The Casinos tell us the Mavericks should win …They also said the Spurs should send us home 3 weeks ago…
Two Las Vegas casinos and Charles Barkley have named the Mavericks the favorite to win the NBA title over Miami.
The Las Vegas Hilton sports book lists the Mavericks as 2-1 favorites. They're 3-2 favorites at Mandalay Bay.
Dallas is a 4 1/2 -point favorite to win Thursday's opener of the Finals at American Airlines Center.
Barkley, a former player and TNT analyst, has bashed the Mavericks for several years. But after Dallas defeated Phoenix in the Western Conference finals, Barkley picked the Mavs to beat the Heat.
Part of the reason Dallas has opened as a slight favorite with the Vegas books is the home-court advantage it holds in the best-of-7 series, said Jay Rood, sports book director at Mandalay Bay.
"The rest is talent," Rood said. "I think Dallas has the most versatile of the teams, with Dirk [Nowitzki], who can drop 50 on any given night. That's a dangerous element the Heat will have to deal with."
David DuPree, a longtime NBA writer with USA Today, agrees that Dallas' depth will be too much for the Heat.
"Miami has the experience, but the Mavericks are so versatile, it's tough to go against them," Dupree said. "Dallas has the big bodies to throw at Shaquille O'Neal, and neutralizing him someway is the first step in trying to beat the Heat."
DuPree picked the Mavericks to win in six games. ESPN analyst Marc Stein, a former Mavericks beat writer with The Dallas Morning News , predicted the Mavs to win in six games.
There are people, however, picking the Heat.
Magic Johnson, a guest analyst for TNT and part-owner of the Lakers, picked Miami in six games. So did Chris Broussard, a writer with ESPN The Magazine.
Meanwhile, Miami figures out how to stop the German …
But that doesn't make the task of beating Dallas any easier. And atop the list of priorities for Miami is finding a way to handle Nowitzki, who is averaging 28.4 points in the postseason while shooting 49.4 percent from the floor, 39.5 percent from three-point range and 89.7 percent from the foul line.
So who guards Nowitzki?
''Everybody,'' Riley said. ``We'll start with Udonis on him. He's a great, great player. We know he can shoot it. We know he isolates a lot. He's getting to the free-throw line a lot.
``So we'll have to do some different things, give him some different looks.''
In the two regular-season games against Miami, Nowitzki averaged a somewhat modest 25 points, but he shot 56 percent from the floor. And in the playoffs, Nowitzki is showing a consistently aggressive approach, which has resulted in 10.2 free throws a game -- 1.2 more than Wade has gotten in the postseason.
''I think he's a lot more aggressive than he was back when I played with him,'' Antoine Walker said. ``I think he gets to the basket a lot more. I think you see 15, 16 free-throw attempts from him that he didn't get in the past. So that's where his game's changed.''
But the Mavericks offense is much more than Nowitzki, with five players averaging double figures in the playoffs, including 14 points a game from reserve Jerry Stackhouse.
Also in Miami, it all changed that night in Dallas …
But what came out of that meeting was a 10-game winning streak, too, and then a gathering, coalescing run to the playoffs, and then an elimination of Chicago, and
then New Jersey, and then Detroit, and now this.
What came out of that meeting was a team that finally began to believe.
''It was a very interesting day, as a matter of fact,'' Riley said of Feb. 9. ``Even during the shootaround before the game, there was much discussion about the direction we were going. From that day, we got better. It humiliated and embarrassed us enough for us to get better. It was a turning point.''
Wade said Sunday of that loss: ``That's when this team woke up.''
''It was the point,'' added Shaquille O'Neal, 'where we said to ourselves, `Look, we got to start picking it up.' And we became a different team.''
The Heat returns Thursday to that same arena in Dallas, four months later.
The players are the same.
The uniforms are the same.
Nothing else is.
David Moore reflects on all the Mavericks gone by …
After 26 long and often comical years, the Mavericks have made it to the Finals. The journey isn't done. But for a franchise that has endured so many miserable moments, reaching this stage is monumental.
Dirk Nowitzki has done what Mark Aguirre, Roy Tarpley and the Three Js – Jason Kidd, Jim Jackson and Jamal Mashburn – couldn't. Avery Johnson has gone where no Mavericks coach has gone before.
Now, he must beat Pat Riley, the coach who kept the Mavericks from reaching the Finals in 1988. Well, Riley along with Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy and the rest of the Showtime Lakers.
I haven't been present for everything that has happened to the Mavericks through the years. But I've been around long enough to remember Brad Davis' bell bottoms and Jay Vincent's lime green leisure suit. I was in training camp the day coach Dick Motta cut a player during stretching exercises.
This is a franchise that has seen Keith Grant rise from equipment manager to general manager and coach Quinn Buckner alienate everyone around him. There was Derek Harper dribbling out the clock against the Lakers, then handling his mistake with enough class to win everyone's admiration. There was Rolando Blackman's pure jump shot and Sam Perkins' smooth style.
It's a franchise that has tried Uwe Blab, Wallace Bryant, Terry Davis, Darren Morningstar and a cast of thousands at center. It's a franchise that passed on Karl Malone, then came back several years later to draft Randy White because he reminded them of Malone.
Who are you, dude? And how do you keep pitching gems?
Rangers take 2 of 3 from Champs at their place …
The Rangers have lost only one of their past eight road series and lead the American League West by 3 1/2 games.
"These are the teams we have to beat if we want to be contenders," Teixeira said of the White Sox, the defending World Series champions.
