I believe that this will most likely have to pass as the Wednesday and Thursday Blog, as I don’t anticipate rushing to blog on Thanksgiving…
Mavs put on a great show to catch and beat Raptors …
The lost-and-found did a booming business Tuesday night at American Airlines Center.
Found: Dirk Nowitzki's shooting touch, some sticky defense by the Mavericks and Trenton Hassell.
Lost: A 24-point lead by the Toronto Raptors – again – and any misperception that the Mavericks' best player is somebody other than Nowitzki.
The Mavericks wiped out a 49-25 second-quarter deficit – second-biggest in franchise history to a 25-point comeback against Denver in 1994 – and completed a 4-0 home stand with a 105-99 victory over the Raptors.
Nowitzki was saying just a day earlier that he hadn't found his shooting touch yet this season. Avery Johnson got an up-close look at Nowitzki heating up as the MVP hit four 3-pointers to close out the third quarter and put the Mavericks in control. He finished with 32 points, his first 30-point game of the season.
"I was standing right there next to two of them," Johnson said of the third-quarter darts that Nowitzki was flinging. "The way he was playing in that third quarter, he wasn't really thinking about it, he was just having a lot of fun. ... And he was letting it fly."
Nowitzki had hit only 6-of-17 3-pointers for the season. He was 4-of-6 against the Raptors.
"Dirk was awesome tonight," said Devin Harris, who kept the Mavericks afloat in the second quarter and finished with 19 points. "We were waiting for that shot to come around. And it came around when we needed it most."
Nowitzki's play capped a remarkable comeback. The Mavericks looked completely uninterested in the first half. And it's not the first time this has happened against Toronto.
They fell behind by 24 against the Raptors two seasons back and came back to win in overtime.
"Yeah, I've seen it before," said Lincoln-ex Chris Bosh, who had 31 points and 12 rebounds. "They don't quit."
So, it is the Jets in town for the holiday, and when you play a 2-8 team, and they are already out of the mix in the AFC, and you cannot find much insight on Jets Football.
Instead, it is the story that is sweeping Jets world of fans trying to get women to flash …
At halftime of the Jets’ home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, several hundred men lined one of Giants Stadium’s two pedestrian ramps at Gate D. Three deep in some areas, they whistled and jumped up and down. Then they began an obscenity-laced chant, demanding that the few women in the gathering expose their breasts.
When one woman appeared to be on the verge of obliging, the hooting and hollering intensified. But then she walked away, and plastic beer bottles and spit went flying. Boos swept through the crowd of unsatisfied men.
Marco Hoffner, an 18-year-old from Lacey Township, N.J., was expecting to see more. Not from the Jets — they pulled off a big upset over the Steelers. He wanted more from the alternative halftime show that, according to many fans, has been a staple at Jets home games for years.
“Very disappointed, because we’re used to seeing a lot,” Hoffner said.
The mood of previous Gate D crowds — captured on video clips posted on YouTube — sometimes bordered on hostile, not unlike the spirit of infamously aggressive European soccer hooligans. One clip online shows a woman being groped by a man standing next to her.
Sunday’s scene played out for about 20 minutes, and at least one woman granted the men’s request, setting off a roar as if the former star running back Curtis Martin had just scored a touchdown. Martin was actually nearby, being honored on the field in the official halftime show, which had a far less intense audience.
Throughout halftime, about 10 security guards in yellow jackets stood near the bottom of the circular, multilevel ramp, located beyond the stadium’s concourse of concession stands and restrooms. One of the guards was smoking a cigarette; many fans do the same during halftime on the giant ramps, which are located at each corner of the stadium. Another guard later said they were not permitted to do anything about the chants at Gate D because of free speech laws. Yet when a reporter tried to interview two security guards after halftime, he was detained in a holding room, threatened with arrest and asked to hand over his tape recorder.
Cowboys 31, Jets 14. Sorry, but I don’t see this being any better a game than the Bucs and Boys last year.
Kellen Clemens has Jets fans optimistic …
As the seconds tick away in the fourth quarter and the Jets try to whittle another deficit, Kellen Clemens transforms from promising first-year starter into a green-and-white-clad Captain Comeback.
In each of Clemens’s three turns at starting quarterback, the Jets fell behind, but in each of those games, Clemens positioned the offense to win or tie. The results were a loss, a loss in overtime and a victory in overtime.
“He always had that confidence about him,” receiver Jerricho Cotchery said. “It all
comes from that confidence. Everyone calls it swagger. All those drives, they start there — confidence, swagger, whatever you want to call it.”
Clemens’s overall statistics fall somewhere between pedestrian and putrid. In five games, Clemens has completed 66 of 132 passes for 750 yards, 3 touchdowns, 5 interceptions and a 59.2 quarterback rating.
Those statistics fail to account for the intangibles, those things teammates cannot quantify and struggle to explain. Confidence, swagger or whatever you want to call it.
The Jets saw them in Week 2, when Clemens started for an injured Chad Pennington. They saw them during the last two games, after Coach Eric Mangini pulled the plug on Pennington as the starter and switched to Clemens for the remainder of the season.
In those starts, Clemens and the offense started comebacks: in the final drive of the fourth quarter in the overtime games, and in the final two drives in Week 2 against Baltimore. Those seven drives resulted in one touchdown, three field goals, an interception and two punts.
“It was a positive against Baltimore, it’s been a positive in all these different two-minute drives,” Mangini said. “You like the way he responds, and you like the energy he has when he takes the field, regardless of what the situation is.”
Something happens to Clemens and the offense late in the fourth quarter. They forget about the interceptions and long stretches of offensive ineptitude, and they drive downfield to keep things interesting, if nothing else.
On the seven drives, Clemens completed 18 of 35 passes for 288 yards, an average of 16 yards for each completion. The Jets also converted 8 of 14 first downs on those drives: six passing, one on a Clemens scramble and one by penalty. That 57.1 percent conversion rate would rank first in the N.F.L. if the Jets were always so consistent.
Since I don’t know much about Kellen Clemens, I thought we should consider a youtube search:
Merrill Hoge made the point that Clemens was the 2nd best QB in the 2006 draft behind Cutler, but in front of Leinart and Vince Young
Clemens switch in a song
Jets fan explains Pennington versus Clemens
Laveranues not going to play? ….
Laveranues Coles, who suffered a sprained left ankle Sunday, dressed for practice yesterday but hardly participated during the 30 minutes the media is allowed to observe. Officially, the Jets listed his participation as "limited" on their practice report, but it seems likely that after playing in 107 straight games, Coles will miss his second game in the last three. On Sunday, with Coles sidelined for most of the game, Jerricho Cotchery had only one catch, ending his streak of 15 games with at least four receptions.
Cowboys do some talkin'
At 9-1, it's certainly the Cowboys' prerogative to throw some verbal jabs at the 2-8 Jets before their meeting tomorrow. In a conference call with the New York media yesterday, Terrell Owens was asked about Jets rookie CB Darrelle Revis. "I don't know who that is," he said, admitting he doesn't pay attention to who covers him. "That's not a slight on him or whoever he is." Dallas RB Julius Jones, younger brother of Jets RB Thomas Jones, was asked if it would be ideal for Thomas to run for 100 yards but have the Cowboys still win. "Yeah," he said, "but I don't know if that's going to happen because I don't know if he can get 100 yards on our defense."
Poor, poor Eagles …
Just three seasons after being separated by just three points in Super Bowl XXXIX, the gap between the Patriots and Eagles has widened to historic proportions: Philly is a 23½-point underdog.
That is the largest point spread for an NFL game that does not involve an expansion team, according to odds-making experts in Las Vegas.
