Another milestone for Dirk Nowitzki

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Another milestone for Dirk Nowitzki

From Comcast SportsNet
DALLAS (AP) -- Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks are slowly starting to perform a little more like the defending NBA champs. Nowitzki scored 20 points in his 1,000th NBA game to lead the Mavericks to a 98-89 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night. Jason Terry contributed 18 points, including nine in the fourth quarter, to help the Mavs (3-4) string together consecutive wins for the first time this season. "We said at the beginning, we're going to be a piece of work and everybody is going to come along and I think this team is more set up to peak down the stretch and not now," Nowitzki said. "Everybody's got to work themselves back into shape, get the legs strong and play with each other more and I think we're going to be a good team down the stretch." Lamar Odom added 15 points and five rebounds in his best game since joining the Mavericks in a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 11. But Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said Odom can do better in just about every area. "He had good stats, but there are areas where he needs to improve." Carlisle said. Steve Nash had 15 points and 12 assists for the Suns (2-4), while Marcin Gortat had 22 points and 10 rebounds. The Mavericks lost their first three games while trying to introduce five new faces into the lineup after the departures of five key players from the team that won its first title last season. Now the Mavericks are playing with more cohesion and energy, winning three of four. "These are steps in the right direction," said Mavericks forward Shawn Marion, who had 13 points despite being listed as questionable before the game due to illness. "Things are starting to click on both ends of the floor." Nowitzki is the team's career leader in most categories, including points. He already had the record for games played and was appearing in his 975th game as a starter. "I'm still working to get back to where I was," said Nowitzki, MVP of the NBA Finals last season. "It's definitely good to get to 1,000 games, that's a lot of games and means I was healthy a lot and I was able to help my team and this franchise a lot. It's great and now we're looking for another 1,000, we'll see how far we can take it." The Mavs broke the game open with a 13-4 third-quarter run capped by five straight points from Nowitzki, including a three-point play for a 62-49 lead. Terry hit a 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer to make it 77-66. "It was a 3-point momentum play at the end of the quarter, a huge play," Carlisle said. Terry connected on three more from behind the arc early in the fourth, the final one pushing the Mavs' advantage to 92-71 with 7:46 remaining. The Suns kept hustling and trimmed the deficit to 96-87 on Nash's 3-pointer with 2:50 to play, but the Phoenix couldn't get any closer. The Mavericks were up at halftime, 49-41 behind Nowitzki's 13 points. For the game, the Suns were outrebounded 53-42, 19-11 on the offensive glass. "I think we gave up tons of offensive rebounds," Nash said. "We held them to 41 percent shooting which is more than acceptable, but we missed a lot of shots. We're OK offensively, but you can't give up so many offensive rebounds like we did tonight." Terry and Odom led Dallas to a 51-21 advantage in bench scoring. "That's where the separation came, with the second units," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. "That's where the lead came and it was hard for us to overcome." NOTES: Nowitzki is the 98th player in NBA history with at least 1,000 games. ... The teams met for the first time this season. Dallas swept all four games last season. ... Recently-signed Phoenix G Michael Redd has begun working back into basketball shape but Gentry said Redd won't be ready to be activated for 10-14 days. ... Football players from Arkansas and Kansas State were in attendance. The teams meet Friday in the Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium. ... Dallas' Jason Kidd appeared in his 1,274th regular-season game, tying Terry Porter for 16th on the NBA's career list. Kidd is the league's active leader in games played.

Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz's first inning 'part of the game'

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Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz's first inning 'part of the game'

Quotes, notes and stars from the Boston Red Sox’ 6-2 loss to the Texas Rangers:

 

QUOTES

 

“In the first inning there really weren’t a whole lot of balls that were really hit hard. They were just hit where we weren’t . . . Regardless of it being a mistake, its balls that just seemed to find some holes. They put some good at-bats together, and, yeah, that’s part of the game.”Clay Buchholz on what happened in his 3-run first inning.

“Yeah, he’s tired. He needs a day. There’s no other way to put it.”John Farrell on Xander Bogaerts’ struggling in the series.

“We get a little momentum after the [Bryce] Brentz homerun and then unfortunately give it right back.”Farrell said about Boston losing momentum in the sixth inning with Prince Fielder’s two-run homerun off of Buchholz.

“It’s a matter of settling in and commanding the baseball to quality locations.”Farrell said on Buchholz have immense trouble in the first inning through his last two starts.

“Based on this series it’s a struggle. We get 12+ innings out of a rotation . . . we’re finding ourselves in some holes. That’s not the script you’re trying to draw up.”Farrell on the state of the Red Sox rotation following the series in Texas.

“It’s always special. One thing you’ll never forget.” - Bryce Brentz on his first Major League homerun.

 

NOTES

* Xander Bogaerts finished the series 1-12, and has seen his average drop to .344, falling behind Houston’s José Altuve.

* The Red Sox are now four games behind the Orioles in second place and only lead the Blue Jays by one game. That’s the farthest back the Red Sox have been since the seventh game of the season.

* Clay Buchholz’s less than spectacular outing was his longest since May 26th – his last start before being pulled from the starting rotation. 

* Prince Fielder hit two homeruns off Boston pitching in the series for his sixth and seventh of the year. Those are his first home runs since 6/11. The series against the Red Sox was his first in which he launched more than one homerun in the series.

 

 

STARS

1) Martin Perez

Perez kept Boston off balance all day, scattering six hits and two walks in his six-inning start. The lefty only had two punch-outs, but he kept the ball on the ground -- which is what he does best.

2) Prince Fielder

With Texas talking about sitting him in the series Fielder launched his second homerun of the series in his 2-3 performance. The two-run long ball was the different in the game being a close contest down the stretch.

3) Adrian Beltre

The ex-Red Sox third baseman had another strong game, lacing two RBI singles in the game. His first RBI base hit came in Texas’ three-run onslaught in the first frame.

First impressions: Red Sox happy to get out of Texas

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First impressions: Red Sox happy to get out of Texas

First impressions of the Red Sox 6-2 loss to Texas

 

Clay Buchholz needs to figure out his first inning struggles.

He put together another decent outing -- but they’ve both been all for not thanks to terrible first innings.

Buchholz had the same issue prior to his sentence to the bullpen. But he needs to make an adjustment. David Price, Steven Wright and Rick Porcello have all had to deal with some level of adversity and handled it in some capacity -- so it’s time for Buchholz to do the same.

If he minimizes the damage to one run -- never mind a scoreless first frame -- Boston has a decent chance to win his starts once in a while.

No matter what, Buchholz needs to put out max effort in the first inning of his next start -- no excuses.

 

Don’t look now, but Buchholz was the best Boston starting pitcher of the Texas series.

That’s not saying much with the way Wright and Price’s nights wound up, but he was the best starter.

Obviously five runs (four earned) in 5.1 innings isn’t a good outing, but the bullpen at least had a chance to catch its breath -- compared to Friday and Saturday’s games.

Buchholz still has to do much better for Boston if he wants to remain the fifth starter.

 

Xander Bogaerts’ defense is slipping a bit.

The shortstop has had errors in consecutive games for the first time in 2016 -- both leading to Texas runs.

The 23-year-old shortstop has only sat out one game this year, so it’s fair to assume fatigue is setting in.

Even if that’s not the case, John Farrell should consider giving Bogaerts a day off soon to move past his fielding problems.

 

Buchholz took away the little momentum Boston found in the fourth.

Although Bogaerts didn’t help with the error, Buchholz almost instantly gave back the run Boston scored in the top of the sixth. Which is something Rick Porcello, Steven Wright and David Price have all dealt with -- and overcome.

Just another reason Dave Dombrowski needs to keep working for a fifth starter.

Because there’s no way coming out of any series Boston should have its best effort from a starting pitcher be a five-inning five-run (one unearned) outing.

Other starters have to pick up the slack when Wright has an occasional subpar outing. While Price has been on late and Porcello is reliable, Boston hasn’t had that from anyone else.