovic]]>
<![CDATA[Team USA Beats Japan 2-1, Advances to First WBC Title Game]]>Tue, 21 Mar 2017 22:20:03 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/wbc-usa-0321-2017.jpg

BOX SCORE

LOS ANGELES -- Brandon Crawford scored the tiebreaking run when Nobuhiro Matsuda bobbled Adam Jones' grounder to third in the eighth inning, and the United States reached the championship game of the World Baseball Classic for the first time by beating Japan 2-1 on Tuesday night at rainy Dodger Stadium.

Andrew McCutchen drove in an early run for the U.S., which will play Puerto Rico for the title Wednesday night. Puerto Rico beat the Netherlands 4-3 in 11 innings Monday.

The World Baseball Classic final has been played in the United States in each of its four editions, but the home team had never made it.

The Americans only reached the semifinals once before, in 2009. But this All-Star-laden roster has won two straight elimination games to earn the chance for its first crown.

Ryosuke Kikuchi hit a tying homer off reliever Nate Jones in the sixth inning for Japan, but the two-time WBC champions were twice let down by their normally sturdy defense on a rain-soaked night at Dodger Stadium, where an intermittent downpour kept fans in ponchos.

McCutchen opened the scoring with an RBI single in the fourth inning moments after Kikuchi's two-base error at second. In the eighth, Crawford likely would have been out at the plate on Jones' innocent grounder, but Matsuda didn't field it cleanly and had to throw to first.

Japan won the first two WBC tournaments before losing in the semifinals in 2013.

Tanner Roark pitched four scoreless innings of two-hit ball before U.S. manager Jim Leyland went to his bullpen early and liberally. His sixth reliever, Luke Gregerson, pitched a perfect ninth inning after Pat Neshek escaped a two-on jam in the eighth.

Although the crowd of 33,462 strongly favored the team with five California natives in the starting lineup, thousands of Japanese fans showed up early and chanted throughout the game, accompanied by the brass band in the left-field bleachers.

A light, misting rain started falling several hours before game time, forcing the teams to take batting practice indoors while a tarp covered the infield. The rain eventually soaked the playing field and forced grounds crews to tend to the infield dirt between innings.

But the WBC couldn't really afford a rainout day, given its tight schedule in the final weeks of big league spring training.

Leyland kept a lineup with eight All-Stars, making only one change from the team that beat the Dominican Republic on Saturday to avoid elimination. Buster Posey was behind the plate, continuing his alternation with Jonathan Lucroy, apparently in accordance with their major league teams' wishes.

Tomoyuki Sugano, the Yomiuri Giants ace with a seven-pitch repertoire, tossed six innings of three-hit ball for Japan, striking out six and yielding only one unearned run.

"He's a big league pitcher," Leyland said before the game.

But Sugano was matched by Roark, who had given up three runs over 1 1/3 innings in his only previous WBC appearance. The Washington Nationals right-hander was largely outstanding against Japan, giving up just two singles and a walk and hitting a batter with a pitch. After Christian Yelich reached second in the fourth inning when his hard-hit grounder was mishandled by Kikuchi, the standout defensive second baseman, Eric Hosmer worked out of an 0-2 count to draw a two-out walk.

McCutchen had just two hits in his first 14 at-bats in the WBC, but he drove in Yelich with a sharp single to left.

Kikuchi atoned for his mistake in the sixth, driving Jones' fastball barely over the reach of McCutchen in right field for his first homer of the tournament.

Japan reliever Kodai Senga struck out the first four batters he faced with a 96 mph fastball and exceptional off-speed stuff, but Crawford then delivered a sharp single before Ian Kinsler doubled to deep left-center.

Neshek got cleanup hitter Yoshimoto Tsutsugoh on a fly to right to end the eighth.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sharks Can't Tame the Wild, Losing Streak Now at Four]]>Tue, 21 Mar 2017 20:29:09 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/211*120/sharks-wild-instant.jpg

BOX SCORE

ST. PAUL – The Sharks have picked a bad time to go through their worst stretch of the season.

The Wild never trailed in a 3-2 win over the Sharks, who lost their fourth straight in regulation for the first time. Minnesota, which entered with a five-game regulation losing streak of its own, swept the three-game season series.

San Jose enjoyed a nine-point lead on the division just seven days ago after a win over Buffalo, but could be in a tie in points with Edmonton by the time the puck drops for their game on Friday in Dallas.

Minnesota carried a 1-0 lead late into the second period before an outrageous sequence in which the teams combined for four goals in just a 63-second span.

The Sharks tied it on David Schlemko's wrist shot that deflected in off of a body in front. Patrick Marleau was battling for position in the slot at the time of the goal at 17:57.

Minnesota struck for the next two. Jason Pominville and Martin Hanzal chopped away at a loose puck at the side of the net and it bounced through at 18:30 with Hanzal getting credit, and just 15 seconds later, Zach Parise pushed Tomas Hertl off of a loose puck and fed Charlie Coyle for a snap shot at 18:45 to increase the Wild's lead to 3-1.

San Jose got one back at the 19-minute mark, though. Devan Dubnyk and Ryan Suter got mixed up on a puck behind the Minnesota net, and Marleau swooped in and banked it in off of Dubnyk before the goalie could get settled back in the crease.

That was as close as the Sharks would get, though. The fell to 9-4-1 in the second half of back-to-backs. They are just 2-7-2 in their last 11 games in St. Paul.

Minnesota dominated the opening frame, jumping ahead on a Matt Dumba power play goal. Eric Staal dug out a puck along the wall to Parise, who poked it to Dumba for an open wrist shot in the slot at 10:29.

Martin Jones kept the game manageable for the Sharks, making a series of remarkable stops on Mikko Koivu and Nino Niederreiter on a Minnesota power play early in the second.

Minnesota had a 16-4 edge in shots after that power play, before the Sharks finally got some more offensive zone pressure later in the middle frame. Joonas Donskoi lost the handle on a breakaway, though, and Micheal Haley's turnaround wrist shot from the slot was turned away by Dubnyk before the late flurry of goals prior to the second intermission.

Special teams

The Sharks had just one power play attempt, and did not score. They finished 0-for-5 against the Wild in the three head-to-head games. In their last 12 games overall, the power play is just 4-for-35.

Minnesota was 1-for-3 on the power play, and 3-for-8 against the Sharks in the season series, with one goal in each of the three meetings.

In goal

Jones and Dubnyk each played each of the three games against one another. The Sharks' starter fell to 2-4-0 in his career against Minnesota, allowing three goals on 27 shots, while Dubnyk ended a personal four-game losing streak with 21 saves.

A Vezina Trophy candidate, Dubnyk evened his record to 8-8-2 career against San Jose.

Lineup

Marc-Edouard Vlasic was a late scratch due to the flu. Chris Tierney returned after he was sick on Monday in Dallas.

The Sharks remain without Jannik Hansen, who missed his second straight game with an upper body injury. Coach Pete DeBoer did not rule out the possibility that Hansen could return before the end of the road trip.

Brent Burns remains with no goals in his last 14 games, and no points in his last seven.

Up next

The Sharks go back to Dallas for a game on Friday at American Airlines Center. They lost to the Stars on Monday, 1-0, but beat them on March 12 at SAP Center, 5-1.

The road trip concludes on Saturday with their only visit of the regular season to Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.



Photo Credit: Kevin Kurz]]>
<![CDATA[A's Ace Sonny Gray Cleared to Throw, But Return Date Unknown]]>Tue, 21 Mar 2017 18:59:06 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sonnygray-pitching2017spring-ap.jpg

MESA, Ariz. -- Sonny Gray underwent a follow-up MRI that came back clean on his strained lat muscle, and the A's right-hander will resume throwing Tuesday afternoon.

Gray isn't projecting when he can return to the mound. Until then, it's still safe to assume he will miss a large chunk of April at least. But he's two weeks removed from suffering the injury, and he and the A's have to be encouraged that he's been cleared to play catch a week earlier than originally planned.

"It's been tough the last two weeks," Gray said. "At the same time, it's a minor issue that we really didn't want to go down the road where it's a reoccurring thing. ... I'm excited to get out there and throw a baseball."

Gray flew to Chicago to be examined by specialist Dr. Anthony Romeo and flew back to Arizona on Monday night.

Manager Bob Melvin said it was good to know Gray is progressing well, but like the pitcher, Melvin wasn't forecasting whether Gray could return sooner than expected.

"It's all going to depend on how he feels and when we get him on the mound, and we're not sure about that yet," Melvin said.

 

 



Photo Credit: Joe Stiglich]]>
<![CDATA[Morse Hurts Hamstring, Joins Growing Group of Injured Giants]]>Tue, 21 Mar 2017 18:43:51 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/morse-michael-bp-38.jpg

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Head trainer Dave Groeschner was headed back to camp Tuesday after several weeks with the Dutch team in the World Baseball Classic. All of a sudden, he's returning to a crowded trainer's room. 

After a remarkably healthy month, the Giants are dropping left and right, changing some important races for opening day spots. The latest to go down was Michael Morse. The bench candidate hurt his hamstring during Monday's game and he's expected to be out "a while," per a team official. Morse was on track to win the fifth outfield job. 

The Giants are also prepared for the worst with Will Smith, who headed back to San Francisco for a second opinion on his damaged elbow ligament. Mac Williamson remains sidelined by a strained quad; Trevor Brown is day-to-day with a rolled ankle; right-hander Bryan Morris has a hairline fracture in his right foot and is expected to need two or three more weeks before he's cleared to resume throwing. 

While the others are waiting for their ailments to clear, Morse is likely left with a difficult decision. He has been open about the fact that it's San Francisco-or-bust this spring, but he is now looking at rehabbing the injury, likely down here in Scottsdale. If Morse wants to continue playing, the Giants would surely let him get healthy in Arizona and then get up to speed in Sacramento.

Morse had started to heat up in recent weeks and members of the staff anticipated him making the opening day roster. If both Morse and Williamson remain out, the Giants can turn to Justin Ruggiano or Chris Marrero to pair with Jarrett Parker in left. They have also gotten Aaron Hill, Gordon Beckham and Jae-gyun Hwang work in left field. Carrying one of those players could open a spot for a Kelby Tomlinson or Jimmy Rollins. Brown might have been an option as a third catcher, but he hasn't played since Saturday.

Morris, signed in the offseason to compete for a bullpen spot, has been sidelined since the end of February. He initially was dealing with a muscle issue. When that cleared, he got drilled by a comebacker during a live BP drill. 



Photo Credit: Alex Pavlovic]]>
<![CDATA[Tickets Still Available For NCAA Tournament Games in SJ]]>Tue, 21 Mar 2017 20:41:45 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/ncaa-tourney.jpg

Tickets are still available for the NCAA basketball tournament games being played this week at SAP Center in San Jose.

The limited number of remaining tickets will go on sale at noon Wednesday on the NCAA website and are expected to sell quickly, according to the Pac-12 Conference, which is serving as West Regional host for the two Sweet 16 games Thursday and one Elite Eight game Saturday.

The regional semifinals Thursday will feature No. 4 seed West Virginia against top-seeded Gonzaga at 4:30 p.m. and No. 11 seed Xavier against second-seeded Arizona at 7 p.m. The winners of those two games will face off Saturday in the regional final at a time to be determined. The winner of the regional final will cut down the nets at SAP Center and advance to the Final Four in Phoenix.

The four teams will be holding open practices Wednesday at SAP Center on the following schedule: West Virginia at noon; Xavier at 1 p.m.; Gonzaga at 2 p.m.; and Arizona at 3 p.m.

Additional ticketing information is available at NCAA.com/MBBTickets.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sharks' Slide Continues, Drop 3rd Straight in Loss to Stars]]>Mon, 20 Mar 2017 20:44:16 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/211*120/sharks-stars-instant.jpg

BOX SCORE

DALLAS — Kari Lehtonen made 30 saves for his 36th career shutout and second this season as the Dallas Stars edged the San Jose Sharks 1-0 on Monday night.

Curtis McKenzie scored his fifth goal on a tip-in from the slot that beat Sharks goalie Aaron Dell in the second period.

Adam Cracknell took the shot from the left point. Jiri Hudler also assisted on the goal.

Pacific Division leader San Jose (42-23-7) lost a third straight game for only the second time this season. Dallas (29-33-10) is barely alive in the playoff race with 10 games remaining.

The Sharks outshot the Stars 30-20, including 12-6 in the third period.

Lehtonen's other shutout this season was a 3-0 win Dec. 3 at Colorado.



Photo Credit: CSN Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[Even Without Durant, Warriors Decimate Thunder]]>Tue, 21 Mar 2017 00:44:50 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/curry-dunk-thunder-march20-2017-ap.jpg

BOX SCORE

With Kevin Durant watching from the bench, the Warriors on Monday night finished off a four-game season sweep of his former teammates.

Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry draining 3-pointers at will, as the Warriors rolled to a 111-95 victory over the Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.

