NBA Playoffs 2015: Dallas Is Still Screwed, But Cracks In The Rockets Are Evident

Categories: Game Time, Sports

Monica Fuentes
The Houston Rockets are still going to beat the Dallas Mavericks in this opening round NBA Playoff series, let's get that out of the way right now. They'll probably do it at home on Tuesday night, and they'll probably do it fairly resoundingly, perhaps just as resoundingly as the Mavericks thrashed them on Sunday night in Dallas.

A sweep would have been nice, only because it would've been symbolically at least a sign of dominance over a team that, let's face it, is really fun to dominate and embarrass in every conceivable way. Mark Cuban, Midget Barea, Dirk's Count Chocula face -- there's a lot to "sports hate" about the Dallas Mavericks.

However, one of the benefits of playing a seven game series each round is that the truth generally bubbles to the surface over a best-of-seven, and honestly, this was a Rockets team that was probably feeling a little too good about itself up 3-0 on a wounded, dysfunctional Mavericks squad.

If the Rockets make a deep playoff run, we will likely look back at Sunday night's 121-109 as a necessary reminder of their flaws, a loss for the greater good.

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Give It Up, Hockey's Not Returning To Houston

Categories: Sports

John Royal
The Aeros celebrate a goal during the last game ever played in Houston
It's been two years since professional hockey was last played in Houston. The game, played April 28, 2013, was a 3-2 Aeros loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins in game two of the first round of the AHL's Calder Cup playoffs. The Aeros, not able to come to terms with Toyota Center for a new lease, relocated to Des Moines the following season.

Many of the Aeros on that last squad to play in Houston played key roles as the Minnesota Wild, the NHL team that owned the Aeros, won it's first round Stanley Cup playoff series over the St. Louis Blues yesterday. While happy for the players, and the Wild, it undoubtedly brought about some bittersweet feelings for those Aeros fans now deprived of a team. And it also, as always, brings up talk as to whether there will ever be another AHL team in Houston, or whether Houston could support a NHL franchise.

Houston could support another a AHL team, and it could definitely support a NHL team. The Wild was happy with Houston as a home for the Aeros. Attendance was good, the fans were passionate, and players and staff liked playing in Houston. The proximity of two major airports allowed the Wild to easily call up players and get them to any location needed. The league liked having a team in Houston for these same reasons. And Toyota Center was built with housing a hockey team in mind, which would make it easy to accommodate a NHL team.

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NFL Draft 2015: Six Questions That Will Impact The Houston Texans' Draft

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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We are down to the final three days before the first round of the NFL Draft, and we are just now beginning to drift into the part of the draft calendar where guys begin inexplicably rising up draft boards (Todd Gurley) or plummeting (Vic Beasley's somehow not being a first round pick in Mel Kiper's latest mock draft) based on merely existing and little else.

It just makes me think back to last year when, for some reason, the NFL thought it would be a good idea to have the draft in the second weekend of May. This meant we had an entire extra week of baseless speculation and faux chess moves. If the 2014 NFL Draft were a piece of toast, it would've been black, burnt, and charred.

I am thankful those days are gone. By the time Thursday rolls around, the 2015 NFL Draft should be ready to pull out of the proverbial toaster perfectly browned and ready to go. And when the Texans pick at 16th (assuming no trades), and again at 50th and 82nd on Friday, their decision making process will likely be regulated by the following key questions:

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Obama Cracks "Deflate-Gate" Joke on Patriots During White House Visit (w/ VIDEO)

Categories: Game Time, Sports

There was a time for the New England Patriots, back during the dawning of this new millennium from the 2001 through 2004 football seasons, when visits to the White House became old hat.

My radio cohost Ted Johnson was a starting inside linebacker on those first three Patriots Super Bowl champion teams back then, and he jokes about how he became fast friends with then President George W. Bush, working his way to not just a first name basis but a nickname basis.

Back then, the Patriots thought these visits would become a regular thing. However, it turns out they needed another decade (not to mention a miracle interception from cornerback Malcolm Butler) to get back onto the White House lawn.

The most recent trip for the Patriots happened yesterday, and who knew that in a decade the champions' visit to meet the commander in chief had evolved (devolved?) from a cordial round of coffee and pie (figuratively) to a Hollywood roast?

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The Astros (and Evan Gattis) Are Out to Redefine the Meaning of the Designated Hitter

Categories: Sports

Evan Gattis is just a pawn in the Astros attempt to change baseball as we know it
The Houston Astros front office is comprised of geniuses, including a former rocket scientist. Billy Beane's "Moneyball" strategy is all well and good, but what the Astros are doing puts Beane to shame.

Take this past offseason when the Astros traded highly touted minor league prospects Rio Ruiz and Mike Foltynewicz to the Atlanta Braves for Evan Gattis. Ruiz was a third baseman who some felt had yet to live up to his potential while Foltynewicz was a fireballing reliever who often hit 100-plus on the radar gun but had a few issues with control. Gattis meanwhile was a strikeout prone, mediocre catcher/outfielder who hit home runs. It made no sense to many observers that the Astros, a rebuilding team, would trade highly regarded prospects for a guy who was essentially just another version of Chris Carter and Jon Singleton.

