Ray Ratto

On 49ers-Ravens and Suh's stomp

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On 49ers-Ravens and Suh's stomp

For those of you not in the mood for some high-fallutin philosophical buzzwording this early in the day, Occams Razor is just a shorter way of saying, You dont need to add a bunch of extra assumptions to explain something, or shorter still, the simplest and most obvious explanation is often the truest.Thus, we bring you the 49ers loss in Baltimore, and Ndamukong Suhs version of Stomp The Yard.The 49ers lost in Baltimore Thursday because the Ravens are very good, played at home, on short rest, and are used to beating the hell out of people. And Suh stomped Green Bays Evan Dietrich-Smith because he is a dirty player who wants everyone to know it.
But lets take them in order, shall we?Sure, you could try to dissect the 49ers because thats what you like to do, but this was simple. Horizontal quarterback-plus-no-running-game-means-no-touchdowns. If theres anything else you saw, youre just repeating a version of that simple rule.Lots of teams have trouble blocking the Ravens; in fact, most teams do, and the Ravens lose when they do not because they cant terrorize offenses but because their own offense terrorizes them right back. So Anthony Davis and Chilo Rachal and Mike Iupati and Jonathan Goodwin and Joe Staley and the tight ends and running backs couldnt block the Ravens at all, and Alex Smith took a right beating.If you want to blame an individual here and there, or go into a long soliloquy about how Smith and Braylon Edwards still havent figured each other out after all this time, youre missing the picture for the signature in the corner. The 49ers are a among group of good but second-tier teams that have to punch above their collective weight to beat other good defensive teams who dont make mistakes, and thats neither an insult or a condemnation. If you take it as such, eat some turkey and enjoy your tryptophan coma. Youve lost perspective and your friends are becoming frightened for you.And Suh? He is clearly channeling his inner Young Ray Lewis, or for you wrestling fans, The Undertaker. He has the image of a dirty player for past misdemeanors, he actually likes it, and he cemented it Thursday morning with the whole nation watching. His explanation that the man upstairs knows what I did, is a silly defense, unless he meant to finish the sentence with and hed suspend my ass too.If Suh didnt want to be thought of as he is, he wouldnt have gone all Riverdance on Dietrich-Smith. Hes too smart a player and an individual not to be able to parse that out.And if he is just a guy with massive impulse control problems, his career will be short, caricatured and spent with a lot of bad teams a sort of Albert Haynesworth for the post-Haynesworth era.Haynesworth isnt an exact parallel, of course, but Suh has reached the point where he is going to be targeted routinely by officials who have been given instructions to pay him extra heed. Thats what happens with players in all sports who cant figure out the difference between mere homicidal on-field behavior and arm-stomping.Its not more complicated than that. Suh does stupid and harmful things for effect. He has opportunities to change his behavior, and chooses not to. He is not a stupid man by any means. Thus, he must want the image he has cultivated, from players, game officials and the public, or has decided it doesnt matter.Only thats a hard way to live, especially in football, where even Darwin winces at the frontier justice that is routinely metered out from player to player.But the point remains the same. Sometimes looking for the arcane explanation is just a pointless mental exercise. Sometimes you just get beat by a better team with all the advantages. And sometimes youre a dirty player. And most of the time, its as simple as that.

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

Celtics are the rivals Warriors fans need

You don’t think you needed this game to go this way, but you did, and you do.

The Golden State Warriors spat out a 17-point lead and lost, 92-88, in Boston Thursday night, in a game that was taut if not particularly elegant, and in a game that elevated the Celtics to a place that makes them the new heir apparent to the heir apparent.

The Celtics have been a difficult out for the Warriors during the Brad Stevens Era, losing six of nine but only being blown out twice, and Thursday was not one of those nights. The box score will tell you the shooting and rebounding problems, but the Warriors had that lead and didn’t hold it. Or, to be accurate, the Celtics had that deficit and refused to let it destroy them.

Which is exactly the kind of team you, the fully licensed Warrior fan, want to watch play your team in the NBA Finals. You want to see them genuinely challenged, forced to win outside their comfort zone, induced to show their greatness in the highest of high leverage situations.

At least we think that’s what you want. Maybe you prefer blowouts so you can drink and go to the bathroom without care or fear. After all, the Warriors have taught the area the true meaning of front-running by being in front so often.

But the Celtics play a level of defense typically reserved for the San Antonio Spurs, and yes, the Warriors. They have a spiky exoskeleton that the acquisition of Kyrie Irving has actually enhanced, and Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum give them a gifted precocity that fits well with veterans like Al Horford and Marcus Morris, and Boston’s overall youth (they are fifth youngest, while Golden State is third-oldest) ought to make them a more difficult conundrum than Cleveland or any other team in either conference.

They are not yet the superior team; that remains to be proven, and betting against the Warriors requires a level of irrational bravery left only for the truly self-destructive.

But they are, as we sit this evening, the team the Warriors will have to work hardest to finish, because on a night when they had the chance to do so, they didn’t. In other words, the fight for a third ring still goes through Oakland, but it looks more and more like a one-stop through Boston.

And as much as you may hate thinking about it, you’ll almost certainly remember, and savor, a Celtics-Warriors final more than another round of Cavs-on-the-half-shell.

Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor

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AP

Three reasons Draymond Green is the perfect college professor

Programming note: Warriors-Celtics coverage starts today at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming live right here 

Draymond Green spoke to a group of students at Harvard Thursday on the subject of leadership, and if you find that incongruous, shame on you.
 
I mean, who else would you want as a college professor?
 
Green has led, and been led. He has learned, and he has taught. He has certainly lectured, as any teammate, official and media member will testify. He’d be a hell of a teacher, and the subject almost doesn’t matter.
 
For one, homework would be different, as in I’d bet there would be no written work. I don’t see Prof. Day-Day poring over essays about the Industrial Revolution, M-theory or pre-Raphaelite art. Not even the history of Basketball-Reference.com.

For two, having tenured faculty audit his classes may find his choice of rhetoric a little strident, as in “What the ---- were you thinking, dude?” is not typically approved instructional methodology.
 
And three, nobody would get a grade. Green would mark every exam with a “35,” as in his draft position, and besides, the exams would be students arguing with each other over whether that was a foul or a no-call, and who pulled the better face when the call was made. He’d give either an approving nod or give the loser a second technical foul and kick him or her out of class.
 
But it would be a hell of a class. Not at Harvard, of course, because Green probably would want to teach a school that could better use his brand of wisdom, and Harvard kids already have a healthy lead off third base. He’d want his students to make Harvard students cry, you can just tell.
 
But wouldn’t he look perfectly Draymond in a cap and gown on graduation day, pulling a bottle out of his sleeve to make the valedictory speeches less painful. “Damn, dude,” you could hear him yell. “Peaking?”