It has happened, Dirk’s your MVP. I obviously have very mixed emotions about all things Dirk and all things Mavericks right now, and this will allow for the masses to kick the Mavs in the jewels again next week.
But, it should do one other thing for Mavericks fans: Remind them that Dirk is a pretty good basketball player. When the smoke clears, he is still thought of as the MVP of the league by the people that voted. Regardless of what the Golden State series told you, you shouldn’t have such myopia that now you think he should be taken out with the trash. The award should assure anyone who doubts him that he is still a very nice piece to have in your puzzle. Most locals now wonder if he is in the Top 10 of the NBA. Chin up.
Next week, the trophy will be presented in an awkward fashion …
The first regular-season honor came Thursday for Dirk Nowitzki, but the big payday should arrive next week.
Nowitzki was named to the all-NBA first team for the third consecutive season, a likely precursor to his first MVP award, expected to be handed out early next week.
ESPN.com reported Thursday evening that Nowitzki would win the MVP. Numerous polls of the nationwide media panel that votes on the MVP, including one done by The Dallas Morning News, indicated that Nowitzki is the clear frontrunner.
Nowitzki would become the first European to win the award, as well as the first Maverick.
The MVP would represent a nice finish to a bittersweet season. Nowitzki had a monster regular season, averaging 24.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and a career-best 3.4 assists. But the award would not begin to erase the disappointment of the Mavericks' first-round elimination from the playoffs at the hands of the No. 8-seeded Golden State Warriors.
It can be argued, however, that the way the Warriors shut down Nowitzki in the playoffs is proof of his MVP status. Without him playing at a high level, the Mavericks had no chance against the Warriors.
Meanwhile, he joined Phoenix's Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire, San Antonio's Tim Duncan and the Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant on the all-NBA first team, announced by the league Thursday.
Nowitzki and Nash made the first team for the third consecutive season. Nash and Stoudemire are the first teammates to make the first team since Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal in 2003-04.
"We're having plenty of communication to formulate game plans," Nelson said. "There are lots of ideas, but I don't think we're going to do a lot of things all of a sudden.
"We're doing a lot of things right. Are we a perfect team? No. Are we going to look to add some pieces? Yes. But we like the nucleus of this team. ... We are not going to overreact to a six-game sample."
That would be the six games that ended with Golden State beating the Mavericks 4-2 in the first round of the playoffs.
Nelson made it clear that the organization still plans to build around Johnson and Nowitzki.
"We're not down on our best player," he said. "And we're not down on our coach. I don't think we can put the burden on any one guy. Do we need another person to come in and create opportunities and make life easier for some of our other guys? Yeah. But that can come in a lot of different forms."
Tim McMahon with a nice feature on the great Deron Williams …
Deron Williams never expressed envy toward his more decorated teammate at The Colony High School.
But Williams remembered every honor that was bestowed upon Bracey Wright but not him. He remembered every time a high-profile college coach didn't ask about him during a visit to The Colony's campus.
Williams, a pass-first point guard without a flashy game, didn't complain about being the second fiddle, nor did he begrudge his friend. He simply stored every perceived slight and used them to fuel his obsession of fulfilling the immense potential he knew he had.
"It motivated me a lot to see the attention Bracey was getting," Williams said. "He deserved it, but at the same time, I wanted that same attention. It made me work harder. It made me want it a lot more."
Five years later, the national spotlight has found Williams. He's led the Utah Jazz to a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals against the Golden State Warriors, who are suddenly media darlings after their historic first-round upset of the Mavericks.
The duel with Dallas killer Baron Davis represents an opportunity for Williams to prove he's one of the NBA's elite point guards in only his second pro season.
Williams had 31 points and eight assists in Game 1. He spent most of Game 2 in foul trouble while Davis dominated with 36 points. But Williams excelled down the stretch. He had nine points and six assists after the beginning of the fourth quarter, hitting a 10-foot floater to force overtime.
"Deron Williams is going to be a household name after this series," Charles Barkley told the TNT audience after Game 1.
This Dale, Jr, story fascinates me. I am very interested in the prospect of his joining Childress and getting in the Black #3. I like the guy, but yesterday on the show I labeled him as the “most over-rated athlete in sports”. That type of statement should not just be thrown out there, so let me provide some substance.
He is the most popular driver, the highest paid driver, and the most worshiped driver. Primarily because of his last name, he has been handed the sport on a platter.
