Kerr the issue, not trash talk

Tonight, finally and thankfully, the Warriors’ preseason will come to a close in Los Angeles against the Lakers. And here’s what we’ve learned from it …

The Warriors don’t like the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers don’t like the Warriors. Doc Rivers and a few jealous souls believe the Warriors are lucky to be Champs. A bunch of NBA general managers don’t believe the Warriors will repeat. Draymond Green isn’t bashful. And James Michael McAdoo needs some work at the free throw line.

But we knew most of that already, didn’t we?

Here’s what we don’t know: How long can the Warriors can survive without Steve Kerr, their head coach?

What ultimately matters is the health of the Warriors’ core players and coach. Yes, Kerr means that much to a staff that is short on experience and has no proven candidate to replace him. If they avoid extended injuries to key players and Kerr returns to the big chair in the not-too-distant future, then the Champs can be Champs again. But if one or both doesn’t happen, all bets are off.

Now can we fast forward to the real season? Please?

FRAN THE MAN: One week after Stanford’s Francis Owusu made a ridiculous touchdown catch that turned him into an instant star, the buzz hasn’t worn off yet.

“Surreal,” Owusu called his sudden notoriety. “I’m enjoying the moment, but at the same time, I’m keeping my head down with the rest of my teammates getting ready for this next game [against Washington on Saturday night].”

In case you missed it — and shame on you for one month if you did — Owusu reached around a UCLA defender, blindly caught the ball and somehow kept his hands on it while they tumbled to the ground.

While the catch played across the country, Owusu stayed up until the wee hours to write a paper that was due the next morning.

LIFE IN THE FAST LANE: Yep, the wheels have come off the Seattle Seahawks, all right.

Running back Fred Jackson denied that he wrecked his sports car in a drag race after practice Tuesday, because, you know, people drive their black Corvettes into large planter boxes and stop signs then drag the signs across two-lane roads all the time. Jackson wasn’t injured and expected to play against the 49ers tonight, but his car sustained moderate damage to the front end.

“As of this time, there is no indication that Jackson was racing another vehicle,” Renton, Wash., police said in a statement. “He remained on scene until officers could speak to him. He was polite and cooperative.”

Maybe Jackson really did lose focus behind the wheel, although some found it a bit strange that local authorities did not contact several witnesses for their accounts of what took place. Because if it was a drag race, then Jackson and company — reportedly, serial troublemaker Marshawn Lynch — qualify as dumb and dumber.

In 2000, Cleveland Cavaliers teammates Bobby Phills and David Wesley burned rubber after practice one day when Phills’ Porsche spun out of control into oncoming traffic. The 31-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.

AHEAD OF THE CURVE: There has been greater emphasis on live, young arms around Major League Baseball this decade, and the amazin’ New York Mets have followed the trend better than anyone.

In their first seven postseason games, Mets pitchers threw 413 fastballs that were clocked at 95 miles or faster. That was 41 percent of their total pitches. No team had thrown more than 29 percent of their pitches at that rate, according to the Baseball Savant website.

It’s hard not to like the Mets’ future with young guns Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard at the front of the rotation. Let that be a lesson to the Giants and Athletics, who, beyond Madison Bumgarner and Sonny Gray, continue to rely heavily on rotation soft-tossers with mixed results.

DUMB LIKE FOX: Fox has paired all-time liar Alex Rodriguez and all-time gambling addict Pete Rose in the studio for its postseason baseball coverage, and they’ve wasted no time enlightening viewers across the country.

“They used to throw empty Jack Daniels bottles at me in New York,” Rose revealed.
Responded A-Fraud, “I’ve got a PhD in getting booed.”

Now if Fox adds Barry Bonds, the all-time druggie, imagine how much fun that would be?

NO TIME TO BE ANTI NIEMI: Goalie Martin Jones has been everything that the Sharks had hoped for and more in the early season. But the reluctance of the front office to make veteran Antti Niemi so much as a lowball offer may bite them before all is said and done.

Jones has never started more than 18 games in an NHL season. Will the 25-year-old still be this effective months from now? Or heaven forbid, what happens if he goes down with an injury for an extended period?

The 32-year-old Niemi could have split time with the kid while he served as a mentor for a season or two, and he would have done it at a reasonable price. Instead, while Niemi does solid work for the conference rival Dallas Stars on a three-year, $13.5 million deal, the Sharks pray that Jones and untested Alex Stalock can handle the load.

When Niemi came to San Jose off a Stanley Cup season, expectations were unrealistic. His supporting cast with the Chicago Blackhawks was so much better than it was here. Yet while his numbers weren’t spectacular — 132-69-28 record, 2.40 goals against average — they were consistently good. The veteran deserved a legitimate offer, not a cold shoulder.


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