Thompson scored 34 points and Curry 23, as the Warriors (56-14) won their fourth consecutive game and increased to 2.5 games their lead over San Antonio in the race for the No. 1 overall seed in the postseason.

Backup center JaVale McGee was the only other Warrior in double figures, coming off the bench to score 10 points. McGee also blocked four shots, tying his season-high.

The Warriors held the Thunder to 42.5 percent from the field, including 4-of-21 beyond the arc.

Guard Victor Oladipo scored 17 points to lead OKC (40-30), which lost for the first time in six games. Russell Westbrook totaled 15 points (on 4-of-16 shooting), eight rebounds and seven assists.

STANDOUT PERFORMER:
The Splash Brothers carried the night, silencing the Thunder with their long-range shooting.

Thompson's line: 34 points (12-of-21 from the field, 7-of-15 beyond the arc, 3-of-3 from the line), six rebounds, two assists and two steals. He played 32 minutes and finished plus-15.

Curry's line: 23 points (8-of-17, 7-of-12 from deep), six assists and four rebounds. He played 30 minutes and finished plus-16.

This was the third in their careers that Thompson and Curry each made at least seven 3-pointers in the same game. No other duo has done it more than once.

TURNING POINT:
After the Thunder pulled within six, 35-29, on a free throw by Westbrook with 7:00 left in the second quarter, the Warriors went on a 17-4 run to take a 52-33 lead on an Andre Iguodala dunk with 2:32 left in the half.

OKC got no closer than 12 in the second half.

INJURY UPDATE:
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.

Thunder: No injuries listed.

WHAT'S NEXT:
The Warriors return to action Tuesday night, when they face the Mavericks at American Airlines Center in Dallas. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:35 p.m. Pacific.

 

 



Photo Credit: Monte Poole]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Spring Training: Hill Adds Strong Showing in LF]]>Mon, 20 Mar 2017 19:18:13 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/aaron-hill-giants-swinging-ap1.jpg

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Aaron Hill, the 34-year-old career infielder trying to win a bench job, started in left field Monday. Asked to think back to the last time he lined up in the outfield, Hill smiled.

“It was my freshman year of college,” the LSU alum said. “We had Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot up the middle.”

Fontenot and Theriot eventually made their way to San Francisco. With eight days left in camp, it looks like Hill will, too.

A hitless day Monday dropped his spring average to .242, but the majority of the outs in recent days have been scorched, and Hill has already shown that he can handle three infield spots. He has taken grounders at first base, too, and with Johnny Cueto on the mound, he looked just fine in left.

Hill’s biggest test came in the fourth, when Peter Bourjos led off with a triple. Leury Garcia lofted a fly ball down deep down the left field line and Hill made a strong one-hop throw to the plate. There was no shot at Bourjos, one of the faster players in the game, but the throw opened some eyes.

“How’d it look?” Hill said.” It felt alright.”

Cueto noted the strength of the throw and Brandon Belt, who was playing first, joked that it looked like 95 mph out of the arm. Manager Bruce Bochy liked what he saw.

As they zero in on an opening day group, the Giants have thrown a number of infielders into the outfield during workouts. Hill has been joined by Gordon Beckham and Jae-gyun Hwang during drills with instructor Cody Ross, and he said he’s having a blast.

“That was fun, honestly,” he said. “It’s been talked about the last couple of weeks, getting me in there. That’s the first time in a game and it was fun. It’s challenging and it’s different, and I’m always up for a challenge. In my position, anything can help.”

BAD NEWS: Will Smith will have a second MRI on his left elbow. Here's the story.

ICYMI: The main story today: Johnny Cueto looks ready. Cueto had some fun as he came off the mound in the fifth.

Also, here's my story on Steven Okert. He could end up being really important if Smith misses serious time.

PROSPECT WATCH: Ryder Jones blasted a three-run shot in the eighth and made a very slick pick of a short-hop grounder in the bottom of the inning. He doesn’t get brought up much, but he’s a really interesting guy because of his athleticism. I’ve seen him at first and he’s pretty good there, and the Giants are going to get him some time in left. As much as we talk about Christian Arroyo’s age, remember: Jones is still just 22 years old, and he'll continue to grow into power.

"He's just what you like from a corner guy," Bochy said. "First base, third base, with power. He's got a good arm. They're going to move him around in Triple-A."



Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[A's Spring Training: Rockies Rough Up Hahn For 7 Runs]]>Sun, 19 Mar 2017 21:13:26 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/hahn-jesse-us1.jpg

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Jesse Hahn’s impressive spring hit its first speed bump Sunday.

Unable to harness his command, the right-hander was tagged for seven runs in 3 1/3 innings in the A’s 9-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies at Salt River Fields.

Hahn entered the day having positioned himself nicely for one of the two available spots in Oakland’s rotation. Sunday’s dud, in and of itself, certainly doesn’t dash those hopes. But it makes for interesting watching the next time he takes the mound.

“I just know what I did wrong out there, I need to get the ball down,” he said. “Last year, I got caught up in thinking about that stuff. It didn’t turn out well. So I'm going to let that one go and work on what I need to work on to have a good one the next outing.”

Hahn put up a scoreless first, but he began elevating his fastball in the second and Colorado knocked him around for five runs. Three singles and a two-run triple from Charlie Blackmon did damage, and two walks issued by Hahn and a passed ball from catcher Stephen Vogt didn’t help.

“His velocity was still good, but he got in bad counts, and he couldn’t get back into the count with breaking stuff,” manager Bob Melvin said. “He just got out of sync and he got hit hard.”

Hahn's ERA rose to 7.50, but before Sunday, he’d allowed just three runs total in five outings, including an exhibition against Team Italy that doesn’t count toward spring stats.

Andrew Triggs and Raul Alcantara are Hahn’s primary competition for the two rotation spots, but non-roster lefty Ross Detwiler also remains as an option too. Working in Hahn’s favor, all of the above have endured at least one shaky outing.

“Look, to an extent everybody’s going to have some struggles in spring training. That’s just the way it is,” Melvin said. “So here we are with two weeks left, we’ve got some games left.”

NOTEWORTHY: After right-hander Daniel Gossett was reassigned to the minors Sunday morning, the A’s sent four more players down after the game — catchers Sean Murphy and Matt McBride, second baseman Max Schrock and reliever Chris Smith.

Murphy, a third-round pick out of Wright State last summer, is one to watch, as he earned praise from Melvin on more than one occasion and displayed a strong arm and ability to work well with pitchers. The A’s now have 40 players in camp — 20 pitchers and 20 position players.

ODDS AND ENDS: Lost in the discussion of Hahn’s pitching struggles: The A’s collected just two hits in Sunday’s loss. Yonder Alonso and Adam Rosales drove in their runs. Mark Canha, drawing a start in center field, doubled. … Reliever Jake Sanchez, who impressed the A’s coaching staff with his WBC performance for Team Mexico, retired both hitters he faced after relieving Hahn in the fourth. “He’s got a great slider and he knows where he’s throwing the ball,” Melvin said. Sanchez was borrowed from minor league camp.



Photo Credit: CSN Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[49ers Great Dwight Clark Announces He Has ALS]]>Mon, 20 Mar 2017 20:28:08 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/montana-clark.jpg

Former 49ers receiver Dwight Clark, the man responsible for The Catch, announced via Twitter on Sunday that he has ALS.

The message, posted about 6 p.m., contains a link to a statement Clark wrote detailing his diagnosis and how he intends to battle the disease.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly called Lou Gehrig's disease, is a nervous system disease that affects muscles and physical function, according to the ALS Association website.

Clark released a statement Sunday, saying in part: "While I’m still trying to wrap my head around the challenge I will face with this disease over the coming years, the only thing I know is that I’m going to fight like hell and live every day to the fullest. ...

"I’ve been asked if playing football caused this. I don’t know for sure. But I certainly suspect it did. And I encourage the NFLPA and the NFL to continue working together in their efforts to make the game of football safer, especially as it relates to head trauma."

Clark, 60, played nine seasons in the NFL, all with the 49ers, and is famous for making a leaping catch in the back of the end zone during the final seconds of the 1981 NFC Championship game against the Dallas Cowboys. The victory propelled the 49ers to their first Super Bowl championship.

He would go on to help the team win its second Super Bowl title after the 1984 season. Clark retired from the NFL in 1987, and his No. 87 jersey was retired by the 49ers in 1988.

49ers CEO Jed York released a statement on behalf of the team Sunday evening.

"I was deeply saddened to learn of Dwight's recent diagnosis. As a member of our family, he will receive the full and unconditional support of the San Francisco 49ers. ... We will stand alongside Dwight and his family as they wage this battle."

Dr. Catherine Lomen-Hoerth, director of the UCSF ALS Treatment and Research Center, applauded Clark for sharing his diagnosis.

"I think this announcement alone will impact the entire country because we need donors for more research, and this will help others with symptoms seek diagnosis," she said.

More than 6,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year, the ALS Association says. Half of all people affected with ALS live at least three or more years after diagnosis. Twenty percent live five years or more; up to 10 percent will live more than 10 years after they've been diagnosed.

Clark's statement in full:

In September of 2015, I started feeling weakness in my left hand. I was mildly paying attention to it because since my playing days, I’ve constantly had pain in my neck. I was thinking it was related to some kind of nerve damage because it would just come and go.

After months of tests and treatment, I got some bad news. I was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

I have ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Those words are still very hard for me to say.

While I’m still trying to wrap my head around the challenge I will face with this disease over the coming years, the only thing I know is that I’m going to fight like hell and live every day to the fullest.

There is no test that will positively diagnose you with ALS. You have to eliminate the possibility of all other diseases and disorders and then wait to see what additional symptoms you develop. I visited six neurologists and three ALS specialists. I also was treated for a B12 deficiency, which sometimes can mirror the symptoms of this debilitating disease.

In addition to losing strength in my left hand – which makes opening a pack of sugar or buttoning my shirt impossible – I have now experienced weakness in my right hand, abs, lower back and right leg. I can’t run, play golf or walk any distances. Picking up anything over 30 pounds is a chore. The one piece of good news is that the disease seems to be progressing more slowly than in some patients.

I’ve been asked if playing football caused this. I don’t know for sure. But I certainly suspect it did. And I encourage the NFLPA and the NFL to continue working together in their efforts to make the game of football safer, especially as it relates to head trauma.

What I do know is I have a huge battle in front of me and I’m grateful for the strength and unconditional love from my wife Kelly. She has been my rock. She keeps thinking positive and convinces me each day that we can beat this, as does my daughter Casey and my son Mac. My brother Jeff, his wife Debra and their family also have been unwavering with their love and support. I get the same pep talk from the Boss, Eddie D. His support has been incredible. So rest assured, I know I’m not alone in this fight.

Every single one of my 49ers teammates that has contacted me has said whatever I need, anytime I need it, they will help. That’s just the kind of guys they are. They were so giving as players and now they are the same as friends.

I can’t thank my teammates and friends enough for their support. Mr. D always treated us like family and that family is still together. I also want to thank all the great 49ers fans. Your support over the last 35 years has allowed me to remain connected to you. Rarely does a day go by when I’m not asked about ‘the Catch,’ when we were able to get past the Cowboys and go on to win our first Super Bowl.

I’m not having a press conference or doing any interviews. That time will come. Right now, I’ve got work to do. I’ve got to devote all my energy preparing for this battle and I would hope you can respect my family’s privacy as I begin this challenge. My ultimate hope is that eventually I can assist in finding a cure for ALS, which disrupts the lives of so many and their loved ones.

NBC Bay Area's Marianne Favro contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty Images file
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<![CDATA[Giants Veterans Scuffling as Camp Nears an End]]>Sun, 19 Mar 2017 18:12:48 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/pence-hunter-us.jpg

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - The Giants have watched with pride as Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford have helped lead Team USA to the final round of the World Baseball Classic, but back in Arizona, the plate appearances haven't been quite as fruitful. 

After a 6-4 loss to the Brewers during which many of his regulars continued to struggle, manager Bruce Bochy said some veterans could head down to minor league camp over the next week to get six or seven at-bats in one game. Bochy said the final decision is up to the veteran players, but it's not hard to figure out who he's talking about. In Sunday's lineup, there were two starters (Hunter Pence and Denard Span), a potential backup outfielder (Gorkys Hernandez) and a reserve infielder candidate (Jimmy Rollins) hitting under .200.

Span has started to pick it up in recent days, but Pence was hitless in three at-bats, dropping his average to .125. 

"He's still searching, it's pretty obvious. He's still searching," Bochy said. "We've got some guys who are searching. You can look at the numbers."

The positive news is that Pence is healthy. Also, spring training numbers don't matter at all for veterans who are locked in for Opening Day. Still, Pence would like to see some better results before the April 2 opener at Chase Field. 

"Hopefully I can figure it out before the lights go on," he said. "I definitely don't want to be feeling like this when the season starts, I know that."

