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Sports Morning Headlines-Monday, 8/1/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Monday, August 1, 2011.

Project Spurs:  Jefferson catches volleyball game - Before the lockout became official, many sources were saying the San Antonio Spurs were trying to shop forward Richard Jefferson on NBA draft night. No deals went through due to the uncertainty of the lockout and Jefferson's hefty contract. Even with a star like Tony Parker included in a deal, Jefferson being mentioned in a deal would kill trade talks.  Well, Jefferson is still allowing himself to have a normal summer outside of the city of San Antonio. He's in Manhattan Beach, CA today watching a big volleyball tournament featuring Minnesota's Kevin Love, New Jersey's Jordan Farmar, and Los Angeles Lakers' Luke Walton.   READ MORE

ProjectSpurs:  'Air' Ginobili skies for a dunk - The Argentinian national team is preparing for the pre-Olympic tournament in Argentina which is set to kick off in August.  San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili will be leading the charge to help Argentina make it to the 2012 London games. Just recently, Ginobili spoke on his health and stated he is feeling fine and his ankles are at full strength.   READ MORE

ProjectSpurs:  Writer fakes an interview with Duncan, angers Virgin Islanders - A Virgin Island writer named Clay Travis managed to anger the entire population of the Virgin Islands with a joke made in bad taste.  Travis wrote a fictitious interview with San Antonio Spurs' and native Virgin Islander Tim Duncan. In the fake interview, Travis made disparaging remarks towards the women of the Virgin Islands, insulted their intelligence, and more.   READ MORE

Shawn Marion will sit out DWTS - Now this is really unfortunate. Can you think of a more suave Dallas Mavericks player than Shawn Marion to take a run at Dancing With The Stars?  Man, that would have been something. TMZ.com reported Sunday that ABC sent an official invite to the Matrix (sure, now that he's a world champ) to be a participant on next season's show.  But, Marion knows where his bread is buttered. Mavs owner Mark Cuban, a former participant on DWTS (and who actually stayed alive a lot longer than I ever dreamed) will pay Marion $8.2 million next season to defend the title, and Marion, a source told TMZ, doesn't want to be tied up just in case the NBA lockout ends and the season actually gets started on time with training camps opening in late September.   READ MORE

Minnesota's Kevin Love: NBA players 'were happy' Mavericks beat Heat - Among the few benefits of the lockout is the absence of Miami Heat bashing.  Or so we thought.  Enter Kevin Love , who was a guest on WFAN in New York and touched on the Heat's NBA Finals failure against the Dallas Mavericks, among other subjects.  During his interview, the Minnesota Timberwolves forward was asked, "Did guys around the league enjoy the fact that the Heat didn't win the championship?"  You bet, Love responded.  "Oh yeah, great amount of joy out of it," he said. "Plus, for me, they say nice guys, good guys finish last. But Dallas, they just had a slew of great guys and veterans on their team that made for just a great team.  "It wasn't just two, three, four guys on the team, like Miami I kind of felt it was.  "Around the league, it was kind of a consensus that guys were happy."   READ MORE

Butler healthy and wanting long-term deal - If there had been a Game 7 of the NBA Finals, Caron Butler could have suited up for the Dallas Mavericks. At least that is what his agent, Raymond Brothers, recently said.  While speaking with Barry Horn of The Dallas Morning News, Brothers confirmed that Butler, who ruptured his patellar tendon in Milwaukee on January 1, has received official clearance by the Mavs' medical staff.  Unfortunately for Butler, there is no guarantee that there will be an NBA season in the near future. And if a lockout wasn't enough of a roadblock, being a free agent only makes things more complicating.   READ MORE

Player Report Cards: Kyle Lowry - Alright, so since the Lockout is going to cause us to grind to nearly a halt I figured I’d take up one of the suggestions in the mailbag. A great deal of thanks to the submissions received there by the way. My Evidence final is over, my time has opened up, and you’ll get some time for me to actually contribute these articles and spark some discussion. So I hope you enjoy this series in player evaluations.   READ MORE

Power forwards with points to make - 5-on-5 roundtable: Which players are in the cream of the NBA crop at the 4 spot?  After leading Mavs to their first title, Dirk Nowitzki stands head and shoulders above other NBA 4s.  Dirk Nowitzki's impossible-to-guard, wrong-footed jumpers. Zach Randolph's double-rainbow daggers. Blake Griffin's Richter-scale jams.  When it comes to the great power forward moves out there today, there's a lot to like.  Chris Palmer ranked his top five. Now here's what our 5-on-5 crew likes (and dislikes) about the 4s operating out there in the game, aided and abetted once again by the wisdom of followers on Facebook and Twitter:  1. Who's the best power forward in the NBA today?  Rahat Huq, Red94: Replacing injured Luis Scola with rookie Patrick Patterson took the Rockets' starting lineup down to .88 points per possession allowed, by far the team's stingiest defensive five-man unit; Houston also didn't miss a beat in the W-L column. Scola is good, but overrated after continual "underratedness"' mentions and a contract the team should look to unload.   READ MORE







