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.


Washington Wizards give Coach Flip Saunders his 600th career win

He becomes the 22nd NBA coach to reach that milestone. From AP-

At the end of one of the toughest, most exhausting weeks in franchise history, the Washington Wizards needed a few smiles. And a win. And a nice ovation. And a milestone moment for the coach — just as an added bonus.

The Wizards beat the Sacramento Kings 93-86 on Saturday night, one day after their biggest star pleaded guilty to a felony gun charge and less than 24 hours after a deflating, double-overtime loss at Chicago.

The victory broke a four-losing streak and gave coach Flip Saunders his 600th career win, usually a significant moment that will end up merely as a footnote in an otherwise tumultuous season.

The Arenas saga has stolen the spotlight in Washington. The play of the Wizards hasn’t been very good, and so the press has not unexpectedly ended up concentrating on what has happened off the court.


35 points down but triumphant- Sacramento beats Chicago 102-98

The last time a NBA team overcame a bigger deficit to win was in 1996. From AP-

The buzzer sounded, the 35-point comeback was complete and both the ecstatic Sacramento Kings and the stunned Chicago Bulls had trouble describing what had just happened.

“Wow! All I can say is, ‘Wow!” Tyreke Evans said after dominating down the stretch and leading the Kings to a 102-98 victory Monday night. “We fought to the end. It was amazing.”

Indeed, it was one of the most amazing comebacks in NBA history.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the biggest rally since Utah overcame a 36-point deficit to beat Denver on Nov. 27, 1996.

The loss makes Chicago 2-12 in road games. I’d say that is abysmal but point out many NBA teams are just as bad or worse. For example, Minnesota is 3-12 and Charlotte 1-12 in road games.Scratch that, Chicago blew the lead at home. Which is worse IMHO.

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Sacramento King Francisco Garcia breaks his right arm

This is the first time I heard of a NBA player hurting themselves doing weights. From AP-

Sacramento Kings swingman Francisco Garcia will have surgery after breaking his right forearm while lifting weights.

The Kings said Garcia was injured on Friday and will have the surgery on Saturday. They provided no timeline for when he might return.

Last month, Garcia fractured his right ring finger.

A very accident prone player for a franchise usually ranked among the league’s worst every year since moving from Kansas City. Can’t the Kings ever get a break?


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.


Sacramento Kings fire coach Kenny Natt

He had been interim coach since replacing Reggie Theus 24 games into the season. From AP-

The Sacramento Kings have fired interim coach Kenny Natt and his four assistants after the club finished with the NBA’s worst record.

Natt, a longtime assistant for Jerry Sloan and Mike Brown, was promoted after Sacramento fired Reggie Theus early in the season. Natt went 11-47 in charge of the Kings, who finished with a 17-65 record.

Natt wasn’t thought to be in the Kings’ long-term plans, and the club formally announced it wouldn’t pick up his contract option for next year. Sacramento also fired assistant coaches Rex Kalamian, Jason Hamm, Randy Brown and Bubba Burrage.

The Kings will be looking for their fourth coach since Rick Adelman was fired in 2006 after eight straight playoff appearances.

The Kings problems are much greater than just happens to be coaching them at present. Who ever gets the job next has a lot of work to do.


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.


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.


Minnesota Timberwolves fire coach Randy Wittman

He will be replaced by former wolves coach, Kevin McHall. From AP-

Randy Wittman was fired as coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday, two days after an embarrassing 23-point loss at home to the last-place Los Angeles Clippers. Kevin McHale took over as coach, leaving his job as the club’s vice president of basketball operations.

The young team is 4-15 and has not responded to Wittman’s demands for tough defense and consistent effort. The Timberwolves are in the midst of a five-game losing streak in which the average margin of defeat has been nearly 17 points.


This was the fourth NBA coaching firing this season following P.J. Carlesimo (Oklahoma City), Eddie Jordan (Washington) and Sam Mitchell (Toronto).

Wittman was 38-105 since taking over for Dwane Casey in January 2007. McHale picked Wittman to preside over the team’s rebuilding following the trade of Kevin Garnett, but the second year of the plan has not produced results.

Only 38-105? Why did Minnesota take so long to fire this guy?


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