Ryan's Place

Friday, December 30, 2005

Magic Smack the Wolves Around 107-87

From Sportsline.com:

Orlando Magic coach Brian Hill knows his team's three-game winning streak is just the nature of the NBA.

The Magic beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 107-87 on Friday night, ending a six-game homestand 3-3. Orlando had lost nine of its last 11 before its current winning streak.

"It's funny how this league goes," Hill said. "I think if you look at the whole league from the beginning of the year until now, there have probably been six or eight teams that have gone through what were going through.

"I can't really explain it but I'm just happy about the fact that we finished out really well these last three games and there's no reason why we cant go on the road and play the same type of basketball."

Jameer Nelson scored a season-high 25 points to lead Orlando, which begins a three-game road trip Jan. 3 at Detroit. Steve Francis added 21 points and Grant Hill 17. Dwight Howard had 17 points and 12 rebounds for his 20th double-double of the season.

"I think were playing a little bit better, a little more as a team, as opposed to going one-on-one and really just trying to put the team on your back," Nelson said.

Kevin Garnett led the Timberwolves with 29 points and Wally Szczerbiak added 24. Orlando's bench outscored Minnesota 40-13 and the Magic held a 42-25 rebounding advantage.

Howell Placed on IR, Kashama Sign to Roster

From Seahawks.com:

The Seattle Seahawks placed safety John Howell on injured reserve and signed defensive end Alain Kashama to the 53-man active roster, the team announced today.

Howell, who suffered a hamstring injury at San Francisco, played in 10 games this season primarily on special teams, where he recorded 11 special teams tackles. He saw time at safety one time this year at Arizona.

Seattle acquired Kashama August 28 for a 2006 conditional draft choice and spent the first four weeks of the season on the inactive list. Released October 4 after the team signed Jerheme Urban but signed to the practice squad the next day.

The Seahawks also signed second-year defensive end Bryant McNeal to their practice squad. He was originally a fourth-round choice (128th overall) of the Denver Broncos in the 2003 NFL Draft and spent last season as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Magic Beat Knicks 105-95

From Sportsline.com:

Grant Hill's return has made the Orlando Magic a better team.

In his seventh game back from surgery, Hill made several key baskets and scored 26 points, and Steve Francis had 17 points and six assists as the Magic beat the New York Knicks 105-95 Wednesday night.

"You can't say too much about Grant," Magic guard DeShawn Stevenson said. "He does everything. Guards, defends, and gets into the penalty. I think he played awesome tonight and he's our leader. We've got to feed off him."

The Magic spoiled a strong performance by New York's Eddy Curry. Playing in just his second game after missing four in a row with a sprained ankle, Curry had a season-high 29 points and nine rebounds. However, he left in the fourth quarter with a strained right calf.

"It makes me mad because I felt like we had a chance to win the game," said Curry, adding he would try to play the next game. "I felt like I let my team down."

With 27 offensive rebounds, the Knicks had plenty of chances to score, but shot just 36 percent. New York's reserves outscored its starters 75-20 -- helped by Curry and 24 points from Jamal Crawford. Stephon Marbury had five points, shooting 0-for-7 from the field.

The Knicks fell to 2-11 this month and 7-20 overall.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Magic Beat Bucks 108-93

From Sportsline.com:

The Orlando Magic are showing signs of coming together, just as coach Brian Hill hoped.

Steve Francis scored 21 points and Dwight Howard returned from a sprained right ankle injury to finish with 19 points and 14 rebounds as the Magic had their highest scoring game of the season in a 108-93 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night.

"We've had our ups and downs," Hill said. "We haven't become yet the team that we're capable of becoming. Tonight to me is an indicator that we're able to be a good team, we just have to do certain things on a consistent basis."

Grant Hill added 20 points for Orlando, which beat Milwaukee for the second time in seven games. The Bucks had won two straight overall and nine of their last 12.

Milwaukee star Michael Redd missed his first six shots and went 4-for-16 from the field. He was averaging 25 points but finished with 17. The rest of the Bucks weren't shooting much better, hitting just 44 percent compared to 54 percent for the Magic.

"I missed a lot of easy shots," Redd said. "No disrespect to their defense. I knew it would be geared toward me, but I missed a lot of shots I would normally make."

