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Sports Morning Headlines-Monday, 6/6/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Monday, June 6, 2011.

Mario Chalmers, and the buzzer beater that shouldn’t have counted - The Dallas Mavericks and their fans can point to quite a few reasons for the team's two-point, 88-86 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. The team missed five free throws, shot 40 percent, turned the ball over 18 times, and clanged a series of solid three-point looks down the stretch. But Miami guard Mario Chalmers'(notes) buzzer-beating three to end the first quarter, one that should have been disallowed as Chalmers' foot was technically in the back court as he caught the ball, will sting the hardest.  The half court stripe is considered part of the back court, and the referees missed the fact that Chalmers had his heel on the line when he took the pass from Udonis Haslem(notes) in the front court. The rule is that you must be considered fully in the front court before you can receive a pass from the front court, and Chalmers' foot was still in the back court when he caught the ball. That's a lot of "courts" to consider, but all Mavs fans will look at is that two-point deficit on the scoreboard as the final buzzer sounded, while ruing the three-points that shouldn't have counted.   READ MORE

Nowitzki's miss alters storyline of series - The arena had tensed with the hope of the moment, a sea of blue believing as it held its breath and the ball left Dirk Nowitzki's hand.  In Miami, where a sea breeze surely blew across homes of nervous fans and even South Beach's bars could be believed to have gone silent, the overwhelming feeling would have been dread: of a ball through a net, of a tie score with time expiring, of overtime serving as a prelude to more heartache.  The ball arced toward all of this, toward another chance to pound the Miami Heat into submission, toward another Dallas Mavericks comeback in these playoffs after being down 14 points, toward more proof that the Heat are frail and fraudulent once they've been rattled or knocked down.  The ball arced toward the inevitable.  And then the inevitable failed to materialize.   READ MORE

Mavs put Dirk on an island in Game 3 loss - Dirk Nowitzki has established himself as one of the best finishers in the NBA, but he could use a little help at some point. With his team giving up big runs to the Miami Heat for much of the game, Nowitzki ripped off the Mavs' final 12 points to give them another chance to steal a win in the NBA Finals.  But this time, Miami wouldn't cooperate. Dallas native Chris Bosh nailed a wide-open jumper with 39 seconds left to provide the final margin in the Heat's 88-86 win in Game 3. As Nowitzki lamented after the game, Dallas handed back all the momentum it had gained with a comeback win in Game 2. The Heat lead the series 2-1 and all the pressure is back on the Mavs.   READ MORE

Mavs keeping LeBron off the free throw line - For whatever reason and for however it’s happened, the Dallas Mavericks have forced Miami Heat superstar LeBron James to fall in love with his jump shot.  James has more three-point field goal attempts (12) than free throw attempts (six) during the first two games of the NBA Finals. It’s a trend the Mavs would like to see continue, because they would rather see James shooting jumpers rather than attacking the basket with his superior strength and athleticism.   READ MORE

NBA Finals 2011: Heat @ Mavs Post Game Three Quotes "Missed" - What the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat said after Game 3.  Quotes-Mavericks Coach Carlisle:  (On Nowitzki's task) "Well, he knows that he's going to have to carry a certain load. Not just a scoring load, but he's going to have to make plays. He's going to have to facilitate. He's going to have to get guys involved. I don't think this is anything that he doesn't expect. We would like to make it easier for him, but tonight was tough. Tonight was not one of those nights."  (On what night it was, then) "I think tonight one of the things that hurt us was we were digging out of holes all night, with the exception of the very beginning of the game. We get down five or seven, climb back into it, get a one-point lead or get it tied, and then we were a minute of two later back digging ourselves back again. It’s very difficult playing from behind."  (On Haywood's absence) "It made it tougher for us because Haywood is a regular rotation guy.  I thought Mahinmi's energy was good. At times maybe a little too energetic, but that was expected. We'll see how Brendan is for Game 4, and that's a day and a half away now. He's been doing better, so when we get to that point, we'll see where we're at."   READ MORE

