Thursday, June 29, 2006

stick a fork in them...

...the Rangers are done. Suspect pitching, NO timely hitting, complete and total inability to manufacture runs, no speed on the bases; need I go on? Only in the AL West is a team the caliber of the Rangers able to sniff first place, though they have now fallen into 3rd place in the West, 2.5 games behind the A's. Is it just me or does it seem more like 12.5 games? At one game over .500, I'm not sure the Rangers are even that good. Michael Young and Gary Matthews Jr. are the only consistent players on this team. Mark DeRosa and Gerald Laird have also performed well but are still unproven. Teixeira is in a 0-15 slump, Blalock is feast or famine, same with Mench. And don’t get me started on Brad Wilkerson! That could be Alfonso Soriano if Tom Hicks could find a way to open up his purse strings just a tad.

It's gut-check time for Texas. They come home for a long home stand starting against the Astros who come in on a 3-game losing streak. The Rangers, currently on a 5-game skid themselves, need a weekend sweep of the Astros. Game 1 is Padilla vs. Oswalt, win that and the next two Astro starters (Rodriguez and Buchholz) should be easy pickings if the Rangers can find their hitting stroke at home. Lose Friday night and things could be spiraling out of control quicker than Kenny Rogers on a cameraman.

NBA draft comments:
• That may have been one of the weakest draft classes in recent memory.

• Dan Patrick was good, Stephen A. Smith gets on my nerves and Jay Bilas just wants face time.

• The Mavs found a good player with the 28th pick, selecting Maurice Ager out of Michigan State. He averaged 19+ points last year as a senior. There's talk that Marquis Daniels may be on his way out of Dallas. I hope that's not the case, how can you not like a guy with the nickname Quisy?

• I think Portland traded their whole team last night for a bunch of rookies... I may be exaggerating a bit, but they were involved in FOUR separate trades! Can you say, "Who's on first" as it will take until 2007 for their fans to figure out whom they have on the court.

• With the 20th pick, the NY Knicks took Renaldo Balkman in yesterday's NBA draft. Who? A 6-6 power forward out of South Carolina? Do they play bball there? This guy may have gone undrafted and the Knicks take him at No. 20?!? With all the bad PR lately with the whole Larry Brown exodus and Isaiah basically getting an ultimatum to win now or your gone, the Knicks needed to draft a top name, someone they could get some good pub from and who might actually have an NBA future. No such luck. Prediction: Isaiah Thomas is fired before Christmas.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

nobody asked me but...

The Rangers got jobbed tonight. For the second time in the last week, Teixeira had a game-winning (potentially) hit taken away from him by a bad foul ball call. The homer a week ago over the foul pole was a difficult call without seeing it on replay, but tonight's shot down the right field line actually drew chalk. It would have been a bases-loaded double for Mark that would have cleared the bases with the runners getting a good jump with two outs.

No one in the Giants starting lineup tonight came into the game batting over .300. Only one was higher than .275 and that was the back up catcher, hitting .286, though he but only has 49 ABs this year. This begs the question how the Giants torched Millwood and co. for 14 hits in eight innings?!?

• A troublesome stat for the Rangers; Kevin Mench has hit only 1 HR since May 9th.

Even more mind-boggling, Brad Wilkerson hasn't had a 2-out hit with RISP all year! That's 67 games with nothing, none, notta, nil with RISP and two outs! Freakin incredible! Oh by the way, he still leads the majors in strikeouts.

More on the Adam Eaton front, he'll be ready in a month... right before the trade deadline.

Roger Clemens is now 0-2 in 2 starts with the Astros who have yet to provide him any run support and continue to sink in the NL Central... good pick there Rocket, playing for a loser. Makes it pretty obvious it's all for the money.

Cowboys training camp starts in exactly one month... about the same time the Rangers will be completely out of the AL West race if they don't turn things around very soon.

Teixeira pleading his case

video of the day

Now this is how you get thrown out of a ball game... classic. The play in question involved Koby Clemens (yeah Rocket's son) stealing second base. I bet Koby thought only his dad could pull off a rampage like that.

Monday, June 26, 2006

random musings...

• Wouldn't it be nice to have Adam Eaton in the Rangers rotation right about now? Or maybe Kenny Rogers? Or what about that Chris Young guy? Instead we have John Koronka, John Rheinecker, an injured Kameron Loe and a bag... hmm, maybe that's redundant.

• The Rangers hope to get Adam Eaton back soon after the all-star break... they also hope to still be in the AL West race when that happens.

Pudge is still the best catcher in the majors. You just don't run on this guy and he can flat out hit the ball to all fields.

• Big Papi = Clutch

• The most over-used quote these day - "It is what it is" ... how profound.

• 65 teams is plenty for the NCAA Bball tourney. Diluting the field by doubling it basically renders the regular season moot. If it's not broke, dont fix it.

• Until someone has some proof, not accusations, not hearsay, but real proof that Lance Armstrong doped, please just shut up! Stop with the unproven and uncorroborated allegations. He's the greatest cyclist ever, period.

riles busts a move

Can Cubes compete with this?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

rangers suffer altitude sickness

Ok, well maybe not literally, but anytime you're offense gets shut out in Colorado, you're not going to be feeling very good about it. Vicente Padilla had a good outing wasted by the Rangers inability to score. The Rangers flat out CANNOT manufacture runs. Buck doesn't coach that way but he doesn't have the offense he had the last couple of years. Gone are Dulluci and Soriano, replaced by Wilkerson and the rookie Kinsler. Kinsler's a good player, but he's not going to hit 40 homers like Soriano or steal any bases. The Rangers are 6-16 in games where they don't hit a home run and just 8-14 in one run games. Those two stats prove how much the Rangers need to learn how to play small ball, and if they don't, August will just be when the Cowboys start training camp.

rangers need a cleanup

The Rangers tweaked the lineup some last night in what I'm guessing is a move to jump-start Hank Blalock's slumping bat. Showalter moved Mark DeRosa up to the two spot, dropping Blalock back to the 5 hole. Blalock is hitting .342 when batting 5th but just .238 in the cleanup spot. Blalock has been batting 4th since Nevin left town in May hasn't really produced much in the span. The Rangers problem is they don’t really have a cleanup hitter. Teixeira isn't hitting for power much this year (though he's now homered in back to back games since moving to the 4 spot) and Blalock for some reason isn't the same hitter batting in the cleanup spot. DeRosa has the highest OBP on the team (.396), which makes him a good fit batting higher in the lineup, and should give Young, Teixeira and Blalock more RBI opportunities. Unfortunately tonight no one took advantage of those opportunities as the Rangers left 20 men on base, converting 14 hits and one walk into just 6 runs in a 11-6 loss to Colorado. Apparently spotting the Rockies a 6 run lead in the 1st isn’t the best way to start things off. The Rangers look to take the series tomorrow with Vincente Padilla on the mound against Byung-Hyun Kim.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

about last night...

