I have to get downtown to do some DallasStars.com stuff this morning, but here are some stories that should be blogged:
Mavs take a horrid matchup with the Timberwolves into one of the most enjoyable evenings of basketball this season …The Jet was awesome...
No-calls on consecutive possessions at the offensive end ultimately got Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle steaming mad. Watching his inexplicably listless team get run by the Minnesota Timberwolves started the boil.
Certain Dirk Nowitzki was getting hacked, Carlisle earned double-technical fouls, twice clapping emphatically in the direction of referee Gary Zielinksi with 6:30 left in the second quarter.
The Mavs trailed by 16 points and if Carlisle intended for his ... at first heave-ho of the season to ignite his team it backfired badly first.
Minnesota practically doubled the lead to 29 points early in the third quarter. Although the Mavs have made a habit of rallying at home, not even struggling Minnesota figured to blow this one.
Then with Mavs assistant coach Dwane Casey at the helm against his former team, the Mavs turned the game upside-down, jacked up the intensity and couldn’t miss as they raced past the young and skittish Wolves 107-100 to complete the largest comeback in franchise history.
"There were a couple plays there where I thought Dirk was getting hit and there should have been fouls called so I took the referee to task and probably overdid a little bit so I got thrown out," Carlisle said. "Frankly I was tired of watching it anyway."
Carlisle, who won his 300th career game with an assist from Casey, took a quick peep into the Mavs’ postgame locker room where Devean George
cracked: "You missed a good game."
After getting outscored 62-40 in the first half, the Mavs (19-12) reversed field 67-38 in the second half.
"The main thing is we said, 'Let’s go down swinging no matter what " Casey said. "Let’s respond the way we can make it good for the happens,’ fans."
The rally was swift and mesmerizing, starting with a giant swing that cut Minnesota’s lead from 70-41 to 72-63 in a six-minute stretch in the third quarter.
Jason Terry was lead magician. The sixth man scored 24 of his game-high 29 points in the second half, hitting four of his five 3-pointers and scoring 10 in a row during a fourth-quarter stretch.
Here are some fun facts from the PR Dept:
• The Mavericks completed their biggest comeback in franchise history. They were down by 29 points, 41-70, with 10:36 to go in the 3rd quarter. Dallas’ previous big comeback was 25 points at DEN (11/26/94). Dallas was down 37-62 with 1:05 to go in the 2nd. The Mavericks won the game 124-123 in OT.
• The last team to complete a 29-point comeback was PHO at BOS (12/5/03). The Suns won 110-106 after trailing by 29 in the 3rd quarter.
• The largest comeback in the NBA in the last 10 seasons was by LAL vs. DAL (12/6/02). The Mavericks led 66-36 early in the 3rd quarter before losing 105-103.
And now the story that was going to be the lead:
New Years Day – Noon – Red Wings – Blackhawks – Wrigley Field …
The N.H.L. gleaned two simple lessons from the rousing debut of its Winter Classic game last New Year’s Day. No. 1: Do it again. No. 2: Make it much, much bigger.
What began in the snow and sleet at Ralph Wilson Stadium outside Buffalo continues Thursday at Wrigley Field in Chicago with two of the league’s Original Six teams. The Chicago Blackhawks, a renascent team in second place in the Central Division, and the defending champion Detroit Red Wings, who are in first place in the Central, play at 1 p.m. on NBC (and CBC and RDS in Canada).
This time, it will be in a much smaller stadium, but in a far larger market, with more corporate involvement (like the title sponsor Bridgestone, and Honda), and more expensive tickets — seats that cost $10 to $203 last time are now up to $25 to $335.
A few seats are being offered on StubHub for as much as $10,000 each.
Reebok has opened two stores near Wrigley to sell merchandise through Jan. 5. Also, Chicago sports legends — among them the Blackhawks’ Bobby Hull and the Cubs’
Ferguson Jenkins — will be honored, and the Red Wings great Ted Lindsay is expected to drop the ceremonial first puck. And fighter jets will fly over during the national anthems.
This isn’t quaint anymore. The league believes the Classic — a regular-season game played outdoors every New Year’s Day — will be a long-term annual event that separates hockey from other sports; it projects the game as a midseason ritual for its fans to root nationally, not for their local teams. Already, there is demand for future games in Philadelphia, Detroit, Toronto, Montreal and Boston.
