San Jose Sharks and LA Kings Rivalry

NHL Fun: San Jose Sharks History

Part of what makes sports popular is the rivalries and the stories it produces for fans. Ever wonder why fans keep coming back for more despite the losses and shortcomings of their favorite teams? Chances are there’s a story they’re following and most likely, it’s a story they’re so emotionally invested in that it’s difficult to just walk away or turn off the TV.

If you read my blog, you’ll know that I’m passionate about the Golden State Warriors, but my love for sports goes beyond basketball. In the NHL, I’m a true blue San Jose Sharks fan and one particularly story I follow in the league is our rivalry against the LA Kings. The other rivalry we have is against the Anaheim Ducks, but I guess I just find the geographical rivalry against the LA Kings more exciting.

There’s no other way to describe it other than we just hate each other. In all seriousness, though, the rivalry stems from the fact that we’ve faced the LA Kings in the postseason more than any other team in the last few years. I guess the fans themselves are also a big reason why the rivalry between the two teams has blown up to the proportions we now enjoy.

If you’re a Sharks fan, one inside joke we throw at Kings fans is that the LA Kings weren’t even a team until 2012. That was the year when the Kings finally won their first championship in the franchise’s 45-year history. On their part, Kings fans just love to taunt us by saying we’ll never win a cup. Well, so far, they’re still right, but who knows? This season, Thornton and Marleau might finally vindicate us.

Do you follow the NHL? If not, I invite you to follow the journey of my beloved Sharks, or, at the very least, experience how fun the Sharks and Kings rivalry is.

 

 

oach Kerr and the 6-Man Rotation

Golden State Warriors: Fantasy Lineups

Okay, so you’re probably just as excited as I am about Kevin Durant playing for the Warriors, but what does this mean, really? We know that Durant is one of the best players in the league right now, among the Top 3 or Top 5, depending on who you ask, but his greatness all falls apart if the Warriors depend too much on offense and take a step back in their defense.

We already saw this last season. With an injured Bogut, the Warriors had a huge chunk of their defense missing. In the end, it appears that playing small ball doesn’t necessarily win championships, and it is likely going to stay that way for awhile until the game as a whole is played on shooting prowess, which, of course, the Warriors are clear leaders.

It seems like a no-brainer that in big games—like the hoped-for rematch with Cleveland in the Finals—the lineup to finish close games is expected to be Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green. But this might not be enough to defend the paint against a hard-driving LeBron or match up against tall front lines like San Antonio’s. I still believe that one of the reasons why we lost last season is because Bogut wasn’t around. Now, if the Warriors make it to the finals again, Coach Steve Kerr has more reasons to play Varejao or Pachulia.

What do you think? Should Coach Kerr just stick with a six-man rotation in Curry, Thompson, Iguodala, Durant, Green and Ian Clark? If so, how do you think Durant will fare playing the 4 or 5 spot? Personally, I think such a lineup goes against the principles of Coach Kerr’s basketball. For one, he doesn’t believe in “personality” basketball—always encouraging teamwork, communication, and cooperation, and all those other “fluffy” stuff.

Sure, it’s cheesy and laughable, but it works. I hope the Warriors have learned from last season not to forget their big men. If they want to win this season, they’re going to need them.

 

 

Dissecting the Raiders-49ers Non-Rivalry

The Raiders are a Threat. The 49ers? Not So Much

Because San Francisco and Oakland are just 12 miles apart, it’s but natural that a rivalry should arise. However, the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders play in different conferences (NFC West and AFC West, respectively), and this has kept a literal cross-city rivalry from realizing its full potential. This means that when they do meet in the regular season, everyone comes in full force.

The Battle of the Bay, as it is known in NFL circles, has been a tight race since the rivalry started in 1970. The Raiders hold a 7-6 rivalry record over the 49ers, who lost their latest matchup in 2014. Because the two teams were not scheduled to play each other in the 2016 regular season, it seems that both teams’ fans would have to wait a few more years. And, with team owner Mark Davis intent on moving the Raiders to Las Vegas, the rivalry might be in jeopardy at least for the next few years.

