49ers looking to make it five straight wins

By Gabe Schapiro

This Sunday at 10:00am the San Francisco 49ers (9-4) will be taking on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9), at Raymond James Stadium. The 49ers are in second place in the NFC West, two games back of the Seattle Seahawks. The Buccaneers are in third place in the NFC South, and are out of playoff contention.

Last weekend San Francisco won their fourth consecutive game, beating the Seahawks 19-17, in possibly their biggest victory of the season. The 49ers came back three different times, ultimately putting the game away on a Phil Dawson field goal with 26 seconds left in the game. Dawson had four field goals on the evening, including kicks from 48 and 52 yards out. Colin Kaepernick wasn’t great, but he did just enough. He completed 15-of-29 passes for 175 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Anquan Boldin led all receivers with six receptions for 93 yards. After losing badly to Seattle earlier this season, San Francisco made the necessary adjustments, and leaned more on their running game. Frank Gore rumbled for 110 yards on 17 carries. As a team they ran for 163 yards.

The 49ers are unlikely to catch the Seahawks for the division crown, but it was still a huge win. It allows San Francisco to build some confidence and continue to build their momentum as they look to clinch a playoff spot.

This week the task at hand should be considerably easier. Tampa Bay has some talent, but are a team in turmoil looking to rebuild their identity. Coach Greg Schiano is likely on the hot seat, as he leads them through another disappointing season. Rookie QB Mike Glennon was handed the keys to the offense part way through the year, and for the most part has been solid. As is to be expected from a rookie, however, he is still going through some growing pains. At running back there are down to their third stringer after a rash of injuries to Doug Martin and Mike James. Bobby Rainey, the new starter, isn’t a world-beater but has some explosiveness. Vincent Jackson is the only reliable receiver on the squad, but is a legitimate deep threat. As a unit they are ranked 30th in the NFL in points per game, and 31st in yards.

It is their defense, which while not great, has been good enough to keep them in striking distance. Linebacker David Lavonte has been phenomenal, and leads the team in tackles (117) and interceptions (5), and is second on the team in sacks (6). And of course the imposing cornerback Darrelle Revis will be blanketing the 49er receivers. Statistically he isn’t have a great year, and in general hasn’t been the same recently, but is still always a threat. Their defense has allowed the 11th fewest points, and 12th fewest yards. Their primary weakness is against the pass, where they are only ranked 17th.

The 49ers are at their best when they are utilizing a run-heavy offense, regardless of the opponent. That shouldn’t change against the Bucs, but Kaepernick should have a slightly easier time making plays without the stout Seattle defense barring down on him. Particularly with Michael Crabtree back, who should only shake more and more of the rust off with each game he plays, their passing attack could get more explosive moving forward.

Crabtree has been limited in practices this week with a minor ankle injury, but it is not believed to be related to his Achilles tear. He is expected to be fine for Sunday’s matchup.

Raiders return home for Week 15 tilt with Chiefs

By. Joe Hawkes-Beamon

OAKLAND — Home is where the heart is and the Oakland Raiders are in dire need of some good fortune.

After a two game road trip, Oakland return to the familiar surroundings of O.co Coliseum when they’ll host their bitter rival the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15 Sunday. Kansas City nipped Oakland, 24-7 at Arrowhead in Week 6 behind a ferocious defense that forced three second-half interceptions and sacked then starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor 10 times.

Oakland (4-9) was dropped by the New York Jets, 37-27, in New York last week.

With running backs Rashad Jennings (concussion) and Darren McFadden (ankle),  fullback Marcel Reece supplied the ground game for Oakland rushing for a career-high 123 yards on 19 carries, including a career-long 63-yard touchdown run on the second play of the third quarter.

Quarterback Matt McGloin finished the game 18 of 31 for 245 yards passing, two touchdowns and an interception, while wide receiver Rod Streater had a career-high 130 yards receiving and a touchdown.

Kansas City (10-3) throttled hapless Washington, 45-10, last week in the Nation’s Capital.

The Chiefs jumped on Washington from the start, building a 31-0 lead in the second quarter behind two special teams touchdowns and their running game. Running back Jamaal Charles racked up 151 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.

Charles leads the AFC in rushing with 1,161 yards and 10 touchdowns, and is third overall in the NFL in rushing yards behind Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson (1,221), and Philadelphia running back LeSean McCoy (1,3o5).

