Flopping Is Probably One of the Greatest Sports Sins of Them All

Photo by WEBN-TV
Pulling a Richard Sherman moment is the least of the seven deadly sports sins.
I got into a semi-argument on air with my SportsRadio 610 cohost, Ted Johnson, the other day. The tiff was about Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman, and his act in the wake of the NFC Title Game on FOX, when he eviscerated Michael Crabtree in an interview with Erin Andrews and turned a "WE" moment into a "ME" moment.

I know that topic is more than two months old, and there was a good reason we argued about it (off hand, I don't remember that good reason), but the argument boiled down to Ted (who is vehemently anti-Sherman) asking me if I would let my son wear a Sherman jersey.

Thinking about it for a second, I determined that I would let him, but not encourage him. (Awesome passive-aggressive parenting by me, by the way.) Ted's point, which was fair, was less about jerseys and more about "Would you want your kid acting like that?"

The answer? Probably not, but I can tell you something even more offensive than Sherman-style mugging that would make me ground my sons from now until they're 50.


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Rockets Secure Home Court in First Round with Win Over the Spurs

Categories: Basketball, Sports

Photo by Jeff Balke
Dwight Howard's return leads the Rockets to home court in round one.
In her first trip to Las Vegas, my wife decided to place her very first sports bet on the Houston Rockets. She and two of her friends put $100 each on the Rockets in their game against Minnesota on Friday night. Any win would net them $190 each and even a loss by one would keep them from losing. The Rockets lost by 2 and it was then decided she should never bet on their games again.

This is life in the world of the Houston Rockets fans. If it is can go down to the wire, if they can lose critical games only to make them up with big wins later, that is what will happen. I am always amazed that despite playing 82 games, teams will fight for spots in the playoffs right down to the last game of the season. In this case, the Rockets did it in the second to last. Close enough.

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Does No Progress in CSN Houston Mediation Effort Really Mean No Progress?

The hard part of mediation is getting to yes.
The Houston Astros, Houston Rockets and Comcast gathered before federal district court judge Lynn Hughes on Friday. This wasn't a hearing, and no judicial orders were handed down. It was, instead, the third mediation session for the parties within the past several weeks. The dispute under mediation is the CSN Houston bankruptcy, but as has been the case since October of 2012 when the network went on the air, nothing was settled.

I handled lots of mediations back in my litigation days. I was a big fan of mediation days. They were days of easy billable hours that the client wouldn't dispute. The lunch was free, and there were usually free muffins and donuts for breakfast with all of the free drinks one could desire. For me, this was back in the days before BlackBerrys and iPhones, so a day at mediation was a day away from emails and constant disruptions from partners. It was bliss.

The one issue with those mediation days was the whole mediation thing. Mediation works great in concept. It brings the parties together with a chance to air their side, give their position, with no consequences. The plaintiff gives its desired settlement. The defendant gives its position. The mediator puts the parties in different offices, then shuttles back and forth, trying to get the two sides to meet somewhere in the middle.

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Rockets Release Greg Smith, Sign Former Longhorn Dexter Pittman

Photo by Aaron Vazquez
Possibly the answer to Rocket's next-level chances.
The Houston Rockets' magic number (combined Rocket wins and Portland losses) to clinch home court in the first round of the playoffs and lock up the fourth seed (and a likely first round tussle with those Trail Blazers) is two.

So let's start there.

With four games to go in the regular season, and a clinching of the fourth seed in the Western Conference imminent, Daryl Morey and the Rockets can begin the process of getting their ducks in a row. That means being strategic about doling out minutes and granting rest. That means bringing back guys who are currently resting (Dwight Howard, most specifically) at just the right time to shake off the rust before a (hopefully) deep playoff run.

And, unfortunately for center Greg Smith, it means making sure you've got healthy bodies from top to bottom on the roster.

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Applying the Three True Outcomes to the CSN Houston Fiasco

Photo by Groovehouse
With no CSN deal yet, this is the only way some people can see an Astros game.
The Houston Astros are in week two of the regular season. The Houston Rockets regular season is quickly coming to an end. This makes for two years that the Rockets games have not been available for most Houston viewers, and it's the start of the second year that Astros games mostly haven't been available. And neither the Astros nor Rockets are receiving their media rights fees because CSN Houston is bankrupt.

The parties gathered for mediation with Judge Lynn Hughes two weeks ago. They had further mediation discussions this past Monday, and there is a scheduling order requesting the parties return to the judge's chambers for mediation on Friday morning. The parties aren't talking, so who knows what's going on in these discussions, though the fact that mediation talks continue should give some cause for optimism.