The results weren't much better on the mound Sunday. Jeff Samardzija gave up nine hits and six runs in four-plus innings. 

"The pitches were a little flat today, there's no getting around it," Bochy said. 

ROSTER CUTS: Tyler Beede and Christian Arroyo were sent down to minor league camp, where they'll probably join up with Austin Slater and Steven Duggar and others to form a loaded Triple-A team. The Giants also reassigned lefty Kraig Sitton and optioned Orlando Calixte to Triple-A. 

ICYMI: Mark Melancon is officially headed to the World Baseball Classic. Also in that story, Johnny Cueto's reaction to some fans back home calling him a traitor. 

TRAINER'S ROOM: Mac Williamson has been sidelined this weekend by left quad tightness. It's not serious (Williamson blasted four straight homers during one of his BP rounds) but the Giants are going to be careful here. Obviously, the timing sucks for a guy who was having a good spring and was trying to win a job. There's nothing standing between Jarrett Parker and an Opening Day look at Zack Greinke. 

FAMILIAR FACE: Andrew Susac didn't make the trip with the Brewers. He's sidelined by a neck issue, and it sounds like that could hurt his chances of winning a three-guys-for-two-spots camp battle. Brewers people think he's on the outside looking in. 

QUOTABLE: "No, not at all. Not at all. We've seen what he's done for the years he's been here and how he steps up in those big situations in the playoffs. That's what we have him for." - Matt Cain, when asked during a recent interview if Bumgarner's wild card performance surprised him. You can listen to that podcast online here or on iTunes here.



Photo Credit: Alex Pavlovic]]>
<![CDATA[Speculation Swirls After Lynch Hints at Return on Twitter]]>Sun, 19 Mar 2017 23:02:17 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/MarshawnLynch3.jpg

Marshawn Lynch's potential homecoming with the Oakland Raiders may be inching a bit closer to reality.

The retired running back, who has been linked to reports about ending his retirement and suiting up for the "Silver and Black," took to Twitter Saturday night and retweeted someone's tweet that housed his "Beast Mode" playlist. In that playlist was a track coined "Oakland Raiders."

What that act actually means is up to speculation. The playlist itself was created on Sept. 3, 2015 when Lynch was gearing up to play what would eventually be his final season with the Seattle Seahawks.

Reports swirling around Lynch's possible return to the NFL surfaced Friday. The Oakland native and UC Berkeley alum, who has said in the past that he remains committed to staying off the gridiron, may still choose to lace up his cleats again for his beloved hometown team and community.

Multiple reports on Friday indicated that the possibility of Lynch's return to professional football is actually possible. ESPN cited a source who said the move "could really happen" and Pro Football Talk later cited a source who said there's a "very good chance" Lynch suits up again.

Oakland punter Marquette King has been leading the charge to recruit Lynch to come play for the East Bay team. After tweeting two messages on Friday for Lynch, King tweeted a picture of him grabbing a pair of cleats from a telephone line with the caption "Aye @MoneyLynch I got your clears back 4 ya brah..."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sharks Feel the Blues Again, St. Louis Sweeps Season Series]]>Thu, 16 Mar 2017 22:19:42 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/211*120/sharks-blues-instant.jpg

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – The way the standings are shaping up, the Sharks and Blues could see each other again in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

That might not be so great for San Jose.

The Blues skated to a 4-1 win at SAP Center on Thursday night, holding the Sharks to just 20 shots on goal in sweeping the three-game season series – with all of the wins in regulation.

St. Louis outscored the Sharks 8-1 over the final two meetings, including a 4-0 shutout victory in San Jose on Jan. 14.

Zach Sanford's second period goal broke a 1-1 tie. A deflected puck banked off of the end boards to his tape, and he lifted it over Aaron Dell at 5:49 of the middle frame.

The Blues didn't get a power play until midway through the third period, but utilized the opportunity. Alex Steen hit the crossbar with a wrist shot, and Vladimir Tarasenko dove in to poke in the loose puck before Justin Braun could clear it out of the way with less than 12 minutes to go in regulation.

Earlier in the third, Jannik Hansen passed up an opportunity to shoot on a two-on-one, passing the puck to Thornton, who then tried to find Joe Pavelski in the slot but missed the mark. The Sharks managed just six shots on goal from their forwards.

Tarasenko's empty net goal with 1:50 to go was the final marker.

The Sharks fell to 3-2-0 on their season-long six-game homestand, with one game remaining. They squandered a chance to leapfrog Minnesota for second place in the Western Conference, although remain seven points ahead of Anaheim in the Pacific Division.

St. Louis continued its playoff push under new coach Mike Yeo, winning its sixth game in the last seven (6-1-0). The Blues improved to 13-7-0 since firing Ken Hitchcock and promoting Yeo on Feb. 1.

The Blues struck first. Scottie Upshall got in the way of a Brent Burns outlet pass in the neutral zone, brought the puck over the offensive blue line, and used Paul Martin as a screen to beat Dell at 16:40.

San Jose tied it just about a minute later, getting some help from defenseman Carl Gunnarsson, who booted an attempted pass from Marc-Edouard Vlasic to Joel Ward through his goaltender at 17:45. Vlasic was credited with his fifth of the season.

The Blues, who lost in Anaheim on Wednesday night, are 9-2 in the second half of back-to-backs including seven straight wins.

Special teams

The Sharks finished 0-for-2 on the power play, and were 0-for-11 in the season series with the Blues. They are 3-for-29 in the last nine games overall.

St. Louis was 1-for-1, and 3-for-8 against the Sharks for the season. San Jose had been 10-for-10 on the PK in its last four games.

In goal

Dell lost for the first time in his career at home, after six straight wins, allowing three goals on 35 shots. He started for the fourth time in the last eight games, as the Sharks opt to rest Martin Jones more often down the stretch.

Hutton continues to own the Sharks. He improved to 4-0-1 in his career against San Jose with 19 saves, following up on his 23-save shutout in the previous head-to-head matchup.

Lineup

Thornton's five-game point streak came to an end.

Up next

The Sharks conclude their homestand, and their season series with Anaheim, on Saturday. San Jose is 2-2-0 against the Ducks this season with a pair of overtime wins, as Anaheim has recorded at least a point in all four meetings (2-0-2).



Photo Credit: Kevin Kurz]]>
<![CDATA[Thompson Scores 27 in First Half as Warriors Crush Magic]]>Thu, 16 Mar 2017 23:59:38 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/klay-tongue-white1.jpg

OAKLAND -- Klay Thompson and the Warriors made this one look easy. They also got plenty of help from the hapless Orlando Magic.

Riding Thompson’s hot shooting and turning 21 Magic turnovers into 36 points, the Warriors coasted to a 122-92 victory before a satisfied sellout crowd at Oracle Arena Thursday night.

The win gave the Warriors (54-14) a third consecutive Pacific Division title for the first time in franchise history and also increased to 1.5 games their lead over San Antonio in the Western Conference playoff race.

Thompson led all scorers with 29 points, Stephen Curry put in 25, Andre Iguodala 14, Ian Clark 13 and Zaza Pachulia 10 as the Warriors shot 68.4 percent in the first quarter and 57.5 percent for the game.

With a 103-71 lead after three quarters, Warriors coach Steve Kerr emptied his bench in the fourth quarter.

Jeff Green and Elfrid Payton scored 13 points apiece to lead Orlando (24-45), which lost for the sixth time in seven games and 13th over the last 17.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

Thompson ignited the rout and his teammates soon followed.

Thompson’s line: 29 points (12-of-20 shooting from the field, including 5-of-9 from beyond the arc), five assists, four rebounds and one block. He played 29 minutes and finished plus-19.

Thompson scored 21 points in the first quarter on 8-of-11 shooting, including 5-of-7 from deep. It was the third time this season he has scored at least 20 in a quarter.

TURNING POINT

The Warriors didn’t need much time to take command. They were up 10 (12-2) in less than four minutes and up 21 (31-10) with 3:24 left in the first quarter.

The Magic got no closer than 17 points in the second half.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: Curry left in the first quarter after sustaining a slight tweak to his right ankle, but returned shortly thereafter and played 28 minutes. F Kevin Durant (L knee sprain, bone bruise) was listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Magic: G Jodie Meeks (R thumb surgery recovery) was listed as questionable and declared out prior to tipoff.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors return to action Saturday night, when they play host to the Milwaukee Bucks at Oracle Arena.



Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Saint Mary's Defeats Va. Commonwealth to Advance in NCAAs]]>Fri, 17 Mar 2017 00:23:54 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/177*120/st+marys+2.jpg

Jock Landale had 18 points and 13 rebounds as seventh-seeded Saint Mary's held on for an 85-77 victory over No. 10 Virginia Commonwealth in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament's West Region on Thursday night.

The Gaels led most of the way, but had to fight to hold on after the VCU defensive pressure started to become too much in the second half.

Joe Rahon and Calvin Hermanson finished with 16 points apiece for Saint Mary's.

JeQuan Lewis paced VCU with 30 points.

Saint Mary's (29-4) took a 46-31 lead into halftime thanks to a 23-6 run highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers from Hermanson. The Gaels shot 64 percent in the first half and hit 4 of 9 from behind the arc as VCU (26-9) struggled to disrupt their halfcourt offense. On top of that, Saint Mary's was the team able to get out on the break and score in transition. That's VCU's style of play, but the Rams managed just two fast-break points in the first half.

The next 20 minutes was stark contrast.

Saint Mary's began turning the ball over from VCU's increased pressure, which led to fast-break opportunities for the Rams. Once it began scoring more consistently, VCU was able to set up its vaunted press and cause havoc.

The Gaels' offense that was so crisp in the first half struggled to find rhythm after the break, but VCU kept fouling and sending them to the line for free points. The freebies kept the Rams from getting over the hump and their last lead was at 18-17.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Go Deltas! Professional Soccer Comes to San Francisco]]>Thu, 16 Mar 2017 19:36:51 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/deltas-0316-2017.jpg

There's a new professional soccer team in the Bay Area, and they're calling San Francisco home.

The inaugural season for the San Francisco Deltas starts a week from Saturday, though the team already has been on the field, playing friendlies. But on March 25, the Deltas make their official debut in their North American Soccer League opener against the Indy 11 at Kezar Stadium.

So, who are these guys? Are they legit? The Deltas did manage to beat the San Jose Earthquakes last month in a friendly, quite a feather in their cap.

"It's good for our spirit. It's good for the team. It's good for our locker room," Deltas coach Marc Dos Santos said. "It was a good day over there because it was the first game between San Jose and San Francisco from the start in our history as a club."

The win over the Quakes may have been a little more gratifying for midfielder Bryan Burke than for the rest of the Deltas. The former University of San Francisco star, traded from Jacksonville, is happy to be home and envisioning great things for the Deltas in their rookie campaign.

"We want to send a message to everyone in the Bay Area," he said. "You know, we're a new team, and we're someone to be reckoned with. We have good players, and we can beat MLS teams. We've had good results in the preseason so far, so we're hoping to be a team that can maybe bring a championship here."

While MLS is considered first tier, the Deltas play in a second-tier league. They're one of eight teams in the NASL and the only one on the West Coast, which means the support they receive will be vital to their success.

"We need people that like and love soccer in San Francisco to be with us, to be in the stands, to support us," Dos Santos said. "Because we're going to need to be warriors at home, knowing how much we're going to suffer on the road."

The Deltas are hosting a kickoff party with the entire team Friday at Civic Center Plaza. It's free and open to the public beginning at 3:30 p.m.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders QB Derek Carr Commits Random Act of Kindness]]>Thu, 16 Mar 2017 20:26:01 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/carr-derek-raiders-pointing.jpg

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr committed yet another random act of kindness. This one occurred in Dublin on Tuesday, when he helped a man on the roadside whose car had run out of gas.

Bay Area music producer Ron Reeser told All22.com's Bill Williamson about the encounter, Carr pulled up to his distressed vehicle and drove him to the gas station for fuel.

Reeser said he didn't recognize Carr at first, but slowly got it out of the Pro Bowl quarterback after asking what he did for work.

"He said he was a quarterback; I thought he was a college quarterback," Reeser told Williamson on Wednesday. "I asked him what string he was. He said ‘first string.' I asked him his favorite team. He said, ‘I may be biased, but the Raiders because I play for them.' I looked at him and said, ‘Wait' … and I asked him his name. He said ‘Derek Carr.'

"He couldn't have been more down to earth. He was wearing a hat and basketball shorts. I had no idea. He was just driving by and helped. It really made me feel good that there are good people still out there doing nice things for people."

The pair prayed together after the interaction.

"It was such an empowering moment," Reeser said. "It's just not something I expected to happen after running out of gas. Some of the people I've told about it said maybe it was a sign to help me restore my faith in people doing the right thing."

Reeser later reached out on social media and promised to pay the kindness forward.



