Sports Morning Headlines-Friday, 12/31/10

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Friday, December 31, 2010.

ProjectSpurs-Spurs vs. Mavericks: The Morning After - The Spurs continue on their perch atop the NBA and Western Conference after a win against the Dirk Nowitzki-less Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night.  As was the case against the Lakers, the Spurs got scoring help from outside the big three, with Gary Neal providing the biggest punch with 21 points off the bench.  Although the Spurs expected a test against another Western Conference contender, they'll have to wait until January 14 to see the Mavericks again.  With the win, the Spurs are now 28-4 on the season and are three and one-half games above the Mavericks in the West.    READ MORE

Duncan, Neal lift Spurs past Dirk-less Mavs - Beating the Dallas Mavericks without Dirk Nowitzki on the court just wasn't as much fun for the San Antonio Spurs.  At least, that's what San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich claimed.  Tim Duncan bounced back from one of the least productive games of his career to score 17 points and reserve Gary Neal had 21, sending the Spurs to a 99-93 victory over the Nowitzki-less Mavericks on Thursday night in a showdown between the top two teams in the Western Conference.    READ MORE

Why the Spurs have the NBA’s best bench - Remember that guy named Goran Dragic and the Phoenix bench that helped end the Spurs season so abruptly and unceremoniously back in May?  The Spurs are providing the same sensation to other teams this season thanks to the play of a similarly productive, deep group of substitutes.  George Hill and Gary Neal are evolving into the best pair of backup guards in the league. Their strong play was the most critical element in San Antonio’s 99-93 victory at Dallas Thursday night. The significance of the nationally televised performance likely will install the Spurs as the league’s best team from the pundits who compile the weekly power ratings over the weekend.   READ MORE

Dirk-Less Dallas Unable to Stop San Antonio, 99-93 - The crowd was electric for the rivalry game between the Dallas Mavericks and the San Antonio Spurs.  Dallas was without Dirk Nowitzki for the second consecutive game and the Mavericks battled as long as they could before the Spurs delivered a frustrating 99-93 defeat to the Mavericks.  Dallas had multiple chances over the course of the game where they could have pulled ahead of the Spurs but they were unable to do enough to break through.  "We just couldn't get over the hump," said Coach Rick Carlisle.  "It was tough, it was frustrating, but our guys kept battling."  The Mavericks were out-rebounded 50-35 in the defeat.  The loss marked only the second time in the season that the Mavericks have suffered back-to-back losses.  READ MORE

The Difference: San Antonio Spurs 99, Dallas Mavericks 93 - You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.  It would be unfair to lump the weight of a loss on one player in any game, but Jason Terry (eight points, 3-16 FG, four assists) makes the idea awfully tempting. Last I checked, JET was supposedly the Mavs’ most efficient non-Dirk scorer, and yet his shooting stroke was lost but never found. There were no late-game heroics (aside from a pair of three-pointers swished after the game had been decided) from Terry, only well-intended attempts each flawed in their own special way. He drove to draw fouls rather than score. He took a three from a good foot-and-a-half behind the three-point line, just for kicks. He pulled up and pulled up and pulled up in the hope that something would go down. Whatever pixie dust JET has benefited from in the past seems to have disappeared over the last two games, so if anyone knows a good supplier of magically enchanted performance-enhancing goods or potions, Terry might be interested.   READ MORE

21-2 run sparks Spurs as Mavs lose 2nd straight without Dirk Nowitzki - Jason Kidd didn't consider the 106th triple-double cause for celebration.  "They come and go," Kidd said after his 12-point, 10-rebound, 13-assist performance in the loss to the Spurs. "It was a triple-double, and we lost. I'd rather us win and not get a triple-double."  It's not as if there's anything too special about Kidd getting a triple-double against the Spurs.  He's had seven triple-doubles in his career against the Spurs. That matches the most Kidd has had against any team, as he's also had seven against the Kings.    READ MORE

Looking to end year on winning note - Finishing strong.  With the Rockets turning around their season but losing Wednesday to the Miami Heat, they said tonight's game against the Toronto Raptors is crucial heading into a much tougher part of the schedule.  "It's huge," Rockets guard Kyle Lowry said. "We'd like to end the year at .500. We fought so hard to get back to .500. It would be tough to lose two games in a row. "  The Rockets play 17 games in January, including two of the first three against the Trail Blazers, the team they are chasing in the Western Conference standings.   READ MORE

Chuck Hayes out for 2-4 weeks - The Rockets have lost another center to another ankle injury.  Chuck Hayes, who has stepped in to the starting lineup with Yao Ming out, injured his right ankle in the closing minutes of Thursday’s practice. Hayes landed on the foot of guard Ish Smith on a drive and immediately went down.  Hayes was diagnosed with a moderate to severe right ankle sprain and will be out for two to four weeks before he would resume on-court workouts.   READ MORE






