Sports Morning Headlines-Thursday, 06/02/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Thursday, June 2, 2011.

The way Heat close down on shooters 'borders on remarkable' - One game into the NBA Finals and already local sports writers are amazed by a number of things the Miami Heat were able to do in its opening game against the Mavericks. Namely, the defensive job they did on Jason Terry and the rest of the team's sharpshooters.  Sun-Sentinel Heat writer Ira Winderman commented that close down job by the Heat on the Mavericks' shooters 'borders on remarkable.'  "The way this team gets to shooters borders on remarkable," Winderman said. "The same shots that were there against the Blazers, Lakers and Thunder appeared to be there Tuesday for the Mavericks, and then -- poof! -- they were gone. By the time Jason Terry or Peja Stojakovic were locked and loaded, it's as if the Heat players were saying, 'I'd like you to meet my good friend, Mr. Hand.' The close-out speed was stunning."   READ MORE

Win or lose in the Finals, Dirk Nowitzki will still go unrecognized by Americans - Dirk Nowitzki is a sports legend in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Wherever Nowitzki goes, chances are good he'll be stopped by fans and well-wishers.  But outside of Dallas? Well, that's another story. As Dallas Morning News business writer Cheryl Hall noted in a recent article , "Nearly two-thirds of American consumers still don't recognize the Mavericks' superstar forward, even after Nowitzki's stellar performance in the Western Conference playoffs, according to consumer feedback compiled by the Marketing Arm for The Dallas Morning News."  That's a staggering number, when you consider Dallas is a major media market, and the Mavericks are one of the best teams in the NBA. But unlike LeBron and Kobe, Nowitzki prefers a low profile and a life without major endorsement deals.   READ MORE

Dirk's injury may affect his dribbling, passing - Dirk Nowitzki didn't get this far to have his dream shattered by an injured finger.  So when the Dallas Mavericks play Game 2 of the NBA Finals tonight at 8 against the Miami Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena, Nowitzki will try not to let the torn ligament in his left middle finger affect him. He will try to play on as if nothing is wrong -- even though something is wrong.  "I don't think it's going to be necessarily bothering me on the shot," Nowitzki said prior to Wednesday's practice. "It's not like you do anything crazy with it.  "It's going to be other stuff -- dribbling, passing, catching, swiping down -- stuff like that. I think it will be OK."  Nowitzki injured his finger when he tried to swipe the ball away from Chris Bosh with 3:44 remaining in Tuesday's 92-84 loss to the Heat in the best-of-seven opener. He immediately got it taped, stayed in the game and might wear a splint for the rest of this series.   READ MORE

Mavs surprised their bench got outplayed in Game 1 - It came as a big surprise to the Dallas Mavericks that their bench was outplayed by Miami’s bench in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.  The Heat bench outscored the Mavs’ bench 27-17 and outrebounded them 15-8 en route to Miami’s 92-84 victory. The prideful Mavs reserves couldn’t do anything but tip their hats to their Heat counterparts.  “They did a great job,’’ reserve guard JJ Barea said. (Mario) Chalmers hit big three’s in the first half.  “ Yes, they basically played better than us. We have to change that (in Game 2). That can't happen again in the series.’’   READ MORE

ProjectSpurs:  Former Spur Bowen's defense on James not an option for Dallas - The last time the San Antonio Spurs were in the NBA Finals was in 2007 as they faced the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James.  Then, San Antonio had one of the NBA's most ferocious perimeter defenders - Bruce Bowen - who had the unenviable task of guarding James. Bowen ended up doing an all-around solid job defending James, as the Spurs went on to sweep the Cavaliers en route to their fourth NBA crown.  However, James was a totally different player in Cleveland. He relied heavily on his ability to drive to the rim and his jump-shot was shaky. Something Bowen exploited:  "We did a clip on SportsCenter, the space I gave him," said Bowen, an ESPN analyst. "I wanted him to shoot jump shots, because he is a load if he is going to the basket. If I could get him shooting jump shots, that's what I wanted. But now, that's changed."   READ MORE