After missing nearly 3 weeks, Albert Pujols homered in his second game back, hitting number 26 on the year... ah, if not for a strained oblique muscle, what could have been? Pujols could still easily get to 60, but 70+ seems out of reach even for him.

The Rangers are a 1/2 game behind the A's in the West after beating the Rockies 8-6 at Coors Field last night thanks to back to back jacks by Teixeira and Blalock in the top of the 7th.

The amazing Mets have a commanding 11 game lead in the NL East and the second best record in the majors behind the Detroit Tigers... hard to believe, I know, but the Tigers are best team in baseball right now. Wouldn't it be nice to have this guy in the Rangers rotation right now?

Teixeira goes yard against the Rockies

Thursday, June 22, 2006

nobody asked me but...

• How does the US lose to Ghana in anything?

• The Rangers finally beat the Padres today to avoid getting swept at home after giving away last night's game in the top of the 9th.

• Name the only team over .500 in MLB that has a losing record at home... Your. Texas. Rangers. (20-21) In the AL, only the Royals and Angels have worse home records. (Correction... the Padres, above .500, also have a losing record at home after dropping their last home game.)

• Roger Clemens isn't coming back out of retirement, he's coming back after a longer than usual vacation. He's with the same team with the same "special" Clemens rules... Must have been too hard to turn down $22M, even if it's prorated over 3 1/2 months. He took the loss in his first start back tonight. (Have I mentioned I'm not a big fan?!)

• None of the Stars brought home any hardware from tonight's award ceremony. Sergei Zubov losing out on the Norris Trophy to Nicklas Lidstrom was pretty legit, but Jere Lehtinen should have won the Selke Trophy as the top defensive forward instead of Rod Brind'Amour.

• Anaheim is "Mighty" no more; they are just simply The Ducks... I liked them better before.

• TMS is offering 500 free tickets to Mavs fans to see the November NASCAR race, check it out here. An interesting note is that TMS says they are helping to "fulfill Mark Cuban's promise of 500 free tickets", though Cuban had planned to give away 500 PAIRS of tickets where TMS is giving out 250 pairs. Guess Eddie Gossage isn't quite as generous.

ozzie guillen... a racist, pompous jerk

So I was going to blog about Ozzie Guillen last week when the White Sox were in town against the Rangers, got lazy and decided against it; but after his latest incident, I can no longer hold my tongue, especially after recently being accused by some of only blogging about baseketball. If you follow the Rangers at all you'll remember during last Wednesday's 8-0 win over the Chisox that Guillen ordered his pitcher to throw at Hank Blalock.

To set the table some, Rangers pitcher Vincent Padilla hat hit AJ Pierzynski twice early in the game, once in the 2nd and once in the 4th before striking him out in the 6th. After Pierzynski was hit in the 4th, home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi to issue warnings to both benches. Fast forward now to the bottom of the 7th, the Rangers are up 6-nil and Guillen brings in rookie pitcher Sean Tracey. Guillen orders Tracey to pluck Hank Blalock, the first batter of the inning, who had drilled a deep homer back in the second. Tracey throws the first two pitches way inside with Hank scrambling to get out of the way so as to not get hit. On the third pitch, Hank fists another inside pitch weakly to second for an out. Guillen is then seen slamming a water bottle to the ground, he promptly removes Tracey from the game (for Agustin Montero) and berates him all up and down the dugout for not being able to hit Blalock.

Maybe it's just me, but that's wrong on every level. Not only should a manager never order a pitcher to throw at someone, you don't yell at him then in the dugout after you take him out. Coincidentally, Tracey was sent to the minors the next day. Ozzie's take, "I tried to get Montero ready (to face Blalock) and wasn't able to. It was a little late," Guillen, explained. "It was my mistake. I didn't get him up quick enough. I didn't want Tracey in that situation." So not only is Guillen an unethical, he's a liar as well... that or he meant he really wanted Montero to hit Blalock, which I doubt is the case.

Now this week Guillen called local Chicago Sun-Times writer and ESPN Around The Horn regular Jay Mariotti a fag, insinuating that he is gay. Here's the quote: "What a piece of shit he is, f-ing fag." Guillen's dislike for Mariotti is well known as Mariotti is often critical of the White Sox in his columns, most recently regarding the Sean Tracey incident, but there's no excuse for derogitory remarks such as those made by Guillen. He deserves to be suspended by MLB, and not just a one or two game thing, it needs to be 10 games minimum.

Guillen defended his use of the term "fag" by saying this about homosexuals and the use of the word in question: "I don't have anything against those people. In my country, you call someone something like that and it is not the same as it is in this country." Guillen said that in his native Venezuela, that word is not a reference to a person's sexuality, but to his courage. He said he was saying that Mariotti is "not man enough to meet me and talk about [things before writing]." Guillen also stated that he has gay friends, attends WNBA games, went to a Madonna concert and plans to go to the Gay Games in Chicago. "I called that of this man [Mariotti],'' Guillen said. "I'm not trying to hurt anybody [else]."

Based on Guillen's past, I'm not buying his bogus excuse. And even if there was a shred of truth to his explanation, Guillen should know better. He's the manager of the defending World Series Champions and as such he needs to set an example. Guillen is a pompous prick. He seems to think he's better than everyone else because he's won a World Series and should be above criticism. Sorry but that's not the case Ozzie. You weren't that good as a player and as of now, you're no better as a manager.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

fuck the heat

Yeah, that's right, FUCK the Miami Heat! Fuck Pat Riley, fuck Dwayne Wade, fuck David Stern, fuck Stu Jackson and fuck the dumb ass incompetent officials of Games 5 & 6. I'm not one who normally drops F-bombs left and right; it’s just not my style. Maybe I've been reading Cuban's blog too much, I dunno, but seriously, what other word is there to sum up the travesty that took place the last two games of the Mavs/Heat series? So now that I've f-in got that out of my system, I'll try to be objective about what the NBA called the Finals.

