Sports – Martinez Tribune https://martineztribune.com The website of the Martinez Tribune. Fri, 14 Feb 2020 05:37:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 Warriors Lose to the Heat In Iguodala’s Return to the Bay Area https://martineztribune.com/2020/02/10/warriors-lose-to-heat-in-iguodalas-return-to-the-bay-area/ https://martineztribune.com/2020/02/10/warriors-lose-to-heat-in-iguodalas-return-to-the-bay-area/#respond Tue, 11 Feb 2020 07:50:22 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=13947 BY MASON BISSADA Despite a disheartening 113-101 loss to the Miami Heat on Monday night, Warriors fans at Chase Center were all smiles as they welcomed home former Warrior Andre Iguodala in his first matchup against Golden State in nearly seven years. Iguodala, who was recently traded to the Miami Heat after sitting out half …

The post Warriors Lose to the Heat In Iguodala’s Return to the Bay Area appeared first on Martinez Tribune.

]]>
BY MASON BISSADA

Despite a disheartening 113-101 loss to the Miami Heat on Monday night, Warriors fans at Chase Center were all smiles as they welcomed home former Warrior Andre Iguodala in his first matchup against Golden State in nearly seven years.

Iguodala, who was recently traded to the Miami Heat after sitting out half the season as an inactive member of the Memphis Grizzlies, was given a touching video tribute before tipoff that celebrated his time in the Bay Area. He was then welcomed to center court by former teammate Klay Thompson, who showed nothing but love for the 2015 Finals MVP.

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Miami’s Andre Iguodala goes up for a block in his first game against his former teammates Monday night at Chase Center. Iguodala only took one shot, making it, but the Heat was +25 in the 16 minutes he was on the floor.

 

“It’s good to have you back ‘Dre,” Thompson said to mass applause. “And I can’t wait to see your jersey in the rafters one of these days.”

Iguodala returned the compliment, promising fans that “my brothers [Thompson and Steph Curry] will be back in action, full throttle next year to wreak havoc on the league for 80 games” (excluding the two in which the Warriors play the Heat). When Iguodala checked into the game midway through the first quarter, Chase Center showered him with the loudest applause of the night.

As for the game itself, Golden State’s short lived resilience was no match for the Heat, who were in desperate need of a win after losing their last three games in a row. After Golden State’s bench gave up a 16-0 run in the second quarter, the Warriors starters responded with a third quarter run of their own to cut the deficit to four points. This run was led largely by Andrew Wiggins, who scored 14 points in the third quarter alone and had 18 points on the night in his second game as a Warrior.

“I thought his play reflected ours,” Steve Kerr said postgame. “We got nothing going in the first half and then in the third quarter, when we started really competing and playing with pace, that’s when Andrew got going.”

Just as it did in the second quarter, Golden State’s bench (consisting of G-League call-ups) negated the progress that the starters made in the fourth quarter. Miami’s depth (or Golden State’s lack thereof) proved to be the difference in the end. Iguodala, despite playing just 16 minutes, was a +25 on the night, while Juan Toscano-Anderson was a game-low -18. All of Golden State’s starters (besides Ky Bowman) were actually net-positives for the game.

Damion Lee was a bright spot for the Warriors, scoring a career-high 26 points on 7-12 shooting and hitting five of his seven 3-point attempts. Lee’s floor spacing is essential, particularly when Draymond Green is running in transition and playing point-forward. Green, who grabbed nine rebounds and dished out nine assists, was looking for corner shooters off of every Heat miss. When Lee is feeling it from deep, he and Green make a nice pairing.

 Marquese Chriss continues to shine after securing a multi-year contract, scoring a solid 17 points (including a nasty dunk on Miami’s Duncan Robinson) to go along with nine rebounds. Though his rim protection is shaky (Miami scored 50 points in the paint) he has some offensive ability as a lob threat and even an occasional post-up option.

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Miami’s Jimmy Butler goes up for a shot over the Warriors Andrew Wiggins during the Heat’s 113-101 win over Golden State Monday night. Butler had 21 points and 10 rebounds in the game.

 

Jimmy Butler led the way for the Heat, tallying a 21-point, 10-rebound double-double. The five-time All-Star didn’t even need to attempt a 3-pointer to be effective. When he wasn’t driving towards the rim, Butler went to work in the midrange going 9-15 from the field.

Jae Crowder, who was packaged with Iguodala in the trade from Memphis, also scored 21 points off the bench, hitting four of his eight 3-pointers. Bam Adebayo also left his mark, logging a 13-point, 11-rebound double-double. What was equally impressive was Adebayo’s passing ability. He dropped seven dimes, either finding teammates in transition or off of backdoor cuts in the post. He even found teammate Derrick Jones Jr. for a ridiculous lob dunk. Adebayo’s court vision may remind Warriors fans of another passing big: Draymond Green.

“Well, I think the similarity is the playmaking,” Steve Kerr said when comparing the two players. “It’s rare to have a combination of playmaking big and a guy that can defend the paint. It’s not something you see very often. Bam has had a fantastic season and I think Miami is playing quite a bit like we have played over the last five years and Bam is at the center of that offense like Draymond has been. It’s a good comparison.”

Golden State must once again retool and relearn their offensive and defensive schemes with the addition of so many new players (particularly Wiggins). This is difficult to do on the fly while facing teams like the Heat who have a clear identity and are fighting for homecourt advantage in the playoffs. Every game from here on out is a learning process, but the Warriors may accumulate quite a few losses along the way.

The Warriors will next take the short flight to Phoenix to face off against the Suns on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in their last game before the All-Star break.

GAME NOTES:

The Warriors tied their season-low mark for field goals made with just 30 (30-77, 39%).

 Tonight’s loss insures that the Warriors will have a losing record for the first time since the 2011-12 season, when they went 23-43 in a lockout year.

Prior to tonight’s matchup, Golden State had won five consecutive home games against the Miami Heat, along with eight of their last 11 matchups overall.

Tonight marks the first time Miami has swept the season series against the Warriors since the 2010-11 season.

Exactly three years ago, Draymond Green made history by becoming the first player in league history to record a triple-double without scoring double-digit points. Green recorded 10 steals (a franchise record) 10 assists and 11 rebounds. In that same game, Green was just one point away from a five-by-five (five or more in five box score categories) as he also recorded four points and five blocks. Green was the first player to record double digit steals and at least five blocks since the NBA began tracking steals and blocks in 1973-74.

 

The post Warriors Lose to the Heat In Iguodala’s Return to the Bay Area appeared first on Martinez Tribune.

]]>
https://martineztribune.com/2020/02/10/warriors-lose-to-heat-in-iguodalas-return-to-the-bay-area/feed/ 0
Retooled Warriors put up a fight, but fall to Lakers 125-120 https://martineztribune.com/2020/02/08/retooled-warriors-put-up-a-fight-but-fall-to-lakers-125-120/ https://martineztribune.com/2020/02/08/retooled-warriors-put-up-a-fight-but-fall-to-lakers-125-120/#respond Sun, 09 Feb 2020 06:46:40 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=13931 BY MASON BISSADA Though the Golden State Warriors roster looked noticeably different after their various trade deadline moves, the results of Saturday night’s game against Los Angeles were fairly similar to most games this season, as they lost a close game to the Lakers 125 -120 at Chase Center. Andrew Wiggins, the most notable addition …

The post Retooled Warriors put up a fight, but fall to Lakers 125-120 appeared first on Martinez Tribune.

]]>
BY MASON BISSADA

Though the Golden State Warriors roster looked noticeably different after their various trade deadline moves, the results of Saturday night’s game against Los Angeles were fairly similar to most games this season, as they lost a close game to the Lakers 125 -120 at Chase Center.

Andrew Wiggins, the most notable addition to the roster, looked comfortable in a Golden State uniform, going for 24 points on 8-12 shooting and 3-4 from beyond the arc. Wiggins also pitched in a bit of defense to a team that desperately needed it, grabbing five steals (one shy of his career-high) in his 31 minutes. Wiggins spent a significant portion of his time playing off the ball, something he’ll have to adjust to, particularly when Steph Curry returns in a few weeks.

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER
New acquired Andrew Wiggins looks to pass the ball during Golden State’s 125-120 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at Chase Center Saturday evening. Wiggins finished with 24 points in his Warriors debut.

 

It was encouraging to see Wiggins connecting on his spot-up jumpers and running the floor in transition. Defensively, Kerr assigned Wiggins the unenviable task of slowing LeBron James, who dropped 22 points and 11 assists on the former top pick in the draft by the Timberwolves. Though his body type would suggest he’d be a lockdown perimeter defender, he still has a ways to go in terms of strength and decision-making.