Hill credited DeShawn Stevenson for helping shut down Redd.

"He takes the challenge of playing the other team's best player," Hill said. "Not a lot of players want that challenge, but I think he kind of relishes it."

T.J. Ford had 19 points and nine rebounds, and Jamaal Magloire added 14 points and nine rebounds for Milwaukee.

"They did a good job of not letting us get back into the game," Ford said. "They kept making plays and kept attacking us."

Hedo Turkoglu scored 14 points and Stevenson added 12 points and four assists for Orlando.

Francis scored nine of his 21 in the third period, including an impressive follow shot after Howard missed a layup, to help keep the Bucks from getting close.

Hill continued to look more comfortable driving to the basket and pulling up for shots, connecting on several 15-footers from the baseline.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Seahawks Beat Colts 28-13, Clinch HFA; Alexander Ties Record

From NFL.com:

Tony Dungy got three hours of comfort.

Seattle got home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

Seahawks' NFL rushing leader Shaun Alexander ran for 139 yards and scored three touchdowns -- including a rare TD receiving -- to tie Priest Holmes' NFL record of 27 touchdowns in a season. That helped the Seahawks clinch NFC home-field advantage with a 28-13 victory over the injured, resting and reflective Indianapolis Colts.

The Colts (13-2), who already own home field in the AFC playoffs, were without Dungy. Their coach is in Tampa, Fla., where his son died in an apparent suicide.

Indianapolis players wore decals with black horseshoes on the backs of their helmets. The initials JD were inside, also inscribed in black. And a capacity crowd of 67,855 observed a moment of silence for the Dungy family before the 11th consecutive win for Seattle (13-2).

When the ceremony concluded, the scene turned into another normal NFL game day. The home crowd heartily booed the visitors.

"Then, it was just a normal game," Colts receiver Brandon Stokley said. "We knew that was the way it was going to be."

Immediately after it, Dungy called team president Bill Polian.

"It was right away, no sooner than I got in here," Polian said inside a Colts locker room that was subdued but not entirely devoid of banter.

Polian said Dungy "sounded good" and referred to watching the game as an escape from his tragic week.

"He watched all of it and said it helped him to root the team on," Polian said. "He wanted the players to know how proud he was of their effort."

Peyton Manning, when asked if there was a difference in the locker room without Dungy, said, "Not really."

"I think everyone had coach Dungy and his family on our minds," Manning said. "Our prayers are with him. But when you are out there playing, then you are out there trying to do your job."

Colts safety Mike Doss said: "I'm just glad we could give him some comfort for three hours."

Polian said one of the first things Dungy told him was, "Now I understand why you get so frustrated watching."

"Then he starting talking a bit about some of the officiating calls," Polian said, smiling and shaking his head.

But officiating had little to do with this one.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Magic Lose to Lakers 88-104

From Sportsline.com:

Orlando played all but the first few minutes without forward Dwight Howard, who limped into the locker room 2:42 into the first quarter with a sprained right ankle. X-rays were negative, and it was unclear when Howard would be back in the Magic lineup.

Howard said he rolled his ankle after stepping on another player's foot.

"I twirled a little bit, but I'll be all right," he said.

Besides missing his 14.7 points and 13 rebounds, Howard's absence also opened up the middle for Mihm.

The 7-footer hit from inside and out, going 8-of-9. He didn't miss a shot until a 15-foot jumper with 4:51 left in the fourth quarter. He fouled out with 2:16 left.

Steve Francis led Orlando with 28 points and nine assists. Grant Hill had 13 points and eight rebounds, and DeShawn Stevenson had 11 points and eight rebounds.

The Lakers shot 49 percent from the field compared with 39.5 for Orlando.

"I think it's a problem of being in sync," Francis said. "When you sit on the bench for seven or eight minutes and come in the last three or four, it's kind of hard to get back in sync and in rhythm. For the guys that are out there we have to contribute at a higher rate."

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

5 Seahawk Earn Pro Bowl Spots, 3 More Named Alternates

From Seahawks.com:

Seattle Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander, QB Matt Hasselbeck, G Steve Hutchinson, T Walter Jones and FB Mack Strong were selected to represent the club in the 2006 Pro Bowl, it was announced by the NFL Wednesday.

This will be the third consecutive appearance for Alexander, who tied a Pro Bowl record with three total touchdowns in his first appearance in 2003.

