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.


Denver Nuggets Coach George Karl has cancer

He was already a prostate cancer survivor. From ESPN-

Denver Nuggets coach George Karl informed his team Tuesday afternoon that he is in another fight for his life with cancer.

Karl, who had been cancer-free since prostate surgery in July 2005, discovered a worrisome lump on his neck about six weeks ago. A biopsy determined that it was “very treatable and curable” form of neck and throat cancer, Karl said, but it will still require an intense program of radiation and chemotherapy that will probably force him to miss some regular-season games.

“Cancer is a vicious opponent,” he said. “Even the ones that are treatable, you never get a 100-percent guaranteed contract.”

Treatment will consist of 35 sessions over the next six weeks, for what the Nuggets Web site called squamous cell head/neck cancer. The sessions are expected to leave his throat extremely raw, requiring him to be fed through his stomach in the final weeks. “Keeping up your nutrition is a big part of the challenge,” he said.

While the condition is treatable, his doctor, Jacques Saari, said Karl faces a taxing treatment regimen.

I’m a cancer survivor also. If the above account is true, I’d be surprised if Karl coaches at the same time he gets treatments. No matter I wish him success in his latest cancer battle.


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.


Portland Guard Steve Blake has pneumonia

The Trailblazers have been so beset with injuries this year that team owners may begin investing in hospitals. From AP-

Trail Blazers guard Steve Blake has been hospitalized with pneumonia.Steve Blake

Portland says Blake is expected to remain in the hospital for several days. He is averaging 7.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists this season.

Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge has a sprained left ankle and is expected to miss Saturday’s game against Golden State.

The Blazers have been beset by injuries this season and have received two hardship roster exemptions from the league.

All joking aside, a case of pneumonia can be very serious business. It was for me in 2008, when I came down with it while recovering from open heart surgery. Get well Steve Blake.

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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.


Former NBA player Glen Gondrezick dead at 53

He played for the Knicks and Nuggets during the 70′s and 80′s. More recently he worked as announcer for his alma mater UNLV. RIP.

Former UNLV basketball star Glen Gondrezick, who later played for the New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets before turning to broadcasting, has died. He was 53.

School officials and close friend Bobby Gleason said Gondrezick died Monday at St. Rose Hospital in Henderson, Nev., after apparent complications from a heart transplant that he received last September.

“From what the doctors told us, the body just rejected the heart,” Gleason said. “Gondo never gave up. The heart did.”

Gondrezick starred on the Rebels’ Final Four team in 1977, and his jersey No. 25 was retired by the program in 1997. He ranks 16th on the school’s career scoring list with 1,311 points, and his 831 rebounds rank ninth.

“He was only 6-foot-6. The hustle is what made him,” said former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian. “He would dive on the floor. He would take charges. If they kept that stat, he would have led the nation in taking charges.

“He was a fierce competitor and a very loyal guy. I’m going to miss him so much.”

Gondrezick played for the Knicks and Nuggets from 1977 to 1983, and later spent 17 years doing color commentary on UNLV basketball broadcasts.


Denver Nuggets match most lopsided win in NBA playoff history

It is a game like this that makes you question if there are too many teams invited to the postseason.

Carmelo Anthony scored all of his 26 points in the first three quarters, and Denver thoroughly dismantled New Orleans 121-63 on Monday night to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.


The New Orleans Arena was mostly empty by the end of the third quarter, when Denver led 89-50 on its way to matching the most lopsided victory in NBA playoff history. The Minneapolis Lakers beat the St. Louis Hawks 133-75 in 1956.

Looking twice as quick as New Orleans on both ends of the court, the Nuggets stifled Hornets All-Star Chris Paul, whose four points and six assists amounted to one of the worst games of his career.

I’m surprised New Orleans managed to win one game in this series. Denver could make it to the Championship finals.


Denver Nuggets edge past the Miami Heat 114-113 in OT

South Florida basketball fans are not having a good time this year. From AP-

MIAMI – J.R. Smith made a career-best eight 3-pointers and scored 28 points, Kenyon Martin added 24, and the Denver Nuggets edged the Miami Heat 114-113 in overtime Tuesday night. Carmelo Anthony scored six of his 22 points in overtime for Denver, which has won three straight.

