Wednesday, November 22, 2006

11/22: Wednesday

Mavs dominate the Wizards for 7th straight win

At a time when they should have been gasping for air, the Mavericks somehow found enough energy to blow out the Washington Wizards.

Buoyed by a combined 25 points off the bench from Austin Croshere and Greg Buckner, the Mavs captured their seventh straight victory Tuesday with a convincing 107-80 spanking of the Wizards.

So thorough was the victory that the Mavs (7-4) jacked up a season-high 34 3-pointers, making 14 of them. That provided some comic relief after the game.

"He felt that we should get to the basket on them a little more, because we had shot 15 threes in the [first] half," Jerry Stackhouse said of coach Avery Johnson. "So we responded by coming out and shooting 19 more.

"But when they go in, it's all good."

Here are some “did you know” stats from the Mavs PR Dept:

• Dallas has now won seven straight. The Mavericks only had two stretches last season in which they won seven or more games.

• Washington scored just 29 points in the SECOND-half, two shy of tying the franchise low by a Maverick opponent. The Wizards scored 30 points in the first quarter, marking the first time Dallas allowed 30+ points in a first quarter this season (3-5 when allowing 30+ in the first last season). The Mavericks have held their last three opponents below 85 points after not allowing fewer than 96 the first eight games of the season. Dallas was 32-2 when allowing fewer than 90 points last season.

• Dallas made a season-high 14 3-pointers on a season-high 34 attempts. It is the second time this season that the Mavericks have attempted 30+ 3-pointers and the fifth time they have attempted 20 or more. Last season, Dallas never had more than 26 3FGA in a single game and only attempted 20 or more seven times. The Mavericks had twice as many 3FGA as FTA tonight. It is the fifth time this season the Mavericks have had as many or more 3FGA as FTA after doing so just five times in all of 2005-06.

Here is some Tampa Bay Buccaneer reading for you:

talk about the Cowboys 3-4

As if a three-day turnaround isn't complicated enough, the youthful Tampa Bay offense had to get a crash course Tuesday in how to attack a 3-4 defense.

The Buccaneers (3-7) leave this afternoon for Dallas, where they'll face the Cowboys (6-4) Thursday in the first Thanksgiving Day game in franchise history.

"We got to make adjustments,'' Coach Jon Gruden said.

While QB Tony Romo is getting the bulk of the credit for the turnaround -- and deservedly so -- don't sell short a defense that is ranked sixth overall and has forced the third-most turnovers in the NFL (23).

"They have great personnel,'' OT Anthony Davis said. "They have big guys. I think every guy up front is 6-foot-3 or taller, [and] they're 300-pounders and big, strong two-gappers. Their personnel is perfect for the 3-4. We just have to execute."

None of Tampa Bay's first 10 games was against opponents that work from a base 3-4. Interestingly, the Bucs' next two opponents -- Dallas and Pittsburgh (Dec. 3) -- will do so.

Bucs DB’s are thin

Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn have a combined 22 seasons of NFL experience, nearly
20,000 combined career yards and hours of highlight tape apiece.

And whom, exactly, do the Bucs plan to match against those Cowboys receivers in Thursday's Thanksgiving matchup at Texas Stadium? At times, journeyman Torrie Cox and a player some consider a first-round bust, Phillip Buchanon.

It's not the ideal situation for a 3-7 team entering a game against one of the hottest passing teams in the NFL. But it's all the Bucs have, considering cornerback Brian Kelly's season-ending surgery last month and the injury to his replacement, Juran Bolden, who sustained a bruised fibula against Washington and looks like a long shot to play against Dallas.

So, on deck are Cox and Buchanon, who will play alongside Ronde Barber as the left cornerback Cox and nickel back (Buchanon).

Rice unlikely to play

Bucs defensive end Simeon Rice likely won’t play against Dallas on Thursday and appears to be done for the season. Given his high cap figure for next year, it also seems likely Rice has played his last down as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer.

Rice, who is listed as doubtful for the Cowboys game, has missed the past two games with a serious shoulder injury. Surgery seems to be the best option for Rice at this point.

“I think the longer this goes on it’s inevitable that we’ve got to take a look at what the final analysis is,” Coach Jon Gruden said. “It’s been very frustrating for him. He’s tried to go, he’s wanted to go, he wanted to play last week. Medically, we chose not to let him play, and we miss him. We miss him, certainly.”