Even in NBA Finals, Mavericks focused on draft, set to bring in SMU's Papa Dia - The Mavericks are starting to bring in potential draftees for individual workouts. They will bring in SMU's Papa Dia, among a handful of others, for workouts Monday.   READ MORE

ProjectSpurs:  Spurs Twitter Roundup: Vegas, pizza, chores, and more - This is a new feature at Project Spurs in which we take a fun look at the Twitter accounts of the San Antonio Spurs players.  Twitter can provide some interesting and humorous insight into the personal lives of the players as they give us a few details of what they do off the court.  So tune in weekly for updates, but for now, sit back and enjoy.   READ MORE

ProjectSpurs:  Report - Spurs assistants to be partially paid during lockout - With the threat of an NBA lockout becoming more of a reality with each passing day, NBA teams are preparing on how to best handle it. In particular, some teams are focusing on how to pay their coaching staff.  According to ESPN, the San Antonio Spurs will partially pay their assistants during the lockout:  San Antonio Spurs assistants will receive 75 percent of their salaries during the lockout and be reimbursed the missing 25 percent when a lockout ends, according to a source.   READ MORE

Rockets owner jokes with McHale, wishes Popovich was head coach - During the press conference announcing Kevin McHale as the new head coach of the Houston Rockets, McHale joked with those in attendance and with Rockets owner Les Alexander about how coaching spots for 55 to 60-win teams were not available. If they were available, he would taken the job in a heartbeat and pass on the Rockets.  Of course he was referring to the Rockets' record this past season where they won 43 games.  Well, Alexander fired back at McHale and said he wishes he could have San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich patrolling the sidelines for the Rockets:  "He said if he could get a 60-win team he wouldn't have taken this job, right? And if I could get (San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg) Popovich right now, (McHale) wouldn't have gotten the job," Alexander said.   READ MORE

25 Years Ago: Ralph Sampson Punches Jerry Sichting - The hiring of Kevin McHale certainly has brought back memories of the 1986 NBA Finals when the Rockets took on the Boston Celtics, and today marks exactly 25 years since Game 5 of that series — the game where tensions boiled over and a melee broke out. Houston’s 7-foot-4 center/forward Ralph Sampson got entangled with Boston’s 6-foot-1 guard Jerry Sichting, then he snapped, firing punches at Sichting.   READ MORE

Silver Stars smack Tulsa with all-around game - From the moment Dan Hughes returned as the Silver Stars' head coach in January, he has preached about the importance of the team rediscovering the identity that made it successful in the past.  He spoke about wanting to play tough defense again, showing poise in tense situations and having versatility and efficiency in the team's offense.  While one game probably isn't enough to draw from, Saturday's 93-73 victory over the Tulsa Shock before 12,406 at the AT&T Center was at least a good springboard.   READ MORE

2011 USA Basketball Women's U19 World Championship Team Finalized - Following five days of training camp at Walt Disney World Resorts in Florida, which culminated with a 49-37 exhibition victory over the Brazil U19 National Team, the 2011 USA Basketball Women’s U19 World Championship Team was finalized on Sunday afternoon. All 12 members of the USA U19 squad have prior international experience playing for USA Basketball, including four who were on the 2010 USA U18 National Team that qualified the U.S. for the U19 Worlds.   READ MORE




Rangers complete sweep of Indians, 2-0 - C.J. Wilson pitched into the eighth inning, Mitch Moreland and Elvis Andrus homered, and the Texas Rangers beat the Indians 2-0 Sunday for their first four-game sweep in Cleveland in nearly 33 years.  Wilson (6-3) allowed three hits over 7 2-3 innings. The left-hander, coming off a 10-strikeout performance over 6 2-3 innings in a no-decision at Tampa Bay, fanned seven, walked two and hit a batter.  Darren Oliver struck out the only batter he faced to end the eighth and Neftali Feliz finished the three-hitter for his 13th save in 16 chances.  Texas has won five in a row and eight of nine to extend its lead in the AL West. The slumping Indians still lead the AL Central despite dropping nine of 12.   READ MORE