I wrote after Game 5 that I expected the Mavs to get some home cooking in Game 6... I mean why wouldn't they? They were playing at home; every call went against them in Miami, especially in Game 5 where the game was handed on a silver platter to the Heat. The home team gets the calls they always say. Obviously Stern team of Dan Crawford, Eddie Rush and Steve Javie didn't get the memo. Maybe they got off the plane at DFW, felt the humidity and assumed they were in South Beach? Whatever the case, how does Dwayne Wade, just like in Game 5 in Miami, shoot as many FTs as the WHOLE MAVS TEAM? Ok, he was two short, but seriously, he's playing ON THE ROAD! Dallas was the home team last time I checked. The floor had the Mavs logo on it, yet Wade still got every call. I'm watching the game last night from a local sports bar down on lower Greenville, maybe not the most objective audience, but I almost spewed my drink across the bar when Wade got his second phantom call of the game mid-way through the second quarter. Marquis Daniels was nowhere close to Wade as he pulled up for a jumper just inside the free throw line. There was so much room you could have fit Shaq in between the two! Shaq was riding pine at the time, but that's how far off Quisy was, yet he still got whistled for a hack. I looked at the crew I was there with and we all had the same look... WTF? I couldn’t watch any of the post-game. I didn’t want to see the smirk on Shaq’s face, not to mention the ear-to-ear grin David Stern must have had. We did a shot and hit on some girls that seemed more upset over the game than we were which didn’t seem possible.

It's safe to say the Mavs didn't play their best basketball when it was needed in crunch time since they left the AAC after Game 2. That being said though, I'm not sure it would have mattered. You couldn't get within 2 feet of Wade without there being a foul called, no contact was required. The wide-open NBA game that Stern had professed was the future of the NBA was nowhere to be found in the Finals. It was the ugly, thug-it-up, Eastern Conference style that Riley likes to play. It was painful to watch, nothing like the series' against the Suns and Spurs. Even with all that though, the Mavs had their chances. I remember saying to myself as the Mavs choked away a 9 point lead with 2 minutes left in Game 1 vs. the Spurs, you can't do that against good teams. You do that in the Finals and you'll lose. Then they did it again against the Suns and I said, you can't do that if you make the Finals. Sure enough, they did it in Game 3, gave up a 13 point 4th quarter lead with 6 minutes left. It didn't seem as big at the time as the Mavs still seemed to be playing better ball, but it was huge. It let Miami back into a series they should have been all but out of. Put Game 3 away and you break the Heat's spirit and the series never makes it backs to Dallas. The Mavs had their chances but what I'll remember most from this series is how ridiculously bad the games were watch and even more so, how bad they were officiated.

It's time to move on though. The Rangers haven't totally collapsed yet and the Cowboys are only a month away from starting practice. Sometimes you just have to say, what the fuck.

(Update: For video evidence to back up the phantom fouls on Wade, click here.)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

more good stuff from Cuban

Cuban seems to have all answers - Published June 20, 2006, Florida Sun-Sentinel

Dallas owner Mark Cuban dressed in the jersey of suspended Maverick Jerry Stackhouse at Game 5 of the NBA Finals. He yelled at referees on the court after it.

He criticized officiating and media into the night. Then he went to the computer, where this running e-mail conversation, sort of, was held with South Florida Sun-Sentinel columnist Dave Hyde through Monday afternoon.

Hyde, 2:10 a.m.: "Mark, I [along with every other reporter] have talked with you this series. I was wondering, now that the initial emotion has passed, what are your thoughts are on the end of the game about the loss and the officiating?"

Cuban, 2:24 a.m.: "I'm thrilled to death with how it all turned out and thought the officiating was a nonfactor. My only problem is with reporters and columnists who can't ask an original question or one with any depth. How did you expect me to respond to this e-mail?"

Hyde, 8:44 a.m.: "Your team made its first 18 free throws. Then, with the game on the line, it made three of seven. Regardless of anything else that happened, isn't that the primary reason you lost?"

Cuban, 9:12 a.m.: "You had all night to ask, and that's the best you can do?"

Hyde, same e-mail: "Final question: Do you see a referee blowing a whistle on the grassy knoll?"

Cuban: "Do you see your profs from school rolling their eyes because you once had promise to write something of consequence and this is the path you have taken?"

Hyde, 12:41 p.m.: "Mark, thanks for noticing the progress of my career path. Speaking of great journalists [and realizing this is off our basketball conversation], there's a report you have made an offer to Dan Rather for your HDTV network. What gives?"

Cuban, 12:59 p.m.: "What gives? Doing what no one in corporate media is able to do. Report to uncover news rather than to hit an earnings number."

Hyde, 1:14 p.m.: "Mark, regarding your postgame comments about Wade's `backcourt violation.' In 2000, the NBA enacted a rule allowing teams to inbound the ball from midcourt into the backcourt. Rule 4-VI-g states, `Frontcourt/backcourt status is not attained until a player with the ball has established a positive position in either [court] half.' Given this, do you re-think your position that it was a bad call?"

Cuban, 1:19 p.m.: "The positive position is defined by where he left the court from when he catches the ball. He can catch the ball in frontcourt or backcourt. Wherever he has positive position, the throw-in ends when he catches the ball and normal rules apply. There is confusion by some in the league office because nowhere in the rule book is `positive position' defined in the rulebook. You have to look where they define jump balls to see how it is defined. And applied. My position stands. It was a backcourt yesterday and will be tomorrow, or until they change the rules to say otherwise."

cubes interviewed hanson style

Dale Hanson one on one with Mark Cuban, see it here.

Monday, June 19, 2006

dirk blows, refs blow more

Great video of Cuban answering questions after Game 5 here.

Its hard to blame a game on the officiating, especially with the free throw opportunites that the Mavs had late but missed. But something has to be said about the officiating in Game 5 and throughout much of the Finals. How does the official the furthest away (Bennett Salvatore at half freakin court) call a foul on Dirk when both officials that were closer to the play thought it was a non-call? Replay indicate no foul was made, though there did appear to be an obvious push off by Wade on Terry during his drive that went uncalled. Neither was an apparant back-court violation by Wade which happened right in front of Salvatore. What a horrible game changing missed called that could turn out to be. Hmm, a trend is developing. How does Dwayne Wade shoot more FT attempts than the whole Mavs team? Wade set a Finals record in FT attempts! The Game 5 officiating could go down as the worst ever in a NBA Finals game. But that's history now. It's time for the Mavs to get some home cooking, as in favorable calls. If that doesn't happen in Game 6 then I'm calling bullshit on Stern, Jackson and the whole f-in NBA.