“It’s just great to have a player who we can put on LeBron and at least match up physically,” Head Coach Steve Kerr said postgame. “It’s the hardest position to guard these days in the NBA. So to have a guy who’s 6’8 and athletic and knows the league well and understands how to play, it’s great.”

“I just felt good on the court,” Wiggins said of his Warriors debut. “Let the game come to me. The whole team, we were all unselfish tonight. We moved the ball and we competed. That’s the most important thing.”

Wiggins encouraging offensive play was not enough to keep the Warriors alive against the #1 seed in the Western Conference. Despite cutting what was a 20-point deficit to five points with under a minute to go in regulation, half of the Chase Center (the other half were Laker fans) had their spirits crushed by James, who hit a tough, contested stepback 3-pointer to seal the victory for his Lakers. To paint a picture, the shot seemed eerily similar to the one he made against the Warriors back in 2014 when he was a member of the Miami Heat.

The Lakers, known for their front court size and athleticism, outrebounded the Warriors 47-33. Anthony Davis led the charge with 10 rebounds of his own to go along with 27 points on 9-14 shooting. Defensively, Golden State’s bigs were no match for the seven-time all-star. Davis was dunking over the top of the likes of Alen Smailagic when he wasn’t hitting turnaround jumpshots out of the post.

Newly signed Warrior Marquese Chriss had one of the best nights of his career, going for 26 points and nine rebounds on an extremely efficient 12-15 shooting. Chriss was dunking all over the arena, catching countless lobs from Ky Bowman, who had a career-high 10 assists. Bowman and Chriss pick-and-roll chemistry was electric, and the Lakers often had no answer for it despite their superior size.

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Newly signed Warrior Marquese Chriss slams down a basket on the way to a team-high 26 points during the Warriors loss to the Lakers Saturday night at Chase Center.

 

“I like playing with Ky,” Chriss said postgame. I think we have a good understanding of what each other’s strengths are and he likes to get downhill so I just kind of sit and dunk it for him.”

Jordan Poole had one of his better nights as a Warrior, scoring 19 points on 8-12 shooting and hitting three of his seven three-point attempts. Surprisingly, Poole was the Warriors go-to option down the stretch, delivering clutch jumpers off of dribble-handoffs or off his own dribble. Poole has shown signs of life over the last 10 games after having one of worst first half’s of the year of any rookie this season. Time will tell if he can continue to shoot the ball efficiently.

G-League call-ups Jeremy Pargo, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Zach Norvell Jr. each had small moments of glory on the night and proved that they can hold their own against NBA-level competition. Rotating 10-day contracts will continue to be the norm for the Warriors for the rest of the season, after trading away six of their players at the deadline and needing to fill roster spots on a nightly basis.

The Warriors continue to surprise more-talented teams with their resilience and willingness to fight a losing battle until the bitter end. The Lakers may not have known the names of half the players on Golden State’s roster, but that didn’t stop them from hanging around until the final buzzer.

Golden State will welcome Miami to the Chase Center on Monday, where former Warrior Andre Iguodala may make his season-debut after being traded to the Heat just a few days ago.

 GAME NOTES:

After opening up roster spots through various trades at the deadline, Golden State was able to sign two-way call-ups Ky Bowman and Marquese Chriss to multi-year contracts.

Golden State made 51.7 percent of their shots from the field, losing their first game of the season when shooting 50 percent-or-better (2-1).

Wiggins 24 points were the most in a Warriors debut since Kevin Durant scored 27 points in 2016 against San Antonio.

Prior to tonight’s loss, the Warriors had won 12 of their last 13 home games against the Lakers.

The game marked the first time in his career that LeBron James played a NBA game in San Francisco.

Alen Smailagić matched his career-high with 10 points off the bench.

Kevon Looney had five fouls in 14 minutes of play.

Saturday was Klay Thompson’s 30th birthday.

 

 

 

 

The post Retooled Warriors put up a fight, but fall to Lakers 125-120 appeared first on Martinez Tribune.

]]>
https://martineztribune.com/2020/02/08/retooled-warriors-put-up-a-fight-but-fall-to-lakers-125-120/feed/ 0
Warriors add Wiggins from Wolves as Russell, two others depart https://martineztribune.com/2020/02/06/warriors-add-wiggins-from-wolves-as-dar-burks-robinson-depart/ https://martineztribune.com/2020/02/06/warriors-add-wiggins-from-wolves-as-dar-burks-robinson-depart/#respond Fri, 07 Feb 2020 05:24:06 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=13919 BY MASON BISSADA In the final hours before the NBA’s annual trade deadline, the Golden State Warriors agreed to trade point guard D’Angelo Russell to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for forward Andrew Wiggins and the Wolves 2021 first-round pick and 2021 second-round pick. In addition to Russell, Golden State will also send guard Jacob …

The post Warriors add Wiggins from Wolves as Russell, two others depart appeared first on Martinez Tribune.

]]>
BY MASON BISSADA

In the final hours before the NBA’s annual trade deadline, the Golden State Warriors agreed to trade point guard D’Angelo Russell to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for forward Andrew Wiggins and the Wolves 2021 first-round pick and 2021 second-round pick. In addition to Russell, Golden State will also send guard Jacob Evans and forward Omari Spellman to Minnesota.

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Andrew Wiggins goes up for a shot during a game against the Warriors in this file photo. He’ll now suit up for Golden State following Thursday’s trade with Minnesota for D’Angelo Russell.

 

The Timberwolves, who are currently the 14th seed in the Western Conference ahead of only the Warriors, have top-3 protected the 2021 first-round pick, meaning it will only transfer to Golden State if it falls between #4 and #30. If it does not convey in 2021, the Warriors will receive the Wolves 2022 first-round pick completely unprotected.

By making the move, combined with yesterday’s trade of Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks to Philadelphia in exchange for three second-round picks, the Warriors have officially fallen under the luxury tax line and avoided the dreaded repeater tax–something ownership clearly prioritized in what is otherwise a lost season. Golden State now only has nine players on their roster, and must fill out the remainder of it while avoiding the luxury tax line.

Wiggins is still owed $94.7 million dollars over the next three seasons. Though he is still just 24 years old, he has shown little improvement in his skillset since winning Rookie of the Year back in 2015. His career averages of 19.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists leave something to be desired from a former #1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft who was once heralded as “Maple Jordan” as a native of Toronto.

This trade illuminates two of the Golden State front office’s opinions: 1) They believe Wiggins still has untapped potential that their coaching and player-development staffs can unearth. Whether it be his shaky jumpshot (33% from three for his career), his unwillingness to pass the ball or his underwhelming defensive effort, they believe they can mask his deficiencies and highlight his athletic strengths. Playing alongside elite shooters like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson and a brilliant passer like Draymond Green should help as well. And 2) They believed D’Angelo Russell was not a good fit next to the above Big 3. Despite putting up some flashy numbers on the score sheet, Russell’s play did not translate to wins for Golden State through 33 games played. Though he never shared the floor with Thompson and barely did with Curry, something clearly did not sit right with the front office.

With the addition of Wiggins, Curry’s return looming and six players gone from the opening night roster, the Warriors are going to look a lot different for the remainder of the season. It remains to be seen whether or not these differences will mean a more uplifting ending to what has been a depressing year.

Golden State returns to Chase Center for a nationally televised game against the Lakers Saturday night followed by a visit from the Miami Heat on Monday, a game that will likely feature the return to the Bay Area of Andre Iguodala.

The post Warriors add Wiggins from Wolves as Russell, two others depart appeared first on Martinez Tribune.

]]>
https://martineztribune.com/2020/02/06/warriors-add-wiggins-from-wolves-as-dar-burks-robinson-depart/feed/ 0
Warriors fall to Pacers 129-118 despite 37 from Russell https://martineztribune.com/2020/01/24/warriors-fall-to-pacers-129-118-loss-to-despite-37-from-russell/ https://martineztribune.com/2020/01/24/warriors-fall-to-pacers-129-118-loss-to-despite-37-from-russell/#respond Sat, 25 Jan 2020 07:44:48 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=13901 BY MASON BISSADA Though they refused to die until the very end, the Golden State Warriors were unable to overcome the Indiana Pacers on Friday night at the Chase Center, losing by a score of 129-118 in a game that felt much closer than the final score indicated. Leading the futile effort was D’Angelo Russell, …

The post Warriors fall to Pacers 129-118 despite 37 from Russell appeared first on Martinez Tribune.

]]>
BY MASON BISSADA

Though they refused to die until the very end, the Golden State Warriors were unable to overcome the Indiana Pacers on Friday night at the Chase Center, losing by a score of 129-118 in a game that felt much closer than the final score indicated.

