Sports Morning Headlines-Thursday, 6/9/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Thursday, June 9, 2011.

Game 5 could be Finals' most pivotal yet - Your eyes may tell you that the basketball being played in the NBA Finals is far from beautiful, but don't let this deceive you into believing what you're watching has been anything less than an immensely competitive, entertaining series.  We've seen deficits, heartbreak, illness and injury overcome in 48-minute increments … and that's only looking at Dallas.  Miami has worn the burden of intense scrutiny from the moment LeBron James chose to eat the heart of his former home on a nationally televised special. Because of this, the Heat have faced criticism from every angle —to pass when they shot, to shoot when they've passed. No step has come without a shadow.   READ MORE

Mavs' Stevenson clears up LeBron comments - Being intimidated by LeBron James would seem to be easy. He's 6-foot-8, yet possesses the athleticism of the NBA's top guards and strength of most post players.  But that doesn't matter to Dallas Mavericks guard DeShawn Stevenson. The shooting guard has never held back his words.  Following the Mavericks' Game 4 victory Tuesday night, Stevenson indicated that James "checked out" of the game from an offensive standpoint. The Heat superstar finished with eight points, his lowest career playoff total.  According to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News, Miami reporters hit Stevenson with a barrage of questions Wednesday in an attempt to clarify his comments.  "When I said 'checked out' I didn't mean anything negative," Stevenson said. "I just think when you have players like Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, you tend, when they have it going, to defer."   READ MORE

A case for the defense - Before the season started, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told his team they reach great heights if they could improve their defense.  Obviously his players listened.  The Mavs are knotted 2-2 with the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, only two wins away from claiming their first NBA championship. And it is their rugged defense that put them in this position.  "In our opening meeting the beginning of the year, defense was something we talked in great detail about and put forth some goals that were the kind of goals that if we wanted to be a championship contending team, we had to get into the Top 10 [in team defense]," Carlisle said. "We were 11th last year.  "It's not unlike every other team in the league. There's 29 other coaching staffs going the night before training camp starts and talking about the importance of defense. But we had more consistency this year."   READ MORE

Defense has helped the Mavs get within two wins of a title - Way back before this season started, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told his team they could go to some great places if they improved their defense.  His players apparently listened.  The Mavs are only two wins away from claiming their first NBA championship. And they can thank their rugged defense for being in this position.  “On our opening meeting the beginning of the year it was something we talked in great detail about and put forth some goals that were the kind of goals, that if we wanted to be a championship contending team, we had to get into the Top 10 (in team defense),’’ Carlisle said. “We were 11th last year.  “And look, it’s not unlike every other team in the league. There’s 29 other coaching staffs going the night before training camp starts and talks about the importance of defense.  But we had more consistency this year.’’   READ MORE

ProjectSpurs:  Spurs looking at two Boilermakers - EMThe San Antonio Spurs continue to look to add athleticism to their backcourt as they recently worked out guard E'Twaun Moore from Purdue and will be working out guard Chris Kramer in the summer.  Moore is scouted as a mixture of the point guard and shooting guard positions; otherwise known as a "combo" guard. According to Jeff Washburn of JCOnline.com, the Spurs recently brought Moore in for a workout as did several other NBA ball clubs.   READ MORE

ProjectSpurs:  Mavs 2006 game 7 win over Spurs ranks among biggest Dallas playoff wins - Compiling a top 10 list of the biggest wins in Dallas Mavericks' franchise playoff history is a difficult task given the fact every Dallas playoff run has ended in futility. Furthermore, no Mavericks' biggest playoff win list would be without mentioning the San Antonio Spurs.   READ MORE

Get The Red Out - Kevin McHale IS Walkin’ Through That Door - In this week's edition of Get The Red Out, Shriram, Pat & myself discuss at great length everything from the hiring of Kevin McHale as the new Rockets coach, if Kevin Martin & Luis Scola should be dealt, if Yao should be brought back and who should play Center for the Rockets next season.  We also take you around the NBA and discuss The Finals, the LeBron vs Jordan debate, If Dirk Nowitzki is a glorified flopper and a long debate on the five best Center's of all time. I also gives a very balanced opinion on Jason Terry.   READ MORE