On Dec. 5, 1976, the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers were 24-point underdogs to the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers covered easily, winning 42-0.
"Nowadays, you don't see too many spreads over 16 or 17 points," said Sean Van Patten, an oddsmaker at Sports Consultants in Las Vegas. "That's because most teams take their starters out in the fourth quarter of a lopsided game. The Patriots don't. I call this phenomenon The [Bill] Belichick Factor."
By continuing to pour it on the fourth quarter, Belichick is throwing Vegas out of whack. And making bookies run for cover.
It all started Sunday night after Belichick walked across the field at Ralph Wilson Stadium to shake hands with Buffalo Bills head coach Dick Jauron, an awkward moment captured on national TV after the Patriots annihilated the Bills 56-10.
"The line for the Patriots-Eagles game was immediately set at 17 points -- and the big bettors, the sports syndicate guys, jumped on it, bet it hard," said Brandon Lang, whose life was depicted by Matthew McConaughey in the movie "Two for the Money" and is regarded as the nation's leading sports handicapper.
According to bookies and oddsmakers, all the big money took the Patriots and gave the points. Why? Because Belichick has been running up the score.
"So the spread jumped all the way to 22 in a matter of minutes," said Lang.
"You add the fact that Donovan McNabb is injured and you have the perfect storm," said a bookie in South Philadelphia who asked not to be identified.
Tonight, Stars roll out Mike Smith again ….
The Dallas Stars don't have a goalie controversy.
Backup Mike Smith expects to make his third straight start tonight against Anaheim.
Starter Marty Turco expects to be the backup. This will mark the first time this season that Turco has sat consecutive games without being injured.
To have controversy, there must be disagreement. And the goalies agree – Smith will start.
"No, Mike's going to play," Turco said when asked if he would start. "It's not tough because we're playing well and winning hockey games. You just want to be a part of it."
Turco has allowed 14 goals in his last three starts, which were losses. Smith has surrendered one goal in victories over Colorado and Los Angeles.
"Were good friends on and off the ice, and we're going to push each other if we're both playing well," Smith said. "I'm sure Marty's going to get back in there and play really well."
Although both have been told that Smith will start tonight, coach Dave Tippett said he would wait for today to make the announcement.
"They were both very good in practice," Tippett said. "This is no different than last year; Smitty had a stretch where he played a few games, and he played very well. Turc had some good practices, and at the end of the day, both of them played very well. We need that from that position."
This will not make you thankful… $50k to be a Cowboys fan? …
Not knowing the total price structure makes it impossible to compare the average cost of a Cowboys ticket to those elsewhere.
But the $50,000 seat option apparently is the most expensive such option ever charged for the rights to a single seat.
The Cowboys will use the seat options to help pay for their $675 million share of the stadium.
Seat options, also known as personal seat licenses, became a popular way to fund new stadiums in the 1990s. But the idea evolved from the approach the Cowboys took in the late 1960s with the use of "seat option bonds" to build the $35 million Texas Stadium.
Under the bond system, fans paid $250 per seat for the right to buy season tickets in that spot. At the end of the 40 years, bondholders redeemed the bonds for $300.
Today, about one-third of the 32 NFL teams have some form of seat options.
The Houston Texans, an expansion franchise, sold about 41,000 seat licenses at an average cost of about $1,800. In 2002 the Chicago Bears offered 28,000 seat licenses at a cost of up to $10,000 to help rebuild Soldier Field.
The licenses are transferable and can rise in value. A pair of Bears seat licenses is on sale on eBay for $40,000. Cowboys officials are likewise touting their seat options as a good investment, and pointed to reports about Carolina Panthers fans whose options have increased fourfold in value.
But they can also backfire. The Oakland Raiders' seat licenses topped out at $16,000, but the team had to rescind the program in 2005 after losing seasons left them struggling to sell single-game seats next to season ticket holders who'd paid thousands.
Meet Kimbo Slice …
The Wire is coming