Red-hot Rangers return home briefly to face Tigers - The Rangers will come back to Texas for a brief oasis in a sea of road games, as they open up a three-game series against the Tigers on Monday before hitting the road again.  Texas, which has won a season-best five straight, and 11 of its last 14 games, will still have a narrow lead in the American League West on Monday, a trend that has held true for the last two weeks. But the Rangers will get to wake up in their own beds, a rare delicacy in a stretch of 17 out of 20 games on the road.  "What are we home for, two nights?" asked Josh Hamilton.   READ MORE

Kidney stone jeopardizing Harrison's next start - Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison's start for Tuesday remains in doubt because of a kidney stone that is fighting its way through his body.  The blister on Harrison's right index finger is pretty much gone, and no longer a factor as far as pitching against the Tigers on Tuesday. It's the lingering kidney stone that concerns the Rangers.  "It's one thing after another," Harrison said on Sunday morning at Progressive Field.   READ MORE

Astros lose again at Petco Park, 6-3 to Padres - The Houston Astros were on their hottest streak of the season when they came to Petco Park.  Then their run production dropped off in consecutive losses, including Saturday night's 6-3 setback to the San Diego Padres.  Aaron Harang pitched into the seventh inning and Brad Hawpe had a two-run double for the Padres, who won consecutive home games for the first time this season.  The Padres won for just the 11th time in 32 games at Petco Park. It was the third time the Padres scored at least six runs at home this season.  Ryan Ludwick scored three times and rookie Logan Forsythe put the Padres ahead with his first big league RBI.   READ MORE

Mills to keep close eye on 2011 Draft - It's unknown whether Brad Mills will be around long enough to reap any benefits that may come from this year's First-Year Player Draft, but the second-year skipper plans to pay attention to what the Astros do on Monday, when they pick No. 11 overall in the first round.  "I'll definitely watch it," said Mills. "I don't know where I'll be, but I'll definitely pay attention to it. I have been trying to stay up on a few names that might fall to us. I'm going to watch this one pretty closely. This is going to be a good Draft for us."  No Astros player knows more about how the process works than outfielder Jason Michaels, who was taken in four Drafts. In 1994 he was selected by San Diego in the 49th round out of high school, then after his sophomore season in junior college (44th round, by Tampa Bay) and junior year at the University of Miami (15th round, by St. Louis). He signed with the Phillies after being taken with the first pick of the fourth round in 1998.   READ MORE

Barmes gets Mills' seal of approval - Manager Brad Mills likes what he's seen from shortstop Clint Barmes from the second spot in the batting order, behind speedster Michael Bourn and ahead of slugger Hunter Pence.  Barmes entered Sunday's action having drawn one walk for every 8.31 plate appearances -- a ratio that is the best on the team. He drew two walks on Saturday and also hit his third home run of the season.  "He's had really good at-bats and is really swinging the bat well," Mills said. "You get those guys in front of Hunter, and it's definitely going to help."   READ MORE

Could OLB Matt Roth Follow Rob Ryan To The Cowboys? - A report by Toni Grossi from the Cleveland Plain Dealer has Browns OLB Matt Roth saying he wouldn't rule out following Rob Ryan to Dallas. Roth was highly complimentary of Rob Ryan:  "I challenge you to [find] one player who wouldn't run through a wall for him," Roth said. "I love playing that style. I know [new coordinator] Dick Jauron's a good coach, but I don't want to have to deal with no nonsense. Just want to come in and play, do my job and have fun. That's a big factor in wherever I go."  The 28-year old Roth expects to leave the Browns because they are installing a 4-3 defense and he prefers to remain in a 3-4. As a 3-4 OLB he is bound to attract a lot of interest from the Chargers, Chiefs, Jets and Patriots, who could all use an upgrade at OLB.   READ MORE

Dez Bryant Resolves His Financial Issues; Ready To Play Football - Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant made multiple headlines this offseason after being sued multiple times over jewelry debts. The total amount Bryant was being sued for exceeded $800,000. Bryant has put the financial troubles behind him and is now ready to focus on the upcoming season.  “I have a handle on it and it’s done,” Bryant said. “It’s in the past and I’m ready to go ahead from here.  “There will be an NFL season and I think we will start on time,” Bryant added. “I know Dallas will be ready to go, and I’ll be ready to put on my helmet and go to work.   READ MORE

