Dirk hurts ankle again; Mavs gut to a win …
On most nights like this one, Mavericks coach Avery Johnson might have harped on the team's defensive rating or the four missed free throws in the final 30 seconds.
Instead, Johnson called the come-from-behind 105-103 victory over Milwaukee on Wednesday in front of 20,398 at American Airlines Center one of his favorite wins of the season.
The franchise-tying 60th win, the eighth in a row, and 13th in 14 back-to-backs this season came on the heels of a perfect six-game road trip and with Dirk Nowitzki out of the game for almost all the second half with a sore left ankle.
The Mavs (60-11) face New York at home Friday before Sunday's showdown in Phoenix.
"I am really excited about this one because this is what you call a gutsy win," Johnson said. "If gutsy is a word in the dictionary, then the Mavericks that were out on the floor tonight, all of their pictures would be right next to it."
Nowitzki still scored 17 points in 16 minutes before he turned his ankle in the second quarter. Jason Terry and Jerry Stackhouse took over the offense, draining nine 3-pointers between them.
Devin Harris and Josh Howard helped stymie Milwaukee's red-hot Michael Redd after a blistering first half. Redd poured in 23 of his game-high 34 in the opening 24 minutes to push the Bucks to a 62-54 lead.
So, now we await word on the health of Dirk….again.
This interesting stuff from Tim McMahon …
Teams that won 60 games three times in a five-season span:
Team -- Seasons
Boston Celtics -- *1983-84, 1984-85, *1985-86
Boston Celtics -- 1979-80, *1980-81, 1981-82
Chicago Bulls -- *1995-96, *1996-97, *1997-98
Dallas Mavericks -- 2002-03, 2005-06, 2006-07
Los Angeles Lakers -- *1984-85, 1985-86, *1986-87, *1987-88
Milwaukee Bucks -- *1970-71, 1971-72, 1972-73
Utah Jazz -- 1994-95, 1996-97, 1997-98
Think about all the Hall of Famers on these teams, and it puts Dirk's greatness in perspective.
Celtics -- Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish
Bulls -- Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen
Lakers -- Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy
Bucks -- Kareem (Lew Alcindor), Oscar Robertson
Jazz -- Karl Malone, John Stockton
Elias Says …
The Mavericks beat the Bucks on Wednesday night, giving Dallas 46 wins in its last 50 games. Only one other team in NBA history won at least 46 times in a 50-game span within one season: the 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers, who began that season with a 46-4 record.
Michael Redd had 34 points in the first three quarters but was held scoreless in the fourth quarter in the Bucks' 105-103 loss. Kobe Bryant is the only other NBA player to score 34 or more points in a game this season, all before the fourth quarter. Kobe's done that three times, but in each case the Lakers won by at least 10 points and his fourth-quarter scoring was not needed.
Aggie coach can be really well paid…if he stays …
Texas A&M appears ready to make Billy Gillispie the highest-paid men's basketball coach in the Big 12 Conference.
According to three high-ranking officials close to and within the A&M system, athletic director Bill Byrne and the third-year coach have reached a verbal agreement on a deal that would increase Gillispie's annual salary from $1.25 million to somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 million.
But the enhanced deal, which would run through 2012, still must be presented to the Texas A&M Systems Board of Regents for review in closed executive session today. It will be voted on and rubber-stamped for public view Friday.
That would leave Gillispie to sign the extension Monday, the same day ground is supposed to be broken on a $22 million basketball practice facility. If Gillispie signs the contract as expected, his annual salary would exceed the $1.8 million earned by Texas' Rick Barnes and the $1.6 million paid to Kansas' Bill Self.
Gillispie, 47, is 70-26 in three seasons in College Station and has taken the Aggies to three consecutive postseasons, including back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths. A&M advanced to the Sweet 16 this season for the first time in 27 years.
But with Arkansas still searching for a coach and Kentucky's courtship of Florida's Billy Donovan still far from a marriage, the road to Monday certainly has some potential twists with Gillispie headed to the Final Four in Atlanta.
