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Think of Zaza Pachulia as a game of Scrabble with shoes

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usati

Think of Zaza Pachulia as a game of Scrabble with shoes

The Golden State Warriors have begun a relatively non-taxing road trip to test the theory that the Oklahoma City Thunder relit the competitive pilot light. More importantly, though, the new referendum on Zaza Pachulia and his place in the NBA's alphabet has begun.

Specifically, is he:

(A): Dirty.

(B). Strategically clumsy.

(C). Tactically oafish.

(D). Just a happy-go-lucky bear-man who doesn’t know his own capacity for menace.

But as you can see, this is actually a debate between (A) and (All The Other Options), because Pachulia has the reputation he’s going to have, period. He wasn’t exactly a hero among the league’s other players anyway, then burnished it with his wayward foot beneath Kawhi Leonard that changed the Warriors-Spurs series last year and perhaps Leonard’s career as a whole. And now his uncomfortable rollover on Russell Westbrook’s legs after a play beneath the Golden State basket during the Warriors’ 112-80 hammering of the Thunder.

The play as you look at repeatedly looks more like (d) than (a), but not that different from (b) or (c), so the question becomes one of degree that looks more like this:

Is Zaza Pachulia:

(E): A bully.

(F): An enforcer.

(G): A significantly less adept Stephen Adams.

(H): Exactly the kind of piece all winning teams have – a guy who doesn’t need the ball at all, occasionally will be a liability but overall is hard to replace.

And there, all answers are correct.

Pachulia is hard on the eyes as players go, even more so since JaVale McGee was field-promoted to fan favorite last year. Fans hate his essentially hopelessness as an offensive force, they see his capacity for committing fouls and the number of centers among the group of title contenders against whom he is genuinely hopeless – your Adamses, your Clint Capelas, your Al Horfords and Jonas Valanciunases.

Spell that one five times fast. I dare you.

In other words, Pachulia is indeed B, C, F and G. He is capable of being A though is not routinely so, is often D without even trying, knows there are times when he is required to be E, and as he is still a Warrior, very definitely H.

But you’ll have decided what piece of the alphabet he is on a case-by-case basis. Think of him as a game of Scrabble with shoes.

NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports California reveal brand-new studio

NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports California reveal brand-new studio

NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California are about to get a whole new look. 

The home of Authentic Bay Area Sports will unveil its new state-of-the-art studio Saturday at 6:30 p.m. with "Sharks Pregame Live."

The sleek 2,270 square-foot studio boasts an interactive demo area and multiple anchor and reporter positions designed for movement and flexibility. 

“Our new studios will provide our anchors, analysts and insiders the ability to provide the region’s most comprehensive, informative and entertaining sports coverage across multiple platforms,” NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California Senior Vice President and General Manager Matt Murphy said in a statement. "We’ve created a world-class facility that is designed for innovation and the creation of compelling content for local sports fans.”

Every part of the studio can be used as a broadcast location, thanks to the litany of large displays integrated into its architecture, and a sleek LED display running the length of the studio forms the backdrop for the main anchor area. Located at the network's headquarters at 360 3rd Street in San Francisco, the studio includes 120 LED tiles in all: 75 are in the walls, and 45 are on the demo area's floor.

The studio, which was designed as part of a partnership between NBC Sports and the design group at Jack Morton Worldwide, primarily will serve as the main set for Warriors, Giants and 49ers pregame and postgame shows, as well as news updates, press conferences, breaking news and magazine shows.

A secondary studio will debut with "Sharks Pregame Live" on Oct. 16 at 7 p.m., and it primarily will host NBC Sports California's pre- and postgame shows, news updates, press conferences and breaking news. 

How to watch UFC Fight Night Sacramento: Live stream, start time, TV info

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USATSI

How to watch UFC Fight Night Sacramento: Live stream, start time, TV info

A pair of hometown heroes headline UFC Fight Night Sacramento on Saturday at Golden 1 Center. 

Urijah Faber (34-10-0) will fight for the first time since Dec. 17, 2016, coming out of retirement to fight Ricky Simon (15-1-0) about 15 miles from Faber's collegiate alma mater of University of California, Davis. Faber isn't lacking motivation coming out of retirement, and can give the crowd in Sacramento something to cheer about.

So, too, can Folsom native Aspen Ladd (8-0-0). She is undefeated in her pro career, but will face a more difficult opponent in Germaine de Randaime than at any point so far in her career. 

Here's the full card, which gets underway at 5 p.m. PT:

Undercard: Marvin Vettori (12-4-1) vs. Cezar Ferreira (13-7-0) [men's middleweight]
Undercard: Karl Roberson (7-2-0) vs. Wellington Turman (15-2-0) [men's middleweight]
Undercard: Josh Emmett (14-2-0) vs. Mirsad Bektić (13-1-0) [men's featherweight]
Co-main: Urijah Faber (34-10-0) vs. Ricky Simon (15-1-0) [men's bantamweight]
Main event: Germaine de Randamie (8-3-0) vs. Aspen Ladd (8-0-0) [women's bantamweight]

Here are the preliminary bouts, which begin at 2 p.m. PT:

Mike Rodriguez (9-3-0) vs. John Allan (13-5-0) [men's light heavyweight]
Andre Fili (19-6-0) vs. Sheymon Moraes (11-3-0) [men's featherweight]
Julianna Peña (8-3-0) vs. Nicco Montaño (4-2-0) [women's bantamweight]
Darren Elkins (24-7-0) vs. Ryan Hall (7-1-0) [men's featherweight]
Pingyuan Liu (13-5-0) vs. Jonathan Martinez (10-2-0) [men's bantamweight]
Lívia Renata Souza (13-1-0) vs. Brianna van Buren (8-2-0) [women's strawweight]
Benito Lopez (9-1-0) vs. Vince Morales (9-3-0) [men's bantamweight]

[RELATED: Predictions for UFC Fight Night Sacramento]

Here's how you can watch UFC Fight Night Sacramento on TV and online. 

Date: Saturday, July 13 at 2 p.m. PT (prelims) and 5 p.m. PT (main event)
TV: ESPN (prelims)
Live Stream: ESPN+ (main event)