Bay Area Sports Preview 11/3/2016Thursday, November 3, 2016 18:14
Weekly Bay Area sports preview for 11/4/2016.
Weekly Bay Area Sports Preview
The Bay area is home to some of the most exciting teams in sports, and this weekend the Bay’s finest will be at the forefront of the national stage in both football and basketball.
It all starts Thursday night, when the reigning Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors play host to the vengeance hungry Oklahoma City Thunder. This is without a doubt the most anticipated matchup of the season so far, as every fan in the country wants to see Russell Westbrook take on former teammate Kevin Durant and his new super team.
The four game regular season series between these two rivals already figured to be a good one after the teams met in last year’s riveting Western Conference finals. But when Durant and Westbrook failed to close out the series against the Warriors, and then Durant fled OKC for the very team that just knocked them out of the playoffs, the rivalry intensified. Russell Westbrook already plays like he’s angry at everyone else on the court, and this time he probably will be. If he channels that anger into a monster game, as he typically does, it’s certainly possible that he could overwhelm the Warriors. Steph Curry will have his hands full defensively, and Westbrook is one of the few guards in the league that has the motor to harass Curry on the other end of the court for the duration of the game.
Of course, the Warriors should be seen as heavy favorites even if Westbrook does get the better of Curry–and that’s certainly no sure thing. OKC has done little to improve their roster since last season, and the Ibaka-for-Oladipo trade, though a big splash, is yet to be labeled a booming success. On the other hand, the Warriors have upgraded from Harrison Barnes to Durant, replaced Andrew Bogut with the comparable Zaza Pachulia, and have veteran names rounding out their depth. Barring a superhuman effort from Westbrook, the Warriors figure to keep rolling after their opening night loss, and enter the weekend at 4-1.
Then, on Sunday, Bay Area sports fans are treated to a doubleheader of NFL football, starting at 4:05pm ET when the San Francisco 49ers host the New Orleans Saints at Levi’s Stadium. The 49ers haven’t won since they shutout the Rams 28-0 in Week 1, but will look to right the ship at home as they come off their bye week. Chip Kelly figures to have something up his sleeve on offense against the much-maligned Saints defense, but the 49ers defenders will have their own challenges in keeping up with Drew Brees and the Saints’ receivers. On both sides of the ball, Kelly seems intent on making no personnel changes.
The main event of the day will be held in primetime, as the defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos visit the Oakland Raiders on Sunday Night Football. NFL fans will be waiting all day for this game, as it already figures to have major playoff implications. The Raiders are currently tied with the Broncos for 1st place in the AFC West. The winner of this game will take sole ownership of 1st place in the division, and will have the inside track on earning a first round bye in the playoffs as a top two seed in the AFC. We’ll see if home-field advantage is enough to tip the scales of this game in the Raiders’ favor, or if the Broncos’ dominant defense will keep Derek Carr and Amari Cooper in check.
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