Photo Credit: CSN Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area 10-Year-Old Headed to Masters For Golf Competition]]>Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:04:05 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/eric+yun-0315-2017.jpg

It's one thing to go to the Masters as a fan. That's bucket list material. It's another to go as a competitor, and that's what 10-year old Eric Yun will do next month.

"It wasn't until like a day later when I realized, wow, I'm one of like 10 kids remaining in the country for my age group," the young Menlo Park resident said.

There are four age groups, 80 kids total, boys and girls. Eric is one of four Bay Area finalists who will take aim at the Drive, Chip and Putt championship at Augusta National on April 2.

It's a fitting venue considering his introduction to the game in 2013.

"We were on a surfing trip in Hawaii, and my dad was like, 'Hey there's a driving range; why don't we stop by?' And that was my first experience with golf," Eric said. "Mainly, what I think really got us started was watching the Masters a few weeks later. Me and my brother were really intrigued by it."

Eric's older brother Jeremy, 14, is a scratch golfer himself and Eric's biggest fan.

"I'm very proud of him," Jeremy said. "He's worked very hard on his game in the last year, and he's always wanted to go to Drive, Chip and Putt. And ever since we watched the Masters in 2013, with Adam Scott battling Angel Cabrera in the playoff, we were both hooked."

Once these brothers are hooked on something, watch out, they say.

Jeremy and his band made an appearance on a recent episode of NBC's "Little Big Shots." And Eric gave an anti-littering speech at San Francisco's Exploratorium just last week.

Both also excel in flag football, basketball, baseball and Texas Hold 'em. Give them an activity, and they're all in. It's hard to overwhelm these brothers, but even Eric admits, the Masters will be the ultimate test.

"I feel like when I step up to my first drive, I'll be shaking really bad," he said.

Even if he's nervous, he knows he'll have his entire family there in support.

"I'm a complete wreck," said Kimberly Bazar, Eric's mother. "He's going to be fine. He'll be pulseless; he always is. We can't wait. We're counting down. It's going to be amazing. I can't believe we finally get to go to a place that really inspired them to get into golf in the first place."

Definitely bucket list material.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Wake Up, Roar Back to Beat Sixers]]>Tue, 14 Mar 2017 23:52:20 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/steph-screaming-usatsi.jpg

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- The Warriors snapped their three-game losing streak Tuesday night, dropping several gallons of sweat in a ferocious fourth-quarter comeback that yielded a 106-104 win over the stubborn Philadelphia 76ers.

Stephen Curry (29) and Klay Thompson (28) combined for 57 points, and Draymond Green emerged as a third scorer with 20 as the Warriors overcame another poor offensive performance. Matt Barnes, coming off the bench, added 10 points.

The Warriors (53-14) were outshot (44.9 percent to 36.8) and outrebounded (49-42) The Sixers even had more assists, 28-24.

But after a disastrous third quarter, during which they shot 23.1 percent and were outscored 31-20, the Warriors regrouped in the fourth quarter to hold the 76ers to 14 points on 6-of-20 shooting.

Rookie forward Dario Saric scored 25 points to lead Philadelphia (24-43), which has lost eight of its last 10 games.

STANDOUT PERFORMER:

Thompson and Green spent the evening doing their part to make it a game. Thompson did most of his damage early, keeping the Warriors in range, while Green spread his work throughout the entire game.

Green’s line: 20 points (4-of-12, 1-of-4, 11-of-14), eight assists, seven rebounds, six blocks and four steals. He played 38 minutes and finished plus-15.

Thompson’s line: 28 points (10-of-22 from the field, including 5-of-9 from beyond the arc, 3-of-3 from the line) and two rebounds. He played 37 minutes and finished minus-7.

TURNING POINT:

Trailing 90-78 after three quarters, the Warriors opened the fourth with a 15-2 run to up 93-92 on a Shaun Livingston jumper with 7:34 remaining. That gave them their first lead of the second half.

The teams exchanged leads over the final minutes until a Curry 3-pointer put the Warriors ahead for good, at 101-99 with 3:42 left.

INJURY UPDATE:

Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L knee sprain, bone bruise) was listed as out.

76ers: G Jerryd Bayless (L wrist surgery), C Joel Embiid (L knee injury), F Ben Simmons (R foot fracture) and F/C Tiago Splitter (R calf strain) were listed as out. F Robert Covington (R knee soreness) was listed as out but upgraded to available.

WHAT’S NEXT:

The Warriors return to action Thursday night at Oracle Arena, where they play host to the Orlando Magic. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:35 p.m.



Photo Credit: CSN Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[Pavelski Stays Hot, Sharks Blow Past Sabres]]>Tue, 14 Mar 2017 22:50:35 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/211*120/sharks-sabres-instant.jpg

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – Another multi-goal effort from the captain helped put an end to the Sharks' inexplicable troubles with the Sabres.

Joe Pavelski scored twice for the second straight game, as the Sharks ended a five-game home losing to Buffalo on Tuesday at SAP Center, 4-1. It was the Sharks' first regulation win of any kind over the Sabres since Jan. 23, 2010.

Pavelski's first goal tied the game at one apiece in the second period, while his second score gave the Sharks a two-goal cushion. He has seven goals in his last five games and now leads the team with 28, one more than Brent Burns.

The game-winner, though, came from an unlikely source.

In the final minute of the second period of a 1-1 game, Micheal Haley got a little piece of Cody Franson's short pass to Jack Eichel in front of the net, and the Sabres' forward ended up kicking the puck through Robin Lehner's five-hole with less than a minute to play in the middle frame. Haley was credited with this second of the season.

Pavelski added third period insurance. Dylan DeMelo's point shot hit Josh Gorges in front of the net, and Pavelski was there to whip it home at 5:28 to make it 3-1.

Just before the goal, Martin Jones denied Eichel on a breakaway, sealing his five-hole and keeping the Sabres from getting what would have been the equalizer.

Another fluky play pushed the Sharks' lead to 4-1. Joel Ward slid the puck over to Logan Couture, and as Couture and Lehner both extended their sticks out to poke at the loose puck, it popped up into the air and landed on the other side of the goal line at 14:47.

The Sharks have won four of their last five games, improving to 3-1-0 on their season-long six-game homestand. They are 7-2-0 in their last nine, and have a nine-point lead on the Pacific Division.

Kicking off a four-game road trip, the Sabres lost their fifth straight away from home.

The Sharks poured 20 shots on goal in the first, a season high for most in a period, but trailed after the opening frame. Pavelski gave the puck away to Gorges at the point, and Matt Moulson pushed the rebound of Gorges' blast over to Eichel for an easy score just 1:10 into the game.

Lehner made a number of stellar saves to keep the Sharks off of the board, coming way out of his crease to turn away a Burns wrister, and later preventing Couture's open look on a two-on-one from beating him with less than three minutes to go in the first.

The Sharks were also denied what originally looked like a Marcus Sorensen goal, but it was correctly ruled that Burns had pushed Lehner out of the way while taking the puck the net before Sorensen slid the puck across the line.

San Jose continued to press in the second, though, and was finally rewarded on the power play. Pavelski hammered in a one-timer from the slot on a backhanded feed from Couture at 11:47 to knot the score at 1-1.

Special teams

Entering with a 2-for-24 stretch in their previous seven games, with both coming against Washington, the Sharks finished 1-for-3 on the power play. Pavelski has seven power play goals on the season.

The penalty kill was 2-for-2, and is 11-for-11 in the last four games.

In goal

Perhaps benefiting from added rest, Jones secured the win with 21 saves, and has allowed two or fewer goals in seven consecutive starts. He's 2-1-1 in his career against Buffalo.

Lehner has lost both of his career games against the Sharks, officially allowing four goals on 41 shots.

Lineup

The Sharks made no changes to their lineup, as David Schlemko and Melker Karlsson remained out with lower body injuries.

Joe Thornton's assist on Pavelski's first goal was his 40th of the season. It is his 14th season reaching that mark.

Up next

The Sharks will conclude their regular season series with the Blues – a potential first round playoff opponent – on Thursday at SAP Center. St. Louis has won the first two, both in regulation, including a 4-0 shutout of the Sharks in San Jose on Jan. 14.

The homestand concludes with the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.



Photo Credit: CSN Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[A's Introduce New Coliseum Food, Lower Beer Prices]]>Tue, 14 Mar 2017 16:01:24 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/oakland-coliseum-ap.jpg

A's president Dave Kaval took to Facebook Live on Tuesday to announce a slew of new menu items at the Coliseum, plus the news of the A's dropping beer prices for this season.

Kaval introduced Effie Speigler, the executive chef in charge of ballpark food, and then one-by-one discussed new (or upgraded) items such as:

  • A Colossal dog with a new bun brought in from a local bakery
  • A chicken-and-waffles sandwich
  • A California burger with avocado
  • Sidewinder garlic fries
  • New ingredients for a reinvented nacho dish
  • Two wines being made exclusively for the A's - the Swingin' A's Chardonnay and the Bill King Holy Toledo Reserve Cabernet.

Kaval even made like a late-night infomercial host, tasting the loaded tator tots and giving them an enthusiastic thumbs-up.

Kaval and Speigler also unveiled some of the food items on the menu for Shibe Park Tavern, which takes the place of the former West Side Club.

As for the beer, the Coliseum will have 91 different brews throughout the ballpark, including 77 on tap. All 77 will be discounted for the 2017 season - $10 for premium beers and $8 for domestic. According to Kaval, the A's will have the lowest beer prices of any Bay Area sports venue.

The A's also are holding a contest, for the next week, where fans can suggest additional food items they'd like to see at the Coliseum. The top five ideas chosen will be put up for vote by the public, with the person responsible for the top vote-getter winning Opening Night tickets. Suggestions can be made on Twitter with the hashtag #athleticsfoodie.



Photo Credit: Joe Stiglich]]>
<![CDATA[Durant Walking With No Knee Brace After Warriors Practice]]>Mon, 13 Mar 2017 18:56:14 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/durant-kevin-myers-bob-practice.jpg

OAKLAND -- Kevin Durant was up and walking at the Warriors facility Monday morning, his sprained left knee supported by a light wrap rather than the bulky brace he had been seen wearing the previous 10 days.

This is progress, it seems.

“He didn’t take part in anything with practice; he was with the training staff,” coach Steve Kerr said. “But he’s progressing, getting on the bike and that kind of stuff.

“He told me he’s feeling really good.”

Durant sustained a Grade 2 sprain to his medial collateral ligament (MCL) and tibial bone bruise in the first quarter of the Feb. 28 game at Washington.

He is scheduled to undergo reevaluation at the end of the month, with the Warriors hoping he can return before the playoffs begin April 15.



Photo Credit: CSN Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[Sharks' Offense Soars Past Stars in Blowout Win]]>Mon, 13 Mar 2017 00:05:59 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sharks-ir-ap.jpg

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – The Sharks scored four unanswered goals, including a pair by Joe Pavelski, in cruising past the goaltending-impaired Dallas Stars on Sunday at SAP Center, 5-1.
 
San Jose improved to 2-1-0 on its season-long six-game homestand, and remains seven points ahead of second place Anaheim in the Pacific Division.
 
Pavelski put the Sharks up to stay with a late first period goal, breaking a 1-1 tie. On a two-on-one with new linemate Jannik Hansen, the captain took the shot himself, whizzing it past Kari Lehtonen at 17:14.
 
Joel Ward added to the lead early in the second, getting free in the slot and whamming in a one-timer from Logan Couture at 2:46. Patrick Marleau helped generate the score by hustling to a loose puck on the wall and winning a board battle before giving it to Paul Martin at the point. 
 
There was some confusion on the Dallas bench after that, as coach Lindy Ruff seemingly wanted to remove Lehtonen from the game for Antti Niemi. The former Sharks goalie was nowhere to be found, though, and one of the Stars had to leave the ice to go find Niemi as play resumed.
 
Niemi entered at the next stoppage, and surrendered Pavelski's second of the evening, shorthanded, at 12:26 of the second. Pavelski raced in on a breakaway after Esa Lindell fanned on a puck at Dallas' offensive blue line.
 
Chris Tierney's first goal in 16 games capped the scoring, as he deposited a Dylan DeMelo rebound at 3:04 of the third period.
 
Couture and Martin each finished with two assists.
 
The Sharks improved to 9-2-1 in their last 12 meetings against Dallas in San Jose. The Stars, already out of playoff contention, dropped their second in a row in kicking off a four-game road trip.
 
The Sharks took an early lead on Marleau's 23rd goal. Couture gained control of the puck below the line from Dan Hamhuis, and found Marleau all alone in front of the net. The Sharks' all-time leading scorer picked the top far corner at 3:56.
 
San Jose let up after that, not recording a shot on goal for more than 10 minutes. In that time, Remi Elie scored his first NHL goal when the Sharks were caught scrambling in their own end at 12:54.
 