Wade getting the "phantom" call

Sunday, June 18, 2006

more support that stack got hosed...

It's not just the Dallas media saying that the Mavs and Stackhouse got hosed by the NBA...

Stackhouse suspension unfairly punishes Mavericks - Dave Krieger, Rocky Mountain News

Stackhouse suspension clearly an overreaction - John Jackson, Chicago Sun-Times

Mavs right to cry foul on this one
Kevin Blackistone, DMN - June 17, 2006

MIAMI – You would think a guy who coached Charles Oakley for two seasons knows the difference between a hard foul and a dirty foul. But NBA disciplinarian Stu Jackson does not.

Friday afternoon Jackson kicked Jerry Stackhouse out of what on Sunday already threatened to be the most pivotal contest in these NBA Finals because of the foul Stackhouse handed Shaquille O'Neal in the Heat's singeing of the Mavericks on Thursday in Game 4.

This is one time Mark Cuban will be absolutely correct in screaming bloody murder about an officiating decision concerning his team.

After all, the veteran referees, including the highly respected Dick Bavetta, who called Thursday's game and couldn't help but miss Stackhouse leveling Shaq on a two-on-one fast break, tagged Stackhouse with a flagrant foul but did not feel compelled to toss him from the floor. Shaq, 7-1 and threehundredsomething pounds, dismissed the collision after the game, comparing it to being tackled by his daughters.

Pat Riley did compare it to James Posey's rundown of Chicago's Kirk Hinrich, which drew a one-game suspension for Posey during the Heat's first-round series. But there appeared no intent from Posey in that incident other than to knock Hinrich silly.

The only thing excessive about the Stackhouse incident is the penalty imposed by Jackson.

Now these NBA Finals, which just started living up to the promise from what has been an absolutely spectacular postseason, are marred, or at least Game 5 will be. Put an asterisk next to this one.

In hindsight, maybe Stackhouse shouldn't have raced back to try and stop Shaq. Maybe it was just one of many mental meltdowns for the Mavericks on Thursday night, like the Josh Howard turnover that led to the event. The Mavericks were down 17 then, but it was just midway through the third quarter.

All Stackhouse was doing was trying to thwart an easy basket, which is what you're supposed to do at this time in the season. Had he been in a Heat uniform, you can bet Riley would've applauded his attention to detail and Cuban would've sounded Riley's charge. That's the way it goes.

But now Stackhouse won't be around for Game 5 because one guy overruled the officials and decided Stackhouse's foul was over the top.

This isn't Jason Terry being tossed during the San Antonio series. The rules are clear on that one. Throw a punch, no matter how weak, and you get a game off.

This isn't DJ Mbenga getting a six-game suspension for checking on the well-being of Mrs. Avery Johnson, Cassandra, in the Phoenix stands. The rules are clear on that one, too. Any player who goes into the stands will be suspended.

The decision on Stackhouse was subjective, unnecessarily so.

It isn't like Stackhouse has, as NBA czar David Stern said once of Ron Artest, some previous pernicious history. He has a reputation in this league as a scorer, a selfish scorer, which he's proven in Dallas, by the way, to be untrue. He has a reputation as a tough player, a fearless one. He did unfortunately fracture Joe Johnson's face on a great block last season.

But Stackhouse as a ruffian? No.

This is one instance where the NBA would do itself well to borrow a page from FIFA, the folks who sanction the World Cup and issue yellow cards for excessive contact. Two and you're gone.

The NBA has a point system for flagrant fouls. A flagrant 1, which is what the referees gave Stackhouse, is worth one point. A flagrant 2, which is what Jackson upgraded the foul to, is worth two points. A player who tallies at least three points is automatically suspended, kind of like a soccer player who gets a second yellow card.

Guess who is walking that thin line right now? Dirk Nowitzki. He has two points. Who said Dirk is soft? One more and he'll have to sit. Obviously, the Mavericks can't afford that.

But they can't afford losing Stackhouse, either, their only punch (oops, poor choice of words here) off the bench. He's been as valuable to this team as anyone.

This could work out in an odd way. The Mavericks could respond like an aggrieved group, rallying around the hole in their lineup and playing out of their heads. They weren't, however, able to do that when Terry got tossed.

This could get them hopping mad by the time Stackhouse comes back in Dallas. But by then, it could be too late.

If it looked in the last five quarters like it is getting easier for the Heat, it just got that much easier. The Mavericks got robbed.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

stack/shaq video

View replays of the foul on Shaq below... still blows my mind that the NBA suspended Stack for this.

Friday, June 16, 2006

stu jackson, what a dumbass

If this doesn't resonate of the NBA’s top brass dislike of Mavs owner Cuban, I don’t know what does. Stackhouse fouls an off-balance 300+ pound Shaq, knocking him to the ground and that deserves a suspension? Three seasoned officials saw it live and called it a Flagrant 1, I'm betting they've seen more hard fouls than Stu Jackson and David Stern combined. An absolute horrible call by the NBA during a finals series. I’m sure Stern is grinning ear-to-ear right about now. The Mavs need to stop getting bullied around the court and start throwing those elbows themselves... are you listening Dirk?

Anyone got an email for Stu Jackson or David Stern? Someone needs to call bullshit on this one.

avery's not a happy camper

Mav's coach Avery Johnson on ESPN Radio speaking about Jerry Stackhouse's suspension and the NBA front office, listen to it here.

Click here to send an email to the NBA league office and tell them how rediculous Stack's suspension is.

Mavs in 6

did cuban jinxed the mavs?

Buy a clue, Cuban
Dan Wetzel - Yahoo Sports, June 16, 2006

He sat there on David Letterman's show with a cocksure grin and a smack-talking mouth in a guest appearance whose bad timing was exceeded only by its imbecilic arrogance.

What in the world (other than his Texas-sized ego) possessed Mark Cuban to go on national TV Wednesday and yuk it up like the NBA Finals were in the bag? What was Cuban thinking when he decided to take a pot shot at Miami Heat coach Pat Riley, criticizing his style of play as being ugly and overly physical?

Well guess what, the NBA Finals just turned into just that kind of Riley-perfect series – a physical slugfest.

It's a style that doesn't suit a Dallas Mavericks franchise that will have questions about toughness (physical and mental) until it either wins a title or has Cuban stop pampering them with opulent locker rooms, easy excuses and a home-court environment long on one slapstick silly gag after another.

