Mavs Rout Thunder Behind Smothering Defense

Seth-Curry-Crossover

The return of Wes Matthews provided Dallas with an added spark Sunday night. It wasn’t that the team hadn’t been playing defense already -far from it. With their 104-89 victory tonight, Dallas strung together its seventh straight sub-100 defensive effort. Not bad for the boys in blue. The best example of this was a wild sequence in which Matthews took on Russell Westbrook at the top of the key and simply hounded him with active hands and solid positioning. Every time Russell turned, the Mavs flashed an added defender, forcing the triple-double machine back toward Matthews. Westbrook and Wes danced a bit, then Russ flipped up an awkward off-balance shot at the buzzer that missed everything. The crowd erupted and Wes pumped his fist. Matthews might have only chipped in 9 points, but his relentless effort nevertheless fueled a stellar effort. [Read more…]

Wesley Matthews Returns To Line-Up vs OKC

By Darreck Kirby
Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Minnesota Timberwolves

After missing the past two games with a hip injury, Wesley Matthewws is finally ready to return to the Mavericks lineup tonight vs Oklahoma City. The timing couldn’t be much better as OKC, even without explosive two-guard Victor Oladipo, still boasts the triple-double machine that is Russell Westbrook. And given Yogi Ferrell’s disadvantage in size and athleticism, don’t be surprised if Wes draws the proverbial short stick. Furthermore, with this being the second game of a five-game homestand, Dallas needs a win if it’s going to remain in the hunt for the Western Conference’s 8 seed. Wes Matthews returning, even if not immediately into the starting lineup, should help that cause. [Read more…]

WWE Fastlane (2017) – Last Minute Predictions

The first of many, Project Shanks will begin covering WWE and not only predicting its pay per view results, but grading and analysing them as well. First up, Fastlane. Let’s dig in!

Kickoff Match
Rich Swann & Akira Tozawa vs The Brian Kendrick & Noam Dar

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To say the cruiserweight division has been lacking thus far would be an understatement. The division, despite generating interest and working to build new stars for months via the wildly popular Cruiserweight Classic last year, has really struggled to find its place on Raw. To help with this, WWE has gone as far as to give the cruiserweights their own show on the WWE Network following Smackdown every Tuesday night, 205 Live. [Read more…]

Here’s The Thing – Steve’s Things

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
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I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

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Hello there, friends and inmates, it’s good to talk to you again. I’ve just returned from Las Vegas, after attending my daughter’s three day volleyball tournament, and I’m tired. Not the normal Vegas-tired, after 5AM tequila shooters and mornings spent uttering the phrase “Where are my pants?” and “When did I get a Yosemite Sam tattoo on my buttcheek?” No, this is just old people/parent tired. Either way, focusing this morning has been difficult. [Read more…]

Here’s The Thing – Thank You For A Great Super Bowl, Stonecutters!

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
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I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

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So let’s see, what to talk about today … bowling? Cricket? Amazingly yummy kale recipes? Nah, I guess we’ll discuss that football game, The Super Bowl or whatever. I mean, bowling and cricket are boring and yummy kale recipes simply do not exist, so we might as well discuss the incredibly ridiculous Patriots comeback that may or may not prove Tom Brady is from another planet. [Read more…]

Here’s The Thing – Super Bowl Locks With Gamblicus

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
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I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

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It’s finally here, friends and inmates, the final Mortal Lock Friday before the Super Bowl! That magical Sunday when football fans gather with non-football fans to watch a game, have fun and become annoyed with the non-football fans after about 8 minutes of having to answer questions with “No, Johnny Manziel isn’t in this game,” “I don’t know why their uniforms don’t have more red in them,” and “I’m sorry no one is eating your broccoli, but I TOLD you not to bring it!” [Read more…]

Here’s The Thing – Super Bowl Prop Bets

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
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I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

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It’s Super Bowl week, friends and inmates! The one day a year when people of all races, religions and creeds gather together, clog their arteries, ruin themselves for work the next day, and most importantly root against the Patriots. It’s also the best time of year to gamble away your family’s savings, not only on the game itself but on silly, ridiculous prop bets that no sane person would risk anything on. [Read more…]

Here’s The Thing – Norm Peterson Saves The World

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
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I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

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Well I want to say good morning to you, friends and inmates. So I will. After all, it’s my two minutes of airtime, and I’m a free man as long as my wife isn’t here to tell me what to do, so I’ll do what I want: GOOD MORNING, FRIENDS AND INMATES. It’s a glorious morning in my part of the world, as I’ve been exchanging Cheers quotes with friends all morning on Twitter. Why does that make it a great morning? Well…

See, Here’s The Thing; My Twitter, my rules, my fun. Besides the fact that Cheers is the greatest sitcom of all time and I will fistfight you in the town square at high noon if you disagree don’t come AT me … sorry, got a little worked up there. My point is, for a guy who thrives on chaos and despises order and routine, the unpredictability of Twitter is a Godsend. For SportsTwitter fans, this chaotic existence holds true to the highest magnitude. The fact that complete strangers can jump into your sports conversation with intelligent witty comments is endlessly fascinating to me. The fact that complete strangers usually jump into your sports conversation with misspelled, vulgarity-laden stupid comments is endlessly entertaining to me. For example, yesterday I had no idea when I woke up that I’d end up being on the butt end of a comment including the phrase “Boo! Ass(bleep)! Boo!” Now I ask you, how can that NOT be one of your best days ever? Some people get so frustrated on social media and I don’t understand it – if someone else wants to be an aggressive moron, that’s just more fodder for my Fun Machine! Point out their idiocy! Egg them on! Most of the time, their own words make them look like a far bigger doofus than anything I could say, so I give them all the rope they want to hang themselves, then sit back and enjoy the show. As that wise old sage Norm Peterson once said “Is any of this going to raise the price of beer? No? Then what do I care?”

Look, we don’t have to agree on sports, it’s not worth fighting about. We only have to agree that Cheers is the greatest sitcom of all time. That? Well, that’s worth dying over. I will cut you. Try me.

Find my Twitter, Facebook Fan Page, comedy schedule and buy my CD all on my website at MiddleAgedMarriedGuy.com. For Project Shanks, I’m Stephen Thomas, and that was The Thing.

HeresTheThingArt

What We Know In The NFC Championship Round

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

And then there were four.

After a really good weekend of Divisional games, we’re down to the Championship Round for the NFL. There’s only three games left in the season, so what have we learned so far?

Well first, this is a great time for quarterbacks. We’ve got an amazing final four. I know it’s shallow to say that because it doesn’t show enough appreciation for the defenses, backs, line play, etcetera, but come on. We’ve got the best four quarterbacks in the league all still standing.

And while we’re at it, this year shows there’s no price too big to pay to get your franchise quarterback. Look at the four remaining teams and you’ll see three Super Bowl winners and a guy who’ll probably be the MVP. Look at the bottom of the league and you’ll see teams who desperately need quarterbacks, and they try and they fail about every other year. Look at Houston hurling millions at a guy they had never worked out, just in hopes he’d be the best quarterback the Texans have ever had, which is to say he’d be slightly better than average. The Jets had four quarterbacks on the roster this year, and might do four different ones next year until something sticks. If you have a Pro Bowl guy taking the snaps, you’ve always got a chance. And if not? Forget it.

The only thing more important than quarterback might be the overall philosophy of these teams. The organization is all on the same page, from owner to coach to assistants to scouts to popcorn vendors. There’s a long-term buy-in there from three of them, and Atlanta is well on their way too. The teams still playing are, for the most part, always there. Their team philosophy is well understood, and has been for quite some time.

Basically if you can imagine the team name fitting into the sentence “The (Blank) Way,” they know what they’re doing. The Patriots Way. The Packers Way.

Ever try it with a bad team? Can you define “the Jaguars Way” without stammering for a moment and then just letting your voice trail off?