That was all Aaron Dell would surrender, though, as the backup recorded his 10th win with 29 saves.
 
The Sharks will visit Dallas twice later this month, on March 20 and 24, on the same road trip.
 
San Jose is 5-0-1 in its last six games in the second of a back-to-back, and 9-3-1 this season. The Sharks hosted and lost to Nashville on Saturday, 3-1.
 
Special teams 
 
The Sharks finished 0-for-5 on the power play, and killed off both Stars advantages. San Jose is 9-for-9 in its last three games on the PK, and 29-for-33 in its last 13 (87.8 percent).
 
Pavelski's second marker was the Sharks' sixth shorthanded goal of the season.
 
In goal
 
Dell has now given up two or fewer goals in 10 of his 13 starts this season. It was his first career game against the Stars.
 
Dallas has been forced to use both of its goaltenders a league-leading 12 times, according to Elias. The Stars entered the night last in the NHL in team save percentage.
 
Lehtonen allowed three goals on eight shots before he was pulled for the second straight game, while Niemi gave up the final two Sharks goals on 18 shots.
 
Lineup
 
Melker Karlsson did not play with a lower body injury that is not believed to be serious. Rookie Marcus Sorensen returned to the lineup, skating on the fourth line and notching an assist on Tierney's goal.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic played in his 800th career game, all with San Jose.
 
Up next
 
The Sabres make their only SAP Center appearance on Tuesday. In the first meeting on Feb. 7 in Buffalo, the Sabres erased a three-goal third period deficit and won 5-4 in overtime. They are 10-0-1 against the Sharks in the last 11 meetings.



Photo Credit: Kevin Kurz]]>
<![CDATA[Sharks Power Their Way Past NHL-best Capitals]]>Fri, 10 Mar 2017 00:30:52 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sharsk-ir-ap.jpg

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – The power play is alive, after all.
 
The Sharks scored a pair of goals with a man advantage in downing the NHL-leading Washington Capitals on Thursday at SAP Center, 4-2.
 
The score was knotted at 2-2 late in the second, but Chris Tierney drew a tripping minor on Beagle late in the frame to give the Sharks an advantage. 
 
Six seconds after Joe Pavelski won an offensive zone draw and Brent Burns' shot was stopped by Braden Holtby, Logan Couture found the rebound and whipped it high over the Caps' goalie with 1:56 left in the middle frame to put the Sharks ahead to stay.
 
Couture got the second one, too, adding some insurance. He cut to the net and opened up the blade of his stick for Burns, who squarely hit it with a low laser for a redirection at 8:05 of the third period.
 
The Sharks had been 0-for-10 over their last four games on the power play, and just 2-for-23 over the previous nine.
 
San Jose (40-19-7, 87 points) secured a 40-win season for the 14th time since 2000-01, the most of any NHL team in that span.
 
The Sharks improved to 13-0-3 against the Capitals in the last 16 meetings in San Jose. They swept the two-game season series, including a 3-0 win at Verizon Center on Nov. 8.
 
Washington (44-15-7, 95 points) dropped to 5-4-1 since its bye week.
 
The Capitals took an early lead, when Daniel Winnik got loose in front of the net and backhanded in a slick feed from Beagle on the end wall at 5:26.
 
The Sharks responded three-and-a-half minutes later. Jannik Hansen, making his Sharks debut after a trade on Feb. 28, set up Joe Thornton for a one-timer at 8:43 after a nice play by Paul Martin to keep the play alive in the offensive zone.
 
A double-minor to Brooks Orpik late in the first carried over into the second. While Orpik was stepping out of the box as the extended power play expired, Burns' low wrister was redirected by Pavelski in the slot at 2:32 to put San Jose ahead, 2-1.
 
The Caps tied it when Brett Connolly finished off a give-and-go with Kevin Shattenkirk at 14:40.
 
Burns finished with three assists.
 
San Jose was opening its longest homestand of the season (six games).
 
Special teams 
 
The Sharks officially finished 2-for-5 on the power play. They scored multiple power play goals for just the fourth time this season, and the second time since Dec. 18.
 
Washington went 0-for-5, nearly tying the game early in the third period on a T.J. Oshie deflection that glanced off of the far post while Melker Karlsson was serving a slashing minor. San Jose had allowed one power play goal-against in each of its last four games.
 
In goal
 
Martin Jones improved to 4-0 in his career against Washington with 25 saves. 
 
Holtby, a Vezina Trophy candidate, fell to 34-10-5 with four goals allowed on 24 shots. He's 2-4-0 in his career when facing the Sharks, including two regulation losses this season. 
 
Lineup
 
Kevin Labanc was reassigned to the AHL on Tuesday, while rookie Marcus Sorensen was a healthy scratch. David Schlemko missed his third straight game with a lower body injury, and is not yet skating again.
 
Thornton was honored before the game for scoring his 1,000th assist on Monday in Winnipeg.
 
Up next
 
The Sharks have a rare home back-to-back this weekend, hosting the Nashville Predators on Saturday afternoon and Dallas Stars on Sunday night.
 
San Jose downed P.K. Subban and the Preds in the only other previous meeting between the two on Oct. 29, 4-1.



Photo Credit: Kevin Kurz]]>
<![CDATA[Report: 49ers Reach Contract Agreement With QB Matt Barkley]]>Thu, 09 Mar 2017 23:58:22 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/matt+barkley.jpg

The 49ers reportedly reached a contract agreement with quarterback Matt Barkley on Thursday night.

Barkley becomes the second quarterback the 49ers added on the first day of free agency, reports the NFL Network.

Earlier on Thursday, the 49ers agreed to a two-year contract with Brian Hoyer. Barkley and Hoyer were teammates last season with the Chicago Bears.

Barkley, a three-year veteran, started six games for the Bears late in the season. His only victory came against the 49ers, 26-6, a game in which he completed 11 of 18 passes for 192 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.

Last season, Barkley completed 129 of 216 pass attempts (59.7 percent) for 1,611 yards with eight touchdowns and 14 interceptions. His passer rating was 68.3.

The 49ers entered free agency with no quarterbacks under contract after Colin Kaepernick opted out of his contract. There has been no reported interest in Kaepernick, who is an unrestricted free agent.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Are Dominated Down the Stretch in Loss to Celtics]]>Wed, 08 Mar 2017 23:30:39 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/lose-us.jpg

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND -- On a night when Kevin Durant was in the building, his teammates surely could have used him -- on offense and defense.

Durant's absence Wednesday night left a void that could not be filled by Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and the Warriors ended up with a 99-86 loss to the Boston Celtics at Oracle Arena.

Thompson (25 points) and Curry (23) combined for 48 points, while the rest of the Warriors could muster only 38. Draymond Green was the only other player to reach double figures, with 13 points.

The bench scoring that was so essential Monday night in Atlanta never quite materialized, as reserves totaled 17 points, led by nine from Andre Iguodala.

The Warriors (52-12) shot only 44.0 percent for the game -- 20 percent (6-of-30 from 3-point distance) -- and for the first time this season lost a game in which they outrebounded their opponent.

Point guard Isaiah Thomas scored 25 points to lead Boston (41-24).

STANDOUT PERFORMER

Thompson played a solid overall game, contributing at both ends.

Thompson's line: 25 points (11-of-23 from the field, 2-of-8 from beyond the arc, 1-of-2 from the line), six rebounds, three blocks and one assist. He played 34 minutes and finished plus-2.

TURNING POINT

The teams spent most of the evening either tied or exchanging leads -- until the 8:10 mark of the fourth quarter, when the Celtics reeled off a 17-3 run to take a 93-79 lead on a Thomas 3-pointer with 4:00 remaining.

The Warriors got no closer than nine over the final four minutes.

INJURY UPDATE

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

Celtics: C/F Al Horford (Right elbow sprain) and F/C Jonas Jerebko (Upper respiratory infection) were listed as questionable and upgraded to available. James Young (tailbone) was downgraded to out.

WHAT'S NEXT

The Warriors leave Thursday morning for Minnesota, where on Friday night they face the Timberwolves at Target Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:05 Pacific.



Photo Credit: Monte Poole]]>
<![CDATA[SF State Men's Basketball 'Euphoric' Over Postseason Berth]]>Tue, 07 Mar 2017 23:00:09 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sfsu-bball-0307-2017.jpg

The San Francisco State men's basketball team is doing something it hasn't done in more than two decades: Playing in a postseason tournament.

It's been 23 years to be exact since March Madness was mentioned in the same sentence with SFSU. The Gators, sporting a 25-5 record, are headed to the NCAA Division II national tournament.

Starting center AJ Kahlon vaguely remembers where he was the last time SFSU played in the tournament.

"I was in my crib, playing with the toys that my mom and dad probably gave me," Kahlon said. "I had no idea what was going on around me."

Coach Paul Trevor was coaching at Drake High School 23 years ago. He too has no recollection of SFSU basketball.

"No idea about the Gators," he said. "I didn't even know who played for the Gators at that time. So it's amazing what we've done, and kind of brought it back."

What Trevor has done in his seventh season is bring the basketball program out of hibernation. The Gators are still reveling in the fact that after all these years, they're dancing.

"We broke down that wall, so we were pretty excited about that," Trevor said.

"Euphoric," Kahlon said. "It was like a really crazy sense of euphoria."

While they're enjoying the moment of earning a postseason berth, the Gators feel their depth gives them a good chance of advancing in the tournament.

"We've got guys that come off the bench and score, guys that come off the bench and play defense, guys who can rebound," guard Coley Apsay said. "So, I think that if we stay focused, we can do anything we put our minds to."

"Everybody else in the country going into this tournament has acknowledged us as an elite team, so we feel like we can compete with anybody," Kahlon said.

Trevor said it's a return to a culture of winning, and he added SFSU is going into the tournament to win it.

The Gators take on Cal Baptist when the West Regional begins in San Diego on Friday.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Former Raiders Exec Amy Trask Chimes in on Vegas Move]]>Tue, 07 Mar 2017 18:37:00 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/trask-0307-2017.jpg

Few people know the Oakland Raiders like Amy Trask, and the team's former chief executive chimed in on the possible move to Las Vegas.

"I think the perfect match for the Raiders is Oakland," said Trask, the only woman to hold the top front office position for an NFL team.

The UC Berkeley graduate was with the Raiders for 26 years and left the team in 2013.

Trask, who was a longtime confidant to late owner Al Davis, believes she has a formula for keeping the team in Oakland.

"I think if the parties want to reach an agreement, it’s far better to sit side by side and collaborate than to sit across from each other and negotiate," she said. "I believe if all the entities – city, county, Raiders and NFL - communicate, cooperate and collaborate and compromise, there is an intelligent deal that makes sense."

While Trask is no longer part of the inner circle, plenty of high-ranking executives from around the league keep her in the loop.

Raiders owner Mark Davis wants to move the team to Las Vegas, playing in a proposed $2 billion domed stadium that will be heavily funded by Nevada taxpayers.

"The team committed tremendous resources – economic and otherwise - to pursuing the Carson opportunity with the then-San Diego Chargers and when that dream was thwarted, turned those resources immediately to Las Vegas," Trask said.

The proposed move to Vegas hit a major setback last month when two big investors - billionaire Sheldon Adelson and investment bank Goldman Sachs – backed out of the deal. But the Raiders announced Monday that Bank of America has signed on to help bankroll the stadium deal.

In the Bay area, an investment group, which includes Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, continues to negotiate with Oakland.

Whatever the future holds for the Silver and Black, Trask says Raiders fans are sure to follow.

"If there is an NFL team in Las Vegas, the team that has the best likelihood of support is the Raiders and that’s a testament to Raider Nation," she said. "Raider Nation is not just nationwide, it’s global."

]]>
<![CDATA[Sharks Top Jets as Thornton Records 1,000th Career Assist]]>Tue, 07 Mar 2017 00:43:02 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/thornton-happy-teammates-usatsi.jpg

When you can’t score on the power play, a shorthanded goal is a welcome development.

Mikkel Boedker’s breakaway conversion in the third period, with the Sharks down a man, put them up to stay in a 3-2 win over the Jets at MTS Centre on Monday night.

Joe Thornton recorded his 1,000th career assist on a late empty net goal by Joe Pavelski, just the 13th player in NHL history to reach the mark.

With the game tied at 1-1 in the third period, Logan Couture broke up a Jets pass high in the zone, and Boedker scooped up the loose puck and charged the other way. He flipped it high over Hellebuyck for his ninth of the season at 7:26.

The Jets pulled their goalie looking for the equalizer, but instead Thornton pushed the puck ahead to Pavelski, who managed to deposit it into the empty net – his second of the night.

Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele scored with just seven seconds to go in regulation on the power play, capping the scoring.

San Jose improved to 6-1-3 in its last 10 games, and has not lost consecutive games in regulation since Jan. 11-14. The Sharks swept the three-game season series against the Jets.

