Ray Ratto

Ratto: Three keys as Sharks look to Tuesday

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Ratto: Three keys as Sharks look to Tuesday

May 23, 2011RATTOARCHIVESHARKS PAGE SHARKS VIDEOGAME 4 BOXSCORE SERIES SCHEDULE
Ray Ratto
CSNBayArea.com

With the Stanley Cup Western Conference Final hanging by the tape of the stick blade, here are some things you havent thought of -- mostly because nobody in their right mind would.
1. WHAT WAS WORSE, THE POWER PLAY OR THE PENALTY KILL?
In a close call, the power plays. The Sharks 0-for-5 was a measure of their inability to make adjustments to Vancouvers strategy of stacking all four penalty killers at the blue line and defying the Sharks to enter the offensive zone with speed, and then having entered it, to maintain puck control. They never did figure that one out. The penalty kills were what happened later, and not because the power plays fizzled so badly, unless you want to count panic as a symptom.

2. WHITHER THORNTON?
He will play, rest assured, even if it takes a bicycle pump full of wombat pituitary extract to deal with the right shoulder problem he was given by Raffi Torres. The real question is how effective he will be. Ryane Clowe has a shoulder issue as well, and has done remarkably little in this series, but without Thornton at close to his top, the Sharks are probably doomed.

3. AND YOUR LINEUP IS . . . ?
Probably unchanged. The fourth line of Andrew Desjardins between Jamie McGinn and Jamal Mayers finally became a group that can play without going to the box, but the top nine forwards are pretty much the top nine forwards, unless Todd McLellan wants to try to do something exotic with either Devin Setoguchi or Dany Heatley in civilian clothes, which would not be McLellans style. Then again, style is not exactly something to defend at this point, so well say probably none with only fair and mild conviction.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

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?”