Monday, April 26, 2010

R1 G4: Spurs 92, Mavs 89 (3-1, Spurs)

Well... that went south in a hurry.

After Dirk's brilliant performance in the playoff opener, the Mavs have faltered, fallen and flat out failed on so many levels that it's hard to see the playoffs lasting much longer than a game or two. After blowing an 11-point halftime lead, does this team even have what it takes, does it have the heart, to earn a win at American Airlines Center in Game 5?

The Mavs held the Spurs "Big Three" of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker to a quiet night, but it was George Hill who continued to knock down big threes from the corner as San Antonio put away the Mavs, 92-89, to take a 3-1 series lead. Hill finished 5-of-6 on three-pointers with a game-high 29 points.

One area where the Mavs could beat the Spurs is in a battle of free throws. Dallas did have a better night from the charity stripe (shooting 78% to the Spurs' 64%), but each team managed to make 18 free throws. So if Dallas is actually going to take advantage of this area of overwhelming ability, then the Mavericks would be wise to drive to the basket and get to the line. Still, this doesn't seem to be a team capable of making the tougher drive to the basket. Instead we are left to watch this team try to shoot itself back into a game. Sometimes it works, but most of the time it doesn't. I felt like we were back watching the 2001-2004 Steve-Nash-led Mavericks.

And for the life of me, I can't figure out why Shawn Marion was on the bench late in this one. Oh, it was nice to hear about how he's more effective in a fast-paced game and not as effective in the half court game, but his defense and size could have helped the Mavs battle with the Spurs late in the game. If he was supposed to be the big upgrade this offseason, head coach Rick Carlisle should think about actually using him when it matters.

In the most physical game of the series, the only Maverick who truly seemed up for the dog-fight was Eduardo Najera, who got tossed almost immediately after getting into the game when he took down Ginobili. Was it a clean play? Hell no. But it seemed like if Mavs scorers were going to get banged up on their way to the rim, then Najera was going to make sure the Spurs felt the fire as well.

Dirk continues to be one of the least respected superstars in the NBA, and it's amazing to see the calls he doesn't get. And while Erick Dampier did have a legit gripe about the refs, maybe he should work on catching the ball when it's passed to him so he doesn't finish with more turnovers (2) than points (0). Dampier and Brendan Haywood each seemed ready to clear out of the lane after each jacked up jump shot launched by the Mavs perimeter. And while the Mavs did win the rebound match up, 48-43, in this game, it doesn't mean the bigs were getting the job done. In 12 minutes, DeJuan Blair grabbed 7 rebounds for the Spurs, while Dampier had 5 in 19 minutes and Haywood had 4 in 25. Ugh.

So now the Mavericks drudge back to Dallas facing elimination from here on out. It might be one more game, maybe two. But if the Mavs are going to get back to Dallas again for Game 7 of this series, they would have to take Game 6 in San Antonio. And despite being the best road team in the NBA this year, the Mavs' road success in the playoffs does not match its regular season record. The Mavs went 27-14 on the road this year, but Dallas hasn't had a solid road playoff win since beating the Spurs in Game 7 in the 2006 conference semifinals.

Here's to hoping Dallas can TCB at home, and find the much-needed spark to get back into this series.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

CCCAA MVB State Championship broadcast

The broadcast from Saturday's men's volleyball California Community College Athletic Association championship match. Check it out...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

CCCAA Semi-Final #2 Broadcast

Check out the CCCAA Men's Volleyball State Champion Semi-Finals broadcast from Thursday, April 22 featuring play-by-play with yours truly. This video is the 2nd semi-final between Long Beach City College and Orange Coast College.

Calling the championship match tonight between Orange Coast and Moorpark Colleges.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

R1 G1: Mavs 100, Spurs 94

The NBA Playoffs are underway, and the phrase Home Sweet Home is resonating loud and clear in the Association this year. With home teams going a combined 7-0 through the first seven games of the postseason, the Dallas Mavericks have done themselves a nice favor by playing their way to the Western Conference's No. 2 seed.

Dallas began its 10th straight postseason with a 100-94 win over the rival San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, taking a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. And while beating the Spurs, the No. 7 seed in the West, may seem somewhat ho-hum after beating them in five games in last year's playoffs, looking at how the Mavs got there makes it all the more impressive.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Goodbye old friend

Sunday morning, the community of Dallas and football fans nationwide said goodbye to the only stadium to host five Super Bowl champions. Texas Stadium, home to the Dallas Cowboys from 1971 through 2008, was imploded just after 7am, with thousands of fans gathered to pay their respects to a place that has meant so much.

Two generations of Cowboys fans grew up at Texas Stadium. This is the place where the Cowboys transformed from the "next years champions" of the Cotton Bowl, to "America's Team" and a Super Bowl champion in their first season in the stadium with the famous hole in the roof.

I grew up at Texas Stadium. I don't remember my first Cowboys game. The earliest I can remember would be bits and pieces of the 1992 season, being a seven-year-old kid getting to see the hometown team run all the way to the Super Bowl, crushing the Bills and bringing home a third Lombardi Trophy.

I saw too many Troy Aikman to Michael Irvin touchdowns, and even more TD runs by Emmitt Smith. I saw Jay Novacek hold field goals and extra points. I saw Darryl "Moose" Johnston clear running lanes or catch passes to a raucous "Mooooooooose" chant from the crowds. And I saw Prime Time Deion Sanders high-step into the end zone on several occasions.

I was there when George Teague trucked Terrell Owens on the famous midfield star, cheering as loud as I could. And I was there when Terrell Owens helped lead the Cowboys to the playoffs in 2006 and 2007, doing much of the same.

Many Thanksgivings were spent in Section 108, Row 5, with nachos and hot dogs. What was I thankful for? The chance to spend the holiday in Irving, Texas, watching my favorite sports team take the field. My mother even changed our own Thanksgiving tradition of when we ate meals, moving Thanksgiving "dinner" to noon before the Cowboys game to ensure we didn't fill up at the game and not eat our Thanksgiving meal. Texas Stadium shaped our lives, and that was more than okay.

I witnessed many playoff games, including NFC Conference Championship wins over San Francisco and Green Bay. I also saw the Cowboys fall short against the New York Giants in the final playoff game at Texas Stadium in January 2008.

I heard by father yelling at Pro Bowl offensive linemen to "Block! Block! Block!" for Troy Aikman when he would drop back and survey the field, then laugh at whatever comment Brad Sham would be saying through his pocket-radio.

The "Super Bowl Nachos" were an experience, topped with steamy-hot melted cheese, pico de gaillo, jalapenos and Texas chili. Their successors at concession stands at new Cowboys Stadium leave much to be desired. Stacks and stacks of souvenir Cowboys cups take up an entire cabinet in my parents house.

I saw Emmitt Smith become the greatest rusher in NFL history, scampering past Walter Payton on an 11-yard run up the middle against Seattle in 2002, his last year with the club.

I tolerated the lean Dave Campo years, watching the likes of Quincy Carter or Chad Hutchinson lead my beloved Cowboys. A celebrated the arrival of Bill Parcells who helped put the Cowboys back in contention for playoff berths. And I enjoyed every game of 2007, back home in Texas after graduating from college, as the Cowboys racked up a 13-3 record and the team's first Division title since my middle school days.

December 20, 2008, I caught a flight from Los Angeles to Dallas before sunrise on the West Coast. That night, a teary-eyed Saturday in North Texas, I witnessed The Farewell, the final Cowboys game at Texas Stadium, a disappointing loss to the Baltimore Ravens that helped knock the team out of the playoffs.

I was there for great memories, and I have heartbreaking ones as well. But I'm so glad I wasn't there when that contest-winning child pressed the button and the football world said goodbye. It's why I couldn't be in the room when my childhood pet was put down, too. It's hard to say goodbye. And while no one is debating that the team's new palace in Arlington is the greatest football cathedral ever conceived, let alone constructed, Texas Stadium was iconic for so much more. It had notoriety, it had history, and fortunately, we'll always have those memories.

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