Alexander is the NFL’s leading rusher with 1,668 yards and also leads the NFL in scoring with 24 touchdowns, three away from tying Priest Holmes’ 2003 NFL record. He is the only player in NFL history to score 15 or more touchdowns five straight seasons, and has moved into a tie with Holmes for 12th on the all-time rushing touchdown list with 86. He started the season in 28th place.

This will be Hasselbeck’s second trip in three seasons. He is the NFC’s top-rated passer on the NFL’s top-ranked offense with a 96.3 QB rating while ranking in the top five among NFC passers in 10 categories. He has completed 271 of 420 passes (64.5%) for 3,215 yards, 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions, and became the first quarterback in club history to pass for 3,000 yards four consecutive seasons.

For Jones, this will mark his fifth consecutive trip to the NFL’s annual all-star game, and his sixth overall (1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005). Jones was the first and only Seattle offensive lineman to have ever been selected to participate in the Pro Bowl until Steve Hutchinson joined him in Hawaii in 2003. His sixth selection is the third-most in team history behind Cortez Kennedy (8) and Steve Largent (7).

This will mark Hutchinson’s third consecutive trip to Hawaii.

Hutchinson and Jones have started all 14 games this season and have served as the foundation for the NFL’s top-ranked offense. They have helped Alexander become the franchise’s leading rusher with 7,605 yards in just his sixth season. He needs just 29 yards to break his own single-season club record of 1,696 yards which he set last season. The two have helped form a line that has allowed just 21 sacks thus far, on pace to allow just 24 at season’s end which would mark the lowest total since allowing 23 in 1979.

For 13-year veteran Mack Strong, who originally signed with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent, it is his first trip to the NFL’s annual all-star game.

"It’s been 13 years of working hard," said Strong of his selection. "You’ve always wanted to be recognized as being one of the best at what you do. This year it’s finally happened. I’m very excited about that.”

Strong has blocked for eight consecutive 1,000 yard rushers and seven 1,200-yard rushers in the last eight seasons. Strong has also been Alexander’s escort to many of his 96 total touchdowns over the last six seasons.

“It’s a great honor," Strong said. "I don’t quite know how to even react. I’m still kind of numb from when I found out the news this morning. I’m very excited about having an opportunity."

Alexander was elated to learn that his best blocker had been tapped for the trip to Hawaii.

"I’m jumping up and screaming and pumping my fists," Alexander said. "I think I started the wave in there. I’m excited because Mack definitely deserves it.”

Seahawks K Josh Brown, LB Lofa Tatupu, and C Robbie Tobeck are alternates and will make the trip if a selected player is injured or chooses not to play.

Magic Lose Again to Nets 85-96

From Sportsline.com:

Vince Carter scored 32 points and Richard Jefferson added 18 to lead the New Jersey Nets over the Orlando Magic 96-85 on Wednesday night.

It was New Jersey's fourth straight win and Orlando's third straight loss. New Jersey is now over .500 (13-12) with the victory, its first on a three-game road trip.

Jameer Nelson scored seven points in a 13-2 Magic run that gave them a 77-76 lead with 8:25 left in the fourth quarter. But Carter made two free throws and threw down an alley-oop from Jason Kidd that gave the Nets an 81-77 lead. The Magic wouldn't seriously threaten again.

Carter also had a spectacular reverse dunk off an alley-oop from Kidd in the first quarter.

Grant Hill, in his fourth game back from surgery Oct. 31, had 16 points, as did Steve Francis. Dwight Howard added 14 points, 15 rebounds for the Magic.

Kidd finished with nine points and six assists and six rebounds.

The Magic hung around in the third quarter on jumpers from Hill, but trailed most of the period by five. After scoring just two points in the first half, Hill scored 10 of Orlando's 27 in the third.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Magic Lose by 2 to the Raptors

From Sportsline.com:

Tony Battie, who had 13 points and nine rebounds, made a 20-footer to draw the Magic within 89-88 with 32 seconds left, but Toronto ran the shot clock down before Peterson's 3-pointer from the corner as the clock expired.

"That's my bread-and-butter spot," Peterson said. "If you get an open look like that in this league, you've got to knock down the shot and we were knocking them down tonight."

