Ray Ratto

Ratto: Sharks apply knee to Detroit's throat


Ratto: Sharks apply knee to Detroit's throat

May 6, 2011

Ray Ratto

DETROIT -- This happens every year when one team has a knee on the others throat, and there is time to kill and a beast to feed before game time.In short, the Sharks have nothing more to offer except that they seem united in their opposition to playing a fifth game in this Western Conference semifinal series with Detroit, and the medioids have nothing to ask.
Detroit head coach Mike Babcock reiterated that his lineup would stay the same, which means that Mike Modano is certain to end his career as a healthy scratch, either tonight or in a subsequent game. Ive had Steve Yzerman at the end, Brendan Shanahan at the end, Kris Draper, Chris Chelios at the end, he said. Theyre great people, theyre first-ballot Hall of Famers, and its been a privilege to be around them.

RELATED: Sharks-Wings Game 4 coverage on CSN Bay Area
In other words, Babcock has experience making tough choices on great players whose tanks have hit E, and Johan Franzen will still play with Tomas Holmstrom and Pavel Datsyuk tonight at 4 p.m PDT. Thus, no Modano.There was some talk about the high number of faceoff ejections in this series, to which Todd McLellan said, Were like Nos. 2 and 3 in faceoffs in the regular season, we both like to think were puck possession teams, and were both very competitive in the circle, so sometimes youll see guys jumping quicker, and youll see some battles before the puck hits the ice. The linesmen have done a good job keeping that sorted out. San Jose is still first in the postseason, at 54.5 percent, and Detroit is seventh at 50.2. In the series, the Sharks are winning 52.4 percent of the draws, and the two best faceoff men have been, as expected, Datsyuk and Joe Thornton.The only actual development for San Jose is that Logan Coutures parents got their expired passport issues resolved so that they can attend tonights game. My dad was pretty fired up, Couture said after the morning skate. My parents, my brother and some of their friends will be here tonight.If there is a fifth game, every indication is that it will remain on Versus at 5 p.m., rather than be moved to noon for NBC. The issue has come up because Boston could finish off Philadelphia tonight, leaving a potential fifth game in San Jose as the only game on the schedule.Historical Note: If the Sharks win tonight and complete the sweep, Detroit will be the first team to win a series 4-0 and lose the subsequent series 4-0 since the 1993 Buffalo Sabres swept Boston and were swept by Montreal. Six of the eight games the Sabres played were decided in overtime.

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?”