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Monthly Archives: April 2011

Mavericks visit the Lakers Monday

Monday, May 2, 2011

10:30 PM ET – Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA

Growing up in the gigantic shadow cast by the Los Angeles Lakers in Southern California, what’s next for the Dallas Mavericks is basically a dream come true for Tyson Chandler.

“I love it, I love it,” the fiery Mavericks 7-footer said after the Mavericks finished off the Portland Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden Thursday night to claim their first round playoff series 4-2. “I’ve been waiting on this all my life.”

Few people would call a date in the Western Conference semifinals against the two-time defending NBA champion Lakers a dream come true. But these Mavericks are different. They are neither in awe of nor in fear of the Lakers, or any other team for that matter. Picked by many to succumb to the lower-seeded Blazers, the Mavericks played with a ruthless energy and unbridled confidence that helped them thwart every run the Blazers made to stave off elimination.

“We’re such a confident team,” Jason Terry said. “We have so many veteran guys, starting at the top with Jason [Kidd] on down to Dirk [Nowitzki], that we believe. Especially in close ballgames, we’ve been winning them all season long. So we’re confident.”

The Mavericks won with three staples their coach, Rick Carlisle, said would be crucial to their playoff success.

Timing, Guts and Will were the words he uttered after their Game 1 win.

Those words had to echo in the ears of his players Thursday night as they battled back from an early 12-point deficit to take a 52-43 halftime lead, an advantage that they never relinquished. They had to withstand a maniacal comeback effort led by Blazers’ swingman Gerald Wallace, who played through back pain after halftime, finishing with 32 points and 12 rebounds in a losing effort. Nowitzki countered with 14 of his game-high 33 points in the fourth quarter. He also had 11 rebounds and four assists.

“We talked about it before, we talked about it during the game,” Nowitzki said of the sense of urgency the Mavericks played with, “how we just had to keep fighting.”

It was the sixth game in this series decided in the fourth quarter, and the first in 10 games the Mavericks and Blazers have played all season won by the road team.

The team capable of turning it up at the right time, gutting out those clutch minutes and being strong enough to will their way to a win earned it the hard way. And Game 6 was no different. The Blazers outscored the Mavericks 34-28 in the fourth quarter, but Nowitzki, with some timely offensive help from Shawn Marion, Jason Kidd, Terry and Jose Barea, helped the Mavericks push through.

It was the sort of performance that led Marion on an energetic postgame tirade about all that he and his NBA brethren have to deal with from critics, far and near, nit-picking their every move on and off the court.

He also made sure to remind anyone willing to listen that just because the Mavericks were written off by some — losing in the first round of the playoffs in three of the past four years has a way of inspiring those sorts of things — doesn’t mean they give a … “the word-he-used-wasn’t-suitable-for-print” … what any of their critics say. Since the start of the 2006 NBA Finals, which began the Mavericks’ recent run of postseason futility, they’d gone just 2-18 on the road in the postseason.

“The playoffs are all about matchups,” Marion said. “You could have the best record in the league and you can come up against a team that really causes bad matchups for you and what can you do? Do you put it on coaches? Do you put it on the players? If it’s a bad matchup it’s a bad matchup. It is what it is.”

So how do these Mavericks match up against the Lakers, a team they haven’t faced in the postseason since 1988?

“I think we match up very well with them,” Marion said. “(Andrew) Bynum might be just a little taller than everybody else, otherwise … but it’s about our bench, pretty much, that’s where we have to come in and our bench has to outwork theirs and we have to go out there and play. But this is going to be a good challenge. They are the defending champs and really, what more can you ask for?”

The Mavericks certainly are not asking anyone to join their bandwagon. When they blew that 23-point lead in the fourth quarter of Game 4 against the Blazers, plenty of folks jumped off.

They didn’t sulk. They didn’t lose focus. They just kept grinding and won Game 5 to set up Thursday night’s close-out game.

