Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins On Andre Johnson's Departure: "No Comment"

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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Photo by Eric Sauseda
The 2015 season unofficially began on Monday as the Texans returned to NRG Stadium to begin voluntary workouts. It's the "first day of school" date on the NFL calendar, where guys return from their vacations, talk about what they did during their time off, and meet the new kids in class (what's up Vince, Cecil, and Rahim?).

Unlike last season, when Andre Johnson was digging his heels in for a summer of discontent, there's no real off field drama or ill will surrounding this group this season. Just a bunch of guys ready to get to work to try and improve on last season's 9-7 record.

Still, even in Johnson's absence, the future Hall of Famer was still a topic, despite best efforts to diffuse the Johnson talk by somebody in the building.

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Clutch City: An Oral History of the Houston Rockets Miracle Playoff Run

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Getty Images/Houston Rockets

Resting on the coffee table in Leslie Alexander's suite at the Toyota Center, the Rockets' two championship trophies look exactly the same. Both a little tarnished from handprints and the normal wear and tear of two decades of team functions and selfies, they stand proudly, gold basketball teetering atop the gold net and rim.

However, any Rockets fan knows that the stories behind the two trophies couldn't be more different. That 1993-94 trophy, the prize from a series in which the Rockets overcame Patrick Ewing, John Starks and the O.J. Simpson Chase (NBC cut away from Game 5 to follow the chase, then did split-screen coverage of both), was won by a team that was a model of consistency, formulaic but effective. Hakeem Olajuwon and a band of souped up-role players, who played their roles perfectly. Dump it in to the big guy, let him draw double teams; if he kicks it out, just make the shot. And at the other end, DEFEND. DEFEND like they're attacking your home.

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Houston Rockets Playoffs 2015: Sorry Dallas, You're Screwed

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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Monica Fuentes
In the throes of January and February, the cold "dog days" of the NBA regular season, we hear about teams routinely resting star players for the "long haul" and the "greater good," but when you play in the NBA's Western Conference, we were reminded this season that every game matters.

Every game was the difference between the six seed and the two seed, and as the third seeded Clippers were finishing their mopping of the floor with the sixth seeded Spurs on Sunday night (R.I.P. Aron Baynes, by the way), we got another reminder as to why we all rooted for the Rockets against the Jazz last Wednesday in Regular Season Game 82 like it was a playoff game, and why we stuck around to watch the waning moments of that Pelicans-Spurs game on the big screen.

The first reminder, though, came Saturday night. Rockets 118, Mavericks 108. This is why getting the two seed was so important. Because the Mavericks are ill equipped to deal with the Houston Rockets.

Completely, utterly, totally, ill equipped.

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Patriots WR Julian Edelman Creates Hilarious NFL-Star Wars Mashup (w/ VIDEO)

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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YouTube
In this day and age of YouTube, where we can watch pretty much anything we want to any time we want to from a device that we are holding in our hands, for upcoming blockbuster films, the release of its movie trailer is sometimes greeted with almost as much enthusiasm as the movie itself.

And the best movie trailers make us drool in anticipation of whatever movie it is they are selling to us.

The internet experienced that sensation this past week when the creators of the upcoming Star Wars movie released the second trailer for Episode 7 ("The Force Awakens" if you're into the exact moniker for the various chapters in the series). This one received particular praise for the inclusion of a 70-something Harrison Ford in the final few seconds.

Here's the trailer:

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Just Another (Yawn, Ho-Hum) Winning Season For Rice Baseball

Categories: Sports

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John Royal
Just another Saturday night at Rice's Reckling Park
There is a remarkable consistency to the Rice Owls baseball team. A clockwork type of precision, almost, when one steps back from the day-to-day and goes to the season-to-season. Take this season, where after winning three of four games this week, the Owls have a record of 26-16. Last year, after 42 games, the Owls were 29-13. And after taking two of the three games from conference rival UTSA over the weekend, the Owls are 14-7 in conference as compared to last year's 15-6 at this time.

Ho-hum. Yawn. Nothing special to see here. Just a remarkably consistent team doing what it does year in and year out, season after season. Winning games. Staying at the top of the conference. Going to the NCAA Regionals. Can the Owls pitch? Yes. Can the Owls hit? Always. It's almost boring, this Rice consistency, this winning time and again. It's something the fan takes for granted, that the Owls will win games and somehow end up as one of the 64 teams playing for the chance to make it to Omaha and advance to the College World Series.

But the winning's not as easy as it seems. There are bumps along the road every season. Injuries, slumps, just plain stupid mistakes. It's how a team adjusts to these moments that separates the pretenders from the contenders. This has become the standard for the Owls, making the adjustments, shutting the lineup or the rotation, moving guys in and out of the closer spot, finding the ways to get the former ace recovering from Tommy John surgery back into the rotation.

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Out of Rehab, Johnny Manziel Issues an Apology Statement

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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Johnny Football issues an apology.
"With the 22nd pick, the Cleveland Browns select Johnny Manziel, quarterback from Texas A&M."

