Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Taking Down Super Man

February 19 approaches.

If you are the Mavs, what are you going to do?

At the deadline, what direction do you take? And does this last week of excellent basketball affect your decision? And if so, is this great win in Orlando a bad development to the “big picture”?

Mavs impress in Orlando

Is this the same team that was blown out twice on its last road trip?
Does this resemble the group that was victimized by a lack of passion and precision
for most of January?

If there is an "on" button to this edition of Mavericks, it's been pushed. The Mavericks made their strongest statement yet that they can hang with the league's elite, dominating the Orlando Magic on its home floor for a large portion of Monday night.

The 105-95 win at Amway Arena came just two days after a victory in Miami and marks the first time in the last two-and-a-half months that the team has won back-to-back games on the same road trip. The Mavericks have won three games by a total of 49 points in the last six days.

"Right now our guys are finding ways to help each other," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "They're finding reasons to play harder, even when the shots aren't going in. That's a winning formula.

"I'm proud of them, the last three games. The burning question is, 'Can we handle prosperity and can we stay hungry?' "

The Magic, like the Heat before them, had a game the night before on the road. The Mavericks had the advantage of rest.

But this is an Orlando team that entered the evening with an 18-4 record and 11-game winning streak against the Western Conference. It's a team that allowed its previous 23 opponents to average 92.6 points and shoot 42 percent from the field.

The Mavericks didn't beat this team because they got hot from the outside. They beat Orlando because they attacked the basket

Watching that game last night brought back memories of poor sports opinions in my past. I really enjoy this blog as a bit of a confessional for mistakes gone by.

Well, one of my all-time classics was the 2004 NBA Draft. This was the year that the Mavericks took Devin Harris at #5, which looks like the proper pick for sure.

However, my mistake was at the top. Having just attended the 2004 Final Four in San Antonio, I was so impressed with UConn’s Emeka Okafor’s game and everything about him. Just a good man and a big man who could anchor you in the middle for years, right?

Meanwhile, this high school kid, Dwight Howard was the hot name at the top of the draft. I could not fathom a high school kid made more sense than Okafor who had dominated in College Basketball.

Wow. I really had that wrong. In fairness to me, I certainly did not have the benefit of seeing him play (I just couldn’t wrap my arms around him being better than Okafor). But, wrong is wrong.

Dwight Howard’s first 4.5 seasons in pro basketball:

YearAgeGamesPoints PGRebs PG

Table Tutorial

Stats for 4 years most closely resemble: Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Yao Ming

Emeka Okafor’s first 4.5 seasons in pro basketball:

YearAgeGamesPoints PGRebs PG

Table Tutorial

Stats for 4 years most closely resemble: Al Jefferson, Chris Kaman, David West

And Howard is just 23. And he is going to keep getting better. Yikes. Meanwhile, Okafor is what he is.

Rumors on the Bosh front shot down

Chris Bosh couldn't have been more emphatic in shooting down an ESPN report that said he'd already told Raptors president and general manager that he wouldn't re-sign in Toronto when he contract expires in 2010.

"No. No. No, I haven't told him that," Bosh said today after practice.
And just to add another layer of denial, he was asked whether his agent could have made the statement.

"No," he said.

The apparently non-issue arose Sunday when ESPN entertainer Stephen A. Smith boldly stated that the 24-year-old Bosh had told team officials he was leaving in a season and a half, not even citing anonymous sources.

It brought a quick denial today from both Bosh and Colangelo.

"It was a surprise to me and I can't be responsible for what other people say so ...," said Bosh, his voice trailing off in disgust. "I understand people are entitled to an opinion but making stuff up? We can't do that.

"Let's all be fair."

Colangelo also shot down another part of the report that suggested the Raptors might be amenable to trading the four-time all-star.

"There's no truth to the rumour or the speculation that he said anything to us in the organization, that he's going to be leaving," said the general manager. "There's no truth to the fact that he's on the trading block or being shopped in any regard.
"This is just another example of information that's out there that's not true ... There just doesn't seem to a lot of accountability with respect to the topic sometimes and that's why we're here today talking about it."

Bosh is one of a group of highly coveted 2010 free agents, a group that includes LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Speculation has been rife for months about his future, and will continue without doubt.

"It doesn't make me angry, it's like, 'come on, man,'" said Bosh. "I think it's unfair just to be able to say something and we have to be politically correct. It's tough, it's not the first time it's happened and it won't be the lat and I'm not the first person this has happened to. That's the business that we're in."

The great Michael Lombardi on the Cowboys

I just do not get this team. The past month, the Cowboys have talked about commitment and about becoming dedicated, and then we hear that T.O. will have a reality show, with the owner making a guest appearance. Does anyone have a clue? How can this keep happening? I know football is part of the entertainment business, but when you lose sight of the essence of the business, you lose your business. The Cowboys are paid to entertain on the field, not off the field. They have lost their focus on what matters most. It’s one thing to have a player who acts bizarrely and craves attention, but to have others follow him down the road — and encourage him — is wrong.

