Sports Morning Headlines - Wednesday, 1/25/12

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Wednesday, 01/25/12.

Spurs Win Highlights Parker’s Growth - Tony Parker for years has been one of the Spurs most underrated players and maybe the most overlooked Finals MVP of all-time. This season that trend continues while Parker quietly puts up numbers that rival the top point guards in the league.  The San Antonio Spurs picked up another allusive road win last night against the New Orleans Hornets. They were fueled by a powerful game from Tim Duncan and a career assist night from All-Star Tony Parker.   READ MORE

Bowen’s No. 12 jersey should be recognized - Hanging Bowen’s number alongside those of David Robinson, George Gervin, James Silas, Johnny Moore, Sean Elliott and Avery Johnson doesn’t diminish those Spurs standouts. His offensive numbers may not be gaudy, but there is one number that screams for recognition: Eight.  That’s the number of times Bowen was recognized on the NBA’s All-Defensive team, a unit selected annually by the league’s head coaches.Every coach who ever sent a high-scoring shooting guard or small forward on the court to be tortured by Bowen would endorse the honor the Spurs have chosen to give him.   READ MORE

Mavericks will try on championship rings tonight - American Airlines Center will be filled with bling tonight.  That's because the Dallas Mavericks will receive their gaudy rings from owner Mark Cuban for winning last year's NBA championship. The ring ceremony will take place 15 minutes before the game against J.J. Barea and the Minnesota Timberwolves.  Cuban said he spent between $1.4-$1.5 million on the rings, which will be awarded to players, coaches, support staff and front office personnel. In all, more than 140 full-time employees will receive rings, with players and coaches getting the more expensive version.  "I just want everybody to enjoy it," Cuban said.  Peja Stojakovic, who played on last year's championship team but has since retired, will be on hand. Barea, who plays for the Timberwolves, will receive a ring.   READ MORE

Ian Mahinmi's mobility rivals any Mavs big man ever, including Tyson Chandler - Mahinmi brings energy.  Ian Mahinmi is having a breakout season. There's no other way to say it.  The 6-11 center from France never averaged more than 3.9 points or 2.1 rebounds in his first three seasons.  Now, he's ringing up 8.4 points and 5.2 rebounds. Against Phoenix on Monday, he developed some nice chemistry with fellow backup big man Brandan Wright.  They took turns working the weak side offensively with great success and combined for 15 points and nine rebounds in the first half against the Suns to give the Mavericks a much-needed boost at the time.   READ MORE

Kyle Lowry Vs. Chris Paul - I've been reading this blog for the past four years. I thought it was about time I got myself an account. I'm a Rocket's fan living in Los Angeles, hoping that we'll beat an L.A. team at least once this year. Anyways, being out here, Chris Paul is always on the tube and I watch whenever I can. As much as I love what's going on this year with Kyle Lowry's alarmingly consistent near triple-double stat line, he's still not Chris Paul. While I as much as any one of you wish this wasn't the case, the stats, and the always less credible eye test confirm this all too frustrating notion.   READ MORE

McHale shrugs off return to Minnesota - Kevin McHale stood surrounded by a swarm of cameras and reporters on the Target Center court, surveying a familiar scene.  He wore a brown winter jacket, just like any other guy his age around Minnesota would.  There were plenty of hints, however, that McHale has moved on emotionally as well as physically from his home state.  McHale coached the Houston Rockets to a 107-92 victory over the Timberwolves on Monday night, his first time at Target Center since he was fired in June 2009 following a 15-year run with the franchise.  For better or worse, McHale has had as big a hand as anyone in leading the Timberwolves over their 23 seasons in the league.   READ MORE










Surprise positional outlook: Second base - We'll continue our tour around the Rangers' infield with second base, where there certainly is not any kind of position battle or uncertainty.  Today's position: Second base.  Ian Kinsler has emerged as one of the top all-around players in the game. At the plate, Kinsler has shown plenty of versatility. In his career, Kinsler has 95 or more at-bats at every spot in the lineup but cleanup, where's he's actually never batted. By far, his highest total is in the leadoff spot, where he was in 2011. Kinsler hit .257 and much was made of how the batting average was low by his standards. But he did so much more as a leadoff hitter. He had a .848 OPS, third-most among AL leadoff hitters and his .356 on-base percentage is fourth. Considering the average, that's saying something. Kinsler's 84 walks were tops among leadoff hitters by a huge margin (Austin Jackson was second with 55).   READ MORE

Healthy Hamilton worth more than Prince's ransom - Sometimes the best deal is the one you don't make.  I forget the name of the general manager who originally uttered that oft-quoted adage.  I often wonder, though, what that GM thought when he looked at the lineup card in July and saw Chris Shelton listed at first base.  But, yikes! Nine years? At $214 million?  Goodnight, sweet Prince. And here's to living happily ever-after.  There is no way that the Texas Rangers were going to spread $214 million over nine seasons for the free-agent services of first baseman Prince Fielder.  Nor should they.  Desperate times, however, call for desperate free-agent signings, and Detroit Tigers owner Mike Ilitch, at age 82, must be more desperate than we thought.   READ MORE

