Inching Up 

Warriors feel good at home

1/12, 1/15, 1/17

Slowly but surely, the Golden State Warriors are clawing their way up to respectability. Warriors vice president Chris Mullin and coach Mike Montgomery's deep bench strategy is beginning to pay dividends during the long, cold, grinding NBA winter. Guards Derek Fisher and Jason Richardson are the team sparkplugs, with forwards Troy Murphy and Mickael Pietrus and veteran center Adonal Foyle playing solid, if not brilliant, defensive hoops. And then there's Speedy Claxton, the Road Warrior Extraordinaire. Now if only they can put the flu cases (Mike Dunleavy, Foyle, et al.) behind them and gain some ground in the Western Conference. Saturday evening (7:30), they'll have just such an opportunity, when the once-proud LA Lakers come to call in a shower of sparks and Kobe. Bryant is among the NBA leaders in scoring and assists, and teammate Lamar Odom is murder on the boards. But the Warriors should be able to put their newfound home-court advantage to work -- it's been a long time since the Arena has felt so comfy. Before the Lakers -- in fact, tonight (Wednesday, 7:30) -- Dwayne Wade and the red-hot Miami Heat have to be dealt with. After the Lakers, it's time for the Denver Nuggets (Monday, 7:30), like Golden State a struggling team in search of an identity. Be there. -- Kelly Vance

Wed 1/12

Snow Fall

Know before you go

According to Wikipedia, more than 90 percent of avalanche casualties are caused by avalanches triggered by the victim or someone in the victim's party. That's something to consider the next time you jump in the old X-Terra and head for the snowboard slopes. Maybe this time, before you go you should drop into the Avalanche Awareness Lecture at Berkeley's Marmot Mountain Works. Tonight's event (7-8:30 p.m.), which is repeated at the same time Sunday, helps outdoor enthusiasts understand the classification, formation, and release of avalanches, along with safety tips and a (you'll excuse the expression) crash course on hazards and factors contributing to snowpack instability. The lecture, presented by Mountain Adventure Seminars, costs $10. Marmot is at 3049 Adeline St., Berkeley. For more info, visit or -- Kelly Vance


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