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Sports Morning Headlines-Wednesday, 6/8/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Wednesday, June 8, 2011.

Stern: No agreement, but seeking 'breakthrough' - With both sides determined to reach what commissioner David Stern described as a “breakthrough” in labor talks, NBA owners and players negotiated for more than five hours Tuesday in the second of three scheduled sessions during the Finals.  Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver both said they were optimistic that the negotiations have continued, with a second full-day session featuring nearly the full negotiating committees on both sides scheduled for Wednesday. National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter did not address reporters after the meeting at the Dallas Hilton Anatole, and players leaving the session said they would speak Wednesday.  “We haven’t reached agreement on anything and we have a deal that there will never be an agreement to be spoken about until we have an agreement on everything,” Stern said.   READ MORE

Hunger for a ring won't let Mavs quit - As Dirk Nowitzki sat on the bench, wheezing and coughing and fighting a fever, a white towel draped over his head, the Dallas Mavericks looked to be in just as bad a shape as their star.  Here it was, early in the fourth quarter, and the Miami Heat had a nine-point lead and, seemingly, a stranglehold on the NBA Finals.  But if these playoffs have demonstrated one thing about the Mavericks – an aged collection of odd-fitting pieces, many past their prime and without a single championship ring -- it is this: Knocking them down is much easier than knocking them out.  Dallas once again charged hard down the stretch, finding some defensive resolve with the well-timed use of a zone, and Nowitzki shook off the effects of the flu and what had been a woeful shooting game to lift Dallas to an 86-83 victory that evened the series at two games apiece.   READ MORE

LeBron's disappearing act happens too often - This was what we were talking about.  LeBron James' epic talents come with some hard-to-read fine print that, examined closely and honestly enough, spells out the chance for some equally epic disaster.  Let's get the good stuff out of the way: LeBron is a transcendent talent whose skills are as praiseworthy as anyone on Earth. He is a fantastic and loyal teammate. He is not a bad person. He cares deeply about winning. And he is so good -- so ridiculously good -- that even his tendency to shrink wholly and completely from big moments can be countered by those times when his physical gifts simply win out over the pressure.  But it's the other stuff -- those parts of LeBron that merely mentioning can make Heat fans irate and much of the media in South Florida instantly defensive -- that won out Tuesday night in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.   READ MORE

Stevenson gives Mavs boost off the bench - After being replaced in Dallas' starting lineup, guard DeShawn Stevenson responded off the bench with his first double-figure scoring game in more than four months -- all in one quarter of the Mavericks' 86-83 win in Game 4 of the NBA finals.  Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle started J.J. Barea instead of the defensive-oriented Stevenson in hopes of jump-starting the offense. Then Stevenson went on a scoring spree -- making three 3-pointers in a span of 3:35 and then adding two free throws to finish the second quarter with 11 points.  "He's a pro. He just kept himself ready all year. The 3s he knocked down in the first half were huge because we were fighting through some deficits there," Carlisle said. "And he was one of the guys that set the tone defensively for us in the fourth."  Stevenson didn't score again, missing his three shots after halftime, but he still had an impact.   READ MORE

Backed into corner, Jason Terry responds - His teammate, star forward Dirk Nowitzki, called Terry out for not making clutch shots in the Game 3 loss to the Miami Heat. His other teammate, point guard Jason Kidd, didn't call Terry by name but said the Mavericks need to make important shots down the stretch.  Terry said he was going to play aggressive and attack the basket and not hesitate on jumpers.  In Game 4 of the NBA Finals, with the Mavericks needing someone, anyone, to pick up the scoring slack, it was Terry who did so off the bench. He scored 17 points in 35 minutes in the Mavs' Game 4 victory. The series is tied 2-2, and despite the criticism Terry's taken since the Game 3 loss at the AAC, he takes everything in stride.   READ MORE

ProjectSpurs:  Parker steps back from his comments about the Spurs - San Antonio Spurs' Tony Parker made waves when he told the French media last month that the Spurs championship window is closed but is now blaming the French media for those comments:  Parker on Tuesday blamed reporters in his home country after being quoted in May as saying the Spurs can "no longer say" they're playing for a fifth title in the Tim Duncan era. The comments came a few weeks after the 61-win Spurs were upset in the first round by eighth-seeded Memphis.  Parker said Tuesday that "newspapers need stories" yet wouldn't exactly clarify what he told the French media. The 29-year-old instead said he didn't have to justify anything and reiterated his commitment to the Spurs.  Parker further said:  “I’m in a great situation. I love the Spurs. I love being a Spur. I re-signed four years. If I didn’t think we could win a championship, I would have re-signed four years. I love being with my teammates. I’m very loyal and I love being here.”   READ MORE

Parker marvels at Manu’s toughness - Tony Parker understood that something was wrong with Manu Ginobili.  But he had no conception that Ginobili was playing with what amounted to a broken right arm during the playoffs.  “It’s hard to believe,” Parker said about Ginobili’s gutty display in the playoffs. “Obviously, you could see he was a little bit hurt. He wasn’t 100 percent, but I didn’t know he was that bad.”   READ MORE