ProjectSpurs:  Spurs news and notes: Neal reflects, price of a Spurs game, and more - Spurs.com features San Antonio Spurs guard Gary Neal and his remarkable rookie season:  It is late morning on Memorial Day. Just back from a short vacation, Neal is reflecting on a season of wonders. That he made it past his first workout with coaches is a wonder itself. When he arrived, Neal recalls, nobody knew who he was. He remembers someone asking, “What’s your name?”  Bizjournals.com says the Dallas Mavericks need some of the Spurs' odd-year magic:  Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban should offer up some of his remaining dot-com fortune to the Spurs in exchange for temporary use of the Black & Silver’s lucky rabbit’s foot.  SACurrent.com discusses the price fans might pay to attend a Spurs home game:  Would you spend $315.36 for an evening of basketball with your family?   READ MORE

NBA has ‘productive’ labor talks - Commissioner David Stern felt there was progress. Union executive director Billy Hunter said he is “hopeful.”  So a month before a potential lockout, there was some reason for optimism about the NBA’s labor situation.  Representatives of the league’s owners and players met for about four hours Wednesday and will get together twice next week in Dallas as they try to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement to replace the one that expires June 30.  “I’m hopeful, and we know that the pressure’s building, and if anything’s going to happen, it’s got to happen between now and (June) 30,” Hunter said. “And so we’re really going to make every effort to see if we can reach a deal.”   READ MORE

Shaq hangs up his cape - The great center Shaquille O’Neal on Wednesday closed the book on a pro career that produced four NBA championships, one MVP Award, three Finals MVP Awards, 28,596 points, 13,099 rebounds, 2,732 blocked shots — and 5,317 missed free throws.  The 15-time All-Star has not yet officially informed the Boston Celtics, the last of six teams for which he played in 19 seasons, of his plans. But his announcement was enough for NBA commissioner David Stern to issue a statement expressing gratitude for all O’Neal had done for the sport.  A press conference is scheduled for Friday in Orlando.   READ MORE

 

 

 

Bourn's two-run single lifts Astros to victory, series sweep over Chicago Cubs - Astros center fielder Michael Bourn has slipped under the radar over the last two games due to the major league debut of 20-year-old right-hander Jordan Lyles on Tuesday night, as well as the red-hot bats of Hunter Pence and Jeff Keppinger.  However, on Wednesday afternoon, the speedy All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner stole the headlines with a go-ahead two-run single in the seventh to lift Houston to a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs and a three-game sweep at historic Wrigley Field.  It marked the Astros' first sweep at Chicago in three years, as manager Brad Mills' squad has won seven of their last 12, including three of the last four series dating back to May 20-22 against Toronto.   READ MORE

Villar, Altuve share 'unbelievable' day - Astros prospects combine for four RBIs in Double-A debuts.  Jose Altuve and Jonathan Villar wasted no time making their marks on the Texas League.  Making their Double-A debuts, Altuve went 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs, while Villar hit a walk-off blast Wednesday to give the Corpus Christi Hooks a 6-5 victory over the Springfield Cardinals.   READ MORE

Hamilton aims to quit using smokeless tobacco - Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is trying to quit using smokeless tobacco. The 2010 AL MVP told the team's official website Wednesday that he is done dipping.  "I kept waking up last night thinking about different things and what might be causing me to stumble in my relationship with the Lord," Hamilton told MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. "I felt like chewing tobacco was one. So I got up this morning and threw it all away. So when it is time to take a dip, I pray instead."  Even though Hamilton knew that using chewing tobacco might not be setting a good example, he admits that he didn't care.   READ MORE

Lewis, Feliz help Rangers score 'huge' win, 3-0 - A team's passport to the playoffs is stamped with regular-season series victories, and the Texas Rangers hadn't gotten much ink after their fast start to the season.  The Rangers aren't yet looking at the standings or worrying about a pennant race, but they were in jeopardy of leaving Tropicana Field without a series win after blowing a game Tuesday.  They needed Colby Lewis to deliver Wednesday as Tampa Bay sent its ace to the mound. Neftali Feliz needed to start delivering after a series of shaky outings at the back of a maligned bullpen.  Lewis and Feliz answered the call.   READ MORE

 

 

 

Some NFL owners secretly meet in Chicago - Roger GoodellLast week a bunch of NFL owners all met in Indianapolis fo the annual spring meeting. A smaller group attended a meeting that was supposed to be secret earlier this week in the suburbs of Chicago.  The Chicago Tribune reports that New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell were among the faces seen in the Windy City's surrounding area on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. The paper notes that Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was said to be there as well.   READ MORE

