Sports is rarely as simple as the Warriors make it, so let’s take a moment to consider the San Jose Sharks as the head to the Vale Of Doom for Games 3 and 4 of their first round Stanley Cup playoff series with the Los Angeles Kings.
The Vale of Doom, of course, being their own arena.
It has become dramatically more difficult to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a losing home record in the last 20 years, but of those who have, only two teams – the 1996 St. Louis Blues and ’98 Montreal Canadiens, won their opening series. Both got skulled in the second round, but worse, St. Louis became home-ice bandits in the playoffs and stopped winning on the road.
This brings us to San Jose, which has taken a 2-0 lead over the Kings in the 213, but now must defend the indefensible in the 408. If they mean to impress us, it won’t be by winning the series, but losing their three games at home and winning in seven. That has never been done before by anyone, ever, and if the Sharks intend to steal any notice from the stage-hogs to the north, they’ll have to go deep in the postseason while disappointing their customers even more than they did two years when they thoraxed the Kings’ series.
And if you’re a Sharks fan of any quality at all, you should be more than happy with that.
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Hard to believe that the New York Islanders didn’t bring out Gerry O’Flaherty to drop the ceremonial first puck for Brooklyn’s first hockey game in 74 years. O’Flaherty, an eight-year NHL veteran, is the son of former Brooklyn American player Peanuts O’Flaherty, who . . .
. . . oh for God’s sake. I’ve been seized by HockeyReference.com again.
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As for the Warriors, I can tell you as a qualified orthopedist that Stephen Curry is only as questionable for Monday’s second game against Houston as the score says. If the Warriors do as they did, he may be able to play fewer than 20 minutes in successive games for the first time since 2012.
Of course, that means that Patrick Beverley, who knows better than to plan for a Game 2 without Curry, will have to figure out how to guard him during time outs.
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And since we’re at it, officials Danny Crawford, Ron Garretson and Mark Lindsay navigated this potential hot mess of a game surprisingly well. We’ll be back later in the series for more targeted hatred.
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Dwight Howard, who was very much an ancillary player in Houston’s Game 1 offense, received some sympathy from noted charm/provocateur Draymond Green for not getting more touches early in Saturday’s game.
“I thank Draymond Green for saying that,” Howard said after practice Sunday. “But other than that I can’t focus on that. I can’t put my mindset if I get the ball. I got to do what I can regardless.”
He’ll thank him again Monday night with a gentle pat on the sternum from Uncle Elbow.
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Panthers-Islanders 3 and Blues-Blackhawks 1 are the only Stanley Cup games so far to reach extra time. Doesn’t Gary Bettman understand that overtime playoff hockey is the thing that separates us from the animals?
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Hawks-Celtics, on the other hand, was the only one of the first eight NBA playoff games that didn’t end with a double-digit margin, and that kind of blowout quotient (20.5-point margin per game) is what separates the animals from us.
Maybe you think Patrick Beverley’s more fun to watch now.
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It is always good to see that every spring game in college football ends in a tie, and even better that so many spring games are now being played before full houses. Nobody gets fired for poor performance, and everyone goes home happy – except of course for the moms who have to cut all those orange slices for all those players. There is, after all, always the unseen hand.
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And finally, America’s room service staffs demand freedom from disabled list restrictions for Pablo Sandoval. Hey, waiters and tray makers gotta eat too.