Sports Morning Headlines-Wednesday, 04/06/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Wednesday, April 6, 2011.

Project Spurs: "Big 3" Plus One Key in Spurs' Victory Over Hawks - After coming off an impressive win against the Nash-less Phoenix Suns, the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Atlanta Hawks (44-34) in Atlanta 97 to 90.  “It was a huge win for us.” Said Spurs guard Manu Ginobili after the game. (The Hawks currently represent the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.)  Defense, and a very efficient game from the “Big 3” were the keys to the Spurs’ victory on a night where they weren’t looking for their accustomed array of outside shots (The Spurs only attempted eight three pointers in the game.)   READ MORE

Thanks to Utah, Spurs’ magic number down 2 - Hours after the Spurs polished off a 97-90 win over Atlanta on Tuesday night, the Utah Jazz provided them more good news on the opposite coast.  Thanks to Utah’s 86-85 victory over the Lakers at Staples Center, the Spurs are now 3 1/2 games up on Los Angeles with four to play, their magic number to clinch the Western Conference’s top seed winnowed to two games. Without any further assistance from the Lakers, the Spurs could sew things up on their upcoming homestand that begins Wednesday against Sacramento and concludes Saturday against the same Jazz who just won in Los Angeles.  Neither opponent is in playoff contention, but as the Jazz proved Tuesday, sometimes teams with nothing to play for play like there’s nothing to lose.  Asked after beating Atlanta about the importance of securing the No. 1 seed, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich shrugged.  “Everybody talks about it every year,” he said. “We’ve had it and won and had it and lost. The team best usually ends up winning.”   READ MORE

Rockets notes: Adelman not a fan of Kings-to-Anaheim - Adelman dislikes move.  The Rockets' game against Sacramento on Tuesday is expected to be their last before the Kings' move to Anaheim, a change coach Rick Adelman never saw coming in his eight seasons coaching the Kings.  "It's sad," Adelman said. "Sacramento had great fans there. They hit tough times the last three, four years. The economy is not good there. It's just too bad. They have very good fans. They really needed an arena. The arena is very old. It just wasn't up to standards. It's just a tough situation for everybody.   READ MORE

Rockets Fall To Kings As Playoff Hopes Fade Into The Distance - I don't have much to say. That really, really hurt. You know when Kevin Martin goes 4-8 from the free throw line that it's not going to be a good night, even though he, next to Luis Scola, might have been the only one to be truly clued into what was going on.   READ MORE

Stretch run is no time to slow down - The Dallas Mavericks are realists.  The Mavericks know that with five games left in the regular season, they're not likely to pass the Los Angeles Lakers and collect the Western Conference's No. 2 seed. The Lakers (55-21) hold a two-and-a-half game lead over the Mavs (53-24) in that department.  But lurking right behind the Mavs are the 51-26 Oklahoma City Thunder, who are just two games behind Dallas. So as much as the Mavs want to get some rest to be fresh for the grueling playoff run, they know that it's not in the cards.  "I think the only guy who really needs some rest is J-Kidd," forward Dirk Nowitzki said of point guard Jason Kidd. "Everybody else has got to keep playing and build some momentum up."   READ MORE

Home cooking down stretch could be right recipe for Mavericks - For the Dallas Mavericks, there's no place like home.  At least that's what they were saying Tuesday after returning from an 11-day road trip to the West Coast. The Mavs started the trip 3-0, but lost the last three.  Guard Jason Terry echoed the sentiment of his teammates after Tuesday's practice when he said: "Boy, are we happy to be back home, I can tell you that. A little disappointed.  "We got off to a great start and then we just ran out of gas there at the end. But we're back home now."  The Mavericks have five games left, including four at home. The lone road game is at Houston on Monday.   READ MORE

 

 

 

 

Felix looks to cool red-hot Rangers - Opening Day starters make their second run through the rotation on Wednesday afternoon, and lucky fans at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington get to see two of the American League's best.  Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez will get the ball for Seattle and try to avoid a three-game sweep, and he'll face Rangers ace C.J. Wilson.  Hernandez pitched a complete game in his season lid-lifter in Oakland, giving up two runs on an early home run by Josh Willingham but otherwise locking down the A's bats and cruising to the first complete-game victory on Opening Day by a Mariners pitcher.   READ MORE

Cruz's streak ends, but not his April reign - Nelson Cruz's Major League record-tying home run streak to start the season is over at four games. But he still has 22 games to continue his April dominance.  No hitter in baseball has had more home run prowess in the opening month of the season than Cruz since 2009. He already has the most home runs in the month of April in the previous two seasons and leads baseball with 17 in April since '09.  Cruz didn't homer in Tuesday's 3-2 victory over Seattle. He was 0-for-2 with a walk and scored a run for the fifth straight game. He'll remain with Willie Mays (1971) and Mark McGwire as only the Major League players since 1919 to homer in each of the first four games of the season.   READ MORE

