Sports Morning Headlines - Tuesday, 12/27/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Tuesday, 12/27/11.

Spurs handle Grizzlies in season opener - Manu Ginobili scored 24 points and the San Antonio Spurs got some payback after their stunning playoff collapse last season, beating the Memphis Grizzlies 95-82 on Monday night.  San Antonio began what could be Tim Duncan's final season with a satisfying win after Memphis upset the 61-win Spurs in the first round last season. Tony Parker added 15 points and seven assists.  Rudy Gay led Memphis with 19 points and 10 rebounds in his first game in nearly 10 months. Gay missed the end of last season with a bad left shoulder, including when Memphis knocked out the top-seeded Spurs.  The Grizzlies remained winless on opening night since the franchise left Vancouver in 2001, and this blowout surely wasn't he NBA's breakout team of last season had in mind.   READ MORE

Spurs 95, Grizzlies 82 – final - A healthy looking Manu Ginobili scored 24 points to lead the Spurs to a 95-82 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in their season opener on Monday at the AT&T Center.  Tony Parker had 15 points. Neither Ginobili nor Parker scored in the first quarter, but both got going later in the first half. The Spurs took the lead for good in the second quarter after struggling with eight turnovers in the first nine minutes of the game.  Richard Jefferson gave the Spurs an offensive spark early and finished with 14 points. Tim Duncan had 10 points.  Rookie Kawhi Leonard made his NBA debut and recorded his first point, basket and rebound. Rookie guard Cory Joseph made his debut in the final two minutes of the game.   READ MORE

Sean Williams Shines in Dallas Loss to Denver, 115-93 - The Dallas Mavericks had the opportunity to erase the ugly season opener against the Heat on Sunday with their first back-to-back against the Denver Nuggets. They started off looking slightly more like a team and hung around with the Nuggets for the first part of the first quarter, and then disorganization set it.  A phrase I imagine we'll be hearing frequently is "_____ with the nice pass, but _____ can't finish". I can understand that getting used to a system and learning plays takes time, but these guys should not be missing easy shots. That's just sloppy basketball. Along with the missed shots, Dallas was turning the ball over with reckless abandon, and Denver was able to capitalize. The first half saw the Mavs with 10 turnovers, leading to 18 points for the Nuggets.   READ MORE

Mavs struggle again in loss to Nuggets - Ty Lawson scored 20 of his 27 points in the first half and the Denver Nuggets faced little resistance on their way to a 115-93 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night.  The reigning champion Mavericks were drubbed for a second straight game, routinely giving up easy baskets in both. They allowed Denver to score 20 unanswered points in the second quarter -- prompting boos during a particularly lousy part of that drought -- and were down by 33 late in the third quarter.  Denver, playing its opener, saw how porous Dallas' defense was in its opener against Miami and quickly took advantage. The Nuggets scored on 19 of their 25 possessions in the second quarter. They made only 12 baskets in the second half, yet still cruised to victory.   READ MORE

Rockets show promise despite loss to Magic - Kevin McHale got asked a lot of questions about the Houston Rockets' shortcomings during the NBA's abbreviated training camp.  There are no real secrets in the NBA, of course. Everybody knows basically what the Rockets have and what they don't, and it isn't as if McHale is under any real pressure to win a playoff series in his first season in Houston, which began Monday with a 104-95 loss to the Magic (1-1) in Orlando, Fla.  But he hasn't wanted any part of all that.  "You want excuses?" he kept rhetorically asking.  The point was that, no, the Rockets are not all put together the way they'd like to be, but nobody is going to feel sorry for them.  So, no, Houston was not necessarily expected to open the NBA season by smoothing Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard on his home floor. In their last four meetings, all Magic wins, Howard has shot 71 percent and averaged 19.5 points and 15.3 rebounds. So the fact nothing much changed Monday was disappointing for approximately everyone and no one at the same time.   READ MORE

Game 1 Recap: Rockets Lose Steam Down Stretch, Fall To Magic, 104-95 - Perhaps the Houston Rockets' opener went exactly as you could have guessed, minus a disastrous performance from Kevin Martin.  The Rockets worked through Kyle Lowry and Luis Scola and kept themselves within striking distance of the Orlando Magic throughout the contest, but per usual, never struck. The defense caved in the fourth and the Magic easily held on for a 104-95 victory, bringing to light once again the Rockets' struggles defending late in games.  A rather disinterested Dwight Howard shot 9-15 from the field for 21 points. To Houston's credit, he only grabbed seven rebounds, courtesy of a polarizing performance from Jordan Hill and a Get Excited, You Guys performance from free agent acquisition Samuel Dalembert.  Kevin McHale went to his bench early and often, proving yet again that the firm Rick Adelman rotations of old are a thing of the past. As the season progresses, the units will surely tighten, but for now, it's going to be a wild mix of talent, speed and height.   READ MORE



 

 

Yorvit Torrealba issues apology after 66-game suspension - Catcher Yorvit Torrealba issued a statement through the Texas Rangers on Monday, saying he was "embarrassed" for his conduct when he hit an umpire during a winter league game on Friday."I wanted to express my sincere apologies to all parties for my actions during the Venezuelan Winter League game," the statement said. "I have extended an apology to the Rangers organization as well. I am embarrassed for my conduct, and personally relayed that feeling to the umpire after that night's game. On the field, I strive to be an example for children, especially those in my native Venezuela, and I regret my actions."I understand the reactions to the incident and will make every effort to set a positive example in the future."   READ MORE