Vandergriff, who brought Rangers to Texas, dies - Tom Vandergriff, the former Arlington mayor who brought Major League Baseball to North Texas, passed away on Thursday from natural causes at a Fort Worth hospital. He was 84.   READ MORE

Colon says Rangers, Yanks, Tribe interested - Former American League Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon has not pitched in the Major Leagues since July 24, 2009, but he is still planning a comeback and said there are three teams interested in him.  Colon told El Dia, a newspaper in the Dominican Republic, that the Rangers, Yankees and Indians have all expressed some degree of interest in him.  "I'll go with the one that signs me," said Colon, who would most likely have to settle for a non-roster contract with an invitation to Spring Training.    READ MORE

Purchase your 2011 Astros season tickets now - Astros season tickets are the best way to catch all the excitement at Minute Maid Park in 2011. Buy your season tickets now and enjoy another season of action-packed baseball.   READ MORE






 

Cowboys sign kicker Kris Brown to provide competition for struggling David Buehler - The Cowboys have finally decided the erratic performance of kicker David Buehler deserves a response.  The club has agreed to terms with Kris Brown and will add him to the 53-man roster today. Buehler will also retain his spot, meaning the team will carry both kickers into Sunday's finale against Philadelphia.  The competition between these two won't wait until the off-season. While Buehler will likely handle kickoffs against the Eagles, the Cowboys will observe both kickers over the next two days to determine who should handle the field goal duties.  In the last four weeks, Buehler has hit game-winning field goals against Indianapolis and Washington and missed an extra point in a 27-26 loss to Arizona on Christmas night.  The second-year kicker ranks 33rd in the NFL in accuracy by hitting 24-of-31 field goals this season.    READ MORE

Cowboys continue to crash and burn while trying to fix flaws - Football is a game that promotes change. Adjustments are made at halftime, playbooks are amended during the season, and lineups are altered from one game to the next. Teams that diagnose their problems and identify ways to fix them are usually rewarded. The ones that can't are penalized.  Paul Pasqualoni took over as defensive coordinator when Wade Phillips was fired Nov. 8.  Then there are the 2010 Cowboys, who have pinpointed their flaws, enacted sensible solutions and have been unable to provoke the turnaround they wanted. Their failure to do so has been a source of frustration for the entire team, but it's been even more aggravating for a defense that is at a loss for answers as it prepares to face Philadelphia in the season finale Sunday.    READ MORE

McNair to keep Kubiak but plans to hire Phillips as defensive coordinator - "Indications are that Texans owner Bob McNair plans to keep Gary Kubiak as his head coach and hire Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator. Unless something like a blowout loss to Jacksonville in Sunday's game at Reliant Stadium causes him to have an 11th-hour change of heart, McNair will bring back Kubiak for his sixth season, two people familiar with the situation said Thursday. McNair has declined to comment on Kubiak's job situation since Dec. 15, but three people close to the owner said he's angry, disappointed and frustrated with the Texans' 5-10 record that includes eight losses in nine games.    READ MORE

Phillips joins Pastorini, players in voicing support for Kubiak - "Houston football icons of bygone eras rallied around embattled Texans coach Gary Kubiak on Wednesday. Bum Phillips and Dan Pastorini, coach and quarterback respectively of the "Luv Ya Blue" Oilers who played in back-to-back AFC Championship Games three decades ago, attended the Texans' practice Wednesday despite the dreadful weather to offer moral support to their old friend, who as a teenager served as a training camp ball boy. Afterward, Phillips and Pastorini also gave Kubiak their unequivocal vocal support, as did Texans quarterback Matt Schaub and Pro Bowl-bound wide receiver Andre Johnson, among others.    READ MORE

Report: Wade Phillips could land in Houston as DC - "NFL.com, citing league sources, reported that former Dallas Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips could surface in Houston as defensive coordinator. The Texans are expected to shake up their coaching staff in the wake of a disappointing season. Frank Bush Sr. is the current coordinator of a defense that ranks 29th in yards allowed with 380.6 and 30th in points allowed at 27.3."   READ MORE







Men's basketball: UNT rolls in Sun Belt opener - North Texas head coach Johnny Jones isn’t a big believer in statement games or one night being any more important than the next in the grind of a long season.  What UNT managed in its Sun Belt Conference opener on Thursday night at the Super Pit might just be enough to catch some additional attention for the Mean Green in case anyone hadn’t noticed what Jones’ team accomplished in nonconference play.  Josh White led an offensive onslaught by scoring 19 points against an Arkansas-Little Rock team known for being particularly stingy on defense, and the Mean Green rolled to an 81-69 win.   READ MORE