Astros designate IF Angel Sanchez for assignment - Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow announced Tuesday that Houston has designated shortstop Angel Sanchez for assignment.  The move enables the Astros to clear a spot on the 40-man roster, thus allowing the club to add recently-signed catcher Chris Snyder.  Houston has 10 days to decide on Sanchez' contract.  Sanchez, 28, hit .240 with a homer, 28 RBI, 10 doubles and 35 runs scored over 288 at-bats in 110 games for the Astros last season.  He made 41 starts at shortstop and immediately stepped up while starter Clint Barmes recovered from his fractured left hand.  Sanchez recorded 14 starts at second base and eight at third.   READ MORE

Should the Astros change their name? - Astros owner Jim Crane created some news Monday when he told reporters the team is considering changing its name upon moving to the American League in 2013.  The Houston franchise began as the Colt .45′s in 1962 and changed its name to Astros when it moved into the Astrodome three years later.   READ MORE






Jerry Jones sees changes made in Cowboys secondary - Owner Jerry Jones believes the Dallas Cowboys have the players to have a good team next season. But he promises there will be new faces on defense, particularly on a back end that gave up 13 pass plays of 30 yards or more in the final six games.  "Over in the secondary, I do think we'll get better. We're very likely to have new faces over there," Jones said. "I can't tell you who. But we will have new faces. We all know we'll have new faces on the team, no matter what, player-wise."  That'll mean a big change from the approach last year, when the Cowboys brought back 10 of the 11 starters from the 2010 defense that gave up the most points in team history. A year ago, the Cowboys opted to change the defensive coordinator, bringing in Rob Ryan from Cleveland.  Still, some faces from the 2011 team aren't going anywhere.   READ MORE

Jerry Jones, still clueless after all these years - Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones spoke to reporters while watching practice at the Senior Bowl on Monday, and his comments infuriated our columnists, who are tired of the general manager delusions. They started out happy on Tuesday's show. By the end, bad moods were all around.   READ MORE

Will the 2012 Houston Texans Defense be One of Best in Recent NFL History? - What do the 1985 Chicago Bears, 1990 New York Giants, and 2000 Baltimore Ravens all have in common? They were all ranked in the top 10 defenses of NFL history. The allowed few yards, and even fewer points, while racking up the sacks. So, exactly how good were these teams? Let us take a look…   READ MORE

All signs point to an even better Texans defense in 2012 - The Texans’ defense was one of the best in the NFL in 2011. With the young talent in place and a full offseason under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips on the horizon, it should be even better in 2012.  Every one of the Texans’ end-of-season defensive starters is under contract for next season. The average age of those players is 27. Barring any changes, the Texans’ oldest starter on defense next season will be Pro Bowl defensive end Antonio Smith, who will be just 31.  “We should be able to hold the group together,” head coach Gary Kubiak said a day after the Texans’ season ended at Baltimore on Jan. 15. “They should only get better under Wade’s scheme and the coaches as we move forward. We get an offseason with them. It’s exciting across the board, and probably the biggest thing is the young influence that’s been on our football team.”   READ MORE









Stars hit break on winning note - It wasn’t pretty, but it was two points and it was a win the Dallas Stars needed as they headed in the All-Star break. Kari Lehtonen stopped 27 shots for his first shutout of the season as the Stars snapped a five-game winless streak with 1-0 victory over the Anaheim Ducks at American Airlines Center Tuesday night.  “I thought we certainly got outchanced in this game, but our best player was our goalie,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “We got a few lucky bounces as well that were nearly on their tape and in our net, but it was a good game to get.”  It was the Stars’ first win since January 12 when they beat the Kings 5-4 in a shootout.  “It feels good,” said Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski, who scored the game’s only goal. “The last two days guys have been itching to get at this game. We all said let’s put this behind us and get a win here.”  The victory puts the Stars (25-21-2) in 10th place at the All-Star break, three points out of the eighth and final playoff spot.   READ MORE

Notes and quotes from a 1-0 win over Anaheim - Here are some notes:  *For the first time in Dallas Stars history, the club won without registering a power-play opportunity.  *Dallas hasn't lost a game this season when up after two periods (13-0-0 record). In fact, the Stars have not been defeated in regulation when leading after two periods since Oct. 31, 2009 (vs. NSH). Since then, the Stars have compiled a 54-0-5 record.  *Dallas' shutout over Anaheim was the first against the Ducks in 27 consecutive games. It was the longest span of games the Stars had against any Pacific Division team without a shutout.  *Dallas exits tonight's contest with a 60-27-13 (.672) all-time record against the Anaheim Ducks. It's the fifth-best record they have against any current NHL club all-time.   READ MORE












---Staff and Wire Reports contributed to this story

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