The Raptors drew the play up in a timeout huddle with only two seconds left on the shot clock and 10 seconds on the game clock.

"With two seconds left you just try to get your best look and Jalen made a great pass to Mo," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said.

Orlando shot 65 percent in the first quarter scored 15 straight points in the middle of the period to go up 21-9, but the offense sputtered the rest of the night.

"This is a bad loss for us," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "We've got to get out of this habit of taking two steps forward and one step back before we can start moving forward again. We lost defensive discipline on the last play of the game and I didn't like the way we played offensively all night."

The Raptors cut the deficit to 46-44 by halftime behind 10 second-period points by Rose.

Toronto went ahead 54-53 on a 3-pointer by rookie Joey Graham with 8:28 left in the third quarter. The Raptors pushed the lead to 77-72 on another 3-pointer, this one by Rose, with 10:17 left in the game.

The Magic dropped to 5-7 at home this season.

"I don't think it was the worst loss of the season because we played good for periods at a time," Francis said. "But they hit a lot of big shots late in the game and we weren't able to answer."

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Seahawks Edge Titans 28-24

From NFL.com:

The Seattle Seahawks don't want to worry about what any other team in the NFL is doing.

With each victory, they are closer to making that reality.

Matt Hasselbeck threw three touchdown passes, including a 2-yarder to Darrell Jackson in the fourth quarter, and the Seahawks rallied for a 28-24 victory over the Tennessee Titans that clinched a first-round bye for the NFC West champions.

Seattle (12-2) won its 10th straight for the first time in team history and also matched the 1984 squad for most victories in a season. That left the Seahawks hoping for Chicago to lose to Atlanta on Sunday night, which would give them home-field advantage in the playoffs -- another club first.

"Our goal right now is to get the first-round bye," Hasselbeck said. "We got it. Our next goal is to play at home. If Chicago takes care of business, great. If they don't, that's fine too. ... Instead of rooting for teams, it's been nice not to have to worry about teams."

The Seahawks planned to watch the Atlanta-Chicago game via satellite on their flight home to Seattle on a jet from chairman Paul Allen. Coach Mike Holmgren planned to enjoy this victory before worrying about Saturday's game with Indianapolis.

"This might be the only time I ever root for the Falcons," Holmgren said.

Hasselbeck finished with 285 yards as the Seahawks beat the Titans (4-10) for the fifth straight time in their first meeting since 1998.

Shaun Alexander also ran for a touchdown, giving him an NFL-best 24, and the league's best rusher coming into the weekend became only the fifth player in NFL history to rush for 1,600 yards in consecutive seasons. He finished with 26 carries for 172 yards.

"It's great to know I'm going to be in the second round of the playoffs," Alexander said. "This is a new door for us, but it's something we've been preparing for for a long time, so we're really excited."

Friday, December 16, 2005

Magic Lose in OT, 103-109

From Sportsline.com:

Hill had 28 points in his second game this season after missing Orlando's first 19 following surgery for a sports hernia.

Hedo Turkoglu added 17 points and Steve Francis had 16 for the Magic, who have lost six of eight.

The Mavericks opened the fourth quarter with an 11-3 run. Nowitzki began the surge with consecutive baskets, Josh Howard hit a 20-footer and a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions, and Nowitzki drained a 15-footer to Dallas in front, 77-70.

Hill scored seven points during a 10-2 spurt, and his three-point play with 1:06 remaining pulled the Magic even at 93.

Hill missed a 14-footer with 25 seconds left that could have given Orlando the lead.

"I thought Grant's shot was down," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "He gave it a great effort."

Terry got the rebound and the Mavericks called a timeout with 14 seconds left to set up a final shot, but Nowitzki missed an 18-footer with two seconds remaining.

"I was frustrated," Nowitzki said. "That's a shot I need to make. I had a good look but luckily we had a good overtime."

The Magic, who got four blocks in the third quarter from Dwight Howard, took a 67-66 edge into the final quarter.

Terry had a four-point play with 1:56 left before halftime when he hit a 3-pointer, was fouled and converted a free throw to give Dallas a 48-43 advantage. But Orlando finished the second quarter with five unanswered points to draw even at the break.

Grant Hill had to take himself out of the game twice because he was winded due to his lengthy layoff. Hill played 23 minutes in his season debut on Wednesday against the New York Knicks before logging 37 minutes against the Mavericks.

"That was a good team and we played them well," he said. "We have to learn how to win these types of games."

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Magic Beat Knicks 105-90

From Sportsline.com:

Hedo Turkoglu gladly went back to the bench so Grant Hill could start his first game of the season.

Then Turkoglu and Pat Garrity gladly took advantage of all the room the New York Knicks were giving them to shoot.

Turkoglu scored 18 points, Garrity added a season-high 17, and the duo combined for nine of Orlando's 11 3-pointers in a 105-90 victory over the Knicks on Tuesday night.

"They had like miscommunication out there. They didn't help each other," Turkoglu said. "They left really good shooters, Pat and me, they left us really, really open all the time. I think they have a bunch of young guys there and they're still learning, so that's why they messed it up. You can't leave guys who are making shots in a row like that, you have to do something."

Hill added a 3-pointer during the decisive second quarter in his season debut. Dwight Howard led the Magic with 23 points and 13 rebounds.

Hill missed Orlando's first 19 games following surgery for a sports hernia on Oct. 31. He started and scored seven points in 22 minutes, and was on the floor late in the second quarter when the Magic took control for good.

"It was fun to be out there," said Hill, who's been beset by injuries in six seasons with Orlando. "It was good to get the win. I thought our team played pretty well."

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Seahawks Stomp 49ers 41-3

From NFL.com:

Matt Hasselbeck got up wheezing after throwing his first incompletion. San Francisco's Derek Smith had just buried his helmet into the Seattle quarterback's chest and drove him into the ground.

"I was just trying to breathe. I felt like I was underwater," he said.

A few welcomed running plays later, Hasselbeck found his breath -- and then flooded the futile 49ers. He completed 21 of 25 passes for 226 yards and a season-high four touchdowns in just three quarters to breeze his NFC-leading Seahawks past San Francisco, 41-3.

Bobby Engram caught two of Hasselbeck's scoring throws, as the NFC West champions (11-2) won their team-record ninth straight game. They also showed they might bring along a hot quarterback with NFL rushing leader Shaun Alexander into the playoffs.

"The biggest thing people are missing is, Matt's been leading us on this nine-game winning streak," said Joe Jurevicius, who caught one of Hasselbeck's TD passes.

The only other time Hasselbeck threw more than three scores in his 104-game career was a five-TD performance on Nov. 23, 2003, in an overtime loss at Baltimore.

"I really hate saying good things about him, because it goes to his head," center Robbie Tobeck said, almost laughing. "All you hear about is Shaun, which is great. He's deserved it. But Matt's done a great job leading this team."

Tobeck has been where this franchise never has gone: the Super Bowl. He went with Atlanta in 1998, when Falcons quarterback Chris Chandler got hot late in the season.

"You can't win in the playoffs if you don't have a quarterback who is playing well; it's impossible to do it without that," he said.

Alexander added 108 yards on 21 carries and his league-leading 23rd touchdown rushing late in the third quarter. He is four TDs from the league's single-season record of 27, set by Priest Holmes of Kansas City in 2003.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Magic Finally Get A Win, Beat Nuggets 94-83

From Sporsline.com:

The Orlando Magic knew things had to turn around at some point.

Some point turned out to be Saturday night.

DeShawn Stevenson scored 18 points, including several key run-sparking jumpers, and Dwight Howard had 17 points and 14 rebounds in the Magic's 94-83 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night.

It was Orlando's first win in six games, and 13th straight at home over the Nuggets. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Denver, which was coming off a 100-92 win over Miami on Friday night.

"Hopefully this is the beginning of us getting back on track," Steve Francis said. "Most likely we'll have Grant (Hill) coming back this week. We'll get two days of practice and be ready to roll."

Carmelo Anthony, coming off a season-high 40 points against Miami, finished with 23, while Marcus Camby added 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Nuggets.

Stevenson found his stroke in the third quarter, hitting four 20-foot jumpers in the first 4:58 to help Orlando take a 61-51 lead.

"The last couple of games we'd be up six points or so, come out in the first couple of minutes (of the third quarter) and let them get their confidence up," Stevenson said. "Tonight was one of those nights it was just falling."

