Sports Morning Headlines - Monday, 12/26/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Monday, 12/26/11.

Mavericks' Christmas party crashed by Heat - The Dallas Mavericks spent about a half-hour in pregame festivities celebrating the 2010-11 NBA championship that erased 31 years of futility and heartbreak. But in the ensuing 48 minutes of game action, the Miami Heat helped the Mavs realize some of the realities they face in this new and late-arriving season.  "I'm encouraged,'' Dwyane Wade said after the Heat's 105-94 win over Dallas. "It's different from last year and we're a little more together and more comfortable. This is Step 1 and we did a good job today."  It's worth noting that this Mavs celebration of their first-ever title was more dignified than the Heat's preseason celebration a year ago — "one, two . . .seven'' anticipated titles. In fact, the Miami players couldn't stand to watch the festivities, opting to leave before the pregame lights were dimmed.   READ MORE

Dirk Nowitzki: 'We got our work cut out for us' - Aside from a respectable fourth-quarter showing, the Mavericks didn't play anything like the defending NBA champs Sunday against the Miami Heat.  A poor shooting effort and little defensive pressure left the Mavs in a 97-65 hole after three quarters at American Airlines Center . LeBron James and Dwyane Wade combined to score 63 points and the Heat, who never trailed, held on for a 105-94 victory.  Following the raising of a championship banner, the Mavericks showed during the next two hours and 44 minutes that they will need at least a few more games to get their new pieces jelling with their old ones.  Of all the newcomers, Lamar Odom, Vince Carter and Delonte West, West clearly had the best outing, finishing with 10 points, three steals and three assists off the bench. The trio combined to shoot 6-for-19 from the floor.  "We got our work cut out for us," Dirk Nowitzki said. "We got to get sharper on the plays, we got to get sharper defensively. We got to get the calls quicker and react quicker, so we got some work to do."   READ MORE

Spurs’ Project Get Young continues - Kawhi Leonard can’t say for certain if he was watching the NBA draft that night in 1997, when the Spurs made Tim Duncan the No. 1 overall pick and set the stage for a four-championship dynasty.  Back then, Leonard wasn’t allowed to stay up that late.  “I was 6 years old,” Leonard said.  On another June night some 14 years later, the Spurs made Leonard their highest-drafted rookie since Duncan, sending popular guard George Hill to Indiana in a trade that brought, among other baubles, the player the Pacers had taken with the 15th pick.  Stakes are high for Leonard, a 20-year-old small forward fresh off two college seasons at San Diego State. They are equally as high for the Spurs, who would not have gambled a key rotation piece such as Hill to acquire a player they did not think could readily contribute.   READ MORE

Project Spurs - Video: Nando de Colo dresses as Santa, humiliates kid shooting hoops - San Antonio Spurs' 2009 draft pick Nando de Colo really needs to learn what it means to spread Christmas cheer to kids and it is not dressing up as Santa Claus and humiliating a kid just shooting some hoops.  In what can only be described as a Christmas video idea gone terribly wrong, check out Nando (h/t BallinEurope) humiliating a kid just taking some shots out near his home complete with Nando doing some creepy stalking dressed up a St. Nick.   WATCH VIDEO

Rockets are wait and see project - Rookie Dance-Off - If it is true that good things go to those who wait, then maybe it is true that the best things go to those who wait the longest. And if that is the case, the Houston Rockets should be winning an NBA title sometime soon.  Using calculus and bourbon, I have pinpointed that year as 2015.  Then again, you might not want to trust my calculations, because I'm an idiot sportswriter. But chances are Rockets general managers Daryl Morey has some kind of metric he's plugging into some hyperbola and square-rooting out to a number that will (a) explain why he has so many forwards and (b) predict the franchise's ultimate success.  The point is, if we believe Morey knows what he is doing (and we do), then anybody who is interested in the Rockets will all just raise our glasses. Here, here! (Clink clink). Science that baby up, Daryl.  You're our man.   READ MORE