Leading the futile effort was D’Angelo Russell, who tied his career-high of nine 3-pointers made, going 9-13 from beyond the arc and finishing with 37 points to go along with five assists. In the third quarter, when it appeared Indiana was about to pull away and blow the Warriors out like the Jazz did two nights ago, Russell hit four three pointers to cut the lead to four and give the Warriors a fighting chance. Though his performance was in vain, the home crowd truly appreciated Russell’s brief channeling of his Splash Brother teammates.

“He’s an incredible shooter from long range and lethal on the high screen and got there in the third quarter when we made that push,” Head Coach Steve Kerr said postgame. “He’s capable of that…and he did a great job of helping us get back in the game.”

Marquese Chriss added, “I’m never really surprised when he gets hot like that.”

Draymond Green (10 points, 11 assists) recognized Russell’s hot hand and continued to feed him the ball, either in transition while running the break or in the half court as a point-forward. When Green actually has players around him that are making shots, his court vision and unselfishness become much more noticeable and valuable.

Though the Warriors outscored the Pacers 67-60 in second half, they were unable to undo the damage done by the Indiana in the first. It wouldn’t be wrong to assume that a performance in which Golden State shot an efficient 48.8% from the field and 48.7% from three would’ve resulted in at least a single-digit defeat, if not a victory. However, when the opposing team shoots 56.8% from the field and an astounding 60.7% from beyond the arc, all assumptions go out the window. Indiana seemed to have an answer for every run Golden State threw at them, thanks in large part to T.J. Warren (33 points), who made nine of his first 10 shots, and Doug McDermott (24 points), who made his first eight shots and finished the night 6-7 from downtown.

The Pacers, who have been short-handed in the backcourt all season as Victor Oladipo recovers from a knee injury (he’s expected to return January 29th) were also without breakout star Malcom Brogdon after he recently suffered a concussion. However, Indiana didn’t seem to miss Brogdon much, as Domantas Sabonis assumed the role of point-center, dishing out eight assists to go along with a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double. Sabonis operated out of the post, finding cutters with backdoor passes and reading Golden State’s defense from over his shoulder. The likely first-time All-Star showed his entire offensive arsenal, whether it be his vision or his impressive footwork.

The loss came in the wake of a trade in which the Warriors sent center Willie Cauley-Stein to the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs used their $11.7 million trade exception to take in Cauley-Stein after their starting center, Dwight Powell, went down with a season-ending injury. In exchange, according to Bobby Marks, Golden State will now save nearly $6 million in luxury tax dollars owed to the league and open up another roster spot (to potentially sign 2-way player Ky Bowman for the rest of the season). Cauley-Stein is a legitimate rotation-level center, though his play with Golden State this season has been inconsistent. With Cauley-Stein gone, look for Marquese Chriss and Omari Spellman to get his minutes, along with spot time for Draymond Green as a small-ball 5.

Chriss was given the nod as the starting center Friday in the wake of the trade, and performed as if he wanted to secure the role for the remainder of the season. Though he only had three rebounds, Chriss was a perfect 5-5 from the field in 21 minutes of action. Though he does not offer the floor spacing that Spellman (2-3 from three) does, his athleticism and hustle plays make him a solid option.

Glenn Robinson III continues to be a model of consistency on a team that is anything but. Robinson finished with 18 points and seven rebounds, making two of his five three-pointers and slowing down the scorching hot T.J. Warren in the second half.

After coming off of a brutal 35-point beatdown on Wednesday at the hands of of the Utah Jazz, the Warriors could have easily laid down and died for a Pacers team that is also far more talented than them. Some resiliency is an improvement over no resiliency, and small moral victories are welcome when actual wins are so few and far between.

Golden State now has three days off before traveling to Philadelphia to face the 76ers on Tuesday at 4PM in a game that will mark the first of a five-game east coast road trip.

GAME NOTES:

Golden State played its twenty-second different starting lineup of the season tonight.

The Warriors’ 19 three-pointers made was one shy of their season-high (20 on 1/16 vs. Denver).

Indiana’s 60.7% shooting from three was a season-high against Golden State.

The post Warriors fall to Pacers 129-118 despite 37 from Russell appeared first on Martinez Tribune.

]]>
https://martineztribune.com/2020/01/24/warriors-fall-to-pacers-129-118-loss-to-despite-37-from-russell/feed/ 0
Warriors embarrassed by Utah 129-96 as slide continues https://martineztribune.com/2020/01/22/warriors-embarrassed-by-utah-129-96-as-slide-continues/ https://martineztribune.com/2020/01/22/warriors-embarrassed-by-utah-129-96-as-slide-continues/#respond Thu, 23 Jan 2020 06:41:06 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=13878 BY MASON BISSADA The Golden State Warriors became the latest victim of the surging Utah Jazz on Wednesday, falling 129-96 at the Chase Center in what was essentially a wire-to-wire defeat. Utah, which came into the game having won 17 of their last 19 games, dominated Golden State on both sides of the ball from …

The post Warriors embarrassed by Utah 129-96 as slide continues appeared first on Martinez Tribune.

]]>
BY MASON BISSADA

The Golden State Warriors became the latest victim of the surging Utah Jazz on Wednesday, falling 129-96 at the Chase Center in what was essentially a wire-to-wire defeat.

Utah, which came into the game having won 17 of their last 19 games, dominated Golden State on both sides of the ball from the opening tip. A gradual progression of a blowout began with a 14-point lead after one quarter, extended to a 22-point lead at halftime and jumped to a 31-point lead after three quarters, at which point both teams emptied their benches and played 12 minutes of pickup ball.

“I think we ran into a team that’s playing about as well as anybody in the league,” Head Coach Steve Kerr said postgame. “They’re clicking. They’re dominating right now and they dominated us at both ends right from the beginning. I thought we got demoralized in the first half.”

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Rudy Gobbert slams down a shot over Willie Cauley-Stein during Utah’s 129-96 rout of the Warriors Wednesday night. Gobbert dominated in the middle with 22 points and 15 rebounds.

 

Defensively, the Jazz (currently ranked eighth in the NBA in defense), held the Warriors to just 39.8% shooting (26.1% from 3) despite a relatively healthy Golden State roster. Reigning two-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert was his usual rim-deterrent self, blocking three shots and constantly discouraging Warriors from driving anywhere near the paint.

“He’s a big dude,” said D’Angelo Russell of Gobert’s defensive presence. “You definitely think you might have [a shot] and he may affect it, just because of his length. He’s been dominating the game on the defensive end for years now.”

Despite turning the ball over just eight times (tied for their lowest total of the season), Golden State’s offense was miserable as they settled for tough midrange jumpers and shot just 6-23 (26.1%) from 3-point range. With that amount of missed shots, it was no surprise the Jazz outrebounded the Warriors 56-37.

Offensively, Golden State gifted the Jazz whatever they wanted. Corner-3 specialists Bojan Bogdanovic (18 points) and Joe Ingles (11 points and eight assists) went a combined 6-11 from beyond the arc. Overall, the Jazz shot 17-40 (42.5%) from deep. These defensive lapses by Golden State can partially be accredited to the equally-imposing offensive presence of Gobert, who pitched in a monster 22-point, 15-rebound double-double. Gobert’s athleticism and strength makes him a deadly pick-and-roll threat playing off of likely All-Star Donovan Mitchell (23 points on 8-13 shooting). When Utah ran pick-and-roll, Golden State had no choice but to collapse their defense and leave Utah’s shooters wide open.

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Utah’s Donovan Mitchell goes up for a shot during
the Jazz 129-96 romp over Golden State at Chase Center. Mitchell lead the way for Utah with 23 points in 22 minutes as the Jazz maintained their position as the second seed in the West.

For Golden State, D’Angelo Russell continues to put up numbers that don’t necessarily translate to wins. Russell quietly scored 26 points on 10-21 shooting to go along with three rebounds, three assists and just one turnover. The Jazz defense forced Golden State into midrange jumpers, but that’s the type of shot Russell often prefers. His trade value remains somewhat high as the trade deadline approaches, but it still appears Golden State is adamant on keeping the young star for the remainder of the dwindling season.

Draymond Green contributed another Charles Barkley-coined triple-single, tallying five points, four rebounds, two assists and one technical foul in 25 minutes of play. In an effort to spark a bit of offense into his group, Kerr closed the first half by moving Green to center and Glenn Robinson III (10 points, 2-4 from three) to power forward, but the shift provided little fruit on either end of the floor. Still, it’s encouraging to see Golden State attempting the unconventional, seeing as the conventional hasn’t worked in the slightest this season.