Denver went 3:11 without a field goal in the third, and finished with four for 11 points. The Nuggets shot 41 percent overall and were largely unable to capitalize on 21 Magic turnovers. The Nuggets committed 18 turnovers.

"I think we did a good job defensively, but they were tired, too," Stevenson said.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Brewers Trade Overbay to Toronto

From Adam McCalvy at MLB.com:

The Brewers believe Prince Fielder is ready to hit in the Major Leagues, and late Wednesday night they showed it.

"He'd better be ready now," general manager Doug Melvin said.

The Brewers contributed to a flurry of late-night activity on Day 3 of the Winter Meetings, trading Lyle Overbay and a player to be named to the Toronto Blue Jays for a trio of young players while opening first base for Fielder, a former No. 1 draft pick and Milwaukee's top prospect.

The Brewers got right-handed pitcher Dave Bush, who will bolster the starting rotation, outfielder Gabe Gross, and a player to be named, believed to be left-handed pitching prospect Zach Jackson. Bush and Gross become members of Milwaukee's 40-man roster, which is full.

In addition to Overbay, the Brewers will send a low Minor Leaguer to Toronto. That player, as well as Jackson, cannot be formally announced until the completion of Thursday morning's Rule 5 Draft.

Boston was also in the running for Overbay and the Brewers considered right-hander Bronson Arroyo, but instead chose Toronto's offer because of the financial flexibility that could allow Milwaukee to pursue a free agent or add payroll in another trade, possibly for a reliever or another left-handed bat. Melvin and Jays GM J.P. Riccardi met briefly Wednesday morning, but did not consummate the deal until after dinner, when Toronto included Gross in the deal.

"We said all along that if we were going to trade Lyle, we were hoping to get young pitching back that could help us now or in the immediate future," Melvin said.

Brewers Trade for Kolb

From Adam McCalvy at MLB.com:

The Brewers consummated a trade Wednesday that could help fill their most pressing offseason need. But it is not a done deal just yet.

In a strange twist, Milwaukee re-acquired right-handed reliever Dan Kolb from the Atlanta Braves for Wes Obermueller, a right-hander who has been unable to live up to promise. Last year at the Winter Meetings in Anaheim, the Brewers dealt Kolb, then an All-Star closer, to the Braves for top pitching prospect Jose Capellan.

Kolb endured a tough season in Atlanta and has made it well-known that he wants badly to return to Wisconsin, where he has a home. The Brewers believe they can work out a deal to re-sign him for 2006 at a discount.

Kolb and the Braves avoided salary arbitration last year by agreeing to a one-year, $3.4 million contract. The Brewers must now decide whether to offer Kolb arbitration by Dec. 19, but if he accepts, they could not cut his salary by more than 20 percent, a figure general manager Doug Melvin confirmed would be too high. Instead, both sides likely will quietly work out a scenario in which the team non-tenders Kolb, making him a free agent, then re-signs him at a greater than 20 percent cut.

To make that happen, the Brewers will have to work with Kolb's agent, Scott Boras.

"I think Danny might drive this a little bit," said Melvin, asked if he's worried about running into a roadblock with Boras. "Everybody knows the circumstances -- [Kolb] pitched well for us and he didn't pitch well for Atlanta."

In 2004, Kolb posted a 2.98 ERA in 64 games, was a first-time All-Star and set a Brewers record with 39 saves (Derrick Turnbow tied that mark this season). Faced with a chance to acquire Capellan, Atlanta's top pitching prospect at the time, Melvin pulled the trigger on the original trade last December.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Magic Beat Up by Bulls 102-93

From Sportsline.com:

Dwight Howard had 17 points and 16 rebounds for the Magic, who have lost five straight by an average of 17 points.

Steve Francis returned after missing three games because of a bruised chest and scored 16 points, but also had six of Orlando's season-high 23 turnovers before fouling out with 1:36 left.

"A very discouraging loss," Orlando coach Brian Hill said.

"I thought we played pretty decent basketball in the first half, but we still had way too many turnovers. As long as we continue to the turn the ball over at the rate we're turning it over, we're not going to improve."

Chicago trailed 51-44 at the half, but began the third quarter with a 10-0 run to take control of the game. Pargo made three 3-pointers and scored 11 points during a 20-9 surge that put the Bulls ahead 79-68 heading into the fourth quarter.

