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.


Skid- Orlando beats Cleveland 101-95

What has happened to the pre-All-Star game Cavaliers? From AP-

Dwight Howard had 22 points and 16 rebounds in a bruising battle with Shaquille O’Neal, and the Orlando Magic beat Cleveland 101-95 on Sunday for the Cavaliers’ first three-game losing streak in two years.Cle-Orl

Cleveland’s skid comes on the heels of a 13-game win streak.

Howard was 8-for-13 shooting and added four blocks, and Vince Carter had eight of his 11 points in the fourth quarter to help the Magic beat Cleveland for the first time this season.

O’Neal made his first eight shots and finished with 20 points, and LeBron James had 33 points and nine rebounds for the Cavaliers,

Lebron didn’t have a very good 4th quarter and that was the biggest cause of Cleveland’s loss. Why did he start passing the ball so much instead of shooting it himself?

Orlando knocked Cleveland out of the playoffs last year. I think the Magic are the team in the Eastern Conference with the best chance of beating the Cavaliers this year.


NBA Coach Stan Van Gundy wishes there were no NBA games on Christmas

Of the five games on television today, I’ve spent less than two minutes watching any of them. From AP-

“I actually feel sorry for people who have nothing to do on Christmas Day other than watch an NBA game,” the Orlando Magic coach said.

While I don’t feel sorry for them, I do think there are better ways of using one’s time.

The Magic were playing Boston on Friday, one of five NBA games on Christmas.

The Celtics won that game 86-77.

Van Gundy said he understands the high-priced TV contracts generate money for the league and it would be difficult to stop such games. He said he wishes the league at the very least had fewer games on the holidays.

The people who could put a stop to these games or at least limit them, are the NBA players themselves. They could make it a request when negotiations for the next collective bargaining agreement comes up. During Wednesday night’s Florida Panthers game, the topic of why the NHL doesn’t play on Christmas came up. Announcer Billy Lindsay said it was due to the CBA between hockey owners and players.

The Magic play games on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day this season.

I can understand why Van Gundy is grumbling then.

“I think we get a little carried away with ourselves with sports thinking we’re more important than everything else,” Van Gundy said before the game. “But that’s the way it is. There’s nothing more important than the NBA on Christmas Day.”

That’s certainly untrue. There is time with family, going to church, writing blog posts, and paying a visit to the cemetery where your son and parents are buried that are all much more important priorities in life.

Van Gundy’s outspokeness may well earn him a fine. Bostion Coach Doc Rivers didn’t agree with the Orlando Magic coach.

Rivers said it’s tough for players to be away from family, but he realizes the league is not going to stop playing on the holidays. Rivers lives in the Orlando area and was able to wake up Christmas morning in his own bed.

He said he always watched Christmas Day games growing up because the league features the marquee teams.

“As a kid, you wanted to be on [Christmas],” Rivers said. “Then when you get to the league, you don’t want to be on any more. You’re like, ‘No, I changed my mind.’ But it’s going to happen, so why try to fight it? I tend to look at it as a reward.”

As we grow up things that we once longed to do, have instead looked upon as a hassle. It’s part of life.

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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.


All net- Orlando beats Boston 117-96 to take 2-1 series lead

Could Florida’s other NBA franchise make it to the championship finals? From AP-

Into the stands. Off the backboard or in another player’s face, Dwight Howard sent Boston Celtics’ shots everywhere.

Howard had 17 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks to lift the Orlando Magic to a 117-96 victory over the Celtics on Friday night and a 2-1 series lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal.

“Just the whole team stepped up the defensive intensity,” said Howard, the NBA’s defensive player of the year. “It starts with me. I have to do that every night if we want to be successful.”

Rashard Lewis had 28 points, and Hedo Turkoglu scored 24 for Orlando, which played without starting point guard Rafer Alston. He was suspended by the NBA for slapping Eddie House in the back of the head in Game 2.

The Magic shot a franchise record 59.1 from the field last night. I think Orlando can beat Boston, but they won’t get by LeBron James and Cleveland.


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.


Orlando Magic set NBA 3-point record in rout of Kings

The one game record had stood since March 2005. From ESPN-

Even the guys at the end of the bench were making 3-pointers on a record-setting night for the Orlando Magic.

Seldom-used Jeremy Richardson’s lone basket proved the most memorable Tuesday night, a 3-pointer with 2:20 left in the fourth quarter that gave the Magic an NBA-record 23 3s in a 139-107 victory over the Sacramento Kings.

The Magic made 23 of 37 attempts (62 percent) in breaking the old mark of 21, set by Toronto on March 13, 2005, against Philadelphia. Orlando rang up its highest point total since scoring 152 at Milwaukee on Feb. 20, 1995.
Making A Point

The Magic went 23-for-37 from 3-point range. That the most 3-pointers made in a game in NBA history. The Raptors had the previous record with 21 made 3-point FGs on March 13, 2005 vs. the 76ers.

“I knew it was close to a record, but I really didn’t know, I just took the shot,” Richardson said in a jovial Orlando locker room. “It was a great record for the team, I was just happy to play and be a part of it.”

Everyone likes to be a part of good history. Last night’s success shouldn’t go to the Magic’s heads. The 3-point shot is not a high percentage play.


Wizards’ DeShawn Stevenson start streak to end at 275

The last time he wasn’t in a NBA starting lineup was three years ago. From ESPN-

With the Washington Wizards off to a 4-21 start, lineup changes were to be expected. Unexpected is DeShawn Stevenson volunteering to sacrifice his 275-game starting streak to help give the team a spark.

Stevenson, who has started 189 straight games since joining the Wizards for the 2006-07 season, will come off the bench Tuesday against the Charlotte Bobcats. Stevenson is shooting 31.7 percent from the field this season.

“In a real team gesture he basically told me: ‘Tap, I’m struggling a little bit. Why don’t you let me come off the bench and see if I can’t get my swag back,’ ” interim coach Ed Tapscott said.

Tapscott said he hasn’t settled on the exact lineup for Tuesday’s game. One possibility would have Caron Butler moving to shooting guard and Dominic McGuire starting at small forward.

Washington matched a franchise record for the worst 25-game start with Sunday’s 97-86 loss to Dallas, equaling the mark set by the 1966-67 Baltimore Bullets.

Stevenson is being unselfish, which is a good example for other players. The firing of Coach Eddie Jordan I see has done wonders for Washington. NOT! I doubt Stevenson’s gesture, which is the right thing to do, will be make in substantive changes in this team.


Sacramento Kings fire Reggie Theus coach

Another one bites the dust.

Two days after a heavy home loss to the New York Knicks, Reggie Theus was fired Monday as coach of the Sacramento Kings.

Assistant coach Kenny Natt has been elevated to interim coach. Natt is Sacramento’s fourth coach in less than three years, following Theus, Eric Musselman and Rick Adelman, who left the club after the 2005-06 season.

Theus is the sixth NBA coach to be fired before Christmas this season, joining Philadelphia’s Maurice Cheeks, Minnesota’s Randy Wittman, Toronto’s Sam Mitchell, Washington’s Eddie Jordan and Oklahoma City’s P.J. Carlesimo. The previous NBA record for pre-Christmas firings was three.

Theus, who coached at New Mexico State before coming to Sacramento, has a three year deal. How nice must it be to get paid for nothing for a year and a half when sports franchises fire coaches with time remaining on the contract

All sarcasm aside, Sacramento was 6-18 this year. The Kings ownership does have more than enough justification for the firing on that basis alone.


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.


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