Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry reacts after Toronto Raptors' Corey Joseph put the ball out with seconds remaining on the clock during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Toronto, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)

Even when vulnerable, Warriors can’t lose

It was a bad Saturday for Fred “Sure Shot” Dunlap and the St. Louis Maroons, but it was a heckuva one for Stephen “Dead Eye” Curry and the Warriors.  
The Warriors survived a scare against the Raptors in Toronto for their 21st victory in a row, the most at the start of a season in the history of professional team sports. And that’s a lot of history. The 1884 Maroons of the Union Association had owned the very, very old mark.
The Champs pulled it off without two starters — Andrew Bogut (lower back spasms) and Harrison Barnes (sprained left ankle) — but as long as Curry was around, it didn’t seem to matter who was along for the ride. He went off for 44 points on only 24 field-goal tries.
Curry also reminded us how vulnerable his team really was late in the first quarter, when he stumbled face first into defender DeMarre Carroll after an off-balance shot. He left the game with aslightly swollen eye but was able to turn a short time later.
Today the Warriors will bid for No. 22 in Brooklyn, where the New York media throngs may pose a more difficult obstacle than the Nets themselves.
REST OF THE STORY: Now about that Sure Shot guy. . . . 
Dunlap was the Maroons’ star first baseman-manager who hit .412 in the 1884 season. After his team won the UA pennant, it moved to the National League then signed Zack Greinke to a six-year, $206.5 million contract and went broke.
 
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST:  Hide the coaches and executives. Shield the PSL sellers and ballboys. Idiot owner Jed (Scarface) York is at it again.
On Friday, team president Paraag Marathe became the latest scapegoat on the 49ers’ crazy train, and the Faithful (yeah, all five of you) can only wonder where and when the purge ever will end.
First, coach Jim Harbaugh was bumped off. Then quarterback Colin Kaepernick took the plunge. Now Marathe has taken one for Team York.
(Warning to general manager Trent Baalke: Don’t turn your back, buddy, because you may be next.)
The demotion of Marathe after 15 seasons in the organization was no small move. He was a York confidant not long ago and will continue to assist in other family business matters, we’re told. That his pink slip came less than two years after after his bump upstairs reminded us just how short-sighted York was as a NFL team owner, not that we already didn’t see it on the field this season.
If York hires a qualified football person to be his right-hand man — Steve Young, anyone? — this can turn out to be a positive. But does anyone believe he’s capable of even one bright move? In his mind, he’ll forever be an unqualified success. After all, he did the near-impossible around these parts — contrived a way for a $1.3 billion stadium to built mostly with public money — and the value of the franchise skyrocketed as a result. At this rate, though, York will have an almost new Levi’s Stadium and nobody to fill it before long. 
Then again, as long as the Taylor Swifts and Kenny Chesneys come to his place, maybe York just doesn’t give a damn about his dumb old football team.
 
GO FIGURE: To understand how ridiculous it has gotten at 4900 Marie P. DeBartolo Way, consider that metrics trumped common sense in the decision to punt the ball late in the loss against the Seattle Seahawks two weeks ago. The Niners trailed 29-13 at the time.
“Statistical information and the analytics right there, yes,” coach Jim Tomsula revealed. “It was backed up. And every decision that we make, I find out [the probabilities]. … (Tight ends coach) Tony’s [Sparano] involved with me as we study those, and then Hamp [analytics director Brian Hampton] comes down. We go through those every week.”
Ohhh-kaaaaay.
 
SHOTGUN FORMATION: Sonny Dykes may have no choice but to want Cal, and Cal may have no choice but to want him, but shotgun marriages often have their price.
Cal isn’t Dykes’ top priority. That came obvious last week, when he interviewed with Missouri and South Carolina. If either had made a reasonable offer, he would be gone already. Now Dykes has his sights on South Carolina, the only major program with a vacancy at the moment, but Will Muschamp appears to have the inside track there.
If nothing else, Dykes increased his leverage the last few days. Expect Cal to up the offer that it put on the table before the coach went on his contract tour. Still, a pay hike won’t do Dykes much good when he tries to sell the program to his older players. That doesn’t bode well for a Cal team that doesn’t believe in defense and won’t have quarterback Jared Goff to lean on next season.
WHERE WAS LARRY, BARRY? In his introduction as batting coach for the Miami Marlins, Barry Bonds said the offer was the “only opportunity” presented to him in Major League Baseball. Which begs a question: What happened to the presumed role that Giants CEO Larry Baer repeatedly said he had for Bonds?
Mysteriously, Baer now says that he and Bonds simply couldn’t come up with a dual fit and wished the asterisked home-run champion well in South Florida. Translated, it means the Giants are thrilled to no longer deal with the ongoing public-relations mess. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, who came up with the Bonds idea and has enjoyed a friendship with the disgraced slugger, will have to live with the fallout.
“I know some people are going to be upset, some people are going to be happy,” Bonds said of his return to game he sullied. “The only way I’m going to find out is if I try. I’m going to try it and see, and hopefully I’m really good at it.”
And if he knows a good PED shop in Coral Gables, he should keep it to himself.
 
THE LIST: Balls’ picks against the spread in Week 13 of the NFL season:
  • Arizona Cardinals (-5 1/2) at St. Louis Rams: Two-word explanation: Nick Foles.
  • Cincinnati Bengals (-6 1/2) at Cleveland Browns. According to Balls’ power rankings, the Browns are the fourth-best team in Ohio behind the Bengals, Ohio State and Bowling Green.
  • 49ers at Chicago Bears (-6 1/2): Think Vic Fangio and his defense would like to pitch a shutout here?
  • Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers (-6): This assumes that Ben Roethlisberger plays without a scrambled brain.
  • Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots (-13): The Patriots haven’t lost two consecutive games in three years. Coach Bill Belichick hasn’t seen a score that the couldn’t run up ever.                                                                                                                Last week: 3-2. Season: 37-23 (.617).

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