Sports Morning Headlines-Monday, 03/14/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Monday, March 14, 2011.

Spurs, Heat ready for round 2 - Ever since the day back in July, when LeBron James announced he was taking his talents there, drama has descended upon South Beach.  Each week, it seemed, brought a new exhilarating winning streak or apocalyptic losing streak, with much of Miami undecided whether to plan a championship parade or a hanging.  The national press has fired and re-hired coach Erik Spoelstra on numerous occasions. A rumored multi-player locker room crying jag after a March 6 loss to Chicago made headlines previously reserved for Charlie Sheen.  Watching all this unfold from afar, and in HD on ESPN, Spurs point guard Tony Parker is just glad he plays for a hum-drum, league-leading team that nobody talks about.  “It just makes me laugh,” Parker said. “They can have the drama. We’re good.”   READ MORE

ProjectSpurs:  Spurs news and notes: Adelman has Popovich as Coach of the Year, Heat's Wade says Spurs are not boring, and more - Houston Rockets head coach Rick Adelman say San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is the Coach of the Year:  "I think Pop's just done a great job this year," Adelman said. "To me, the record they have, he's the Coach of the Year, the way he's put these guys together and the type of season they've had.  "Right now, they're still the best team in the league. They're so efficient. They played together so long, especially (Tony) Parker and (Manu) Ginobili.  "Pop has those guys playing well. He has his role players playing well off the bench. They shoot the 3s well. They just take advantage of what you give them."  Tomorrow night the Spurs will face the Miami Heat who will be without center Zydrunas Ilgauskas after being released from a Miami hospital Sunday following treatment for a foot infection.   READ MORE

ProjectSpurs:  Bosh looking for redemption against the Spurs - Tomorrow night the San Antonio Spurs will visit Miami to take on the Heat in the last regular season meeting between these to teams.  In the first meeting in San Antonio, the Spurs left the Heat in shambles, beating them by 30 points on national TV. Now the Heat will look to return the favor and Chris Bosh hasn't forgotten what the Spurs did to the Heat in San Antonio:  "We want to redeem ourselves,'' Chris Bosh said.   READ MORE

Was Lakers test too rich for Roddy B? - What Saturday night reminded in no uncertain terms is that however exciting and productive everyone wants Rodrigue Beaubois to be, he remains a young, undersized shooting guard with 68 NBA games to his career and just 12 this season.  As the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers picked their spots around the halfcourt circle for the opening tip, the 6-foot, 170-pound Beaubois had the look of a young boy about to engage in a man's game. And that's exactly how it played out.  "He had a tough night," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "But, that happens."   READ MORE

Mark Cuban, You So Crazy - Whatever you think of the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks there is one thing that is for certain—the man knows how to promote.   READ MORE

Mavericks Sweet 16? Breaking Down the Schedule - The Dallas Mavericks can see the finish line for the regular season, but there are still a lot of challenges to be faced before they can reach the end. Dallas is three wins away from an 11th consecutive season with at least 50 wins. Only the San Antonio Spurs (13 consecutive playoff appearances, 14th is this coming this season) have a longer active streak. Dallas is just the fourth franchise (since the NBA went to an 82-game schedule in 1967) to record at least 10 consecutive 50-plus win seasons. Currently, the Mavericks’ streak of 10 consecutive postseason appearances is the third-longest streak of its kind. The Spurs (12 consecutive seasons) are the only other team with an active streak of at least 10 straight seasons with 50 or more wins.   READ MORE

The Difference: Los Angeles Lakers 96, Dallas Mavericks 91 - You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.  Dallas had a tough time converting the good shot attempts they snuck by L.A.’s defense, and certainly didn’t help their chances with a handful of cringe-worthy defensive breakdowns. Yet at every turn the Mavs stayed within a competitive range. The Mavs could certainly do far worse than stay with the best team in the league step-for-step, even if the scoreboard was less than favorable by the final buzzer. The effort was there and the execution was solid, but the Mavs aren’t going to win many games against this good of an opponent when their top four guards shoot a combined 11-of-34 from the field. The Lakers played some excellent D, but they weren’t responsible for Rodrigue Beaubois’ missed jumpers, Jason Terry’s blown opportunities, or Jason Kidd’s unfruitful three-point attempts. This was a very winnable game for the Mavs, and their proximity to victory stands for reasons more legitimate than their slim scoring deficit.   READ MORE

