Sports Morning Headlines-Friday, 03/11/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Friday, March 11, 2011.

Mavs answered Carlisle's challenge, but insist they never were soft - The one constant that came from the Dallas Mavericks' locker room after Thursday's emotional 127-109 win over the New York Knicks was that the players wholeheartedly wished coach Rick Carlisle would have told them to their face that they were soft, instead of telling the media.  After Wednesday's heart-broken 93-92 loss in New Orleans, Carlisle broke rank and said the Mavs were soft. That touched off a firestorm where even owner Mark Cuban stepped in and said he totally disagreed with his coach.  And after the Mavs easily dispatched the Knicks, the players weighed in on the controversy that rattled what once has been largely considered one of the best locker rooms in the NBA.   READ MORE

Mavs' Balanced Scoring Attack Leads to Bounce Back Win Over Knicks - The Dallas Mavericks were called "soft" on Thursday night by their head coach. They responded by setting a new season-high in points with a 127-109 victory over the New York Knicks. Dallas trailed, 14-12, but used a 35-14 run from the 5:13 mark of the first quarter until the 6:47 mark of the second period to take a 47-28 advantage. Once they had the lead, they never looked back. Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 23 points and Jason Terry had 21 points off the bench. Shawn Marion, who was a game-time decision, contributed 22 points in the Mavs victory. The Knicks were without Chauncey Billups for the sixth straight game as he is recovering from a bruised left quad.   READ MORE

Ginobili feels Blair’s pain over midseason benching - Removed from the starting lineup for the first time all season, Spurs forward DeJuan Blair was in no mood to speak with reporters after Thursday’s practice session.  If Blair’s reluctance to talk indicated unease about being replaced by veteran Antonio McDyess for Wednesday’s game against the Pistons, he can expect to get a pep talk soon from a teammate who understands what it feels like to go from starter to reserve.  “I’ve got to say it’s not easy for a guy like him, starting for 63 games, being the center of the leader in the NBA,” said guard Manu Ginobili, well acquainted with coach Gregg Popovich’s tactical maneuvers. “He’s young. He’s got to adjust, but he’s a great kid. He wants to win. He’s going to do good.”  No Spur can relate to Blair’s discomfort more than Ginobili. A starter and key contributor from 2002-03 through 2005-06, he was asked to take a reserve role in 2006-07.   READ MORE

NBA: The San Antonio Spurs Clinch Playoff Spot for 14th Straight Year - Another San Antonio Spurs win, another fallen record.  With Wednesday's 111-104 win over the Detroit Pistons, the San Antonio Spurs clinched a spot in the NBA Playoffs for the 14th consecutive season.  Every year since Tim Duncan was drafted, the Spurs have been in the playoffs. They have transitioned their team from past greats such as Sean Elliott, Avery Johnson and David Robinson, to Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Duncan.  During their amazing playoff run, San Antonio has been perfect in the NBA Finals, winning four NBA Titles, all in odd-numbered years (1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007).  The Spurs, who currently own the NBA's best record, are also the proud owners of the current longest playoff streak in the NBA.   READ MORE

Houston Rockets: Should Daryl Morey Re-Sign Yao Ming or Let Him Go? - Since Yao was drafted in 2002 with the first overall pick, he has been a dominant force in the paint. But like every player, you can only dominate when you actually play and Yao does not play very much anymore due to the fact that he is injured so much.  So now the question arrives for Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. To re-sign or not to re-sign?  Let's go over a couple reasons of why he should re-sign Yao.   READ MORE

Scola's return uncertain - Scola's return uncertain.  Rockets coach Rick Adelman did not know when Luis Scola would be able to return from his sore left knee and sounded as if he did not expect the forward to play Saturday against the Spurs.  Scola, however, was hopeful he would not be out again after missing Tuesday's game in Phoenix.  "We're going day-by-day," Scola said. "I was kind of hoping that by today it was pain-free. I'm always a little bit over-optimistic on these things. It's better, but it's not pain-free, so we're going to keep doing treatment so it will keep getting better and I'll be ready to play soon.  "It's better today than yesterday and it was better yesterday than the day before. ... Maybe tomorrow, who knows?"  Scola was more disappointed about the timing of his injury than having his 311-game streak end.   READ MORE

 

 

Astros’ Lopez emerges as ‘strike-throwing machine’ - Ball one. Ball two. Ball three. Ball four. Sometimes Wilton Lopez will watch another pitcher laboring to find the strike zone, and it’s all he can do to stay in control.  “I kind of feel flustered,” Lopez said, using fellow Astros pitcher Fernando Rodriguez as a translator. “I want to yell out, ‘Throw it down the middle.’ I get this anxious feeling. ‘If I can do it, you can do it.’”  The truth is, Lopez can throw strikes like few pitchers in major-league history. As a rookie with the Astros last season, Lopez walked five batters (one intentionally) in 67 innings pitched. That translates into 0.67 walks per nine innings, the seventh-lowest rate of any pitcher to work at least 65 innings in a season since the dead ball era ended. In 1919.  “He’s a strike-throwing machine,” Astros pitching coach Brad Arnsberg said.   READ MORE