“I choose not to look back,” Carlisle said when asked if he felt like that Game 4 loss was a character building exercise this team needed. “A big part of life is acceptance of your situation, whatever it is. You have to make the best of whatever is thrown your way. I’ll tell you this … walking into this place and playing a playoff game is no fun. This is the loudest place I’ve ever been, and I’ve been a lot of places in 27 years.

“For our guys to hang in and be able to win in this environment is really huge for us. To go through what we went through in Game 4, these things happen for a reason. But we feel our work has just begun.”

Now comes a series dealing with Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson and the Lakers’ mystique.

“Not a lot of people picked us to win this (Portland) series and not a lot of people are going to pick us to win the next series,” Nowitzki said. “We’re just going to go out there and keep competing, play smart and play off each other the way we have all season and we’ll see what happens.”

We shall see.

UFC 129 Watch It In Dallas at Big Racks BBQ

Watch UFC 129 at Big Racks BBQ and Sports Grill in Grapevine. The Main event, Georges St. Pierre vs Jake Shields

Address: 1720 State Hwy 26 Grapevine, TX 76051
Tel: 972-539-5511

Oh well: Mavs know they could be resting

DALLAS — After the impressive Game 5 victory, Jason Kidd was asked if two days off prior to Thursday’s Game 6 will help keep him fresh.

Kidd just smiled and said, you play ’em when they schedule ’em.

Thing is Kidd knew darn well that the NBA wouldn’t have had to schedule Game 6 at all if the Dallas Mavericks had protected a 23-point lead in the final 13:16 and a 10-point lead in the final 3:33 of Game 4.

Monday’s Game 5 win would have eliminated the Portland Trail Blazers and the Mavs would have become the first team in either conference to advance in the playoffs.

And after the NBA on Tuesday night released a start date of Monday for the Dallas-Portland vs. Los Angeles-New Orleans semifinal series, the Mavs and Kidd would have been sitting pretty with a week to rest up, most likely for the two-time defending champion Lakers, who took a 3-2 lead over the Hornets late Tuesday night.

But doing it the hard way seems to be the Mavs’ way. Dirk Nowitzki said it’s tough knowing they could be watching everyone else play, but he figures the way the rest of the West has gone, it’s not surprising they’re still going, too.

“Yeah, I mean I think coming into the playoffs the way it already shaped up down the stretch, the West is wide open,” Nowitzki said. “I think that’s what you see now in the playoffs. Teams can be beaten. No team really looks unbeatable right now. So we’ve just got to keep on plugging and keep on fighting and hopefully get a big win on Thursday and go from there.”

The Los Angeles Lakers will conclude Game 6 at the New Orleans Hornets Thursday night before the Mavs tip at Portland. If Dallas fails to clinch the series, Game 7 will be back at American Airlines Center on Saturday night.

If the Mavs win it then, they will fly to Los Angeles on Sunday and begin the second round Monday night.

Product Review: Fire Magic Diamond Series Echelon E1060i Built-in Gas Grill

Fire Magic gas grills are among the best in the world and this is their biggest and most powerful grill (also the most expensive). There are so many great features on this unit that there just isn’t enough space to list them all. This is the perfect grill for large gatherings. You can rotisserie a couple of turkeys, or simply grill about 200 hamburgers. If you need a giant grill for your custom outdoor kitchen, this is the perfect unit. It will do anything and there are dozens of optional features and accessories for this unit. The construction is amazing and no detail is too small.

Pros

  • Best quality stainless steel construction
  • Huge cooking area
  • Amazing rotisserie system
  • Independent grilling zones

Cons

  • Expensive

Description

  • Four 30,000 BTU E-shaped cast stainless steel burners with four individual grilling areas
  • 1,060 square inches of primary grilling space
  • 120,000 BTU maximum output from the main burners
  • Two flush mounted 15,000 BTU rear mounted infrared rotisserie burners with full kit included
  • 3,000 BTU internal smoker burner with wood chip tray
  • Hood design keeps the elements out of this grill
  • Internal halogen lights
  • Digital built in thermometer with meat probe
  • Available with welded rod stainless steel or porcelain coated cast iron cooking grates
  • Made in the United States by R.H. Peterson Company

