Balls: By the way, Giants are pretty good, too 


Balls interrupts Warriors Mania to bring you an important message: The Giants have given up losing. In fact, they have given up giving up almost anything.

The return of Hunter Pence has made a difference, no doubt, but the turnaround is more about starters Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, Tim Hudson, Chris Heston, Ryan Vogelsong and the bullpen. The Champs took a franchise-record 37 scoreless innings into the weekend, and they actually owned the West Division lead for a few hours. They dropped to second place on Saturday night, when the Atlanta Braves handed them only their seventh loss in 28 games this month, but that's not important at the moment. What matters is that, for the most part, the real Giants team is healthy and back on the field again.

Now aren't you happy that Balls talked you down from that bridge a few weeks ago?

PUCKS RULE: While the NBA playoffs take a seven-day vacation, the NHL cannot be more thrilled to have the national stage to itself for a while.

The NBA playoffs have been a bore for the most part, and it didn't help that both conference series were one-sided affairs. Meanwhile, the pucks version has packed plenty of drama and big-market appeal, not to mention two conference finals that went the limit.

The Cleveland Cavaliers-Warriors series is destined to last seven games if for no other reason than the NBA can't afford to have it be anything less.

HOTTEST TICKET IN TOWN: Better get your tickets for Game 7 as soon as possible, because the average ticket price in the open market is about to reach $2,000 already.

According to TiqIQ, the overall average price of $1,458.37 is the highest for any finals series this decade. The previous mark was $1,201.49 for the Boston Celtics-Los Angeles Lakers matchup five years ago.

The average is $1,486.02 for the four possible games at Oracle Arena and $1,324.79 for the three at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

And you may have to go to Quicken Loans to afford one.

NO BRAINS ASSOCIATION: Balls isn't a doctor, but it has talked to enough of them to know that a concussion test is reason enough to take the recipient out of the game.

So the question persists, why was the Warriors' Klay Thompson allowed to return to the final game of the Western Conference finals even if he had passed concussion tests after a kick to the head that resulted in three stitches? Thank goodness blood started to ooze from his ear after he returned to the bench. Because if he had taken another hard blow in the same area, there might be a moment of silence at Oracle Arena this week.

Thompson felt so lousy after the game that, according to his father Mychal, he vomited and was unable to drive home. In another rush to judgement, agent Bill Duffy announced that his client did not have a concussion. One day later, the team confirmed that he indeed had suffered one.

The NBA concussion protocol is a bit, uh, fuzzy to say the least.

AND THROW AWAY THE KEY: Now that the Houston Rockets are home for the off-season, the NBA police have decided to upgrade the flagrant foul that Dwight Howard committed in Game 5 of the conference finals. How convenient of them. If the big hack had been called for a Flagrant 2 fraction in Game 4 — his forearm to the face of Andrew Bogut warranted it — he would have been suspended for the next one. Now he'll have to sit out nothing more than a meaningless regular-season game.

If the league really wanted to come down on him, it would have locked Howard inside a gym until he made 150 free throws. That would have taken him roughly two hours, or about the equivalent of one game.

HERE'S TO YOU, MR. ROBINSON: For Sharks fans, the best news to come out of the hiring of coach Peter DeBoer was the lead role that player development director Larry Robinson played in it.

In an organ-i-zation that isn't particularly deep in hockey acumen, Robinson is the exception. The next logical step is to have Robinson replace general manager Doug Wilson then move Wilson upstairs, not that the San Jose Hockey Country Club is into logic or anything.

YOUR TURN: "I believe you missed one vital point in your argument about the 3-point shot. We must always remember the game is played for the fan, and with the 3-point shot in the game as it is at present, it opens everything up, gets the big boys out into deeper water and subsequently makes the game more of a spectacle." — Dave Murray, New Zealand

(Hey, why stop there? Add 4- and 5-pointers, and imagine how much fun the game would be then.)

WHERE HAVE YOU GONE... Los Angeles Dodgers?

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