Dwyane Wade scored a game-high 29 points, but missed a 22-footer at the buzzer for Miami — which has lost eight straight and 23 of its last 24 games.

Wade — who also had 10 assists — made a 3-pointer with 2:36 left in overtime to tie the game at 110, then dove over the first row of seats in a futile effort to grab a loose ball a minute later. On that possession, Anthony Carter made two free throws, putting the Nuggets up by two with 1:26 left.

Anthony added two more free throws with 54.1 seconds to play, and Ricky Davis’ 3-pointer with 33.6 seconds left got Miami within a point. Anthony missed with about 10 seconds remaining, Miami controlled the rebound and Wade dribbled up the left side of the floor to one of his favorite spots.

But the shot rimmed out, and Miami left frustrated once again.

Maybe the Miami Heat need to pay for me to go on a Catholic retreat again in order for the team to win. A Heat victory takes nothing short of a miracle right now.


Denver Nuggets’ Nene has testicular cancer

He had a tumor removed on January 14th. From AP-

DENVER – A testicular tumor removed from Denver Nuggets forward Nene was malignant. The team said Tuesday the tumor was discovered early, and tests showed the cancer was isolated.

“The recovery rate is extremely high,” the Nuggets said in a written statement. “In addition, the odds of a recurrence are very small.”

Nene underwent surgery Jan. 14 to remove the tumor.

The team statement said he was doing well, but there was no timeline for his return.

The Brazilian player’s Web site had posted a statement last week saying the tumor was benign, but that announcement later was removed.

Famous testicular cancer survivors in sports include Lance Armstrong, Scott Hamilton, John Kruk, and Mike Lowell. The survival rates are pretty darn good. As a fellow cancer survivor I wish Nene well.


Denver’s Top Five Current Athletes

FanHouse is posting the top five current athletes for America’s top 20 sporting cities. Here are Denver’s.

5. Joe Sakic: One of the classiest players anywhere in sports, Sakic is nearing the end of a long and distinguished career spent entirely with the Avs/Nordiques franchise. Age is not slowing him, either: he put up 100 points last season for the first time since 2000-01. A Hall of Fame lock whenever he decides to hang up his skates, the only thing keeping him down this list is the relative popularity of the NHL.

4. Matt Holliday: The Rockies’ 27 year-old left fielder is emerging into one of the best hitters in all of baseball. Last year he hit .326 and launched 34 homers; this year he is hitting the stratosphere with a .362 BA and an OPS that breaks the 1.000 barrier (he’s currently at 1.015).

3. Champ Bailey: The best player on the state’s most popular team, Champ had a ridiculous ten interceptions last year en route to All Pro status. Now if only the Broncos had John Elway still kicking around…

2. Carmelo Anthony: Though he’s overshadowed by draft mates Lebron James, Darko Milicic, and Dwyane Wade, ‘Melo also just happens to be one of the best players in the game; certainly he’s one of the highest scoring. Would have been an easy #1 on the list until the Sixers got restless and decided to blow the team up. But they did and thus…

1. Allen Iverson: Iverson is one of the most iconic players in the sporting world, to say nothing of the NBA. Though his tenure in the city is short — note to self: do not make hacky joke re: Iverson height here, good job self — and his impact on the court debatable (the Nuggets could have gotten bounced in the first round with or without him), by the criteria established above Iverson is number one with a bullet.

I don’t know, shouldn’t Champ Bailey be #1? After all, he is “The best player on the state’s most popular team”. I think I would also swap Melo and Iverson. Just for the simple fact, the City of Denver has a longer relationship with Carmelo Anthony. Joe Sakic is a great choice and great man. And, Matt Holliday would make the Blake Street Bombers proud.

10. John Elway, No One In Particular (It could be the year 2302 and Robot John Elway could still run for governor with a platform of WOOOOOOO I’M JOHN ELWAY and win 80% of the vote.)

Funny! But, true. haha


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