A’s Select Aussie Pitcher in Rule 5 Draft

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Photo credit: the gazette.com

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics have selected right-handed pitcher Tim Atherton in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft. In 2013, Atherton pitched for Single-A Cedar Rapids – a Minnesota Twins affiliate.

Atherton is 24 years old and is from New South Wales, Australia. He was signed by the Twins in 2007 as free agent outfielder. He made the transition to being a pitcher in 2011.

Atherton’s career record is 12-7 with a 2.54 ERA in 67 appearances (16 starts). In 2013, he pitched in 31 games (11 starts) recording an 8-5 record with a 2.54 ERA. He struck out 102 hitters in 95.2 innings of work.

Why was Bill King snubbed by the Hall of Fame

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary

OAKLAND–Bill King was nominated again for the Ford C. Frick Broadcasters Award, but he was snubbed.

Why? I think it’s tougher for a west coast announcer, unless he is known nationwide.

We here in the west, and even here in California with 35 million people, larger than many countries in the world, and with five Major League teams(no US state has that many) are still playing ball when the people on the east coast are going zzzzzzz.

Many things have changed in our business of broadcasting, obviously there was a time when independent radio stations proud themselves of carrying Major League Baseball, radio used to rule in the world of baseball and had no rival, then television came about and for a while it was ‘the game of the week’.Today every team, everybody televises just about every game home and out of market.

Today without a radio or television, you can listen to a live game that is happening in Chicago, while sitting at the airport in New Delhi, India in an assortment of devices, in some cell phones that the only thing they do not have is a microwave.

But honestly, Bill could care less if he was or was not elected. You see, Bill King was not your typical sports guy, he was a renaissance man, his life was much more than calling a Rickey Henderson stolen base. He is in heaven laughing at all this silliness down here. He is saying: “Holly Toledo, look at all you people down there, don’t you have a better thing to do, than to write about this?”

I could care less what or which Hall of Fame, Bill King belongs in all of them. By the way, not only in baseball, if you ever heard Bill calling a Warriors game, on the radio, he made you see the game better than if you were watching on television .

I wrote about this when Bill was doing Warriors, for El Mundo News of Oakland, many moons ago, and I still have not changed my mind. The times I spoke with Bill, like the last time I saw him, when he called his penultimate game in 2004 at Safeco Field in Seattle, we sometimes spoke about something else besides baseball, and for that, and that alone, I will never forget him.   What Armando Galarraga and Bill King have in common?

Galarraga a pitcher with the Detroit Tigers in 2010 threw a perfect game, but Jim Joyce the umpire at first base blew the call on what was out number 27 in-a-row. Galarraga was robbed, we all saw it. Bill King is a Hall of Fame announcer, we know it also, but he has been robbed, again.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Spanish radio voice for Oakland A’s baseball and does News and Commentary for Sportstalk radio

Curry’s late game heroics lift Warriors over Mavericks, 95-93

By Gabe Schapiro

On Wednesday night at Oracle Arena the Golden State Warriors (13-10) made another late comeback at home, this time toppling the Dallas Mavericks (13-10), 95-93. A little over a week ago the Warriors overcame a 27-point deficit to beat the Toronto Raptors. Tonight didn’t quite match that historic effort, coming back from being down “only” 18, but it was another one that anyone in attendance won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

As has become an unfortunate habit of late, Golden State had a dreadful start. They began the game shooting an abysmal 4-for-21 from the field, and had some butter fingers, turning the ball over often. After the first quarter they were already facing a seven-point deficit, kept that low only because Dallas was only slightly less horrible.

In the second quarter the Warriors shooting improved ever so slightly, but by halftime they had already racked up 10 turnovers, and were still just scoring at a 39.5% clip. Andrew Bogut was their biggest saving grace. He was a beast down low, blocking two big shots of the “woah” variety, and hauling in 12 rebounds. At one point in the second quarter the Mavericks held their biggest lead of the night with 18, but towards the end Golden State started chipping away.

Coming out of the locker room the Warriors defense woke up. They played with a much higher sense of urgency, and as a result the buckets started hitting as well. They still didn’t look great, but it was far from the dreadful performance witnessed in the first. Heading into the final 12 minutes they had cut the Dallas lead down to a much more manageable six points.