Aggies hope to make it a rivalry again

Football fans in the state of Texas might wistfully look back to the era when the Texas-Texas A&M game was actually a real rivalry.

You know, the kind of game where both teams had a legitimate shot to win.

The arrival of Mack Brown has turned the rivalry decidedly in UT's favor. Now, the Aggies are being nipped from behind as both Texas Tech and Baylor have had enough success in recent years where those games have been more competitive than the UT-A&M game.

UT has notched a 7-1 record in the series since Brown took over.

The Longhorns' current six-game winning streak over the Aggies is their longest since 1968-74. And Brown's one loss to the Aggies had a bunch of mitigating circumstances. The horrific bonfire tragedy came several days before. Major Applewhite had an upset stomach, and Brown later said some creative revelry by A&M fans the night before at the Longhorns' College State motel didn't help UT's cause.
Since then, a Longhorns victory has become almost as much a Thanksgiving weekend certainty as leftover turkey and crowded malls.

"A lot of people talk about the emotional edge of a team that's winning, and the momentum helps them keep winning, and it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the teams that have lost," Brown said. "We felt that with the Oklahoma rivalry until we turned that back around two years ago."

But with parity being here, it makes UT's recent success against the Aggies even more striking.

Aggies coach Dennis Franchione will be looking for his first victory against the Longhorns — which would be a statement that could silence much of the recent criticism about his direction of the A&M program.

"I think these games have a life of their own and an identity of their own. I know that they touch your fan base very deeply. I think as a player and a coach, you have a sense that this game means more than just about any game," said Franchione, who calls the UT contest a "365-game" because it's talked about by A&M fans every day of the year.

In soccer, The US National team falls further down the rankings …likely to where they belong…

The United States is not ranked among the top 30 in soccer rankings for the first time in more than seven years.

The U.S. team, ranked as high as fifth in May before a poor showing at the World Cup, fell two points to No. 31 in November's FIFA rankings Wednesday. The last time the U.S. was not in the top 30 was June of 1999, when it was also No. 31.

Lebreton on the Rangers CF spot

Matthews, in other words, is probably gone. When the Los Angeles Dodgers elected this week to give center fielder Juan Pierre a reported $45 million over five seasons, bells and whistles must have gone off at the Matthews household.

He had a remarkable, fairy tale of a season. An All-Star season. Matthews batted .313, with a .371 on-base percentage, 44 doubles and 19 home runs.
Given the November market, he deserves to be paid as much per season as Pierre will be getting.

But not here. And not tying up $36 million or more over four or more seasons. Let the Angels make that commitment.

And with the $20 million or so saved by not handing a full-time job to Matthews, the Rangers can go after the 2008 free-agent class of center fielders, a list that includes, among others, Vernon Wells, Torii Hunter, Andruw Jones, Aaron Rowand and Mark Kotsay.

Who would you rather have playing center field at the ballpark in 2008 -- Gary Matthews Jr., or one of those first three?

The big footnote, of course, is whether Daniels can sign one of them. But as of Thanksgiving week, he still has the budget to think so -- and in Catalanotto, a career .297 hitter, Daniels has just filled both the leadoff and designated hitter roles.

Tonight, Marty Turco gets a good seat for the game

Stars coach Dave Tippett said during the preseason that he hoped having rookie Mike Smith as a backup goalie would push starter Marty Turco to be even better.

For the first time this season, Tippett will use Smith in that role.

Smith, who relieved Turco on Monday and took a 5-4 win over Colorado, will start tonight against the Nashville Predators.

"He's a young goalie who came in and gave us a little spark, and he's earned this start," Tippett said. "The time is right for Marty to work on a few things, so we'll take advantage of that."

Turco has a goals against average of 3.93 and a save percentage of .838 in his last four appearances. He was pulled after giving up two goals on five shots in six minutes Monday. That said, the 31-year-old backstop in his fourth season as a No. 1 goalie still is tied for second in the NHL in wins at 11, sixth in goals-against average at 2.23 and ninth in save percentage at .914. He has been the team's MVP for the first seven weeks of the season.

"Marty is fine. He's just had a little dip," Tippett said, adding that Turco will work with goalie coach Andy Moog this week. "Andy is here for his scheduled time to work with the goalies, so we're going to let Marty get some work."