How the Superstar Houston Needs Could Be Sitting Right in Front of Them - No I'm not talking about Kevin Martin. I love Kevin Martin and think he is the most efficient scorer in NBA history but I'm thinking of someone else. I'm talking about Terrence Williams.  Him being a superstar, though, would be dependent on one thing...putting him in lineups where he's playing the point gaurd position.  6 foot 6, great speed, great passing abilities, lockdown defender, good mid-range shot, unbeleivable athleticism, good basketball IQ, good handles, good rebounder. If I could build the most dominating point gaurd in the NBA, that sounds about right.  Best Case Scenario- Offensively Terrence is unstoppable. Teams can't put their sg's on him because Kevin Martin would eat up pg's. Terrence will play alot like Russel Westbrook, getting to the rim and pulling up at will. He will boast LeBron James like numbers, with his passing and rebounding skills. Defensively our backcourt defense will improve tremendously. It will give Kevin Martin the option to gaurd the pg  while Terrence can gaurd the 2 and even the 3.  Worst Case Scenario- This sounds biased since I'm presenting this idea, but with Williams game defensively not being porous and offensively not being turnover-prone, this can't really end up turning out bad.   READ MORE

 

 

 

Rangers put their focus on pitching in Draft - The Rangers stocked up on pitching in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, selecting 32 pitchers with their 51 selections, including their first-round pick on high school hurler Kevin Matthews.  The trend of drafting high school pitchers did not continue, however, as 17 of the Rangers' next 25 pitching selections came out of the college or junior college ranks.  "That's the lifeblood," Rangers scouting director Kip Fagg said. "As you can see by the past, free-agent [pitchers] don't sign here, so we've got to develop them and draft them, and that's what we're trying to do."    READ MORE

Players are heard; Rangers change hitting coaches - Just because the Texas Rangers have one of the best offenses in baseball doesn't mean everything is hitting on all cylinders.  They proved that Wednesday, when they relieved hitting coach Thad Bosley of his job and replaced him with Triple A hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh.  Bosley, who was hired in November, was in charge of an offense that ranked in the top five in the American League in average, runs scored, total bases, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.  Those numbers alone didn't make him the right fit for Texas, however.   READ MORE

Pence picks up streak mantle from Theriot - This is a series of extremes, but between the Cardinals, who have one of the best records in the Majors, and the Astros, who have the poorest record in the National League, Ryan Theriot and Hunter Pence had found some common ground.  Pence held his ground on Wednesday, drilling a key triple in Houston's 4-1 victory to extend the team's longest hitting streak since 2009 to 19 games -- now also the Majors' longest streak, thanks to Cardinals killer Bud Norris.  Norris missed out on his bid to no-hit St. Louis, but he did hold Theriot hitless, ending his 20-game hitting streak, which had been the longest active skein.  With the stage now all to himself, Pence goes for his own 20-gamer on Thursday against a guy he has never faced, St. Louis rookie Lance Lynn.   READ MORE

Astros activate Lyon from DL, send down Valdez - Brandon Lyon, who's been on the disabled list since May 5 with tendinitis in his right biceps and a partial tear in his rotator cuff, was activated after Wednesday's 4-1 win over the Cardinals at Minute Maid Park. In a a corresponding roster move, right-hander Jose Valdez was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.  "I'm feeling a lot better," said Lyon, who pitched two innings in a Minor League rehab stint at Oklahoma City. "I got a couple of outings down there and recovered well. I felt good today after throwing [on Tuesday]. It's about time to get back out there."  Manager Brad Mills said that Lyon will return to the closer's role, but not right away. Mark Melancon has been closing games since Lyon blew a save on May 4 in Cincinnati.   READ MORE


