Dubs and Kings both fall; Heat unveil 2016 uniforms

(AP) — Danilo Gallinari scored 28 points and the Denver Nuggets withstood a 38-point performance by Stephen Curry to hand the Golden State Warriors their third loss of the season, 112-110 on Wednesday night.

The defending NBA champion Warriors (36-3) had won seven straight since their previous defeat, 114-91 at Dallas on Dec. 30.

Harrison Barnes added 18 points and Klay Thompson had 17 for the Warriors.

Will Barton scored 21 for the Nuggets, who snapped a four-game losing streak to the Warriors. Gary Harris added 18 points.

A dunk by Brandon Rush gave the Warriors a 68-64 lead, but Denver outscored Golden State 19-5 over the last 5 1/2 minutes of the third quarter to take a 10-point lead into the fourth.

(AP) — Eric Gordon made six 3s and scored 24 points, Anthony Davis also had 24 and the New Orleans Pelicans snapped a four-game skid by beating the Sacramento Kings 109-97 Wednesday night.

The Pelicans tied a team record by making 16 3-pointers. Gordon was 6 for 12 from long range and New Orleans was 16 for 33 overall.

New Orleans led by 15 at halftime and used a 15-0 run in the third quarter.

Norris Cole scored a season-high 18 points and Ryan Anderson hit four 3-pointers and scored 18 for the Pelicans, who had lost six of seven.

Davis (bruised back) missed the previous two games and his status was questionable earlier in the day. His importance to the Pelicans is evident in their 0-5 record without him this season. He had 10 rebounds and two steals.

DeMarcus Cousins had 32 points and 12 rebounds for the Kings.

 

By Mike Baca

The Butte College Roadrunners open up Golden Valley Conference play with a 78-66 win over College of the Siskiyous. Michael Shoemaker led the way for the Roadrunners with 22 points. Butte travels to Redding on Saturday to take on the Shasta Knights.

The Chico Heat baseball team unveiled the familiar colors they will don for the upcoming 2016 season. Back is the familiar pinstriped home jersey and the navy road jersey. Added the ensemble is the camo jersey which the players will wear during special occasions, holidays and games in which the organization honors our veterans.

Fans can start purchasing their Heat jerseys in the next few weeks. The Heat open play in June of 2016.

 

 

Rodgers and Pack move on; Walsh’s shank spares Seahawks

(AP) — The road team is 4-0 thus far in the NFL playoffs, which means each wild-card team has advanced to the divisional playoffs. The Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks each shook off slow starts to win on Sunday.

Chico’s Aaron Rodgers threw for a pair of first-half touchdowns and the Packers also ran for two scores in a 35-18 win at Washington. Green Bay’s first venture into the end zone was when Rodgers was sacked for a safety early in the first quarter, helping the Skins take an eventual 11-0 lead. But he threw scoring passes to Randall Cobb and Davante Adams while the Packers were scoring the last 17 points of the first half to take a 17-11 lead.

Green Bay didn’t allow another point after quarterback Kirk Cousins ran for a three-yard touchdown on the first possession of the second half. James Starks put the Packers back on top to stay with a four-yard run on the next possession. Eddie Lacy’s two-yard run was followed by a two-point conversion that gave Green Bay a two-touchdown lead with 12:23 remaining.

The Butte College and Pleasant Valley High product Rodgers was 21 of 36 for 210 yards and no interceptions for the Packers, who take on the Cardinals in Arizona next weekend.

The Seahawks went the first three quarters of their NFC wild-card game without scoring a single point, but they still managed to advance to the divisional playoffs against the Panthers in Carolina.

The Seahawks were able to celebrate a 10-9 win at frigid Minnesota only after Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard field goal with 26 seconds left. Walsh had converted kicks of 22, 43 and 47 yards to help the Vikings take a 9-0 lead into the fourth quarter before his potential game-winning kick sailed very wide of the left goalpost.

The bad kick wasn’t the only major fourth-quarter mistake by the Vikings. Adrian Peterson’s fumble set up Steven Hauschka’s (HOWSH’-kuhz) 46-yard field goal, putting the Seahawks ahead with 8:04 remaining. The fumble occurred one drive after Russell Wilson hit Doug Baldwin for the game’s only TD.

Wilson had trouble throwing the ball with game time temperature at minus-6 degrees and a -24 wild chill factor, completing 13 of 26 passes for 142 yards and an interception. His best play came on a scramble as he gathered a fumbled snap and rolled away from the Vikings’ defense before hitting Tyler Lockett for a 35-yard completion that set up Baldwin’s touchdown.

