I kind of wonder what Dallas might have done against Utah. Because, I am starting to wonder how good Utah is going to become in a year or two. They are so young and so balanced. You do wonder who “The Guy” will be at crunch time, Boozer, Okur, Williams, or AK-47, but I really like watching that team play in the “post-small shorts era” after Malone and Stockton. Also, how about that home court advantage? Golden State won’t have a big advantage in this series in that department.
Golden State can blame free throws for this loss …
The Warriors are learning the hard way just how small their margin of error is against these Jazz, in this arena, in what is fast becoming a series for the ages.
For the second straight game, Golden State came back from a double-digit deficit to take a fourth-quarter lead, only to have it disappear in the closing minutes. This time, the Warriors ended up on the wrong side of a 127-117 overtime decision, kicking themselves even harder for letting Game 2 slip away.
"It had to be the most painful loss," Jason Richardson said. "We had the game. A play here, a play there, a made free throw here, a stop there would've won the game. It hurts when you lose a game like this."
It hurts because all the Warriors had to do after rallying for a five-point lead with less than a minute to play in regulation was take care of the ball and hit their free-throw attempts.
They couldn't do either.
Baron Davis, in the midst of another career playoff game, stepped out of bounds with 27.4 seconds left against solid pressure from Derek Fisher. Mickael Pietrus clanked two foul shots with 16 seconds left.
Then, with the Warriors clinging to a one-point lead and a chance to put the game almost out of Utah's reach, Davis split his free-throw tries with 6.2 seconds left.
That allowed Jazz point guard Deron Williams a chance to break down the Warriors' defense and sink a 12-foot jumper to send Game 2 into overtime, and Golden State just didn't have enough left after relying on a six-man rotation all night.
Utah scored the first five points of the extra period and the Warriors were outscored 14-4, their only points coming on a Davis layup and Stephen Jackson free throws.
"It hurt," Davis said after the Warriors dropped two games in a row for the first time in the playoffs. "I think everybody felt that tonight. And really, there was nothing for us to do but step to the line and hit our free throws and put the game out of reach."
Now the Warriors head home down 0-2 in a best-of-seven series they believe they should be up 2-0 -- if they could have executed down the stretch.
This just in: The Rangers suck. They lose again to the Yankees…make that 18 of 20 …
The Rangers saw a side of Robinson Tejeda they haven't seen all season in his start Wednesday against the New York Yankees: the tentative side.
Tejeda, the Rangers' most consistent starter this season and usually a bulldog on the mound, has been dealing with various nagging pains in his throwing shoulder and elbow, as well as his left hamstring.
As a result, Tejeda said he was unsure of himself in the first inning of the Rangers' 6-2 loss to the Yankees, when he allowed four hits and a walk to the first five batters he faced, four of whom scored.
"I felt a little discouraged throwing the ball, it was kind of bothering me a little bit every time I released the ball," Tejeda said. "In the first two innings, it was inconsistent because I was getting in my mind, I don't want to hurt myself.... I was feeling very uncomfortable, not like before."
Tejeda was referring to his previous six starts this season, all of which lasted at least five innings. He brought a 3.89 ERA into Yankee Stadium, the best among all Rangers starters, but allowed six earned runs on six hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings Wednesday.
Tejeda's status was uncertain a day before, when forearm soreness, as well as other nagging pains, made the Rangers consider pushing back his start by a day.
Yankees starter Mike Mussina defeated Tejeda for the second time in less than a week, going six innings for the victory.
Texas has lost 10 of its past 15 games. The Rangers lost their eighth consecutive game to the Yankees, dating to last season, and are 0-5 against them this year with only today's game left in the season series.
"That's a good club over there," Washington said.
And not a very good club over here, right, Skip?
In former Rangers news, Remember CoCo? …
Francisco Cordero earned his 15th save of the season in the Brewers' win, and in so doing he tied two records. Cordero tied the National League mark for fewest team games needed to reach 15 saves (34), set by John Smoltz in 2003. The major-league record is 30 games by Lee Smith with the Orioles in 1994.
Cordero also tied a major-league record by recording a save on five consecutive days. The surprising co-holders of the record are Mark Davis (1989), Rod Beck (1998), and Steve Kline (2000).
Fight sets all-time record …
HBO PPV announced on Wednesday that the match between Mayweather -- the pound-for-pound king -- and De La Hoya -- the sport's most popular fighter -- eclipsed the buy mark of 1.99 million, set by the 1997 Evander Holyfield-Mike Tyson heavyweight championship ear-bite rematch, and the revenue record of $112 million, set by the 2002 Lennox Lewis-Tyson heavyweight title fight.
The new records: an astonishing 2.15 million buys, a number that will increase once all the buys are fully accounted for (the fight could easily surpass 2.2 million buys), and a gargantuan $120 million in pay-per-view revenue.
The buy record included 1.225 million units from cable systems and 925,000 satellite homes.
Greenburg also credited the success of HBO's "24/7" reality show that ran in a coveted Sunday night slot behind the "Sopranos" and "Entourage" for three weeks leading up to the fight with helping sell both the public and the media on its worth.
