Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Stop This Man...Or Lose.

Lots of great sports are going on right now, but it is time we all focus on one thing. Figuring out a way to slow this man down. CP3 is going to make quick work of the Mavs unless they can slow him down better than Dwyane Wade and Baron Davis before him. Tonight, at 6, the Mavs have a chance to steal the upper hand in this series. Let’s see if they have some fight in them….

Jan Hubbard


Help out Dirk. He's the Mavs' leader, their best scorer and best rebounder. Now they need to follow his example by forgetting the excuses, getting to the free-throw line, staying mentally tough and delivering.

Cut off the lane. The Mavs can't allow Chris Paul to get into the paint and create. They need to turn him into a jump shooter and scorer, and prevent him from getting his teammates in the flow. Of course, that's easier said than done.

Get out and run. The Mavs get into big trouble when they fall into their half-court sets and start standing around. They can avoid that by defending, running off Hornets misses and attacking the basket in transition.


Hornets lead series 1-0
Game 2: 6 tonight, New Orleans Arena
TV: KTXA/Ch. 21, TNT

Mavs adjustments

Defensive stops: The Hornets outscored the Mavs 22-2 in the paint in the second half of Game 1. Chris Paul continually broke down the defense with dribble drives.

Box out Chandler: The Mavs did a good job of rebounding in Game 1 despite Erick Dampier grabbing only four. The big problem is 7-foot-1 center Tyson Chandler. He had seven of New Orleans' 15 offensive rebounds and several crowd-charging dunks as a result.

Shoot better: The Mavs can't make nine field goals in a half and expect to compete. The Mavs shot 33.3 percent overall -- they ranked ninth in the regular season at 46.4 percent -- and made only 7-of-22 from behind the arc.

I know this was Saturday, but this was shocking on many levels from J-Ho ….

During his five NBA seasons, Josh Howard has been candid with The Dallas Morning News and other media outlets about using marijuana.

Entering last season's playoffs, the ESPN.com blog TrueHoop asked Howard whether he slipped to No. 29 in the 2003 NBA draft because teams were concerned that he had a marijuana problem.

Howard responded that "a lot of people have that problem" and speculated that players selected ahead of him also smoked pot. He said it shouldn't have affected his draft status.

Asked whether he caught any flak for that interview, Howard said no. When asked to quantify the extent of his use, he said he got "a little crazy" in high school but uses it "less" now and never during the season.

He emphasizes that marijuana is "nothing I'm needing," unlike some NBA players who "have to have it."

"What can I say? If you can do it and it's not affecting your everyday life, why stop? If I'm able to do it, but not while I play basketball, it lets you know I can quit whenever."

Tim Frank, the NBA's vice president for communications, said the league doesn't comment on specific players and the anti-drug policy.

Under terms of the league's collective bargaining agreement, NBA players are subject to four random tests during the season (Oct. 1-June 30) for performance-enhancing and recreational drugs.

If a player tests positive for marijuana, he is placed in a drug counseling program. A second violation results in a $25,000 fine. Subsequent violations result in incremental five-game suspensions. The only suspension of Howard's career were the two games the NBA assessed to start this season, after a preseason-game skirmish with Sacramento's Brad Miller.

Houston is in big trouble

Well, it was fun while it lasted.

A Rockets team that overachieved mightily in the second half of the season -- they sported the league's best record since Jan. 1, including an improbable 22-game winning streak that they achieved despite losing Yao Ming for the season -- finds itself facing some long odds after dropping Game 2 at home to the Jazz, 90-84 on Monday.

The reason is simple: Without Yao, this team has no margin for error.

So if they miss a few free throws, or if a late call goes against them or if one of Utah's subs makes a clutch heave, they simply don't have enough juice to answer.
Monday showed that even more than Game 1, as the Rockets fought and clawed their way back from an early nine-point deficit and had a chance to tie the game in the final minute.

"Those guys in the locker room played their butts off," said Houston coach Rick Adelman. "I can't ask for more effort than they gave, and we came up short."
But ultimately, the inability to hit free throws (Houston was 16-for-26) and the lack of secondary offensive threats were too much for the Rockets to overcome.

