Ray Ratto

Chill out, 49ers fans


Chill out, 49ers fans

Youre itching to go goofy on this 3-1 49er start, we can tell. The twitches, the froth, the talking in short, loud bursts theyre all tells for people getting ahead of themselves.And in fairness, going goofy feels good to you. Youve waited nearly a decade for this, and you want it. Bad.But you cant have it, not yet. Not if you know whats good for you. Because you remember 2009.The 49ers went 3-1 that year, too. Led a game and a half after four, and the rest of the NFC West smelled every bit as rank as they do now. Mike Singletary was a genius, Greg Manusky was a mastermind, and the cherubim and seraphim were singing the entire Lil Wayne play list.
In fact, one TV moron predicted after Week 4 that the 49ers were a lock to win the division. I think with a bit of imagination, you can figure out the identity of said dolt.Four weeks later, the 49ers were 3-5, Singletary was a clod, Manusky was deeply flawed, and gimping in at 8-8 seemed like a serious letdown because it was.The message? Calm down. The Philadelphia win was a nice piece, in much the same way that Jim Harbaughs 24-23 win at USC in 2007 was a nice piece. But that Stanford team lost the next four games, too.Truth is, the 49ers are still hard to figure. Frank Gore is not cured, no matter what you saw Sunday, and Alex Smith has not become Matt Ryan. They will revert from time to time, and the 49ers will combine this high with a corresponding low, because the NFL in 2011 is like that. Nothing is known, less is safely assumed.In short, the best way to have a lousy Halloween is to think September cured your cough.This isnt just random mellow-harshing, either. Just a caution not to do what TV nitwits fell for two years ago. The same seductive arguments that caused overreaction two years ago are still there bad division, first-time coach with a full off-season to clean out the bad habits of the predecessor, the firm belief that Alex Smith can be cured and Frank Gore isnt old at all and Patrick Willis is Patrick Willis for all eternity.And it all collapsed within a month.What happened in 2009 may have little validity. What happened in 2007 may have no relation to now at all. But one quarter of anything is by definition small sample size, and Tampa Bay and Detroit in the next two weeks will have as much to do with the 49ers season as Philadelphia or Cincinnati the past two.Thus, chilling out is clearly the order of the day. The 49ers have done this before, and you havent liked the way it got done, or who got did when it was all over. Its early, too early, and you get ahead of yourself at your peril.Unless, of course, you want to look like a TV boob too, and trust us, that is no way to live.

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


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?”