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.


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.


Fire alarm sounds during LA Clipper-Memphis game

The Clippers have certainly had some interesting experiences this season. First a thief stole over 20,000 while one of their exhibition games, then their announcers were suspended for one game due to offensive remarks they made, now this.

FedExForum in Memphis was evacuated during Tuesday night’s game between the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies when a broken water main tripped a fire alarm during the third period.

Fans were told to exit the building by taking the stairs only.

Memphis went on to win the game 104-102 and deny the Clippers a chance to reach .500 for the season.

Maybe Clipper management can use this year’s happenings as a promotional tool. ‘Come see the Clippers play. You never know what will happen!’


Los Angeles Angels announcer Rory Markas dead at 54

He also used to do Milwaukee Brewer, Los Angeles Clippers, and USC Trojan broadcasts. RIP.

Los Angeles Angels broadcaster Rory Markas has died. He was 54.

Markas was found dead at his home in Palmdale, Calif., on Monday and the cause of death was not immediately available, Angels spokesman Tim Mead said Tuesday. Markas had surgery for a blood clot on his brain in late 2008.

Markas was with the Angels for eight seasons. Many remember his call in the 2002 World Series when center fielder Darin Erstad was about to make the final out: “Erstad says he’s got it! Erstad makes the catch! The Anaheim Angels are the champions of baseball!”

Markas also did broadcasts for the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Clippers, USC men’s basketball and Pacific Coast League baseball. He had been a sports reporter for KNX Radio and a sports anchor for KTTV.

During Markas’ six seasons with the PCL, he spent three years doing radio broadcasts for the Salt Lake City Gulls and three for the Vancouver Canadians.

“The entire Trojan family is shocked and saddened to learn of this sad news about Rory,” USC athletic director Mike Garrett said in a statement released by the school. “We held him and the outstanding broadcasting work he did for us in the highest regard. He was a consummate professional and a well-loved individual. He’ll be a very difficult person to replace. We want to extend our support and condolences to his family.”

“Rory was one of the great professionals in the business,” said Jim Hefner, who worked with Markas as the analyst on USC radio broadcasts, in the USC statement. “But more importantly, he was one of the nicest, kindest people I’ve ever been around. I’m sure that everyone who worked with him will truly miss him. He was one of a kind.”

He was honored with two Associated Press Sportscasting awards and received the 2008 Radio Play-by-Play Award from the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Association.


Buzzer beater- LA Clippers beat Boston 92-90

Believe it or not, the downtrodden Clippers have beaten the Celtics at the Staples Center two years in a row. From AP-

For the first 47 1/2 minutes, Rajon Rondo was quicker, sharper and smoother than Baron Davis.

In the final seconds, the Boston youngster just couldn’t match the bearded one’s California cool.

Davis hit a long fallaway jumper at the buzzer after Rondo missed two free throws 1.5 seconds earlier, and the Los Angeles Clippers dramatically snapped the Celtics’ nine-game road winning streak with a 92-90 victory on Sunday night.

Davis had 24 points and 13 assists for the Clippers, whose three-game losing streak ended when Davis took an inbounds pass with a second left, pivoted and hopped backward for a perfect 22-footer while drawing a little contact from Rondo, giving Los Angeles its only lead of the second half.

The win makes Los Angeles 13-17 for the 2009-10 NBA season or 13th out of 15 in the Western conference. Which isn’t as bad as it sounds. The Clippers are 2.5 games out of 9th and well ahead of Minnesota and Golden State the two conference tailenders.

As for the Celtics, they are 23-6 now. Cleveland trails Boston by a half game in the Eastern Conference.


LA Clipper announcers suspended for one game

Remarks they made in a Wednesday night game offended at least one fan. From AP-

Clippers longtime play-by-play announcer Ralph Lawler and color analyst Michael Smith were suspended one game by the Fox Sports Prime Ticket cable network for their comments about Memphis center Hamed Haddadi.

Lawler and Smith made their off-the-cuff comments about the Iranian-born center during Wednesday night’s telecast from Memphis. The on-air banter offended a viewer who e-mailed Fox to complain.