Parker won’t play in European championships without insurance - Costly insurance premiums could keep Tony Parker from playing with the French national team this summer in qualifying Olympic events.  The collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association expires July 1. If a deal is not reached before then or shortly after, European national teams are concerned they won’t be able to obtain affordable insurance on players’ NBA contracts.  USA Today has reported that France is looking into comprehensive insurance for five NBA players including Parker, Chicago’s Joakim Noah and Charlotte’s Boris Diaw.  The French basketball federation has learned that found costs could be as much as $2.9 million compared with mid-five figures last season on just career-ending insurance. European national teams are working with FIBA Europe officials to find a more affordable rate.  Without affordable insurance, Parker said he would not play.   READ MORE

Past, Present And Future - A look at where the Rockets have been and where they're headed from here.  Change is in the air in Houston. A new head coach has been hired, a new staff is soon to follow and the NBA Draft is just two weeks away. What does it all mean and where are the Rockets headed? To tackle those questions (and more), Rockets.com teamed up with Red94.net's Rahat Huq to discuss the past, present and future of the Rockets franchise.   READ MORE

The Big Picture - Taking a look at the top centers available in the 2011 NBA Draft.  The NBA Draft is right around the corner so the time has come to take an in-depth look at the players hoping to hear their names called out by Commissioner David Stern on the night of June 23. To help with the process, Rockets.com is once again enlisting the help of NBA draft expert Jim Clibanoff.  The formula is simple: our man Clibs will break down the draft position by position, offering his thoughts on the top prospects, while sprinkling in a few feelings on some lesser known players who might be worth a closer look in the draft’s later stages.  Today’s feature focuses on the center position, an area of need, in some form or fashion, for nearly every team in the NBA. One final note: players' height and weight are taken, when possible, from the NBA’s combine measurements, with each prospect’s listed height rounded up to the nearest inch while wearing shoes.   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

 

 

 

Rangers won't fret over 'signability' this Draft - New ownership could lead to Texas paying up for early picks.  The Rangers will go into the 2011 First-Year Player Draft with all the usual objectives in play. They will look hard at both pitching and athletic, multi-talented position players, and they will look hard at drafting players from Texas.  They will not be afraid to gamble on high-ceiling athletes even if they do contain some risk rather than playing it "safe" with players who may not be quite as talented but considered more of a "sure thing."  Those have been fundamental principles guiding the Rangers through the draft over the past five years under general manager Jon Daniels. But there are a couple of other factors that have arisen in the past year that make this draft particularly intriguing for the Rangers.   READ MORE

Hot-hitting Tigers go for sweep of Rangers - Rangers Ballpark in Arlington has a reputation as one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in the big leagues.  But so far, it's been the visiting Tigers, and not the Rangers, who have taken control offensively in Texas.  On Monday, Detroit pounded Texas pitching and jumped out to an early lead on its way to a 13-7 victory. The Tigers followed the same formula Tuesday in an 8-1 win and now stand one victory away from completing a three-game sweep.   READ MORE

Astros load up on pitchers in Draft's second day - Second-rounder is OU recruit; third-rounder has MLB bloodlines.  The Astros took full advantage of a Draft touted for its pitching depth, selecting hurlers with their first four picks on Day 2.  Headlining the group of pitchers was second-round pick Adrian Houser, a right-handed pitcher from Locust Grove High School in Oklahoma, who will have to decide between signing with the Astros or playing for the University of Oklahoma.  "I've always been an OU fan and always wanted to play for OU," Houser said. "But, then again, baseball is my life, and I want to go play pro ball. I want to get in the Minor League system so I can learn everything as fast as I can, so I can work my way up to the Majors as fast as I can. It's just going to be a process that's going to take some time, probably. I've got a lot of thinking to do."   READ MORE

Cards hoping to build on success against Norris - There is something about the St. Louis Cardinals that, more often than not, brings out the best in Bud Norris.  The Astros starter hasn't allowed an earned run in four of his eight career starts against St. Louis. He is also 5-2 in that span with just a 2.66 ERA. But those numbers took a hit the last time Norris faced the Cards, when he allowed five runs in five innings on May 18.  So which will it be when Norris faces the Cardinals on Wednesday at Minute Maid Park? He'll be opposed by Jaime Garcia, who has had some rough outings against Houston. The Cardinals slugged two homers in the series opener, a 7-4 win, but they are expecting a sterner test against Norris.   READ MORE