This season has been a tale of two teams on opposite ends of the standings. While the Raiders have been, well, raiding the AFC West, ruling the conference with a 10-2 record, the 49ers have been abysmal, managing only a 1-11 record and making everyone second-guess if Colin Kaepernick is no longer the quarterback he used to be.

Another weird, funny thing about this season is that the Raiders’ rise has been nothing but surprising. Since 2003, they have never managed to go above .500 and were always stuck at 3rd or 4th in the AFC West. Will they make it to the Super Bowl? Nothing’s set in stone, but among all other AFC teams, only the New England Patriots have shown consistency in winning. If the Raiders fail to make the Super Bowl this season, they still have a lot of young talent that can give them their first appearance since 2002. Indeed, things are looking up in the East Bay.

Contrast that with the 49ers’ poor performance just a few years removed from a Super Bowl appearance. With Coach Jim Tomsula getting fired and Chip Kelly getting the head coaching post after a losing season with Philadelphia, nobody expected the 49ers to make the playoffs this season. However, no one predicted that they’d go 0-10 after winning their opener against the Rams.

That being said, there isn’t any reason for 49ers fans to be confident about their team’s future. Management doesn’t seem to know what it’s doing, and Kaepernick seems to be a bit distracted.

 

 

The Sacramento Kings’ Playoff Chances

Will the Kings Get to the Playoffs? Not This Year, I’m Afraid

After finishing tenth in the Western Conference last season, the Sacramento Kings were poised to make modest gains in 2016-17. Sure, there was no way of getting past the second or even the first round of the playoffs, but the emergence of Demarcus Cousins as the prime USA big man at the Olympics was enough cause for guarded optimism. Rudy Gay was also touted to finally pick up where he left off in 2015-16, and they had two first-round picks in the 2016 Draft.

So, why in the world are the Kings stuck in 11th place right now? Both Cousins and Gay have ramped up their offense, but there is a huge drop-off for the rest of the team. For instance, Darren Collison remains an average passer at best, and does not exactly strike one as a defensive presence on the perimeter. Omri Casspi, who scored close to twelve points a game last season, inexplicably remains in the coach’s doghouse and has seen nine DNP-Coach’s Decisions so far.

Another factor is the decision to get Arron Afflalo and Matt Barnes from free agency over the summer. While both are not exactly bad players, they were not really the best players available at the moment. For someone who’s getting above than $12 million this year, Afflalo has sure looked more like someone with a $5 million contract. In my opinion, they should’ve retained Seth Curry and let 13th overall pick Giorgios Papagiannis go elsewhere. Curry is having sort of a breakout season in Dallas this year, scoring close to 11 points and making 2.6 assists a game. But it seems like there was no room for Collison, Ty Lawson, and Curry in the roster.

All in all, I wouldn’t be too optimistic about the Kings’ playoff chances this season. Let’s face it – Cousins and Gay can’t do everything. I’d rather wait a couple more seasons and see if the draft lottery is kind to them. That, or a move to a city that’s actually serious about its basketball.

 

 

Chris Paul’s Laser-like Performance after LASIK Surgery

Chris Paul is Now a Huge LASIK Fan

Chris Paul wants to let us in on a secret.

He has had bad eyesight since 2005, when he entered the NBA. At times, he had to memorize the eye chart at the Clippers’ medical facility just to pass his physical exams. Yet, he has led his team to six playoff appearances, played in nine All-Star Games, and led the league in assists and steals multiple times.

He did all of those with bad eyes.

His father and brother both got LASIK surgery as he was starting his NBA career, and both swear by the results. In contrast, Paul, who claims he is a bit of a hypochondriac, avoided the procedure altogether. It came to a point when Doc Rivers had to call him out for squinting during timeouts. But for him, as long as he could see where the rim was, all was good.

It took his mother to convince him to go to a LASIK specialist. At first, he was afraid and petrified at the prospect of a laser cutting his cornea, but his good friends LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, who both went through the same procedure, assured him that everything would be fine.

For the weeks following the surgery, he was anxious about what his eyes had gone through, calling the doctor whenever he felt something was off. After recovering, though, he is now an advocate of LASIK, and even helped Paul George through his own recovery.