The duo did not work Friday’s night telecast against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center. Michael Eaves and Don MacLean, who regularly serve as halftime and postgame analysts on the Clippers telecasts, substituted for Lawler and Smith at courtside.

What was it said that led to the suspension? I will put it beneath the fold. IMHO, it’s all pretty lame.


LA Clipper Blake Griffin out with broken kneecap

Shades of Sam Bowie? From AP-

Blake Griffin’s NBA debut has been pushed back indefinitely after the Los Angeles Clippers revealed late Monday night that their No. 1 overall draft pick has a broken left kneecap.

The stress fracture could sideline the Oklahoma star for six weeks, the team announced, promising further information Tuesday.

Griffin, who averaged 13.7 points and 8.1 rebounds per game during the preseason, won’t be in the Clippers’ lineup when they face the Lakers in their opener Tuesday night, and he could be out much longer. The Clippers play 20 games in their first six weeks of the regular season.

Griffin apparently broke his kneecap during the Clippers’ final exhibition game against New Orleans last Friday, perhaps after a dunk that left the power forward wincing in pain. The team initially said Griffin only had a sore left knee, making him questionable for the opener, before revealing the break.

Griffin was the consensus college player of the year with 22.7 points and an NCAA-best 14.4 rebounds per game last season for the Sooners.

I’ve watched the video of the dunk and Griffin came up in pain immediately after the play. With Griffin injured, the Clippers look likely to have another top pick in the 2010 NBA draft


Thief steals $22,000 during NBA exhibition game

The victims were basketball players from Israel. From AP-

Police say $22,000 in cash and valuables were stolen from a visiting Israeli basketball team during an exhibition game with the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.

Lt. Albert Gavin says somebody apparently got into the locker room Tuesday and stole watches, jewelry and $15,000 in cash from 10 members of Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv.

Gavin says the team noticed the theft during halftime of Maccabi’s 108-96 loss.

Gavin says police weren’t notified of the theft until after the game and weren’t able to get statements from the victims.

Locker rooms at many sporting facilities are under heavy guard. Could this robbery been an inside job?


Former Los Angeles Clippers GM Baylor sues team, NBA

The Basketball Hall of Famer claims he was unceremoniously let go because of his age and race. From AP-

Elgin Baylor, the former Los Angeles Clippers general manager who left the team last fall after 22 years, has sued the franchise, the NBA and team owner Donald Sterling alleging employment discrimination.

Dr. Taylor at Poliblog nails the absurdity of this suit right on the head.

Recognizing that I have no access to the facts under dispute, as a lay person observing sports for many years now, it is difficult to take seriously such claims when Baylor oversaw, for over two decades, one of the worst pro franchises of any professional sport ever.

Indeed, I can’t think of a similar run of futility that didn’t result in multiple firings. Has anyone in recent memory been allowed to run a team for over two decades with a record anywhere similar to that which the Clippers managed?

Mikel Brown of the Cincinnati Bengals has a .351 winning percentage since taking over as the owner of the team. If anyone wants to tally up Baylor’s record and see who came out on bottom, feel free to let me know in the comments section.


NBA player Cuttino Mobley forced to retire due to heart ailment

His 11-year career in the NBA ends with a whimper. From AP-

New York Knicks guard Cuttino Mobley retired from the NBA on Thursday because of heart disease that he said has gotten worse.

Mobley said doctors told him he faced significant risks if he kept playing. The 11-year veteran said by walking away now, he could live a long life.

Mobley, 33, announced his decision at a news conference at the Knicks’ training center, where he confirmed he has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The condition causes the heart muscle to thicken, making it harder to pump blood, and he said he had no choice but to end his career.

“The specialists I’ve seen made it clear that my heart condition has gotten worse and I couldn’t continue to play professional basketball without putting my health and life in serious danger,” Mobley said. “As much as I want to keep playing in the NBA, I have no choice but to follow the advice of my doctors and step away from the league.”

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in people under 30 years old and was linked to the deaths of former Boston Celtics forward Reggie Lewis and Loyola Marymount star Hank Gathers.

Your health is more important than basketball Cuttino. Good luck in retirement.


Visitors Since Feb. 4, 2003

All original content copyright 2003-2008 by OTB Media. All rights reserved.