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Sports Morning Headlines-Thursday, 03/03/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Thursday, March 3, 2011.

Spurs First to 50 Wins - The Spurs became the first team to reach 50 wins this season by beating up on the poor, defenseless Cavaliers. Hey, somebody had to do it. George Hill (I told you he’d fill in nicely for Parker) led the team to a 109-99 victory with 22 points, five rebounds, and five assists. DeJuan Blair had a double-double with 14 points and 10 boards. Tim Duncan only had to play 23 minutes but still scored 16 points along with six assists, three blocks, and four boards. Also, Gary Neal returned to score 14 off the bench.   READ MORE

San Antonio Spurs 109, Cleveland Cavaliers 99: Gregg Popovich provides a case study for next year’s Sloan Conference - Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland — Boston is going to implode this weekend as the entire basketball writing universe descends on MIT. The 5th annual Sloan Sports Analytics Conference is set to erupt and Gregg Popovich has given sportswriting hipsters and members of the basketball inteligencia something to talk about over cocktails.  The Spurs defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight, roughly 24 hours after getting roughed-up by the Memphis Grizzlies. The game itself was unremarkable. The Spurs and Cavs played a tight first half—marked by strong performances from George Hill and, for the Cavs, former Spur Alonzo Gee—but the Spurs pulled away in the second half behind the power of a superior roster.   READ MORE

Notes on a scorecard: Why George Hill’s tweet shows him as a leader - After a miserable performance in his first start of the season at point guard, George Hill didn’t shy away from blaming himself for his team’s troubles in a loss at Memphis.  Only a few hours after the game Tuesday night, Hill tweeted an apology to fans and promised to do better the following night against Cleveland.  Hill’s acknowledgment showed his willingness to take personal responsibility. And it also set the stage for a huge turnaround Wednesday night as he poured in 22 points to lead the Spurs’ 109-99 victory over the hapless Cavaliers.   READ MORE

Rockets enjoying newfound swagger - Despite first loss since break, playoff hopes live.  The change in the Rockets might have begun before the trade deadline, when they emerged from the All-Star break to sweep a road back-to-back, taking over in the fourth quarter of both games. But there is something else that is different, something more about attitude than aptitude.  The Rockets followed those victories with three more since the trade deadline, winning at New Orleans and Portland and displaying a defiant posture in the face of the doubts about their chances. They specifically cited the trade deadline moves designed to help other seasons rather than this one and their own determination to rise to a challenge they believe had been issued.   READ MORE

Rockets 103 - Clippers 106 - This one's on Rick.  If you are a regular Dreamshake reader you'll know that there are some vocal Adelman critics on the board.  I'm not one of them.  I think Adelman is an excellent coach overall, and was the right pick for the Yao/McGrady era.  But even great coaches have their flaws, and this is Rick's - he wants to have a rotation that plays 36-40 minutes a night and goes maybe 7-8 deep.  He wants to ride his horses all the way.  Overall I'm still in his camp, but tonight has left a bitter taste.  Tonight could have been a victory, when victories are utterly crucial, but our own coach took that victory from our hands.   READ MORE

Rockets lose touch, end winning streak - Shaky offense regroups enough for futile late bid against Clippers.  Chase Budinger’s last heave was rushed and off-balance. But as the shot sailed toward the rim, the Rockets used all the body English they could muster, expecting it to fall.  Through a post-All-Star burst back to .500 the Rockets had repeatedly found ways to win. Though a long, road-weary chase of the Clippers on Wednesday, they had found ways to have a chance.  That chance, and their five-game winning streak, ended when Budinger’s last hope bounced off the rim with the Clippers holding on for a 106-103 win Wednesday at Staples Center. Yet for all that had gone wrong and as unlikely as their last comeback had been, the Rockets seemed shocked when it ended.   READ MORE

Inside Skinny: Brewer would add to flexibility - If Corey Brewer clears waivers by 1:00 CST on Thursday he’ll sign a deal with the Dallas Mavericks and add yet another element to what is already the deepest team in the league. The question I keep getting asked is, ”what is his role?”  Rick Carlisle generally likes to play these things close to the vest, but based on the substitution patterns he’s employed for the last few months, best estimates would indicate that Brewer’s role for the remainder of this season will be as a part-time starter based on whomever Dallas is playing.  Where the Mavericks have really been sticking it to opponents since the team got Dirk Nowitzki back from injury in January has been with an absolutely dominant “second unit.”    READ MORE

