Sports Outside the Beltway

NBA suspends training camps indefinitely

File this under not surprising news-

NEW YORK — The lockout has started doing real damage to the NBA’s calendar.

Players won’t report at the usual time. The preseason won’t start as scheduled.

And more cancellations could be necessary without a new labor deal soon.

Out of time to keep everything intact, the NBA postponed training camps indefinitely and canceled 43 preseason games Friday because it has not reached an agreement with players.

All games from Oct. 9-15 are off, the league said. Camps were expected to open Oct. 3.

“We have regretfully reached the point on the calendar where we are not able to open training camps on time and need to cancel the first week of preseason games,” deputy commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “We will make further decisions as warranted.”

The players’ association did not comment.

I don’t expect their to be another NBA game this year. This kind of labor conflict is usually protracted and nothing will get done till the season is on the verge of being lost. As NHL fans know from 2004-2005, even then the dispute can go over the cliff taking a whole season with it.

I have no sympathy for either owners or players. The players are rich and overindulged, the owners of small market NBA teams had to know when going in that they had little chance of making the franchise they were purchasing into NBA Championship contenders/moneymakers.


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.


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.


NBA Forward Shawne Williams indicted on felony drug charges

He was also released by the New Jersey Nets today. From AP-

Former NBA and Memphis player Shawne Williams has been indicted on felony drug charges.

Prosecutors said Friday that Williams was indicted Tuesday by a county grand jury on eight counts for possession and conspiracy to sell a codeine-based syrup.

Williams was jailed with bond set at $16,000. It was not immediately known if he had a lawyer.

Earlier Friday, the New Jersey Nets said they had waived Williams, a 23-year-old forward, after acquiring him earlier this week from Dallas along with Kris Humphries for veteran forward Eduardo Najera.

Man, it sure isn’t Shawne Williams week. He got arrested for a felony and released by the worst team in the NBA this year.

Williams, a former first round pick of the Indiana Pacers, hasn’t played in a NBA game this season. Lets hope he pulls his life together.


0-18- Dallas beats New Jersey 117-101

Will the Nets win a game before 2010 begins? From AP-

The New Jersey Nets were pounded into NBA infamy Wednesday night, falling 117-101 to the Dallas Mavericks for their 18th straight loss to start the season.

The Mavericks made 17 of 19 shots and opened a 27-point lead in a nearly flawless second quarter, burying the Nets early in former New Jersey captain Jason Kidd’s second trip back to his old home.

The Nets passed the 1988-89 Miami Heat and 1999 Los Angeles Clippers, who both dropped their first 17 games. New Jersey’s next chance to end the streak comes Friday at home against Charlotte.

The Bobcats aren’t a good team(7-10). There is hope yet for New Jersey.


We blew it- NBA admits referees errored in Denver-Dallas game

The non-call happened on a possible game-winning 3-pointer as time ran out yesterday. From AP-

The NBA admitted officials were wrong when they didn’t call an intentional foul the Dallas Mavericks were trying to commit before Denver’s Carmelo Anthony made a game-winning 3-pointer Saturday.

Dallas had a two-point lead and a foul to give when Denver inbounded the ball with less than 8 seconds left. Antoine Wright was clearly trying to foul Anthony, and bumped him twice.

But the whistle never blew and Anthony swished a 3-pointer from in front of the Dallas bench with a second left that gave the Nuggets a 106-105 victory and a 3-0 series lead.

“At the end of the Dallas-Denver game this evening, the officials missed an intentional foul committed by Antoine Wright on Carmelo Anthony, just prior to Anthony’s three-point basket,” Joel Litvin, NBA president of league and basketball operations, said in a statement issued by the league about two hours after the game.

In the aftermath of the Tim Donaghy scandal, the NBA has taken to admitting to when referees blow a call. Remember Donaghy accused two other referees of fixing a 2002 playoff game.

Honestly, the NBA if it wanted to totally come clean, would have a do over from where the foul took place. A game with much at stake was altered by what happened. Yes such an action is unprecedented, but then it would truly show the NBA isn’t fixing games like Donaghy accused them of doing.

Here is a You tube video of shot in question.

It is pretty clear to me that Wright fouled Anthony, not once but twice.

What was the reaction of the outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban?

“It’s a shame the game had to come down to this, but that’s the way it goes in the NBA sometimes,” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said in an e-mail to The Associated Press after the league’s statement.

In light of how the league fines anyone who criticizes officials, even when justified, Cuban’s public self control is not unexpected. Privately I bet he threw a fit.


Mark Cuban Defends NBA in Ref Scandal

Iconoclastic Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban responds to the NBA referee scandal with some perspective.

Every company of any size has had a problem(s) that its CEO and stakeholders have lost sleep over. Its the law of big numbers. If enough things go on, something is going to go wrong.

