Sports Morning Headlines-Friday, 04/08/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Friday, April 8, 2011.

Spurs are Back on Track in the Nick of Time - Fans of the San Antonio Spurs must have been ecstatic when the month of March finally ended.  The team had gone from sitting on top of the NBA power rankings, putting a lock on the No 1 seed for the playoffs, and looking to possibly break the franchise record for wins in a single season to scrambling just to field a healthy team.  April could not start soon enough for San Antonio although the first game, perhaps ironically on April Fool’s Day, was their sixth loss in a row, the longest losing streak the team has seen since Tim Duncan started suiting up for the team.  “We’re going to see what we are made out of, if we can dig down deeper,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “We’ll see if we are worth the way we played this season or not.”   READ MORE

Spurs are West’s No. 1. Now what? - The Spurs, with more than a little help from the Los Angeles Lakers, have gone and sucked all the drama out of the final week of the season, securing the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed with three games to spare. Express-News staff writer Jeff McDonald examines what it all means:  How important is the top seed anyway?  In a way, Gregg Popovich’s lukewarm stock answer to that question — “you wouldn’t turn it down” — is on point. The top seed and accompanying home-court edge doesn’t guarantee a championship, but it can’t hurt either. Under Popovich, the Spurs have been a No. 1 seed on four other occasions, winning titles in 1999 and 2003. In 2001, they lost to the second-seeded Lakers in the conference finals. In 2006, after winning a club-record 63 games in the regular season, they lost in the second round to fourth-seeded Dallas.   READ MORE

Progress indicators - Late resurgence gives Rockets hope that team has potential for growth.  As the New Orleans Hornets celebrated down the hall Wednesday, marking the occasion much as the Rockets imagine the Memphis Grizzlies will tonight or soon enough, the Rockets suffered quietly, unable to deny the reality they had fallen short of their one goal.  The chances were not good, but the Rockets aspired to overcome all the missteps and misfortune from the start of the season through the All-Star break and claim a playoff spot. They kept that hope alive for six weeks, winning 15 of 20 games in a stretch dotted with victories against contenders.   READ MORE

Making the most of it - The Rockets could be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention by the time they take the floor against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night at Toyota Center.  The Grizzlies, who face the Kings tonight in Memphis, are one win from taking the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.  But after they were pushed to the brink of elimination with Wednesday's loss in New Orleans, the Rockets said they want to continue to chase wins through their final three games.  "We need to play the right way," forward Luis Scola said. "We can't control the playoffs, now more than ever.   READ MORE

Mavericks know trifectas are only good to a point - It was an interesting exchange Thursday afternoon when Rick Carlisle was asked whether the Mavericks shoot too many 3-pointers.  "We're missing too many,'' he said.  To those of us who have been saying all along that this team is too reliant on the long ball, it was uplifting news when Carlisle said that "maybe'' his squad does heave too many shots from beyond the arc.   READ MORE

Now for the hard part: Brewer needs consistency - Corey Brewer caught his coach's attention with aggressive play, three steals and 13 points in 20 minutes Wednesday against Denver.  Now Rick Carlisle wants to see Brewer do it again. And he'll get the chance with what will likely be a bigger dose of playing time Friday night against the Clippers.  "I'm like anybody else,'' Carlisle said. "I want to see somebody do it twice, three times, four times. And then that will strengthen anyone's case. But I loved the way he played. The guy plays like his pants are on fire. And that's what you love to see. That's what our fans love to see.''   READ MORE

 

 

 

 

Rangers list momentum on their travel itinerary - A baseball season stops only in the rarest of circumstances, though the occasional off day is sprinkled into the 162-game schedule a couple of times a month.  The Texas Rangers enjoyed their first day off of the season Thursday, when they didn't have to pick up a bat or a glove with the possible exception of packing them for their first road trip.  It wasn't a full day off, though. The Rangers hopped on a plane for their first charter flight, caught their first bus to their first hotel, and this morning will wake up for the first time not in the comforts of their own home.  They will play the first of 81 road games tonight at Camden Yards. A victory over Baltimore would match the club record for wins to start a season.   READ MORE

It's always sunny at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington - A look at Friday's Rangers-Orioles pitching matchup.  The Rangers have never had the luxury of seeing Baltimore's Friday starter, left-hander Zach Britton, unless they took in a high school game a few years back while he was pitching for Weatherford. That's where the power of video comes in, though there's only one big-league start of Britton's to watch. He was impressive Sunday in his debut against Tampa, allowing one run on three hits in six innings.  Baltimore, meanwhile, faced Colby Lewis once last year and beat him 4-0. Brian Roberts and Vladimir Guerrero have faced Lewis, but that was before he transformed himself in Japan. J.J. Hardy was with Minnesota last year and saw Lewis as a member of the Twins, and Derrek Lee faced Lewis as a member of the Cubs during interleague play.   READ MORE

