Sports Morning Headlines-Monday, 12/20/10

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Monday, December 20, 2010.

Brooks savors first win in return - As he weighed how to bring Aaron Brooks back in his first game since his ankle injury Nov. 6, Rockets coach Rick Adelman said the decision was more about Brooks and how he might play than his impact on the rotation. "He had not practiced (much)," Adelman said of bringing Brooks off the bench. "He practiced that one day for three quarters of that practice, then he's just been working out with the strength and conditioning guys. I think I'm just going to bring him around slow, put him in for Kyle (Lowry) toward the end of the first quarter, see how he goes from there and kind of do it that way at least for this trip.  "It's not going to be hard. When he comes in, we'll go to him, see how he's doing. You have to see how much confidence he has and where his timing is."       READ MORE

Rockets Ride Strong Fourth Quarter Defense To 102-93 Win Over Kings - It took the Rockets a while to show up, but once Kyle Lowry finally took a few shots, and once the defense began forcing turnovers (a rarity for this team), Houston managed to slide past Sacramento in much more difficult fashion than in their previous meeting. Kevin Martin scored 22 points, Luis Scola added 17 and the Rockets' bench dropped 39 points on the Kings, likely a result of the return of Aaron Brooks.   READ MORE

Secret Santas deliver gag gifts - Christmas came early to the Rockets' locker room, courtesy of Aaron Brooks and Jared Jeffries, who took it upon themselves to be the team's secret Santas. When Rockets players arrived for Friday's game, there were gifts waiting, specifically selected for each.  Brad Miller received a Bambi. Shane Battier received an And1 mix tape. Ish Smith received a Better Basketball shooting DVD. Chuck Hayes received a bottle of Rogaine. Chase Budinger received a can of spray-on tan. And Terrence Williams received an alarm clock.   READ MORE

Spurs face opponents renovated by trades - When news of the mega-trades involving Phoenix, Orlando and Washington reached San Antonio on Saturday, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich experienced a reaction not unlike that of any other ardent NBA follower.  "It’s hard to not look at that and at least wonder what they’ll do with those players,” Popovich said. “Are they better for it? Are they worse for it? It’s just a natural thing to do.”   READ MORE

Hill hurt, Bonner plays the tambourine, odd numbers, and more - Spurs guard sat out against the Memphis Grizzlies last night and it seems he will be out for a few more games says Express News' Tim Griffin. Seems Hill sprained his toe.  “He was trying to be a hero,” Popovich said. “Finally, we stopped believing him. He’s on a little medication and in the boot and trying to stay off of it and see if the inflammation can be reduced. If that happens we’ll be O.K.”   READ MORE

SOS - Games thru December 18th - The Dallas Mavericks lost their position as the best team in the NBA.  Based on the strength of their schedule and record, the Mav's move down one spot while the Celtics move up to the number 1 spot while the Spurs stay the course.  READ MORE

Mavericks report: Getting inside - Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle took the preemptive-strike approach to a possible building controversy at backup center. Carlisle subbed for Tyson Chandler with Ian Mahinmi before Brendan Haywood before a recent game.  Carlisle started his postgame press conference that night by delving into the issue. 
"The backup center position, I'll just address that. I think it's important," he said after Wednesday's win over Portland. "Brendan is our guy, but in situations where we feel we need a little more energy, quickness in the game, that's why I look to go to Ian.   READ MORE

Dirk Nowitzki prepares to pass Larry Legend - Unless his shot goes completely south, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki will surpass the immortal Larry Bird and become the NBA’s No. 25 all-time leading scorer either tonight in Miami or Tuesday in Orlando.  Bird played 13 years for Boston and finished his stellar career with the Celtics with 21,791 points in 897 games. Now in his 13th season with the Mavs, Nowitzki has scored 21,755 points in 946 games.  Reacting to by-passing Larry Legend on the league’s scoring chart, Nowitzki said: “Stats like that you’re going to be more proud once you look back at your career in 10-15, probably 20 years. You’ll look back and I think that’s when it’s more special.   READ MORE

Mavericks-Heat preview - Sizzling Showdown - The last time the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat saw each other both teams were still trying to find themselves.  A lot has changed for the positive for both teams since, but Monday night something’s got to give. And with two of the hottest squads in the NBA colliding on the same floor, there figures to be scorching play at Miami's American Airlines Arena.  Since Nov. 27, when the Mavericks (21-5) handed the Heat a 106-95 loss on the American Airlines Center floor, both teams have ascended to the top tier of the NBA. The Mavericks have propelled themselves to the third-best record in the league, after reeling off 14 wins in their last 15 games.    READ MORE





Astros find second baseman, reach deal with Hall - The Astros and free agent Bill Hall have agreed to a one-year contract, with a mutual option for 2012, to make the versatile veteran the club's starting second baseman next season.    READ MORE

Reds the favorite, but NL Central is wide open - Division has had different teams as champ the past three years.  What they've done: It's been a fairly quiet winter for the Astros, especially since they acquired Clint Barmes from Colorado for Felipe Paulino. Ryan Rowland-Smith signed during the Winter Meetings.  Left to do: Houston still needs to upgrade the offense, quite possibly in the middle infield. Bench depth could also be on the menu, but for the most part, the 2011 Astros have taken shape.   READ MORE