It should be noted that up until this point Stephen Curry was, for the most part, having one of his worst games of the year. He wasn’t making much and he was turning the ball over often. In the fourth quarter, that all changed.

That sweet stroke of Curry’s can only stay cold for so long, and when it mattered most he caught fire. With five minutes remaining a Curry jumper finally brought the Warriors back to a tie game. From their both sides traded blows and traded their share of the lead.

But on this night Curry just simply wouldn’t be denied. With 46 seconds left the game again stood at a stalemate, 93-93. The Mavericks missed their chance to win it, and with 1.5 seconds left, of course the ball went to Curry. And Curry would not miss his chance.

A Curry pump-fake got his defender, Shawn Marion, to leave his feet, giving him all the opening he needed to nail a 19-foot jumper. That gave the Warriors their second consecutive huge comeback win at home.

Curry finished with a game-high 33 points, to go along with 10 assists. 17 of those points came in the fourth. David Lee also posted a double-double, 15 points and 11 boards. Bogut finished with six points, and a season-high 18 rebounds. Draymond Green played a big 28 minutes off the bench, filling the stat sheet with nine points, five rebounds, four assists, two blocks, and a steal.

In the losing effort Dirk Nowitzki had 21 points and seven rebounds. Monta Ellis, in front of his former home, chipped in 21 points and five assists.

As exciting as these games are, the Warriors need to work on having better starts. Miracle comebacks can’t always be counted on. They will look to do so this Friday against the tough Houston Rockets.

Kings scorched by hot Jazz, 122-101

By George Devine, Sr.

The Utah Jazz came to Sacramento following a loss, and the Kings had just beaten the Dallas Mavericks, but the positions of winner and loser were reversed with a 122-101 win for the visitors.

The Jazz led in the first three quarters, and the Kings by only one for the fourth. But that slim margin was too little and too late, for by the time that final frame began the Jazz led by 24.

DeMarcus Cousins had 21 points and 11 rebounds for Sacramento and Isaiah Thomas hit 20, but it would not be enough.

Richard Jefferson of the Jazz had 20 points. Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward had 17 each and Alec Burks had 15. Favors also contributed 7 boards. It was a record night for Utah in points scored and in assists with 35.

In the third quarter Kings’ coach Mike Malone was hit with a technical foul. The three newest members of the team, acquired earlier this week — Rudy Gay, Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray — did not play.

Commissioner says no to A’s move but owners would approve in a vote

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary

OAKLAND–Major Leauge Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig during last regular season denied the A’s move to San Jose if you read between the lines. They were asking about the San Jose financial status and if San Jose can support a big league club. It makes no sense to me because in a recent survey San Jose was declared the wealthiest city with over one million people.

Silicon Valley is in the South Bay the only reason that this is happening is because of Giants team president Larry Baer is declaring the team’s territorial rights in San Jose and this might be put to a vote and it’s almost positive that the owners would apporve the move by over a quarter of the majority but it’s the Giants who hold the cards here therefore the A’s are stuck in Oakland and they just recently extended their contract at the Coliseum for two more years.
Eventually something will happen, something will give, it might be that A’s owners Lew Wolf and Don Fisher might get tired of this situation and put the A’s up for sale. For right now the A’s have been denied moving from Oakland to San Jose although that’s not written in blood as we speak it’s not a real definite.
Kings and Warriors arena builds: If the Sacramento Kings can’t build their own arena in downtown Sacramento it would be a shame because Sacramento Mayor Ken Johnson jumped through hoops to keep the team in Sacramento and stopping the team from leaving for Seattle.
When you put a vote like this to the voters who knows you could flip a coin most people in this country are not in the mood to spend tax money on new arenas. Most people 99 percent beleive that most owners have the money to build a new arena. These are the guys who sign players for over $200 million and the average fan or citizen would say they would have the money to build it themselves.
So if the public votes on the new Kings arena and I’m not a betting guy but most people in Sacramento would vote no on spending public money on a new arena. The owners have to be ready to pay and build their own arena. Regarding the Warriors we don’t know the history of San Francisco. All you have to do is look at the Giants and see how many times they tried to build a new stadium with some public money.
The voters turned them down several times until they got approved for Pacific Bell Park, the Warriors want to move to the City at piers 30-32 but right now former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos is working very hard to prevent the Warriors from moving to the piers. In an election to decide to move the Warriors at the piers won’t be easy it won’t be a matter of “were going to put the Warriors at the piers and that’s all”.
Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Gruber they have great attorneys but they don’t understand the political environmental layout of San Francisco. Even if both Lacob and Gruber could pay for the entire project the voters would vote no because they like the views at the piers just fine.
Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Spanish radio voice for Oakland A’s baseball and does News and Commentary each week for Sportstalk Radio