Now, everyone can see and feel the effects. Chris Paul now shoots more from the outside, converting 2.2 treys out of 5.3 attempts for a per-game average of 41.5%, more than he has ever averaged in his career. He is also rebounding better, grabbing 5.2 rebounds, his highest average since the 2008-09 season.

Because of this, I feel the Clippers are a legitimate threat in the Western Conference. And we all have medical lasers to thank.

 

 

Who Is The Warriors’ Third Man?

Dubs Nation: Team Klay or Team Draymond?

Before Durant entered the picture, the Warriors’ top trio was obviously Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, but with the OKC star officially in Golden State, who do you think is next in line now after Steph Curry and him? No fan, even a Dubs nation hater, will tell you that Durant is going to be less impactful than Klay and Draymond, so yes the third-man distinction is between Klay and Draymond.

Personally, I’m more inclined to say it’s Draymond. Those on team Klay are quick to remind us of his explosive performance in Game 6 against Oklahoma, sinking in a historic 11 3-pointers to help save the Warriors from elimination, but all that tells me is his consistency when he gets hot. And that’s a pretty big condition if you ask me—that Klay has to find his rhythm before he can successfully transform into the other half of the Splash Brothers.

On the other hand, there’s Draymond who doesn’t need to get hot or at least, depend on it as much. His presence makes a huge difference on the team (I still say his absence from that ruckus with LeBron James in the finals spelled our doom) and it’s widely acknowledged—at least among fans—that his leadership and intensity as a player can’t easily be replicated.

So if we have to talk about it in terms of intangibles, Draymond takes the cake, without a doubt. Not only can he play different positions, but he also does so comfortably. The guy’s a hard worker, both from outside and inside the paint, fighting for every bucket, and that’s why I believe he completes the Warriors’ triumvirate.

I love Klay, but I think the Warriors are lucky to have Iguodala pick up his slack. Maybe, as the season unfolds, I’ll find a reason to change my mind, but I’m set on this for now.

 

 

Will The Warriors Be This Year’s Champs?

Golden State Warriors: A Closer Look This Season

I’m calling it as early as now—the Golden State Warriors are not going to be NBA Champs this season. Sorry, folks. Maybe next season or the season after that, but not this season. Now, before you get worked up and start accusing me of heresy, I want it to be clear that I’m actually a huge Warriors fan who is just seeing the forest instead of the trees. What I mean by this is that, while the Warriors are strong contenders on paper, we should be cautious not to overestimate ourselves. We have yet to see how the Durant is going to mesh with an already-established core group during the season, so excuse me if I’m not going to be like other fans who expect a championship even before the Warriors can play a single regular season game. C’mon, where’s the fun in that?

There’s another reason why it seems too soon to celebrate. Remember what happened to Miami in 2010? LeBron James and Chris Bosh teamed up with Dwayne Wade, but their trio came up short in the finals. You’d think fans would have learned from that experience, but hey, admittedly, that happened more than five years ago—can you believe how fast time has passed? Anyway, I’m just putting out the possibility that the same scenario can play out for Durant and the Splash Brothers.

Don’t get me wrong—I liked what I saw in the Warriors during the preseason. Their win over Portland gave fans a glimpse of what they wanted to see—extraordinary talent of different players coming together. More than anything, I’m excited to see how the Warriors will grow as a team. I’m with Coach Steve Kerr when he said that the Warriors are only a few weeks into this thing, so we haven’t really seen anything yet.

But hey, if they prove me wrong and end up snatching the championship from the clutches of LeBron James, then it’s all good to me.

 

 

The Wait Is Over for NBA 2016-2017 Season

Top NBA Storylines This 2016-2017 Season

Finally, the long wait is over!