Rockets notes: Going small as Dragic, Lowry pair up - Dragic, Lowry pair up.  Goran Dragic on Saturday fulfilled part of Aaron Brooks' job description for the first time since the Rockets and Suns exchanged backup point guards, playing in an all-point-guard backcourt with Kyle Lowry. He had been more aggressive and effective when at the point, playing off the ball, another adjustment he has to make heading into tonight's game.  "We went small," Dragic said. "I was playing position-2. I didn't know what to do. It was the first time this year that I played with Kyle. I just need time to know all the action. When I play on the point I feel comfortable with the second unit.   READ MORE

Week's schedule lets team get taste of playoffs - Rockets to face Suns for second time in six days.  The 'like a playoff game' portion of the Rockets' season began on Sunday.  It might have started a game or two before, but with the painful last-minute loss to the Spurs on Saturday, the Rockets were ready to declare that their remaining games bring the urgency of the postseason, when teams are a few losses from elimination.  There was, however, a different, more substantial similarity to the postseason mindset with Phoenix Suns at Toyota Center tonight.  As with a playoff series, the Rockets will face a team they just played, with the previous meeting's results and corresponding adjustments vital to their chances. In this case, with the memory of Vince Carter and Hakim Warrick lighting them up for 32 points apiece, there is little question about what must be repaired.   READ MORE

Rockets notes: Adelman's COY vote goes to Popovich - Rockets coach Rick Adelman does not get to cast a ballot, but he has seen enough to know he would vote for Spurs coach Gregg Popovich for Coach of the Year if he could.  "I think Pop's just done a great job this year," Adelman said. "To me, the record they have, he's the Coach of the Year, the way he's put these guys together and the type of season they've had.  "Right now, they're still the best team in the league. They're so efficient. They played together so long, especially (Tony) Parker and (Manu) Ginobili.  "They've got two playmakers. That's really hard to guard. That's like (Steve) Nash the other night. He had nine points, but he set the whole thing in motion for them. That's what those two guys do.   READ MORE

 

 

Astros notes: Wandy to miss next start - Wandy to miss start.  Lefthander Wandy Rodriguez was scratched from his next scheduled start with what the Astros referred to Sunday as a mild case of shoulder tendinitis.  Rodriguez, who was to start Tuesday, went to trainer Nate Lucero with some soreness, and he will get treatment this week. He last pitched on Thursday against the Nationals, going his prescribed four innings.  "There's no sense pushing him, so we'll move it back and get him some treatment," general manager Ed Wade said. "We don't think it's anything of alarm."  While his place in the rotation had not been announced, he was slated for a start on opening weekend in Philadelphia, most likely in Game 2 on April 2, but that is up in the air if his tendinitis persists.   READ MORE

Two training weeks left for Astros, five storylines to watch - Halfway through their exhibition schedule, the Astros are finding some answers, but plenty of questions remain.  LAKELAND, Fla. — Two weeks ago today, the Astros played their first Grapefruit League game - a 13-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves. Two weeks from today, they will play their last - a noon start against the Phillies in Clearwater.  In the interim, there has been and will be much to digest and, truthfully given the nature of spring training, much to toss out.  At the onset of the spring, we listed five key storylines to watch. Halfway through games and more like two-thirds of the way through spring training, let's see where we are in the plot.   READ MORE

Home Or The Range? - It’s too hot in the summer months. The jet stream turns weak fly balls into home runs.  Texas will never be able to sign an elite pitcher because it’s too hard there.  If you have been a Ranger fan for any length of time, you have undoubtedly heard these excuses given for why the perennially pitching-poor Rangers never seem to be able to put together an elite pitching staff.   READ MORE

Catching up with ... new Rangers TV play-by-play announcer John Rhadigan - Sure, there are Rangers players trying to win spots in camp, but John Rhadigan may have an even tougher task. Rhadigan, the new Rangers television play-by-play man, has to make the Texas fans happy. Rhadigan, who replaced Josh Lewin, made his debut Saturday. Here's Rhadigan's assessment of his debut:  What were your overall impressions? I felt surprisingly less nervous than I expected to. I guess that's a credit to Tom [Grieve], just knowing that my security blanket's next to me. I was able to eat right before. I was like, 'Hey I'm eating. That's cool.' I thought it went pretty smoothly.   READ MORE

 

 

 