Minnesota’s offense also struggled in the deep freeze. Peterson gained just 45 yards on 23 carries, and Teddy Bridgewater was 17 of 24 for 146 yards.

The Vikings finish the season 11-6.

(AP) — Regardless of the outcome of Monday night’s College Football Playoff championship game between No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Alabama, a case can be made that no team in the history of the sport has had a better run than the Crimson Tide under coach Nick Saban.

If Alabama beats the Tigers to win a fourth national title in seven seasons, the argument may be settled.

There was talk early in the season after Alabama lost to Mississippi that the Tide dynasty was in decline. Now Alabama (13-1) is one victory away from an unprecedented achievement.

The Tide can become just the third school in college football’s poll era, dating back to the creation of The Associated Press media poll in 1936, to win four championships in a 10-year span.

 

The Bengals Deserved to Lose

By. Michael Vislosky

In arguably the craziest football game I have seen in my 28 years on this earth, the Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in the wild card round of the NFL playoffs. That was not a mistake what I said just now, the Bengals did defeat the Bengals. They fought all the way back after being down 15 to 0 heading to the 4th quarter only to put on the most disgraceful display of sportsmanship I have ever seen.

Up 16 to 15 the Bengals intercepted back up quarterback Landry Jones who was replacing injured Ben Roethlisberger. On the very next play running back Jeremy Hill fumbled after picking up 9 yards. The Steelers then got the ball just past midfield, and that’s when everything went crazy. On first down, Roethlisberger, who came back into the game, threw a pass intended for Antonio Brown, and Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict knocked out Brown. The hit was horrible, it looked as if he was intending to injure Brown. That’s only where the crazy began. Adam Jones then received a unsportsmanlike penalty after getting into it with linebackers coach Joey Porter. Without running a play, the Steelers gained 30 yards, kicked a field goal and won the game 18 to 16.

This game was chippy from the start. These two teams have a history that goes back many years, but that does not excuse what took place. The Bengals lost their minds, plain and simple. A franchise that has not won a playoff game in 25 years showed why they haven’t. Watching it happen in front of my eyes I was speechless. Coach Marvin Lewis seemed to have absolutely no control of his team. In my opinion, I think there is a chance that Marvin Lewis may have coached his last game as Bengals head coach.  A team with a coach in control, does not display what the Bengals showed on national TV. Suspensions will come from this. Vontaze Burfict will miss time next year, that is not a question.

The Steelers who let this game slip away, pulled it out in the end, but it came at a price. Who knows right now if Ben Roethlisberger will play next week, but I will be shocked if Antonio Brown plays. He could barley walk off the field after the hit, and it was amazing that he was even able to get up. After all the dust settles, this game could change a lot of things for these two teams.

Chico State men make statement in Humboldt

By Mike Baca

The challenge was clear for the Chico State Wildcats men’s basketball team on Thursday night. Slow down that Humboldt State offense or pay the price. With a stingy defensive performance and domination on the boards, the Wildcats knocked off their rivals to the north 86-68 winning the first of at least two installments between the long-time antagonists.

From the outset the Wildcats made it clear that closing out on the Jacks potent three point shooters and face-guarding would be the order of the day. Aside from 6-to-7 minute stretch in the first half, the Cats executed Greg Clink’s defensive game plan perfectly. They challenged Lumberjack shooters, forcing them to beat the Cats off the dribble. Chico’s confidence in their back-side rotations was paramount in this strategy. They knew they would pay a price for these hard close-outs, but the result would be a contested two point shot rather than a wide open 22 footer, which Humboldt has been hitting with regularity.

The rebounding advantage for Chico State was one of the biggest surprises of the night. Chico decimated the Jacks on the boards, out-rebounding the hosts 45-21, grabbing 18 offensive rebounds which led to 25 2nd chance points.

Coming into the game Chico knew Rakim Brown, Malik Morgan and Thomas Witzel were major impediments. The Cats held Brown to 12 points, 8 below his season average. Morgan was forced into an uncharacteristic 7 turnovers and Witzel, a 43 percent three-point shooter, was only 1-for-6 from deep and scored only 11 points to go with 4 boards.

Chico’s offense clicked at a rhythm and pace that gave them every opportunity to get good shots. Despite 18 turnovers, Chico State displayed a discipline approach and was seeking not only good shots, but great shots all night. Coach Clink’s emphasis on being in constant search mode for good shots paid the ultimate dividends on Thursday. Robert Duncan scored 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting. Tanner Giddings dazzled again with 17 points and 10 rebounds  and Isaiah Ellis scored 14 points and grabbed 6 boards.

