Ray Ratto

Monta leads W's into another date with Dallas

416280.jpg

Monta leads W's into another date with Dallas

March 20, 2011
WARRIORS (30-39) vs.DALLAS (48-21)
Coverage starts at 4 p.m. on CSN Bay Area

(AP) -- With less than a month until the playoffs, the Dallas Mavericks are admittedly out of sync, a feeling that could worsen depending on the health of Shawn Marion.Coming off a tough loss that left Marion with an injured wrist, the Mavericks will try to regain some momentum when they host the Golden State Warriors on Sunday with a chance to clinch a postseason berth.Dallas (48-21) has lost five of eight following an 18-1 stretch but is still third in the Western Conference. With a win Sunday and a loss by Phoenix, the Mavericks would wrap up a playoff spot for the 11th straight season.However, their fans might be getting concerned that another early postseason exit lies ahead for a team that hasn't made it out of the second round since losing to Miami in the 2006 NBA finals. Dallas' last five losses have all come against playoff contenders, including 97-91 to San Antonio on Friday."The rhythm obviously isn't there right now," said guard Jason Terry, who scored 19 points after missing his first six shots.The Mavericks came back from a 40-22 deficit but faded in the final minutes. The departure of Marion, who scored 13 points in 14 first-half minutes before getting hurt, was felt late when Dallas was unable to slow the Spurs.Marion, who had averaged 19.8 points in the previous four games, is questionable for Sunday after X-rays showed nothing broken. He's third on the team in scoring and rebounding with 12.1 points and 6.8 boards per game.The injury could be a big concern for the Mavericks, who have lacked a consistent third scorer along with Nowitzki and Terry since losing Caron Butler (knee) for the season.Jason Kidd has averaged 4.3 points on 25.8 percent shooting in the last six games. Tyson Chandler, averaging 10.3 points and 9.2 rebounds, hasn't scored in double figures in three of the last five games and had less than 10 boards in all of them.The next two games present Dallas with a good opportunity to get back on track. After facing Golden State (30-39), the Mavericks will host lowly Minnesota on Thursday before beginning a six-game road trip.Dallas has won five straight over the Warriors, including both meetings this season. Dirk Nowitzki averaged 29.5 points in the two games, including 34 in Wednesday's 112-106 win as the Mavericks rallied from 18 down.The Warriors come to Dallas having lost three straight and 10 of 15. After their loss to the Mavs, they fell 108-97 to Phoenix on Friday.Monta Ellis was held to eight points after scoring 26 versus Dallas.Dorell Wright scored all 30 of his points in the second half Friday, tying the second-highest total in a half by a player this season. He has gone 20 of 40 from beyond the arc over the last five games."Guys were just finding me, it wasn't nothing really to it," said Wright, who has averaged 22.0 points the last five games. "Same thing I've been doing all year, I just caught a little fire."Golden State has lost its last two visits to Dallas.

MLS respects timing more than dominance, so Quakes have a counterpuncher's chance

quakes-ratto.jpg
USATSI

MLS respects timing more than dominance, so Quakes have a counterpuncher's chance

The San Jose Earthquakes cheated the reaper Sunday, which is news in and of itself. I mean, they’re a playoff team so rarely that getting to a 35th game is quite the achievement, and they should not begin the arduous process of sobering up until Tuesday morning.

I mean, their playoff game with Vancouver is Wednesday night, so slapping themselves back into form is probably a priority.

They got an improbable stoppage time goal from Marco Urena Sunday against Minnesota to sneak through the back door into the final Western Conference playoff spot Sunday, their first appearance in the postseason in five years. It was as electrifying a moment as Avaya Stadium has seen since it opened, and one of the best goals in franchise history if only for its importance.

That said, the Quakes also enter the postseason with a losing record (13-14-7) and the worst goal difference (minus-21) for any playoff team in league history. They are the most cinder-based of the league’s Cinderella stories, and are dismissed with prejudice by most observers as being as one-and-done as one-and-done can be without being none-and-done.

This is a league, though, that has respected timing more than dominance. In 2016, the Montreal Impact finished last in the East and got to the conference final; in 2012, Houston (which was a relocated Quakes team) just snuck in to the postseason and reached the final; in 2005 and 2009, the worst (Los Angeles and Real Salt Lake) ended up first.

In other words, the Quakes’ pedigree, modest though it is, still allows it a counterpuncher’s chance. Its attack, which is third-worst in the league, playoffs or no, is matched by its defense, which is fourth-worst in the league. Their years as a de facto vehicle for Chris Wondolowski are coming to a close, sooner rather than later. They are in no way an elegant team. They are working on their second coach of the year (Chris Leitch).

But therein lies their mutating charm. Their postseason pedigree stinks, but there is a no compelling reason why they cannot cheat a result or two. After all, the lower scoring a sport is, the greater chance for an upset, and the Quakes’ history screams that no franchise could use one more.

So they head for Vancouver, a raucous crowd and a difficult side, carrying with them only their humble resume and the indomitable cheek demanded of the upstart. I mean, anybody in their right mind would much prefer the Whitecaps’ chances, but you gotta be who you gotta be.

Plus, the Quakes are getting a 35th game, which is more than they had a right to expect, all things considered.

NBA fines Curry and Iguodala for incident in Memphis

curry-stephen-ref-mad.jpg
USATI

NBA fines Curry and Iguodala for incident in Memphis

Programming note: Warriors-Mavs coverage starts today at 4:30pm with Warriors Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area.

Steph Curry owes the NBA some money.

The two-time MVP was fined $50,000 for throwing his mouthpiece near the end of Saturday night's game in Memphis, the league announced.

He won't be suspended.

Andre Iguodala was fined $15,000 for verbally abusing a game official.

"I want to play tonight. Don't think a suspension is necessary," Curry said following shootaround on Monday. "I'm pretty sure based on the precedent that was set last time I threw my mouthpiece, there'll be a fine.

"The timing is getting a little tight thinking about preparing for tonight, but just gotta wait and see."

Curry was fined $25,000 for throwing his mouthpiece during Game 6 of the 2016 Finals.

He did not need to rewatch the incident from Saturday to know he was in the wrong.

"In the grand scheme of things, it's Game 3, we were playing terrible," Curry explained on Monday. "I was frustrated because I was fouling, I thought I got fouled on the last play and the reaction was definitely a little over the top.

"Stuff happens. Try to continue to be myself, show some fire, but do it in a way that doesn't take away from the team and misrepresent who I am."

Kevin Durant -- who was also ejected from the game -- apparently won't receive any additional punishment.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller