Short and sweet this morning, but anticipate teams 17-20 to be posted this afternoon…
Chicago Bulls get a fine win over the Mavs …
An ugly, Eastern Conference brand of ball broke out, and the Mavericks never adapted, shooting a pitiful 31.2 percent as their winning streak died at eight games.
When you start a game 3-for-20 from the field, you can expect to be fighting uphill the rest of the night, and the Mavericks usually were down by double figures. A three-point play by Josh Howard, who was epically awful from the field (4-for-20), got them within 74-70 with 6:24 to go. They would get within three at 79-76, but P.J. Brown and Kirk Hinrich scored the next five points, and the Bulls pulled away.
It's been so long since the Mavericks lost by 31 in the second game of the season at Houston that a game like this is a stunner. They had to remind themselves that this was the end of a 2-1 road trip and that they've still won 21 of 23.
Not much solace in that after a clunker like Thursday.
"The Bulls were outstanding from start to finish," Johnson said. "They came out ready to play and really made us look bad. When we started off the season 0-4, we had one game at Houston when we didn't look good at all, and this is another one of those games. We just didn't have it in any area.
"This team just didn't look like the Mavericks at all."
The Mavericks got 28 points from Dirk Nowitzki, but he was 7-for-22 from the field, and their rebounding was a step slow. They were beaten 59-45 on the boards after winning the rebounding game in nine of the previous 10 outings.
A case of the Bens hurt the Mavs, as Ben Wallace had 17 rebounds, and Ben Gordon poured in 30 points.
"Everybody is a little spoiled, and we expect to win all of them, but to win two out of three on the road in the NBA – it's not like we're playing in the Patriot League," Jerry Stackhouse said. "This is the NBA. You got guys capable of beating you any night.
"But we don't like to lose. We don't like to answer these questions."
Mavs value wins ….
The Mavericks, at $463 million, rate No. 3 on the Forbes magazine list of most valuable NBA franchises. The New York Knicks lead the annual list at $592 million, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers, the Mavericks, Chicago and Houston
JJT in his new role of lighting things on fire, flames Jerry …
This isn't about Jason Garrett or Wade Phillips or Norv Turner or Gary Gibbs. And it won't be about whomever else Jerry seeks permission to interview.
This is strictly about his process. It is flawed. If this weren't a family newspaper, the language regarding this process would be stronger. Much stronger.
No one hires the offensive or defensive coordinator before the head coach. And no
one hires a coordinator and says if we can't find anybody better, then we'll make you the head coach.
That is the dumbest thing ever.
Now, maybe Jerry has a perfectly logical explanation. But he's gone underground these days, so there's no official explanation for why one of the smartest businessmen you'll ever meet has chosen such a dysfunctional way to hire a coach for one of the world's most recognizable franchises.
The problem with hiring coordinators before the head coach is the message it sends. It tells the players the coach isn't really running the team because he didn't even get to pick the two assistants who should have the most impact on whether he succeeds.
It says Jerry is running the team. Again.
If we're being honest, we all knew Jerry was going to take that approach with this
coach, especially after his four-year, $20 million investment with Bill Parcells failed to produce an NFC East title or a playoff win.
And he's done it that way before with limited success. Remember, Parcells was the first coach since Jimmy Johnson to have contractual authority to hire and fire assistant coaches. That's important because it removes any ambiguity about who's in charge of the staff.
If Jerry were talking, he'd probably say Miami locked up defensive coordinator Dom Capers to a three-year deal before hiring Cam Cameron as head coach. Those same Dolphins are 38-42 over the last five seasons without a playoff win. Following their lead seems like a bad idea.
The coach, whoever it is, needs the freedom to bring in people he trusts to spread his philosophy throughout the team's Valley Ranch training complex. When Jones hires the offensive coordinator first, you don't get that.
There is, however, an exception.
If Jones has already spoken to the seventh head coach in franchise history and discussed Garrett's strengths and weaknesses, then it would make sense. Of course, if that's the case, why all of the mystery – just make an announcement.
Another theory says Garrett is really the guy Jerry wants to hire; he just can't convince himself to pull the trigger. If that's the case, then good luck finding a coach. No one wants to come in here and hold the job for a couple of years – or losses – until Jerry thinks Garrett is ready to assume the throne.
Tonight, Crosby is here, and with the scheduling insanity of this league, this could be your last chance to see him here for years. Advice? Get to the Stars-Penguins tonight …Standing Room Only is on sale, I was told…
Stars get some bodies back …
Reinforcements have arrived as promised, leaving the Stars' dressing room more crowded and much more boisterous than it was before the All-Star break.
Five players -- defensemen Sergei Zubov and Philippe Boucher, forwards Jeff Halpern and Steve Ott and goalie Mike Smith -- are expected to return from injuries tonight against Pittsburgh after all had good practices Wednesday.
"We'll get one last read at the pregame skate, but they all look like they could be players," coach Dave Tippett said.
"Right now, you're looking at a situation where teams are talking about adding players [through trades] for the stretch drive. We're going to add our own players. Hopefully, it gives us that little kick that we need."
That might not even be the best news for the Stars on Thursday.
Mike Modano practiced with the team for the first time since late December and seemed pleased with his progress.
Modano, who has missed 21 games because of a torn hip muscle, had an injection of a cortisone mixture Jan. 18 and waited a week before returning to the ice. He said he might play again in as soon as two weeks.
Solid NHL Player Survey …
The latest in paying Beckham …
How does one go about paying David Beckham's substantial contract?
Let us count the 250 million ways.
Of course, the Galaxy isn't on the hook for that massive sum but even so, hot dogs and beer sold at the Home Depot Center will carry the freight only so far.
So the club has to start somewhere to cover its part of his five-year deal. Thus: "The Los Angeles Galaxy have announced that the club will hold open tryouts for male soccer players ages 18 and older who believe they can succeed at the Major League Soccer level on February 10th and 11th at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California."
An application online, along with a $130 registration fee — actually this isn't the first time the team has charged a fee for tryouts — are the opening requirements for this American-Soccer-Idol-Comes-to-Carson experiment. Hey, $130 a player adds up quickly. One hundred applicants bring in a quick $13,000.
In other words, one fast afternoon of shopping on Melrose Avenue for Posh.
Super Bowl XXXI
Will your Ipod blend?
Sidney Crosby is on our show today, by the way, if you want to hear the best player in hockey. Nice kid, generic answers, but already a superstar who will turn 20 in 7 months.