The Jets, making a late push for the playoffs, lost for just the second time in regulation in the last nine (5-2-2). They had scored at least three goals in their previous eight games.

The Sharks split their brief two-game back-to-back road trip after losing in Minnesota on Sunday, 3-1.

The teams split first period scores.

Pavelski’s 22nd goal gave the Sharks the lead. Brenden Dillon’s slap shot led to a scramble in front of the crease, and the captain knocked it into a vacated net at 9:45.

The goal was Pavelski’s first in a manned net since Feb. 15 against Florida.

Winnipeg quickly responded, when Josh Morrissey’s shot cleanly beat Aaron Dell, who may have been screened by Joel Ward at 11:27.

The Sharks outshot the Jets 16-7 in the second period, but the game remained deadlocked headed into the third.

The Sharks welcomed Joonas Donskoi back to the lineup after the forward had been out since Jan. 23 with what was believed to be a shoulder injury. He started on the third line with Tomas Hertl and Ward.



Photo Credit: CSN Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Come Alive in Second Half, Fly by Hawks]]>Mon, 06 Mar 2017 20:14:09 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/iguodala-shooting-hawks-march6-2017-usatsi.jpg

BOX SCORE

Resorting to a slogan thought to be obsolete, the Warriors concluded a five-game road trip Monday night with a 119-111 win over the Hawks at Philips Arena in Atlanta.

Eleven different Warriors entered the scoring column, six in double figures, as they recalled the “Strength in Numbers” catchphrase that defined their play in the previous two seasons.

Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala scored 24 points apiece to lead the offense. Klay Thompson tossed in 13 points, Draymond Green 12, with David West and Ian Clark adding 10 apiece.

With Kevin Durant out, the Warriors needed scoring from elsewhere on the roster. The bench delivered, accounting for 55 points, including 41 in the first half to keep the Warriors (52-11) close until the starters caught fire after halftime.

Point guard Dennis Schroeder scored 23 points to lead Atlanta, which fell to 34-29.

STANDOUT PERFORMER: On a night when the Warriors rode a team effort, Iguodala and Green are the logical choices.

Iguodala’s line: 24 points (6-of-8 from the field, including 4-of-6 from deep, 8-of-11 from the line), five rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block. He played 35 minutes and finished minus-2.

Green’s line: 12 points (4-of-10, 2-of-5, 2-of-2) eight rebounds, six assists and four steals. He played 30 minutes and was plus-7.

TURNING POINT: Down 66-61 at the half, the Warriors opened the second half with a 16-4 run, taking a 77-70 lead with 8:03 left in the third quarter.

Though the Hawks rallied, cutting the margin to one early in the fourth quarter, the Warriors never again lost the lead.

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

Hawks: G/F Mike Dunleavy (R ankle synovitis) was listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Warriors return to the Bay Area for one game, facing the Boston Celtics Wednesday night at Oracle Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:35 Pacific.



Photo Credit: CSN Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[Sharks Can't Overcome Early Wild Goals, Drop Showdown]]>Sun, 05 Mar 2017 19:56:05 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/wild-goal-sharks-march5-2017-usatsi.jpg

BOX SCORE

The Wild scored a pair of goals in the first period in jumping out to a two-goal lead, and that was all it needed in a 3-1 win over the Sharks at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday evening in a game that wasn't as close as the score would suggest.

The Sharks lost for the first time in regulation since Feb. 9 in Boston (5-1-3).

The Wild regained first place overall in the Western Conference, with its third win in four games. It also won its 10th straight game after a loss, after dropping a 1-0 decision in Columbus on Thursday.

All of the scoring before a late empty netter came in the first period, and the Sharks were fortunate to be only down by 2-1 for most of the game.

Minnesota controlled play at the outset of the first period, but Martin Jones made a pair saves on Ryan White from point blank range, and another on Jason Pominville later on.

The Wild earned a power play later on a marginal call on Dylan DeMelo, and capitalized when Zach Parise, stationed in the slot, redirected a shot-pass from Pominville at 11:06.

The lead increased to 2-0 at 15:24, when Eric Staal whipped in a nice backhanded feed from the corner by Matt Dumba. Minutes earlier, Chris Stewart thought he had given Minnesota a two-goal lead, but his shot sailed into the back of Jones' sweater at the neck, causing some momentary confusion.

The Sharks got on the board before the end of the first, courtesy of the fourth line. Justin Braun went behind the goal line to Micheal Haley, who quickly found Melker Karlsson in front for a goal at 18:26.

Special teams play dominated the second period, as the Sharks were forced to kill off 3:53 of a Joe Pavelski double-minor for high sticking. The Wild managed just one shot over the extended advantage.

Rather than tie it up, though, the Sharks squandered a pair of power play opportunities later in the second, as that group continued what has basically been a season-long slump.

Jones kept the Sharks in the game, and stopped three breakaways – one in each of the three periods on Marco Scandella, Parise, and Mikael Granlund, in that order.

The Wild didn't allow the Sharks any high danger scoring chances in the third period until Devan Dubnyk stopped Chris Tierney in front with 2:02 to go.

Staal got his second of the night into an empty net with 1:49 left.

Special teams:
Entering with the league's best power play at home, the Wild finished 1-for-4 with a man advantage.

The Sharks went 0-for-3. San Jose is 2-for-20 on the power play over its last eight games, and just 26-for-166 (15.6 percent) since Nov. 1.

In goal:
Jones, far and away the Sharks' best player on the night, fell to 30-16-6 on the season with two goals allowed on 27 shots. He's 0-2 against Minnesota this season, and 2-3-0 in his career.

Dubnyk recorded his league-leading 35th win, two of which have come over San Jose. The NHL's leader in save percentage made 20 stops.

Lineup:
The Sharks were still without new addition Jannik Hansen, as he sorts out his immigration. Hansen isn't expected to make his debut in teal until Thursday's home game with Washington at the earliest.

On defense, DeMelo returned from a broken wrist in place of David Schlemko, who suffered a lower body injury on Thursday. DeMelo was playing his first game since Jan. 10 in Edmonton.

Joonas Donskoi, now an option after recovering from an upper body injury, was a healthy scratch as Marcus Sorensen remained in the lineup.

Minnesota's Parise and Pominville were both returning after missing three games with the mumps.

Up next:
The Sharks wrap up their quick two-game road trip on Monday in Winnipeg. San Jose has downed the Jets in both meetings so far, including a 4-3 win at MTS Centre on Jan. 24.

 

 



Photo Credit: Kevin Kurz]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Coach Undergoes Surgery After Hit by Foul Ball]]>Sat, 04 Mar 2017 21:24:20 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/164*120/Jose+Alguacil.jpg

San Francisco Giants' first base coach Jose Alguacil was hospitalized Saturday after taking a foul ball off the face in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Alguacil was sitting in a folding chair alongside the visiting dugout when a Hunter Dozier check-swing sent a ball screaming back toward the coaches, who were sitting about 20 yards away. None of the coaches had time to react, and Alguacil appeared to be hit in the eye area. Trainer Eric Ortega was quick to react, immediately putting a towel over Alguacil's face as blood pooled on the dirt. Manager Bruce Bochy said Alguacil never lost conciousness.

"It's so dangerous here," Bochy said. "It was so quick. I barely saw it. Hopefully he's OK. He got up and got in the cart, so that's good news."

Alguacil was helped onto a cart and taken off the field. He was airlifted to a hospital in Phoenix where he underwent surgery. He was diagnosed with a broken nose and a laceration, the team announced Saturday evening. Alguacil also suffered small fractures in his eye socket.

Managers and coaches often sit outside the dugout during spring training games, getting a closer look at the action in the relaxed setting. The folding chairs at Surprise Stadium are closer to the plate than they are in other parks.

"It's so close here. It wasn't very smart of us, especially in this park, to be sitting out there," Bochy said. "It's what we do here. Sometimes we get out there in this park. It's probably the closest of all of them. Unfortunately, I think most of us have been hit."

Staff members regularly sit in folding chairs at Scottsdale Stadium, but the Giants have taken steps to protect fans. This spring, protective netting extends all the way to the end of the dugout.

Alguacil, the Triple-A manager a year ago, is in his first season as the first base coach. He is an extremely popular coach, known for his enthusiasm and tireless work with infielders. Alguacil has long been a rising star in the organization. He moved from Double-A to Triple-A to the big league staff over the course of three years.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Strong Second Period Propels Sharks to Win Over Canucks]]>Fri, 03 Mar 2017 01:22:38 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/211*120/sharks-win-canucks.jpg

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE – The home team finally prevailed in a Sharks-Canucks game.

Logan Couture had a goal and an assist, and Aaron Dell recorded the win in net in his first start after keeping his job past the trade deadline in a 3-1 Sharks win at SAP Center on Thursday.

The road team had won the previous 15 games between the two clubs, an NHL record. Vancouver's six-game winning streak in San Jose was snapped, while the Sharks still have a nine-game winning streak at Rogers Arena.

The Sharks were on their heels early and gave up a first period power play goal to Bo Horvat, but steadily improved in winning fairly handily.

Mikkel Boedker tied it at 15:45 of the first. After a nifty keep at the blue line by Paul Martin, Couture slid the puck to his linemate and Boedker found the top corner for his second score in three games.

Rookie Marcus Sorensen gave San Jose its first lead midway through the second, capping off a brilliant shift by taking a feed from Tomas Hertl and squeezing it through off of Ryan Miller's blocker side at 9:28.

Sorensen, playing in his fourth career NHL game, was promoted to the third line to start the game after his strong performance against Toronto on Tuesday.

Couture's 21st goal on a wrist shot from the circle at 13:49 put the Sharks up 3-1. Marleau managed to get his blade on a loose puck in pushing it over to Couture to earn the primary assist.

The Sharks improved to 5-0-3 in their last eight games, increasing their lead in the division to seven points over second place Edmonton, which was idle.

Vancouver is 1-5-1 in its last seven, and has lost all three games of the season series with San Jose in regulation.

Neither Jannik Hansen nor Nikolay Goldobin played in the game, after they were swapped for one another in a trade on Tuesday. Hansen may not be available to play until next week, when the Sharks host the Washington Capitals on March 9.

The Sharks and Canucks meet in a home-and-home on April 2-4 to conclude the five-game season series.

Special teams

Chris Tierney failed on a shorthanded penalty shot at 18:02 of the first period, when it was still a 1-1 game. San Jose is just 1-for-6 on penalty shots this season.

Micheal Haley earned his 10th fighting major of the season, dropping the gloves with Joseph Cramarossa in the first period and sending his opponent to the dressing room with a hard left jab to the jaw.

San Jose was 0-for-2 on the power play, and 2-for-17 in its last seven games. Vancouver was 1-for-3.

In goal

Dell improved to 8-3-1 on the season, and has allowed two or fewer goals in eight of his 11 starts this season. He saw just 18 shots, stopping all but one.

Miller fell to 16-18-4, with three goals allowed on 32 shots. He has been in net for all three Vancouver losses to San Jose this season. 

Lineup

David Schlemko left the game after the first period and did not return, forcing the Sharks to play with five defenseman for the majority of the evening.

Joonas Donskoi did not play, although he's getting close to a return from an upper body injury that has kept him out for more than a month.

Up next

The Sharks will visit the Western Conference's top team, the Minnesota Wild, on Sunday in St. Paul. The Wild won the first meeting in San Jose on Jan. 5, 5-4.

San Jose visits Winnipeg in the second of a back-to-back on Monday.



Photo Credit: Kevin Kurz]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Lose Back-to-Back For First Time Since April 2015]]>Thu, 02 Mar 2017 21:00:41 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/warriors-bulls-03-02-17.jpg

On a night when Steve Kerr was firing clipboards, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were misfiring 3-pointers and the Warriors, as a team, were showing only glimpses of fire, it added up to the end of a beloved streak.

A 94-87 loss to the Bulls on Thursday night ended at 146 the number of consecutive games the Warriors had gone without back-to-back defeats.

The Warriors (50-11) last lost back-to-back games on April 5 and April 7 in 2015.

Curry scored 23 points to lead the Warriors, missed 17 of his 27 shots and nine of his 11 3-pointers. He made two, enough to surpass Kobe Bryant on the all-time list of triples.

Thompson had a tougher night at United Center, scoring 13 points on 5-of-22 shooting, including 1-of-11 beyond the arc.

Draymond Green (12 points), Pat McCaw (11) and Andre Iguodala (10) rounded out the scoring leaders for the Warriors (50-11). McCaw started at small forward for the injured Kevin Durant.

Jimmy Butler scored 22 points to lead the Bulls (31-30), who won for the fifth time in six games.

STANDOUT PERFORMER: Though his numbers were not spectacular, no one performed as needed better than backup big man David West.

West’s line: 2 points (1-of-5 shooting), five rebounds, five assists and one block. He played 16 minutes and finished plus-5. He was one of three Warriors to finish in the plus category.

