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.


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.


Never a calm moment- Portland defeats Los Angeles 107-98

The Lakers last win in Oregon was back in 2005. From the Oregonian-

A season that has never provided a dull moment just became a little more memorable Friday, when the short-handed and recently short-fused Trail Blazers did what they seemingly always do against the Lakers at the Rose Garden: win.LAK-Por

In one of their more well-rounded and entertaining games of the season, the Blazers controlled the Lakers 107-98, giving Lakers coach Phil Jackson until Feb. 6 to come up with new material on why his team has lost nine in a row in Portland.

“We played great basketball tonight,” Blazers coach Nate McMillan said.

The Blazers led wire-to-wire, and by as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter, as Brandon Roy had the look of a candidate for league most valuable player, Martell Webster played inspired defense on Kobe Bryant, and Jerryd Bayless was a burst of energy off the bench.

Roy was as efficient as he was brilliant, finishing with 32 points, six assists, five rebounds and zero turnovers in 38 minutes. He matched Bryant in points, but Bryant went 14 for 37 from the field and had five turnovers, while Roy went 9 for 11 from the field and 13 of 14 from the free throw line.

Portland is now 23-15 for the season. This is truly remarkable in light of the injuries and illness that have befallen Trail Blazer players.


Eight is Enough- Portland beats Golden State 105-89

The Trail Blazers at half strength can still whip the Warriors. From AP-

The Portland Trail Blazers keep losing players — and they keep winning games.

Brandon Roy scored 37 points, Andre Miller added 23 and the Blazers won for the sixth time in seven games with a 105-89 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night despite dressing only eight players.

“We’re just laughing because we can’t understand it either,” said Martell Webster, who had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Blazers. “We’re just going out and playing. We have nothing to lose.”

Monta Ellis continued his strong play against Portland, leading the Warriors with 30 points. Corey Maggette added 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Anthony Randolph had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Warriors, who shot 68.4 percent in the first quarter but 33.3 percent the rest of the way. They tied a season low for points and are 0-9 when scoring fewer than 100.

Blazers have been hampered by a spate of injuries and essentially used six players. Rookie forward Jeff Pendergraph started but played just 9 minutes. Shavlik Randolph, a recent acquisition with an injury hardship exemption, played less than a minute.

The most recent player Portland lost, Steve Blake, is not due to any injury but pneumonia. It is more than remarkable that the Trail Blazers have kept it together this season, alone go 22-13 like they have.


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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Portland Center Joel Przybilla out for the season

The Trailblazers should open their own hospital ward. From AP-

Trail Blazers center Joel Przybilla had surgery Thursday to repair his ruptured right patella tendon.

Przybilla is expected to miss the rest of the season after hurting his leg during Portland’s 85-81 victory at Dallas on Tuesday night. He went up for a rebound and came down awkwardly with 3:12 left in the first quarter.

Przybilla averaged 4.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 30 games.

The Blazers have been beset by so many injuries this season that the NBA granted the team an exemption to carry 16 players on its roster.

Portland also is without center Greg Oden (left knee), forwards Nicolas Batum (shoulder), Travis Outlaw (left foot) and Rudy Fernandez (back), and rookies Patrick Mills (right foot) and Jeff Pendergraph (hip).

Another starter, Brandon Roy, has a strained shoulder.


Portland’s Greg Oden suffers year ending knee fracture


Portland center Greg Oden will likely miss the rest of the season after fracturing his left knee cap Saturday night in the Trail Blazers’ victory over the Houston Rockets.

“He’s a strong kid,” said general manager Kevin Pritchard, visibly shaken by the latest injury to befall the 7-foot center. “He’s going to bounce back from this.”

Oden dropped to the floor clutching his left knee and grimacing after colliding with a driving Aaron Brooks midway through the first quarter.

Oden was almost immediately surrounded by trainers and physicians. The crowd at the Rose Garden stood and chanted “Oden! Oden!”

The game was stopped for some 7 minutes. Finally, Oden was gently moved to a stretcher and wheeled from the court. He underwent an MRI shortly thereafter.

The Blazers said Oden will need surgery. A timetable for his return was not immediately set.

Oden was averaging over 11 points a game with 8 assists before his injury. Hopefully Oden will bounce back, but one must be wary in predicting a comeback for the center. He has a history of foot and leg injuries.


Philadelphia 76ers hire Eddie Jordan to be head coach

He will replace Tony Dileo who was interim coach after Maurice Cheeks was fired. From AP-

Eddie Jordan is the new head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, leaving Sacramento’s vacancy as the only remaining coaching opening in the league.

Jordan and the Sixers have reached an agreement on a multi-year deal to reunite the former Washington Wizards coach with Sixers president Ed Stefanski after Jordan and Stefanski worked together in New Jersey.

Jordan was the first to interview for the Philly job — which came open May 11 when Tony DiLeo returned to his front-office post after taking over for Maurice Cheeks in December and guiding the Sixers to the No. 6 seed in the East — and the only other candidate interviewed twice by Stefanski besides Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Dwane Casey.

Sources said Jordan was also the top candidate in Sacramento, but it was believed from the start he preferred to land with the Sixers, largely because Philly is coming off back-to-back playoff appearances. The Kings are essentially starting over after going 17-65 last season and coming out of last week’s lottery with the No. 4 overall pick despite finishing with the league’s worst record.

The status of the NBA franchise Philadelphia is obviously much rosier than that of the one in Sacramento. However the 76ers are nothing more than a run of the mill team. Jordan will have to work hard to improve on that and quickly or he could be fired just as fast as Cheeks was. I will grant this- Jordan did achieve a 20 game improvement in his second year in Washington from what the Wizards did in his first year as their coach. Maybe he can do it again.


Phoenix Suns fire coach Terry Porter after 4 months on the job

He had a record of 28-23 before getting the axe. From AP-

The Phoenix Suns have fired coach Terry Porter, just four months into his first season with the club and the sputtering team barely in playoff contention. Assistant Alvin Gentry was appointed interim coach.

Phoenix (28-23) lost five of eight going into the All-Star break and trails Utah by one game for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

Gentry promised a return to the fast-paced style that best utilizes the team’s talent, particularly the skills of playmaker Steve Nash.

“We are who we are and I think we have to go back to trying to establish a breakneck pace like we’ve had in the past,” Gentry said at a news conference announcing his promotion.

The Suns are the eighth team to fire a coach this season, meaning more than one-quarter of the league’s coaches are gone at the All-Star break.

Most of the eight coaches who lost their jobs were with bad teams and you say their earned the pink slip. The firing of Porter and Maurice Cheeks in Philadelphia look shaky to me. Is four months as head coach with an organization enough time to prove yourself?


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