Early turnovers, late miss on FG try foil SMU in Armed Forces Bowl - When SMU coach June Jones called timeout with 4:10 to play, the Mustangs facing an all-important fourth-and-6 from Army's 30, the unconventional, offensive-minded coach didn't even consider going for it.  No, SMU's comeback hopes in Thursday's Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl would come down to a field goal attempt. But senior Matt Szymanski's 47-yard attempt into the wind, while long enough, missed wide left, and Army held on for a 16-14 victory in front of a Ford Stadium-record crowd of 36,742 at the patriotic-themed game.    READ MORE

Tulsa hangs on in 69-66 win over TCU men - Steven Idlet grabbed a season-high 14 rebounds and scored a career-high 22 points to lead Tulsa past TCU 69-66 on Thursday night.  READ MORE

TCU needs to show more love to their running game - Somewhere between Fort Worth and suddenly rainy LA, something about TCU football got lost in translation.   READ MORE

TCU is 10th, but no Big 12 teams among top-spending bowl-bound football programs - Ohio State and Alabama each spend more than $31 million a year to run their football programs, while nine other teams closing out the season in bowls spend $20 million plus.   READ MORE

TCU safeties put aside personal desires for team's good, friendship - There are few bonds stronger than those forged between teammates.  Colin Jones, who will finish his career as TCU's starting strong safety in the Rose Bowl on Saturday, remembers the anguish on Tyler Luttrell's face on the team bus after the Horned Frogs' season-opening win against Oregon State.    READ MORE

Is a Wisconsin daily double part of Texas' coaching search? - An interesting twist on Texas’ search for new offensive coaches is the possibility of rebuilding that side of the staff around a Wisconsin daily double, with offensive coordinator Paul Chryst and offensive line coach Bob Bostad heading to Austin in a tandem deal.   READ MORE

Report: Longhorns' CB Aaron Williams to declare for NFL Draft - Longhorns junior cornerback Aaron Williams will declare for the 2011 NFL Draft, as reported by Orangebloods.com today.   READ MORE

Danielle Adams, No. 7 Texas A&M dominates San Diego State, 96-52 - Texas A&M came out with such aggression against San Diego State, the Aggies had pretty much put away Thursday night's game by halftime.  Behind 23 points from Danielle Adams and playing its best first half of the season, No. 7 Texas A&M dominated San Diego State 96-52 to win the Surf 'N Slam championship game.    READ MORE

Midseason quarterback switched Texas A&M's fortunes - With rare exception, Texas A&M football coach Mike Sherman has avoided midseason quarterback changes throughout three decades at the college and NFL levels.   READ MORE

The best sign of Stephen McGee's play with Cowboys - It was one game. You can’t tell too much from it, but I will say that McGee did a nice job in his first game because he didn’t make any mistakes that resulted in turnovers or cost the team the game.   READ MORE

Win over Texas Tech would be Northwestern's 1st bowl victory since '49 Rose Bowl - Pat Fitzgerald takes Northwestern's bowl record personally – as well he should. He's been a part of six of the eight bowl appearances in school history as a player, assistant coach and head coach.   READ MORE

Texas Tech receiver will play Saturday after missing last 6 games with foot injury - Texas Tech receiver Jacoby Franks, who has missed the team's last six games because of a broken foot, practiced Tuesday and will play in Saturday's TicketCity Bowl unless he struggles with pain tolerance, said coach Tommy Tuberville.   READ MORE

Aledo's Johnathan Gray checks out Texas Tech's bowl practice after 59 touchdown season - Johnathan Gray was spotted at the Red Raiders' final practice at Bishop Lynch High School prior to the Red Raiders' TicketCity Bowl game, according to Don Williams of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.   READ MORE





Trevor Daley's fierce loyalty to Stars rewarded with new contract - Trevor Daley is not the kind of guy to show a lot of emotion, but let there be no mistake that he bleeds the colors of the Stars.  Trevor Daley fits the Stars' vision of a mobile defender, so they locked him up with a six-year, $19.8 million deal.  When Daley signed a six-year contract extension for $19.8 million Wednesday, he quietly said it was a happy day when he could proudly say he was a core player for the organization. But longtime road roommate Steve Ott knew that the feelings ran much deeper.   READ MORE

Preview: Dallas Stars vs. Vancouver Canucks - Key matchup: Brad Richards vs. Henrik Sedin.  Actually, this is more of a two-on-two matchup. This game will feature four of the top 10 scorers in the NHL, with Henrik (fourth, 47 points) and Daniel Sedin (fifth, 45) possibly facing off against Richards (sixth, 42) and Loui Eriksson (10th, 40).    READ MORE

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