Football requires attention to detail, and it requires everyone to put away his personal goals for the team. The Cowboys have become poster children for what not to do when building a team. I just do not get it, and I have no hope for them turning this around.

And some numbers to absorb


Most Passing Yards, single game, Super Bowl history:
Super Bowl Yards
STL/ Kurt Warner XXXIV 414
ARI/Kurt Warner XLIII 377
STL/ Kurt Warner XXXVI 365
SF/ Joe Montana XXIII 357
PHI/ Donovan McNabb XXXIX 357

And there’s a debate whether Warner is Hall of Fame-worthy? This should put an end to it.

1. Larry Fitzgerald: 30 receptions, 546 yards, 7 TDs in 2008 playoffs (all NFL postseason records).

2. Cardinals: 11 penalties (third most in Super Bowl history, one shy of the record).

3. LaMarr Woodley: two sacks in four career playoff games; only player in NFL history with at least two sacks in four consecutive playoff games.

4. Both teams combined for 38 rush attempts for 91 rush yards (both fewest in Super Bowl history).

5. Kurt Warner: 377 pass yards (second most in Super Bowl history; he now has the three highest passing-yard totals in Super Bowl history).

6. Warner’s 112.3 passer rating is the second highest by a Super Bowl-losing QB (minimum 10 pass attempts; Jake Delhomme has the highest, 113.6).

7. Ben Roethlisberger: 8-2 career record as playoff starter (eight playoff wins are second most by a QB in first five seasons, trailing only Tom Brady’s nine); joins Tom Brady (three) and Troy Aikman (two) as only QBs to win two-plus Super Bowls in first five seasons.

Odds to win Super Bowl XLIV, courtesy of Bodoglife.com

New England Patriots 8/1
Dallas Cowboys 9/1
New York Giants 10/1
Pittsburgh Steelers 10/1
Indianapolis Colts 12/1
San Diego Chargers 12/1
Baltimore Ravens 14/1
Tennessee Titans 16/1
Carolina Panthers 18/1
Philadelphia Eagles 18/1
New Orleans Saints 20/1
Atlanta Falcons 25/1
Denver Broncos 25/1
Green Bay Packers 25/1
Jacksonville Jaguars 25/1
Minnesota Vikings 25/1
New York Jets 25/1
Arizona Cardinals 30/1

Follow the Bob Hayes sister story

Dallasbasketball.com’s expose on the whole thing

Hockey tonight: Calgary, fresh off a Monday night loss in Denver, is here. The Flames are having a great year, and the Stars need to get 2 points to keep the roll going…

Check out what I wrote on the Dallas Stars Blog Sunday Morning. I don’t get everything wrong, eh?

But, this wasn't easy, was it? The Stars were up 2-0 in the first when we had a unique hockey moment. I say unique because most sports don't have the end to end moments like around 10:00 mark of the 1st period, where the game was won, in my estimation. Kristian Huselius skated in from Turco's left and found old Dallas guy Manny Malhotra with an open net. Luckily for the Stars, Malhotra had such an open net that he hit the pipe in a bang-bang moment...seconds later, Brian Sutherby scored his first goal in a Dallas Stars sweater, and instead of a 2-1 margin, it was 3-0.

The only sports moment that I could compare from outside of hockey is the QB who is at his opponents 2 yard line and throws the 100 yard interception for a touchdown. The proverbial 14 point swing in football is the 2 goal swing we had in seconds on Saturday night.

How do you like these sweaters the Canadians wore Sunday?

Stat of the day from James Mirtle:

Since the lockout, Alex Ovechkin has recorded 405 more shots than any other player in the NHL. He has averaged 5.40 shots per game over that span, significantly more than second place Olli Jokinen (4.04 per game).

Ovechkin is 344th in all-time shots on goal, and at his current pace will reach Ray Bourque in the No. 1 spot after 1,149 games played. If he doesn't miss a game, he can do it 10 seasons from now, at age 33.

At his current pace, he will enter the top 10 in another 6.5 seasons.

Jack Edwards is still a homer

Finger Skilz


Andy D. said...

Great.. Another Cowboy optimistic prediction...

With no offseason moves to fix what is wrong (so far), with the same cast of characters coming back (except Pacman but that guy sucks anyway, so who cares about that) with the same coaching staff... 9-1 odds?? why

I love the Cowboys, but the Lombardi column is dead on. Jerry can't worry about what luxury seats are going where AND know who we should select in the first round of the draft too. That doesn't work. It never will. We need a director of football operations to handle football. Jerry, I love you, but you are out of excuses and wrong. Your way as an owner and a hands on all facets of everything has failed.

Jamie said...

I giggled when I saw the Toronto Star call Stephen A. Smith an "entertainer" instead of a journalist or reporter or anything related to the media.