A’s & Rockies Exchange Starting Pitchers

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Photo credit: Colorado.Rockies. MLB.com

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics and the Colorado Rockies exchanged left-handed starting pitchers on Tuesday. Coming to Oakland is Drew Pomeranz along with minor league pitcher Chris Jensen. Going to Colorado is Brett Anderson and cash.

Pomeranz is a former 2010 first round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians out Ole Miss. He has a career record of 4-14 with 4.77 ERA in 34 Major League apperanaces (30 starts). Pomeranz is a 6-5, 230 pound left-hander. He came to the Rockies in a 2011 trade with Cleveland.

In 2013, Pomeranz posted an 0-4 record with a 6.38 ERA in eight outings (4 starts) for Colorado. He struck out 19 and walked 19 allowing 25 hits in 21.2 innings.

In analyzing the trade, a panel on the MLB Network, that included Ron Darling, felt the change of scenery would be positive for Pomeranz. The panel believed that Pomeranz could floursish in a pitcher’s park like the O.co Colliseum.

Andrson was the A’s starter for Opening Day 2013. He finished the season in bullpen after spending four months on the disabled list with a stress fracture of his right foot. Anderson has a career record of 26-28 with a 3.81 ERA in 84 games (73 starts).

The right-handed throwing Jensen comes to the A’s after being a sixth round draft pick of the Rockies out of the University of San Diego. He has 61 minor league starts with record of 19-12 and an ERA of 4.22. Jensen spent last season with Single-A Modesto.

Cal runs past Nevada in a high-scoring shootout

By Morris Phillips

Nevada and Cal engaged in an old-fashioned shootout Tuesday with a pair of former prep adversaries turned NBA hopefuls at the center of the action.

For a crowd of nearly 8,000, the Bears’ 92-84 win was satisfying entertainment.  For coaches David Carter and Mike Montgomery, not as much; they immediately harped on the lack of defense.

“I think we’ve got to do a better job of putting pressure on guys and just having that toughness defensively, collectively, and then if they make shots there really isn’t much we can do about it,” Carter said of his Wolf Pack’s defensive effort.

“I thought we made a lot of mistakes defensively,” Montgomery said.  “I think there’s still things we’re learning about how to play defense.  Some of the things that we didn’t do, we tried to talk about.”

Nevada forged an early seven-point lead, 17-10 then watched the floodgates open for Cal.  The Bears went on a huge run, finished the first half with 49 points and shot 55 percent for the game.  The Wolf Pack clearly missed three injured players in their frontcourt, and suffered even more when forward Ronnie Stevens, Jr. was saddled with foul problems.  Senior guard Justin Cobbs had no problem navigating on the offensive end as he racked up 15 points and eight assists, and did a great job of getting his freshman teammates involved offensively.

The Wolf Pack’s Deonte Burton stood as the counterpoint to Cal’s big scoring night as he put up 26 points and led a brief, Nevada second-half run.   Burton, the 6’3” senior, battled Cobbs many times as a prep in Los Angeles, and did so again on Tuesday.   When Burton got inside for a couple of big dunks and drew fouls, it didn’t sit well with Cobbs, eventhough he termed himself and Burton as friends.

“I wouldn’t say he got under my skin,” Cobbs said.  “It’s just frustrating sometimes when the calls were going the other way and myself being so competitive.  He was doing a great job of getting body contact and getting some calls, but it’s just the game of basketball.”

Six Bears finished in double figures, and Montgomery’s tweaking of his starting lineup in the wake of Cal’s disappointing loss at Santa Barbara seemed to work just fine.  Freshman Jordan Mathews and Ricky Kreklow got starts, while Tyrone Wallace and Jabari Bird came off the bench.  Mathews, Wallace and Bird all scored in double figures along with Cobbs, Richard Solomon and David Kravish.