There is only so much any team can do when matched up against a squad that is clicking as much as the Jazz are. Still, the progressive nature of this blowout suggests the Warriors showed little resilience in the face of this adversity. There were no spurts or runs by Golden State from which to gleam any positivity. It was a bad loss that only got worse as the game went on.

Golden State will hope to regain some positivity against Indiana on Friday at 7:30 PM, as they welcome the Pacers to the Bay Area for the only time this season.

GAME NOTES:

This was already the fourth and final matchup against Utah this season, in which the Warriors were swept (0-4) by the Jazz for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

D’Angelo Russell has scored 20+ points in 10 of his last 12 games.

Jacob Evans III played limited minutes in his first game back since his concussion (scoring four points).

 

 

The post Warriors embarrassed by Utah 129-96 as slide continues appeared first on Martinez Tribune.

]]>
https://martineztribune.com/2020/01/22/warriors-embarrassed-by-utah-129-96-as-slide-continues/feed/ 0
Raiders RB Josh Jacobs named Offensive Rookie of the Year https://martineztribune.com/2020/01/14/raiders/ https://martineztribune.com/2020/01/14/raiders/#respond Wed, 15 Jan 2020 04:00:49 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=13860 Oakland Raiders RB Josh Jacobs was named the Pro Football Writers of America’s Offensive Rookie of the Year on Tuesday in voting conducted by the PFWA, becoming just the second Raider to win the award.   Jacobs started in all of his 13 appearances, rushing 242 times for 1,150 yards and seven scores, adding 20 receptions …

The post Raiders RB Josh Jacobs named Offensive Rookie of the Year appeared first on Martinez Tribune.

]]>
Oakland Raiders RB Josh Jacobs was named the Pro Football Writers of America’s Offensive Rookie of the Year on Tuesday in voting conducted by the PFWA, becoming just the second Raider to win the award.

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Raiders running back Josh Jacobs was named the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year on Tuesday. The 24th overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, Jacobs led all rookies with 1,150 rushing yards.

 

Jacobs started in all of his 13 appearances, rushing 242 times for 1,150 yards and seven scores, adding 20 receptions for 166 yards. The 24th overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, Jacobs joined Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen as the only players in franchise history to be named Offensive Rookie of the Year after becoming the first rookie in Silver and Black to surpass the 1,000-yard barrier on the ground. Jacobs broke Allen’s rookie club record (697 yards) in just his first eight games, while also surpassing Allen for most 100-yard rushing performances (five) by a rookie in Raiders history.

Jacobs’ 1,150 rushing yards and seven scores in 2019 were both tops among rookie rushers. His 101.2 scrimmage yards per game also led his rookie class, while his 1,150 yards on the ground ranked sixth overall in the NFL this year and also rank sixth in Raiders history among all single-season rushing performances. Among players 21-years-old or younger, Jacobs’ 1,150 rushing yards in his first 13 contests rank fourth all-time, trailing only Ezekiel Elliott, Edgerrin James and Barry Sanders.

With superb performances in the months of October and November, Jacobs became the first player in franchise history to earn Offensive Rookie of the Month honors and was the first player in the NFL to win the award multiple times since Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014. Per Pro Football Focus, Jacobs forced an incredible 70 missed tackles on runs this season, an NFL best among all rushers and the third-most since at least 2006, behind only Marshawn Lynch’s performances in 2013 and 2014.

Jacobs proved to be more than just an elusive rusher during his rookie campaign, gaining 686 rushing yards after contact, the most by anyone in his draft class and sixth-most by a first-year rusher through the first 13 games of a season during the Super Bowl Era. Jacobs’ finished with 290 more yards after contact than the next-closest rookie, good for fifth overall in just 13 contests after missing three due to injury.

A native of Tulsa, Okla., Jacobs appeared in 42 games over three years at Alabama. He totaled 251 carries for 1,491 yards with 16 touchdowns, adding 48 receptions for 571 yards and five touchdowns for the Crimson Tide, while helping the program capture a national title in 2017.

The post Raiders RB Josh Jacobs named Offensive Rookie of the Year appeared first on Martinez Tribune.

]]>
https://martineztribune.com/2020/01/14/raiders/feed/ 0
Warriors mid-season report card: Focusing on the future https://martineztribune.com/2020/01/14/warriors-mid-season-report-card-focusing-on-the-future/ https://martineztribune.com/2020/01/14/warriors-mid-season-report-card-focusing-on-the-future/#respond Tue, 14 Jan 2020 08:48:29 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=13822 BY MASON BISSADA The 2019-20 season has been one of pain for the Golden State Warriors organization. Its players are feeling this pain physically in the form of broken hands (Stephen Curry), torn ACL’s (Klay Thompson) and shoulder contusions (D’Angelo Russell), and its fans are feeling the pain mentally and emotionally in the form of …

The post Warriors mid-season report card: Focusing on the future appeared first on Martinez Tribune.

]]>
BY MASON BISSADA

The 2019-20 season has been one of pain for the Golden State Warriors organization. Its players are feeling this pain physically in the form of broken hands (Stephen Curry), torn ACL’s (Klay Thompson) and shoulder contusions (D’Angelo Russell), and its fans are feeling the pain mentally and emotionally in the form of 32 losses (against only nine wins) at the halfway point of the season. A down year, following three championships and five straight years of Finals appearances, was expected after the departure of Kevin Durant and the loss of Klay Thompson to injury. But no one could’ve predicted a down year of this magnitude. Chalk it up to bad luck, salary cap constraints or intentional losing, but this year has been a harsh reality check for all involved. With all that being said, here is our midseason review for the Warriors after game 41, taking injuries, contract constraints and other painful variables into account.

Team Overview

Statistically, the numbers are as bad as the Warriors record would reflect. While the 20th ranked defense in the NBA (points allowed per 100 possessions) is actually somewhat impressive given their personnel, the 30th ranked offense (points scored per 100) is downright deplorable, though not unexpected. On games where D’Angelo Russell is out and Ky Bowman is sent down to Santa Cruz with the Warriors G-League affiliate (an inconvenient stipulation of Bowman’s two-way contract) the Warriors are forced to trot out lineups with no point guard whatsoever. While Draymond Green might consider himself a floor general, having him or Alec Burks as a primary playmaker isn’t exactly a winning formula. Combine that with the Warriors lack of 3-point spacing (they rank 26th in 3-point percentage at 33.6%) and things start to get really ugly.

Defensively, Golden State does have quarters, if not entire games, where they slow down talented offenses. Throwing out no-point guard lineups means above-average size on the perimeter, and players like Glenn Robinson III and Eric Paschall have punched above their weight in terms of guarding scoring wing-types. Problems arise in terms of rebounding (25th in the league) and rim protection, but there are areas for Golden State to take pride in moving forward.

It’s worth reiterating that the Warriors have been one of the most injury-riddled teams in the league. Beyond its stars, its supporting cast has struggled with various ailments. There have been games where only eight Warriors suited up before tip-off. Perhaps this is good luck in terms of lottery odds and the pursuit of tanking. It is even possible that the Warriors organization has told its players and medical staff to be overly cautious with these injuries. There is no point in rushing someone back if the team has nothing to play for. That being said, the team is probably slightly better than their record would suggest.

Roster Report Card

Stephen Curry

Statistics: 20.3 PPG, 5 RPG, 6.5 APG, 40.9% FG, 24.3% 3PT, 4 games played.

Grade: Incomplete

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER

 

Stephen Curry breaking his left hand just four games into the season after an embarrassing 1-3 start to the season was essentially adding injury to insult. It was already becoming apparent that the Warriors were no longer a power in the Western Conference and would likely struggle to make the playoffs even with Curry healthy, but at least fans would have someone fun to watch and root for. Regardless of team record, it would’ve been exciting to see Curry attempt 12 three’s a game and attempt to outscore opponents all on his own. Though his hand injury will likely cement the Warriors lottery odds, it’s a shame fans will miss out on the majority of a season from the greatest Warrior of All-Time while in his prime.

Klay Thompson

Statistics: N/A

Grade: Incomplete

Thompson was often the unsung hero of the Warriors dynasty, particularly after Kevin Durant arrived in 2016. But now, with the Warriors in desperate need of any sort of floor spacing and perimeter defense, his absence is felt more than ever. Thompson’s off-ball movement would take a ton of pressure off of D’Angelo Russell and make use of Draymond Green’s court vision. He could also take away the other team’s biggest threat. Thompson has always been the perfect glue guy, and his presence with this rebuilding roster would elevate the play of many of the new young pieces. This is assuming that he is still essentially the same player he was before his ACL tear. It seems, based on all reports, that fans will have to wait until next season to find out if this is still the case.

