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.


Detroit Piston Rodney Stuckey taken to the hospital

He collapsed during a game with the Cleveland Cavaliers. From AP-

Detroit’s Rodney Stuckey was conscious and breathing on his own after he was taken by ambulance to a hospital after collapsing on the Pistons’ bench during the team’s loss to the Cavs Friday night.

The Pistons said Stuckey’s vital signs were stable at the Cleveland Clinic. He will remain there overnight after being transported there for tests.

“He is stable and that is good news,” Pistons coach John Kuester said. “I think he is going to be OK.”

Stuckey was wheeled off the court on a stretcher after he collapsed and fell unconscious into strength coach Arnie Kander’s arms on the bench. Play was halted for 12 minutes as the medical staff worked on him, placing an oxygen mask on his face and wheeling him into an ambulance.

Hopefully he will be thoroughly checked out by the doctors. Locally, a 10-year-old died of a cogenital heart defect this week. His family didn’t know about their son’s illness. I was born with a heart defect also that wasn’t diagnosed till I was 47.

Get well Rodney Stuckey.


Can anyone here play this game? Golden State beats Detroit 95-88

My nominee for the most embarrassing effort by both teams in a NBA game this season.

On a night filled with offensive ineptitude it was only fitting that missed free throws proved to be the deciding factor.

Stephen Curry scored 27 points and the Golden State Warriors used the hack-a-Ben strategy to finish their rally from a 14-point deficit in the second half and beat the Detroit Pistons 95-88 on Saturday night.

The Warriors shot 41 percent from the field and committed 17 turnovers but came up with their first win without scoring at least 100 points since Jan. 30, 2009, at New Orleans.

“Sometimes you don’t know how you win games, but we just stayed around long enough to make plays at the right time,” said coach Don Nelson, who has 1,326th career victories — seven shy of breaking Lenny Wilkens’ record.

Anthony Tolliver added 19 points and 14 rebounds, and C.J. Watson scored 17 points in place of injured leading scorer Monta Ellis as the Warriors snapped a five-game losing streak against the Pistons.

Golden State held Detroit without a field goal for the final 3:52, with the Pistons only point in that span coming on a free throw by Ben Wallace on one of three trips to the line after intentional fouls by the Warriors. Wallace missed five of his six attempts late in the game, including consecutive air balls in the final minute.

Air balls? There isn’t supposed to be air balls in the NBA fans.

Anyone who attended this game should ask for a refund. Requesting a better Golden State team is asking for a miracle.


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.


Too Passive- Philadelphia defeats Detroit 104-94

The New Jersey Nets aren’t the only NBA team struggling this season. From AP-

The Detroit Pistons played with lackluster effort for a half against the Philadelphia 76ers, leading their first-year coach to criticize their intensity and at least one player to agree with him.Det-Phil

Elton Brand matched a season high with 25 points and was one of six double-digit scorers for Philadelphia in a 104-94 victory over the Pistons on Saturday night.

“I thought we were passive at times,” Detroit coach John Kuester said.

That seemed surprising because Detroit has lost 12 straight in its worst slump since April 1994.

It was only two years ago that Pistons last made it to the Eastern Conference finals. Injuries and poor personnel decisions have turned back the clock for the franchise since then. After 12 straight losses they stand at 11-24 for the season. Still a hell of a lot better than New Jersey’s 3-33.


Hall of Fame Basketball coach Chuck Daly dead at 78

He passed away after a short battle with cancer. Besides his NBA days, Daly was an Olympic coach and in his early days, a college basketball coach at Penn and Boston College. He was one of the great ones. RIP.

Chuck Daly, who coached the original Dream Team to the Olympic gold medal in 1992 after winning back-to-back NBA championships with the Detroit Pistons, has died. He was 78.

He died Saturday morning in Jupiter, Fla., with his family by his side, the team said. The Pistons announced in March that the Hall of Fame coach had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was undergoing treatment.

He was renowned for his ability to create harmony out of diverse personalities at all levels of the game, whether they were Ivy Leaguers at Pennsylvania, Dream Teamers Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley, or Pistons as dissimilar as Dennis Rodman and Joe Dumars.

“It’s a players’ league. They allow you to coach them or they don’t,” Daly once said. “Once they stop allowing you to coach, you’re on your way out.”

Daly was voted one of the 10 greatest coaches of the NBA’s first half-century in 1996, two years after being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. He was the first coach to win both an NBA title and Olympic gold.


Former Detroit Pistons coach Chuck Daly diagnosed with cancer

He coached in the Motor city for nine seasons. From AP-

Former Detroit Pistons coach Chuck Daly has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

The team says Friday that Daly “is being treated for the cancer and his family is requesting privacy.”