It's hard to believe that it was less than a year ago when Johnny Manziel heard his name called at the NFL Draft. At that time, he was barely removed from a three-month period where he became a social media hermit and (in retrospect) an "Eddie Haskell on steroids," focused on his workouts and saying all the right things. The future was bright; Johnny Football was movin' on up.

But almost literally from the moment the announcement left the mouth of Roger Goodell, it's been a reversion back to the college days of "JFF." I mean literally, as in Manziel walked out of the back making the money sign with his hands.

Well, the reversion back was a downward spiral, and when you head downward, eventually you hit rock bottom. Manziel landed in rehab after the season was over, and stayed there for ten weeks.

This week he got out, and Friday morning, he issued his first public statement since leaving the facility.

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UH Baseball Does Its Best (Worst) Astros Impersonation

Categories: Sports

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John Royal
The Cougars might have taken batting practice the other night, but it didn't translate into hits during the game
Seconds become minutes. Five minutes. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. Still the 25th ranked Houston Cougars remained huddled out in deep left field of Rice's Reckling Park. The game's long over, but it's almost like UH (23-14) is trying to hide in plain sight, seeking to escape the humiliation of Tuesday night's 11-0 loss to the 16th ranked Rice Owls (24-15).

The defeat was Astros-esque in its completeness. The Cougars got only two hits on the night while striking out 16 times (Rice starter Austin Orewiler struck out 11 Cougars in six innings). Starting pitcher Aaron Garza lasted just a third of an inning, giving up four runs on five hits. The defensive play was atrocious -- generous scoring limited UH to just two errors, though there could have been many, many more given out. This wasn't the type of game the 25th ranked in the program should play.

"We've got to play better," Cougars head coach Todd Whitting said Tuesday night. "We just have to play better baseball. You've got to keep it very simple. We just did not play very good tonight."

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2015 NBA Playoffs: Rockets-Mavericks Preview and Prediction

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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As the NBA regular season was winding down this week, one popular debate in Houston, particularly after the Memphis Grizzlies' losing to the Clippers on Saturday pushed the Rockets into a control-you-own-destiny situation for at least the five seed in the West, was "Which would be a better scenario for the Rockets -- a first round as the two seed against Dallas or a first round as the five seed against a banged up Portland?

Keeping in mind, the Rockets would have home court in either series, there was a line of thinking that Portland would at least be the easier first round matchup, what with injuries up and down their roster. The Rockets would probably not have home court for the rest of the playoffs after that, but so many Rocket fans just want to win one series right now, the thinking is deal with the second round when it comes.

And as I stood in the Toyota Center on Wednesday night after a Rockets win over the Jazz watching the Pelicans upset the Spurs, thus launching the Rockets into the two seed against the Mavs, all I could think is how stupid the debate as about which first round opponent the Rockets would rather face.

Because the Rockets are not playing for the first round. They're playing for a championship. And the two seed is clearly the more logical path. Plus, are we really scared of the Dallas Mavericks?

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Fan Fighting League! Baseball Season Is Underway As Oriole Fan Punches Yankee Fan

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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YouTube
SPORTS!
The winter typically provides a lull in when it comes to my Fan Fighting League. You all know the FFL, right? It's my fictional league that I created (and proclaimed myself commissioner of) in order to bring attention to fans from opposing teams beating the snot out of each other at sporting events.

Fact of the matter is that football season is always going to be prime FFL season, since that's a sport in which fans punching each other in the stands is as embedded a tradition as fight songs and cheerleaders.

During the dead of winter, we see almost no fights, since the NBA is not really a "crowd brawl" kind of sport, especially since Ron Artest renamed himself Metta World Peace and then disappeared.

But baseball. Oh sweet baseball. We love you. Especially up in the Northeast, where the hate between fan bases should have a color coded alert system, like the terror level.

So it's nice to get the FFL baseball season started with a sweet set of fisticuffs between an Oriole fan and a Yankee fan in Camden Yards!

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Aaron Hernandez: Guilty Of First Degree Murder And Lots Of Other Stuff (w/ Verdict VIDEO)

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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Screengrab from Facebook.com/AaronHernandez81
Needless to say, some teams (especially the Patriots) may be doing some double and triple checking on their weed enthusiast prospects the next couple weeks.
The NFL Draft begins exactly two weeks from today. Teams will spend the subsequent three days putting all of their exhaustive film study, research, interviewing, and background checking to work.

They spend millions on this stuff, trying to get it right. In fact, I don't know that I can think of an industry where more is spent on getting it right in which they get it wrong so often. Some of it's not their fault. There's only so many spots in the NFL, math will wipe out a majority of the guys who are picked, particularly in later rounds.

But some of the misses have nothing to do with a player's talent. Some of the misses are either poor vetting, or more likely, a willful ignorance in which they gauge the likelihood of criminal activity against the likelihood of a guy making the Pro Bowl.

The Patriots saw value in 2010 when Aaron Hernandez dropped to the fourth round.


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