Thursday, December 13, 2012

Notes: 49ers, Giants and Warriors Take Over

With the Giants winning the World Series for the 2nd time in 3 seasons, the 49ers well on their way to another playoff birth and the Warriors off to their best start in over two decades, these three franchises have taken over the Bay Area sports media focus.

Giants: After staying relatively quiet throughout the first month of free agency, the Giants have made the moves they were hoping for all along in re-signing Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro, but on Thursday, they added another familiar face back into the mix. Andres Torres was non-tendered by New York last month and one couldn't help but think the Giants would inquire about him with their need for outfield help. Torres is coming off a couple of down years after his breakout 2010 campaign, so the Giants were able to get him on a bargain 1-year, $2M deal. I was hoping the Giants would find that right-handed, power hitting corner outfielder they were looking for, but apparently in this market, even guys like Scott Hairston are out of their price range. That being said, Torres is not a bad fallback option at all and should be more than capable as the fourth outfielder and may even give Blanco a run for playing time in left field if he gets hot. He hit over .300 in a reserve role in 2009, and hit .265 with 16 HR's  and 29 SB as a full-timer in 2010. The Giants like Torres' switch hitting abilities, his solid defense and his speed on the base paths, so even if they aren't able to add another outfielder to the depth chart between now and February, they have to feel pretty good with their group heading into 2013. More Giants Talk Here!

49ers: Speaking of 2013, we're just a few weeks away from the new year and the start of the NFL playoffs, but for 49ers fans, it kind of feels like the playoffs start this weekend. The 49ers will head into New England Sunday for a matchup that was a muffed punt away from being last years Super Bowl. After a few less than spectacular games, including the loss to St. Louis and allowing the Dolphins to take hang with them at home last week, the 49ers will be looking to rebound vs. a well-rounded Pats team. New England's offense is a pass-first attack and Tom Brady has the ability to pick the 49ers defense apart. It'll be crucial to get pressure on him throughout the day if they want to contain that passing attack. Defensively, the Pats are much improved, but they can be beaten. The 49ers may need to go to the air a little more than they've been recently, so a lot of this game will lie on the shoulders of young Colin Kapernick. If there's ever a time to make your statement that you've arrived as one of the better young QB's in the league and are here to stay, it's vs. Tom Brady and the Patriots. However, this game isn't all on Kaepernick. The O-line must do it's job in keeping the Pats' pass-rush off Kaep's back, and the 49ers must establish Gore early and often. The Niners should be treating this game like a playoff game, and they should learn a lot from this one, win or lose.

Warriors: Finally, we have the team that's been giving the 49ers a run for their money in both air time and print space across Bay Area media outlets. The Golden State Warriors came up with perhaps their most impressive victory of the young season Wednesday, rolling into South Beach and beating the reigning Champion Miami Heat on an impressive last second layup by the rookie Draymond Green. The 'Dubs were hanging with Miami all night long, even holding the lead throughout most of the contest, but what really impressed me was the way they closed the game out down the stretch. As he's been doing a lot recently, Mark Jackson stuck with the small lineup of Jarrett Jack, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, David Lee, Carl Landry and a lot of Draymond Green down the stretch, and for the fifth straight time on this 7-game roadie, that group closed out a Warriors win. Klay Thompson led the Warriors charge with 27 points, 7 boards and 4 assists as he thoroughly outplayed Dwayne Wade and did a tremendous job in containing the dangerous off-guard. David Lee also chipped in another 22-13 night to help overcome a bit of an off night out of Steph Curry, and that's another sign that this team is for real. When your top scorer gets shut down, and you still find a way to defeat the consensus best team in the NBA, you know you've got something special going on... With the win, the Warriors have moved to 15-7, and they've thrived even without their star 7-foot center, Andrew Bogut. More Warriors Talk Here!

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