Hold ‘em players call this “a family pot,” when everyone at the table is playing into the same hand. This often results in a lot of chips going into the middle of the table, someone getting rich, and a lot of other people getting trimmed.
In other words, Stephen Curry wants to be consulted by the Warriors front office on any matter that involves the future of head coach Mark Jackson.
He didn’t say it in that Kobe Bryant-You’re-Damned-Right-My-Vote-Counts way, but he said it, and Curry does not say what he does not mean. If the Jackson issue has not become too far gone, he wants input.
From Comrade Poole comes Curry’s offering into the pot, with highlights below:
• “I hope they ask, for sure. And I’d give them my honest opinion. And hopefully that means something.”
• “I love Coach and everything he’s about. I love playing for him and that’s all that matters to me.”
• “We’re two years removed from being a terrible basketball team,” Curry said. “The transformation we’ve had since coach Jackson has been here is obviously evident and it raises the expectations. Yeah, we’ve lost some winnable games and games we shouldn’t have along the way, but that’s part of the growth process. We’re on pace for the best season in 20 years. That’s a sign of good change.
• “I support Coach 100 percent and understand what he’s done for us. Being in the locker room every single day and just observing from my rookie to year to now what has changed. Most of all of that is a result of him. So what people say or criticism he takes, I know he takes it on the chin and keeps moving. It doesn’t waver his confidence at all. That’s what I admire most about him. We’re going to go out and continue to play hard for the rest of this season and into the playoffs, and kind of block that noise out. Because I know everybody in the locker room supports him 100 percent.
• “Obviously, I’m not the one making decisions. But I have an opinion, just as each person does. And, hopefully, they listen to a certain point.”
And here’s why that matters, from Joe Lacob when Curry signed his four-year extension in 2012:
“It’s Steph’s team now.”
This is the spare key to the family Maserati, and Curry has been granted the use of it in the same way Chris Paul has been allowed to have say in Los Angeles. It’s not Bryant-level influence, but it is influence, and Curry may well be willing to exercise it.
There are continued indications that the rift between Jackson and the front office is considerable, and the events of the past few days – reassigning assistant Brian Scalabrine to ABH (Anywhere But Here) – are merely symptoms of the greater issue. Jackson’s leverage, which has been the team’s record and the possibility of a deep postseason run, had been considered the thin edge of the wedge, but if Curry means what he says about being a Jackson man, a new element has been introduced.
Curry may not exercise his full influence. Or his influence may not be enough to affect the tide of events. Or maybe the Warriors do get to the conference final or (dare we suggest) beyond, making the entire matter moot.
But it is now evident that Curry wants a seat at the table, and he will have one if he asks. That is, unless Lacob wants to wreck what’s been built over the past three years, which would require a level of insanity that had previously been the sole province of Chris (The Hologram) Cohan.
–Ray Ratto, CSNBayArea.com
Stanford wanted to pound the basketball inside and score. Dayton pounded back and scored more.
Stanford wanted to play defense by staying in front of Dayton and allowing no drives to the basket. Dayton did not follow Stanford’s request and drove to the basket.
Stanford wanted to keep advancing in the NCAA tournament. Dayton was the team that did, in an 82-72 defeat of the Cardinal here Thursday night.
March Madness, we all know, can be both sublime and cruel. This time Stanford absorbed the cruel portion — and the cruel math. The Cardinal was bounced from Sweet 16 into the Farewell 54 — the number of teams eliminated as of Thursday night.
“Right now, it’s just … it’s a very difficult pill to swallow,” said senior forward Dwight Powell in the moments after the game, his final one in a Stanford uniform.
The pill, however, was no fluke pill. Dayton had more depth and often more energy than Stanford, to the point where Cardinal coach Johnny Dawkins said he tried to spur his team’s defensive intensity with some too-strenuous behavior and was whistled for a technical foul.
“The ref did the right thing,” Dawkins said. “I should have been ‘T’d’ up. But I thought it was good for my kids.”
Not good enough. Stanford was trailing by 10 points at the time. It finished the first half trailing by 10 points. The strategy of taking a purposeful “T” occasionally works. More occasionally, it stands out as a “what-the-heck-I’ll-try-this-because-nothing-else-is-succeeding” move.
That said, Stanford did surge early in the second half and pulled within four points. Right about then, the A-list of Stanford fans in attendance em including football coach David Shaw, faculty member Condoleezza Rice, football alum Richard Sherman and basketball alum Josh Childress — came alive and stood up with some noise. They weren’t louder than Dayton’s large contingent, but they were ready to scream.
The moment passed quickly, though. On the Cardinal’s next two possessions, given two chances to pull within two points, Josh Huestis committed a turnover and Chasson Randle missed a layup. Two minutes later, Dayton was ahead by 12 points. That was pretty much it.
The Flyers from Ohio were supposedly underdogs but carried themselves like overdogs. They created turnovers, shot the ball fearlessly, passed the ball beautifully and managed to hold their own in rebounding against the taller Cardinal. Dayton coach Archie Miller shuttled his players on and off the floor in shifts. Eleven of his men played seven minutes or more. All scored. Dayton’s bench outscored Stanford’s 34-2.
“They came in waves,” Dawkins said.
“From top to bottom, they just kept coming,” Miller agreed about his lineup. “The way they shared the ball, moved the ball, pressured the ball … it gave us a chance.”
Stanford’s only bench points came on two free throws by reserve forward John Gage. The Cardinal roster was not built the same way as Dayton’s roster. So when Stanford big men Stefan Nastic and Powell found themselves in foul trouble, the Cardinal found themselves in real trouble.
They did keep playing hard, refusing to be blown out. But with 47 seconds remaining in the second half, Dawkins pulled almost all of his starters off the floor and conceded. The Cardinal faces were dour, but they shouldn’t be ashamed. They were a No. 10 seed that overachieved — and were just the fifth Cardinal team ever to reach the Sweet 16 (not counting the 1942 Stanford team that won the national title with a much smaller bracket).
“They left their legacy,” Dawkins said of his squad. “That’s something to be proud of, and I was very proud of them and their effort all season long.”
–Mark Purdy, San Jose Mercury News
Raiders fans should lower their Raider Nation flags to half staff this week and toast the memory of Ralph Wilson.
Wilson, the founder of the Buffalo Bills and a charter member of the American Football League whose generosity more than 50 years ago helped save the Raiders, died Tuesday at 95.
Wilson, a visionary, plopped down $25,000 to buy into the AFL in 1959 as the seventh franchise of the fledgling league that aimed to offer something different – and better – than the NFL. The Raiders were the eighth and final AFL entry, and the AFL kicked off in 1960.
In the fall of 1962, the Raiders were hemorrhaging money, broke to the point that Wilson offered a $400,000 loan – an enormous amount then – to keep the team afloat. Wilson feared the AFL would be doomed if one or more teams folded.
Back then, the Raiders were a desperate, floundering franchise, saved by what would become a rival.
A year later, Al Davis, then 33, was hired as the Raiders’ general manager and coach. In 1966, Wilson helped lure Davis to the AFL front office to become commissioner. But without Davis’ knowledge, the AFL owners were negotiating a merger with the NFL, something Davis didn’t want because he thought that in time the AFL would be the superior league. When the merger was announced in June 1966, Davis resigned and rejoined the Raiders.
–Joe Davidson, Sacramento Bee