THE BOTTOM LINE
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2013
*SUNS (-3) VS. MAVERICKS: 7:05 tip
*ASU 76, TEXAS TECH 62: ASU, sparked by career performances from Jahii Carson and Jermaine Marshall, improved to 10-2 on the season, with a relatively easy win over a 7-5 Texas Tech team which was a pre-season pick to finish last in the Big 12 Conference ... Carson had 16 points and handed out a career most 13 assists while Marshall hit a career most nine three-point field goals in en route to a game-high 27 points.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2013
*SUNS 103, NUGGETS 99: the Suns, sparked by the Morris twins and the backup guard tandem of Gerald Green and the seldom used Ish Smith, rallied from 21 points behind to win at Denver ... the Suns, after trailing 60-39, outscored the Nuggets 64-37 the rest of the way ... Markieff Morris finished with 25 points and Marcus Morris added 14 points. The Suns were plus 25 in the 26 minutes Marcus was on the floor and plus 20 in Markieff's 30 minutes ... Green had 19 points and eight rebounds.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2013
*UA 69 SOUTHERN 43: the UA, playing without the injured Kaleb Tarczewski, jumped out to an early 19-point lead and cruised to an easy win against Southern, which gave Gonzaga a run in last season's NCAA Tournament ... the UA continued to struggle at the free throw line, specifically freshman phenom Aaron Gordon who made just four of 10 attempts ... Tarczewski sat out because of the ankle he injured last Saturday at Michigan.
*DUKE 80, UCLA 63: the Bruins were unable to "Prove It All Night" in front of a Madison Square Garden crowd that included Bruce Springsteen's whose daughter attends Duke ... the game was deadlocked at halftime, but UCLA, much like its other loss at Missouri, was dominated in the second half ... UCLA, which needs to win at the offensive end, shot just 40 percent and had more turnovers (13) than assists (12).
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2013
*SPURS 108, SUNS 101: the Suns are not quite ready for the big time, even against a short-handed Spurs team without an injured Tony Parker ... the Suns, after scoring 32 points and shooting 60 percent in the first quarter, scored just 69 points the rest of the game and shot 46% for the game ... the Suns also turned the ball over 19 times, which the Spurs converted into 25 points ... Manu Ginobili finished with 24 points, included 12 of the Spurs final 14 points.
*HEAT 97, PACERS 94: the Heat ended the game on a 12-2 run during the final three minutes to even the season-series at one game apiece with each team holding serve at home ... the Pacers were 18-0 this season when leading after three quarters ... Indiana coach Frank Vogel was outcoached, a repeat from last season's Eastern Conference finals. Vogel's time out management, and his not substituting with Roy Hibbert in foul trouble, were inexplicable.
*THE PAC 12 CONFERENCE IS PROJECTED TO HAVE FIVE TEAMS IN THE NCAA BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT: according to Joe Lunardi of ESPN and Jerry Palm of CBS Sports. Both have the UA the top number one seed and ASU one of the last four team in and an 11 seed. The other Pac 12 teams are Oregon (fourth seeded by Palm and fifth by Lunardi), Colorado (fourth seeded by Palm and sixth by Lunardi) and UCLA sixth seeded by Lunardi and eighth by Palm)..
*GRUDEN HAS HIS EYES ON TEXAS: Jon Gruden has reportedly made it known that he is interested in the University of Texas opening. Steve Patterson has said that he would prefer someone with head coaching experience at the college level.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2013
*PARKER TO MISS SUNS GAME: the Suns will not have to worry about Tony Parker on Wednesday night. Parker, who suffered a shin injury during Monday night's Spurs' loss at Los Angeles against the Clippers, has been ruled out for at least the next two games.
*THE COWBOYS IN DENIAL, PART WHATEVER: Jerry Jones said on Tuesday that he does not blame Tony Romo at all for the Cowboys loss to the Packers. So, that, apparently, means Jones is on the opposite side of his head coach Jason Garrett.
*PETERSON REUNITES WITH PEASE: new Washington coach Chris Peterson has hired recently fired Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease. Pease was an assistant at Boise State for Peterson from 2006-2011.
*BEAVERS WILL BE SHORTHANDED: Oregon State will be without starting linebacker D.J. Alexander in their Christmas Eve bowl game against Boise State. Alexander recently had surgery to repair damage to his neck.
