Oh What a Night

So if you are a sports fan that enjoys a trip to the American Airlines Center, than you had a hell of a night. Whether you spend your sports dollar on the Stars or the Mavs your team had a huge playoff win this evening. Both team evened up their series with the Mavericks stealing home court from the Spurs with a game two win in San Antonio and the Stars winning game 4 right here in the good old Metroplex.

I don’t pretend to be much of a hockey expert so we will save my generic Stars points for later in the post, but as for my beloved Mavs, they broke out of a 10 game losing streak against the Spurs that stretched two seasons with an absolute blowout. Dallas beat the Spurs on their home floor with a score of 113-92. No joke, Shane Larkin, Jae Crowder, and Sarge where on the floor to close out a game against the almost unbeatable San Antonio team.

Perhaps even more strange is the fact that Dallas was able to split the first two on the road, and really dominate 88 of the 96 minutes in the series so far while both Dirk and Monte Ellis are finding a hard time getting a rhythm going. Dirk had another poor shooting night going 7-19 and scoring just 16 points, and Monte had a team high 21 but on just 8 of 20. Some of that has to be what the Spurs are doing on defense and tonight the Mavs were able to capitalize. The Mavs got 40 points from their bench led by 18 in another big night for Devin Harris and inconsistent scorers Shawn Marion and the much maligned Jose Calderon combined for 32.

Calderon deserves special mention as he scored 9 of his 12 in a short period of the 3rd quarter that answered a bit of a Spurs run and began an avalanche of Dallas buckets. With all the flack he has taken from us here at Strained Hammy and from other media outlets he deserves a great deal of credit.

One would expect that the Spurs will come out with their hair on fire Saturday at the AAC, but Dirk  should have an extra gear as well as the familiar rims in Dallas should get him out of his mini slump. If Dallas can survive game 3 and protect home court, it is time that I and the rest of us Mavs fans start to believe.

Some quick Stars thoughts.

How about this guy huh?

www.defendingbigd.com

Antoine Roussel continues to be the burr in Anaheim’s saddle as the Ducks spent the last couple of minutes in the game trying to fight rather than score as they were two goals down.

Kari Lehtonen never looked comfortable but after allowing two first period goals, was able to do just enough to keep the Ducks at bay.

After tying the game at 2 with two somewhat soft goals in the second, The Stars found the magic touch scoring two goals in the span of a minute in a half in the 3rd period.

The Ducks who spent much of the off day whining about being bullied by the Stars, shoved Garbutt into Kari right before Goligoski scored the Stars 4th and then put out 5 guys looking for a fight to close the game. The poor officials blew the whistle to signal the end of the game and then had to jump into duty trying to separate fights all over the ice.

Add that to the Rangers taking over first place in the AL West with a sweep of the A’s and today is a day that should have every Strained Hammy reader smiling. Go Mavs! And Stars! And Rangers. (No exclamation points in the regular season.)

20 Years at The Ballpark

20 years ago today, the first regular season game was played at The Ballpark in Arlington. The Brewers (still in the American League at the time) beat the Rangers 4-3. The Rangers’ bid for a comeback died when Juan Gonzalez grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded. Good ol’ David Hulse got the first hit in the pristine park, but Brewer Dave Nilsson hit the first home run. A lady who was posing for a picture fell from the Home Run Porch and broke two vertebrae, two ribs and six teeth. Not the best opening day, but a fitting one. Just like the team’s history since that day 20 years ago, there have been things to remember, but also things better forgotten.

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Strained Hammy Podcast: Episode 51

SH_ Stacked BLACK

In this week’s edition of the Strained Hammy Podcast, we talk about game one of 162 and the eight games the Mavericks have remaining. Then, in the third segment, Travis and Mark debate the merits of Aaron Eckhart’s Two-Face in The Dark Knight versus Tommy Lee Jone’s Two-Face in Batman Forever. Travis is so wrong.

Full Podcast:

Opening Day Segment:

Mavericks Final Stretch Segment:

Strained Hammy Podcast: Episode 49

SH_ Stacked BLACKIn the 49th edition of the Strained Hammy Podcast, we discuss SMU’s perceived snub, the Cowboys moves thus far in the offseason, our predictions for the rest of the Mavs’ season, and talk about our guilty pleasures. Also expertly woven into the show are Travis reading athletes’ tweets, and an important debate on whether or not pie is superior to cake.

Full Show:

Sacked: DeMarcus Ware Released

www.dctimes.com

The Dallas Cowboys have released their franchise’s sack leader DeMarcus Ware after he refused to take a pay cut to remain with the team.

This move has been coming since the day after the Cowboys’ loss to Philadelphia when Ware retracted post game statements that he would consider a pay cut to stay in Dallas. Ware, it seemed, had been advised by his agent that the market for him would be strong enough that a deep cut in pay wouldn’t be necessary to maintain his security. ¬†Ware and his agent stuck to their guns despite three days of negotiations with Jerry Jones trying to talk DeMarcus into staying at a reduced rate.

Only the market will show us who properly valued Ware’s services.

I find it hard to knock the decision of Dallas’ front office, as a 32 year old player coming off the least productive season of his career surely doesn’t merit over 12 percent of your cap, but I can understand the feelings of some fans wondering why Jerry Jones would choose to take a stand with Ware.

Ware has been arguably the Cowboys’ best player in all but one of his nine seasons with the team, while amassing 117 career sacks including 7 seasons of double-digit sacks. He is a 7 time pro bowler and 4 time All-Pro selection. Ware is also a team leader and an all-around good guy.

DeMarcus simply was world class in his time with Dallas and is a sure bet for the Ring of Honor and safe bet for the Hall of Fame. The problem lies in the fact that Ware’s contract was ballooned in the last for seasons and Dallas could not afford to pay a declining player for past services rendered. Especially as he isn’t a good fit in their new 4-3 defensive scheme.

I have very little doubt that DeMarcus will return with another team in a 3-4 scheme and possibly return to form with another couple seasons of double-digit sacks. It is important to remember as Cowboys fans that he would most likely not have been able to achieve those feats in this defense however, and that he will likely be at half the cost for his new team.

The Cowboys made the right call with DeMarcus Ware. Cutting DeMarcus saves Dallas 7.4 million against this years cap and rids the Cowboys of 3 more years of a bloated salary. No matter how great – and Ware was truly great – NFL teams can’t over pay over-the-hill players. One does wonder where this cap conscious philosophy was last off-season when they extended their quarterback though.

In the end, all we can do is tip our hats and wave goodbye as one of our greatest Cowboys finds a new home.

Strained Hammy Podcast Episode 48

On this weeks show we discuss the Mavs big weekend, go In The Crease with Mitchell Droz, do some local quick hits and talk about the acquisition of Speak Easy Studios. Download the whole podcast or look below to download any one segment of the show. We have moved to Sound Cloud so you can either stream the show by hitting play, or download by clicking the icon on the top right of the embedded media player.

Episode 48 in full