Urban: The Giants just aren't very good


Urban: The Giants just aren't very good

Aug. 29, 2011


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Mychael Urban

SAN FRANCISCO -- Did we just see the title defense come to an unofficial end? Sure felt like it.The Giants entered Monday with 28 games left on the schedule, the first three coming against the visiting Cubs, one of the worst road teams in the game. That distinction, of course, means very little at this point, because the Astros came into last weekend's four-game series at AT&T Park with the distinction of being the worst team in the game, period, and we all know how that worked out.The teams split the four games, but if you were unfortunate enough to have watched the entire mind-numbing series, you'd have sworn the Astros won seven of nine, each of them by a score of 2-1 in 14 innings.
RECAP: Rock bottom? Cubs shut out Giants 7-0
So you knew not to take the Cubs lightly. The Giants knew not to take the Cubs lightly. And there's no way on earth that they did. The 7-0 loss the defending world champs suffered was a product not of disengagement or lack of effort, but rather the product of not being a very good baseball team. That's the cold, hard truth.Let's all say it together: The Giants just aren't very good.Blame it on the difficulty that is repeating. There's a reason it almost never happens -- it's damn hard.Blame it on Brian Sabean if that's what floats your boat. You'll get an argument from this corner that related directly to the injuries and the difficulty of repeating, but chances are you're so steaming mad about Monday's mess that you wouldn't hear the argument anyway, so knock yourself out.It doesn't even really matter who or what you blame it on. But you might as well accept it as fact.Let's all say it again: The Giants just aren't very good.
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Slumping? No. Slumps even out over six months. Slumps even out over three months. Four at the most. Five? That's not a slump. That's simply being what you are, and do we need to say it again?No, we don't.What we do need to say, for the first time all year, is that this is a team prepping for the administration of last rites.Sure, you can point to those six remaining games against the Diamondbacks. But Arizona won again on Monday to take a five-game lead in the National League West with 27 games to go, and the math is so clearly in the Snakes' favor that even the eternal optimist who produces this piece has to concede that catching them will be as difficult as, well, as catching a rattler with your teeth.The odds aren't impossible, but they're certainly getting there. The Giants desperately needed to sweep the Cubs here, and now they won't.And they won't have their best pitcher, Tim Lincecum, to help them get either of the next two desperately needed games of the series, either.Lincecum looked as beaten as anyone as he walked off the mound in the seventh inning Monday, having allowed three home runs for the first time in his career, a picture of abject frustration.You could almost see the cartoon thought bubble hovering over his hung head."We're just not very good."

LeBron joins 30,000-point club with buzzer-beater vs Spurs


LeBron joins 30,000-point club with buzzer-beater vs Spurs

SAN ANTONIO — LeBron James has joined the NBA's 30,000-point club.

James became the seventh player with 30,000 career points when he hit a jumper with one second left in the first quarter of the Cleveland Cavaliers' game against the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night.

James was recognized by the arena before the second quarter and got a standing ovation from Spurs fans. James patted his heard and said "thank you so much."

James needed seven points Tuesday to get there. He missed his first two midrange jumpers before making two driving layups and a 20-footer. He hit the milestone jumper over Danny Green from 19 feet out.

The 33-year-old James joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points), Karl Malone (36,928), Kobe Bryant (33,643), Michael Jordan (32,292), Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) and Dirk Nowitzki (30,808) on the list.

At 33 years and 24 days, James is the youngest to reach the mark. Bryant was 34 years and 104 days when he got there.

The 14-time All-Star has averaged 27.1 points since breaking into the league as an 18-year-old in 2003.

Warriors have four All-Stars for second consecutive season

Warriors have four All-Stars for second consecutive season

OAKLAND -- The Warriors on Tuesday captured their first repeat of the season. For the second consecutive year, they’re sending four players to the All-Star Game.

Forward Draymond Green and guard Klay Thompson were announced as reserves for the game scheduled for Feb. 18 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. They join Warriors teammates Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, who were voted in as starters.

It’s the ninth time four players from one team were selected, but the first time it has happened in consecutive seasons.

The same four players made the team last season, when the Warriors went on to win the NBA Finals, but the format was strictly Western Conference vs. Eastern Conference.

Though reserves are still determined by a vote among coaches, the roster format has been altered this season. The top voting leaders in each conference -- Curry in the West, LeBron James in the East -- choose from the pool of available players, irrespective of conference affiliation. Those voted starters are first off the board.

With so many talented forwards migrating to the West -- including newcomers Paul George and Carmelo Anthony moving to Oklahoma City -- Green on Tuesday morning voiced some trepidation about being selected as reserve.

“It’s something that you want,” he said after shootaround. “It’s something I’d be excited about. But I do know it’s a tough pool.

“I want to be an All Star, one of the top guys in the league. But I’m here to win championships.”

Green is fourth on the Warriors in scoring, averaging 11.3 points, but leads them in rebounds (7.9) and assists (7.6). Despite missing seven of the team’s 47 games, he is making his third consecutive appearance in the All-Star game.

Thompson, who has played in all but one game this season, is making his fourth consecutive appearance in All-Star game. Third on the Warriors in scoring, at 20.6 points per game, he is having his most efficient season, shooting 48.6 percent from the field, including a league-leading 45.3 percent from deep.

Here is the full list of All-Stars:

Starters: Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins
Reserves: Jimmy Butler, Russell Westbrook, LaMarcus Aldridge, Draymond Green, Karl-Anthony Towns, Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard

Starters: Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid
Reserves: Kyle Lowry, Kristaps Porzingis, Kevin Love, Bradley Beal, John Wall, Al Horford, Victor Oladipo