Hamilton, Andrus take home GIBBY hardware - Josh Hamilton was named Player of the Year and Elvis Andrus nabbed Defensive Player of the Year at Friday's GIBBY Awards, as determined by This Year In Baseball balloting.   READ MORE

Starting options available, but are they enticing? - If the Rangers go the free-agent route to fill out the rest of the rotation, there are starting-pitching options available. But after Carl Pavano, are these names that piqued Texas' interest?    READ MORE




 

Cowher coaching talk surfaces - "Bill Cowher could be ready to return to the NFL. Cowher, the former Steelers coach and a Crafton native, would be willing to return to coaching next season if the head job with the Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans or New York Giants became available, ESPN reported yesterday. Cowher stepped down as Steelers coach after the 2006 season, compiling a 161-99-1 record and a victory in Super Bowl XL in 15 seasons. After resigning, he moved to North Carolina with his wife, Kaye, and three daughters. He began working as a studio analyst with CBS in 2007. Through the years Cowher dismissed speculation that he would return to the sidelines but never ruled out the possibility.    READ MORE

McNair angering fan base - "Oh, Bob McNair. Say you didn't mean it. Tell us they misquoted you, or took your words out of context. Give us something, Bob. Give us a reason to believe. Tell us those words don't reflect what's in your heart. We want to stick with you, Bob. We know what kind of man you are. We love your decency and charitable heart. We also know you're the reason there's an NFL franchise in Houston, and for that, we'll be forever grateful. Even a lousy team is better than no team, and we'll never forget you're the guy that got us back in the game. It's just that we're tired of losing, Bob.    READ MORE

Reward for AFC South dregs: Animosity Bowl - "They could have been contenders. Fact is, they were contenders not so long ago. But what loomed as the most meaningful collision between the teams that represent Houston's melancholy pro football past and its maddening present is close to being meaningless in big-picture terms. Although the Titans and Texans can remain theoretically in the playoff chase, you can likely count on one hand the fans in Nashville and Houston combined who believe either has a chance. Funny how six losses in a row (Titans) and six losses in seven games (Texans) can wreck a holiday season for the football faithful. That thieving Christmas Grinch is commuting between Texas and Tennessee this December.    READ MORE

Leading the charge to Hawaii - "The T-shirts might say "Leach to the Beach" — as in to the Pro Bowl in Honolulu — but Vonta Leach flew in the opposite direction to a much less exotic locale Friday. Although the Texans fullback badly wants to represent the AFC in the NFL's annual all-star game, having served as NFL rushing leader Arian Foster's bruising lead blocker when the Texans use the two-back set, Leach, 29, got another important milestone out of the way first. He graduated from college.    READ MORE

Top priority for new Cowboys coach: Fix the defense - When you have fallen as far as the Dallas defense, going from a unit the Eagles feared at the end of 2009 to one that is simply frightening for Cowboys fans to watch this year, I understand the cause for celebration.  Near the end, the defense produced back-to-back sacks that forced a punt. And on the game's final play, Terence Newman grabbed the interception that secured a 33-30 Dallas win over the Washington Redskins.    READ MORE

Win over rivals is nice, but 'dumb' Cowboys keep struggling - Mike Shanahan, Washington's petulant coach, set the Redskins up for failure by waiting until Friday to announce Rex Grossman was replacing Donovan McNabb at quarterback. Bad teams engulfed by turmoil rarely play well, especially when their quarterback doesn't practice with the starters until two days before the game.  In trying to humiliate McNabb, Shanahan set up the Cowboys for an easy win. But these Cowboys made too many mistakes to accept the early Christmas gift.  Imagine that.    READ MORE

Cowboys win over 'Skins more alarming than satisfying - How alarming was the Redskins' comeback from down 27-7?  It's extremely alarming. It's a lot of the same things we've seen, beginning with busted coverages in the secondary, the inability to stop the opposition in the fourth quarter (that's a trend we've seen for a bit). This defense is playing with almost entire full complement and is a real sore thumb right now. Its inability to close the deal even against the feeblest of offenses, it's the type of win that reminds you of the amount of work you need to do instead of one you want to celebrate the rest of evening.    READ MORE






Baylor's Drew will ensure Bears learn from first loss - Expect Baylor to file away the memories and game film of Saturday's 68-64 loss to Gonzaga as a teachable moment.  The Bears, enjoying their highest-ever Associated Press ranking at No. 9, got a preview of what they'll face in the Big 12 season and probably in the NCAA Tournament. A young team learned during The Showcase at American Airlines Center that not everything will be as easy as seven consecutive double-digit wins at the Ferrell Center.    READ MORE

Men's basketball: Mean Green crushes Texas State - North Texas had a list of areas in which it wanted to improve during the time it had off between its win over Jackson State on Dec. 11 and its game against Texas State on Sunday. The Mean Green’s performance in an 85-62 thrashing of the Bobcats at the Super Pit was a pretty good indication UNT addressed pretty much every issue on its checklist in the span of a week.   READ MORE

