Sports Morning Headlines-Wednesday, 04/13/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Wednesday, April 13, 2011.

Mavericks slip back to No. 3 in the West - If the Mavericks are going to claim the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, they're going to need help from the Sacramento Kings Wednesday night.  The Los Angeles Lakers moved back into a tie with the Mavericks for second place in the West standings. But the Lakers own the tiebreaker and would be No. 2 if they and the Mavericks end up with the same record. The Mavericks need a win Wednesday at home against New Orleans and a Kings victory over the Lakers in what could be the last NBA game played at Sacramento before the Kings' proposed move to Anaheim.  The Lakers had a tough time beating San Antonio , which rested Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. But they prevailed down the stretch against the Spurs' deep reserves.  The Lakers did have some drama, however, as center Andrew Bynum went down with a knee injury of unknown severity.   READ MORE

Three seeds, four foes still on Mavs' table - The Lakers looked alarmingly dysfunctional, but they squeaked out the win to remain in the driver's seat for the No. 2 seed. They'll get it with a win tonight at the Sacramento Kings in what should be a surreal scene during Arco Arena's possible last stand as an NBA venue.  What it means for the Dallas Mavericks: They'll enter tonight's finale against the New Orleans Hornets back in the the No. 3 hole after spending Monday night at No. 2. They could still finish as high as 2 and as low as 4 and play either the Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers, Memphis Grizzlies or the Hornets.   READ MORE

Pop vs. Jackson: Could this be end of one of the NBA’s enduring rivalries? - With Phil Jackson’s impending retirement, Tuesday’s game between him and Gregg Popovich might have been the last one between two certain Hall of Fame coaches.  Their teams could meet again in the playoffs, but nothing is for certain. Pop might never again see his old rival diagraming plays from that oversized rolling chair along the Lakers’ sidelines.  If Tuesday’s game was the end, it was a great rivalry. Here’s a look at some of the numbers from the Popovich-Jackson matchups over the years.   READ MORE

Another makeshift Spurs lineup comes close again - With the No. 1 seed in the Western Division safely at hand, Gregg  Popovich decided to rest most of his usual starting lineup in preparation for the playoffs.  Popovich trotted out his eighth different lineup combination of the season with George Hill, Gary Neal, DeJuan Blair, Tiago Splitter and Richard Jefferson starting.  This group and a strong effort from the bench played the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday night surprisingly close before falling 102-93. The Spurs had the game tied at 83 with 5:56 remaining before a late Laker charge pulled them away.  With Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili wearing sports jackets on the sidelines and Tony Parker and Antonio McDyess sporting warmups, Popovich wanted to give his four starters a break before the game against Phoenix on Wednesday and the approaching playoffs.   READ MORE

Five quick takes: Why the Lakers’ arrogance is misplaced - After watching his team stumble through a lackadaiscal victory over  a makeshift team of Spurs substitutes Tuesday night, Lamar Odom at least was honest.  Odom told TNT after the game that the Lakers expected to easily roll over the depleted Spurs team.  The Lakers claimed a 102-93 victory in a game that was much closer than the final score indicated. The game was tied at 83 with 5:56 left.  Odom mentioned the Lakers’ “overconfidence” and “cockiness” down the stretch and how that hurt them in Tuesday’s game as in other games throughout the season.  They expected Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Antonio McDyess. Instead, they were treated to Chris Quinn and Steve Novak.  As TNT’s Kenny Smith said: “It was like a blind date for the Lakers. They didn’t know who they were going out with.  And then, they opened the door and ‘The Red Rocket’ was there.”   READ MORE

Remembering Hakeem Olajuwon: The Best Center of All-Time - Never having played basketball until age 15, Hakeem Olajuwon was a natural. After relying on his athleticism to dominate at the University of Houston, the hometown Rockets made Olajuwon the number one overall selection in the 1984 NBA Draft.  The Lagos, Nigeria native dominated from the moment he stepped on an NBA floor. As a rookie he turned the Rockets from a 29-53 joke to a 48-win playoff team, as his impact could be felt from day one.  The dominance only increased from there as he polished his skills. The trophies piled up. Six times an All-NBA first-teamer, Olajuwon was also a fixture on the NBA All-Defensive team.   READ MORE

Rockets notes: Blakely receives deal - The Rockets reached agreement with Marqus Blakely, a 6-5 forward with the Iowa Energy of the NBA Development League, on a three-year, non-guaranteed contract, a person with knowledge of the deal said.  Blakely, who averaged 15 points on 62.5 percent shooting and 6.3 rebounds in the D-League this season with Iowa and Bakersfield, will join the Rockets in Minneapolis for the season's last game. He will replace Mike Harris, whose second 10-day contract has expired, on the Rockets' roster.   READ MORE

 

 

 

 

'Stupid' play sidelines Hamilton 6-8 weeks - Reigning American League MVP Josh Hamilton will miss the next six to eight weeks with a fracture of the bone in his upper right arm suffered on a play he described as "stupid."  General manager Jon Daniels made the announcement early Tuesday evening after Dr. Keith Meister discovered the injury in the right arm just below the shoulder while reading the results of an MRI exam.
The Rangers will place Hamilton on the 15-day disabled list today before the finale of a three-game series at Comerica Park. He will not swing a bat for four weeks but is not expected to have any lingering issues once the bone has healed.   READ MORE