Products get recalled or are tampered with. There are workplace disasters. There is corruption. No industry is immune. Churches, consumer products, law enforcement, cars, planes, trains and plenty more. No profession is immune. From the CEO who misrepresents corporate numbers or events at the expense of shareholders, to the doorman who tips himself from the cover charge at the expense of the club owner, people of every profession make bad decisions.


As bad as the allegations facing the NBA today are, its also an opportunity to face every allegation that has ever been directed towards the NBA and its officials and pre empt them from ever occuring in the future.


The NBA took a hit today. Behind that hit is a catalyst and opportunity for significant change that could make the NBA stronger than it ever has been. Its a chance to proactively put in place people, processes and transparency that will forever silence those who will question the NBA’s integrity.

I have complete confidence that David Stern and Adam Silver will do just that and the NBA and our officiating will be all the stronger for it.

Let us hope. I’m at best a casual fan of the NBA. Still, the integrity of the league and, indeed, American professional sports, is important. If the NBA can figure out how to get better quality control over its refs, the other leagues can learn from them and improve, too.


Mark Cuban’s Colonoscopy

Dallas Mavericks honcho Mark Cuban shares way too much information about his colonoscopy. His message is well taken, though:

Bottomline is that your life just might depend on getting tested for colon cancer. There is absolutely nothing to be afraid of. Its truly easy and breezy. Do it.


Jeff Van Gundy Wants Random NBA Lottery

Jeff Van Gundy wants to make a parody of parity.

The Dallas Mavericks with the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA draft? If Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy had his way, that could happen.

Van Gundy wants to open up the NBA draft lottery to all 30 NBA teams in an effort to keep teams from losing intentionally to hopefully secure the No. 1 pick. “I think every team should have an equal chance at winning the lottery, from the best team all the way down,” Van Gundy told The Houston Chronicle. “I don’t want to accuse anyone of anything. I would say to take away any possible conflict of interest, everyone should have an equal chance at the top pick all the way down. That way there would be absolutely no question by anybody about anything. If it’s better for the game, they should do it. I never quite understood why losing is rewarded, other than [for] parity.”

According to The Chronicle, Van Gundy presented his proposal to the NBA, but wasn’t taken seriously.

Ya think? Saying “I never quite understood why losing is rewarded, other than [for] parity” is like saying, “I never understood why people bother to breathe, other than the living.”

Indeed, the NBA is the only league with a lottery than a pure inverse order of finish draft. Until a few years ago, every team had a chance to get the top player, although it was weighted. Still, it resulted in the best teams occasionally getting ridiculously high picks.


The King’s Resurgence

Brian Windhorst of the Akron-Beacon Journal, probably the most knowledgeable writer in the country about Lebron James, has an excellent article on ESPN discussing Lebron’s sudden resurgence over the past month. In the article, he questions what exactly it was that ‘set Lebron off’:

So then perhaps there was a column that proved to be the final straw. Maybe it was a private call from Wade or another peer. Maybe James’ bed at a posh Beverly Hills hotel was particularly comfortable. Whatever it was, something cracked Feb. 15 in Los Angeles.

I think it was none of those. On February 14th, the night before that game, I called up my brother. “I think that tonight was the best thing that could have happened to the Cavs”, I remember saying. The Cavs had just lost 99-98 to the Jazz – in Utah – on a terrible non-call at the last second when Sasha Pavlovic was clearly fouled at midcourt as he was running down the court to take what would have been the game-winning shot. They were furious, and had no problems stating as much to anyone who would listen.

The Jazz game was important for the Cavs, who seemed to only put effort into games against top-tier Western Conference teams for a while. This was a chance to beat yet another top Western team in their own arena – and it was stolen from them. Suddenly, the Cavs had something to prove… and this was compounded by tough losses to both the Bulls and Heat a week later. But the Cavs then went out to Dallas, and not only hung with the best team in the NBA on their own court, but had the game come down to the final seconds – only to watch Lebron miss two straight shots that could have tied the game. Again, I spoke to my brother, and once again, we agreed: This has the potential to be, combined with that Jazz loss, the spark that really lights the Cavs up for the rest of the year.

The Cavs went on to win their next eight games, and were surely looking ahead to tonight’s rematch against the Mavericks when they blew a 10-point lead to the lowly Bobcats before eventually losing in overtime last night. During those eight games, they took out a measure of revenge against the Pistons, beating them in Auburn Hills, and defeating Utah at home during Carlos Boozer’s return to Cleveland – while Lebron played absolutely incredible basketball.

Tonight, the Cavs have another chance to beat the Mavs and show that they truly are legitimate championship contenders. This is a huge game – for the Cavs as a team and for Lebron as their superstar. Tonight, we’ll finally see what the Cavs are really made of. A win tonight will put the Pistons and Heat on notice, not to mention the Mavericks, that Lebron wasn’t kidding when he said this is the year the Cavs go for the NBA championship.

A win tonight will show that when the Cavs are playing with some fire under them, they may be the best team in the NBA.

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