Sports Morning Headlines-Wednesday, 05/18/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Wednesday, May 18, 2011.

Thunder run out of solutions for Nowitzki in Game 1 - The Oklahoma City Thunder list of eligible players was not long enough. The OKC playbook of coach Scott Brooks was not thick enough. There were not enough strategies and there was not enough personnel able to exist on the same plane with the brilliant Dirk Nowitzki.  Dallas opened the Western Conference Finals with a 121-112 win against the Thunder on Tuesday at the American Airlines Center, with The UberMan breezing to 48 points while knocking out an endless array of tomato cans along the way.   READ MORE

Mavs take Game 1 over the Thunder, 121-112 as Dirk scores 48 - The old men weren’t supposed to be able to stay up with the younger kids. Especially since the old men had been lounging around for eight days with nothing to do since sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers on May 8.  At least that was the conventional wisdom.  But the aging Dallas Mavericks shot down that old age notion en route to overpowering the up-and-coming Oklahoma City Thunder, 121-112, Tuesday night at American Airlines Center in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.  Dirk Nowitzki turned back the clock and busted loose for 48 points for the Mavs. Those were the most points Nowitzki scored in a playoff game since he tagged Phoenix for 50 points on June 1, 2006 in the Western Conference Finals.   READ MORE

Western Conference Finals: Nowitzki, Mavericks Outscore Thunder 121-112 - Dirk Nowitzki wants a ring, and his performance on Tuesday night reflected it.  The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 121-112 in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals in American Airlines Center, shooting 53.4 percent from the field and knocking down 34 of 36 free throws.  Nowitzki exploded for 48 points, making his first 10 of 11 shots. He successfully hit 24 of 24 free strikes from the line; a new NBA playoff-record. Jason Terry landed four threes as he contributed 24 points, and J.J. Barea added 21 in just 16 minutes.   READ MORE

Time off issues for Mavs and Thunder - There were two ways to look at Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.  The Mavericks, with about nine days off, could have come in rusty or fresh.  The Thunder, coming in after a seven-game series and just one day of rest, might be tired or use the momentum of beating Memphis in the conference semifinals.  Whap happened? The Mavericks looked fresh -- though there were some sloppy moments -- in a 121-112 victory Tuesday night. Dirk Nowitzki was unreal, scoring 48 points on 12-of-15 shooting from the field and setting an NBA record by going a perfect 24-of-24 from the foul line.   READ MORE

Rockets get 14th pick in draft, again - Poor Rockets, eh?  The odds were better than 98 percent Houston would end up with the 14th pick, which is exactly what happened. In their eternal battle, hope loses to math yet again. It is a blowout.  So for the second year in a row, the Rockets will pick 14th, meaning they should be able to get a player approximately as good as Tristan Thompson, who is approximately as good as Patrick Patterson, who was a functional NBA player as a rookie.  This will not bring the city together in triumph. But things, of course, could be worse.   READ MORE

Rockets keep focus on three candidates - Casey, Frank, McHale possible coaching hires.  With the Rockets moving on to follow-up interviews with head coach candidates, they remain focused on the same three finalists — Dallas assistant Dwane Casey, Boston assistant Lawrence Frank and former Minnesota coach and general manager Kevin McHale — a person with knowledge of the team’s thinking said Tuesday.  Casey and Frank have had follow-up interviews in the past few days, with Casey talking with Rockets officials in a conference call and Frank meeting Monday in Houston, according to an individual with knowledge of the talks.  Both candidates had previously met with Rockets owner Leslie Alexander, and both have declined comment about the process.   READ MORE

Anderson reflects on a rookie season lost - It takes only five minutes to drive from the AT&T Center to the Eastside Boys and Girls Club.  On a balmy South Texas afternoon, the gym at the recreation center on Martin Luther King Blvd. seemed light years removed from the Spurs’ homecourt where James Anderson had so successfully launched his NBA career in late October.  As grade-schoolers lined up to heave perimeter push shots they prayed might impress a Spur, Anderson reflected Tuesday on a rookie season that began with great promise, only to end in inactivity and frustration.  At No. 20 overall, the 6-foot-6 swingman from Oklahoma State had been the Spurs’ highest draft pick since they made Tim Duncan the No. 1 overall pick in 1997.   READ MORE

ProjectSpurs:  Toros' Lyons working out for Spurs - Leo LyonsAustin Toros forward Leo Lyons will be working out for the San Antonio Spurs tomorrow, according to Lyons' twitter stream.  Lyons, who joined the Spurs D-League affiliate in January, averaged 14.9 points and six rebounds in 29 minutes per game last season. The second half of the D-League season proved to be Lyons' best, as he regularly finished in double figures regardless of the constant Toros roster changes.   READ MORE

 

 

 

 