Rangers rotation ranks sixth in MLB - ESPN.com's Buster Olney is doing his rankings heading into 2012 by position this week and did starting pitching rotations today. He ranks the Rangers sixth behind the Phillies, Rays, Angels, Giants, and Diamondbacks. Here's what Olney said about the Rangers:  C.J. Wilson's contributions to the Texas rotation were very underrated, but so too are the pitchers who will now make the starts. Derek Holland, long seen as a talented and erratic lefty, appeared to grow before our eyes in October, his confidence exploding as he threw well against the Cardinals. Colby Lewis is the plow horse of the group, slow and steady, while Neftali Feliz faces an adjustment period as he goes back to starting and again utilizes all of his pitches. Matt Harrison had a 3.39 ERA and made 30 starts, and Alexi Ogando had dominant stuff. To this mix, the Rangers are adding Yu Darvish, who is projected to be anywhere from a No. 2 starter to, at worst, a No. 4 type of innings eater, because of the natural sink on his fastball. By the way: It's not a done deal that the Rangers will trade one of their six starters, because they know as well as anyone that teams almost never get through a season with just five guys.   READ MORE

Updated 2012 Draft Order - Making sense of the new draft rules as made in the recently ratified Collective Bargaining Agreement is no easy task, and several key questions will still need to be answered. Not all of the new rules will kick in immediately in relationship to the 2012 draft, but there are already plenty of changes to the way that compensation picks are awarded from what we have seen in recent years.   READ MORE

Astros welcome new faces on, off field in 2011 - As eager rookies emerge, Crane takes ownership of team.  The Astros didn't make many headlines on the field in 2011, but there certainly was no shortage of news away from the diamond.  Not long after completing their 50th season -- and suffering through a club-record 106 losses -- the Astros were sold to a group led by Houston businessman Jim Crane and soon learned they would be moving to the American League in 2013.  Yep, after a half-century in the National League, the Astros will be welcoming a new batch of teams and a new style of baseball to Minute Maid Park in 2013.   READ MORE

 

 


Handshake convinces Jerry Jones that Tony Romo will be able to play Sunday - When he left the locker room Saturday with a bruised right hand suffered in the first quarter of a 20-7 loss to Philadelphia, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said he would play Sunday against the New York Giants.  He then went through a series of tests to diagnose the severity of his injury, and the results all came back negative.  "Which is positive for us," coach Jason Garrett said.   READ MORE

Jerry Jones not retiring any time soon - Not happy with Jerry Jones the general manager? Well, don't expect anything to change in the near future. The Dallas Cowboys owner and GM made it known on Monday that he isn't going anywhere. After all, it's his team, so he can do whatever he wants.  But considering the Cowboys haven't played for a Super Bowl since the mid-90s, critics have asked for Jones to step aside and hire someone to handle that position.  So does Jones ever sit back and ponder the idea of moving aside and hiring a GM?  "No, I don't," Jones said during a local radio interview with The Ticket (KTCK-AM 1310). "When I bought the team I said that there's no way I could make the kind of commitment that I'm making to buy the team ... and not have the final say relative to the kinds of things that general managers decide. So, I don't see that at all. What I do see is a better straight line way of making decisions and that has born out over the years. Now we need to win a Super Bowl."   READ MORE

In The Spirit Of The Season, I Will Not Write A Scathing Analysis Of The Texans' Loss To Indianapolis - Even four days after the fact, it would easy for me to immortalize my anger, disappointment, and incredulity about what transpired in Indianapolis on December 22, 2011. While the passage of time has dulled some of the furor, it hasn't dissipated nearly as much as I thought it would have by now. I'm still rankled. And I'm rankled that I'm rankled, because (1) there's really nothing to be gained by getting worked up over something I can't control and (2) your Houston Texans have won the AFC South, will be hosting a playoff game, and thus, as I all too frequently remind myself, are playing with house money thanks to a litany of injuries that would have destroyed a lesser team. Still...   READ MORE

Johnson, Phillips return to work with Texans - Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and wide receiver Andre Johnson reported to work Monday, two excellent signs for a Houston Texans team reeling a bit from consecutive losses as it prepares for its regular-season finale.  Phillips had surgery on his kidney and gallbladder 10 days ago. He met with players and was at the facility for a few hours Monday, and is expected to coach from the press box Sunday.  "The goal would be that he would be (coaching) in the press box on Sunday, but we'll see how he feels," coach Gary Kubiak said. "It's good for everybody just to know that he's doing better and back to full health. It's good for him to be back around the players a little bit."   READ MORE







Special teams, goaltending struggle in loss to Blues - Games can often turn on goaltending and special teams, and both areas were lackluster for the Dallas Stars Monday night in a 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center.  Dallas goaltender Richard Bachman let in two soft goals and the Stars were 0-2 on the power play in the game and 0-2 on the penalty kill. It didn’t help that the Stars were outshot 38-23 in the game.  “Coming on the road against a good defensive club we needed to put more pucks on the net. Our specialty teams need to be better,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “Our power play needs to be better. Their PK generated more shots than our power play and they scored two power play goals. It’s hard to win on the road, especially against this type of club, if your specialty teams aren’t good. “    READ MORE

Robidas, Souray still nursing injuries - Stars defensemen Stephane Robidas and Sheldon Souray missed Monday's game with injuries. Robidas missed his third game since being hit on the foot in practice with a shot. Souray missed his first game since his ankle was twisted Friday in a win over Nashville.   READ MORE












---Staff and Wire Reports contributed to this story

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