The Heat didn't just outplay Dallas in their 98-74 victory on Thursday. They pushed the Mavericks around and out-toughed them to take a series that once looked over at 2-0 to a 2-2 tie heading into Sunday's critical Game 5 back at AmericaAirlines Arena.

"It's just really disappointing when the other team is pushing and we're not pushing back hard enough," lamented Mavs coach Avery Johnson.

You can't win the NBA title without being tough, and right now, that same old question is still hanging, unanswered, over Dallas. The Mavericks have the better team here, but that may not be enough if they are going to just wilt in the South Florida humidity.

Cuban may famously prefer a free-wheeling, wide-open game and goofy circus acts to entertain the fans, but you don't win championships by being prettier and friendlier than everyone else.

"I think when you get to this time," said Riley, who was heart-attack serious as usual, "it becomes as much about will as it is execution."

Will and toughness were the shortcomings that Johnson was supposed to solve, and in leading Dallas to the Finals, it appeared he had. But who knows now? The Mavericks haven't shown the ability to get nasty after getting popped in the chops – the way championship teams do – since a late Game 3 rally by Miami floored them.

"In New York, they call it Rucker Park," Johnson said. "Where I'm from [in New Orleans], it's called Lyman Park, playground basketball. And a lot of times, that's what it is because you can't expect anybody to bail you out.

"I've tried to get a team that really [doesn't] complain; [they] just play," Johnson said. "But when we're complaining and we're not playing, we're not going to get it done."

There is no doubt Johnson is wondering about his team's fortitude. "It's hard for me to watch some of this stuff," said Johnson, who as a player would never have backed down.

Other than Jerry Stackhouse, whose flagrant foul on Shaquille O'Neal spoke of a player who wasn't going to go down easy, there wasn't any spark. (Predictably, Shaq was not going to give Stack any satisfaction – "My daughters tackle me harder," he said.)

In an increasingly physical game, Dallas scored just seven points in the fourth quarter and watched its star Dirk Nowitzki hit just two of 14 shots and complain to the officials after nearly every miss.

"[Udonis] Haslem is roughing him up," said Johnson, who wasn't complaining, just stating fact. "[James] Posey is playing physical. They are putting a blanket on him and he's going to have to get that blanket off of him.

"You know," Johnson sighed, "we've had certain demonstrations on how to do it. Now it's just a matter of will power."

And this has been the question with the Mavericks. Cuban is a colorful personality and often a breath of fresh air among all those stodgy owners, but he also coddles the players, offers constant complaints about officiating that serve as easy excuses and can overstep his boundaries.

It would be dumb for a player, in the middle of the Finals, to go on a late-night TV talk show and rile the opponent. It would be downright stupid for a coach to do it? But the owner? The stinkin' owner? A guy who doesn't even play? It's inexplicable.

Everyone wants to watch Cuban have a good time, but winning a championship takes discipline and focus, not appearances on "The Late Show," the leaking of championship parade dates to the local newspapers and juvenile blog entries.

He should be either smart enough – or, since he's rich enough, hire someone smart enough – to stop inserting himself in the middle of a title chase and stop setting the less-than-serious tone, especially when he is trashing the exact style of play that has his team on its heels.

Dallas is playing right into the hands of Pat Riley, whose Heat will keep slugging until someone other than Stackhouse slugs back harder than a Hasselhoff.

Because no matter what Cuban thinks of Pat Riley's style of basketball, Miami's coach has four rings that not even Cuban may be able to buy.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

shut up and play, miami

Why is there always drama surrounding Wade when facing a big game? Sick for Game 6 last year vs the Pistons, sick again in Game 6 this year, not 100% supposedly in Games 1 & 2 and now a "knee injury" that allegedly made it difficult for him to get out of bed yesterday. The more the Heat make of Wade's issues, the more it looks like they are just planting an early excuse for when they lose. Suck it up, play the game and don’t talk about it. As they say, are you hurt or injured, if you're injured, sit the bench and heal, if you're just hurt, shut up and play.

The Mavs win tonight, no choke this time and no question about it. Mark it down, write it in pen... good thing Wade and the Heat already have their excuse.

Mavs in 6!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

dirk and jet jammin

dirk, jet and diop? getting ready for the heat ;)

Monday, June 12, 2006

can the mavs sweep?

Just two of the 27 teams that have fallen behind two games to none in the NBA Finals have rallied to win: Boston in 1969 and Portland in 1977. That doesn't bode well for the Heat.

Up until last night, there had only been 6 4-point plays in all of the NBA Finals history. Last night the Mavs had 2 4-point plays. What are the odds?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

why i hate the heat

1) jason williams is a thug, always has been
2) shaq gets away with an offensive foul on every possesion
3) antoine walker has never understood the concept of being a "team player"
4) dwayne wade needs to learn how to spell duane
5) gary payton is a trash talker who can no longer back it up
6) udonis haslem has serious hair and jumpshot issues

Six reasons this series goes 6 games with the Mavs winning 4-2.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

game 2 strategy

Because of the NBA Finals' 2-3-2 format, Game 2 is a must for the Miami Heat
Steve Kerr - Yahoo Sports, June 10, 2006

If they fall down 2-0 to the Dallas Mavericks, they would realistically have to win all three home games in Miami to put themselves in good position to win the series. Only Detroit in 2004 has won all three middle games at home since this format was adopted. It's a difficult task, particularly when you have to win all three.

I've always felt the team with home-court advantage has one thought going into the Finals: Somehow get to Game 6 with a 3-2 lead, and then take your chances with two cracks at the title in your own gym. The Mavericks would be in great shape to be in that position by winning Game 2.

Breaking down Sunday's game is a matter of perspective. If you're a Dallas fan and a "glass is half full" type, you're ecstatic. Your team is up 1-0 despite the fact that your best players – Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard – combined for just 26 points on 7-for-28 shooting. Each struggled with his shot, perhaps because of some Finals jitters or maybe because Miami's defense was strong. Regardless, it is difficult to see those two coming up empty again in Game 2, and if they break out, Dallas could really be in business.

On the other hand, if your glass is half empty, you might be a little worried. Howard's shot was off all night, and you wonder if he'll get it back any time soon. He's not a natural shooter – more of a "made" one – and his rut might last a while. Howard needs to get to the rim and create some easy looks for himself, but every time he tried to do that in Game 1, Shaquille O'Neal was there to alter the shot.