Michael Sweetney scored 12 points and Ben Gordon and Andres Nocioni finished with 11 apiece for Chicago, which beat Orlando for the second time in eight days and fifth straight time overall. The Bulls' reserves outscored the Magic's 59-24.

Tony Battie scored 14 points and Hedo Turkoglu had 12 for Orlando. Jameer Nelson and DeShawn Stevenson each added 10.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Seahawks Clobber Eagles on MNF 42-0

From NFL.com:

A cross-country trip to Philadelphia for a Monday night game in the snow hasn't exactly been a formula for success. Then again, these are not the same old Seattle Seahawks.

Using big plays on defense, including interception returns for touchdowns by Andre Dyson and rookie Lofa Tatupu, and smaller ones from their top-ranked offense, the Seahawks routed the Eagles 42-0.

Neither are these the same Eagles who made the last four NFC championship games. Philadelphia (5-7) has been torn apart by injuries and the Terrell Owens affair and played its worst game since becoming an NFC force in 2001.

Certainly a better fight was expected. Yet the Seahawks (10-2) dominated from the outset, winning their eighth straight game, tying a team record set in 1984. They gained only 194 yards overall -- the Seahawks were averaging 386 -- but didn't need to do much after taking a 35-0 halftime lead.

Seattle, which got two short touchdowns runs from NFL rushing leader Shaun Alexander, sort of sneaked its way to the top of the conference and barely survived the New York Giants last week. In the Monday night spotlight, though, the NFC West champions filled the scoreboard.

The only negative came when Dyson, after he returned Ryan Moats' fumble 25 yards for another touchdown on the first play of the second half, sprained his left ankle. Dyson was carried off the field by several teammates.

It was Philadelphia's worst loss since a 38-0 flop against Seattle to open the 1998 season. Indeed, as Dyson scored on his fumble return, the Linc pretty much emptied out. The majority of fans stayed that long only because the Eagles retired Reggie White's No. 92 at halftime.

The Eagles, who had six turnovers, were shut out for the first time since 2003 when Tampa Bay beat them 17-0 in the first game in the new stadium. It was the Eagles' worst home loss since they were beaten 49-0 by Green Bay in 1962.

And, they lost running back Brian Westbrook with a sprained foot.

It didn't take along for Seattle's powerful offense to begin the scoring. Well, it actually took more than eight minutes on the opening drive, a relentless march featuring four third-down conversions and 16 plays. Matt Hasselbeck, flushed to the right, found Bobby Engram wide open in the end zone for an 11-yard pass after Philadelphia's Jeremiah Trotter and Quintin Mikell collided.

Three plays earlier, Trotter's illegal contact penalty negated Mikell's interception in the end zone.

When the Eagles staged their own productive drive, it ended ignominiously as Mike McMahon stared straight at receiver Greg Lewis. Dyson read the pass perfectly, picked it off and raced 72 yards down the left sideline for a 14-0 lead.

Early in the second quarter, McMahon threw directly to middle linebacker Tatupu, who raced 38 yards to make it 21-0. It was the first time in 30 years the Eagles have allowed two interception runbacks for scores in a game, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Alexander got his first TD of the night on a 2-yard run one play after Koy Detmer, in for the inept McMahon, had his pass tipped by the omnipresent Tatupu and picked off by Michael Boulware. He added his league-leading 22nd touchdown of the season with a 1-yarder set up by Hasselbeck's 42-yard pass to D.J. Hackett.

Alexander finished with 49 yards rushing, the first time in more than a year he had fewer than 60 yards. But he didn't play in the second half.

Owens finished his team suspension for conduct detrimental to the franchise. He was deactivated before the game, as he will be for the rest of a season spiraling out of control.

Magic Creamed by Spurs (I'm running out of adjectives for 'whooped')

From Sportsline.com:

Tim Duncan showed why he's a two-time MVP. Dwight Howard showed how much a few years of NBA experience can mean.

Duncan had 26 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks, Tony Parker added 20 points and seven assists, and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Orlando Magic 110-85 Monday night.

Duncan, a nine-year veteran, and Rasho Nesterovic frustrated the second-year Howard, who had a double-double by halftime but shot just 4-of-18 from the field. He finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds.

"I'm very old," Duncan said, smiling. "I was looking at it before the game and I'm something like 9½ years older than (Howard). That's crazy.

