I really don't know why the Cheerleader from "Heroes" is licking the Stanley Cup, but since I needed a hockey picture during our First Morning of the Hockey Road Trip, I thought this would do as well as any.
Basically, yesterday, we flew on an airplane, watched the Departed, rode on a bus, and walked in a hotel, so aside from discussing 24 and Lost with Nik Hagman, and having Mike Modano ask me why we would possibly pick this road trip since we are visiting the 3 worst hockey markets in the league, not much has happened yet.
By the way, we picked this trip because we like to do it in the spring, and this is the only real long road trip after the All-Star game. Last year, Western Canada. This year, Los Angeles.
I said the stop in New York would be tricky. I guess I was a bit off…
Mavs maul Knicks …
Leading just 46-43 at the half, the Mavs opened up the third quarter with a 9-2 run punctuated by Howard's 3-pointer and a New York timeout. The Knicks were held to 13 points in the period and trailed by double figures throughout the fourth.
"We came back out [and] made some adjustments at halftime, challenged some guys a little bit more and really had a strong quarter defensively in the third," Johnson said. "We got control of the game."
One key involved staying in front of speed demons Marbury, Steve Francis and Nate Robinson when the Knicks went small. Robinson did score 19, but his more-heralded backcourt mates combined for only 14 points.
"That's a tough task trying to contain the three of them," Devin Harris said. "You really don't get a break once one goes out of the game, another comes in. It's tough keeping them out of the lane."
Howard (10 rebounds) and Dirk Nowitzki tied for game-high scoring honors with 24 points. Nowitzki backed up periodic MVP chants -- yes, in New York -- with an efficient 10-of-15 shooting performance on an array of stop-and-go jumpers, fadeaways and occasional ventures through the lane.
"I don't really pay attention to it," Nowitzki said of the MVP love. "All I am really focusing on is having my team win night in and night out."
Erick Dampier battled Curry down low all night, finishing with 10 points and 13 boards -- his seventh double-double this season and second since Dec. 20.
"I've just got to keep doing it and make myself available to be a presence inside," Dampier said.
Jason Terry scored 15 on 7-of-9 shooting and Stackhouse chipped in 10 points in only 18 minutes off the bench.
Good Read: Blogger Matt Benson looks at the reality of Dirk being clutch …
Cowboys visited by a Free Safety …lock the doors behind him!
Former Seattle Seahawks safety Ken Hamlin will make a free-agent visit to the Cowboys' Valley Ranch headquarters today, according to a source.
Although Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said last week that he was comfortable with the team's current options at free safety, he acknowledged that the Cowboys would continue to explore opportunities for possible upgrades. He also said the Cowboys would not be spending big money on another free agent.
The Cowboys struggled at free safety last season with rookie Patrick Watkins and veteran Keith Davis alternating at the position.
Hamlin, a four-year veteran, is intriguing for the Cowboys because he should come at a reasonable price. The former Arkansas star is considered a solid cover safety and could potentially complement the skills of strong safety Roy Williams.
Hamlin has 298 tackles and eight career interceptions. In 2005, Hamlin started the first six games of the season before being placed on reserve/non-football injury list because of life-threatening head injuries suffered in a fight outside a club. He returned in 2006 and made 96 tackles with three interceptions.
The 6-foot-2, 209-pound Hamlin was originally a second-round (42nd overall) pick of the Seahawks in 2003. He left Arkansas after his junior season after being touted as the best defensive player in school history since Steve Atwater (1985-88).
Obligatory Acie Law feature …
The cry from Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie pierced the air this season — as it has for the past three seasons — more than most might expect toward a highly touted senior point guard, likely All-American and probable NBA first-round draft selection.
Each time, Law, in trouble again for a perceived misdeed or slight misstep during practice, headed for the stands, where he ran the bleachers until Gillispie ordered otherwise.
Each time, Law, A&M's leader, held his head high, a resolute expression void of even a hint of disgust at why, after four years in the program, he was treated like a walk-on by his demanding coach.
"There's not a bit of prima donna or superstar in Acie," said teammate Logan Lee, a Marshall High graduate. "He's just like everyone else. If coach says to go touch the top, he's going to go touch the top. He knows it makes you mentally and physically tougher — and he does it all.
"Every single bit."
Law said he learned from a predecessor at A&M, current NBA player Antoine Wright, that Gillispie was going to push the good ones as hard — or harder — than everyone else. Gillispie was hired following Law's freshman season, when A&M finished 0-17 in the Big 12.
The Aggies since have made two consecutive NCAA tournaments.
"I admire coach for not treating anybody differently," said Law, who leads the Aggies with 18.2 points per game. "When Antoine was here, he was getting a lot of attention and a lot of press, and coach would be the first to tell him, 'You're not anything. You're not bigger than this team.'
FC Dallas remakes squad …and since they never did much, I guess I don’t blame them, but I still don’t understand trading the Ultra talented Ronnie O’Brien…
The remodeling of FC Dallas' midfield continues.
The club traded veteran Richard Mulrooney to Toronto FC Tuesday in exchange for the expansion club's first pick in the next MLS draft and a partial allocation, which allows Dallas more salary-cap space.
"I wouldn't call it rebuilding" the position, FC Dallas manager Steve Morrow said. "We are adding pieces as we move along. I think by making this move, it allows us to strengthen our roster, and I think that's the important issue."
"We feel good about the decision we've made," general manager Michael Hitchcock said. "It was not an easy decision, when you lose an experienced veteran like Richard Mulrooney."
FC Dallas is without four of its to five highest-paid players from last season. Defender Greg Vanney was traded to Colorado, midfielder Ronnie O'Brien was dealt to Toronto and captain Simo Valakari, also a midfielder, was released before the season. Only striker Carlos Ruiz remains.
Yet Morrow has maintained since he took over for Clarke that the team must constantly improve at midfield. FC Dallas has already signed Juan Carlos Toja, a 21-year-old from Colombia, and is in talks to acquire Argentine defensive midfielder Pablo Ricchetti.
Chargers new unis …
Here is a fresh new Mavericks blog for your approval – Nowitzness41.blogspot.com …
Steve Harvey is a genius – just ask him …
I thought I should send some numbers your way courtesy of 82games.com regarding Dirk and FT's in the clutch (as it has been a topic as of late):
They did a study on clutch FT shooting back in April of last year.
They used regular and post season games from 2003 until April 5th of 2006, and tracked "clutch" FTA by players, which is defined as FTA taken in the last two minutes of regulation or overtime with neither team being ahead by more than 3 points. It lists the NBA players with at least 30 FTA in those situations.
Dirk shot 86.6% in those situations, with his non-clutch percentage in the same span being 87.7%, so it only dropped .011%, which is negligible. He's one slot below Dwyane Wade who shoots 76.2% in the clutch, .009% less than his non-clutch percentage. As far as the differential between clutch and non-clutch, Dirk's ahead of players like Arenas, Billups, Ginobili, Kobe, McGrady, Kidd, LeBron, Allen, Kirilenko, Yao, etc. And as far as best clutch FT% (just raw
percentage in those situations), there were only 9 players in the NBA you'd rather have at the line in the clutch.
So if Dirk does get tense in clutch situations (with free throws being a primary concern), looks like it's not really affecting him overall (or wasn't through April of 2006). The fact that he does miss so
rarely at the line might be clouding our perception.
P1 Jon G. in Cleburne
Duke Player Paulus with Flop
Fabulous fight in the NHL last night:
Janssen vs Belak Mar 20, 2007
Carcillo v Barch