 

 

Beltran, Berkman likely to generate large crowds at Minute Maid Park in 2012 - Six-time All-Star outfielder Carlos Beltran created excitement last Thursday by agreeing to a two-year, $26 million contract to join the defending World Series-champion, yet new-look Cardinals.  Beltran, 34, hit a combined .300 with 22 home runs, 84 RBI and 39 doubles in 142 games for the Mets and Giants last season.  Although three-time NL MVP, nine-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion Albert Pujols left a void by signing a lucrative 10-year, $254 million deal with the Angels, Beltran's decision to join St. Louis makes them a strong NL contender for 2012.  He'll play a crucial role in solidifying a lineup featuring 2011 World Series hero David Freese, five-time All-Star outfielder Matt Holliday, veterans Rafael Furcal and Yadier Molina, as well as a pair of young, up-and comers in Jon Jay and Allen Craig.  Ironically, Beltran will be reunited with six-time All-Star slugger and 2011 NL Comeback Player of the Year Lance Berkman -- his former teammate with the Houston Astros during the 2004 campaign.   READ MORE

Ex-Astros catcher Brian Esposito agrees to minor league deal with Reds - Veteran catcher Brian Esposito, who has spent the previous three seasons with the Houston Astros organization, agreed to a minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday night.  The deal includes an invitation to Spring Training, according to a source.  Esposito, 32, hit a combined .197 with 11 RBI over 54 games at Triple-A Oklahoma City and Double-A Corpus Christi last season.  He spent a few days with the Astros at the major league level this past June, but never had an opportunity to make a plate appearance.  Esposito was granted free agency in October.   READ MORE

Rangers' Yorvit Torrealba gets disciplinary hearing after he struck empire - Jose Grasso Vecchio, president of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League, said a disciplinary hearing will be held for Texas Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba on Tuesday morning in Caracas.  On Friday, Torrealba jarred home-plate umpire Dario Rivero Jr. with an open-handed jab to the facemask during an argument. Caracas manager Rick Sweet told reporters after the game that Torrealba acted out of frustration but likely would receive a lengthy suspension.   READ MORE

Report card: How Angels and Rangers have fared this off-season - Breaking down the off-season pluses and minuses for the Rangers and the LA Angels:  RANGERS PLUSES -- Acquired negotiating rights to RHP Yu Darvish, the top pitcher in Japan.  -- Signed All-Star closer Joe Nathan, setting up RHP Neftali Feliz to move into the rotation.  ANGELS PLUSES  -- Signed 1B Albert Pujols, who has highest career slugging percentage (.617) by right-handed hitter.  -- Added depth in Wilson. Club went 44-50 in games not started by RHPs Jered Weaver and Dan Haren.   READ MORE

 

 


Tony Romo Expects To Play Sunday Night Against Giants - "I’ll be fine," Romo said late yesterday. "I think I just took a hit to the helmet. We’re going to be all right, though. I’ll be good to go next week."  Romo expects to be ready for the Sunday night game against the Giants:  "I feel like the playoffs have already started," Romo said according to the Dallas Morning News. "I feel good about the hand and being able to play next week. We'll have to see how the swelling goes, but I expect it to go down as the week progresses, and I'm looking forward to New York."  According to the Star-Telegram, the swelling in Romo's hand is due to some broken blood vessels in his hand, but not due to broken bones. The trainers are already working on getting the swelling under control, and Jerry Jones also feels good about Romo's chances.   READ MORE

Romo bruised up in Cowboys' loss to Eagles - Tony Romo was in the locker room dealing with a passing hand that wasn't broken, but was swelling.  At the same time, the New York Giants were polishing off a victory that rendered the result of this game just about meaningless, and turned their game against the Cowboys in New York next weekend into a battle for the NFC East title.  So Jerry Jones left his midfield viewing booth and marched right to coach Jason Garrett on the sideline. Neither would give a clear explanation of their conversation, but it's obvious how the chat went considering Romo didn't return and oft-injured running back Felix Jones soon joined him on the sideline.  Missing those crucial players, and lacking intensity, the Cowboys came within 7 seconds of being shut out at home for the first time in 20 years, losing 20-7 to the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday.  "You have to step back and understand what the situation is," Garrett said. "We need to be as healthy as we can be next week."   READ MORE