Busy Astros use trades to build for the future - Club could still look to deal pitchers Wandy, Myers in August.  Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez smiled at reporters who approached him following Sunday's game at Miller Park, which ended shortly after the non-waiver Trade Deadline passed without him getting dealt.  "Did I get traded?" Rodriguez joked.  After a whirlwind 48 hours in which the Astros traded away their two best players -- outfielders Hunter Pence (Phillies) and Michael Bourn (Braves) -- Rodriguez remained the longest current tenured member of an Astros team that gets younger by the day.   READ MORE

Astros acquire Schafer, others for Bourn - Center fielder and three pitching prospects arrive from Atlanta.  The Astros continued their dramatic rebuilding project Sunday morning, trading Gold Glove center fielder Michael Bourn to the Atlanta Braves less than 48 hours after they sent two-time All-Star right fielder Hunter Pence to the Phillies.  In exchange for the speedy Bourn, the Astros received outfielder Jordan Schafer from the Braves and three Minor League pitchers -- left-hander Brett Oberholtzer and right-handers Paul Clemens and Juan Abreu. Schafer is on the disabled list with a broken finger and will be examined by team doctors on Monday in Houston. The Astros also sent cash in the deal to the Braves.  The Astros are trying to trim payroll in advance of the team's impending exchange of ownership, and they continue to bring in young players in an effort to restock a farm system that's among the weakest in baseball. Houston has acquired 10 players in the past two weeks by trading Pence, Bourn and infielder Jeff Keppinger, who was sent to the Giants on July 19.   READ MORE

Bourgeois makes impact, but Astros fall - The Astros began the post Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn era in much the same fashion as before the two All-Stars were traded away -- by letting a game slip away in the latter innings.  Prince Fielder shot a single up the middle to score Ryan Braun with the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning, lifting the first-place Brewers to a 5-4 win over the Astros on Sunday afternoon at sunny Miller Park.  The Brewers swept the three-game series from the Astros, who had traded their two best players -- Pence to the Phillies and Bourn to the Braves -- since arriving in Milwaukee on Friday. The Astros finished their 10-game road trip with a 2-8 record.   READ MORE

Houston Astros: Were Trade Deadline Pickups Brilliant or Foolish? - The Houston Astros are already the worst team in Major League Baseball, yet they were the most desirable single team to trade with during the 2011 trade deadline season, and their moves have set the three teams they traded with on a collision course for the NL pennant.  Second baseman Jeff Keppinger was dealt to the San Francisco Giants for a pair of pitchers, Henry Sosa and Jason Stoffel.  The move gives the Giants stability at second base, where, throughout the season, they had platooned that position. With the Giants adding Carlos Beltran Wednesday, the Giants suddenly became the favorites to repeat as NL champs.  Until Friday night, when outfielder Hunter Pence was pulled before the start of the fifth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers after being informed that he had just been dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies.   READ MORE

Hunter Pence Trade: Helps Phillies, Is High Risk, High Reward for Astros - Houston Astros GM Ed Wade was said to have been seeking a huge package for Hunter Pence.  In talks with the Philadelphia Phillies, Dominic Brown’s name kept popping up. Brown was supposed to be the gem of the trade for Houston if Pence were dealt to Philadelphia.  Instead, Houston got the Phillies' top pitching prospect, Jared Cosart, and top hitting prospect, Jonathon Singleton. Both are playing in Single-A ball according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark.  Josh Zeid, a 25-year-old right-handed pitcher currently in Double-A is also included in the deal.  A fourth player is to be named later.  While both Cosart and Singleton are highly touted prospects, they are also both still very young and have not played above Single-A ball.  This means that for Houston this trade is one that can pay off in two to three years.  Or it will be looked back upon as one of the worse trades in Astros history.   READ MORE

Morrow Strikes Out 11, Blue Jays Beat Rangers - Brandon Morrow struck out a season-high 11 to win for the third time in four starts, Edwin Encarnacion homered and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Texas 7-3 on Sunday, handing the Rangers their fourth loss in six games.  After allowing six runs in 3 1-3 innings in Tuesday’s loss to Baltimore, Morrow (8-5) looked sharp against the Rangers, giving up two runs and six hits in seven innings and walking two.   READ MORE

Rangers acquire reliever Mike Adams for Robbie Erlin, Joe Wieland - The Rangers were expected to acquire a San Diego reliever at the deadline...the only question was, which reliever?  Texas ended up acquiring Padres setup man Mike Adams, who turned 33 yesterday and who is under team control through 2012, in return for lefthanded minor league pitcher Robbie Erlin and righthanded minor league pitcher Joe Wieland.   READ MORE