TURNING POINT: After the Warriors pulled ahead 85-84 on a layup by West with 5:43 remaining, they went stone cold -- 1-of-11 from the field -- over the remainder of the game as the Bulls closed it out with a 10-2 run.

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

Bulls: G Michael Carter-Williams (L patellar tendinitis) and F Paul Zipser (L ankle tendinitis) were listed as questionable. Zipser was upgraded to active prior to tipoff.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Warriors return to action Sunday afternoon in New York, where they will face the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Tipoff is scheduled for 12:35 p.m. Pacific.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[More Than a Game: USF Closer Takes Mound to Honor Late Mom]]>Mon, 06 Mar 2017 11:07:27 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/carneys-03-02-17.jpg

As a closer in baseball, one has to handle high-pressure situations well. But for University of San Francisco pitcher Joey Carney, nothing could prepare him for the save he attempted to make last June.

Carney's story is one made for Hollywood, only it doesn't have a Hollywood ending. It has one based in reality.

In the spring of 2014, Carney's mother Paula was diagnosed with end-stage liver disease. Two years later, her condition was such that her doctors were in search of a live liver donor.

"The fact of the matter is myself and other family members tried to donate, and we could not," said Dale Carney, Joey's father.

So Joey ended up urging his mom and dad to allow him to go get tested.

"Once I got tested, I found out that I was a viable match, and so on June 2, I went in and went forward with the surgery," Joey said.

For the first few days, it was a success, and then complications arose. Paula Carney died less than four weeks after the surgery.

"It killed me inside, and to this day it still eats at me," Joey said. "I wish she could be here right now. I wish she could be in the stands watching me play.

"I've got about a 6-inch scar running down my belly button right here," he added. "I look to it every day. It's just a reminder of what I did for my mom. And even though things didn't work out, it's just basically a sign of love."

Even though she may not be watching from the stands, Joey Carney believes his mother is watching.

"The only positive you can find from it is that you have a guardian angel, and you have someone looking over you every single day, and it kind of gives you that comfort you need," he said.

Dale Carney believes there are people who in a similar situation might just give up. But he said Joey asked himself what his mom would do.

"Every time I get on that mound, after I throw my last warm-up pitch, I kiss the cross I wear that she got me, and I look up to the sky, and it's just like, 'I know you're here with me, and we're going to get through this together.'"

Dale Carney sees it too: "Every single time he takes the mound, it's for Mom. And Mom's watching, Mom's there."



Photo Credit: Mel Melcon/L.A. Times]]>
<![CDATA[Hertl's Late Goal Lifts Sharks Past Maple Leafs]]>Wed, 01 Mar 2017 02:08:21 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/dillongoal-mapleleafs-usatsi.jpg

BOX SCORE

Tomas Hertl scored the tiebreaking goal with 1:24 remaining and the San Jose Sharks beat the Toronto Maple Leafs for the ninth straight time, 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Patrick Marleau started the winning play when he skated in alone on three defenders. Marleau fed Hertl, who then beat Frederik Andersen with a quick shot to the short side for his eighth goal of the season.

Brenden Dillon also scored and Joe Pavelski added an empty-netter off Joe Thornton's 999th career assist to help the first-place Sharks snap a three-game home losing streak to remain five points ahead of second-place Edmonton in the Pacific Division. Martin Jones made 20 saves.

Rookie Auston Matthews scored his 31st goal for the Maple Leafs to start a crucial three-game California swing. Toronto has a one-point lead over Florida and the Islanders for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Andersen made 34 saves.



Photo Credit: CSN Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Fight After Durant Injury, Fall Late to Wizards]]>Tue, 28 Feb 2017 20:18:38 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/beal-klay-feb28-2017-ap.jpg

BOX SCORE

After Kevin Durant left early with a hyperextended knee, the Golden State Warriors took a perceptible emotional dip that the Washington Wizards exploited in building a 19-point first-half lead.

It barely was enough, as the Warriors regrouped at halftime and rallied in the third quarter Tuesday night but came up just short, taking a 112-108 loss at Verizon Center in Washington.

Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 25 points. Klay Thompson put in 16 points, Draymond Green and Shaun Livingston each totaled 14 points and Zaza Pachulia added 12.

Durant, making his first appearance as a Warrior in his hometown, played one scoreless minute before leaving the game.

The Warriors (50-10) again struggled from beyond the arc, going 8-of-27 (29.6 percent) after a 6-of-29 shooting night Monday in Philadelphia.

The Wizards (35-23) finished with six players in double figures, led by 25 from shooting guard Bradley Beal.

STANDOUT PERFORMER:
Someone needed to step out of the shadows and Livingston did. Someone needed to orchestrate a patchwork offense and Green did.

Livingston's line: 14 points (5-of-7 shooting, 4-of-4 from the line), three rebounds, two blocks, two assists and one steal. He played 24 minutes and finished plus-four.

Green's line: 14 points (6-of-11, 2-of-3 from deep), a team-high 14 assists, eight rebounds, two steals and one block. He played 40 minutes and finished at even-0.

TURNING POINT:
Though the Warriors battled back and led by as much as three, the course of this game changed when Durant went down in the first minute.

The Wizards took less than four minutes to go up 16-4 and were up 39-20 with 2:20 left in the first quarter. They led for most of the night after that, and pulled it out by outscoring the Warriors 6-2 in the final minute.

INJURY UPDATE:
Warriors: No injuries were listed. F Kevin Durant sustained a hyperextended L knee in the opening minute and did not return. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Wizards: No injuries listed.

WHAT'S NEXT:
The Warriors return to action Thursday, when they face the Bulls at United Center in Chicago. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. Pacific.



Photo Credit: Monte Poole]]>
<![CDATA[Former Warriors Player Adonal Foyle Releases Children's Book]]>Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:11:11 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/02-27-2017-adonal-foyle.jpg

Former Golden State Warriors player Adonal Foyle has gone from dunking with authority to becoming an author. Colin Resch reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Overcome Poor Shooting, Hold Off 76ers]]>Mon, 27 Feb 2017 22:10:46 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/klay-layup-sixers-feb27-2017-ap.jpg

BOX SCORE

Despite struggling from 3-point distance for most of game, the Warriors managed to grind out a 119-108 victory over the 76ers Monday at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

All five starters scored in double figures, with Kevin Durant putting in a game-high 27 points to lead the way. Klay Thompson had 21 points, Stephen Curry 19, Zaza Pachulia 16 and Draymond Green 14.

Curry had the toughest night of all, shooting 7-of-23 from the field -- and 0-of-11 from deep, the worst such performance of his career. The Warriors as a team were 6-of-29 from deep.

The Warriors (50-9) shot 44.9 percent overall, only the third time this season they've been below 45 percent in back-to-back games. They shot 42.0 percent in beating Brooklyn last Saturday night.

Six players scored in double figures for the 76ers (22-37), with forward Dario Saric totaling a team-high 21 points.

STANDOUT PERFORMER:
Green and Pachulia share the honors, with Pachulia becoming an offensive force and Green being such a dynamo that even his turnovers couldn't negate his positive impact.

Green's line: 14 points (5-of-10 from the field, 1-of-3 from deep, 3-of-6 from the line), 11 assists, six rebounds and five steals. He played 37 minutes and finished plus-22.

Pachulia's line: 16 points (5-of-5 from the field, 6-of-7 from the line), five rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal. He played 19 minutes and finished plus-1.

TURNING POINT:
After a Robert Covington 3-point pulled Philadelphia within three, 59-56, with 11:19 left in the third quarter, the Warriors came back with a 10-0 run -- requiring only 79 seconds -- to go up 69-59 with 10:00 remaining.

The 76ers got no closer than seven over the remainder of the game.

INJURY UPDATE:
Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L hand contusion) was listed as probable and upgraded to available 90 minutes before tipoff. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

76ers: G Jerryd Bayless (L wrist surgery), C Andrew Bogut (personal), C Joel Embiid (L knee contusion), F Ben Simmons (R foot fracture) and C/F Tiago Splitter (R calf strain) were listed as out.

WHAT'S NEXT:
The Warriors return to action Tuesday, when they visit Verizon Center to face the Washington Wizards. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. Pacific.



Photo Credit: Monte Poole]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders President: Las Vegas Stadium Financing on Track]]>Thu, 09 Feb 2017 21:16:55 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/raiders-slots-us.jpg

LAS VEGAS -- The Oakland Raiders and the board overseeing the proposed NFL stadium in Las Vegas have high hopes for the project despite losing an instrumental supporter, but their plan is still missing hundreds of millions of dollars in financing.

Team leaders and the stadium authority board met publicly Thursday for the first time since casino magnate Sheldon Adelson withdrew a $650 million pledge for the project. Both sides plan to continue to work on a lease agreement, but the team didn't give a definitive answer for the major financial gap.

"The organization remains fully committed to this project," Raiders president Marc Badain told the stadium authority board members. "We are not deterred. Financing will not be an issue."

Badain told the board the team is in discussions with "multiple financial institutions," but declined to elaborate beyond that when asked by The Associated Press. The cost of the 65,000-seat domed stadium is pegged at $1.9 billion.

The meeting in Las Vegas came at a crucial time for the Raiders' proposed relocation: less than two weeks after Adelson pulled out of the project and six weeks before an NFL owners' meeting where they are expected to vote on whether to approve the move.

Badain and stadium authority board members on Thursday expressed confidence in their ability to make significant progress in a proposed lease and use agreement ahead of the owners gathering. A draft of the agreement that the Raiders presented to the stadium authority board last month includes a proposed $1 annual rent for the team.

"We'll work to make it better," board chairman Steve Hill said. "We may make six weeks' worth of progress in the next three or four weeks."

The Raiders paid $3.5 million in rent to play at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in 2016, up from $925,000 for the 2015 season. The team has options to remain at the stadium for the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

Adelson and his family had pledged $650 million and the Raiders promised $500 million, with the stadium authority putting up $750 million in Las Vegas tax revenues.

Adelson, the chief executive of Las Vegas Sands Corp. whose holdings include the Venetian and Palazzo resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, played an instrumental role in winning state approval to help fund the stadium with public money.

In withdrawing, he declared that he had been shut out of talks that led to the lease document being presented to the stadium authority.

Another lingering question is location. A site hasn't been picked for the stadium, although a parcel of land near the Las Vegas Strip has emerged as a preferred location.

The stadium authority is a public board whose operations will be funded by the newly approved Las Vegas-area hotel tax increase that's expected to yield $13 million a year. Casinos won't start collecting that until March 1, and money won't flow to the authority until April.



Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Jones Pulled Early as Bruins Bounce Sharks]]>Thu, 09 Feb 2017 20:30:33 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/sharks-bruins.jpg

BOSTON – David Pastrnak scored two power play goals, Patrice Bergeron notched four points, and the Bruins chased Sharks goalie Martin Jones after the first period in a 6-3 Bruins win at TD Garden on Thursday night.

San Jose lost its third straight (0-1-2), matching is longest stretch of the season without a win.

After the teams traded early scores, Bergeron gave Boston the lead for good at 15:52 of the opening frame. The perennial Selke Trophy candidate got to the front of the net where he was left alone by Patrick Marleau, and slipped in a redirected Brandon Carlo shot over the line for his 14th score. Seconds earlier, Marleau lost the puck while cutting to the net on a two-on-one.

Pastrnak’s first goal at 15:52 made it a 3-1 lead after the first period, as the rookie rocketed in a one-timer set up by Bergeron.

The Sharks responded quickly to the goalie change to start the second, after Aaron Dell entered the game. A shot by Justin Braun appeared to deflect off of Carlo at 1:08.

Dell made some nice stops, including gloving a Matt Beleskey wrist shot from the circle, but the Bruins eventually got to him. Tim Schaller found the rebound of a Riley Nash shot at 13:04 after Boston’s fourth line got the cycle going in San Jose’s end, and Pasternak scored his second of the night in the final minute of the middle frame on another slick feed from Bergeron.

Timo Meier’s third goal with 2:37 to go brought the Sharks back to within 5-3, but Brad Marchand’s empty netter with 29 seconds left sealed the Boston triumph.

Boston, which was playing its first game since firing coach Claude Julien on Tuesday, made a winner out of interim coach Bruce Cassidy. The Sharks and Bruins meet for the second and final time at SAP Center on Feb. 19.

David Backes put the Bruins up early. Just 52 seconds into the game, his one-timer from the high slot opened the scoring on the first shot.

Joe Thornton’s wrist shot from the circle at 7:51 tied it on what was his fourth goal of the season, but his first in a manned net.