The 78-year-old Daly coached the Pistons to NBA championships in 1989 and 1990. He also was the coach of the 1992 gold medal-winning US Olympic squad dubbed the “Dream Team.” He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to Chuck and his family following today’s tough news,” Detroit president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said. “He holds a special place in our hearts and we’ll be here to support him in any way we can.”

Dumars played for Daly on both championship teams, winning the NBA finals MVP award in 1989.

The Pistons were scheduled to play the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.

“I wish him the best. It’s a tough cancer to get,” Golden State coach Don Nelson said. “He beat my (butt) probably more than anybody.”

Family spokesman Matt Dobek says in the release that as a coach Daly was “known as the Prince of Pessimism, right now Chuck Daly is the King of Optimism.”

Pancreatic is a particularly nasty cancer. Say a prayer that Daly can beat it.


Pistons Fire Flip Saunders

Flip Saunders led the Detroit Pistons the the Eastern Conference finals three straight years. That’s why they fired him.

Flip Saunders Fired Photo In this April 8, 2008 file photo, Detroit Pistons coach Flip Saunders shouts instructions to his team in the second half of the Pistons' 98-94 loss to the New York Knicks in an NBA basketball game in Auburn Hills, Mich. The Detroit Pistons say Flip Saunders won't be back next season after leading the team to three straight appearances in the Eastern Conference finals. President of basketball operations Joe Dumars said Tuesday June 3, 2008 a change is necessary despite Saunders' successes. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson, File) Flip Saunders was fired as the Pistons’ coach Tuesday, four days after Detroit was eliminated from the playoffs by the Boston Celtics. And more changes could be on the way for a team bounced from three straight conference finals.

“Make no mistake, everybody is in play right now,” said Joe Dumars, the Pistons’ president of basketball operations. “There are no sacred cows here. You lose that sacred cow status when you lose three straight years.”

Saunders had a year left on a four-year deal he signed in 2005. His ouster comes three years after he took over for Larry Brown, who led the Pistons to two straight NBA finals.

“I think this team became way too content and did not show up with a sense of urgency to get it done,” Dumars said at a news conference. “I can’t sugarcoat it. It is what it is.”

Dumars stopped short of saying he would dismantle the Pistons. “The idea you can make yourself bad and make yourself good again, that’s a farce,” he said. “I have no interest in completely ripping the team down. Will I look to making significant changes? Yeah, you’re damn right I will.”

Bizarre. I don’t have the knowledge of the game to judge whether Saunders get the most out of the talent at hand. But, certainly, the Boston Celtics, to whom the Pistons lost in the finals, were widely considered the most talented team in the NBA. This strikes me as a knee-jerk move.


NBA Mock Draft

ESPN’s Chad Ford offers the Sports Leader’s take on the impending NBA Draft.

It’s almost draft day, and the picture is getting clearer and fuzzier simultaneously.

We’ve been able to narrow down the list of prospects that each team is considering, but two things stand in the way of getting a complete picture.

One, this is a time when many GMs are notorious for dropping smoke screens. A source in Memphis swears the team is taking Joakim Noah. Another says to bank on the Grizzlies’ taking Mike Conley. Someone is misinformed or bluffing.

Two, there is a flurry of trade conversation, starting with Memphis, Boston, Charlotte and Chicago all talking about trading away their lottery picks. Meanwhile teams such as Golden State, Phoenix and the Lakers are trying hard to move up. Others — like Portland, Indiana and Toronto — are trying to get in or grab another pick.

The talk in Phoenix about trading up in the draft has gotten so hot that the Suns have gotten Noah, Jeff Green and Corey Brewer to agree to a workout on Tuesday. They’ll try to add Brandan Wright as a fourth. That shows you how much players want to play in Phoenix — they’ll drop everything just for the chance. It could be the most competitive workout of the draft.

Their consensus draft board:

    1. Portland TrailblazersGreg Oden – C
    2. Portland TrailblazersKevin Durant – SF – Texas
    3. Atlanta HawksAl Horford – PF – Florida
    4. Memphis GrizzliesMike Conley – PG- Ohio State
    5. Boston CelticsYi Jianlian – PF – China
    6. Milwaukee BucksJeff Green – SF – Georgetown
    7. Minnesota TimberwolvesJoakim Noah – PF – Florida
    8. Charlotte BobcatsCorey Brewer – SG – Florida
    9. Chicago Bulls (via New York Knicks) – Spencer Hawes – C- Washington
    10. Sacramento Kings- Brandan Wright – PF – North Carolina
    11. Atlanta Hawks (via Indiana Pacers) – Acie Law – PG – Texas A&M
    12. Philadelphia 76ersAl Thornton – SF – Florida State
    13. New Orleans Hornets – Nick Young – SG- USC
    14. L.A. ClippersJulian Wright – SF – Kansas
    15. Detroit Pistons (via Orlando Magic) – Rodney Stuckey SG – Eastern Wash.

Click the link for more in-depth analysis and for the second half of the draft.


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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