Predators come to town without Arnott

They made it through almost 20 games with hardly a limp, but the Predators are now experiencing their first injury wave of the season.

The big blow on Tuesday came when the team learned it will be without the services
of center Jason Arnott for three to six weeks.

He'll undergo arthroscopic surgery today to repair torn meniscus cartilage in his right knee, an injury suffered in Monday's victory at Columbus.

Arnott was the team's prize free-agent signing during the offseason. He had 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 19 games.

"He was just starting to get on a roll, so we'll miss him,'' Coach Barry Trotz said. "But people go out all the time with injuries.

"It's a fact of life in the NHL and you just have to move forward.''

Giants wonder what happened to Eli

At the center of the sputtering attack is Eli Manning, who started the season playing well but has since looked more like a lost rookie than the third-year cornerstone of a franchise.

Manning was 19 of 41 for 230 yards and a touchdown with 2 interceptions against the Jaguars. But this is no longer about his most recent game. Increasingly, it is about his ability to lead a team consistently toward a championship.

Manning had a passer rating of 97.1 through four games. With a completion rate that has fallen and a renewed propensity for throwing interceptions, he has not come close to matching that average in any of the six games since.

In the past two games, losses to the Chicago Bears and the Jaguars, his combined rating was 41.5.

From the Cowboys dark side

Indianapolis Star focus on 1920’s Reporter Guy

'23 skidoo' to you

The most bizarre moment of a long Sunday took place in the locker room, where Colts quarterback Peyton Manning was taking questions.

"The Dallas defense gave your boys the 23 skidoo all night long," observed a Dallas radio reporter. "What were they doing to play like the cat's pajamas?"

Manning gave the inquirer a long look before turning away. Manning said nothing. No need. Everyone understood.

Next question.

Here is some email:

Exercise bully - yes, you are one. And worse, an ignorant one.

Walking a mile and running a mile burn up exactly the same amount of calories. When you run they just burn faster.

Reasons to walk and not to run: a) Walking doesn't negatively impact your joints. bones, and spine - jogging does. b) Medical research has shown no health benefit from running as opposed to brisk walking. The only benefit of running is that it makes you a better runner.

I know an orthopedic surgeon who says he makes his living from over 40's who run and refuse to take his advice to find an aerobic exercise other than jogging. The results: lots of treatments and operations he makes money from. In his words, "the human body wasn't designed to be running after 40." If you are one of the lucky ones who can do it with no negative side effects, great. But don't put down others who find other types of exercise more suitable for them.


Danny Hoffman


Vanderjagt = 70%

Cortez = 75%
Suisham = 75%
Cundiff = 62.5%

Cundiff = 77%

Cundiff = 79%

Stats don't lie.


Mike Hunt from


Hola Bob.

I haven't heard anyone talking about it yet, but do you realize that the win over the Colts shouldn't have been that surprising? I think it was the Chargers that broke the streak last year against them and then the Steelers did it in the playoffs. Know what those teams have in common on defense? The 3-4. The Colts struggle against it for some reason.

Who did you have going into this last UFC event in the Hughes - GSP bout? I was pulling for GSP but I think it was a pick 'em. When they fight again I think it'll be another pick 'em bout. GSP has devastating stand up but there is no one better in the UFC at ground and pound than Matt Hughes. Excellent match.

Baby arm bar -



More Fran numbers:
20-21 Overall record

Record against OU: 0-4, TT: 1-3, NU: 0-2, t.u.: 0-3
11 losses of 20 or more points

Lost to every Big 12 team, except for KU/KSU at least once
Lost to every Big 12 team, except for KU/KSU/Baylor by at least 20 points

Overall Big 12 record of 10-14 with an average margin of loss of 22 points
Big 12 South record of 5-10 with an average margin of loss of 21 points

Worst loss in Texas A&M history (77-0)
Worst loss to Texas Tech in Texas A&M history (56-17)
Worst bowl game loss in Texas A&M history (38-7)
First loss to Iowa State in Texas A&M history
First losing season since 1982
First loss to Baylor since 1985

As a great man almost once said,

Mark: They're making a mockery of my University, man. This whole thing is turning out to be a theatrical mockery. You understand that, Mike?
Mike: No,
Mark: Well, you will.

Class of '99


Cowboys fan breaks down Manning’s pick

Hughes – St Pierre 2

Gilbert Arenas

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