Sports Outside the Beltway

LA Clippers fire Coach Mike Dunleavy

He had a record of 215-326 leading the team. From ESPN-

The Los Angeles Clippers have decided to make a coaching change with just 32 games left in the season, relieving Mike Dunleavy of his duties, the team announced on Thursday.

The Clippers have named assistant Kim Hughes as interim coach.

Dunleavy, who has been serving as the Clippers’ coach/general manager since Elgin Baylor left the club early last season, will retain his front-office title.


The Clippers began play Thursday with the 12th-best record in the Western Conference, seven games out of a playoff spot at 21-28.

Dunleavy has been a head NBA almost continuously for the last 20 years, the last seven of which were with the Clippers. The Clippers were doing better this season than last year’s horrible 19-63 but still Dunleavy hasn’t been able to turn around this moribund franchise. It looks about time to me to try giving someone else a chance.


NBA investigating security breach in Dallas-Portland game

Female Lone Star NBA fans are so friendly. From the Oregonian-

The league is looking into the security lapse that allowed two fans to walk into the Blazers’ huddle during Portland’s game at Dallas Saturday.

Two women walked onto the court and into the Blazers’ team huddle during a timeout with 41 seconds remaining in the game. One of the woman wrapped her arms around a stunned Rudy Fernandez from behind. The women were ushered away from the huddle.

By any measure, the incident is a major breach of arena security and a league spokesperson said the league is investigating.

“We’re looking into exactly what happened,” Tim Frank, the NBA’s vice-president, basketball communications, said in an e-mail Wednesday.

What could be even more shocking – if that’s possible – is that the women were allowed to return to their seats and were not kicked out of the arena. Normally, fans walking onto the court would likely result in an automatic ejection from the arena.

Sports fans running out on the court or field doesn’t shock me. Dumb spectators just doesn’t move me very much.

As for security not ejecting the fans, there was less than a minute to go in a close game. I’m betting security wanted to view the ending, not deal with a couple of drunks who were going to leave very soon any way.


On top- LA Lakers beat Charlotte 99-97

With last night’s victory, Phil Jackson becomes the winningest coach in franchise history. From AP-

With his superstar hobbling and the Charlotte Bobcats refusing to go away, Phil Jackson never got terribly comfortable while becoming the winningest coach in Los Angeles Lakers history.Phil Jackson

Andrew Bynum had 17 points and 14 rebounds, and Lamar Odom scored 19 points while making several big plays down the stretch, making sure Jackson added another superlative to his matchless coaching career in Los Angeles’ 99-97 victory over the Bobcats on Wednesday night.

Jackson, also the winningest coach in Chicago Bulls history, passed Pat Riley with his 534th win with the Lakers. The Hall of Famer won 545 games and six titles in nine seasons with Michael Jordan and Co. before winning four more rings in his first nine seasons with the Lakers, rising to fifth on the NBA’s career coaching victories list when he passed Charlotte’s Larry Brown earlier this season.

“It’s been a really good run,” Jackson said. “Having this opportunity to coach this team is always special. The fact that we’ve had some great teams, great players, is always a credit to them. It’s not really an individual record in my mind.”

Jackson is the winningest playoff coach in NBA history, and the only coach to win more than 70 percent of his regular-season games. Against the pesky Bobcats, he managed to coax a late-game win out of his Lakers even with just a season-low five points from Kobe Bryant.

Bryant, who is playing on a sore foot, had his worst ever NBA game in which he played at least 30 minutes.

Jackson has had great success as his coach, but its been his good fortune to coach some of the best talent the NBA has ever seen. He is at this moment, 64-years of age. I predict Jackson to quit coaching within the next 3 years.


NBA Hall of Famer Dick McGuire dead at 84

He spent over 50 years with the New York Knicks first as a player, then as a coach, and eventually in the team’s front office. His brother Al was a successful college coach. RIP.

Dick McGuire, a basketball Hall of Famer and longtime member of the New York Knicks organization, died Wednesday of natural causes. He was 84.Dick McGuire

The Knicks said McGuire died at Huntington Hospital in Long Island. McGuire still worked for the Knicks as a senior basketball consultant.

McGuire was a part of the Knicks’ organization for 53 of its 64 seasons.

“Dick McGuire was the epitome of what it means to be a Knickerbocker: pride, tradition and class,” Knicks president Donnie Walsh said in a statement. “It was an honor to watch him play for our hometown team and I consider myself very lucky to say I worked alongside a man who shaped the National Basketball Association for parts of all eight decades of its existence.”