Draymond Green

Statistics: 8.6 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 5.6 APG, 38.7% FG, 27.2% 3PT, 30 games played

Grade: C-

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER

 

As it has been for the entirety of his career, motivation is a key factor when it comes to Draymond Green. And in what situation would Green be any less motivated than the one through which he’s currently suffering ? All of his championship teammates (sans Kevon Looney) are gone or injured, and he is left as the de facto leader of a group of youngsters in a franchise that is not-so-subtly trying to tank. Now, does this excuse his subpar play ? Of course not. Green has been nowhere near his Defensive Player of the Year self on one end and his jumpshot has looked as broken as ever on the other. His passing has remained consistent and his turnover rate has declined slightly despite his increased usage rate, but it’s obvious that he isn’t maximizing his potential. It is worth noting, however, that players like Green are ceiling raisers, not floor raisers. Green is at his best with other long, switchy wings and a plethora of 3-point shooting around him. His help defense and playmaking are better suited for turning a playoff team into a contender, not turning a bad team into a mediocre one.

D’Angelo Russell

Statistics: 23.7 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 6 APG, 43.7% FG, 37.1% 3PT, 23 games played

Grade: B

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER

 

Russell has dealt with various injuries throughout the season (most recently a shoulder contusion that has kept him sidelined for the last six games), but when healthy, he’s done a decent job of providing much needed offense on a team devoid of any shotmaking. In terms of the aforementioned ‘floor-rasier vs. ceiling-raiser’ issue pertaining to Draymond Green, Russell is at the other end of the spectrum. On nights where he has it going, he can turn an otherwise G-League level offense into a passable one that can beat other subpar teams. Defensively, he has shown little improvement from his first four years in the league. He falls asleep when guarding off the ball and cannot fight over a screen when covering pick-and-rolls. Russell the asset is often more interesting than Russell the player, but we’ll get to that later. In terms on-court production Russell is a very good offensive creator who gives a lot of it back on the other end. It is still undecided whether he can contribute to true winning basketball. Northern California readers: think of Kevin Martin’s tenure as a Sacramento King as a good facsimile for Russell’s contributions.

Eric Paschall

Statistics: 13.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.8 APG, 48.7% FG, 27.6% 3PT, 36 games played

Grade: B+

For a time towards the beginning of the season, it looked like Paschall was forcing himself into the Rookie of the Year conversation. He was briefly the Number-1 option on a depleted Warriors  team and carrying the load with competence not often seen from second-round picks in their first year. Various injuries to his knee and hip have slowed him down to some extent (this is a trend throughout the roster) but when healthy, Paschall has shown skill beyond his years. Though his 3-point shot is still missing and his playmaking is a work in progress, his scoring from the triple-threat and post positions make him an intriguing offensive player. He has the ever-desirable ‘too big for 3’s and too quick for 4’s’ body type that will serve him well should the rest of his skillset develop.

Damion Lee

Statistics: 12.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.3 APG, 40.7% FG, 36% 3PT, 26 games played

Grade: B

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER

 

Since returning from injury, Lee has been one of the two or three best offensive players for the Warriors. He is surprisingly explosive driving to the hoop and has hit his three’s at an above-average clip, two categories in which the Warriors were lacking. Kerr has rewarded Lee with a starting position and General Manager Bob Myers has rewarded him with a multi-year contract extension (Lee was previously the Warriors’ other two-way contract).

Ky Bowman

Statistics: 7.5 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 2.9 RPG, 41.2% FG, 34.8% 3PT, 36 games played

Grade: B

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER

 

Bowman’s game screams “energy,” a trait that is often infectious with this team and is the best path to victory for any roster that lacks natural talent. He’s a speedy, athletic point guard that does a decent job of controlling the pace of the game on offense and pestering the opposing team’s point guard on the other end of the floor. While his jumpshot is a bit unreliable and he is hesitant to take three’s as a result, he is an overall positive offensive player. Unfortunately, he’s nearly reached the 45-day limit on his two-way contract. With D’Angelo Russell returning from injury, Bowman is likely to spend the rest of the season in Santa Cruz. Still, he projects as a viable backup point guard to Steph Curry next season.

Glenn Robinson III

Statistics: 12.2 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.6 APG, 45.7% FG, 38.6% 3PT, 40 games played

Grade: B+

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER

 

Robinson has been the Warriors’ best two-way player this season. Granted, the bar for that title is low, but that should not diminish his success after a lost season in Detroit last year. His perimeter defense at the 2 and 3 positions has been above average, and he’s the best volume 3-point shooter on the team. He’s also shown primary offensive creation (stepback jumpers, dribble-drive penetration) that he’s never displayed in his career before. Robinson appears to be another “ceiling-raiser” type player that will truly prove his worth when the roster is completely healthy. A Curry/Thompson/Robinson/Paschall/Green pseudo-death-lineup is extremely intriguing.

Willie Cauley-Stein

Statistics: 7.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.4 APG, 55.5% FG, N/A 3PT, 36 games played

Grade: C-

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER

 

Cauley-Stein was hoped to be the answer for the Warriors at center, or at least share that title with Kevon Looney, but he hasn’t quite lived up to expectations. His rim protection and defensive awareness leave something to be desired, and he is not nearly the switchable force many touted him to be going back to his college days. Offensively, he is posting just a 100.5 offensive rating. His superior athletic ability hasn’t seemed to help him as a roll man working off of D’Angelo Russell or Ky Bowman. Steve Kerr recently benched Cauley-Stein in favor of Omari Spellman, likely due to Cauley-Stein’s lack of floor spacing ability.

Omari Spellman

Statistics: 7.8 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 1 APG, 45.4% FG, 43% 3PT, 38 games played

Grade: C

Spellman has been a bit of an enigma this season. His goal to start the season was to get into playing shape and shed a few pounds (he admitted this himself) and he seems to have achieved that goal as of late. He looks more mobile, and has scored in double-digits in five consecutive games as of January 12th. It is still unclear what Spellman’s position is, as he does not offer any substantial rim protection necessary to play center. Still, he does inject a bit more shooting into lineups that desperately need it. On a team with two more-talented power forwards in Green and Paschall, perhaps Kerr has found a niche for Spellman at center for the time being.

Alec Burks

Statistics: 15.8 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 3.1 APG, 41.1% FG, 36.4% 3PT, 38 games played

Grade: B-

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER

 

The fact that Alec Burks is the second-leading scorer on this Warriors team behind Russell is quite indicative of the type of season they’re having. Still Burks has seized a scoring niche that was essentially up for grabs after Curry went down. Though it is often feast or famine with him (he shot 3-17 the other night against the Clippers), his creation is desperately needed on the second unit, where he is essentially the backup point guard (note the career-high in assists per game).

Jacob Evans III

Statistics: 4.7 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 1.1 APG, 31.1% FG, 37% 3PT, 20 games played

Grade: D+

Evans has been in and out of Golden State’s rotation, but hasn’t been a positive player when Kerr is forced to play him due to a lack of bodies. His effective field goal percentage of 35.9% is egregious, and his decision making with the ball is unremarkable. He does give effort on the defensive end, but not enough to make up for his lack of offensive ability.

Kevon Looney

Statistics: 2.6 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 0.4 APG, 34.4% FG, 50% 3PT, 10 games played

Grade: Incomplete

Though 10 games is probably a large enough sample size for a letter grade, Looney’s season has been too riddled with injuries to properly evaluate his play. He played hurt, and re-injured himself shortly after. He’s still currently out indefinitely with an abdominal injury that has sidelined him since mid-December. When healthy last season, Looney was a valuable center earning minutes in the NBA Finals. Time will tell if he can return to that form at some point this season.

Jordan Poole

Statistics: 6.9 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 1.8 APG, 26.3% FG, 24.8% 3PT, 34 games played

Grade: F+

Jordan Poole has been one of the worst players in the NBA from a statistical standpoint. He came out of college labeled a shooter, and has missed three out of every four he’s taken this season. He’s undersized for his position defensively, and doesn’t seem to have much awareness when he’s on the court. It might not be entirely his fault, as he’s often been tasked with more than he can handle due to the Warriors injury plague. He shows flashes of intelligent playmaking, but not nearly enough to make up for his poor offensive play. At the end of the day, his shot just isn’t falling, and the sample size is large enough to confirm this is not a fluke or cold streak.

Alen Smailagić

Statistics: 4.6 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 0.6 APG, 53.8% FG, 25% 3PT, 8 games played

Grade: C+

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER

 

Smailagic is still largely a huge question mark. He’s long, lanky and incredibly raw (he’s the only 2000’s baby on the team). His jumpshot is what will determine whether he’s an NBA player, but his body type has the potential to fit a Warriors style offense. He also recently had his ‘”welcome to the NBA” moment when Kawhi Leonard threw down a nasty dunk on his head, so perhaps that moment will catapult his career.