*A PAC 12 SWITCH: former California quarterback Zach Kline will transfer to Oregon State.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2013
*RAVENS 18, LIONS 16: Justin Tucker hit a 61-yard field goal with 38 seconds remaining, his sixth of the game, and his 33rd consecutive make this season ... do not be fooled by the late drama and close score, this game between playoff contenders, was not good football, and another exhibit of the low quality of play in this NFL era ... The Lions, who had the NFC North in their hands with Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler injured, have lost four of their last five games and end Week #15 third in the NFC North.
*THE COWBOYS MUST BE AFRAID TO DISCIPLINE DEZ BRYANT: Jason Garrett met with his selfish and immature wide receiver on Monday, but did not fine him for walking off the field with more than one minute remaining during Sunday's embarrassment against the Packers.
*PAC 12 BASKETBALL SOARING: the Pac 12 Conference, bolstered by the UA's #1 ranking, has won 18 straight non-conference games, included by an 11-0 sweep this past weekend.
*BEARS TILLMAN RULED OUT: the Bears Charles Tillman will not return this season no matter how far the team might advance in the off-season. He was placed on injured reserve with a triceps injury.
*TRENT RICHARDSON FINDS PAYDIRT: the running back the Colts traded a first round pick to acquire, scored on Sunday for the first time since his initial game with the Colts, some 10 games ago.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2013
CARDINALS 37, TITANS 34 - FINAL IN OVERTIME
LIVE IN-GAME UPDATES
Feely makes a 41-yard field goal after a Palmer pass to Dray and long Mendenhall run ... On the first overtime possessions, Cason intercepted a pass and returned it to the Cardinals 46-yard line when a blitzing Jefferson forced Fitzpatrick to throw it early.
THE TITANS TIE IT
Futzpatrick completes three complete passes, including the game tying field goal when Peterson was beaten by Wright for the touchdown with 10 seconds left ... Fitzgerald is being attended to for concussions symptoms and may not be available for the overtime
SO MUCH FOR THE GAME CLINCHING PICK SIX
The Cardinals allowed 10 points in two drives, and Larry Fitzgerald failed to secure the onside kick after the second score.
A GAME-CLINCHING PICK SIX
Cason, who has a rough day, gets the pick six = 34-17, 6;13 remaining
A WINNING DRIVE
Palmer completed third down passes to Golden and Fitzgerald and Mendenhall continued his effective short yardage running with a touchdown on third and goal from the one = 27-17
Washington nearly cost the Cardinals at least three points - a foolish, correctly called taunting penalty extended a Titans drive, which later included what should have been a Washington pick six - Tennessee missed a game tying field goal attempt
THE OFFENSE RESPONDS
The Cardinals respond in five plays, the key play a3 36-yard completion to Ellington, which set up a seven-yard td pass to Ballard
The Cardinals committed four penalties on one drive and allowed their 15th touchdown on the season to a tight end (a one-yard td to Walker) - the defense allowed two more first downs on the drive on 3rd and long pass completions = 16 plays, 74 yards
GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS
The Cardinals began the half with a pop up type of kick, which was muffed by the Titans and recovered by Cason at the 23-yard line - the Cardinals lost seven yards on the three offensive snaps and settled for a 47-yard field goal by Feely.
OFFENSE SEEMS OUT OF SYNC
The Cardinals offense had numerous logistical issues in the first half with late substitutions and the play clocking approaching zero frequently ... the half ended with Palmer being sacked on what was to be a Hail Mary attempt
The Titans are going after Cason, who is on the field in nickel situations replacing Mathieu - Cason has been burned for three first downs and the Titans td
PALMER TAPED HEAVILY
The Cardinals drive to the seven-yard line but settle for a Feely field goal ... Palmer's ankle is heavily taped after the hit he took on the second drive of the game ... Sowell is getting manhandled frequently (running plays and pass protection)
PASS COVERAGE ISSUES
The Cardinals issues of covering running backs and tight ends continue - Johnson burned on a big completion to Walker and Cason burned for a td on a broken play td pass to Chris Johnson.
PALMER HIT LOW
The Cardinals,. after the bad first possession, easily moved down the field with Ellington the primary weapon via run and pass ... Palmer was hit low on the play before the short Mendenhall touchdown run - Palmer was slow to get up and was flexing his left knee prior to the touchdown.
A BAD START
The Cardinals went three and out (three straight incompletions) and the Titans march for a field goal.
Housler (groin) is inactive ... NFL.com was incorrect in its list of inactives - Stepfon Taylor is active.