McCann connects for two homers to lift Braves over Astros in extra frames - Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez did everything right Tuesday afternoon against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field, especially controlling the flow of the game over eight shutout innings.  However, it wasn't enough, as Houston experienced another meltdown from the bullpen and the monstrous bat of five-time All-Star catcher Brian McCann en route to a 3-1 loss in 11 innings.   READ MORE

Astros' Norris has Cardinals in his sights - Losers of three in a row and four of five, the Astros will try to right the ship Wednesday in the start of a two-game series with the Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Right-hander Bud Norris is scheduled to take the mound for Houston against Cards right-hander Kyle Lohse.  The Cardinals completed a two-game sweep of the Phillies on Tuesday night, taking the finale, 2-1. They've now won two straight after a three-game skid.  Reliable relief pitching is at a premium in Houston. The Astros are 5-for-16 in save opportunities this season, and Fernando Abad, who took the loss on Monday in a 3-2 Braves win, was to be optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday, the Astros announced after Tuesday's 3-1, 11-inning loss to Atlanta.   READ MORE

Royals rookie gets first assignment against Rangers - On Monday, starting pitcher Danny Duffy wasn't even on the Royals' 40-man roster. On Wednesday, the 22-year-old is going to start against the Texas Rangers.  It's just the latest in a long string of roster shakeups that Kansas City general manger Dayton Moore has had to make this season, as nine rookies appear on the Royals' big league roster.  Duffy enjoyed success at Triple-A Omaha where he was 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA in seven starts, striking out 43 and walking just 10 in 36 innings.   READ MORE

Too many walks finally cost Texas Rangers in loss to White Sox - At some point Tuesday night, the walks allowed by Texas Rangers pitchers were going to come back and cost them.  That point came in the fifth inning, and then again in the eighth as the Chicago White Sox rallied for a 4-3 victory at U.S. Cellular Field.  Rangers pitchers surrendered just four hits to the Sox, but six walks kept them in trouble long enough for Chicago to capitalize.  "We put too many on the bag," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.  Too many indeed.   READ MORE

 

 

 

Texans frustrated, not surprised by court's ruling - On the day before the Texans would have started organized team activities at Methodist Training Center, the players learned they will still be locked out.  The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 in favor of a permanent stay, meaning the players will continue to be locked out.  If the judges had ruled in the players’ favor and lifted the temporary stay, they could have returned to work while waiting for the owners’ appeal to be heard June 3.  The same three judges will hear the appeal. They could take weeks before they make a decision on whether to overturn judge Susan Nelson’s ruling that the lockout should be lifted.   READ MORE

Justice: Word Is Asomugha Wants No Part of Texans - To our readers dismay, Richard Justice continues to speak it as he hears it.  Justice, a well known Houston Chronicle columnist and radio personality, has always shed his opinions, even in regards to the Houston Texans during the Major League season.  This time, Justice wrote:  “Word is (FA CB Nnamdi) Asomugha doesn’t want any part of our little corner of paradise.  Really? Well, buddy boy, I’ve got about 30 million reasons you might just change your mind.”   READ MORE

Is Tony Romo A ‘Super Bowl Quarterback?’ - The big criticism that many have for Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback Tony Romo is that he struggles late in the season and hasn’t shown a consistent ability to win the big game. Those concerns are a big reason why many people were left scratching their head after former Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach said he believes Romo has what it takes to win it all.   READ MORE

Prep Work - Garrett Has Coaches Busy During Lockout.  If there is one thing we've found out about head coach Jason Garrett during the last six months or so, it's that he isn't a fan of comparisons.  When asked to relate one player to another, or one game or situation to something similar, Garrett usually refuses. He often says that comparing things to each other is a dangerous proposition and tries to avoid it when possible.   READ MORE

 

 


Realignment probably on hold until 2012, but Dallas could move to Central - It's widely believed that Winnipeg - at some point - will eventually find a home in the Northwest Division, Colorado will jump to the Pacific Division and replace Dallas - who would celebrate the long-anticipated move to the Central and occupy the void left by either Nashville or Columbus. And that assumes Detroit is, as Red Wings executives say, staying put next season.   READ MORE

Nieuwendyk: Coach search could be slow, would like to narrow to three interviews - I just got off the phone with Joe Nieuwendyk, and he said he has started exploratory phone conversations with potential new coaches for the Stars.  Nieuwendyk said the process to get a new coach could be slow, and said he and the front office are walking a sort of tightrope in trying to get this done. On one hand, he would like a new owner to be a part of (or at least aware of) the selection process, and with Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi in an exclusive 30-day negotiation window, there is a chance Gaglardi could be the owner by early June. On the other hand, there is nothing new this week to be reported on the sale and there still is a matter of clearing the new owner through bankruptcy court _ something that could take the process into July or even later if complications pop up.   READ MORE

 

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