Trade Deadline

D’Angelo Russell’s short Warriors career has already been riddled with trade rumors. It makes sense. The Warriors are in no position to contend for a playoff spot and Russell is a young, talented player that still hasn’t reached his peak. However, he is also on the first year of a four-year max contract. While this may seem like security to some, it could also seem like handcuffs to others. It also appears that, internally, the Warriors are in no rush to deal the young star. The most recent evidence comes from The Athletic’s Sam Amick, who reported that Golden State is unlikely to move Russell by the trade deadline and a deal involving the Orlando Magic’s Aaron Gordon is a “hard no” on Golden State’s end. It seems that the Warriors want to see what they have with Russell next to their fully-loaded roster before making any rash decisions. There is also the possibility that Golden State could package Russell and their 2020 draft pick for a much bigger fish once the draft lottery order is determined.

In terms of smaller moves, Glenn Robinson III could help a contender with his highly-coveted three-and-D skillset, but it seems unlikely that any team would be willing to give up a first-round pick for him given the other players on the trade market that are ahead of him. Unless the Warriors are blown away by an offer, look for them to keep Robinson and test out his fit next to the Splash Brothers next season.

A Look to the Future

At 9-32, the Warriors currently have the second-worst record in the NBA behind the Atlanta Hawks. This means they currently have the highest chance (14%), along with the Hawks and New York Knicks, at the #1 pick in the 2020 Draft. Whether they admit it or not, everyone in the Warriors organization is aware of these standings and they are going to do everything within the legality of the league to insure that this remains the case. In fact, we may already be seeing a 76ers “process” scenario taking place. Recent videos posted by the Athletic’s Anthony Slater of a Warriors practice show Steph Curry using his left hand during shooting and dribbling drills without any sort of hindrance. This is not to say that Curry is completely healthy at this moment and is out for no reason. However this does come back to the idea of caution. If this were the playoffs, it wouldn’t be unheard of for Curry to return within the next two weeks. Other players with similar injuries have come back far sooner than Curry’s current timetable. But if Golden State is playing for ping pong balls rather than rings, why not let his hand heal to 110% before bringing him back to a depleted roster ? Curry will no doubt help the Warriors win games, and that just isn’t their priority right now. Look for him to return towards the end of February or early March.

Until then, this season will continue to be a “development” year. The young players will continue to play big minutes whether they’ve earned them or not, and Draymond Green will continue to give sad, single-sentence answers to reporters after heart-breaking losses. Perhaps the All-Star break will give the team some much-needed reflection time and they’ll return with a new mindset. Other than that, all eyes are focused on the May 19th draft lottery, when the results of whether there will be any upside to the suffering of Warriors fans will be revealed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post Warriors mid-season report card: Focusing on the future appeared first on Martinez Tribune.

]]>
https://martineztribune.com/2020/01/14/warriors-mid-season-report-card-focusing-on-the-future/feed/ 0
Niners D dominates Vikes 27-10 to advance to conference final https://martineztribune.com/2020/01/11/niners-d-dominates-vikings-27-10-to-advance-to-conference-final/ https://martineztribune.com/2020/01/11/niners-d-dominates-vikings-27-10-to-advance-to-conference-final/#comments Sun, 12 Jan 2020 03:43:57 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=13799 BY DANIEL GLUSKOTER Showing the benefit of an extra week of rest thanks to a bye week, the 49ers used a dominating defensive performance to destroy the Minnesota Vikings 27-10 at Levi’s Stadium Saturday afternoon to advance to the 16th NFC Championship game in franchise history. Buoyed by the return of injured starters Dee Ford …

The post Niners D dominates Vikes 27-10 to advance to conference final appeared first on Martinez Tribune.

]]>
BY DANIEL GLUSKOTER

Showing the benefit of an extra week of rest thanks to a bye week, the 49ers used a dominating defensive performance to destroy the Minnesota Vikings 27-10 at Levi’s Stadium Saturday afternoon to advance to the 16th NFC Championship game in franchise history.

Buoyed by the return of injured starters Dee Ford and Kwon Alexander, San Francisco’s rejuvenated defense limited Minnesota to seven first downs and 147 yards of offense, the fewest in 49ers playoff history and the lowest total in the NFL playoffs in the last five years.

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER
San Francisco linebacker Nick Bosa grabs Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins for the first of his two sacks on the day during the 49ers 27-10 win over Minnesota.

The Niners got six sacks from five different players, two by Nick Bosa, and Richard Sherman intercepted Kirk Cousins early in the third quarter to set up a touchdown drive when the Vikings were still in the game in spite of a listless first half by their offense, to help lead San Francisco to their first playoff win since 2013. Minnesota had 11 possessions and went three-and-out seven times while going just 2-for-12 on third downs. Dalvin Cook, the tenth leading rusher in the NFL during the regular season, was held to just 18 yards.

The 49ers running attack controlled the game as Tevin Coleman rushed for 105 yards and a pair of touchdowns while Raheem Mostert added 58 on 12 carries as San Francisco ate up huge portions of the clock, controlling the ball for over 38 minutes while limiting the Vikings to just over 21 minutes of offensive play. Mostert also recovered a fumble on special teams late in the third quarter deep in Minnesota territory to set up a Niners field goal for the final score of the game.

After holding Minnesota to a three-and-out on the game’s opening drive, the Niners responded with an eight-play, 61 yard drive that culminated with a three yard touchdown pass from Jimmy Garoppolo to Kendrick Bourne. Appearing in his first game in the post-season, Garoppolo wasn’t a major factor in the win, completing a pedestrian 11-19 for 131 yards with an interception along with the touchdown.

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Kendrick Bourne rejoices after a 21 yard third quarter reception during the 49ers 27-10 playoff win over the Minnesota Vikings. Bourne added a touchdown reception on San Francisco’s opening drive.

Niners coach Kyle Shanahan, asked about the importance of the touchdown on the opening drive setting the tone and getting the crowd involved, stated “It’s huge. We didn’t play all last week. You’re at your home crowd and you want to come out and be like that. You could hear the fans just in pregame warmups. The stadium was electric. It was different than it’s been. When our defense holds them, I want to say it was three-and-out to start. We get in there, are able to go down and get seven. It’s a great feeling.”

Shanahan added, “The Bye Week helped the most. None of those guys (Alexander, Ford and safety Jaquiski Tartt) would have been available last week. So, it was perfect to give them the week that they had, so their first game back was now. I think they all got out of it, from what I know of, pretty clean and should be ready to go again next week.”

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Raheem Mostert sidesteps Minnesota’s Eric Wilson on the way to a 58 yard rushing day Saturday afternoon at Levi’s Stadium.

Five years after his Seahawks were denied the opportunity to repeat as Super Bowl champions on the game’s final, Sherman’s mission of returning to the ultimate game after tearing his Achilles was bolstered by his interception, but after the game he was more interested in giving credit to the 49ers offense. “It’s not like you can say, going into a game against our offense, you’ve got to stop this guy (All-Pro tight end George Kittle) and it’s over. I don’t know what George’s numbers were, but he had impact today. You’ve got to account for him.”

Sherman added, “You’ve got to account for Raheem (Mostert). You’ve got to account for Emmanuel (Sanders). Deebo (Samuels). Jimmy. T-Cole (Coleman). A lot of balance. And on defense, you have to worry about all three levels.” He added, “This team deserves it. Jimmy Garoppolo played a fantastic game on offense. Kyle Shanahan deserves it. He’s a heck of a coach. Robert Saleh deserves it. [Special teams coordinator Richard] Hightower deserves it. All our position coaches. Our D-Line. Team deserves it. We work week in and week out. We try to put our best on the line. We don’t always get the results we want, but this team is a team, it’s a family.”

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and Raheem Mostert (31) congratulate each other in the closing seconds of the Niners 27-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Divisional Playoffs at Levi’s Stadium as Richard Sherman (left) and defensive coordinator Robert Saleh (center) look on.

With the win, the 49ers will host the winner of Sunday’s Seahawks-Packers game for a chance to play in Super Bowl LIV in Miami.

GAME NOTES:

San Francisco has already faced both of their potential Championship game foes during the regular season. The Niners embarrassed Green Bay 37-8 in a Week 11 Sunday night game at Levi’s, and traded road wins with Seattle in a pair of games that both came down to the final play.

With the win: The Niners improved to 5-1 against the Vikings in postseason play, with each game coming in the Divisional Round. San Francisco also improved their overall record to 16-7 in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

The 21 rushing yards allowed by the 49ers defense is the fewest allowed in a postseason game in franchise history.

The last time the 49ers held a postseason opponent without a first down on seven-or-more drives was Super Bowl XXIX in 1995 against the Chargers.