Nowitzki drained a couple of big threes in the second half but otherwise wasn't himself. Did Udonis Haslem do that good of a job on him, or did Dirk just settle for jumpers? Was Nowitzki reluctant to attack the rim because of O'Neal's presence? If Haslem and O'Neal can continue to bother Dirk into poor shooting nights, and Howard remains off the mark, the Mavericks could be in some trouble.

From Miami's point of view, Sunday's game is about getting contributions from its peripheral players. The Heat reserves scored just two points in Game 1 and were thoroughly outplayed by their Dallas counterparts. Antoine Walker made just three of nine three-pointers and Gary Payton missed all three of his attempts as Miami shot 5-of-20 overall from beyond the arc. With O'Neal facing plenty of double teams, the Heat have to make open shots from long range in order to win.

On the bright side for Miami, its defense was solid. The Heat held Dallas to just 44-percent shooting and 90 points – 12 under their playoff average. Obviously, they'll need to do a better job on Jason Terry, but there was a reason he was open all night in the opener.

Miami rotated help onto Nowitzki all night, and Terry was free to roam to open areas. The Heat didn't count on him going 13-for-18 from the field, particularly since he has struggled with his shot for much of the playoffs. But he's a clutch shooter, unafraid of the big moment, and if he's hot it puts Miami into a quandary. To help on Dirk or not to help? That is the question.

That said, Game 2 is a critical one for the Heat. A loss would put them in a 2-0 bind, but a victory gives them huge momentum going into Tuesday's Game 3 in Miami. The series very well may hinge on the outcome Sunday.


Game 2 should bring out the best in strategizing
By John Hollinger - ESPN Insider

The first game of any playoff series tends to be pure vanilla, with teams trotting out their basic alignments and spending much of the game feeling each other out. That was certainly the case Thursday. Sure, there were a few wrinkles -- such as Miami's use of a zone for stretches -- but, by and large, Game 1 held little intrigue in terms of strategy.

Fear not, however, for things will change soon. With two off days in which to dissect more film and plot new strategies, both coaches could come back with much different strategies that shift the tide of the series on Sunday.

Certainly, that's been the case for Dallas throughout the postseason. The Mavericks lost the opening game in each of their past two series, only to come back in Game 2 with revamped lineups that ultimately led them to victory. Against San Antonio, it was Avery Johnson's daring switch to Devin Harris in the backcourt that helped the Mavs outpace and ultimately vanquish the defending champion Spurs. In the Phoenix series, Johnson inserted DeSagana Diop after he took a DNP in the opener, and he proved to be a defensive difference maker the rest of the series.

However, our eyes should be equally focused on Pat Riley. In general, it's the losing coach who has the most incentive to upset the apple cart, because he's the one whose Plan A didn't work. If that's the case here, the Heat coach should have several changes to introduce when he tries to even the series on Sunday. While Riley's team isn't as deep or flexible as Johnson's, giving him fewer options in this area, he still has several options to choose from.

Here's the fun part: trying to figure out what adjustments each side will make heading into Game 2. While any number of arrangements are possible, a few can safely be eliminated. For instance, I doubt Michael Doleac will replace Jason Williams at point guard, and I can pretty much rule out Dallas' using Darrell Armstrong to guard Shaq.

Beyond the ridiculous, however, everything is on the table. Based on what happened in the opener, here are some of the shifts in strategy you're most likely to see in Game 2:

More Miami moves to the basket. Here's one of the untold stories from Game 1: All the attention on Miami's inaccuracy at the free-throw line caused us to lose sight of how rarely the Heat got there at all. Miami took only 19 free throws, and only two players earned free-throw tries.

The Heat averaged .41 free throws per field-goal attempt coming into the Finals, but had only .24 in Game 1. Based on their playoff rate, a more normal free-throw total for them would be about 30, and the disparity was a major reason Miami mustered just 49 points in the final three quarters.

The most egregious offender in this area was Antoine Walker, who reverted to his tendency to throw up slop rather than going hard to the rim. As a result he didn't have a single free-throw attempt despite taking 19 shots, nine of which were 3-pointers, and he committed six turnovers. Miami's other big offensive weapon, Williams, didn't have a free throw either. As a result, look for the Heat's secondary players to be more assertive about going to the rim rather than settling for jumpers in Game 2.

More touches for Shaq. OK, this one isn't rocket science. Based on their comments afterward, the Heat players knew one problem with their Game 1 approach without even looking at any film.

"We know we have to get the ball down to Shaq more," said Dwyane Wade. "We have to make sure we get the ball to Shaq a little more," said Walker. "Eleven attempts isn't enough for him." "We've got to get him more touches," said Gary Payton.

"We've just got to keep doing what we've been doing, inside-out," added the Big Fella -- actually, he said that twice in five minutes during his postgame interview.

Shaq's 11 field-goal attempts were his fewest since a 10-shot effort in Game 5 against the Nets in the second round, and on that night he played only 25 minutes due to foul trouble. On a per-minute basis, it was his lowest shot output of the playoffs.

The Mavs would like to think they had something to do with it. Centers Erick Dampier and Diop mostly prevented Shaq from getting the easy alley-oop dunks and putbacks that normally pad his total, and Dallas' double-teams put the pressure on Miami's secondary players to beat them.

But it's not like Shaq has never seen a double-team before. Miami has some simple remedies for getting O'Neal more involved. For starters, it could put in a play or two to get him an easy look before the double arrives. The Heat also need to work on reposting Shaq after the initial kick out -- that's often when he's at his most dangerous.

But most of all, the Heat just need to remember that he's on the floor. After a concerted effort to get him the rock early on, the Heat seemed to forget about Shaq after halftime, and their offense withered as a result.

Less Gary Payton in crunch time. One thing that Pat Riley is probably trying to get his head around today is the fact that he's no longer playing the Pistons. Against this Dallas team, 80 points simply isn't going to cut the mustard, so having a player like Payton play 18 minutes and take home a bagel is a major liability.

That's especially true considering his opposite number. Jason Terry can score in bunches, as he showed amply in Game 1, but defense has never been his calling card. Jason Williams can take advantage of that, and to an extent he did on Thursday, scoring 12 points. But Terry gets a free ride when Payton is on the floor.

However, down the stretch Riley went with Payton ahead of Williams. Williams checked out with 7:54 left and didn't return until two minutes remained and the Heat were in desperation mode. That's been Riley's usage pattern for the two players throughout the postseason -- normally James Posey and Payton have finished games despite not starting them. In light of his team's need for more offense, he'll have to reconsider that strategy.