But three weeks into the season, the genius of the Astros should now be obvious to every person possessing even the slightest knowledge of baseball. The Astros brass is redefining the meaning of the "designated hitter," obviously with the hopes that the rest of organized baseball will follow in lockstep, thus forcing baseball to do away with the position forever and ever and restoring the pitcher to the batting order for the rest of time, doomed to flail away at-bat after at-bat after at-bat.

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Former Texan Andre Johnson: Move to Indy "A Breath of Fresh Air"

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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Photo by Eric Sauceda
Apparently the grass is greener...
The dissolution of long-term relationships is a complicated thing. They tend to fall into two categories.

On the one side, you have the bitter breakup, after which both sides wish the interpersonal equivalent of a plague on the other party's house. Those vitriolic breakups are raw, but honest. Then on the other side, you have the cordial breakup, where both parties figuratively shake hands and wish the other party the best of luck. Roughly, 98 percent of the cordial breaker-uppers are liars.

Practically everyone privately hopes that their significant other's next slew of relationships fail miserably because we all want to cling to some idealistic notion that we were "their best" (even if, for many of us, being the best at anything is a virtual impossibility).

I say all of this to lead up to our first update on former Texan Andre Johnson, who broke up with the Texans back in March, and with whom many of you out there tried to conduct a cordial breakup when it all went down.

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Dallas Cowboy Greg Hardy Suspended 10 Games for Domestic Violence Incident

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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Shea Huening via Flickr
Wow, it was a rough Wednesday for the city of Dallas. Of course, there was the 24 hour period where the Rockets shoved the Mavericks to within a half step of falling into the NBA playoff canyon, and then the team essentially fired its point guard (for whom they traded three players, two draft picks, and a nearly $13 million trade exception). That was fun.

Of course, you had to know that Jerry Jones wasn't going to let Mark Cuban have all of the fun, right? No way. The Cowboys had to get in on some of the fun.

And so it was that on Wednesday, the newest Dallas Cowboy, defensive end and noted domestic abuser Greg Hardy was slapped with a 10 game suspension by the NFL for the physical abuse of his girlfriend last year when Hardy was a member of the Carolina Panthers.

The details of the NFL's two month investigation confirm some pretty shocking details of the incident between Hardy and his then girlfriend Nicole Holder. From the Twitter feed of Yahoo! Sports' Rand Getlin:

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Rajon Rondo Is Done for the Playoffs With an "Injured Back"

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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Sometimes the best deals are the ones you don't make. Along the multiyear journey of building the 2014-15 Houston Rockets, general manager Daryl Morey has learned and relearned this lesson a handful of times.

Ultimately, after an offseason in which they swung and missed on numerous free agents, perhaps this season's Rockets will be the ultimate reinforcement of that adage. Either way, whether they win a title or not, it is undeniable that the Rockets should be thankful that any interest they had in Rajon Rondo back in December didn't turn into Rondo's becoming a Rocket.

The surly, truculent eighth year point guard is the Dallas Mavericks problem now, and on Tuesday, after a Game 2 in which Rondo obliterated every semblance of teamwork and winning culture, Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle opted to put that problem in the freezer.

Per's Marc Stein, the news came down this afternoon:

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Houston Texans Announce 2015 Schedule

Categories: Game Time, Sports

Of all its properties and assets, perhaps the one that the NFL most grossly misuses and improperly leverages is the reveal of the upcoming season's schedule. Fans in NFL cities love finding out when and where their teams are going to play in the upcoming season, and how many primetime games their teams will have.

And yet the NFL treats it with the urgency and magnitude of an appointment at Supercuts, waiting to nail down the exact date and time of the unveiling until like 48 hours before that date. I don't get it, but it's not my job to get it. It's my job to analyze it once the schedule is released.

After a few leaks here and there on Tuesday afternoon, we finally got the goods on Tuesday night. Here is the Houston Texans 2015 schedule:

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Rockets Roll in Fourth Quarter to Go Up 2-0 Against Dallas 111-99

Categories: Sports

Photo by Jeff Balke
Dwight Howard and Josh Smith hooked up for 43 points, 20 rebounds and 11 assists against the Mavs.
For three quarters and just over a minute, the Rockets slogged through an awful shooting night while a depleted Dallas team did everything they could to keep it close including setting a team playoff record for consecutive makes at the free throw line without a miss. It was the game the Mavs wanted: slow, physical and ugly. Monte Ellis hit a three pointer to close out the third quarter, added a two to start the fourth. After Amare Stoudamire hit a jump shot, the Mavs had run off seven straight and they were up 84-81.

From that point on, the Rockets outscored Dallas 30-15, many on a series of alley oop dunks courtesy of Dwight Howard and Josh Smith, current teammates who looked what fans imagine they looked like back in high school when they played together on AAU squads. Smith finished with 15 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds in 25 minutes. Howard had 28 points and 12 rebounds and 2 blocks as well as numerous intimidations at the rim.

What had been a close, slug-it-out matchup turned into a rout as both teams cleared their bench waiting for only the final score and a short trip up Interstate 45 to Dallas for game three on Friday night.

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