Parcells reflects back on final game with Cowboys - The NFL might be locked out, but don't let that get you down. Our Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders photo gallery will help end those offseason blues.  Bill Parcells' final game as an NFL head coach came in the 2007 playoffs. While leading the Dallas Cowboys against the Seattle Seahawks, Parcells watched as a Tony Romo botched snap ended the Cowboys' chances at advancing.  That play, which is etched into the memory banks of every Cowboys fan, was the second to last offensive snap that Parcells would ever coach.  Romo, who was holding for a 19-yard field goal try from Martin Gramatica, bobbled the snap with 1:19 remaining, leaving the Cowboys to suffer a 21-20 loss in the NFC wild-card contest.  Parcells recently discussed how that game became his last as an NFL head coach.   READ MORE

Reggie Herring Thinks Everyone Should Chill Out With All The Worrying About Mario Williams Moving To OLB - Nick Scurfield sat down with your Houston Texans' new linebackers coach, and the man who'll be charged with transforming Mario Williams from a homely DE into a comely OLB has a message for everyone who's freaking out about the transition: RELAX.  "There’s been a lot of what I would say a lot of overreaction as to us moving him out there," Herring said last week in his office at Reliant Stadium. "There’s a lot of anxiety built up for no reason. At the end of the day, over half the game, our outside ‘backers are down in our sub package rushing outside, which is what he did anyway and has done in college."   READ MORE

Coaches backing McNair - Texans staff not on board with NFLCA’s request to end lockout.  Count the Texans among the teams whose coaches did not sign off on the brief the NFL Coaches Association filed last week with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, asking that the league’s owners end the lockout.  “Our coaching staff didn’t approve the contents of the brief filed by the Coaches Association,” coach Gary Kubiak said Wednesday. “The brief didn’t reflect the views of our coaching staff. We support our organization.”   READ MORE

 

 


2011 Stanley Cup Finals: Who Are You Rooting For? - I have a feeling this poll is going to be very one-sided, but there's a possibility that those out there don't want a team from Boston to win the Stanley Cup. I don't think I could ever stomach the Canucks winning the Cup and the boasting and bragging that would then come from the Northwest would be near unbearable.  The NHL Stanley Cup Finals kick off tonight in Vancouver on NBC* and I will have a very, very hard time deciding which team I hate the most: the dirty, foul Bruins or the dirty, foul Canucks. It's fitting that both of these teams are facing one another in the Finals, since they mirror each other so well.   READ MORE

No doubting Thomas: Bruins goalie was stellar - He did not seem crushed. He did not seem heartbroken. - Tim Thomas had fought so long and so hard to reach the Stanley Cup Final, and now that he was here, he had given the Boston Bruins a chance to steal Game 1 by matching the Vancouver Canucks’ Roberto Luongo save for save in a goaltending duel.  Then he allowed the winner to Raffi Torres with 18.5 seconds left and suffered a 1-0 loss, a game you would think the Bruins could not afford to waste for them to upset the winners of the Presidents’ Trophy as the NHL’s top regular-season team.   READ MORE

Dallas Stars Sale: Could Gaglardi See Competing Bids in Bankruptcy Court? - For over a month now the only name emerging from Dallas Stars sale reports has been that of Tom Gaglardi, Canadian businessman. Gaglardi, 43, is the president of Northlands Properties, the parent company for Sandman Hotels, as well as several Canadian restaurants chains.  Pinning it's hopes on timeliness and, "anyone but Hicks" as the saying goes these days, the Dallas fan-base realized quickly that the time-line was so constricted that Gaglardi was the one and only way to get ownership transferred and have an expanded operating budget for next season in place on July 1st (i.e., place a competitive, meaningful bid on Brad Richards).  Yesterdays developments (or rather the lack of developments last week) tell us that this process will now likely last into mid-July, if not August, and that the "Gaglardi or bust" mentality when it comes to the July 1st deadline may need to be reevaluated.   READ MORE

Atlanta Thrasers moving to Winnipeg - The Atlanta Thrashers announced today that they have entered into an asset purchase agreement with True North Sports and Entertainment with the intent of selling and relocating the NHL franchise to Winnipeg, Manitoba to begin play in the 2011-12 National Hockey League season. The agreement is subject to approval by the NHL Board of Governors.  "Our objective was always to find a solution to keep the team in Atlanta, and we spent a considerable amount of time, effort and resources trying to do so," said Co-Owner Bruce Levenson. "This is not the outcome we wanted and it's extremely disappointing that a buyer or significant investor did not come forward that would enable us to keep the team in Atlanta."   READ MORE

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