Jerry Jones Tried Bringing Boxing Back To Cowboys Stadium - Despite the current NFL Lockout, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is actively seeking ways to keep busy and fill the seats at his billion dollar palace. Most recently, Jones attempted to host another big time boxing match but those plans fell through.  Floyd Mayweather, Jr. will face WBC welterweight champion Victor Ortiz on September 17, the same weekend that the Cowboys will (hopefully) be flying out to San Francisco.   READ MORE

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett sounds off on Dez Bryant, running back rotation, free agency and Romo's wedding - On Tuesday, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett was one of the guests on NFL Network host Rich Eisen's podcast. Here is a transcript of the interview:  Rich Eisen: What is your world like now in the middle of a lockout at a top of a month we could be back in business by the end of it?  Jason Garrett: This offseason has not been as active as it normally is. Typically right nowwe're in the middle of OTAs, getting ready for a mini-camp. That hasn't happened. The players have not been around all offseason so that's been a little bit difficult and different for us. But we have kept ourselves busy and there's some things we do to wrap up the previous season - some studies that we do of ourselves and our team and other teams and obviously we're preparing for the upcoming season and getting practice schedules and training camp schedules and all of those things together as well as studying other teams.   READ MORE

Arguing With Myself: Connor Barwin v. Brooks Reed - Texans fans, Wade Phillips' arrival at Reliant Stadium has caused a whole lot of player shuffling on the defensive side of the ball.  Mario Williams is playing weak outside linebacker, J.J. Watt is taking his place at defensive end, and Amobi Okoye has been sent to the playpen for a time out.  With all this movement, questions abound, especially at the strong outside linebacker spot.  Who is the better fit there, third year player Connor Barwin or Arizona rookie Brooks Reed?  A discussion of this importance requires a sharp mind and a sharper dresser, someone whose opinion carries some serious gravitas, but most importantly, someone who I can find on short notice, someone like...  Me, TexanUprooted!  Jump with us to see the argument unfold!   READ MORE

Houston Texans: Which Games on the Schedule Should Be Considered Must-Wins? - Even before the season begins, there are certain games on each team's schedule that you would consider must-win games.  The definition and frequency of must-win games changes depending on the outlook of the team.  For the Texans, they are trying to make the first playoff appearance in the history of the franchise. Their must-win games consist of every game against a team considered inferior and most home games.  A lot of times, simply winning the games you should and protecting your home field is enough to get you to the postseason.  Unfortunately for the Texans, the schedule is difficult enough that they are also going to have to steal some games they weren't expected to win.  Simply winning these must-win games will get them pretty close, though.   READ MORE

 

 


GM Joe at the GM meetings - NHL GMs met in Boston on Wednesday. One bit of news was the proposal to broaden Rule 48, which was put in place this season to eliminate those blindside hits to the head.  Now, the GMs want to take the word "blindside" out of the rule to allow more kinds of hits to fall under the rule.  "I think it is a broadening (of Rule 48), incorporating more of the hits that we don't like to fit within the rule. But now it has to go through its proper channels. We've made the recommendation. We'll meet with the competition committee. We obviously have to get input from the players' association and move this thing forward as the summer moves along," Nieuwendyk said.   READ MORE

Bryzgalov and Richards are two different animals - Phoenx goalie Ilya Bryzgalov waived his no-trade clause to have his negotiating rights traded to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, but don't think that means that Brad Richards will do the same thing.  Richards' agent Pat Morris confirmed today that the Stars have asked Richards to waive his no-trade clause, and that Richards has declined under advice from Morris.  ``He asked in late May, and it was not a situation that was good for us, and so we said no,'' Morris said of Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk. ``He hasn't asked again, but he understands that we would have to be aware of the situation and it would have to be a situation that would be one where we can see some benefit.''  That means that Richards needs to know the team and the circumstances before he would even consider a move, and that in itself slows the process.   READ MORE

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