Guide Review – Fire Magic Diamond Series Echelon E1060i Built-in Gas Grill

R. H. Peterson’s Fire Magic line of Gas Grills are some of the best on the market and this is the biggest and the best they make. This unit have a maximum of 120,000 BTUs from four dual controlled cast stainless steel burners under 1,060 square inches of primary cooking space (you can get welded stainless steel rod or porcelain coated cast iron cooking grates).Ideally this is the perfect grill for your company, resort, hotel, empire, or any other outdoor kitchen. It is huge and with a starting price over $7,500USD it is the kind of grill you don’t buy for the occasional cookout. The superior engineering of this unit means you can rely on it for excellent cook and to put up with a lot of punishment. There isn’t a part about this grill that wasn’t worked over and analyzed to death.

One of the particularly nice features on this grill is the divided fire box. Each of the four burners (dual controlled)is placed into a divided box to focus the heat of that burner onto the cooking surface. This lets you fire up one of the four zones to cook over and still have fantastic heat without preheating the entire grill.

Some of the optional accessories for this unit include a remote controlled automatic lid opener. Yes, you can open the lid on this grill by remote control (if you get this option). There are also a wide range of side burner arrangements you can go with as well as everything else you need for your custom outdoor kitchen.

Tim Donaghy Has A Theory On Danny Crawford And The Mavericks

Tim Donaghy joined ESPN Radio Dallas with Galloway and Company to discuss his reaction to Crawford being assigned the game, why it’s not a coincidence the Mavs are just 3-16 in playoff games reffed by Danny Crawford, the story he tells in his book about the situation, why it could be different now that he’s called attention to it and the general performance this season by NBA officials.

His reaction when he saw Danny Crawford was officiating Game 2 in Dallas:
“You think that the league would put him on a game maybe in another series, but to put him in this situation, teams like that, for some reason they still enjoy tormenting Mark Cuban a little bit.”

Could it be that it was just coincidence that the Mavs were 2-16 in games reffed by Crawford before Tuesday night?:
“No, absolutely not. I think that would be absolutely impossible to put that as a mere coincidence. It’s no secret that when Ed Rush was supervisor of officials, he had a hatred for Mark Cuban and Danny Crawford was one of Rush’s right-hand guys. So he carried out what he thought would be in the best interest of him being in the good graces with the supervisor of officials. Some guys enjoy sticking it to Mark; it’s no secret.”

On the stories he tells about Crawford and the Mavs in his book:
“It’s in the book, he would laugh about his record. I think at the time I was around it was nine or 10 wins in a row that the opposing teams had. It’s funny stuff because now I’m actually working for a sports handicapper as a blogger and radio co-host and we talk about that all the time … how these personal relationships come into affect and still seem to be out there.”

If things will be different now that this story has come out and Crawford is in the spotlight:
“I can tell you this, right now David Stern’s not too happy that the focus is on Danny Crawford being a referee for this game. … It’s bad for the league if Danny Crawford makes a couple of calls in favor of Portland that are wrong. I think Danny Crawford is a quality referee and I think he’s going to do his best to be as [unbiased] as possible knowing that the spotlight is on him. That’s why they put a lot of these stop-gaps in there where things are reviewable. Those quick out-of-bounds plays that he could just easily give to Portland, they’re reviewable now. It’s not as easy as it was in the past for him to just give those marginal plays to the other team.”

Reflecting on the state of officiation overall in the NBA:
“I’ve watched a couple games the last couple nights and there’s pivotal calls that are taking place at pivotal times that are just flat-out wrong that are just standing out. They’re bad enough they’re taking place during the game, but in the last two or three minutes of the fourth quarter, it just buries teams. … It takes the credibility further away from the league.”

Watch the Dallas Mavericks game at Big Racks BBQ

Given the Mavs’ past flameouts, most foes wanted them in the playoffs. With the Blazers up first, the Mavs are out to prove they won’t fall apart in the playoffs again.