Read more: CSN Houston, Bankruptcy and Why the Rockets Aren't Just Innocent Victims

This whole fiasco has been hashed and rehashed time and time again since the involuntary bankruptcy filing, and before that, since the time the network went on air. But let's take a look at this in a new way, applying the baseball thinking known as the three true outcomes of strikeout, walk, and home run.

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How Home Court Could Help Rockets Make a Deep Playoff Run

Categories: Basketball, Sports

Playoff bound, but how far will they get?
Every team wants home court advantage. It is a fairly good predictor of which team will win a series (something like 64 percent of teams with the home court win that series). But, for the Rockets, who are close to tying up the fourth seed and a first-round home court advantage over either the Trailblazers or Warriors, it might be the key to making a deep playoff run if they have one in them.

This is because it increases their chances of getting to the second round, which seems stupidly obvious, but for this team, there is something else: the chance to get healthy and regain their chemistry.

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Four Keys to the NCAA March Madness Finals Monday Night

Photo by Aaron Friedman
Buffet can smell success, and knew the odds against getting a perfect NCAA bracket.
Prior to the beginning of this year's NCAA Men's Basketball tournament (affectionately referred to as "March Madness"), billionaire Warren Buffett was offering a billion dollars to anyone who could complete a perfect bracket.

The immediate reaction to anything that pays a billion dollars is "WOW," because, well, a billion is a lot. Never mind that the odds are like 9.2 quintillion to one to attain a perfect bracket, and Buffett's billion was safe by Saturday of the first weekend.

I mean, it's a BILLION!

Truth be told, if Buffett really wanted to put his money where his mouth was, he'd find a few million between his seat cushions to duke anybody who had Connecticut and Kentucky in their bracket finals!

Because that's what we have tonight.

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Cougars Go All In on Rocket's Kelvin Sampson Despite NCAA Issue

Phi Slama Jama.jpg
Is Kelvin Sampson the long sought-after answer?
The University of Houston announced last night that Houston Rockets assistant coach Kelvin Sampson has been named as the ninth head coach in the history of the men's basketball team. Sampson's the former head coach at Washington State, Oklahoma, and Indiana. He got all of those schools into the NCAA tournament. He also left the last two schools facing NCAA sanctions.

Sampson's well-regarded as a coach -- he's the actual Xs-and-Os guy on the Rockets staff. He was known as a good recruiter in college, and he won at a school, Washington State, where nobody but him has been able to win. But the hiring's not without controversy. The NCAA hit him with a five-year show cause letter in 2008, meaning that any school hiring him essentially had to go to the NCAA and get permission. And the reason he was hit with the sanction, and the reason that Oklahoma and Indiana were put on probation, was because of improper cell phone and text message contacts with recruits, an issue that the NCAA now allows.

But the folks doing the hiring at UH aren't too concerned about the shadier aspects of Sampson's past as a head coach.

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Rockets Battle Injuries, Portland for Home Court Advantage in Playoffs

Categories: Basketball, Sports

Photo by Brian Austin
Rockets need to be careful or they could lose their coveted home court advantage.
Fortunes change quickly in the NBA. A 20-point lead, something rarely overcome in the low-scoring '90s, is now about four minutes of good shooting and defense away from a deficit. The same can be said of the standings. Even the shortest of losing streaks can take a team from home court advantage in the playoffs to the draft lottery, particularly in the hyper competitive Western Conference.

Last week, the Rockets were flying high having rebounded from a tough road trip to win five straight, all but solidifying their position as the four seed in the Western Conference playoff picture, particularly with Portland floundering, losers of three in a row. But, things change.

See also: Rocking With the Red Rowdies as They Cheer on the Rockets

With Patrick Beverley sidelined for at least a couple weeks -- presumably nearly all remaining nine games on the schedule -- and Dwight Howard resting a sore ankle he's been nursing for a while, the Rockets could be limping towards the playoffs while the Trailblazers, one spot behind in the playoff chance and the accepted first round opponent of the Rockets, surging.

Slim margins have a way of creeping up on you.

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Deplorable Oklahoma City Thunder Fans Tweet About Patrick Beverley and "Karma"

Photo by Artem Korzhimanov
Beverly had better days playing in Russia.
There aren't a whole lot of things that are off limits for sports fans.

Buying a ticket allows you to engage in every form of jackassery that doesn't harm somebody else. Social media allows you to directly interact with not only fans of other teams, but the actual players from those teams as well. All that's asked of fans is that they stay on the proper side of the law and act with a little decorum when they have their "fan" hats on.

But a few rotten apples will inevitably spoil every bunch, and sports fans are no different. People suck sometimes, as witnessed by the reaction of sheer joy by some Oklahoma City Thunder fans to Patrick Beverley's torn meniscus, suffered last Thursday against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Before we get to said reaction, a little background on the beef between Beverley and the Thunder followers.

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