Uehara, Adams solid bridge to Feliz in ninth - Acquisitions give Washington more options as game wears on.  On Sunday morning, manager Ron Washington was excited about the possibility of using right-handed reliever Koji Uehara as his eighth-inning setup reliever.  "He's got experience at the end of a ballgame, and that's where I'm going to use him," Washington said before the Rangers' game against the Blue Jays. "He makes us stronger at the end of the ballgame. He gets outs."  Several hours later, after a 7-3 loss to the Blue Jays, Washington was amending his statement after hearing that the Rangers acquired right-handed reliever Mike Adams from the Padres.   READ MORE

Rangers add to bullpen depth by landing Adams - Texas native excited to be heading home, join pennant race.  The Rangers, putting their faith in a deep farm system, acquired reliever Mike Adams from the Padres for highly-regarded pitching prospects Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland on Sunday afternoon.  Those were two pitchers the Rangers appeared to be reluctant to give up but did so for Adams, a right-hander who was 3-1 with a 1.13 ERA in 48 appearances for the Padres. Opponents are hitting .155 off him. Adams and Koji Uehara, who was acquired from the Orioles on Saturday, give the Rangers two proven setup relievers in front of closer Neftali Feliz.  "We're excited about our club," general manager Jon Daniels said. "We've liked our team all year and we made it pretty clear what area we wanted to upgrade. Koji and Mike were at the top of the list and we were able to acquire both in traditional baseball deals. We gave up four good players, but we got two players that fit an area of need."   READ MORE

Scherzer, Lewis to face off in Tuesday opener - Pitching in the shadow of Tigers ace Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer has quietly put together a banner year for himself. On Tuesday, Scherzer will again take the mound for the Tigers -- this time, just two days after Verlander took a no-hitter into the eighth inning of a ballgame for the third time this year.  Scherzer (11-6, 4.28 ERA) is one win shy of tying his career-best mark, set last year with the Tigers. The right-hander has not allowed more than two runs in any of his past four starts, despite just a 2-2 mark to show for it.  Scherzer is 3-0 with a 3.48 ERA in five starts against the Rangers, who will come to Comerica Park to kick off the three-game series with a 7:05 p.m. ET start on Tuesday night. Both clubs are idle on Monday.  Detroit is coming off a four-game series split against the visiting Angels this weekend, while the first-place Rangers have lost four of six.   READ MORE






Two Questions and a Request - It’s a Sunday edition of Two Questions and a Request with KSAT-TV senior sports producer Brett Baker. Today we tackle the struggles at safety for the Dallas Cowboys and make comparisons between the Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Heat.   READ MORE

Is Jerry Jones Addicted? - We're four days into what (so far, at least) has been the weirdest Dallas Cowboys training camp I can remember, due in no small part to the lockout and subsequent scrambling by the NFL to start training camps and sign free agents.  The Cowboys released two of my least favorite players at the start of camp: Roy Williams and Marion Barber. I have been begging Jerry Jones for two years to do this, and I never thought it would happen. Jerry is never one to readily admit making a mistake.  Their releases made me at once both happy and angry: Happy because I won’t have to see either of them obnoxiously celebrate a mundane play; angry because it only reinforces the amount of time and money Jerry wastes on bad decisions.  Factor in Jerry’s apparent money troubles, and his mistakes look even worse.   READ MORE

Todd Archer's practice observations - Situational football is of mega importance and Jason Garrett had the players work on end-of-game or half situations in which the kicking team had to get on the field fast. Offensively, they had to either give themselves up in order to kill the clock late or call a quick timeout if one was available.  One of the best parts of camp is when the two-minute drill arrives. The first and second team offenses won out. WR Dez Bryant was able to get 15 yards behind the defense for a touchdown throw from Tony Romo that had defensive coordinator Rob Ryan talking to Mike Jenkins. Rookie WR Dwayne Harris pocketed a Jon Kitna pass for a long TD as well after rookie CB Josh Thomas got lost in his assignment.  Romo’s best throw of the day might have been a back-shoulder pass to WR Kevin Ogletree, who was being defended by Terence Newman. Earlier in camp Romo’s back-shoulder throws were a little too far to the front shoulder as he continued to work on his timing and placement.    READ MORE