Before the league got its rental at Wrigley, which is in the midst of being sold along with the Cubs, unoccupied old Yankee Stadium was seriously considered to be the site.
“This is part of our new business model and gives people a sense of what we can do,” said John Collins, the league’s chief operating officer. “We introduced our Broadband player, we reintroduced NHL.com. We have 53 million fans who love the game, 22 million in the arenas and a $2.6 billion business. But it doesn’t feel as big as it should.”
What happened last season in Orchard Park, N.Y., before 71,217 fans in a football stadium on a hastily built rink, provided the Classic with legitimacy and the league with good will. The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Sabres, 2-1, on Sidney Crosby’s shootout goal. The ice was iffy (several breaks were needed to patch holes), but the snow created a magnificent special effect.
An average of 3.75 million viewers watched on NBC, more than four times what the league’s All-Star Game drew and close to the 4.5 million average for the Stanley Cup finals. The number of viewers who tuned in and were stunned to see regular-season hockey in the snow was not a demographic measured by Nielsen Media.
But the snow did not hurt in a New Year’s Day afternoon time period that it shared with four college bowls and will share Thursday with three (the Outback, the Capital One and the Gator). The Weather.com forecast in Chicago calls for temperatures in the 30s and with a 30 percent chance of afternoon snow showers. And if it doesn’t snow? “We’re not going to have snowmakers at the game,” Collins said. “There won’t be any snow, unless it’s heaven-made.” He added that the cost of staging the game, including a custom-built refrigeration system, “is in the millions, but it’s a moneymaking venture.”
A check of the Chicago Weather …
Forecast from National Weather Service As of 5:52 am CST on December 31, 2008
Today... Mostly clear. Scattered flurries during the predawn hours.
Blustery...colder. Highs in the lower 20s. Wind chills as low as zero to 10 below zero. Northwest winds 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph at times early in the morning decreasing to 10 to 15 mph in the late morning and afternoon.
Tonight... Mostly clear. Lows 13 to 17. Southwest winds 10 to 15 mph.
New Years Day... Partly sunny in the morning then becoming mostly cloudy. Blustery...warmer. Highs in the upper 30s. Southwest winds 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph at times.
MLB Network set to Launch …
The MLB Network is set to launch Jan. 1, and it might seem that a 24-hour channel is aimed at fans who passionately follow the entire league. But as their numbers dwindle, they aren't the viewers president and CEO Tony Petitti is relying on to sustain the network.
The reality of TV sports today is that World Series ratings fluctuate greatly from year to year depending on who's playing. Still, many teams draw large audiences in their home markets. So while the MLB Network is national, Petitti likes to think of it as a conglomeration of regional interests.
"We want to complement the way fans watch their local team," Petitti said during a Dec. 17 tour of the network's studios.
For the first year at least, the network will be more focused on highlights and analysis than live games. It will air only 26 regular-season matchups, but will broadcast an eight-hour highlight show six nights a week. The lengthy time slot will require two shifts of commentators.
Looks like the Cowboys are in Mourning …
Shanahan got fired? ….Forde looks at the post-Elway era…
Since John Elway rode off into the Rocky Mountain sunset after a second consecutive Super Bowl title in early 1999, Denver has been utterly ordinary. It has won a single playoff game in the decade without No. 7 at quarterback.
The post-Elway Broncos have been a blur of fired defensive coordinators, failed free-agent acquisitions, boom-or-bust drafts, spotty special teams, late-season swoons and -- on those occasions when they did make the playoffs -- postseason pratfalls. Shanahan has continually churned the roster without changing the bottom line. The magic is long gone, and it will be up to someone else to recapture it.
Post-Elway, Shanahan seemed to believe he could plug any quarterback into his creative, aggressive offense and it would work at a championship level. He hand-picked Brian Griese for the role, and it didn't work. He hand-picked Jake Plummer for the role, and it didn't work. The current hand-picked quarterback is Jay Cutler -- and so far it hasn't worked.
Here are 2 Documentaries I watched over vacation that I give my seal of approval as strong to quite strong:
Cocaine Cowboys on DVD/Showtime
Dirty Driving on HBO
Tim Tebow demonstrates how Romo should have handled his post game press conference:
Amazing. Halen 88 mourns