The six sacks tied for the second most in a postseason game in franchise history. In addition to Bosa’s two sacks, Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, Dee Ford and Solomon Thomas each took down Cousins for a loss.

The post Niners D dominates Vikes 27-10 to advance to conference final appeared first on Martinez Tribune.

]]>
https://martineztribune.com/2020/01/11/niners-d-dominates-vikings-27-10-to-advance-to-conference-final/feed/ 1
Clippers hand Warriors another heart-breaking loss, 109-100 https://martineztribune.com/2020/01/10/clippers-hand-warriors-another-heart-breaking-loss-109-100/ https://martineztribune.com/2020/01/10/clippers-hand-warriors-another-heart-breaking-loss-109-100/#respond Sat, 11 Jan 2020 07:58:23 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=13790 BY MASON BISSADA In what is becoming more and more of a consistent trend, the Golden State Warriors suffered yet another heart-breaking loss to a contending team with whom they had no business going toe-to-toe with in the first place. Tonight, that contender was the Los Angeles Clippers, who rallied in the fourth quarter after …

The post Clippers hand Warriors another heart-breaking loss, 109-100 appeared first on Martinez Tribune.

]]>
BY MASON BISSADA

In what is becoming more and more of a consistent trend, the Golden State Warriors suffered yet another heart-breaking loss to a contending team with whom they had no business going toe-to-toe with in the first place. Tonight, that contender was the Los Angeles Clippers, who rallied in the fourth quarter after being down as many as 10, outscoring the Warriors 36-17 in the final quarter of play and stealing a 109-100 victory Friday night at Staples Center from a Warriors team that can’t seem to catch a break.

In the final minutes, Golden State was simply out-executed by a team that was more talented, more experienced and more explosive on both ends of the floor. With just over a minute to go, Kawhi Leonard, who carried his team offensively with 36 points on 14-25 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and five assists, hammered home a monster dunk on what seemed like all five Warriors to put Los Angeles up six. On the following possession, Patrick Beverely swatted Glenn Robinson III’s shot attempt. Alec Burks was able to recover the ball, only to have his shot blocked just the same by Leonard, essentially sealing the game. Golden State’s uncanny shot-making luck ran out when it mattered most, and the better team won yet again.

“They overwhelmed us [in the fourth quarter],” Head Coach Steve Kerr said postgame. “They played a great quarter and got downhill. Kawhi and Lou Williams both got going. We just couldn’t put the ball in the basket. They’re a hell of a team and we just couldn’t keep up with them.”

Had Golden State been able to sustain the level of play they displayed through the first three quarters, tonight might have been their most impressive win of the season. Through three quarters, the Warriors led 83-73, finding success by forcing Clipper turnovers (they had 19 on the night) and scoring in transition.

Key to those first three successful quarters was Omari Spellman, who rewarded Steve Kerr for inserting him into the starting lineup by dropping 17 points and hitting four of his eight 3-pointers. 11 of those 17 came in the first half, as Spellman struggled with foul trouble in the second. While he doesn’t have the sheer athletic ability that Willie Cauley-Stein brings, Spellman gave the Warriors a spacing element that Cauley-Stein doesn’t offer while still being a rebounding presence defensively. Steve Kerr seems to be enjoying the freedom of losing, as he continues to tinker with his rebuilding group in search of a halfway decent lineup.

“I thought “Oh man, let’s go!’” Spellman said when asked what his reaction was to learning he’d be starting. “This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for. My confidence has been coming back. I just wanted to hoop.”

With D’Angelo Russell out for a sixth straight game with a shoulder contusion, the offensive burden was once again up for grabs in the Warriors’ starting lineup. Tonight, Glenn Robinson III once again carried the majority of the load, scoring 17 points on 7-12 shooting. Robinson’s offensive creation this season continues to ascend. In the third quarter, Robinson dropped in a bucket off of a tough stepback jumper that one wouldn’t assume he has in his bag of tricks. Though he is often overtaxed as a number-one option, Robinson continues to shine on a depleted roster.

It is tough to say whether Alec Burks shot the Warriors out of this game or kept them afloat when they should’ve sank. On the one hand, he shot a miserable 3-17 from the field including 1-7 from three for just 16 points. On the other hand, he did get to the free-throw line nine times, making all of his attempts and forcing Clippers shooting guard Landry Shammet into foul trouble. He was also a team-high plus-7 on the night. It’s probably more of the first hand, but on a team that seriously lacks any sort of offensive creation, particularly off the bench, you live with these sort of nights from players like Burks, who can occasionally spark a scoring burst.

For the Clippers, it was essentially the Kawhi Leonard Show. He attempted 25 shots while the rest of the starting lineup attempted a combined 23. However, with running-mate Paul George out, Lou Williams stepped up yet again and dropped a cool 21 points and eight assists to sustain the Clippers’ offense while Leonard sat. The Warriors did a decent job of slowing the rest of the Clippers’ roster (particularly Montrezl Harrell, who scored just 11 points), but in the end, the Leonard/Williams duo proved enough on its own to get the job done.

Golden State continues to give away winnable games in “yes, yes, yes, no !” fashion. While this is obviously beneficial in the long run in terms of lottery odds and their 2020 first-round pick, these sort of heart-breaking defeats must have some sort of mental effect on this team’s young core. Losing isn’t fun, and building losing habits is not ideal for a team that hopes to return to contention next season.

Golden State will hope to recover from tonight’s loss when they square off against the Grizzlies on Sunday in Memphis at 3 p.m.

GAME NOTES:

Glenn Robinson III simply cannot guard Kawhi Leonard. While this sounds obvious and very few players in the league can, it is worth noting that Robinson has been touted as the Warriors’ perimeter stopper. Perhaps he is being taxed too much on the offensive end.

Ky Bowman had a quiet night tonight, which is a shame considering his G-League call-ups continue to dwindle.

The post Clippers hand Warriors another heart-breaking loss, 109-100 appeared first on Martinez Tribune.

]]>
https://martineztribune.com/2020/01/10/clippers-hand-warriors-another-heart-breaking-loss-109-100/feed/ 0
Elway’s selection as quarterback on NFL100 team indefensible https://martineztribune.com/2020/01/06/elways-selection-as-quarterback-on-nfl100-team-indefensible/ https://martineztribune.com/2020/01/06/elways-selection-as-quarterback-on-nfl100-team-indefensible/#respond Tue, 07 Jan 2020 02:15:18 +0000 https://martineztribune.com/?p=13747 BY J.A. SCHWARTZ In December, the NFL celebrated the 100th anniversary of professional football by announcing the NFL100 team, representing the best 100 players to ever play in the league. The panel that chose those players was made up of 26 people, including coaches, team executives, retired players and members of the media. Twenty-two quarterbacks …

The post Elway’s selection as quarterback on NFL100 team indefensible appeared first on Martinez Tribune.

]]>
BY J.A. SCHWARTZ

In December, the NFL celebrated the 100th anniversary of professional football by announcing the NFL100 team, representing the best 100 players to ever play in the league. The panel that chose those players was made up of 26 people, including coaches, team executives, retired players and members of the media.

Twenty-two quarterbacks were considered finalists, but only ten made the final team. Of that group of ten, one signal caller stood out as being the least deserving member of this auspicious collection: John Elway.

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Denver’s John Elway ended his 16 year NFL career on top, winning back-to-back Super Bowl‘s. His rightful place in the Hall of Fame is undisputed, but his recent selection to the NFL’s All-Century team is being highly questioned.

 

To his credit, Elway survived 16 NFL seasons, all with the Denver Broncos. His 51,475 passing yards is ninth All-Time among quarterbacks, and his 300 passing touchdowns are good for twelfth All-Time. He guided his teams to five Super Bowls, second only to the seemingly immortal Tom Brady, who has reached nine. Elway also recorded a whopping 31 fourth quarter comebacks, good for sixth All-Time, which do not include the four playoff games during which he rescued the Broncos from a deficit to win when they trailed in the final quarter. One of the signature Elway moments includes “The Drive,” when he took Denver 98 yards to score the game-tying touchdown against Cleveland in the 1987 AFC Championship game. He led Denver to ten playoff seasons, and was 14-7 as a starter in the postseason. His 148 regular season wins is good for fifth All-Time. His career was certainly a strong one in many regards, but his inclusion on a list of the best to ever play the position is an egregious error.

Elway played college football at Stanford (1979-1982), where his team was 20-23 with him under center. Despite winning Pac-10 Player of the Year honors in 1980 and 1982, and finishing second in the Heisman balloting in 1982, he never led the Cardinal to a single bowl game.