Something's Brewing, Mavericks Close to Landing Corey Brewer - News started to trickle down on Wednesday afternoon that Corey Brewer has decided to join the Dallas Mavericks. After securing a buyout from the New York Knicks, Brewer. who turns 25 on Saturday, became one of the most desired free agents due to his athleticism and defensive versatility. Based on the capology, the Mavs had the most to offer Brewer in terms of money for this year. Based on the teams in the running (New Orleans, San Antonio, Boston just to name a few), Dallas was the perfect mix of money and minutes available on a championship contender. Considering how things turned out, it appears that the flexibility in regards to letting Sasha Pavlovic go after the second 10-day contract expired has officially paid off.   READ MORE

Placement - One of the more fascinating (and infuriating) aspects of basketball is just how reliant everything — from the performance of a certain player to the success of a particular set play to the effect of a coach — is on team context. Circumstance is almighty. It can turn effective offensive players into non-factors and defensive sieves into worthy contributors. It scores contracts for the otherwise underwhelming, or completely devalues the typically deserving.  It creates a world where Corey Brewer, a good perimeter defender and former lottery pick, is worthy of being waived one day and courted by half of the NBA the next. What’s more: team-specific circumstance makes it so that both the Knicks’ decision to cut Brewer loose and the Mavs’ decision to sign him make complete sense.   READ MORE

WNBA All-Stars will meet in S.A. -  July 23 game will be the city's first hosting of event.  The WNBA All-Star Game will be played on July 23 at the AT&T Center, multiple sources have told the San Antonio Express-News.  WNBA, Spurs Sports & Entertainment and county officials are expected to make the announcement at an 11 a.m. news conference today at the AT&T Center, site of the game.  Tickets are also expected to go on sale today. Ticket prices will start at $11.   READ MORE

 

 

Neftali Feliz has arm to shut up all doubters - A week or so before spring training opened, Nolan Ryan checked his cellphone messages one morning. He heard a familiar voice.  Old friend Lance Berkman was in full apology mode.  "I laughed when I heard it," said Ryan here Wednesday.  There were plenty of Rangers fans who weren't laughing when Berkman, the longtime former Astro, went on Houston radio and pretty much trashed the state's other ballclub, even after a World Series season.   READ MORE

Tommy Hunter sharp as Rangers smash four home runs in victory - David Murphy launched a three-run homer, Ian Kinsler had a two-run shot and Tommy Hunter pitched two scoreless innings as the Rangers outslugged the Angels 10-6 Wednesday at Surprise Stadium.  Chad Tracy and Doug Deeds also homered, and Michael Young went 2 for 3 to boost his average to .571 after three games.  The only ball to leave the infield against Hunter was a single up the middle by super prospect Mike Trout. Hunter needed only 22 pitches -- 17 of which were strikes -- to get six outs.   READ MORE

RHP Jordan Lyles pleased with spring debut for Astros - Astros right-hander Jordan Lyles, who's in Major League camp for the first time in his young professional career, allowed one hit with two walks and no strikeouts over two scoreless innings in his spring debut Wednesday in Houston's heartbreaking 6-5 loss against the New York Yankees at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.  Although he let a couple of pitches get away from him, Lyles was pleased with his overall performance, considering he had to face a tough Yankee lineup.   READ MORE

Astros catcher Jason Castro to undergo MRI on sprained right knee - Astros catcher Jason Castro suffered a sprained right knee Wednesday afternoon during Houston's 6-3 win over the Detroit TIgers at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla., after taking an awkward step while landing on first base in an effort to avoid a tag by five-time All-Star slugger Miguel Cabrera.  The 23-year-old Castro began to limp noticeably, forcing manager Brad Mills to pull him in the seventh inning in order for Detroit's medical staff to take a closer look.   READ MORE

 

 

Dallas Cowboys: Jerry Jones and Why They Will Never Be in Another Super Bowl - Well, the title for this article pretty much says it all. The Dallas Cowboys will never win another Super Bowl so long as Jerry Jones keeps making all of the decisions.  Jones sees himself as the man with the most and best football knowledge in the Cowboys organization. Here's an owner who can't get out of his own way and allow his team to succeed.  I became a fan of the team in its inaugural year. I have always loved the team and have cheered for it in both good and bad years.   READ MORE

Cowboys coaches hold team meeting as deadline nears - The Dallas Cowboys coaches met with players in a team meeting Wednesday in advance of a possible lockout looming Friday. The message, according to wide receiver Dez Bryant, was to stay in shape and stay prepared if there is a work stoppage.  Bryant said he didn't need any message, saying he already has enough motivation to get his body right for next season.  Bryant missed the last month of the season with a fractured ankle. He said he is focused on rehabbing and getting back to full strength.  "My rehab is fine," Bryant said. "I just want to get back out there. I'm not running full speed. I'm just jogging on the treadmill. We are taking things slow."   READ MORE