Astros notes: Lee’s time at 1st on hold - Rodriguez progressing.  Wandy Rodriguez, whose season got off to a terrible start in a planned two-inning stint that he couldn’t finish in the Grapefruit League opener, made progress for the second straight time and made his best start yet.  Rodriguez labored through four innings, giving up one run on four hits and a walk in the Astros’ 6-5 win over the Washington Nationals.  From 12⁄3 innings and six runs against the Braves to three innings and two runs against the Tigers, Rodriguez made another step forward Thursday with his 72-pitch outing that was considerably better in the third and fourth innings than in the first two when he had trouble finishing off hitters.   READ MORE

Report: Greenberg Leaving Rangers The front office lineup of the Texas Rangers may be changing more than the on-the field personnel this season.  The Fort Worth Star-Telegram is reporting Sports Attorney Chuck Greenberg could be resigning soon as the Rangers CEO.  The newspaper says an announcement could come as soon as Friday, and that signs have pointed at a departure over the past few days.  Greenberg, along with former pitcher Nolan Ryan, has been the public face of the Rangers ownership team since their initial bid for the club began before the start of the 2010 season.   READ MORE

Ron Washington's record answer his critics - On Ron Washington's watch, your Texas Rangers took a flamethrower to what had long been viewed as unattainable.  Playoff victories were recorded. Series, plural, were won.  Pennants were flown. A World Series was reached.  And, yet, ask anybody how good a manager is the man they call Wash and a debate ensues between those convinced of his genius or his ineptitude.  His critics mock his plain talk and second-guess his decisions and dredge up his cocaine foible and not so subtly wonder how much better the Rangers might be if somebody, anybody else, was filling out lineup cards and handling pitchers.   READ MORE

 

 

Dallas Cowboys Draft Preview: Prince Amukamara Is Not the Guy for Dallas - While it may seem that the logical choice for the Cowboys is to draft cornerback Prince Amukamara with the ninth pick, the former Cornhusker is not the guy for Dallas.  In Dallas, it seems as though the consensus is to select Prince Amukamara and ignore any other concerns, chalking 2010 up to a fluke. In 2010, the Cowboys certainly underperformed despite a multitude of talented players on the roster.   READ MORE

Cowboys Coach Garrett To Headline LSU Coaching Clinic - LSUsportsnet reports that Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett will headline this year's LSU Football Coaching Clinic, which runs from Thursday, March 31 through Saturday, April 2 on the LSU campus.  The clinic will feature speakers from the LSU coaching staff, including head coach Les Miles, offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe and strength and conditioning coordinator Tommy Moffitt, and is targeted at high school state championship coaches from Louisiana, Texas, Alabama and Florida.   READ MORE

Kareem Jackson Tweets Cockfighting Pictures While On Vacation - Texans CB Kareem Jackson made a rookie mistake on Twitter. On vacation in the Dominican Republic, Jackson tweeted about attending a cockfight and included pictures from the experience.   READ MORE

Texans show interest in Lehigh offensive lineman - The Texans have shown interest in Lehigh offensive lineman Will Rackley, according to a report by Michael LoRe of The Express-Times.  Rackley has "consistently been ranked a top-5 guard/center in this year's (draft) class" according to LoRe.  Rackley recently told LoRe that he met with almost every NFL team while at the scouting combine earlier this month.  But he also mentioned that he had "more formal" meetings with head coaches and GMs from thirteen teams, including the Texans.   READ MORE


Tomas Vincour making his mark in NHL - Dallas Stars coach Marc Crawford said recently that forward Tomas Vincour had done everything but score. Well, now it appears that Vincour has done everything. The 20-year-old forward scored his first goal Wednesday night, adding some production to an already nice showing in his first crack at the NHL.  “Hopefully that is sign of what’s to come,” Crawford said. “We believe he’s got very good offensive instincts and offensive abilities, but the proof is in the fact that you convert those chances.”    READ MORE

Stargazing: A Tentative Brad Richards is Still Better Than No Richards - Dallas Stars fans salivated over the possibility of installing Jamie Benn on Brad Richards left (with Eriksson on the other side), but that may have to wait a while. Once things got settled in last night and Marc Crawford saw what was working and what wasn't, Richards found himself with Tom Wandell and at times, Tomas Vincour as linemates. (He skated with Eriksson as well.)  While long time linemate James Neal was nowhere to be found, Alex Goligoski was and the two shared PP time.  All of these new teammates, new line mates and new situations added to what was already a complicated return for a man who still leads the team in scoring, even if the team is only partially recognizable as the same one he last played with three and a half weeks ago. Richards told the Morning News today.   READ MORE


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