Warriors

Northern California gets shut out in Pacific Northwest

henderson_benson_ufc_fight_sports.jpg

Northern California gets shut out in Pacific Northwest

Nitesh Dutt
CSNBayArea.com

In what was being called the biggest card in the UFC this year, each and every fight truly delivered and gave fans what they wanted. For Northern California fans, the night was not as memorable.

Things didn’t start off well for Northern California on the main card, San Jose’s Mike “Quick” Swick became victim to his own nickname. In a battle of two welterweights hoping to throw their names into title contention, Matt Brown came out looking like the better fighter.

The first-round started off slow as both fighters spent the first few minutes feeling each other out with solid jabs. Brown was able to score a takedown two minutes into the bout and used his jiu-jitsu to gain a quick upper-hand. He had Swick in some early trouble in the round, but AKA’s Swick was able to get out of a guillotine and triangle choke. It was clear, even after five minutes, that Swick was slightly outmatched and sluggish.

It was much of the same in the second round for Brown, who was able to make “quick” work of Swick. Brown landed left then right to drop Swick 2:31 into round two. The bout lived up to the expectations and did finish in quick fashion, but it was in a way that Nor Cal fans were not hoping for.

The hopes and dreams of Nor Cal MMA fans on this night were now in the hands of Stockton’s Nate Diaz.

Diaz, the younger brother of UFC Welterweight Nick, challenged Benson Henderson for Henderson’s UFC lightweight championship in Seattle. This bout was hyped as a match-up of the top two lightweights in the world, not just the UFC. When the lights hit and the action took place, one lightweight simply outclassed and out-fought the other.

Right from the first bell Henderson was in-control. He used his wrestling, kicks and every skill that he has to show he was the better fighter. And to prove, that there is not one fighter near his level.

Fighting in front of his hometown crowd of Seattle, the one they call “Smooth” delivered his best performance since joining the UFC. Even though the bout went the distance, it was not as close as one would imagine. Benson ended up winning via unanimous decision, outscoring Diaz 50-43, 50-45 and 50-45.

As for Diaz, who was fighting in his first title fight, was staying true to form. At a certain point in the fifth round, while he was already thoroughly beaten, Diaz began to antagonize Henderson by tapping himself on the chin asking to be hit. It was a classic Diaz moment and left the Gracie Fight Team with zero UFC titles.

Once the final second passed, Henderson stared down Diaz and sent a message to him and the rest of the lightweight division. He’s growing in each fight and will let his actions inside the octagon do the talking.

Nitesh Dutt is a Productions Assistant at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. You can follow him on Twitter @NiteshDutt

Durant addresses scuffles with Westbrook after Warriors' loss: 'That's just ball'

westbrook-durant-ap.jpg
AP

Durant addresses scuffles with Westbrook after Warriors' loss: 'That's just ball'

As you might expect when Kevin Durant returns to Oklahoma City, things got chippy at several moments Wednesday.

Once during the second quarter and again in the third quarter, Durant and former running mate Russell Westbrook could be seen yapping at each other. During the latter incident, the two literally went nose-to-nose, touching foreheads before being sperated.

After the Warriors' 108-91 loss to the Thunder, Durant was asked about the exchanges.

"Man, that's just ball. That's just ball me. He's competitive, I'm competitive. We like to go at it. Both of us. That's just part of the game, so I respect it. I got nothing but love for him. I'm expecting it again when we play them again. All fun and games to me," Durant told reporters.

Despite what the cameras caught, Durant tried to downplay the level of emotions between the two teams on the court.

"Can't let emotion seep into business. Can't do that. So I think on our end, we were just playing our game. They just played better than us tonight. The emotion around the court, around the arena, around the city I'm sure was a little higher than it was on the court. can't let emotion seep in. Just have to play better than that," Durant said.

When a reporter kept pressing about the incidents between Durant and Westbrook, the Warriors forward pushed back.

"Did you watch the game? Or did you watch for the scuffles? The story is about the game. We lost, they kicked our a**, they played a great. You should give them credit for how they played. We should be better. It's not about who's in each other's faces. That stuff is not real. So please, don't believe it. All the fans, they are lying to you. It's all about basketball. They played a great game. We didn't," Durant retorted.

So how did returning to his former home for the first time this season compare to his first trip back last year?

"It was a little better. Nothing like the first. I'm sure everyone in the arena said what they had to say," Durant said.

The next two times Durant and Westbrook meet up, it will be in Oakland (Feb.6 and Feb. 24). The Warriors don't return to Oklahoma City until April 3, 2018.

Jones strong in goal, contains Coyotes to snap Sharks' three-game skid

sharkspostgame.jpg
USATSI

Jones strong in goal, contains Coyotes to snap Sharks' three-game skid

BOX SCORE

GLENDALE, Ariz.  — Logan Couture scored his team-best 11th goal to help lift the San Jose Sharks to a 3-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday night.

Joe Thornton also scored and Joel Ward added an empty-net goal with 47.8 to play for the Sharks, who snapped a three-game losing streak.

Brendan Perlini scored with 7:37 to go, ruining Sharks goalie Martin Jones' bid for his second shutout of the season. The Coyotes saw their season-high three-game winning streak snapped and lost for the eighth time in nine home games (1-7-1).

Jones finished with 26 saves.

Coyotes goalie Antti Raanta left at 14:37 of the first period with an upper-body injury. Couture had collided with Raanta more than four minutes earlier, earning an interference penalty. Raanta skated to the bench during a stoppage in play and retreated to the locker room.

Scott Wedgewood took Raanta's place and was in net for only five seconds before the Sharks broke through. Wedgewood stopped Brent Burns' long shot from the top of the right circle even after it deflected off San Jose right wing Timo Meier. But the rebound kicked to the bottom of the right circle, where Thornton swept in and beat the goalie with a quick wrist shot.

San Jose made it 2-0 at 4:56 of the second, taking advantage of Arizona's inability to clear the zone while the Sharks were on a line change.

Justin Braun fought three Coyotes for the puck along the right boards before Joonas Donskoi swooped in, skated to the goal line then sent a pass across to Couture. Couture deked Wedgewood to the ice with a forehand fake, then scored on the backhand.

Perlini cut the lead to 2-1 when he redirected Derek Stepan's shot from the top of the right circle past Jones.

NOTES: Thornton has 22 goals and 83 points in 82 career games against Arizona. ... The Coyotes, who had played seven of their past eight on the road, opened a three-game homestand. ... Raanta made eight saves before leaving and has stopped 98 of the past 105 shots he's faced. ... Couture's goal was his first in five games.

UP NEXT:

Sharks: visit Las Vegas on Friday