NFL's big-bucks battle makes Sheen look sane - engel We all have giggled at Charlie Sheen's meltdown-isms for days now, his Tiger blood and Adonis DNA, his "bi-winning" and his fire-breathing fists.  A few of us, mostly me, laughed while secretly wishing we had thought to say, "We win so radically in our underwear before our first cup of coffee." We chuckled along while declaring him "completely crazy pants."  But who is more crazy? Sheen for saying "I was bangin' seven-gram rocks and finishing them because that's how I roll," or NFL owners and players crying relative poverty to a ticket-buying public actually dealing with real financial pressures?   READ MORE

The keys to unrest - With the chance owners will lock out players when their collective bargaining agreement ends at 11 tonight, we offer a Q&A on the battle and what might come.  Q: What is the difference between a lockout and a strike?  A: The owners lock out the players. The players go on strike. The players went on strike in 1982 and 1987.  Q: What are the primary issues behind a lockout?  A: The NFL generates approximately $9 billion a year. The owners take $1 billion off the top for expenses. The players get 59.6 percent of the remaining revenue. The owners believe that's too much. The owners want to take another $1 billion off the top. The owners also want an 18-game schedule and a rookie wage scale that would cap salaries for draft choices. No top pick would be guaranteed $50 million, as St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford was last year.   READ MORE

Texans Tender Owen Daniels At First Round Level, Don't Tender Bernard Pollard At All - The new collective bargaining agreement may not include the restricted free agent tenders, but the Texans have done their homework and have slapped several players with tenders anyway.  The restricted free agent tenders limit young free agents from moving to a new team, as teams who sign those players are forced to fork over a draft pick in exchange for signing the player. The tender levels refer to both the draft pick that must be given up and the amount of money a player may make--the higher the draft pick that must be given up for a player, the more money he must be paid in restricted free agency.   READ MORE

NFL work stoppage near as clock ticks - With deadline looming, mediation to continue today.  Locked in a multibillion dollar staredown, the NFL and the players’ union were expected to resume mediation this morning, 15 hours before the current collective bargaining agreement expires.  The sides have met for nine days before federal mediator George Cohen, with no reports of significant progress. They talked for four hours Wednesday, before the NFL contingent departed to attend a meeting of the 32 teams’ owners at a hotel 25 miles away in Chantilly, Va.  Wednesday evening, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, two members of the owners’ labor committee and two top lawyers for the league returned to meet with Cohen. The NFL Players Association was not present.   READ MORE




Stars Need Richards' Return To Bolster Power Play - After a lengthy stretch of disappointing results, the Dallas Stars appear healthy and ready to scrap for one of the precious few Western Conference playoff spots still available. They've won three in a row and appear (nothing is a certainty) poised to get their leading scorer Brad Richards back on Friday night in Anaheim.  A cursory glance at what they've done lately without him (three wins against three high quality opponents) might suggest they're perfectly capable of competing on their own but they know better. The task will get harder each step of the way and they'll likely need him to establish some consistency. Especially on the power play.   READ MORE

Tsk, tsk, tsk. Razor, Razor, Razor. - Yes. I’m superstitious. All of Dallas Stars fandom (as measured by the people I personally follow on Twitter) are superstitious. Daryl “Razor” Reaugh should be, too.  This isn’t just anecdotal any more, though. Kari Lehtonen has had too many “Ryan Miller Shutouts” (as my Buffalo Sabres fan friends call it), and it’s because every time it gets down to 5 minutes left in a game where the opposition hasn’t scored, Razor will not leave it alone.  Sometimes he just flat out says the word, “shutout.” Blatantly. And then as he’s discussing how dumb ol’ superstitious people hate it when he does that, Kari lets one in. Every time.   READ MORE

Texas Stars/Idaho Steelheads Report - The past week:  The Texas Stars went 0-2-3 over the last week and are 32-21-9 on the season. The Stars are tied for third in the West Division based on points and tied for fifth based on points percentage.  Last Wednesday, the Stars lost 5-2 at Peoria. Maxime Fortunus and Ondrej Roman scored the goals. Richard Bachman stopped of 16 of 21 shots over the first two periods and Tyler Beskorowany played the third period, stopping all 14 shots he faced.  On Friday, the Stars lost 4-3 in overtime at Houston. Bachman stopped 39 of 43 shots. Jordie Benn, Luke Gazdic and Francis Wathier scored for Texas.   READ MORE
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