"He doesn't look like a 19-year-old. He's got so much promise. I'm just glad I'll be out of the league when he's peaking."

Jameer Nelson scored 20 points and DeShawn Stevenson had 15 points and seven rebounds for Orlando.

It was the fourth straight win for the Spurs and fourth consecutive loss for the Magic.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Magic Spanked by Bucks 84-104

From Sportsline.com:

Dan Gadzuric had a lot of fun at the Orlando Magic's expense.

Gadzuric scored nine straight points for Milwaukee during a key fourth-quarter stretch and had 14 of his season-high 16 points in the period to help the Bucks beat the Magic 104-84 on Saturday night.

"It was a lot of fun," Gadzuric said. "Everybody was doing what they needed to do."

Michael Redd led Milwaukee with 30 points. He also had five assists and three rebounds for the Bucks, who shot 56.6 percent (43-for-76) from the field.

After Orlando rookie Travis Diener's 3-pointer cut Milwaukee's lead to five at 78-73 with 7:55 left, Gadzuric scored the Bucks' next nine points.

"They were just finding me," Gadzuric said. "I was just trying to find an open space and trying to create. They saw me and all I had to do was finish."

Gadzuric, who averages 3.6 points per game and had a total of 13 points in his last three games, capped his scoring spree with an alley-oop dunk that gave Milwaukee an 89-75 lead with 5:24 left.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Magic Whooped by Grizzlies 69-91

From Sportsline.com:

DeShawn Stevenson led Orlando with 22 points, making 10-of-14 from the field and adding four assists. Hedo Turkoglu scored 11, but hit only 4-of-13 shots for Orlando, which lost its second straight.

"I was disappointed in our energy," Magic coach Brian Hill said. "We were outplayed and outcoached from the beginning of the game until the end. If we don't play with high energy all the time, we won't play well."

Memphis opened with a flurry, making 74 percent of its shots in the opening quarter to take a 33-15 lead. The 33 points was the highest Memphis total for a quarter this season, and the 15 was the fewest in the first quarter by a Grizzlies opponent.

Memphis continued to build the lead in the second as the Magic missed nine of their first 10 shots. That helped the Grizzlies take a 55-32 lead into halftime.

"We kept trying to answer their big shots, and then we look up all of a sudden and we're down 10," Stevenson said.

Miller, who started his career in Orlando, scored 20 points in a reserve role. All six of his rebounds came in the first half.

Stevenson led the Magic with 12 points in the half.

The Magic, using more defensive pressure, made a few dents in the Grizzlies' advantage during the third period, but never mounted an extended run. Memphis carried a 69-47 lead into the final quarter.

"We tried to pick it up a little bit, but it was too late by that point," said Magic guard Jameer Nelson, who started in Francis' place.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Brewers Unveil Sunday Uniforms

From MLB.com:

The Brewers and their fans will turn back the clock every Sunday at Miller Park next season.

The team has unveiled "new" uniforms for Sunday home games which, as expected, are recreations of the team's garb from 1978-1993. Blue pinstripes adorn the white jerseys and pants, "BREWERS" is stitched across the chest and the caps feature the popular "ball and glove" logo.

"As players, we always see the old logo on fans at the ballpark," said catcher Damian Miller, who grew up in Wisconsin and was on hand Thursday to model the retro look. "I really like it."

Hall of Famer Robin Yount, the first player enshrined into Cooperstown wearing that cap, helped unveil the new-old look as part of the "Brewers Winter Warm-Up" on Thursday night in the ballpark's .300 Club. Other participants included include Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Uecker, manager Ned Yost, third base coach Dale Sveum, plus current players Bill Hall, Miller, Lyle Overbay, Derrick Turnbow and Matt Wise and former Brewers Jerry Augustine, Jim Gantner, Larry Hisle and Gorman Thomas.

It's a look originally made famous by the power-hitting Brewers teams of the late 1970s and early 1980s, including the 1982 American League Champion Brewers that featured future Hall of Famers Yount (the team's new bench coach), Paul Molitor, Rollie Fingers and Don Sutton. The centerpiece is the logo, comprised of a lowercase "m" and "b" arranged in the shape of a baseball glove.

"Whoever came up with that is a genius," Overbay said.