Last season had been pretty historic in a number of ways; LeBron James did good on his promise to bring home a ring for Cleveland, while the Golden State Warriors broke the Chicago Bulls’ record of 72 wins. This season, it seems like all eyes will be on Kevin Durant and the rest of the Warriors who had formed a super team, but it’s not all about the Dubs and Cavs; here are other interesting stories to follow this season:

Dwayne Wade and the Chicago Bulls

Probably the second biggest storyline after Durant’s move to Golden State, Dwayne Wade suiting up for the Chicago Bulls is seen to kick-start a new era for the drama-prone team. If you recall, the Bulls had experienced some locker room drama—Derrick Rose and his contract situation, Pau Gasol and Coach Fred Hoiberg butting heads, and Joakim Noah’s alleged minutes restriction, among other things. With Dwayne Wade coming in, the Chicago Bulls have a pretty decent chance of bolstering their standing in the Eastern Conference. Let’s hope he didn’t throw away his 13-year legacy at Miami for nothing.

Russell Westbrook’s Revenge

When Durant left Oklahoma—and for Golden State no less—who wasn’t talking about it on social media? Well, Russell Westbrook, that’s for sure. OKC’s star point guard had even admitted that he hasn’t talked to Durant since the latter’s decision, which should clue you in on what could happen this season—revenge! While I’m a huge Warriors fan, I’m nevertheless excited to see what will become of OKC with Westbrook leading the pack. You can bet for sure that when the two former teammates meet on court, everyone, even non-Warriors and OKC fans, will be camping on social media.

Are you excited yet? I know I am!

Thanks for reading!

 

 

N.B.A Conference Final Preview

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N.B.A Conference Final Preview

Now that the N.B.A conference finals are upon us, I thought this would be a great chance to do a quick write up about what I think we can expect from both series. The first and probably the most exciting of the two match ups has to be The Oklahoma City Thunder Vs. The Golden State Warriors. Some have called this the David Vs Goliath match up but I think that is stretching it a little too far. The first thing we have to remember is that the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the San Antonio Spurs more time at home in a 7 game series then any team beat them the whole season. The Spurs only lost 1 game at home during the regular season and two during the playoff series.

When it comes to playoffs the production of the stars becomes even more important then in the regular season. Lebron James single handily almost beat the Warriors by him self. I would not be surprised to see Russel Westbrook and Kevin Durant put the Thunder on their shoulders and carry them to the promise land. Two things to keep an eye out, for one Thompson will most likely be guarding Westbrook on the defensive end and Draymond Green will be on Durant duties. That leaves Curry open to guard who ever is left and most likely be able to save some energy for the offensive end. With Russel Westbrook guarding Curry on the defensive end you have to wonder how much energy will that take out of him? You can say the same for Thompson as well. Second is the size differential, Warriors have mastered the small ball line up but the Thunder have Ibaka, Adams and Kanter all big guys who can  move really well, this may help when it comes to offensive rebounds. Lastly, the Warriors bench is a little deeper, how many benches can say they have last year’s N.B.A finals MVP coming off of it?

The Western Finals should make for some great basketball and I am excited to see who comes out on top!

Playoff Injuries

This next post should have been seen coming from a mile away, the past twenty four hours in the N.B.A has been heart break all around and mostly in California. We will first discuss the Warriors, who seemed they may have dodged a bullet when Stephen Curry returned so quickly from his ankle injury. Warrior fans know what a heart ache it has been with Steph Curry and his ankles. People forget that just over two years ago Stephen Curry was not even an MVP candidate, in fact he was not even top five at his own position. The main reason for this was because of his ankles and he could not stay healthy. This loss is huge for the Warriors, they still have the potential to win this round and the next round. But if I were them I would be very scared of the Trail Blazers, the Trail Blazers completely demolished them at home earlier in the season with Steph Curry and they are a quick and energetic team with C.J Mccollum and Damien Lillard leading the way. But the Spurs (if the Warriors are lucky to get that far will provide a huge threat to the Warriors). Next we have to talk about the L.A Clippers, a team that has had suck bad luck over the course of their tenure in L.A it almost comes as no surprise that they would loose their two best players in a matter of twenty four hours. With Chris Paul and Blake Griffin both getting injured and most likely being out for the rest of the playoffs. This is such a hard break for the Clippers, who were looking at facing the Warriors with out Steph Curry and most likely the Spurs in the next round. While they would have been huge underdogs in that series, anything can happen. My heart goes out to all the Clipper fans out there.