Contract Years Looming For A Number Of Cowboys - There is widely held belief in the sports world that players in their final contract-year often perform above their career averages, as they work extra hard to reach the dangling carrot of a megabucks contract if they can show that they can be "The Guy". With the money available in free agency these days, a good free agent contract can set a player's family up for generations. The promise of instant financial security can be a powerful motivator.  But the contract year phenomenon isn't as prominent in the NFL as it is in other sports. Most NFL players, especially those still on their rookie contracts, already have a powerful motivator built into their contract: little to nothing of the money in their contracts is guaranteed. If they don't show up and perform every day, they'll never reach free agency anyway.   READ MORE

CFL team cuts former Texans RB Green - Veteran spent two seasons in Houston during 12 years in NFL.  Former Texans running back Ahman Green has been cut by the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes after he showed up to training camp with a hamstring injury.  The Nebraska product signed with Montreal in March and was expected to compete for the starting job after the Alouettes allowed Avon Cobourne to sign with division-rival Hamilton as a free agent.  A 12-year veteran of the NFL, he rushed for 9,205 yards and 60 touchdowns. He played seven years with the Green Bay Packers and is the franchise’s career rushing leader with 8,208 yards.  Green spent the 2007 and 2008 seasons with the Texans, playing 14 games before returning to Green Bay for his final season in the NFL.  Green rushed for 554 yards during his two-year tenure with the Texans.   READ MORE

Houston Texans: Will Gary Kubiak Survive the Entire 2011 Season? - Gary Kubiak took over the Houston Texas as head coach to little fanfare in 2006. The longtime offensive coordinator to Mike Shanahan in Denver was given full control of 2005's worst team in the NFL and the first overall pick that came with it.  Kubiak made sense as a candidate to replace the only other head coach in Texans history. The Houston native and Texas A&M alum personified the attitude and work ethic Bob McNair admired. Kubiak happened to be one of the best offensive minds in the league as well, which sold McNair based on the thought that Kubiak could make something of former first overall pick David Carr.   READ MORE

TE Daniels Healthy and Excited for 2011 Season - Owen Daniels talked to Pro Football Weekly, and says that he’s excited to get back to work and be near 100 percent for the 2011 season.  “I know the team has confidence in me to re-sign me with the deal they did,” Daniels told PFW earlier this week. “I’m just excited to go out there and get a chance to prove myself again and gain some respect that I may or may not have lost along the way,”  Daniels tore his right ACL in Week Eight of the 2009 campaign. After suffering a setback last spring and dealing with a nagging hamstring injury last season, it was Week 14 before he found his stride again, reeling in 22 catches for 271 yards and a pair of TDs in the final four games.   READ MORE



More Richards news - Lots of Brad Richards talk out there on Sunday.  First, Richards tweeted late on Saturday a thanks to Stars fans and a message that he wouldn't be tweeting for a while.  ``Thanks to all the fans in Dallas for 3 great years. Will miss everyone... Gonna take a rest from twitter For a bit.... Chat soon''  Then, Larry Brooks of the New York Post had a story in which he said he believes Richards will be seeking a contract in excess of $7 million a season and that might be too much for the Rangers.   READ MORE

Former Stars Captain Enjoying Role with Flyers - During his 16 seasons in the NHL, 11 of which were spent in Dallas, Derian Hatcher was regarded as one of the top defensemen in the league. Originally the eighth overall pick by the North Stars in the 1990 NHL Draft, Hatcher was an all-star in 1997 and two years later was a key contributor to the Stars’ 1999 Stanley Cup championship team.  After leaving Dallas in 2003, he went on to also play for Detroit and Philadelphia before hanging his skates up after the 2007-08 season. He looks back on his career with great pride and especially remembers the 11 seasons he laced ‘em up right here in Big D.  “Those were great years of my career. Between my time in Dallas and the two years in Minnesota, I was there for 12 years, a big chunk of my career,” Hatcher said. “Not only was the time I spent down there the best years of my career but I think it was also the best years of the organization as well.”   READ MORE

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