I recognize his talent, but I think there are many drivers who have same or better skins on the wall. Let me demonstrate by looking at Nextel Cup career wins, and also the number of years each of these 5 drivers have finished in the Top 3 in points.
Dale Jr. debuted in 1999 - has 17 wins in 265 starts; finished 3rd in points.
Matt Kenseth debuted in 1999 - 15 wins in 266 starts; finished 1st, 2nd in points.
Jimmie Johnson (2001) 27 wins in 193 starts; finished 1st, 2nd, and 2nd.
Tony Stewart (1999) 29 wins in 294 starts and finished 1st, 1st, 2nd.
And, Jeff Gordon (1992) 77 wins in 483 starts and finished 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.
All Stats found at www.racing-reference.info...
Newton breaks down Dale’s future …
Dale Earnhardt Jr. didn't say where he would drive next when he announced Thursday that he is leaving the company his father built after this season, but he certainly narrowed the choices.
He wants to go to an organization where he can compete for a championship and remain in a Chevrolet. That makes Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing the most obvious choices.
He also wants to keep Budweiser as his primary sponsor, which likely would knock JGR out of the mix.
"Personally, it would be hard for us," said team president J.D. Gibbs, referring to the company's stance on companies that sell alcoholic beverages. "[Budweiser] is a great partner in the sport, but for us it would be tough."
Gibbs also said the organization isn't looking to expand to four teams next season, saying, "We know how hard it is to add a team and we're in no big hurry."
If you want to narrow it down even more, Hendrick Motorsports is at the Nextel Cup maximum with four teams and all four drivers are locked into contracts, with negotiations to extend Kyle Busch's deal expected to be finalized soon.
But there are ways around that with Jeff Gordon half owner of Jimmie Johnson's team. Casey Mears also could become a target in the No. 25 car if his performance doesn't improve to the level of Gordon, Johnson and Busch, all in the top 10 in points.
Team owner Rick Hendrick is fishing in the Florida Keys and the organization declined to comment.
RCR would be an obvious choice. Earnhardt is the same age (32) that his father was when he joined Richard Childress to drive the No. 3 in 1981.
Since Earnhardt would lose the right to his famous No. 8 -- that belongs to stepmother Teresa Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Inc. -- the No. 3 at RCR is an option.
Childress, unavailable for comment, also has made it clear that if negotiations break down with Dale Jr. and DEI that he would like to get involved.
"I've got to do a little soul searching on how I feel driving the No. 3 car,"
Earnhardt said during his press conference in Mooresville, N.C.
Childress also has talked about expanding to a fourth team outside of Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer.
Hide the Women and Children! V-L-A-D is here …
Rangers manager Ron Washington has one piece of advice for his pitchers when it comes to handling Vladimir Guerrero. Texas has intentionally walked Guerrero only nine times in 57 games, but that number might rise soon as the Rangers host the Angels for a four-game series beginning tonight.
Among players with a minimum of 150 at-bats against the Rangers, no one even comes close to Guerrero's .437 batting average. Consider his numbers against Texas over the past 21 games and two seasons: eight homers (exactly one every 10 at-bats), 21 RBI and a .788 slugging percentage.
"We've got four games; I might walk him nine times in four," Washington said. "The guy is a monster -- what are you going to do?"
Rangers actually beat the Yankees! …
The Rangers' sixth game against the Yankees this season was better than the first five put together.
After scoring only 10 runs in five meetings, all losses, Texas whipped New York 14-2 on Thursday in their final regular-season meeting this year.
The Rangers snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Yankees and held them to their fewest runs against Texas this season.
"It's good to get out of here with a win," said starter Brandon McCarthy, who gave up one run, five hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings for the victory.
The Rangers' winning path started with McCarthy and ended with their biggest offensive outburst this year. They set season highs for runs and hits (16) and left New York on a hopeful note.
"We did some great things early on -- moving runners over, running the bases well -- and then we started hitting and it just became contagious," said Brad Wilkerson, who drove in three runs, as did Mark Teixeira.
Victor Diaz added a pinch-hit grand slam in the eighth, emptying the bases and the grandstands at Yankee Stadium.
The Rangers avoided suffering their first season series sweep by an American League opponent.
For all the offensive firepower, the Rangers led only 4-1 after six innings before they took over.
McCarthy, who gave up Melky Cabrera's solo homer in the third, has won back-to-back outings, allowing only one run in each after a rough three-start slump.