A Bronx native, McGuire was a five-time All-Star and led the Knicks to three straight NBA Finals from 1951-53. He went on to serve the team as a coach, assistant coach and scout. His No. 15 was retired in 1992 and he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame a year later.

McGuire still ranks third on the Knicks’ career list with 2,950 assists.

“As one of its first superstars, Dick was instrumental to the early success of the NBA,” commissioner David Stern said in a statement. “Whether as player, coach, scout or consultant, Dick loyally served the New York Knicks organization.”

Nicknamed “Tricky Dick,” McGuire was born Jan. 26, 1926, in New York, part of a famed basketball family. His younger brother, Al, also played for the Knicks and later won a national championship as coach of Marquette — before being himself inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.

Dick McGuire played collegiately at St. John’s and was picked by the Knicks in the first round of the 1949 draft. He played eight seasons for the team before he was traded to the Detroit Pistons on April 3, 1957, for a first-round pick. McGuire spent his final three seasons with the Pistons.


One at a time- Washington defeats New Jersey 81-79

The last time New Jersey won two games in a row was April 11 and 13th of last season. From AP-

Two days after the NBA suspended their leading scorer and another teammate, Earl Boykins and the Wizards’ reserves gave Washington a much needed lift, if only for a night.NJ-Wash

Boykins hit a jumper with 0.4 to play and Washington defeated the New Jersey Nets 81-79 on Friday night, the Wizards’ first game since guards Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton were suspended for the remainder of the season for bringing weapons into the locker room.

“You have to stay resilient,” Wizards forward Caron Butler said. “You know, this has been a tough and trying period for all of us mentally and physically, but you have to try to find a positive. That’s what we have been doing, trying to stay afloat, stay positive and keep pushing. Fortunately the city has been behind us and we have been moving forward.”

Boykins was the main reason the Wizards ended a four-game losing streak and prevented the Nets (4-41) from posting consecutive victories for the first time this season. New Jersey beat the Clippers on Wednesday to end an 11-game losing streak.

When will sports writers begin referring to single Nets wins as ‘streaks’? Will the team’s fans begin wearing bags over their heads?

I predicted the Nets not to break the worst ever record for a NBA team(9-73). Right now, I think my prediction stands a very good chance of being wrong.


Denver Nuggets won’t suspend J.R. Smith

You got to hear why the team was considering discipline for the player. From AP-

The Denver Nuggets have decided not to suspend J.R. Smith over his behavior on the bench that rubbed management the wrong way.J.R. Smith

Smith will be allowed to play against Charlotte on Monday night, although Rex Chapman, vice president of player personnel, didn’t rule out some sort of punishment for the guard.

Smith, who has been mired in a prolonged shooting slump, sulked on the bench Saturday night, when he played a season-low 12 minutes and scored just three points in a win over New Orleans.

Nuggets coach George Karl said Smith will come off the bench, as usual, against the Bobcats.

Smith was drafted right out of high school. Your average 18-year-old isn’t very mature, and neither are many basketball players. The behavior by Smith, who is earning 3 million a year from the Nuggets, isn’t untypical or surprising. If he can’t handle contributing from the bench, Smith may have to learn basketball is a team sport and not all about him. By going to play in Europe.


LA Lakers Andrew Bynum misses team flight to Toronto

Didn’t anyone ever hear of a head count? From the Fabulous Forum-

Andrew Bynum is 22 years old now and a 5-year NBA veteran, so one would think he knows better, that he would be more of a professional.

But obviously that’s still not the case.

When the Lakers left New York on Saturday morning to travel to Toronto, Bynum missed the team flight and was forced to pay for his own travel to Canada.

Lakers Coach Phil Jacksonsaid that Bynum would be fined — he wouldn’t disclose the amount — and that paying his own way was another way of punishment for the young center.

Jackson said Bynum placed his bags outside his hotel room in New York for the designated time for pickups, but perhaps fell back to sleep.

“His bags made it to Toronto, but he didn’t,” Jackson said, smiling. “So obviously he got up and put his bags outside the door and something happened between there and the bus, like going back to sleep again, or whatever. … He’s all right. A rookie mistake you would call it, even though he’s not a rookie.

Did anyone notice Bynum was missing? A basketball team isn’t that large, nothing like a football team. You would think someone would noticed a player missing. It sounds like the Lakers players don’t have much upstairs. Maybe they should consider a job in government after their playing days are over. How about the FBI?

There’s a standard fine for it. He paid his own plane fare.”

Jackson said that Bynum still was going to start against the Raptors tonight and that his playing time would not be lessened.