Speaking of locker rooms and attitudes, just a reminder, kids. Post-game complaints are whiny. They put the “loser” in “sore loser.” Travis Kelce blamed the Chiefs loss on a holding penalty, and called out a referee who’s going to be working the Super Bowl. Kelce also committed one of the dumbest after-the-play penalties I’ve ever seen in the playoffs, and plays in an offense that couldn’t make a two-point conversion from the twelve if you gave them six downs to do it. So calling out the ref for a fairly obvious penalty is a pretty weak argument.

And please, that “you never played the game so you can’t criticize me” argument is beyond lame. The NFL is a public entity, it’s not a secret society. The reason these players can buy houses and cars and mistresses is because people who never played the game at the highest level are willing to shell out thousands of dollars for seats, shirts, jerseys, socks, caskets, and anything else the NFL is willing to slap a logo on. If that means you have to answer questions once in a while from a guy who went to college and actually went to class, then that’s a small price to pay for league minimum wage.

And finally, we learned bad teams are willing to take some chances. We saw no major retreads in the coaching hires, and lots of (sometimes very) young, hungry assistant coaches working their way up the food chain, earning one of those thirty-two gigs.

Of course, the success rate on those young coaches is somewhere around thirty percent, but one of them could be the next Bill Belichick, just as soon as they get fired from this first job and land another one.

On to the picks for Sunday. I was 1-3 last week, and also 1-3 against the spread, which makes me 5-3 straight up, and 4-4 against the spread in the playoffs. I’ll need to get lucky this week to stay on the sunny side of the street.

Here’s the picks for Championship Sunday. Remember, these are for the purposes of discussion only. As always, no wagering.

Green Bay (+5.5) at Atlanta: This game might come down to two or three defensive plays, quite possibly because those are the only plays made defensively in this entire game. Aaron Rodgers may be the most exciting quarterback in decades, but magic runs out in Green Bay eventually. Or at least Don Majkowski did.
Pick: Falcons to win and cover, which means I think they’ll win by six.

Pittsburgh (+6) at New England: I don’t know what the big deal was about Antonio Brown’s live video from the locker room. That’s pretty much what everyone outside of the immediate Boston area calls the Patriots.
Pick: Patriots to win, but Steelers with the points, which means I think the Steelers will lose by five or less.

I’ll also admit here that I’m hoping for the exact opposite of those results, but you root with your heart and bet with your head. I’ll be back next week to talk about the exquisite ridiculousness of the Super Bowl, but until then, good luck, everybody.

- Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s second book, “I Hate It Here: A Love Story,” is out now on Amazon.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.

Here’s The Thing – Countdowns Are Cool

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
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Did you know it’s 19 days until The Super Bowl? I do, because countdowns are something that I love. I am a red blooded American male and a sports fan, which by law means I love bacon, cheerleaders, steak cooked rare, beer in mass quantities, and knowing exactly how many days until my next opportunity for bacon, cheerleaders, steak cooked rare and beer in mass quantities. Plus, counting backwards is cool. [Read more…]

Here’s The Thing – DraftTwitter And Testosterone Fights

By Stephen Thomas (@15Stephen15)
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I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

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Well joyous greetings to you, friends and inmates. Another glorious day of sunshine coats the Earth, we’re all above the dirt and breathing and most of us don’t have angry squirrels attacking our genitals. In other words, it’s a good day. You’d never know that if you’re an NFL fan and currently reading DraftTwitter, though. You’d think we’re 4 hours into The Purge, and you’re the best friend that everyone just knows isn’t going to make it to the end of the movie. [Read more…]

The Biggest of NFL Disappointments

By Reid Kerr
PSDC Offensive Coordinator

The Wild Card weekend wraps up today, and while there’s plenty of time to celebrate the twelve teams that made the playoffs, there’s twenty others who have already cleaned out their lockers and headed off for vacation. Some have known for weeks their season would end January first, and some just found out Sunday night. And while places like Dallas and Oakland experienced better than expected seasons, I tend to settle in on the more morbid questions.

Who was the most disappointing team?