The crowd was sparse, as the Boston area dealt with significant snowfall. The Bruins wanted to postpone the game, but the NHL denied the request due to the difficulty of finding a makeup date.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Top Stories]]>Thu, 31 Mar 2016 08:46:23 -0700]]><![CDATA[Warriors]]>Thu, 31 Mar 2016 08:47:11 -0700]]><![CDATA[Sharks]]>Thu, 31 Mar 2016 08:47:56 -0700]]><![CDATA[49ers]]>Thu, 31 Mar 2016 08:48:41 -0700]]><![CDATA[Giants]]>Thu, 31 Mar 2016 08:46:54 -0700]]><![CDATA[Athletics]]>Thu, 31 Mar 2016 08:47:33 -0700]]><![CDATA[Raiders]]>Tue, 24 May 2016 15:03:15 -0700]]><![CDATA[College Sports]]>Thu, 31 Mar 2016 08:49:01 -0700]]><![CDATA[Early Mistakes Doom Raiders in Loss to Packers]]>Sun, 20 Dec 2015 19:17:47 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/packanddelriooo.jpg

The Raiders went into Sunday’s game against the Green Packers knowing they needed to sweep their final three games to finish with a winning record and a possible trip to the playoffs.

Coming off a big victory over the division-leading Broncos, the Raiders had some momentum and big hopes.

Unfortunately for the Raiders and their fans, it was hardly enough to beat playoff-bound Green Bay – or ovecome some crucial mistakes -- at O.co Coliseum.

The Packers scored two quick touchdowns off a pair of Derek Carr interceptions in the first quarter en route to a 30-20 victory over the Raiders, who drop to 6-8.

The Raiders cut the gap to 14-13 at halftime thanks to two Sebastian Janikowski field goals and Carr’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper.

But the Packers answered with 10 points in the third quarter and six more in the final period – sandwiched around another Carr-to-Cooper TD pass -- to hold off the Raiders and extend Oakland’s playoff drought that stretches back to 2002.

Carr finished 23-of-47 for 276 yards and two TDs, but his two early interceptions were the difference in the game. He also was sacked three times.

Cooper, in the running for Offensive Rookie of the year, had six catches for 120 yards and two scores.

The Raiders now have a quick turnaround, with a Christmas Eve date against the San Diego Chargers  this Thursday night at O.co Coliseum (5:25 p.m. kickoff). Oakland will need to win that game, and the season finale in Kansas City on Jan. 3, to get to 8-8 and avoid yet another losing season. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Lose to Packers]]>Sun, 20 Dec 2015 18:21:13 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/raiders+packers.jpg

The Raiders haven’t given home fans much to cheer for this season. They were 2-4 at O.co Coliseum heading into Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers, one of two contests left on the home slate.

Heartbreak was on the menu yet again.

The Raiders let another close one slip away, losing 30-20 to the Packers on a soggy afternoon in the East Bay.

Yet another home loss drops the Raiders overall record to 6-8 and cements their 13th straight season without a winning record. It also formally eliminates them from AFC Wild Card contention with two games remaining.

The result was decided with 13 unanswered Packers points to close out this game. Green Bay’s offense controlled tempo with a string of third-down conversions and steady points.

The Raiders didn’t respond in kind, and let another one slip away.

Despite early Raiders' mistakes that led to a 14-0 deficit, this was a close contest throughout. The defense did a solid job preventing big plays, but struggled on third downs of any length. The offense rebounded with some touchdown drives, though not enough to take firm control of the game.

The result was in limbo early in the second half. That’s when the Raiders struck.

Cooper broke the 1,000-yard receiving barrier, one impenetrable for a full decade, in the third quarter and gave the Raiders their first lead with a 26-yard touchdown catch.

The Packers regained it quick, using a big kickoff return and three quick passes to score a touchdown. It went 30 yards to former Raiders receiver and San Jose native James Jones, and gave the Packers a 24-20 lead.

The Packers extended the lead to seven points with a field goal despite a 19-play drive that never crossed the goal line.

The Raiders held Green Bay to 97 yards in the first half, yet found themselves down 14-13 at the break. That happened because Carr threw interceptions on consecutive passes.

His first was underthrown – though safety Micah Hyde may have initiated contact late – and Hyde returned it 34 yards and set up a Packers touchdown.

Carr found Packers cornerback Damarious Randall on his next throw, and the rookie returned it 44 yards for a touchdown.

The Raiders mounted a slow comeback after that, with two field goals and Carr’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper. That touchdown came late in the second quarter after safety Charles Woodson levied a big hit on James Starks, which allowed Benson Mayowa to strip and recover his own forced fumble.

Cooper cracks 1,000: Amari Cooper became the first Raider with 1,000 receiving yards since Randy Moss did it in 2005. Cooper broke through on a 41-yard catch deep down the right sideline midway through the third quarter of Sunday’s game.

Cooper wasn’t done on that drive. He created space a few plays later and hauled in a 26-yard touchdown to give the Raiders a 20-17 lead with under seven minutes left in the third quarter.

Carr had yet another uneven home game, completing 23-of-47 passes for 276 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and an 63.8 passer rating.

Rodgers was just good enough to overcome solid Raiders run defense. He was 22-of-39 passing for one touchdown and a late interception.

Mack gets more sacks: Raiders edge rusher Khalil Mack added to his sack total after getting five last week at Denver. He got another one early in Sunday’s game, tripping Rodgers up by the shoelaces on third down.

That gave him 15 for the season, one under the franchise record set by Derrick Burgess in 2005.

Injury update: Important Raiders suffered key injuries in this game. Defensive lineman Mario Edwards went down early. The rookie suffered a neck injury in the first quarter and did not return.

Receiver Seth Roberts suffered an abdominal injury shortly after dropping a touchdown pass in the second quarter that kept him out the rest of the game.

The Raiders announced that veteran pass catcher Michael Crabtree was being evaluated for a concussion, but returned and finished the game

Hayden back in mix: Raiders cornerback DJ Hayden has been largely glued to the sideline in recent weeks, but got back into the mix with Neiko Thorpe inactive with a neck injury.

Other Raiders inactives: S Nate Allen, WR Rod Streater, TE Gabe Holmes, RB Roy Helu, OL Matt McCants and DL Leon Orr.

What's next: The Raiders are in the midst of playing two games in a five-day stretch. The face the San Diego Chargers on Thursday night – every NFL team has one – for a Christmas Eve showdown that could be the last Raiders game in Oakland. The league is expected to choose teams to relocate to the Los Angeles market in January. The Raiders and Chargers are both in the running, with a stadium proposal competing with the St. Louis Rams’ option. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Claw Back, Avoid Second Loss to Bucks]]>Fri, 18 Dec 2015 23:15:50 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WarriorsGetty.jpg

The Warriors have, on the basis of events Friday night at Oracle Arena, found a new nemesis in the Milwaukee Bucks.

There was even a brief post-game jawing session to punctuate the sour feelings between the teams.

The defending champions eventually survived the frisky Bucks, taking a 121-112 win to even the score with the team that last Saturday handed them their first — and only — defeat of the season.

Klay Thompson scored 27 points and Stephen Curry poured in 26 to lead five Warriors scoring in double figures. Draymond Green tossed in 21, Festus Ezeli finished with 12 and Brandon Rush added 10.

Rush added 10 as the Warriors won their 30th consecutive home game.

Inasmuch as the Bucks led for most of this game’s 48 pulsating minutes, this victory was the result of more resilience and determination as the Warriors have shown in any game this season.

The Warriors survived despite allowing 70 points in the first half, the most any team has scored in any half against them this season -– and the most Milwaukee has score in any half this season.

The Warriors (26-1), who shot only 9-of-26 beyond the arc, outrebounded the Bucks 29-18 in the second half, including 16-11 in the final quarter.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

Thompson, Green and Curry share the honors.

Thompson’s line: 27 points, three rebounds, two assists, plus-22 for the game.

Green’s line: 21 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, plus-15.

Curry’s line: 26 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, plus-13.

TURNING POINT

Down 100-89 with 8:54 left, the Warriors reentered their starters, who went on a 15-2 run to take a 104-102 lead with 4:45 left.

Though the Bucks managed to tie the score twice, the Warriors never again trailed, using a 13-4 run over the final 2:16 to pull away.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: F Harrison Barnes (L ankle sprain) and F Kevon Looney (hip surgery rehab) were listed as out and placed on the inactive list.

Bucks: C Greg Monroe (L MCL sprain) was listed as doubtful, cleared 90 minutes before tipoff and placed in the starting lineup. G Jerryd Bayless (L ankle sprain) and G Greivis Vasquez (R ankle surgery) were listed as out and placed on the inactive list.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors return to action next Wednesday, when the face the Utah Jazz at Oracle Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:35 p.m.



Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Even Without Dalton, Bengals May be Too Much for 49ers]]>Fri, 18 Dec 2015 10:34:25 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/185*120/GabbievsCincie.jpg

The 49ers catch a slight break this Sunday when they face the Cincinnati Bengals without their starting quarterback, Andy Dalton.

Dalton broke his right thumb last week and was replaced by A.J. McCarron in a 33-20 loss to the Steelers.

But will it make a difference? Probably not.

Even without Dalton, the 10-3 Bengals – on their way to the postseason -- have a talented, balanced team full of playmakers that figures to be too much for the 4-9 49ers, who are coming off a woeful 24-10 loss to a Browns team that had been 2-10.

The Bengals have the No. 6 offense in the NFL and the No. 10 defense and outscore opponents by an average of 9.6 points per game.

They have a pair of solid running backs in Jeremy Hill (604 yards, eight touchdowns) and Giovani Bernard (647 yards rushing and 413 yards receiving), a dynamic wide receiver in A.J. Green (76 catches for 1,169 yards and eight TDs) and a terrific tight end in Tyler Eifert (48 catches, 12 TDs).

Carlos Dunlap (10½ sacks) and Geno Atkins (eight sacks) lead a pass rush that may feast on a 49ers offensive line that gave up nine sacks last week and will be without starting guard Alex Boone.

The 49ers, meanwhile, rank dead last in the NFL in offense and 30th in defense. Oddsmakers have made the Bengals 4-point favorites.

One big question for the 49ers Sunday will be whether they can protect quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Against Chicago two weeks ago, Gabbert starred in an overtime victory. But against the Browns he had a tough time – as did the offense overall – while he was constantly under pressure. Gabbert placed much of the blame for the Cleveland peformance on himself.

“I have to find a way to get rid of the ball,” Gabbert told reporters this week. “When you take that many negative plays throughout a football game, it’s tough. You’re digging yourself a deep, deep hole. I just have to find answers quick and make sure we’re all on the right page with communications.”

Sunday’s game at Levi's Stadium originally was scheduled to be on "Sunday Night Football," but was rescheduled for 1:25 p.m. when the 49ers turned into one of the worst teams in the NFL.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Ready to Tangle With Explosive, Talented Packers]]>Fri, 18 Dec 2015 09:55:14 -0700http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/oakprevsgeebhay.jpg

So, it’s come to this:

All the Oakland Raiders need to do to earn their first winning record since 2002 and a possible trip to the playoffs is win Sunday’s home game against the explosive Green Bay Packers, come back on Thursday night to beat the visiting Chargers on Christmas Eve and then close out the year with a victory at hostile Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

No problem, right?

One oddsmaking website gives the Raiders a 0.7 percent chance of pulling it off.

Yet the 6-7 Raiders, coming off an upset victory over the AFC West-leading Broncos last week, know that a three-game sweep won’t happen unless they take care of the Packers first. And that will be a difficult assignment.

Green Bay, 9-4, is coming off a 28-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys and is a dangerous, explosive team on offense with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and rejuvenated running back Eddie Lacy. Lacy has rushed for 100 or more yards in three of the past four games, and the Packers rank No. 4 in the NFL in rushing.

Rodgers, off course, is the key. His quick release and mobility in the pocket are a counter to the Raiders’ ferocious pass rush in recent games, led by Khalil Mack (who had five sacks in Denver). This season, Rodgers has thrown 28 touchdown passes vs. just five interceptions.

On defense, Green Bay has playmakers in linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers and a solid secondary. Peppers has seven sacks in just three career games vs. the Raiders.

Though oddsmakers have made Green Bay a 3-point favorite, the Raiders appear capable – and hungry enough – to pull the upset. Oakland’s defense against the run has been tough and its pass rush tougher. The Raiders now rank No. 12 in the NFL against the run.

And the Raiders’ passing attack with quarterback Derek Carr has proven it can put up points against any team in the league. Carr is 10th in the NFL with a 96.5 quarterback rating, with 28 TD throws vs. nine interceptions, and his receiving corps – featuring playmakers such as Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Seth Roberts, Clive Walford and Mychal Rivera – is talented and deep.

This week, Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio talked about how proud he is of his team and the strong defense being built. He says the Raiders want to have “a dominant defense here.”

But to beat the Packers, he said that defense will have to control Rodgers, something most teams can’t do.

“A big challenge,” said Del Rio. “Obviously he’s got a great arm, real quick delivery, he can kind of flip it from any position and make plays down the field, but he takes off and runs, makes plays happen with his feet. I think it’s 38 scrambles on the year for big yardage. He doesn’t just go and get a first down and get down, he’s going and taking off and trying to score with it.”

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>