Bynum said he put his bags outside his room at 9:15, fell back asleep and woke up at 11:15 Saturday morning.

He said his ticket to Toronto cost him about $300 and that he arrived here Saturday night.

You mean Bynum, who measures 7′ feet tall, bought a coach class seat? I’m betting he wished he paid for first class as his knees came up to his chin the whole way to Toronto.


Record rout- Dallas annihilates New York 128-78

How many more games half as bad as today’s can Mike D’Antoni withstand before losing his job?

Jose Barea kept finding unimpeded paths on his drives to the basket, and two things became clear.

The Dallas Mavericks couldn’t be stopped, and the New York Knicks didn’t seem interested in proving otherwise.

Dallas put on a shooting clinic that crushed the Knicks’ spirits, ignoring the absence of two starters and rolling to the biggest win in franchise history with a 128-78 victory Sunday.

“They took our heart out of us,” Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said.

Drew Gooden stepped into the lineup with 15 points and 18 rebounds, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry each scored 20 points, and the Mavericks beat the Knicks for the eighth straight time. Dallas shot 58 percent from the field, was 12 of 22 from beyond the arc and 16 of 17 from the foul line.

Today was the worst home loss in almost 50 years for the Knicks. Dallas hasn’t lost a game to New York since 2006.

Even after today’s embarrassing defeat, the Knicks(17-26) are no where being the worst professional basketball team in the New York City area. The New Jersey Nets who lost last night are 3-40 and are on an eleven game losing streak at present. At the moment, I don’t think the Nets will reach double figures in wins this season.


Crushed- Charlotte beats Miami 104-65

The 39-point win was the largest in Bobcat history. From AP-

If a chance to move into fifth place in the Eastern Conference wasn’t motivation enough for the Charlotte Bobcats, Michael Beasley had them hitting the court angry.

These days, that’s bad news for the Miami Heat and the rest of the NBA.

Stephen Jackson scored 24 points, Gerald Wallace added 20 points and 10 rebounds, and the Bobcats completed a 6-0 homestand with their most lopsided victory in team history, 104-65 over the listless Heat on Wednesday night.

Shutting down a frustrated and foul-plagued Dwyane Wade, the Bobcats (21-19) improved to an NBA-best 9-1 since the start of the new year with ease. They shot a franchise-record 82 percent in the first quarter, led by 27 at halftime and by as many as 41 in the fourth quarter while allowing the fewest points in team history.

So much for Beasley’s remarks from a day earlier, when he told reporters the Bobcats “stole” a game in Miami earlier this month and that “if we stay together and stay focused, it should be an easy win.”

Charlotte stole nothing last night with the possible exception of the Miami Heat’s soul. How do you live down losing by 39 points to a team barely above .500?


Atlanta Hawks’ shot-clock protest denied by NBA

The game that was being protested was played on December 30th against the Cleveland Cavaliers. From AP-

The NBA has denied the Atlanta Hawks’ protest over a shot-clock error.

Commissioner David Stern ruled the mistake didn’t have a “clear impact” on last month’s loss at Cleveland.

The Hawks protested their Dec. 30 defeat after officials failed to notice that the 24-second clock was not reset after a miss by Cleveland with 1:56 remaining. Atlanta was leading 99-98 but did not get its allotted time and wound up making a costly turnover while rushing to get off a shot. The Cavaliers went on to win 106-101.

Coach Mike Woodson asked that the game be replayed from the point of the mistake.

The NBA has remedied an officiating mistake in the past by requiring a do over.

The Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat must replay the final 51.9 seconds of their game last month because the NBA said the official scorer ruled incorrectly that Shaquille O’Neal fouled out. This will be the first time since 1982 the league has sent teams back on the court for a replay.

The Hawks won 117-111 at home in overtime Dec. 19. The NBA said Friday the replay will be held before the teams’ next scheduled game — March 8 in Atlanta. Play will start from the time after O’Neal’s disputed sixth foul.

The Hawks also were fined $50,000, with commissioner David Stern ruling the team was “grossly negligent” in failing to address the mistake.

There is a recent precedent for a do over, and the shot clock mistake did indeed affect the game. Atlanta, rushed to make a shot before the wrongly set clock expired, turned over the ball to Cleveland who immediately took the lead. So how did Atlanta ownership get in Stern’s bad graces that would cause him to fake amnesia? The call was blown, it adversely affected the game, and there is a prior precedent issued by this very same Commissioner. Shouldn’t Stern fine Cleveland while he is at too? He fined Atlanta in the case of the 2007 incident. Talk about double standards and unfair treatment.


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