Two Questions and a Request - Here’s Two Questions and a Request for the first Saturday of Dallas Cowboys training camp. As always, the analysis is courtesy of KSAT-TV senior sports producer Brett Baker.  Question 1: I know it’s early, but how does Tony Romo look?  Baker: “Honestly, I think he looks pretty rough. I’ve seen a lot of batted balls that have resulted in picks. We saw today he threw one pick that right in the belly of a linebacker. I think he’s got a ways to go before he’s back to being the guy we’re used to slinging the ball around.”  Question 2:  A lot of people are talking about Dan Bailey, the undrafted rookie kicker. Do we have a full-fledged kicking battle on our hands?  Baker: “Give it another week and maybe a preseason game before you declare that. Bailey is a good kicker, though. He made a lot of big kicks at Oklahoma State. It could be one of the more interesting position battles in camp, that’s for sure.“  Request: Jerry Jones was asked on Saturday which trade was worse: Roy Williams or Joey Galloway. He said he’d probably have to flip a coin. Tell me which trade was worse and why.   READ MORE

Texans sign first-rounder Watt - The Houston Texans signed first-round draft pick J.J. Watt on Sunday, along with their seven other draftees.  The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Watt was the 11th overall selection after helping Wisconsin win the Big Ten in 2010. Watt led the Badgers with seven sacks, three forced fumbles and three blocked kicks. He also had 21 tackles for a loss to rank third nationally.  The Texans opened training camp Sunday and are scheduled to have their first practice Monday morning.   READ MORE

bfd's Top 5 Reasons To Be Pessimistic About Your 2011 Houston Texans - Now, before y'all go and get your collective panties into a whitey-tighty, skid-mark stained wad (with papabear's laciest g-string somehow mixed in), there will be a Top 5 Reasons to Be Optimistic post.  So DMY, KWIM?  To say that, on paper, our off-season has been a sea of good news, free sex and alcohol is an understatement.  The defense has been clearly revamped, and the offense is almost entirely intact.  However, this team has to prove its mettle on the battlefield, and we've been teased by the Texans before like that girl (or guy) in history class.  Remember her (him)?  That's right, we all do.  We also started 2-0 last year.  Jump with me, little 'uns, as we take a look.   READ MORE

Houston Texans roster checkup, training camp edition - It's been more than a year since our last roster checkup, and with training camp practices starting Monday morning and the roster fairly stable, I'd say it's time for another look.  You'll notice right away that some familiar names are no longer on the roster; names like Mark Anderson, Kevin Bentley, Amobi Okoye, Bernard Pollard, David Anderson, Vonta Leach, Zac Diles, Matt Turk, Eugene Wilson and Dan Orlovsky.  Okoye, D. Anderson, Leach, Diles, Turk and Orlovsky have all found work with other teams.   READ MORE

Optimism high (again) as Texans open training camp - The Houston Texans opened training camp Sunday with much of the same optimism they had at this time last year.  But now there's a slightly different vibe around Reliant Stadium, with new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips in place, and cornerback Johnathan Joseph and safety Danieal Manning brought in to bolster a secondary that ranked as the league's worst last season.  Joseph, a first-round pick by Cincinnati in 2006, has 14 interceptions in five seasons. Manning was a second-round pick by Chicago in 2006 and has seven career interceptions. He also returns kickoffs and averaged 29.7 yards per return in 2008.  "These are the two biggest signings we've had since I've been here," said All-Pro receiver Andre Johnson, a Texan since 2003.   READ MORE


NHL Players as Kids - Fun site to browse while waiting for cooler weather - I'm sure a lot of you have seen this already, but it's a fun site to browse and see some of your favorite hockey players.  A couple of players featured with ties to the Stars include: Mike Modano, Brenden Morrow , Adam Burish , Jamie Benn , Joel Lundqvist, Jarome Iginla, Sam Gagner and Brad Richards.  READ MORE

RALPH AND RAZOR ARE UNDERPAID - What else would you say about a broadcast team that was rated 5-Star by SBN, multiple-tasks the simulcast year after year, and has seen ratings increases on FSN in each of the past 3 seasons?  The SBN love not withstanding, and the simulcast being just part and parcel to the territory, the ratings climb has been most unexpected. (Or has it? Really.)  The ratings have gone up 38% (2009-10 over 2008-09), and another 13% increase last year.  During that same time - on the ice - the Stars have, sadly, and most recently - narrowly, failed to make the playoffs and have said goodbye to a few 'marquee' players. Both, usually counter-productive interest-killers.  But apparently not in this case.   READ MORE

Stars prospect Hubert Labrie a battler - Dallas Stars defense prospect Hubert Labrie will get a shot to turn pro and play for the Texas Stars this coming season. And you can bet he’ll battle hard for the spot.  Labrie, whom the Stars signed as a free agent in 2009, is a competitor. It was on display at the team’s recent development camp in McKinney, where he went toe-to-toe in some great puck battles with fellow prospect Jamie Oleksiak, who had eight inches and about 50 pounds on him.  It was on display this past season, where Labrie, the captain of the Gatineau Olympiques, missed almost the entire season due to knee surgery, returned for the final nine games and then helped lead his team to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championship series while playing through more injuries.   READ MORE

---Staff and Wire Reports contributed to this story



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