De La Hoya was guaranteed $23.3 million and Mayweather $10 million for the fight. With the overwhelming success of the event, De La Hoya could take home upwards of $50 million with Mayweather earning around $20 million.
"I'm particularly pleased that the fight reached 2.15 million buys on a weekend in which 'Spider-Man 3' established a new Hollywood box office record and the Kentucky Derby took place," HBO PPV's Mark Taffet said. "That puts in perspective the magnitude of it."
The pay-per-view tally also made De La Hoya the biggest pay-per-view attraction in history. His 18 pay-per-view events have generated $612 million in domestic television receipts, enabling him to leave Tyson ($545 million) and Holyfield ($543 million) in the dust.
Vernon Wells vs. Indians’ fan …
Vernon Wells may get another chance to meet his heckler friend on Sept. 10.
Jeff Raycher, Vernon Wells heckler extraordinaire, has a surprise in store for the Blue Jays centre fielder.
Raycher, 28, and his buddies plan to drive to Detroit for the Jays' makeup game there on Sept. 10. That's when Round Two will begin.
Last Wednesday during a game at Cleveland's Jacobs Field, Raycher and some of the other "Bleacher Creatures" had a running, good natured banter going with Wells that ended with Wells tossing a ball to Raycher complete with a tongue-in-cheek message.
"Usually all we get is a tip of the hat or a wave," Raycher said of their heckling of whomever the centre fielder is that's playing against their beloved Indians. "This night we had at least 100 or so (fans) jumping on board and getting on Vernon pretty good.
"He got pretty interactive with us and it was getting louder and louder. Then around the sixth inning he was warming up and faked tossing a ball to us and tossed it into a section further over. So he got us there."
Wells really got them the next inning when he tossed the "message ball" to them.
"I stood up and read what was on the ball to everybody in our section and we were dying laughing," Raycher said. "We're going to hang on to the ball for sure. It all was so much fun.
"So when we drive to Detroit in September, we're going to come up with something clever."
Maybe Wells will be prepared too.
Message on the ball, as seen in Jeff Raycher photographs:
"Dear Mr. Dork,
Here is your ball! Can you please tell me what gas station you work at, so when you are pumping my gas, I can yell at you!!! Now sit down, shut up and enjoy the game.
- Your favorite centrefielder
Rickey Henderson vs. foul ball …
Henderson, who caught a foul ball on Monday at AT&T Park, where he was watching the Mets play the Giants, kept the ball instead of handing it to a young fan.
"Everybody was asking me for the ball," Henderson said Tuesday, according to the Star-Ledger of Newark. "I said, 'You're not getting this ball. I always wanted to get a foul ball. This one's going on a shelf at home."
The young fan didn't go home empty-handed, though, as Henderson signed another ball the fan already had.
Henderson joked that his catch in the stands shows he's still got the skills to play the game.
"Showing 'em I've still got good hands. The ball found me. I was so quick."
And if Henderson has his way, fans might soon be catching foul balls hit off the bat of the man himself.
Roger Clemens' big announcement this week has Henderson hoping some club might give him one more chance to make a major league comeback.
Otherwise, he will call it a career -- for good this time.
"Seeing Roger come back, all the seed that it plants is ask me to come back one time," Henderson said Tuesday in the Mets clubhouse before New York played the Giants.
"I'm going to look at it at the end of the year. I might come out with some crazy stuff, a press conference telling every club, 'Put me on the field with your best player and see if I come out of it.' If I can't do it, I'll call it quits at the end," he said.
Dale Jr leaving evil step-mommy? …
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is expected to become a high-profile NASCAR free agent Thursday morning after announcing he won’t return to the team founded by his late father for the 2008 NASCAR season.
A news conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Mooresville headquarters of JR Motorsports, a team owned by Earnhardt Jr. and run by his sister, Kelley Elledge.
JR Motorsports fields a car in the NASCAR Busch Series, but contrary to reports on Wednesday, Earnhardt Jr. is not expected to announce where he will drive after this year – just that it won’t be at DEI after his contract to drive the No. 8 Chevrolets there expires after this season.
A family feud pitting Dale Jr. and Kelley against Teresa Earnhardt, the legendary seven-time stock-car racing champion’s widow, has simmered since they moved in with their father and stepmother as children.
Teresa Earnhardt, who took control of DEI after her husband’s death a crash in the 2001 Daytona 500, helped bring that feud to a boil when she said in a Dec. 14 Wall Street Journal article that her stepson needed to decide whether he wanted to be a race car driver or a celebrity.
Earnhardt Jr. came back several weeks later, saying his relationship with his stepmother “ain’t a bed of roses.”
In one of my rare blogs about FC Dallas a month ago, I highly questioned the naming of Carlos Ruiz as your captain. Here is another reason why …
FC Dallas striker Carlos Ruiz, who has a history of skipping matches and practices, rejoined the club Wednesday after missing two days because of a delayed return from Guatemala.