Video preview of the series

Game 1
POR @ DAL
Saturday, Apr 16
9:30 p.m. ET

BIGRACKS BBQ & Sports Grill
Hours: Monday – Sunday 11 A.M. to 2 A.M.
Address: 1720 State Hwy 26 Grapevine, TX 76051

Walk-off sinks Rangers in finale vs. Tigers

DETROIT — The Rangers had to pitch a full game out of the bullpen and five relievers did combine to hold the Tigers to three runs in 8 1/3 innings. That’s not bad considering the circumstances.

But Brandon Inge hit a one-out home run in the bottom of the ninth inning off of Darren Oliver to give the Tigers a 3-2 victory and hand the Rangers their first losing streak of the season. The Rangers have lost two straight to the Tigers, and both came on walk-off hits in the bottom of the ninth.

“I thought we battled pretty hard,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “We hung in there and almost pulled it off.”

Rangers pitchers had retired nine straight hitters before Inge hit his game winner off of Oliver. It was the only home run hit during the three-game series.

“Slider,” Inge said. “He did start me off with two of those the other day, but I’d be lying if I told you I was looking for it. I was just trying to really get my swing down and be aggressive and try to hit the ball up the middle. Hard.”

The Rangers were more frustrated with their own lack of offense. They had nine hits but were 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

“The offense didn’t get much going,” outfielder David Murphy said. “Just like yesterday, we took advantage of our opportunities, but there were also a few opportunities that we didn’t get it done. We’re not going to be perfect … at some point you have to give the other pitchers credit, but I feel like we could have won that game. I feel like we could have won yesterday.

“I feel like we could have won today. It’s a tough feeling. It’s never a good feeling when the game is over and you feel you could have done more to win the game.”

The Rangers were forced into this pitching predicament because they were rained out on Friday in Baltimore. That forced Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison to pitch in a doubleheader on Saturday, and the Rangers didn’t want either pitcher coming back on three days rest.

Lewis is back in Texas, where his wife Jenny gave birth to daughter Elizabeth on Thursday. Lewis is probably not going to pitch again until the Rangers return home next week.

The Rangers received a combined five scoreless innings out of David Bush and Mason Tobin to start the afternoon. Bush, pitching for the first time since one inning in an exhibition game against Triple-A Round Rock on March 30, went three innings and allowed three hits and three walks. However, he held the Tigers to 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. He ended up throwing 71 pitches in three innings, and had to come out sooner than the Rangers hoped.

“They certainly weren’t the greatest three innings I’ve ever thrown,” Bush said. “I would have liked to have gotten more than three innings out of my 70 pitches. It was about what I expected. I felt good physically, but my fastball command was something that I struggled with. Fortunately I had good command of my offspeed stuff, and I was able to use those in certain situations.”

Tobin needed just 26 pitches to get through two innings. Working in just his third Major League game, Tobin allowed a hit and a walk in his second straight two-inning scoreless appearance.

“He did a good job,” Washington said. “He came in, kept the ball down and got us through some innings. We certainly needed it.”

Tobin was also in line to get his first Major League victory when the Rangers scored two in the top of the sixth against Max Scherzer. But the Tigers took that away when they scored two off Mark Lowe.

The Rangers scored their runs on RBI singles by Nelson Cruz and David Murphy. The Tigers struck back in the bottom of the inning on successive doubles from Victor Martinez and Brennan Boesch. Lowe struck out Jhonny Peralta, but Alex Avila singled to put runners at the corners, and Inge drove home the tying run with a sacrifice fly.

“I just fell behind hitters,” Lowe said. “I fell behind Victor and had to throw the fastball there, hope he hit it to someone and get a quick out. The other guys hit changeups that weren’t bad pitches, but they put them in gaps and I gave up some runs.”

Lowe has made four appearances and allowed four runs on seven hits and a walk in 2 2/3 innings.

“The thing is I’d like to see him hit his spots better,” Washington said. “He’s out there battling, hopefully the next few times he’ll get better.”

The Rangers have a day off on Thursday in New York. That will give their bullpen a day of rest. Everybody but Bush will likely be available on Friday night.

Watch the Rangers play the Yankees Friday night at Big Racks BBQ in Grapevine