Riley also has a few options on his bench that he might utilize. Miami's bench scored only two points in 47 minutes in Game 1 and threw in one measly assist, a scandalously lame effort that should have Riley scrambling for more firepower. If so, Derek Anderson could be a candidate for more playing time on Sunday, probably at the expense of Payton.

More pick-and-pop plays for Dirk. Remember, Dallas has to adjust too. The Mavs know how lucky they were to win Game 1, or at least they ought to know. Miami had two more field goals and five more offensive rebounds than Dallas, but lost by 10 because of its implosion at the line.

The biggest concern for Dallas is Nowitzki's poor night against Udonis Haslem. This was supposed to be a huge mismatch, but Haslem did a great job of pushing Nowitzki away from the basket and using his 6-9 frame to contest the 7-footer's jumpers. For the game, he shot an un-Dirk-like 4-for-14 and took a modest six free throws.

Nobody thinks Dallas will win Game 2 without more production from Dirk, but to get it the Mavs may need to change a few things up offensively. The post-ups at the foul line that were so effective against smaller defenders such as Bruce Bowen and Shawn Marion aren't as much of a weapon against the taller Haslem, so they need to rethink how to get shots for Dirk.

One option is to revert to the Steve Nash days and involve Nowitski and Terry in a myriad of pick-and-pop plays. Miami's pick-and-roll defense certainly is suspect, as evidenced by Terry's Game 1 explosion, and Haslem doesn't have the speed to help out on Terry and still race back to the 3-point line to guard Nowitzki. Even if Haslem can make the rotation, it exposes him to the shot-fake-and-drive tactic that Dirk has employed with much greater frequency in recent years.

More of Devin Harris. As expected, Dallas changed its starting lineup for this series by replacing Devin Harris with Adrian Griffin. Griffin did a good job, too, scoring eight points in 13 minutes, while Harris scored only one point in 18 minutes.

Despite that, I have a feeling we'll see more of Harris in Game 2. One reason Griffin started was that the Mavs were leery of having the smaller Harris defend Wade. What we learned in Game 1, however, was that Wade's quickness against Griffin and Josh Howard was a greater concern than his height advantage on Harris.

Wade scored 28 points, but none of them came in the seven minutes when Harris guarded him in a two-guard alignment with Terry. Of the five Dallas defenders to play Wade -- Griffin, Howard, Harris, Marquis Daniels and Jerry Stackhouse -- Harris was the most effective, primarily because he's the only one whose lateral movement comes close to matching Wade's.

Additionally, the Terry-Harris backcourt allows the Mavericks to push the pace, something they'll need to do after playing the Heat's game in the opener. This was how the Mavs ran San Antonio ragged in the second round, but it was thought the matchup with Wade would prevent them from doing it to Miami. Based on Game 1, we need to reconsider that theory.

Thursday, June 8, 2006

steriods wasn't a big enough scandal

What a conundrom baseball has gotten themselves into now... as if Barry Bonds wasn't enough of a cheat. See Jason Grimsley's affidavit here. Read Keith Olbermann's take here.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

evolution of dance

performed by Jud Laipply

more nba predictions

The Mavericks will be the NBA Champions - Norm Hitzges, June 4, 2006

It appears to me that the battle for the title in the NBA this year was actually decided in Overtime of Game 7 at San Antonio in the Quarterfinals.

It appeared San Antonio had come back from the dead, rallied and was about to put the Mavericks away leading by 3 with less than a half minute to go. Then Dirk Nowitzki drove, scored, got fouled and hit the free throw and Tim Duncan’s flip at the buzzer missed. The Mavericks then controlled the overtime.

Miami’s a fine team with it’s own superstar in Wade. Shaq’s still an impact player on some nights. But the Heat can be had. The rest of their role players—Posey, Haslem, Williams, Walker, Mourning—all have trouble defending the outside shot.

With all due respect to the Pistons, I don’t believe Miami’s played as a good a team as Dallas in the playoffs so far.

In analyzing this series, there may be 4 key role players for Dallas that you might not imagine could play significant roles. Yes, Dirk, Terry, Howard and Stackhouse must be good to very good for Dallas to win. But, there are others who’s play in roles could tilt the title toward Dallas.

#1—Dampier—First of all he should be well rested after virtually not playing in the Phoenix series because of matchups…But he’ll play 30 or more minutes a night using his strength to defend Shaq. He must remain fairly free of foul trouble.

#2—Harris—In rolling through Chicago, New Jersey and Detroit the Heat hasn’t faced anything like Harris’ quickness at guard. And, realize they’ve virtually never seen him. Given his sparse playing time as a rookie and bench role earlier this season. His lightning quickness could drive the heat crazy.

#3—Griffin—All those Miami role players we mentioned above, give Griffin a chance to play a key defensive role. Spare parts like Posey and Walker cannot be allowed to get on a roll. Griffin will have lots of responsibility in that area.

#4—Van Horn—I know. I know. He looked dreadful vs Phoenix. But Van Horn is still a dangerous 3 point shooter. When he’s on the floor, who does Miami assign on him to stop him on the perimeter? That matchup for a few minutes each game could be a killer for the Heat.

The bottom line? I believe Dallas is the better team from the better conference. And they have home floor advantage. The long wait will be over. This will leave the Rangers as the only major pro team in the area to have never won a championship.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

nba finals predictions cont.

WHY THE MAVS WILL WIN By Dr. Jack Ramsay, ESPN Radio Analyst

I've had a front-row seat for Miami Heat games for many years, including nine seasons as a Heat broadcaster during coach Pat Riley's initial tenure.

Their march through the Eastern Conference, including their decisive six-game demolition of the Detroit Pistons, was as impressive a display as I've ever seen from the Heat. They are playing at a very high level, with the excellent teamwork and defensive effort that fans and Riley always envisioned.

I've watched Shaquille O'Neal closely for many years, and especially the last two seasons in Miami. His performance against the Pistons was vintage Shaq, especially in Game 6 -- in fact, that was as good as he's ever been, in my opinion.

The problem for Miami and Shaq is this -- the Dallas Mavericks are just not a good matchup for them.

The Mavs' trademarks are depth and quickness, two traits the Heat lack. The Mavs' starting lineup is quicker than Miami's, and they can bring in a number of talented, athletic players off the bench.

For Dallas, it starts with Dirk Nowitzki, who will be a very tough cover for the Heat. Udonis Haslem will probably need help covering Nowitzki, which will open up the court for the rest of Mavericks. As Chicago showed, a quick, penetrating team can get to the rim and create foul trouble for Shaq. Well, the Mavs are even more talented than the Bulls.