FC Dallas manager Steve Morrow said Ruiz's absence Monday and Tuesday was
inexcusable, regardless of the reason. Ruiz was tending to personal matters, but neither manager nor player would go into detail over the extended absence.
Morrow said Ruiz would be fined an undisclosed amount. The manager has not decided if he would suspend the four-time MLS All-Star for Saturday's game against Kansas City.
Ruiz, who has two goals in six matches for FC Dallas this season, practiced with the second team Wednesday. He said he called FC Dallas assistant Oscar Pareja on Monday to inform him that he would be arriving late.
"There was no misbehavior involved," Ruiz said. "I let them know beforehand, but I know I'll get some kind of fine. I get the same treatment as everybody else."
Ruiz's truancy problems go back to 2005, his first season in Dallas, and would often arise after national team qualifying duty. Guatemala failed to qualify for last year's World Cup in Germany.
Ruiz didn't show for two matches and the All-Star Game that season after arriving late from his country.
However, Ruiz has appeared to be committed to his FC Dallas responsibilities in the last year-and-a-half, to the point where Morrow entrusted the forward with the club's captaincy before the start of the season.
"This is not about being captain," Ruiz said. "You have to show what kind of captain you are in and out of the field. I preferred to be a captain on the field and keep a low profile off the field."
Wow. Nice Quote, captain.
I saw Cinderella Man last night. The story of James J Braddock …brilliant! Now, that is a great movie….
P1 Ben has a new blog. I don’t approve of the title …
Today’s feature email:
Bob, along with the comments you made today about how it makes you crazy to see how all the former Rangers are doing that Wonder Boy Daniels traded away, don't forget to add into that the trade that Daniels DID NOT make that could have helped this team dramatically.
After giving away the likes of Young, Gonzalez, Cordero, Soriano, and not resigning Lee, he also decided NOT to make the trade for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell. And he only would have had to give up Hank Blalock and John Denks. Seen what those guys are doing? Beckett is only 7-0 with a 2.51 ERA. Granted he had an average 2006 but how would that guy look in this rotation? Lowell resurrected his career in Boston, hitting .284 last season 20 HRs/80 RBIs, and he's hitting a similar .289 this season. Can you imagine what that guy could have done in this ballpark?
Meanwhile, we still have a 3rd baseman in Blalock who can't hit left-handed pitching and had that pathetic 2006 season of hitting .266 and striking out almost 100 times. He is hitting .295 so far this year but it's pathetic that our #5 hitter has only 2 HRs and 12 RBIs. But perhaps the most absurd fact is that Denks was untouchable when we could have got Beckett but not untouchable to get Brandon McCarthy and his 7.96 ERA?!
The other thing that makes me crazy is that Buck was supposedly this hardline, no nonsense manager, yet he caved to Soriano's whining about not playing the outfield. Then he goes to Washington to get put in his place by Frank Robinson, and now he's playing OF for the Cubs. And I don't care if he's only got 2 HRs. At least he's hitting over .300, something that only 1 Rangers player can claim--and it's part time player Matt Kata.
So imagine a pitching rotation with Beckett and Young at the top. Who knows if the Rangers would have signed Millwood if they had those two but I'd rather have those two at the top of the rotation than what we have.
Then Soriano could be playing Center Field, Gonzalez as our DH, with the flexibility to trade Tex now that he's shown what he's all about. If he had then resigned Carlos Lee, he could move from LF to DH when Gonzalez would move to 1B. More importantly, we would not have strikeout king Brad Wilkerson, the no-heart, paycheck-collecting Kenny Lofton, or stat chasing Sammy Sosa on the roster all taking at bats away from more worthy players.
It is safe to say that the Jon Daniels experiment has completely failed. One last rhetorical question to ask is how badly would this city be ripping John Hart if he had made these exact same trades and non-trades as Jon Daniels? They'd be having John Hart voodoo doll night at the Ballpark. But just because Jon Daniels is a nice guy and talks to the media, he's only now starting to come under some scrutiny for these moves and non-moves made by someone who is obviously in over his head and completely unqualified for the job. Once again, Tom Hicks' attempt to try to be like other teams has backfired. First he tried to spend with the other teams, then he hired his own verison of the young wonder boy, only to have both episodes wreck this team.
And the Musers were actually wondering why there is so much apathy towards the Rangers? Three simple words: THIS TEAM SUCKS. And it is throughout the entire organization--not just the players. It's from the top to the bottom.
And then today’s feature email from a Spurs fan who thinks the NBA Champion wins a “National Championship”. Kind of surprised he didn’t think they will win the Stanley Cup.
The show is great. I hope Dirks meltdown does not hurt you and Dan. The Mavericks now are a joke. I think A. John. needs to call Bill Buckner to find the tools to deal with such a failure. I am sure you are aware that the Mavericks and Dirk are now a national joke. By the way, the
Spurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrs are moving on and the Mavericks are done.
SPURS 3 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
MAVERICKS 0 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
GO MAVS HA AAAAH HA HA AH
Your team AND DIRK IS A JOKE FOR SO MANY YEARS TO
Now it makes a little more sense.