It was complete performance by the Wildcats in one a season’s big games against a long-time rival. This certainly is not the time for Chico to feel too good about themselves though, awaiting the Cats on Saturday is perennial power and co-tenant of first place in the CCAA, the Cal Poly Pomona Broncos. Another in a series of big games in this 2015-2016 campaign.

The Kid gets enshrined; Piazza gets in on 4th try

 

(AP) — Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza will become the newest members of baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Griffey was on 437 of 440 votes in his first appearance on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot. His 99.3 percentage topped Tom Seaver’s 98.84 in 1992.

Griffey won seven Silver Slugger awards and hit 630 home runs.

Piazza (pee-AHT’-zah) got in with 83 percent of the vote on his fourth time on the ballot. Piazza was a 12-time All-Star with the Mets and Dodgers and leads all catchers with 427 home runs.

Jeff Bagwell fell 15 votes shy of induction, while Tim Raines missed by 23 votes.

Induction ceremonies at Cooperstown are July 24.

(AP) — All-Star outfielder Alex Gordon has agreed to a four-year, $72 million contract to remain with the World Series champion Kansas City Royals.

Gordon declined an option for $13.75 million to test free agency.

He’s become not only one of the best defensive outfielders in the game with four Gold Gloves to his resume, but also a consistent hitter and clubhouse leader.

(AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired coach Lovie Smith on Wednesday night.

Smith went 6-10 this season and 8-24 over two years in charge of the team. The announcement came as a surprise to many because Smith’s job was not considered to be in danger.

A statement from Buccaneers Co-Chairman Joel Glazer said, “This decision was difficult on a variety of levels. I am disappointed that we were not more successful these past few seasons, but we are committed to doing what is necessary to give our fans the winning team they deserve. ”

General manager Jason Licht will oversee the search for a new coach.

Smith led the Chicago Bears to the NFC title in 2006, when they lost to Indianapolis in the Super Bowl. He was 84-66 in nine seasons with Chicago.

Painful End To Great Season

By. Michael Vislosky

My name is Michael Vislosky, I was born in Staten Island New York and have lived in the Chico area for around 20 years. This is my blog which I will be posting on quite often. The name Twitch’s Take comes from the fact that I have Tourettes Syndrome and Twitch is my nickname. For my first blog I am writing about the football team that I have followed since I was 6 years old, the New York Jets. Being a Jets fan is not easy, somewhat like being a Browns fan, but this season was different. Before this season began I predicted 4 things, a top 5 defense, top 10 offense, 10 wins and playoffs. I was right on 3 out of 4, they didn’t make the playoffs. The way they didn’t make the playoffs was the most painful, losing twice to former coach Rex Ryan. If they had lost to any other team to be knocked out of the playoffs it truly would not have hurt as much. I read all the message boards on ESPN or CBS sports and after the game so many people are quick to play the blame game and say horrible things. The biggest blame went to Ryan Fitzpatrick for throwing 3 interceptions in the 4th quarter, but people forget without his 31 passing touchdowns and others on the ground, the Jets would have been a middle of the pack team.  Looking at all 3 interceptions in the 4th quarter, I really don’t put the blame on Fitzpatrick. The first interception was a route where the ball was thrown before the receiver made his break, if the receiver would have ran a better route it could have been a touchdown. The second he was hit as he threw the ball which led to a pop fly throw that if on target would have been a 25 year completion. The third was desperation, with 17 seconds left a miracle would have been needed.  The loss was not just one persons fault, it was the teams, you win as a team and you lose as a team.

As a die hard fan, who is depressed for at least a week after loses, this season was different. I watch the games with my younger brother every week, and we both said that there was something about watching this team this year. Could possibly be the fact that this was the first team in recent history that had an offense. A fifteen hundred yard receiver, another thousand yard receiver, a thousand yard rusher and an almost 4000 yard quarterback. The games were fun to watch and they were in every game except for one this year. All that made the way the season ended so painful. This team should have all the players and motivation they need to come back next year and finish the mission. Even with the disappointment, this year was everything I could have wanted as a fan.

Dubs roll Lakers; Kings lose heartbreaker in Double OT

(AP) — Klay Thompson scored 22 of his 36 points in the first quarter and Stephen Curry added 17 before sitting out the fourth to rest his ailing leg in the Golden State Warriors’ 109-88 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.