• Victor Diaz hit a pinch-hit grand slam for the Rangers. Prior to Diaz, the last two players with a pinch-hit slam at Yankee Stadium were Jorge Posada in 2001 and Detroit's Mickey Tettleton in 1991.
• Michael Young missed the game with a hamstring injury. He and Mark Teixeira had both played in each of Texas's previous 287 games. Over the past 25 years, only two pairs of teammates had longer streaks. Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio appeared in 389 consecutive games together from 1995 to 1998 and Miguel Tejada and Terrence Long played in 456 straight games for Oakland from 2000 to 2003.
Adam, from LoneStarBall.com writes in reference to yesterday’s Email of the Day:
Saw the email on your blog today about Jon Daniels refusing to deal Hank Blalock and John Danks for Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett...
I've seen this mentioned a few times, and it is simply not true.
Daniels agreed to give the Marlins Blalock and Danks. The Marlins then used that offer as leverage to get Boston to sweeten their offer. Blalock and Danks was always Plan B (if even that) for the Marlins, since they didn't really want Blalock and would have just had to trade him anyway.
The Marlins really, really, really wanted Hanley Ramirez from the BoSox, and when Boston was willing to part with him to get the deal done, there was nothing the Rangers could have done to trump that deal.
Whether or not that deal would have really been all that great for the Rangers is debateable -- Beckett wasn't good at all last year, and would have been a free agent after this season (barring signing an extension with the Rangers, which there's no guarantee he would have done).
But the meme that has begun circulating, that Daniels refused to trade Danks last winter for Beckett but was willing to trade him now, is just not true.
This man, like me, is excited about the Football Playoffs this weekend …
I've let it known that I have a thing for the Coca-Cola Championship. Yes, its the second level football in a country I am not from, but as an EPL fan for some time now, I know a few of the teams in the Championship and the competition is riveting.
Thanks also to my obtaining Setanta for the full season this year I have been able to really dig deep into the Championship and it all led into a great final Sunday this past weekend.
For those not familiar with the format, the top two teams in the Championship move up automatically to the EPL while places 3-6 enter a four-team playoff for the final spot.
Going into this weekend, the top two teams had been already secured with Birmingham and Sunderland guaranteed promotion. Though the title between the two was still to be determined.
Derby County was assured of third place but six or seven teams laid a claim to reach the final three playoff spots.
While we were treated to Birmingham and Preston North End, updates came in with each goal scored in a game involving those teams. Immediately after the highlight, a new table would appear, showing who was in the playoffs at that very moment.
It was dramatic television as team's fortunes rose and fell with results across the country. West Brom secured a spot early as goal after goal poured in.
In the game we were watching, Preston needed a win and some help, Birmingham would clinch the title with a win also. Preston got a goal late in the second half to excite their crowd, but the needs above them fell through, so despite the 1-0 win, Preston North End was left out of the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. Meanwhile, the loss gave Sunderland the Championship title. So despite having a victor on the pitch both sides walked off dejected.
This is the drama that is created from the promotion-relegation system. Granted, the bottom three (including a free-falling Leeds) were already decided heading into the final Sunday in the Championship, the passion of the teams trying to reach the playoffs just for a chance to move up to the EPL was impossible to ignore.
In the end the four teams that were 3-6 entering Sunday, stayed 3-6, and will begin competing in the playoffs this weekend. The only change was at the top where the best story in football completed for Sunderland.
And now, today’s email of the Day:
Top 5 Metroplex upsets:
WHAT IS DOES 1967, 1977, 1987, 1997, 2007 have in common?????????
Every 10 years on the 7th decade year Dallas gets a major upset.
5) December 31, 1967 Ice Bowl. Packers 21-17
4) Jan 1977 Cowboys win NFC East 11-3, number 2 to Minn 11-2-1. Cowboys lose 14-12
to LA Rams in first round for first time in their history to a team
they beat 37-7 the year before in the playoffs.
3) 1987 Mavs vs Seatlle #2 VS #7
Dallas sets regular season record 55 wins that lasts until 2003. Beats
Seattle in Game 1 by more than 25 points, then never wins another game.
2) 1997 #2 vs #7 Edmonton
Dallas Stars club record for wins in regular season. Lose at HOME in
Overtime of Game 7...CUJO.
1) 2007 That over hyped 67 win team.
KEEP this TEAM together. All the above eventually won it all/OR Game
7 LALakers Magic.
0) 2017 Rangers its your turn.