Astros notes: Lee shows some speed with another triple - Lee's three-baggers.  One of the lighter moments — and lighter recurring moments — of spring training was watching Carlos Lee take batting practice. Whenever the plodding slugger would hit a ball well but keep it in the ballpark, he would shout, "That's a triple!"  Believe it or not, he might have been on to something.  Lee tallied his second triple of the season Thursday, matching his total from the previous two seasons combined. He and Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro share the National League lead.  In the fourth inning, Lee shot one to the wall in right-center field, and when Jay Bruce and Drew Stubbs couldn't come down with the ball and were slow to pick it up, Lee turned it on.  "I was running hard and saw that he kind of slowed down to pick the ball up, and I said, 'Let's take a shot,' " Lee said after the game.   READ MORE

Astros open home slate behind Wandy - After earning their first win of the season Thursday, the Astros hope to start their first winning streak of 2011 in Friday's home opener.  The Astros, who defeated the Reds, 3-2, on Thursday, will make their return to Minute Maid Park when they face the Marlins.  "It's going to be nice to go home and get into a routine at home," said Astros manager Brad Mills. "Being there for 10 games will be nice. And obviously, we want to play well at home and start off by playing good, consistent baseball".   READ MORE

 

 

 

 

TCU trio among area prospects invited by Cowboys to work out - TCU center Jake Kirkpatrick, receiver Jimmy Young and cornerback Jason Teague are among area prospects invited to Cowboys Stadium today.  Unlike national prospects who visit, the Dallas Cowboys are allowed to work out prospective draft picks from the area. The prospects also will spend time with team personnel, including position coaches.  Baylor cornerback Antareis Bryan, a Dallas Carter graduate, and Oklahoma safety Jonathan Nelson, a Mansfield Summit alum, are other prospects expected to attend.   READ MORE

Prince Amukamara Set To Visit Dallas Cowboys - Valley Ranch will be receiving a visit from one of the top cornerbacks in the draft next week. Nebraska’s Prince Amukamara will be making his official visit with the team, according to sources.  The Cowboys are very familiar with Amukamara. He spoke with team officials at his pro day and has spoken with team representatives multiple times. None of those meetings will be as important for the young corner as his upcoming visit with the team and coaching staff.   READ MORE

Houston Texans Football: 10 Draft Prospects That the Texans Could Benefit From - The Texans need help on defense, especially in the secondary and at the outside linebacker position.  Fortunately for Wade Phillips, the Texans’ new defensive coordinator, this draft is loaded with defensive talent that he can use to revitalize a defense that was not short of terrible in 2010.  The Texans have the No. 11 pick overall as well as picks in every round.  There are many players in this year’s draft that would be great fits for the Texans, and that could make an immediate impact on a defense that needs serious improvement.   READ MORE

NFL Draft: Houston Texans Possible Late Round Picks - Ultimately, a general manager or head coach will be judged by how well their first and second round picks work out.  The late rounds, though, is where a good general manager separates himself from a mediocre general manager.  Anyone could tell you that Von Miller or Patrick Peterson is the most talented or athletic guy on the field at any given time. It's the really good talent evaluators that can tell you which sixth round linebacker is the best bet to make the roster in September.  The Texans need playmakers, but they also need some depth. That's where making solid picks in the later rounds comes in. That's where you find your depth.   READ MORE

 

 

 


Friday playoff race update - The Stars were the only team in the battle for those remaining playoff spots in action Friday night, and with the win over Colorado they are back within two points of that final spot with two games remaining.   READ MORE

Dallas Stars Win 4-2 Over Avalanche - The dream is still alive, and the Dallas Stars are still in a race for a playoff spot going into the final weekend of action.  They stay alive tonight with a big 4-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche in what was their final home game of the season.  Fan appreciation night indeed!  The Stars came out strong from the start of the game and had maybe their best first period effort over the last two months.  They staked out a 2-0 lead in the first period thanks to goals from a Tom Wandell wrap-a-round effort and Loui Eriksson who wired home a one-timer past Avs goalie Brian Elliott.   READ MORE

Stars keep playoff push alive with win over Avs - The Dallas Stars made the most of their final home game of the regular season, beating Colorado Avalanche 4-2 on Thursday night at American Airlines Center to move within two points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.  The Stars have two games remaining: at Colorado on Friday and at Minnesota on Sunday. If they win those two games, they’ll still need some help to get into the top eight.  “The cliché answer is that you aren’t really scoreboard watching, but you are,” said forward Adam Burish, who returned to lineup after missing 11 games with a leg injury. “Anybody is lying if they tell they’re not watching."   READ MORE
comments
MVPTEXAS RT @dallasmavs: Coach asking the team to close this game out! #DALvsUTA
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MVPTEXAS RT @BallinWithBryan: The RUN DMC is truly legit. Genius. Wow. Solid job, @TheWellDelivers. http://t.co/yK9bcVtLBI
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MVPTEXAS RT @dallasmavs: Mavs starting line up! Who's ready?? #DALvsUTA https://t.co/gsB2EiTQvi
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MVPTEXAS RT @bustedcoverage: Have no issue with this at all http://t.co/1cpgVSxx27
 

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