Kobe Bryant sat out his third straight game with a sore right shoulder for the Lakers, whose three-game winning streak ended in Golden State’s 33rd win in 35 games.

Curry stayed in the game after taking a blow on his left leg in the third period, but briefly limped with obvious frustration on his face. The reigning MVP missed two games with a bruised lower left leg last week before returning for Golden State’s last two games.

Curry went to the locker room before the fourth.

(AP) — Deron Williams hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer in the second overtime, and the Dallas Mavericks beat Sacramento 117-116 Tuesday night for their 22nd consecutive home victory over the Kings.

Williams took an inbounds pass from Devin Harris with 2.3 seconds left, pump faked to get Rudy Gay to fly by him in the left corner and the ball went in after the buzzer sounded.

Dirk Nowitzki hit an earlier 3 as the Mavericks scored the last eight points after falling behind 116-109 with 1:20 left in the second overtime.

DeMarcus Cousins scored 35 for his third straight 30-point game for the Kings, including a buzzer-beating layup for a 98-98 tie at the end of regulation.

Former Dallas guard Rajon Rondo was out with back spasms in his first visit since an acrimonious split after an ill-fated half-season with the Mavericks.

(AP) — Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and Phillies first sacker Ryan Howard have filed defamation lawsuits in Washington against Al-Jazeera America over statements made in a documentary about performance-enhancing drugs in sports.

The suit alleges that Charles Sly, a pharmacist who appeared in the documentary, made false statements when he said Zimmerman and Howard both took a human growth hormone. The documentary also suggested that Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning took HGH while recovering from neck surgery.

LOCAL SPORTS

Oroville High School junior guard Ryan Lowe put on a show and the Chico High Panthers paid the price. Lowe scored 35 of his 42 points in the second half as Oroville knocked off Chico 78-65 in the Eastern Athletic League opener for both squads. With the win the Tigers move to 8-3 on the season, while Chico falls to 9-5.

The Pleasant Valley boys basketball team eased to a 51-24 win over Paradise in their EAL opener. The Vikings would jump out to an early lead and would not look back.  Pleasant Valley held Paradise to 8-for-55 shooting on the night. PV moves to 10-4 on the season while Paradise drops to 5-6.

Las Plumas 51-34 over Corning

The Butte College Roadrunner men’s basketball team has one more tune-up before they open Golden Valley Conference play. The Roadrunners will play Simpson College’s JV squad on Friday before they play College of the Siskiyous at Cowan Gym next Wednesday.

Butte is sitting at 10-6 on the season with several strong performances in pre-season tournaments.

 

Warriors take on Lakers at Staples

By Mike Baca

The 32-2 Golden State Warriors travel to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers  tonight at the Staples Center. The Warriors are trying to win their third game in the last four days. The Lakers have won only 8 games all year and may have to do it without Kobe Bryant who is listed as day-to-day. Game time tonight is 7:30pm

 (AP) — Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton has the cast off his passing hand, and coach Marvin Lewis says it’s possible he could be AJ McCarron’s backup when the Bengals host Pittsburgh in the playoffs on Saturday night. Dalton broke his right thumb while making a tackle in a 33-20 loss to the Steelers on Dec. 13. McCarron is preparing to start his fourth straight game in Dalton’s place.

(AP) — Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin says running back DeAngelo Williams is day-to-day for Saturday’s wild-card game against Cincinnati. The 32-year-old Williams injured his right leg in Sunday’s season-closing win over Cleveland. He’s tied for the NFL lead with 11 rushing touchdowns.

(AP) — Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has brought in Paul DePodesta, a baseball executive and analytics expert with 20 years of major league experience, to be the NFL team’s new chief strategy officer. DePodesta has been a longtime aide to Sandy Alderson and the Mets’ vice president of player development and amateur scouting.

. (AP) — Tom Coughlin (KAWF’-lihn) says he may not be done coaching a day after stepping down as the New York Giants head coach. The 69-year old thanked the organization and his players, among others, for his 12 years as the Giants coach. Coughlin won two Super Bowls during his tenure, but the Giants have posted three straight losing seasons.

(AP) — Free agent slugger Mike Napoli and the Cleveland Indians have finalized their $7 million, one-year contract. The Indians are hoping the 34-year-old can add some much needed right-handed power. He has 204 career homers. Napoli hit .224 with 18 home runs and 50 RBIs with Boston and Texas in 2015.