“We just wanted to change,” Montgomery said of the lineup switch.  “If we can keep it competitive, we want to.  We want to keep guys motivated.  We don’t want guys to get stale or take anything for granted.”

The win allowed Montgomery to move up the all-time victories chart with 664 wins, tied for 27th with UCLA legend John Wooden.  When asked about Wooden, Montgomery took the route of humility.

“The number of wins doesn’t mean much to anybody, but when they say that’s John Wooden, all of a sudden everybody perks up.  I have a little work to do.  I’m 10 national championships short (of Wooden).   There’s nothing to compare other than the fact that I’ve got the same number of wins.  That’s the only comparison there is,” Montgomery said.

The Bears face Fresno State on Saturday at 3:00pm at Haas Pavilion.

Sharks skid continues against the Islanders

By Ivan Makarov
San Jose Sharks returned to California after a disappointing four game road trip where they won just once. They hoped to turn things around playing at home where they won the last five games. Instead, their skid continued, as they allowed a third period breakdown, the Islanders come back, and their opponent’s win in the shootout.
The Islanders were in the middle of the losing streak themselves, having lost the last 10 games. However, solid play from their netminder and a great third period helped them break through and finally win.
A key turning point happened early in the third period. Sharks were up 2-0, but it became a one goal game just 51 second after the play began. Tomas Vanek scored by finding the puck in the crease after Antti Niemi was unable to freeze the puck after the shot by John Tavares who was near the crease after a great individual effort and drawing all defense to him.
New York went on to tie the game with less than two minutes left in regulation with an extra skater on the ice after their goaltender was pulled. John Tavares won the face-off inside the Sharks zone against Joe Pavelski and Kyle Okposo put one into the net. Antti Niemi was screened on that play by the Islander players and didn’t appear to see the shot coming.
“He lost it clean,” said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan about Pavelski’s play. [Islanders] scored short side high. You’d like to get beat by a different shot. You’d like to be in the shooting lane. But it was a draw like that, and they got one freebie and they made it count.”
It was an even game in overtime, with NY having the slight advantage and the best scoring chance. With 1:16 remaining in overtime, Antti Niemi saved the game with a stretch glove save after a breakaway attempt by Brock Nelson. This was a great save in the very important moment of the game, taking it to the shootout.
Logan Couture scored on his shootout chance but Joe Pavelski and Dan Boyle didn’t. Kyle Okposo became a hero again, scoring on his attempt after Boyle missed, and winning the game for his team.
There were still positives in that game despite the outcome.
The power play looked dangerous and was credit with the first goal. Patrick Marleau scored his 14th goal of the season after a rebound he picked up inside the face-off circle.
Joe Pavelski found the net for the first time in seven games, scoring Sharks’ second goal. Sharks’ center played aggressively on the forecheck, helping the puck stay inside Islanders zone and forcing a turnover. As he picked up the puck, he passed it back towards the blue line where Dan Boyle was skating by himself. Boyle shot the puck on the net, Poulin made the save, but it bounced back to Pavelski who put it inside the open net. This was Pavelski’s 10th goal on the season.
Sharks also had a great start in the game, outshooting the Islanders 18-3 in the first period, and outshooting them overall 48-28.
But in the end, it was losing key battles at the start and the end of the third period that cost them the win.
“Whether or not we deserved [the outcome], we ended up with it,” said McLellan. “I thought we started the game very well. I thought we got a little lose in the second period and decided we wanted to trade chances, giving up some odd number rushes. We gave up a goal in the first minute and the last minute of the third. … Our top line right now is getting beat, along with the goaltender, and it has to improve.”
They will be back in action on Thursday at SAP Center against Minnesota Wild.
Games Notes
  • The Islanders played game four of their five-game road trip in San Jose. It was the first of two meetings between the clubs this season.
  • Evgeni Nabokov was back to SAP Center, although did not dress up for the game due to injury. He was given a loud ovation during the first period when video board played his highlights from the time he was a San Jose Shark.
  • Two Sharks players registered multi-point nights: Patrick Marleau (1-1=2) andDan Boyle (0-2=2).
  • Patrick Marleau is now in sole possession of 77th place on the all-time goal scoring list (418 career goals).
  • Patrick Marleau led all Sharks skaters with seven shots on goal.