Sunday's game appeared an extra-tough proposition. Not only did the White Sox go in with a 20-7 home record, but starter Mark Buehrle had the AL's fifth-best ERA and had never lost at home to the Rangers.
Buehrle was no match for the Laird-and-Teixeira-led Rangers. He gave up six runs in seven innings and lost at home for the first time this season.
"They [the Rangers] have always been a good-hitting ball club," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "They've been good the last three days."
Newberg Report on the man behind the beard …
Rheinecker needed only 94 pitches to get through eight innings yesterday, giving up two second-inning runs and nothing more, working at a swift, Buehrle-esque pace. In the 20.1 innings Rheinecker has contributed in his three Ranger starts, he's walked one batter and set 13 down on strikes. He has a phenomenal ratio of 36 groundouts to 13 flyouts (2.77). He's needed just 13.7 pitches per inning, which would be the third most efficient rate in the game (next to Roy Halladay and Brandon Webb) if he had enough innings to qualify.
Fluky? Rheinecker's groundball-to-flyball ratio in nine Oklahoma starts this spring was 2.79. He fanned 38 batters in 49.2 innings, walking 11. In his final seven AAA starts, his ERA was 1.80. As a Ranger, it's 1.77.
In his three big league starts, Rheinecker is holding batters to a line of .234/.263/.325.
He's the only Rangers starter to go eight innings in consecutive starts this year.
Just as Koronka has, Rheinecker will have his struggles. But it's looking very good for now.
Well, if the Mavericks were dead, we would turn this thing into World Cup central. But, you know I am not going to forget about the single biggest sporting event on the planet which sits just 4 days away…
The Full World Cup TV Schedule ….
The Official World Cup website …
Team USA lands in Germany, ready to play ….Let’s hope so….
what a goofy goal! …
The Boys blog on Parcells on Friday …
A good p1 Has a NY Mets Blog for you to check out …
The Daily Show busts NBC producer over stolen material ….
Bob Sapp - Mike Tyson Showdown …
Rick Monday saves the flag video …
Lost meets Queen video …Pretty amusing…
Also, the NHL Finals start tonight, and as weird as it seems, I am pulling for Edmonton in 6…
Finally, here are two emails from P1’s who need our help…The first from a P1 who has had a massive heart attack:
Bob and Dan,
I am what you call a Dirty Year One P1. Sometime e-mailer to BaD Radio but all the time daily listener to all Ticket programming.
I realize The Little Ticket owes me nothing but I also recognize that my way in this world is through The Hardline and yes I do feel Rhynes Power. In fact I feel the power of the entire Ticket line up and that’s what I would like to call on now.
My friend and business associate Dani (Donny) Dooley is a 34 yr. old husband and father of two who suffered a massive heart attack after an adult league Hockey game a little more than 2 weeks ago. The recovery is slow and he requires constant attention and monitoring. This is where The Ticket can help by getting this message out or by getting it to the right people. You'll see what I mean if you'll read a copy of the document I received below.
DANI DOOLEY RECOVERY TRUST FUND
Dani Dooley, age 34, suffered a massive heart attack on May 13, 2006. Dani and his wife, Karen, have 2 young boys, Cameron, age 4, and Guerin, age 9 months.
Dani had just finished his last hockey game of the season and was walking out to his car with his family when he collapsed in the parking lot into cardiac arrest. Some quick work by bystanders and the paramedics saved his life. At the present time, Dani is in daily rehab at the hospital. He has suffered major damage to his heart and has short term memory loss. The next few months of rehab and observation will determine his long term prognosis.
Dani and Karen are just beginning to learn what it means to survive a major cardiac event. In the meantime, Dani and his family still need to pay the bills. A trust fund for this purpose has been established for those who want to help this young family.
Please donate by sending your checks payable to the:
DANI DOOLEY RECOVERY TRUST FUND
Acct. # 0100572081
PO BOX 869105
PLANO, TX 75086-9708
Or you can visit www.viewpointbank.com to find the branch nearest you.
Thank you for your prayers and your support of the Dooley's and may God bless you all
The second is even worse: He died, and his family needs our help:
Ok, I already feel bad for writing you about this, but this is not for me, it's for my best friend who passed away. You will not hurt my feelings if you hit the "delete" key right not b/c I'm sure you get stuff like this all the time. If not read on. Also, if you'd like to pass this along to the other hosts that wouldn't suck either.
As many of you know, one of my best friends, Allen Ferrill was killed in a motorcycle accident back in April. The reason for this email is to let you know about what we are doing for his wife and two kids.
I had known Allen for over 15 years meeting him in college where he was my little brother in our fraternity. Over the years, I worked with Allen, I stood in his wedding and I shared many real life experiences with him and his family. He was an incredible athlete, a fierce competitor, a great father /husband and a true friend to me and my family. I have missed him dearly but I know that it was God's plan and I'm just glad to have known him for as long as I did. Allen is survived by his wife Sondra and his two boys, Drake ( 3 years old ) and Dirk ( 3 months old ). I have attached a family photo as well.
Unfortunately, Allen did not have a life insurance policy at the time of his death. And as a result, we are having a golf tournament on June 6th to raise money for Sondra, Drake and Dirk.
I am asking you to sponsor me by either donating a flat amount (even $10 would be great) or pledging a dollar amount per hole. We are playing 50 holes so $1 per hole would equal $50.
I am not collecting any money myself. Instead, we have contracted a company that specializes in events like this. If you would like to sponsor me, all you have to do is click on the following link an follow the instructions on the page:
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 972-567-3167.
Thank you for your support and God bless,
I hate to bring the room down, but please consider helping out either or both of these situations if you have the means…