Annual salaries of Big 12 basketball coaches:
Billy Gillispie, Texas A&M
Rick Barnes, Texas
Bill Self, Kansas
Bob Knight, Texas Tech
Mike Anderson, Missouri
Bob Huggins, Kansas State
Sean Sutton, Oklahoma State
Doc Sadler, Nebraska
Jeff Capel, Oklahoma
Greg McDermott, Iowa State
*-Approximate figure in deal expected to be signed early next week.
US – Guatemala bore the spots off the ball …Sorry. I must tell the truth. That game was not what I would want to show critics of the beautiful game to convince them why soccer is awesome. The US tried, but if you cannot break down Guatemala in 90 minutes, then you get a failing grade.
With the Guatemalans disinterested in attacking, the U.S. controlled play but couldn't finish its scoring opportunities in a 0-0 draw at Pizza Hut Park.
"For us, it was a different game," U.S. interim coach Bob Bradley said. "Guatemala was organized and stayed behind the ball. It was a struggle for us to find ways to break them down."
Eight of the 11 U.S. starters were 25 or younger, with defenders Jay DeMerit and Frank Simek making their first international appearances.
However, the U.S. dictated play as Guatemala kept 10 players behind the ball, using FC Dallas forward Carlos Ruiz as its lone forward.
The American inexperience showed in the inability to break down a team content to bunker down.
"It was frustrating," outside midfielder Clint Dempsey said. "You'd think, in a friendly, the other team might try to win. They came in looking for a draw, and the longer the game went on, the more frustrating it became."
However, Bradley said Wednesday's match could help the U.S. in its June 7 rematch against Guatemala in the Gold Cup tournament.
"We need to experience these games," Bradley said. "It's a match that repeats itself all over the world. We have to understand how to not get frustrated, how to break teams down, and that's important."
Meanwhile, Urbina should slide down your draft charts for this summer, as Uggie is going to be in prison for a while …
Former Major League Baseball pitcher Ugueth Urbina was sentenced to 14 years in prison for the attempted murder of five workers on his family's ranch, the Attorney General's Office announced Wednesday.
Urbina, a former pitcher with the Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies, was also found guilty of illegal deprivation of liberty and violating a prohibition against taking justice into his own hands during a dispute over a gun on Oct. 16, 2005, according to a statement from the Attorney General's Office.
"I am very disappointed and upset," his agent, Peter Greenberg, told ESPN. "We're hopeful that the judicial process will exonerate Uggie. I firmly believe he's innocent."
The 33-year-old free agent was accused of joining a group of men in attacking and injuring workers with machetes and pouring gasoline on them at his family's ranch, located about 25 miles south of Caracas.
"The ruling was too severe," said Jose Antonio Baez, a former attorney who represented Urbina.
Urbina repeatedly has denied involvement in the violent attack, saying he was sleeping at the time.
But Wuanyer Perez, the attorney for the accusers, told ESPN that "justice has been served" and indicated that his clients will seek damages in civil court.
"We think it is an excellent sentence. The victims consider this an important example that anyone with power, influence and money is not above the law," Perez said. "It is an example for the entire world, not just for Venezuela, that everyone is on equal ground when it comes to the law and justice."
"There is an appeal process here in Venezuela and we are prepared to answer if they decide to take that route," Perez said. "Now that the criminal case is concluded, we are prepared to take this case to the civil side and we will seek damages. The victims have gotten better, but the psychological impact remains."
The pitcher's lawyer, Jose Luis Tamayo, has said that Urbina surprised the workers by showing up at his ranch that night while they were bathing in the pool without permission. Urbina spoke sharply to them, but later left and went to sleep,
according to Tamayo.
Urbina, a two-time All-Star, last pitched in the major leagues with the Phillies in 2005. He's 30th on the all-time saves list with 237. He had two saves in the 2003 World Series for the victorious Marlins.
Mia Hamm has twins …
Nomar Garciaparra got a call during dinner Tuesday that his wife was close to giving birth. About six hours later, Garciaparra was at the side of Mia Hamm and their newborn twin daughters in L.A. because he had a private jet on standby at Vero Beach Airport.
Hamm gave birth to healthy twin girls, each weighing more than five pounds, Wednesday morning. They are the couple's first children.
During the flight, Garciaparra was on the phone with the delivery room when the babies were born.
Kermit does Hurt by Nine Inch Nails
Skiers should wear a cup