He was the consensus top talent in the 1983 NFL draft, and was the clear favorite to be drafted #1 overall by the Baltimore Colts, who had gone 0-8-1 in the strike shortened 1982 season to earn the top slot. Elway, however, was not interested in playing for such a moribund team, and had his agent direct the Colts not to draft him. He apparently preferred to play on the West Coast, something his agent communicated to the Colts brass. His father, Jack, also warned his son against playing for Baltimore coach Frank Kush, who had a reputation as a strong disciplinarian.

Despite his wishes, the Colts drafted Elway with the top selection in the draft. Since Elway was also a gifted baseball player, having been drafted by the Yankees 52nd overall in 1981, he used his potential as a ballplayer to convince the Colts he’d never play for them. “As I stand here right now, I’m playing baseball,” Elway would say at a press conference after Baltimore had chosen him in the NFL draft. Eventually, his power play paid off, and his rights were traded to Denver.

It says something about the character of a player to feel that his wishes, based on his talent and preferences, were higher priorities than the established method of talent distribution that the NFL had utilized through the draft for many years prior to 1983. It is one of the most basic principles of fairness and competition to award the least successful franchises with access to the very best players to enter the league, ensuring that those teams improve as a result.

The NFL draft had existed in some form since 1936, helping to move the league towards parity as a result of the worst-to-best ordering that has been the foundational principle for nearly 50 years when Elway decided his unique abilities were above such mundane considerations. He would play football only where he wanted to play (and never for the Colts), and used baseball to force the Colts to trade his rights. John Elway had manipulated the process by which talent is fairly distributed throughout the league, and placed himself outside the parameters of competitive balance as a result.

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Saints quarterback Drew Brees is the NFL’s All-Time leader in touchdown passes, passing yardage and completion percentage, but he still wasn’t named to the league’s recently announced NFL100 team.

 

There are many ways to assess the relative merits of a quarterback. Elway’s average NFL season saw him complete 57% of his passes, amassing 3,500+ yards along with 21 TD’s and 16 interceptions. His passer rating was 79.9. That passer rating is good for 78th All-Time among quarterbacks who have attempted 1,500 or more throws in their career. For comparison, other nominated top 100 QB’s dwarf that figure: Aaron Rodgers (102.4, 1st overall), Drew Brees (98.4, 3rd) and Steve Young (96.8, 7th). Troy Aikman, Bart Starr, Dan Fouts and Fran Tarkenton also eclipse Elway’s career mark, yet none of those players made the final cut as one of the Top 10 quarterbacks ever.

The rules of football have evolved over the years to make it easier for both quarterbacks and receivers to gain yardage through the air, and the top of the ranking lists are littered with men who started their careers after Elway retired in 1998. In fact, of the top 20 quarterbacks by the passer rating metric, all but two (Joe Montana and Steve Young) started their careers in 1998 or later, after Elway retired.

So how did Elway stack up against quarterbacks who were active during his career by that measure? The quick answer: Not very well at all.

Among quarterbacks whose careers overlapped Elway’s by at least five seasons, (and who attempted at least 1,500 career passes), he ranks 23rd in passer rating. Players who eclipsed his 79.9 rating include Young (96.8), Montana (92.3), and Dan Marino (86.4). Aikman and Fouts also had more favorable scores.

Elway had 226 career interceptions, and lost 102 fumbles, meaning that he turned the ball over 328 times in his career. He ranks 5th All-Time in fumbles, and 17th all time in interceptions.

Another metric favored by the analytic community is adjusted net yards per attempt, (ANYA), which takes into account passing yards, yards lost by sacks, and weights touchdown passes and interceptions differently than passer rating does. Surely, if Elway’s genius would be apparent in any set of numbers, maybe this would be the one. It is not.

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Steve Young’s overall numbers are noticeably superior to John Elway’s. He’s the fourth leading career rusher among quarterbacks and holds the Super Bowl record for most touchdown passes in a game, but he was passed over when the NFL recently named the top QB’s on it’s All-Century team.

 

By ANYA, Elway’s 5.60 adjusted yards per attempt is 58th All-Time. Brees (7.08) and Young (6.85) dwarf Elway’s average, and Fouts (5.90) and Aikman (5.66) also have better numbers than Denver’s hero.

The panel selecting the very best players ever to play the most important position in the game must have weighted Elway’s playoff performances more heavily than his mediocre regular season statistics. After all, leading his team to five Super Bowls has to count for something, and his performance in those playoff games must be outstanding. This is not the reality.

Of the top 50 quarterbacks to attempt at least 150 passes in the playoffs, Elway ranks 35th with a 79.7 rating, a notch below his already ordinary regular season numbers. Brees (100.0), Aikman (88.3) and Young (85.8) are all well ahead of Elway by this measure.

In his 22 playoff games, Elway completed 355 passes of his 651 throws, a 54.5% rate, a number that places him outside of the Top 50 playoff QB’s by that metric. Brees (66.3%), Aikman (63.7) and Young (62.1%) best Elway in this comparison as well, and by a significant margin. He had 27 TDs and 21 INTs in his playoff career.

So, Elway must have shone brightest on the biggest stage, the Super Bowl. He had five such attempts at the Lombardi Trophy, and his reputation must have been burnished while the whole world watched him dazzle his opponents. The evidence seems to indicate otherwise. Elway’s eight Super Bowl interceptions are the most All-Time. He completed 76 of 152 attempts, a 50% clip.

His passer rating was 59.3, below even his mediocre standard in the regular season, throwing only three Super Bowl touchdowns against the record eight interceptions in the big game. His teams managed to go 2-3 in those championship contests. Brees, Aikman and Young have all won at least one Super Bowl, and Aikman and Young have three championships each (though Young was a 49er backup to Joe Montana on the 1988 and 1989 teams that won it all).

©DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Troy Aikman was undefeated in three trips to the Super Bowl, posting a 11-4 record in the post-season. It wasn’t enough to get him selected to the NFL100 team.

 

It is difficult, if not downright impossible, to justify John Elway’s selection as a top 10 quarterback of All-Time, especially considering the clearly superior careers turned in by Troy Aikman, Steve Young and the still active Drew Brees.

Brees holds All-Time NFL records with 547 touchdowns, a 67.6% completion percentage, and 77,416 passing yards. His QB rating is 98.4, and his AYNA is 7.08. In the playoffs, Brees is 8-7, throwing for 33 TD’s with 11 interceptions, a completion percentage of 66.3%, a QBR of exactly 100 and an AYNA of 7.41. In his lone Super Bowl appearance, a 31-17 victory over the Colts, he went 32-39 for 288 yards with 2 TD’s and no interceptions for a rating of 114.5 and was named MVP. Brees also eclipses Elway with 35 regular season fourth quarter comebacks, and adds another two in the postseason.

Steve Young’s regular season figures include 232 touchdowns against 102 INTs. He had a 64.3% completion percentage, good for 33,124 yards. His QB rating was 96.8, and his ANYA is 6.85. In the postseason, Young was 8-6, throwing 20 TD’s against 13 INT’s, a completion percentage of 62.0%, a QBR of 85.8 and an ANYA of 6.06. He also rushed for 4,239 yards, the fourth highest career total of rushing yards by a quarterback, outgaining Elway by 832 yards in 65 less games. In winning his only Super Bowl appearance as a starter, a 49-26 destruction of the San Diego Chargers, he was 24-36 for 325 yards with a Super Bowl record six touchdown passes and no interceptions, a rating of 134.8. Young does not have Elway’s volume stats, but is far superior to him by every other statistical measure.

The committee apparently spent a significant amount of time debating the merits of the players that were honored with inclusion on the Top 100 All-Tme team, so they must have been assessing passers on a different basis than those utilized in this article.

John Elway is not one of the Top 10 quarterbacks of All-Time, and he might not be worthy of even being considered in the top 25 passers in the history of the NFL. Brees and Young both have far stronger cases to be honored than Elway does, and even Aikman and Fouts could be judged to have had at least similar achievements during their careers.

Perhaps this seemingly indefensible gaffe will be corrected in the future. It would be tragic to mislead serious football fans about the quality of Elway’s career in relation to his peers and the shortest list of the greatest quarterbacks in history. Elway has no business being in that conversation.

When one factors in his selfish, entitled attitude around the 1983 NFL draft, when he deemed himself too talented to be wasted on the likes of the Baltimore franchise, Elway would seem a very poor choice to represent the leadership and character that are at least as important as pure talent when it comes to define the paradigm of a successful quarterback in the NFL.

The post Elway’s selection as quarterback on NFL100 team indefensible appeared first on Martinez Tribune.

]]>
https://martineztribune.com/2020/01/06/elways-selection-as-quarterback-on-nfl100-team-indefensible/feed/ 0