Miscues cost Rangers in 5-4 loss at Detroit - Three outs were made on the base paths. A 50-foot chopper was mishandled. Two batters were walked ahead of one of the most dangerous hitters in the game.  Those are the types of miscues that cost teams ballgames, as the Texas Rangers learned Tuesday after playing their worst game of the young season at Comerica Park.  Detroit took advantage when Miguel Cabrera delivered a bases-loaded single with two outs in the ninth inning to give the Tigers a 5-4 walk-off win and send the Rangers to their second loss.   READ MORE

Astros aim to ride upswing into finale with Big Z, Cubs - For the second consecutive season under manager Brad Mills, the Astros are off to a rough start, going into Wednesday's rubber game against the Cubs 3-8 overall.  During the tough early going, Mills has preached confidence and professionalism to his players, and his positivity appears to be rubbing off. After going winless in its first five games, Houston earned its third win of the season -- and second in its last three games -- Tuesday against the Cubs, with an impressive 11-2 rout.   READ MORE

Astros have grand night at Minute Maid - Astros manager Brad Mills was forced to watch Tuesday’s 11-2 win over the Cubs from a suite at Minute Maid Park after being suspended earlier in the day, but the view had to be sweet no matter where he was sitting.  The Astros pounded out 16 hits for the second time in three games and reached double-digit hits for the fifth consecutive game – their longest such streak in nearly two years. Michael Bourn, Angel Sanchez and Hunter Pence went a combined 9-for-15 with seven runs scored and seven RBIs.   READ MORE

 

 

 

 

Cowboys will attend charity event in spite of lockout - Because the activity is considered a long-standing charity event, the NFL is allowing contact between Dallas Cowboys players and coaches at Sunday's "Taste of the NFL: The Ultimate Dallas Cowboys Tailgate Party." 
Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware will be hosting the event and several current and former Cowboys coaches and players were invited to attend. According to several news reports, the Cowboys have indicated that Ware is the only current player scheduled to be present.   READ MORE

2011 NFL Draft: Ranking the Dallas Cowboys' Areas of Need - As we draw closer to the National Football League’s annual selection of players, many mock drafts and speculation on players who may be drafted starts to get pretty intense. I think Mel Kiper sleeps at ESPN a week before the draft and Todd McShay has to buy extra hair gel.  Me, you ask? I try my best to camp out in Jerry’s war room, but every year they end up kicking me out due to my intent on the ‘Boys trading their first pick for Antonio Bryant.  At any rate, the Cowboys have so much to focus on this year that it may be tough for them to even notice that I’m in the room. There is the offensive line that is in serious decay, a secondary that resembled my high school’s junior varsity squad at times last season, an aging linebacking corps and a special teams unit that couldn’t stop, well, anything.   READ MORE

On Kareem Jackson & drafting a cornerback early - Fellow Texans blogger and friend of the site Jake Langenkamp recently wrote this article, inspired by myself and other Texans fans/bloggers who see no reason for the Texans to use an early-round draft pick on a cornerback.  I’m very much of that opinion. During open practices last training camp, myself, Alan Burge, Rivers McCown, Mike Kerns, Big Ron, John Hallam & Barrett Walton were gathered in what became kind of a daily “blogger summit.” Steph Stradley was around too if I recall. I hope I’m not leaving anyone out.  Toward the end of one of these pow-wows, Burge took a quick, informal poll. I don’t recall the exact phrasing, but I believe it was something along the lines of “what is your biggest concern heading into the season?” I believe myself and one other person said “the young secondary.” I think everyone else said “the pass rush.”   READ MORE

How Much Longer Will The Texans Get Superstar Production Out Of Andre Johnson? - At the start of the 2011 NFL season, assuming they play it, Andre Johnson will be 30 years old. It will be his ninth season in the NFL, and hopefully he will overcome last season's ankle injuries and get to 16 games started again, because over time he's proven that him starting 16 games is a very, very, good thing for the Houston Texans.  But just how much longer will the Texans get this same kind of production from him? Superstar receivers do tend to head south production-wise after they hit 30. I know, I know...this is Andre Johnson we're talking about here. A beast. A freak of nature. Medical technology is advancing further and athletes are playing longer and better than they've ever been able to before.   READ MORE

 

 

 


Marc Crawford Fired as Stars Head Coach - 48 hours removed from their season-ending loss at the hands of the Minnesota Wild, Dallas Stars head coach Marc Crawford became the third head coach fired following the conclusion of the regular season on Sunday.  GM Joe Nieuwendyk announced Tuesday that the Stars would be letting go of Crawford, who won a Stanley Cup as head coach of the Colorado Avalanche in 1996, after Dallas failed to make the playoffs on the season's final day.   READ MORE

New coach one of many questions for Stars - Stars fans as well as those who cover the team both knew this off-season could be an eventful one. But not even the most well-connected members of the local hockey media figured that the team would already start making changes less than two days after Dallas fell 5-3 at Minnesota on Sunday evening, putting to rest their chances of ending a three-year playoff draught. Of course, that first move was the firing of head coach Marc Crawford on Tuesday afternoon. But that is just one issue this club faces this summer. Here is a look at three more such issues.   READ MORE

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