Mario Williams may not be greeted warmly when he returns to Houston, but he did want to plead his case on Wednesday. Williams never specifically said he would have preferred to remain with Houston when his contract was up after last season, but his words strongly suggested it. ... "Fans that saw me said, 'Don't leave.' I said 'I don't want to leave.' That's just how it is. Nothing against if I'm here or anywhere else. This is even prior to [free agency]. I never said I wanted out. I'm sure everybody's going to twist it up and say 'Oh, well, he didn't want to come here,' so on and so forth. That's not what I said. Like I said, I never asked [to leave Houston]. I was basically given a door in a quiet manner. I had no other choice." (The Buffalo News) Comment
Just like that, Los Angeles is 0-2. [Including preseason, that's] 10 consecutive defeats -- not exactly an aura of invincibility, even if [Dwight Howard] is on board with Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash now. All of the Lakers' stars actually had some nice early moments Wednesday night, but the consistency and cohesion didn't come. It didn't help that Nash was limited to 16 minutes after he suffered a leg injury when tangled up near midcourt with [Damian Lillard] -- and that won't help the Lakers on Friday night against Clippers point guard Chris Paul, either. Nash said he was kneed on the outside of his lower left leg and is "hopeful" he can play Friday. Portland shot 50.6 percent from the field and committed just 12 turnovers to the Lakers' 25. (Orange County Register) Comment
The Rangers won't make a preemptive strike to keep Josh Hamilton, which has led to all manner of speculation. One club mentioned prominently, for instance, has been the Milwaukee Brewers. But the Brewers led the National League in runs scored in 2012. Their problem was the bullpen, and they will have to replace two starting pitchers from their initial 2012 rotation. That set of circumstances does not appear to make them an ideal free-agent landing spot for Hamilton. He does appear to be a better fit for an AL club, on which his occasional use as a designated hitter would limit his exposure to potential injury. ... It only takes one club, though, to make the kind of five-year, $100-plus-million offer that Hamilton's talent would seem to dictate. (MLB.com) Comment
Alvaro Fernandez (4) of Chicago Fire and Ricardo Clark (13) of Houston Dynamo battle for the ball during their MLS playoffs match. Houston knocked out Chicago, beating them 2-1. (David Banks/Getty Images)
In case you missed the NBA games last night, here are the top 10 plays of the evening.