Figueroa ready for first start vs. Volquez - It's been several years in the making, but veteran pitcher Nelson Figueroa is finally in the starting rotation to begin the season.  He'll go for another "first" Wednesday against the Reds. Figueroa, 36, wants his first win of the season. He also experienced his first Opening Day this year.  "This is what every player works for. Opening Day, there's a lot of excitement and butterflies," he said. "It's exciting to get Spring Training over with, and now these games count and it's time for us to continue our success from last year."   READ MORE

Astros remain winless, drop fourth straight with loss to Reds - Astros left-hander J.A. Happ struggled in his first start of the season Tuesday night against the red-hot Cincinnati Reds -- the reigning NL Central champions -- at Great American Ball Park, allowing seven earned runs on seven hits with five walks and two strikeouts over four innings, as Houston dropped the opener of a three-game series 8-2.  READ MORE

 

 

 

 

2011 NFL Draft: Sneak Peek at the Dallas Cowboys' First Round Pick - Other than the quarterback controversy Martellus Bennett created, the big news today was Dallas's pre-draft workouts. Notable invitees include USC tackle Tyron Smith, Wisconsin DE J.J. Watt, UCLA safety Rahim Moore and Colorado tackle Nate Solder.  More often than not the last several years, the Cowboys used their first-round selection on a player from their workouts. The only pick that didn't attend these workouts to be drafted in the first round is Mike Jenkins.   READ MORE

Unable to agree, NFL, players head to court - With the NFL lockout at three weeks and no end in sight, attorneys for the NFL and its locked-out players will go before a federal judge today in Minneapolis in the first round of their fight over the future of the $9 billion business -- including the 2011 season.  The players -- with Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees among the plaintiffs and retirees and yet-to-play rookies joining them -- are asking for an immediate end to the lockout on the basis of "irreparable harm" to their careers. The injunction request accompanies the antitrust lawsuit filed against the league after talks broke down March 11.   READ MORE

2011 NFL Second Annual Fans' Mock Draft: Houston Texans Pick No. 11 - After a highly successful “Fan’s Mock” here at B/R in 2010 we’re returning for our second go-round to once again give our fans a chance to vote for who they think their team should select in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft!  The Texans defense let them down hugely in 2010, part of which was due to the loss of Dunta Robinson.  The Texans probably won’t find a replacement for him in this scenario, with Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara already having new homes, but they could still pick up some serious help with one of the players who’s still available.   READ MORE

Texans Open Youth Field at Local YMCA - In a show of good will, the Texans have opened a new football field at the YMCA for youngsters to be able to play the sport we all know and love.  "The Houston Texans have unveiled a new football field at the Houston Texans YMCA. The field will serve as a place where kids from the surrounding community will be able to play sports.  Located at 5202 Griggs Road at the corner of Griggs and Martin Luther King Boulevard, the Houston Texans YMCA sports a new facility with easy access to members of the surrounding area of Greater Third Ward. The addition of a football field increases the services offered by the YMCA."    READ MORE

 

 

 


Wednesday playoff race update - Another two big points for the Stars, who are now two points out of a playoff spot. They trail both Chicago and Anaheim by two points and all have teams have three games to go.  They also picked up the win in regulation, giving them 35 and moving them to within one of Chicago in the first tiebreaker category of regulation and overtime wins (ROW). If the Stars end up tied with Chicago in points and the ROW tiebreaker, they own the second tiebreaker (season series). They can’t catch Anaheim in the ROW category, so any tie in points would go to the Ducks.  Those tiebreakers could be very important as things get sorted out here in the final few days of the season. We’ll get into that more at a later time.   READ MORE

Stars get two big points, move closer to playoff spot - The Dallas Stars moved one point closer to the final playoff spot in the Western Conference Tuesday night, beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0 at American Airlines Center.  The victory – the second straight for the Stars – pulled them to within two points of both eighth place Chicago, which lost 2-1 in overtime at Montreal, and seventh place Anaheim, which was idle. All three teams have three games remaining.  “It goes without saying this was a huge win,” said Stars coach Marc Crawford. “It keeps us alive. It keeps our momentum moving forward. And now we start our preparation for the next game against Colorado almost immediately. You can savor these victories, but not for very long.”    READ MORE

Stars With Huge 3-0 Win Over Blue Jackets - It's clear that in order to watch Dallas Stars hockey for the rest of this season, you're going to need a strong heart and some nerves of steel because again while the Stars were able to skate away with a second win in a row, they did so in nail-biting, dramatic fashion; defeating against the Columbus Blue Jackets by a score of 3-0.  Up until the 19:07 mark of the third period, the Stars had nursed a 1-0 lead that was earned five minutes into the first period thanks to a Steve Ott power play goal.  While the Stars maybe played the game a little too cautious and allowed the Blue Jackets to stay close, the Stars defense was full value in at least not allowing too many in-tight chances in front of the net for the Jackets, while the goaltending of Kari Lehtonen was perfect on the night as he collected a 23 save shutout marking his third of the season.   READ MORE


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