2011 Cowboys: Will Dallas Benefit from Players Lockout? - Rob Ryan and his wild and exotic schemes for the Dallas Cowboys defense will have to wait a while as NFL players have been locked out by NFL owners. In a quote to the Dallas Morning News football blog, Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee said that many players met at Valley Ranch in February with new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to learn as much as possible about his new scheme and how they will fit in.  “They were making sure they had all the information they could get to take with them into the offseason. I thought we did a really good job preparing for this. I don't think we're going to lose a step because of that,” said Lee to the Dallas Morning News.   READ MORE

Cowboys made learning Rob Ryan's defense a priority before lockout - For everyone involved, the worst fears were realized when the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL Players Association and the league expired at the eleventh hour on Friday.  No party will emerge from the fray unscathed and significant collateral damage could be inflicted upon all 32 teams, especially those that have recently hired coaches who are in the process of implementing new playbooks.  One of those clubs, of course, is the Dallas Cowboys . On January 19, Rob Ryan was officially appointed as the team's defensive coordinator -- 52 days before the lockout materialized this past Saturday. When hiring Ryan, the Cowboys were aware of the challenges he would face if a work stoppage occurred. Many of them were addressed in an interesting column Gerry Fraley wrote in Sunday's edition of The Dallas Morning News.   READ MORE

Cowboys eyeing Dalton? - The Cowboys were one of 26 teams that attended TCU’s pro day on Friday and came away impressed. The Cowboys had commented during the season that they were a fan of quarterback Andy Dalton. Dalton was said to be very impressive during the pro day and is projected to go somewhere between the 2nd and 4th round.   READ MORE

Texans' Phillips lays out defensive mindset - Coordinator's plans maximize Texans' strengths.  In Wade Phillips' past five jobs as a coordinator, his defenses averaged 45 sacks in his first season, an improvement of about 10 per season.  If the Texans are going to generate in Phillips' 3-4 the kind of pass rush that was lacking in their 4-3, they better address the problem with a high draft choice and/or a big-time free agent.  More important, though, is keeping defensive end Mario Williams healthy and making sure he's productive from the first game to the last.   READ MORE

One fan's perspective on the players' lawsuit against the NFL - Texans fans, if you're sick and tired of all the finger pointing and flame throwing between the entity formerly known as the players union and the NFL, you may want to hit the back button now.  If you're in the 'wake me when it's over' crowd and only care about what happens on Sundays during the season, then this one is not for you.  But if you're like me and have a natural curiosity for how things work, have an unending appetite for all things NFL, and understand that what happens in a courtroom in Minnesota over the next few months could have a profound effect on the business aspects of game we love, then read on.   READ MORE

Barwin to Play Big Role in Phillips 3-4; Not Long from 100% - While many Texans fans are loking forward to Connor Barwin’s recovery, the Houston Texans already have plans for his return.  Last offseason, the coaching staff were in the midst of giving Barwin heavy playing time at defensive end behind Antonio Smith opposite Mario Williams.  However his season ended before it began when he dislocated his ankle on September 12.  Head coach Gary Kubiak said about the 2009 second round pick last week:  “We have high expectations for him. He’s a very big part of the future of this franchise, and of Wade (Phillip)’s defense also.”   READ MORE

 

 


Monday playoff race update - It was another day of movement in the Western Conference standings. After Sunday’s games the Stars, who lost in regulation to the Kings, ended up in sixth place, four points behind San Jose for the Pacific Division lead and two points ahead of ninth place Nashville.  On a side note, I don’t really see Nashville as the ninth place team. I see the Predators as being in eighth because they have the eighth best points percentage in the West. Anaheim is ninth in points percentage and the Stars have a three point lead on the Ducks, so to me that’s the lead I see the Stars having over ninth place. But that’s me. You can look at it any way you want.   READ MORE

OUCH! - The Stars haven’t “given” many points away this season, but they did today.  It’s weird; in many ways they got what they deserved. The Kings outplayed them much of the day. Outsized them and out-hustled them. Yet, you have to deeply appreciate this group’s zeal for pursuit, they never fall on their sword or wave a white towel (Although this fall behind habit is getting old.)   READ MORE

Kings stun Stars with late goal - Just when it looked like the Dallas Stars were about to get at least a point out of Sunday’s game against Los Angeles, the Kings scored with 20.8 seconds remaining in regulation to beat the Stars 3-2.  The Los Angeles game-winner, scored by Michal Handzus, came less than 22 seconds after the Stars had tied the game on a goal by Jamie Langenbrunner. The regulation loss snapped the Stars’ points streak at eight games and left them one point behind Los Angeles in the Western Conference standings.   READ MORE


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