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• After the 49ers’ loss to the Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game, we heard from dozens of readers and friends insisting Alex Smith wouldn’t have turned over the ball three times in the fourth quarter, as Colin Kaepernick did. Most of these folks said 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh never should have picked Kaepernick over Smith, but that’s just nonsensical second-guessing because, well, he did pick Kaepernick over Smith and the 49ers went to the Super Bowl last year and nearly went back this year. While Smith has been praised for his game-management skills and protecting the ball, would he have done what Kaepernick did to keep the 49ers in the game? Kap ran for 130 yards on 11 carries and completed 14 of 24 passes for 153 yards.
• One of the many NBA mock drafts has the Kings landing Oklahoma State sophomore point guard Marcus Smart with the No. 4 pick. While Smart hasn’t received as much attention as top freshmen Jabari Parker (Duke), Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid (both Kansas) and Aaron Gordon (Arizona), he’s 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds and perhaps still growing at just 19. He’s averaging 17.8 points, 4.4 assists and 5.8 rebounds for the Cowboys. Imagine a Kings starting lineup of Smart, shooting guard Ben McLemore, center DeMarcus Cousins, small forward Rudy Gay and power forward Derrick Williams with Isaiah Thomas the first guy off the bench.
• Buried in last week’s announcement of the United States team for its Davis Cup match against Great Britain next weekend in San Diego was the news that Collin Altamirano, 18, of Yuba City was named by team captain Jim Courier as a practice partner. Altamirano, who plays at the JMG Tennis Academy at Arden Hills, won the USTA Boys 18 National Championship in August, earning a wild card into the U.S. Open. As a practice partner, Altamirano will see plenty of action against the U.S. team of John Isner, Sam Querrey, Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan.
– Tom Couzens
Who will be the Super Bowl MVP?
• Peyton Manning
• Russell Wilson
• Marshawn Lynch
• Demaryius Thomas
• Richard Sherman
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