Perhaps it’s my nature as a Buffalo Bills fan, but I can appreciate anguish. Note I’m not talking about the worst team, Cleveland definitely had the worst record, but wasn’t the most disappointing. The Browns are headed in the right direction, although they’re moving about as fast as that old man character that Tim Conway used to play.

Yes, kids, I know that’s not a timely reference. Just YouTube it, and thank me later.

And even though they fired their coach and general manager, San Francisco can’t realistically be disappointed with two wins from that talentless grease fire of a team. The only way they could be a playoff team would be if they played the Rams every week.

Disappointment doesn’t come from low expectations, it’s the hangover from high hopes dashed. It’s the difference between hoping your team can fight their way to .500 ball, and starting to plan your Super Bowl Party in August.

For example, the Bengals went from 12-4 to 6-9-1, and finally ended their string of first-round playoff losses. Cincinnati fans had big expectations this year based on past regular season performance, and the Bengals disappointed at every turn. This was a team where fans couldn’t even take extra points for granted.

After five weeks, Minnesota was 5-0 and the team to beat. Vikings fans were crazed, but injuries caught up with them, and eventually Sam Bradford remembered he was Sam Bradford. On their way to 8-8, the Vikings not only lost four of their most important offensive players, they lost their offensive coordinator and head coach at various times during the season. The only way it could have been worse was if the injury cart ran through a barricade and wound up frozen in an ice floe.

Two years ago the New York Jets were playing for a playoff spot in the final game of the season. That was the year Jets fans and Ryan Fitzpatrick will tell stories about for some time to come, because this year’s team stunk. They went from 10-6 to 5-11, fired five assistant coaches and let Chan Gailey retire. The Jets had four quarterbacks, none of which could throw their way out of a paper bag. After being six points from the playoffs, the Jets fell apart like the last few seasons of “Dexter.”

For my money, the most disappointing team in 2016 was Carolina, from 15-1 and MVP to 6-10 and SOL. Injuries derailed them early, and while Cam Newton wasn’t as bad as it seemed on paper, him complaining about getting hit so much didn’t help to rehab his public image after an awkward Super Bowl performance. If you’re a Panthers fan, you go from thinking you’re at the beginning of a dynasty to watching your offensive line getting turnstiled, Kelvin Benjamin sleepwalking through games, and your MVP superstar getting leveled every other play because he doesn’t know how to slide.

On to the picks. For the regular season, I wound up 69-40-1 straight up for a winning percentage of 63.2%, and 45-62-3 against the spread, which is 42.3%. Both of the numbers would fall into the “crying shame” category for me, so I really need to make my reputation back in the playoffs.

Here’s the picks for Wild Card Sunday. Remember, these are for the purposes of discussion only. As always, no wagering.

Miami (+10) at Pittsburgh: This is the first playoff game the Steelers have ever played with Roethlisberger, Bell, and Brown all healthy. Not so fast, Ndamukong Suh says.
Pick: Steelers to win and cover, which means I think they’ll win by more than ten. And I really hope I’m right here, because I think the Steelers are our only hope of keeping the Patriots from romping through the AFC Playoffs.

NY Giants (+4.5) at Green Bay: This one’s a question of what we’ll see. Is this the Giants team that beat Dallas twice, or the one with the atrocious offense that’s either a touchdown to Odell Beckham Jr. or a rush for a yard and a half? And is this the 4-6 Packers, or the team riding a six game winning streak with a running back wearing a weird number? It’s defense against offense, Rodgers against Manning, State Farm against DirecTV.
Pick: Packers to win straight up, but Giants with the points, which means I think they’ll lose by less than five.

I’ll also take Alabama over Clemson, “The Goldbergs” over “The Big Bang Theory,” and winter in Texas over winter in Kentucky, because the snow won’t kill you in Texas. Good luck, everybody.

- Reid Kerr talks a lot, as his wife always reminds him. Reid’s second book, “I Hate It Here: A Love Story,” is out now on Amazon.com. You can always tweet questions, comments, and angry messages to him at @reidaboutit.