Dallas Cowboys: Roy Williams and 5 Starters Most Affected by NFL Draft - The Dallas Cowboys were widely picked to represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLV in their very own home in Cowboys Stadium before the season.  They weren't even close.  They started the campaign off 1-7, with the final straw being a 45-7 shellacking on national TV by the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.  This embarassment led Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones to do something he hadn't done in more than 20 years of ownership: fire a coach midseason.  Wade Phillips was fired after the loss and Jason Garrett was elevated to the top job after being the team's offensive coordinator since 2007.  The NFL Draft is a team's yearly chance to try to close the gap on the league's best teams, and the Cowboys had what alot of fans and experts called an "average draft."  No secondary help was drafted until the fifth round, and a lot of people were wondering why the Cowboys didn't take a defender in a first round that included Nebraska's Prince Amukamara, LSU's Patrick Peterson and UCLA's Rahim Moore.  Here is why Roy Williams and five Cowboys starters are the most affected by the recent draft.   READ MORE

Dallas Cowboys Lack Home Field Advantage - ESPN.com writers took the time to break down the ten toughest stadiums to play in. Only 14 stadiums managed to get votes and Jerry Jones’  billion dollar palace was not among those receiving votes. The setting at a Cowboys game comes off as more of an upscale dining experience with a gigantic TV than it does a football stadium with a rowdy crowd.  Last season, the Cowboys were a miserable 2-6 at home.  Fans show up in numbers and there is always a spectacle. The stadium is a start of the art facility and a beautiful building, however, it just isn’t an intimidating place to play. It should be no surprise the stadium didn’t receive a single vote.  You can check out the voting results after the jump. The top two stadiums will not shock you.   READ MORE

Houston Texans Begin 7 on 7 Drills - After three months of conditioning and working out together at Rice University for the Houston Texans. Matt Schaub stated this morning on Sports Radio 610 CBS Houston, “We’ve picked up on our football stuff here over the last month, starting in the beginning of May and when June hit this week.” Schaub went on to add, “Probably next week what we’ll do, we have more guys coming so we’ll set up a mock practice type setting. Which we’ve been throwing and doing all that but now to have more of the defensive guys out there to do some real live seven on seven, individual drills and pretty much everything that we would do through out practice, OTA’s up until an actual team period.”  The Texans quarterback goes on to explain the seven on seven drills are largely in part to not having enough linemen involved or the extra bodies needed to conduct an actual full on team period.   READ MORE

Houston Texans: Owen Daniels Could Be the Finishing Touch on Offense - The Houston Texans spent most of the offseason focusing on the defensive side of the ball, and understandably so. Last season the team was woefully lopsided with a balanced, productive offense on one side of the ball and a porous sieve-like defense on the other.  The one concern for the Texans on offense was at wide receiver. Last season, All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson was hindered by injuries but also by attention of opposing secondaries.  The Texans lacked a credible option to take away the deep safety that was constantly keeping his eye on Johnson.  Due to this, it was determined that a deep-threat wide receiver would be a plausible addition to the offense.  I there was a Sam Wallace-type speed receiver lining up opposite of Johnson, teams would be forced to respect that threat, possibly distracting the deep safety from locking in on Dre.  But the draft has come and gone, and no receiver was added. Very little fuss was made over this, as the first five picks were all made for defensive players. It is hard to argue with that course of action.  I was assumed by many, myself included, that the Texans simply weren’t as concerned about the offense since it was so much healthier that its team counterpart.   READ MORE

 

 


Krys Barch Twitter Adventures With Maxim Lapierre - Twitter and Krys Barch. I told him earlier this year I thought it was a match made in heaven. He said he has a lot of fun with it, and the guys in the locker room (Dallas Stars) have a lot of fun with it, even though you may not know their account names or how they're reading, but they are reading.  Of particular interest is a player expressing a strong opinion of another, which is precisely what Mr. Barch seems to have done regarding unsportsmanlike behavior in the Stanley Cup Finals. Maxim Lapierre has drawn his specific ire, but hockey fans know that this sort of behavior is pretty wide-spread amongst Bruins and Canucks alike.  Krys Barch famously (now) tweeted the following..."I can't stand watching #40 and not even playing the game. I don't know if he has an ounce of man in him. I'd be embarrassed to be his father."   READ MORE

Dallas Stars Sale: Forbes Says Reported $250 Million Price is 'Pipe Dream' - While Tom Gaglardi and his people are busy trying to make our collective dreams come true (Goodbye Tom Hicks, hello higher payroll) we wait for news and Forbes.com has provided an interesting bit of it today, but let's call it speculation for now.  Mike Ozanian of Forbes.com claims to have a person 'familiar with the negotiations' telling him that a $250 million dollar sales price is a "pipe dream" and that the actual sale will be about $115 million, and all of that in assumed debt. Not cash. In fact, this report makes it sound as though there will be no real cash at all... "A person familiar with the negotiations tells me Gaglardi's offer is just about $115 million. That's it. The $115 million enterprise value is all debt assumption, no equity, and includes control of half of the arena.  Here is are the numbers behind the deal: HSG currently owes creditors $260 million and has $70 million of cash from the sale of the Texas Rangers to a group led by Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg last August. Netting out the cash leaves $190 million of debt. HSG thinks creditors would accept about 60 cents on the dollar" [Forbes]   READ MORE

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