Other than Dirk, the Mav who will cause the most headaches is Josh Howard. The Dallas swingman is a defensive stopper who can slow down Dwyane Wade on one end and then run amok on the offensive end, because the Heat just don't have an answer for him.

Likewise, the Heat have no natural matchup for Dallas' secondary offensive stars, Jason Terry and Jerry Stackhouse. And that's before you get to Devin Harris and Keith Van Horn, who also will be a handful against the larger, slower Heat.

With this kind of team speed, the Mavs at times will threaten to run the Heat right off the floor.

Of course, a big question for the Mavs is how they'll match up with Shaq. But even this can turn into an advantage for them if they can make Shaq work at the defensive end. Dallas coach Avery Johnson has the option of going small and forcing Shaq out of the defensive paint. Or he can play Shaq one-on-one with DeSagana Diop and Erick Dampier, two defensive and rebounding specialists who combined for 5-of-7 shooting and 16 rebounds in just 37 minutes the last time these two teams played.

The Miami Heat have Shaq, Wade, a savvy team of veterans and a coach with four rings. But they don't have the depth, quickness or shooting ability to match up well with Dallas.

That's why I expect the Mavs to win in six.

nba finals predictions

The first of many that I'll be posting...

Six reasons I'm picking the Mavs - Chris Sheridan, ESPN NBA Insider
posted: Tuesday, June 6, 2006

On this sixth day of the sixth month in the sixth year of the millennium, here are six reasons I am picking the Dallas Mavericks to defeat the Miami Heat in seven games (sorry, not six) in the NBA Finals:

1.The uberstar
There are three players in this series who are unqualified superstars, and the one who is going to be the toughest to defend is Dirk Nowitzki. The Heat will try using Udonis Haslem on him and might switch to James Posey and/or Alonzo Mourning, but Haslem and Mourning are not mobile enough on the perimeter and in isolation situations, and Posey is too short to be effective against the 7-footer. Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade will be tough to guard, too, but Erick Dampier and DeSagana Diop have the size to pound with Shaq, and Josh Howard is quick enough on his feet to keep Wade in front of him.

2. The defense
It used to be a clever little joke to refer to Dallas as "Allas" and Dirk as "Irk" (get it? No D). But that moniker no longer fits since Avery Johnson took over, and the lockdown job the Mavericks pulled against the Suns in the second half of Game 6 in the Western Conference finals (holding Phoenix to 42 points) was as stifling as any defense played by any team in the playoffs thus far. The Heat's defensive success against the Pistons was more about Detroit's missing open shots.

3. The speed factor
It'll be interesting to see whether coach Johnson will be able to use the guard tandem of Devin Harris and Jason Terry together -- because it will cause matchup difficulties on the other end -- but when Terry and Harris are out there together, it adds a dimension of quickness Dallas can use to break down Miami's set defenses and create open shots. Look for the Mavs to hold a big edge in fast-break points when all is said and done.

4. The X factor
For the Mavs, that would be Howard, a player seemingly on the verge of a breakout performance in the national spotlight just as Manu Ginobili was a year ago. Dallas is 25-0 when he scores at least 20 points, and he's averaging nearly as many points (17.4) in the playoffs as Terry (17.8). His athleticism should give him the matchup edge over Antoine Walker, and he has been a more accurate shooter from 3-point range than 'Toine.

5. The benches
Dallas' is deeper, with Jerry Stackhouse able to provide scoring, Adrian Griffin and Marquis Daniels able to add defense, Keith Van Horn able to sink 3-point shots, and Dampier and DJ Mbenga (after he returns late in this series from a six-game suspension) able to at least foul Shaq, if not stop him. Miami's reserves are more experienced, but age has reduced the effectiveness of Mourning and Gary Payton. Neither can be counted on to contribute consistently.

6. The home court
I picked this one to go the full seven games, and the support and energy the Mavs receive from their crowd should carry them over the top in the final game. That's what happened in San Antonio last year when the Spurs finished off the Pistons, and I'd expect Dallas to play from ahead in the deciding game and clinch it by pulling away in the fourth quarter behind Nowitzki and Howard. But I also expect the Mavs to have to win both Games 6 and 7 at home because I believe they're going back there trailing 3-2 after Game 5.

Monday, June 5, 2006

in my opinion...

Michelle Wie wont be at Winged Foot in two weeks, thank God. She once again couldn't hang with the big boys and missed the cut to make the US Open by 5 strokes. Seems like her time would be better spent competing and trying to win on the women's tour than just scrambling to not be cut in men's events.

If the Rangers stay in first place into July, it may be time to start taking them seriously.

Tonight's Oilers/Hurricanes game provided the first ever successful penalty shot in a Stanley Cup finals game... by a defenseman at that, Chris Pronger.

Vegas has the Mavs at 2-1 favorites to win the NBA Championship. Seems like a good bet to me.

If it's not about the money, why wait until the Astros are virtually out of contention in the NL Central (8.5 games back and 4 games under .500) before deciding to make a comeback? Sure seems like the Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers all would have given him a better shot at the playoffs.

I just dont get this. Anyone in the tourney had a chance to win the car, how is that special treatment? The NCAA and the school make millions off their "student-athletes" yet only the elite that make the pros get a similar return on investment.

You're with me, leather... read about the quote here if you haven't heard about it before.

Sunday, June 4, 2006

headin to south beach

The Mavs made it to the NBA finals for the first time ever! After a horrible first half, the Mavs played some D and shut the Suns down in the second half. Dirk played big againa and Josh got his 20, virtually guaranteeing the win. Cuban's done a great job putting this team together with the right coach in Avery Johnson. The Mavs are better than the Heat and have played better competition leading up to the finals. I think the Mavs will hold court in the first two, take one on the road and then close it out at home in Game 6. Go Mavs!

The Rangers took 2 of 3 from the defending champion White Sox this weekend and lead the AL West by 3.5 games over the A's. Why isn't Gerald Laird getting more playing time? 4 for 5 with two doubles and two homers today, not a bad day. Oh yeah, he's batting .367 for the year. The starter Barajas is batting just .235. Second questions... why isn't Wilkerson, aka Mr K, riding pine? He added another 2 strikeouts to his major league leading total and he's batting just .245 on the year.

Albert - Get well soon!

Michelle Wie - Try winning on the women's tour before wasting a spot in a men's event.

Western Conf. Champs

mark and avery

Mavs in 6