Texans get off playoff drought list - The 2011 season has been a drought buster for the Texans as they earned their first playoff appearance in franchise history.  The team was among the most playoff starved in the league, never having made a post-season appearance since their inaugural season in 2002.  Only the Bills and Lions had longer stretches of playoff futility, having missed the playoffs every season since 1999.  But the Lions joined the Texans this season, getting their name off 'the list' after trouncing the Chargers yesterday and securing a wild card spot in the NFC.  That leaves the Bills at the top of the list of teams going the longest without a playoff appearance.   READ MORE

Leather helmets? Now there's an idea - The Houston Texans were victims of several questionable penalties in their loss to the Colts Thursday night.  But none were more ridiculous than the roughing the passer call on Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt in the second quarter.  With the Texans leading 10-3 early in the second quarter, Watt sacked Colts quarterback Dan Orlovsky for a big loss on a 3rd and 5 at the Colts 23 which, under normal circumstances, would have forced a Colts punt and given the ball to the Texans with good field position.  But no.   READ MORE









Spare Change: Whining And Back-Up Goalies - Spare Change is a new weekly column in which I've been given free reign to discuss the topics of the week in my own words. It should regularly be posted on Saturdays, with fairly wide-reaching topics. In this week's inaugural edition, I'll be touching on everything from where Richard Bachman stands in this organization to whining about officials.  The past week for the Dallas Stars has been another marked by hard to predict ups and downs, and not just from game to game, but during games as well. On the ice, it was marked by quick starts and fast declines. Sometimes we overcame them, sometimes we let it get away from us.  Against the Ducks, the Stars turned a first period 1 goal lead into a 3-0 lead early in the second period, with two much needed powerplay goals by Alex Goligoski and Mike Ribeiro. 3 Ducks goals of their own, including 2 while the Stars were a man down, gave Anaheim all of the mometum going into the third period. A strong finish by Ryder and Nystrom put the Stars back in the lead and the Stars came away with a 5-3 victory.   READ MORE

Allen Americans coach Dwight Mullins will coach CHL All-Star Game - The Central Hockey League (CHL) today announced that Allen Americans Head Coach Dwight Mullins will serve as the head coach for the 2012 CHL All-Star Team. It marks the second straight season that Mullins has earned the honor as he helped coach the CHL All-Stars to a victory in the 2011 game over the host Rapid City Rush.  The 2012 CHL All-Star Game is scheduled for Wednesday, January 11, 2012 in Prescott Valley, Arizona at Tim's Toyota Center. The game's format will feature the host Arizona Sundogs taking on a team of CHL All-Stars.  Mullins earns the honor by owning the league's highest win percentage heading into the Christmas break. The Americans are in first place in the Berry Conference with a record of 16-5-5 record and a .712 win percentage. Mullins edged out Wichita's Kevin McClelland (.700 win percentage).   READ MORE











---Staff and Wire Reports contributed to this story

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MVPTEXAS RT @nfl: Report: Brian Cushing OUT at least one week http://t.co/3SdnsVpFc4 http://t.co/pYrOqa1S49
MVPTEXAS RT @spurs: .@DGreen_14 talks about rotations and adjustments following the Spurs preseason loss to the Hawks WATCH >> http://t.co/NGGzrycX
MVPTEXAS @That70sLife @MeanCeIebTweets what's great about this is they have home movies of when they were young to show their kids... :)
MVPTEXAS RT @SportsCenter: Steelers score 24 points in final 3:08 of 1st half to come back vs Texans, 30-23. Le'Veon Bell: 145 total yds, Rec TD htt…
 

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