Tonight on television, I am going to navigate between two basketball games and two hockey games. Check out the schedule:

6pm – Mavericks at Hornets, TNT
6pm – Flyers at Capitals Game 7, Versus
8:30 – Suns at Spurs, TNT
9:00 – Flames at Sharks, Game 7, Versus

Capitals will not die

All season, the Washington Capitals have been counted out. It happened when they started out 6-14-1. It happened when Philadelphia took a three games to one lead in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals last week, and again when the Flyers pushed them to the edge of extinction in Game 6.

Each time, though, Alex Ovechkin and his teammates have stunned their doubters -- and Monday night was no exception. The Capitals scored four straight goals -- Ovechkin notched two of them in the third period -- to win 4-2 and force a seventh and decisive game in this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

"Nobody believe in us, that we're a done team," said Ovechkin, who led the NHL in goals and points in the regular season but had been limited to a goal and four assists in the series' first five games until breaking out with his team's season on the line. "But it's not over. Tomorrow will be the biggest game in our career. We won't stop, we just want to continue what we do right now."

Tuesday night at Verizon Center, the Capitals will play the sixth Game 7 in franchise history and attempt to become only the 21st team in the history of the National Hockey League to come all the way back from a three-games-to-one deficit. They rallied from down 3-1 to beat the Flyers in 1988 and are 1-4 all-time in Game 7s. If the Capitals win, they will face postseason nemesis Pittsburgh in the next round.

Baldinger doesn’t like DMC

"I think he's the colossal bust in this draft. He doesn't run with patience. He's a very incomplete back who tries to run you over. If he gets a crease, he can take it to the house. But he doesn't break tackles and he fumbles. I'm not impressed." - Fox Sports NFL analyst Brian Baldinger on Arkansas running back Darren McFadden.

A look at 1st round QB’s who were not in the top 10

• The top 20

Of the seven quarterbacks drafted in the next 10 picks over the last 20 years, only two have been to the Pro Bowl: Ben Roethlisberger (No. 11 in 2004), who has a Super Bowl ring, and Daunte Culpepper (No. 11 in 1999). Jay Cutler (No. 11 in 2006) appears to have a promising future with Denver, but the rest of this group has underperformed:

• Cade McNown (No. 12 in 1999), who lasted only two seasons as Chicago's starter.
• Dan McGuire (No. 16 in 1991), who started five games in four years with Seattle.
• Chad Pennington (No. 18 in 2000), who had a few good seasons with the New York Jets but saw his career slowed by shoulder problems.
• Kyle Boller (No. 19 in 2003), who has had five mediocre seasons in Baltimore.
21 and lower

None of the nine quarterbacks taken in the bottom third of the first round in the last 20 years has made a Pro Bowl. Several of those picked in recent years haven't played enough to warrant a final judgment, but the ones who have were failures:

• Todd Marinovich (No. 24 in 1991), who played in eight games over two years for the Raiders, and later battled drug and legal problems.
• Tommy Maddox (No. 25 in 1992), who lasted just two seasons with his original team (Denver), then went six years without a start before making a brief comeback with the Steelers in 2002.
• Jim Druckenmiller (No. 26 in 1997), who made just one NFL start for San Francisco.
• Patrick Ramsay (No. 32 in 2002), who started out OK with Washington but has bounced around the last few years.
Two others in this group who have failed but are young enough to get another chance:
• J.P. Losman (No. 22 in 2004), who remains with Buffalo but last season lost his starting job to rookie Trent Edwards.
• Rex Grossman (No. 22 in 2003), who remains with Chicago but might be a backup this season.
The only starter in the group is Jason Campbell (No. 25 in 2005), who played well for Washington last season but hasn't stood the test of time.

That leaves Rodgers and Brady Quinn (No. 22 in 2007) as the two unproven
quarterbacks in this group. Quinn isn't expected to start for Cleveland this season.

Champions League Semi-Finals: Liverpool hosts Chelsea today (ESPN2 at 1:30), but Tom Hicks is the big story again

Anfield ready to vent venom and vitriol as Hicks prepares to inspect the troops
The draw of Anfield is so powerful on a European night that even Tom Hicks is weighing the hassle of a rare public appearance at Liverpool against a guaranteed adrenaline rush this evening. His presence would not shift focus from a third Champions League final in four seasons, Rafael Benítez said yesterday, but it would demonstrate the strength of Liverpool's siege mentality should they deliver.

Work finally commenced on the club's much vaunted stadium project last night when a spade broke the surface of Stanley Park for the first time since Hicks and the co-owner, George Gillett, promised construction would begin within 60 days of their takeover - in February last year. Yet the landmark moment was simply a further illustration of the rancour and divide through which Benítez and his team have advanced on Moscow.

The first act of an estimated £350m project was not funded with bank loans or even blessed with planning permission. It was a ceremonial dig staged by the Spirit of Shankly supporters group in protest at the American owners and the stalemate over the club's future, the trickle-down effect of which has been to stall a stadium development critical to the overall regeneration of the Anfield area. The dig took place within three hours of Benítez's call for unity against Chelsea and, while the manager may well get his wish (little can distract Anfield from the thought of finding room for a sixth European Cup), not every ounce of venom will be reserved for the Londoners should the Texan and/or Gillett elect to take a seat at the front of the directors' box.

"I think that our supporters are very clever and they know we need the people behind us from the start," said Benítez who, given his position in the Liverpool political landscape, would not renounce Hicks's decision to watch the club he part-owns. "The supporters know we are playing the second leg at Stamford Bridge and I think they will be focused on the team."

Great Email:

Taking his supposedly problematic managerial style out of the equation for a moment, is this temporary/partial vindication for Army?

1) Stood by Marty and Tippett when many others were ready to throw them overboard.
2) Robidas for nothing
3) Ribiero for nothing
4) Hagman for nothing
5) Norstrom for draft picks
6) Getting the captaincy to Morrow (though a chicken wouldve known to do this too)
7) Sticking with Erickson
8) Staying competitive with an aging and expensive core within a hard salary cap.
9) Drafting the 3 young D
10) and pretend the Nagy thing didnt happen.

The better this team does, the more selective he can be in choosing future GM positions.

P1 Russ

You may already be aware of this data, but I find these numbers to be staggering.

Since Game 3 of the Miami series…
Mavs are 2-9 in playoff games
Mavs are 0-7 on the road in playoff games
Mavs have outscored opponents in the 4th qtr one time in 11 games
Mavs shoot 34 percent in 4th qtr in those games
Mavs outscored by an avg of 4 pts in the 4th qtr during that stretch

I couldn’t begin to know the FT numbers, but I suspect those stats are even more distressing.

Another interesting thought, the Mavericks under Avery have a record of 2-6 in the first game of playoff series. In second games, they’re 6-1.

Have a great day, Bob
Scott in N Dallas

I have been a Cowboy fan all my life. I was born in Lubbock, but moved north (Nebraska) when I was a little kid and the Cowboys were never far from my heart.

I have always loved baseball, but never lived close to a professional team to feel a connection. Same thing with the NHL. I went to college hockey games with friends and enjoyed myself, but never followed the game or a team seriously. Same thing with the NBA.

So a little over five years ago I moved the wife and kids to Fort Worth. My sports pants were going crazy – I had EVERY SPORT here! AND my beloved Cowboys. Over the course of five years I have become a fan of all of the DFW teams – the last was the Stars, thanks to your ’07 road trip. I try and attend at least one game for each sport every year (usually heavier on the Rangers due to cost – that’s the budgetary ‘world’ for your typical generic IT guy).

So what how was my good fortune of moving here rewarded? I got the Ticket… far and away the greatest sports radio station ever. AND THAT WAS IT! Every other ‘sector’ of the DFW sports world has kicked me in the crotch year after year. I had such high hopes for the Mavs two years ago. And now this year – it doesn’t look good at all. If I had been in the locker room after the Cowboys lost this year I probably would have dog cussed them until I was hoarse. The Rangers? Please.

And that brings me to the little Stars. Thanks to you Bad Radio, for turning me onto our local hockey squad, I experienced the longest 13 minutes of my life last night – between Stars goal “2” and “3.” And let me just say… it was AWESOME! I can’t remember feeling any where near that kind of emotion in the Cowboy’s playoff game this year. Or when the Mavs went on their run in ’06. The impending doom I felt each time the Ducks lined up for another assault on the Stars defensive position was like a punch in the gut. Somehow, the Stanley Cup champs couldn’t find a way. And finally, the elation I felt when goal number three did go in was euphoric.

Sports. In the grand scheme of things, does it all really matter? Maybe not… but if you need an argument for why sports, to me, is great, just look at footage of the faces of the Stars when Madano scored. Or you could have looked at my face, too. ‘Nuff said.

Bob, it wasn’t “sports crying,” but like you said today… it was something… close. (sniff)

It’s just a little first round win? Don’t tell the “five year DFW resident” (me) that. He might take a well-taped hockey stick and smack you with it.

P1 Brian
Crazy Fort Worth

Kuato sings Chocolate Rain

Steve Ballmer might be nuts


Flaco said...

Ovechkin is ridiculous.

Too bad he landed with a ridiculous franchise.

Fake Sturm said...

Does anybody know when the Stars first game of the next series will be? The old lady is making me go to a wedding this weekend, and I need to know if I should file for divorce now, or if I can ride it out a little longer.

Howard looks like he is stoned out on the court. He is playing so terrible right now, it is pathetic. And he is being guarded by Peja??? There is no way that he can stay in front of Howard if he ever decides to drive to the bucket again. I dont understand it.

The first time Paul drives to the bucket tonight I want Damp or Bass to put him on his ass hard.

Andy D. said...

The jubilation that I felt about the Stars yesterday is night and day compared with the feelings I have about the Mavericks.

The first thing that I want to say is that I don't believe we will win this series.

When you look at the Stars, you see a team that pours their heart and soul out and the unity from top to bottom is evident. When you look at the Mavericks, you see a team that is flawed, a psyche that is damaged, and a team that is not entirely on board with the coach. I would have never thought that the talent level on this team would drop off so dramatically in a span of 3 months, but it has. Dirk isn't surrounded by quality parts. Period.

Like I have said many times on this blog, I am looking forward to starting fresh with this franchise and it looks like, no matter if we win tonight or not, that it will happen in the next 30 days.

Jake said...

Tonight will decide whether our little Mavericks want to setup some tee times, eat some Kuby's or win some freakin' playoff basketball. I much prefer Chad Vader's version of Chocolate Rain. Blow up the Ballpark.

Bruce said...

That first cap goal was the flying 'v' from the mighty ducks movie. Someone needs to put together the video.

A Silence Production said...

I'm going to do my best to enjoy tonight's Mavs game and realize that everyone isn't playing a playoff game in April right now...oh well, I guess Atlanta is, but we're better than them, right?

The Rangers have found more ways to lose games this year than all of last year it seems.

MK said...

Josh Howard-grow a brain. You just don't say that, it is stupid. Why make life harder on yourself? Sure the stigma associated with "the weed" has diminished but why open yourself up for judgement? Keep your private doings private. Seriously, do you want the local fuzz to constantly be pulling you over and searching your car (especially if you keep laying eggs in the playoffs)?

Bitterwhiteguy said...

1) Baldinger is an idiot. Anyone that's heard him announce a game knows that.

2) At least we know why Howard disappears in the 2nd half, he spent halftime shotgunning blunts with his posse.

BaDRadio said...

Avery will be fired by the end of next week.

MK said...

You can fire Avery but if that is the only change you make you'll be right back in this spot again next year.
Said it weeks ago, Fatally Flawed. And tearing the thing apart is easier said than done with a bunch of bad contracts.

Will the Mavs show any sack on Friday night or roll over and play dead?