Men's basketball: Mean Green eager to return from break - North Texas didn’t take much of a break over the last week. Sure, the Mean Green spent a lot of time preparing for and taking its final exams. UNT also worked in some time to let a few nagging injuries heal. That doesn’t mean UNT didn’t get a lot done since it hammered Jackson State on Dec. 11.   READ MORE

Football: Conley to expand duties on UNT staff - North Texas is turning to a veteran member of its staff to guide it through the transition to a new coaching regime during the middle of recruiting season. Scotty Conley, who spent the last two years as the director of football operations under former head coach Todd Dodge, will remain in that capacity in addition to adding the role of recruiting coordinator.   READ MORE

No. 23 Texas women defeat SMU, 91-73 - Chassidy Fussell scored 14 points and No. 23 Texas beat in-state rival Southern Methodist 91-73 Saturday in the BTI Classic.   READ MORE

Mustangs cornerback out after knee surgery - SMU cornerback Sterling Moore has had knee surgery and will miss the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl against Army.   READ MORE

From expletives to Nyquil hunts: Inside a college team road trip - The TCU men's basketball team's 14-point loss at Nebraska is less than three minutes old when the fight breaks out in the locker room. Head basketball coach Jim Christian's face looks more annoyed than worried as he hears the sounds of a scuffle between his players. Christian walks down the short hall from the coaches' dressing room to the visiting players' locker room as a pair of Lincoln, Neb., police officers run to break up the fight between the TCU players. The police leave. The door shuts. The candor flies. "He's got the worst attitude on the team, and no one can say nothin' to him!" "You guys gotta man up!" "That was so easy, and you made it hard for no reason." "Would you stop worrying about the messenger and play better!"   READ MORE

Coaching mess hasn't crushed Texas Longhorns No. 1 football recruiting class -- yet - It's not often that even the slightest bit of uncertainty creeps its way under the hood of the well-oiled machine that is Texas Longhorns recruiting.   READ MORE

Tennessee defensive coordinator's name surfaces; Nothing imminent so far in Texas search - Another day, another name emerges for the Texas defensive coordinator job. 
First was can't-miss frontrunner Randy Shannon. Then Teryl Austin became the guy, no doubt about it, from on-line reports. DeWayne Walker surfaced as a possibility, a front-runner and then an apparent non-candidate - all in the span of a couple of hours in the Twitterverse.   READ MORE

Danielle Adams, No. 8 Texas A&M down Rutgers, 79-50, at Madison Square Garden - Texas A&M coach Gary Blair believes Danielle Adams has been flying under the college basketball radar because of where she plays.  The 6-foot-1 senior got a chance to showcase her skills on one the game's biggest stages Sunday, scoring 24 points and grabbing 12 rebounds to lead No. 8 Texas A&M to a 79-50 victory over Rutgers in the Maggie Dixon Classic.    READ MORE


Showcase notebook: Reserves give Aggie a spark after fracas - An early second-half fracas might have jolted awake Texas A&M, but reserves Derrek Lewis, Keith Davis and Andrew Darko sparked the Aggies' rally from a 10-point deficit.   READ MORE

Texas A&M overcomes nine-point deficit, midcourt melee to down Arkansas in overtime - Texas A&M, it seems, just needed a little shove Saturday against Arkansas.  Followed quickly by the teams converging at midcourt in front of the scorers' table for a heated scuffle – no punches were thrown.  The December nonconference matchup, the first game in the inaugural The Showcase event at American Airlines Center, intensified just like that.    READ MORE

Ralph Friedgen hasn't agreed to retire, Maryland won't confirm ex-Tech coach Mike Leach as candidate - Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen has still not agreed to retire — a position that appears to force the university's hand since he has been told he won't return for the 2011 season, sources say. But Friedgen does intend to coach the Terps in the Military Bowl on Dec. 29.   READ MORE

Friedgen and Maryland have yet to work out the details of his separation. If he doesn't retire, the university would likely have to buy out the remaining season of his roughly $2 million-a-year contract. Since it is a contract issue, one source said, the matter would likely be reviewed by university officials outside the athletic department.  Maryland is interested in former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, who was fired at the end of the 2009 season despite leading the Red Raiders to 10 straight winning seasons and national prominence.   READ MORE





Hottest in NHL? Stars fight when 'We could have mailed it in' - If ever a game had loss written all over it, it was Sunday's afternoon tilt against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.  The Stars had played Saturday night in Columbus, Detroit goalie Chris Osgood was going for his 400th career win, and the Red Wings jumped to a 2-0 lead 12 minutes into the game and appeared ready to start a party in celebration of the milestone.    READ MORE

Why the Stars are winning: It comes from everywhere - As hokey as it sounds, the Stars are pretty much defining the word "team" right now.  Go ahead, try to pick out the key figure in the weekend sweep of Columbus and Detroit. Was it goalie Kari Lehtonen on Saturday or goalie Andrew Raycroft on Sunday?  Was it two-goal scorer Brad Richards on Saturday or two-goal scorer Brenden Morrow on Sunday? Did Stephane Robidas lead the defense or was it Trevor Daley?  What was the difference?    READ MORE

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