Eugene Doom Blog
Cavaliers Top LeBron, Heat 102-90
In an unbearable season of losses, Cleveland got the win it wanted most.
The Cavaliers took down LeBron James.
Despite blowing a 23-point lead, the Cavs battled back and beat the Miami Heat 102-90 on Tuesday night, getting a dose of revenge against James, who was making his second homecoming visit to Cleveland since leaving last summer.
J.J. Hickson scored 21 and Anthony Parker scored 20 for the Cavs, who were embarrassed by James and the Heat 118-90 on Dec. 2 — a night when Cleveland fans unleashed their hatred on the superstar.
This time, James left the floor hanging his head. He finished with 27 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.
In the closing seconds, a sellout crowd of 20,562 cut loose at a victory even the most loyal Cleveland fan couldn't have imagined. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, who accused James of quitting in last year's playoffs after the two-time MVP announced he was joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in a poorly conceived TV special, high-fived anyone within reach.
On the floor afterward, Parker, whose last 3-pointer with 2:47 left capped a 12-0 run and put the Heat away, addressed Cavs fans.
"You guys deserve it," he said.
The Cavaliers were a different team — literally — from the one that laid down against the Heat here in December. Injuries and trades have reduced Cleveland's roster to a shell of the one James played with and helped win 60 games last season.
The Heat nearly rallied from 23 down, and tied it at 83-all on Mike Bibby's seventh 3-pointer with 7:03 left. But Miami, which wasted a chance to move into second place in the Eastern Conference standings, went scoreless for 4:24, allowed the Cavs to get their 15th win and post their most lopsided win this season.
Wade added 24 for the Heat, who had their winning streak stopped at five.
Cleveland shot 56 percent from the field, a number that Heat coach Erik Spoelstra will certainly use to motivate his team to play better defense as it gets ready for the postseason.
Rockets cruise past lowly Nets in 112-87 victory
The record is greatly improved, as far above .500 as it has been all season. The turnaround has been impressive, enough to put the Rockets in the playoff chase and keep things interesting down the stretch.
They had, however, never in their surge achieved the accomplishment they claimed with their 112-87 rout of the New Jersey Nets on Tuesday.
In the mark of a strong team that knows precisely what it needs to do, the Rockets did not play all that well, at least by the standards of their recent wins, or even their loss in Miami on Sunday, and they still won easily.
They brushed aside the Nets as barely a distraction on their way to a much greater test Wednesday night in Philadelphia, winning an eighth-consecutive game in New Jersey. The Rockets have won 13 of 17 games, averaging 109.3 points.
The win moved the Rockets to within two games of Memphis for eighth in the Western Conference with eight to play heading into tonight’s game against the a Sixers team that has given them fits, a particularly crucial game with the Grizzlies playing Golden State at home.
The Rockets did go through a few rough minutes, making 1 of 6 shots to start the game, but they never seemed to have any trouble with the Nets defense. They spent most of the first half carving up the Nets. Though it was far from a hot-shooting game, they rolled to an easy 61 points in the half, the 31st time that have scored at least 60 in a half this season, more than the previous two seasons combined.
The Rockets led by as much as 20 in the half, but the more encouraging and probably more important development was that Kyle Lowry had no problems with his sore left foot, scoring 14 in the first quarter. He finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds and seven rebounds, playing just 29 nminutes.
After a rocky start, Kevin Martin got going in the third quarter, scoring 12 points of his 20 points to lead the Rockets in scoring for an eighth-consecutive game.
Though the Rockets did not shoot particularly well, seeming bored with how easily they were scoring, the ended the third quarter with a Courtney Lee steal that he and Lowry took to a fast break and a 20-point lead heading to the fourth.
That was enough to allow Lowry to spend the fourth quarter with his foot up, having exerted all the energy he would need to for the night.
The Rockets never needed all that much.
Notre Dame star Michael Floyd is suspended
Notre Dame suspended star wide receiver Michael Floyd indefinitely Monday, a day after he was cited for drunk driving and authorities said his blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.
Coach Brian Kelly said the suspension will not be lifted until Floyd changes his behavior and the legal and university discipline procedures run their course.
It was Floyd's third run-in with the law over alcohol since 2009.
Floyd was driving a white Cadillac at 3:18 a.m. Sunday when he ran a stop sign about a block from the school's main entrance, according to a probable cause affidavit from St. Joseph County deputy prosecutor Chris Daniels filed Monday.
Floyd failed three sobriety tests that consisted of standing on one leg, walking and turning around, and a finger count, Daniels said. The breathalyzer test showed he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.19, well above Indiana's legal limit for driving of 0.08.
The New York Mets released pitcher Oliver Perez, two days after the left-hander gave up consecutive home runs to minor leaguers.
The Mets chose to absorb the $12 million remaining on Perez's $36-million, three-year contract rather than keep a pitcher, who has been ineffective in trying to make the team as a reliever.
Perez's release came three days after the team cut second baseman Luis Castillo, who was signed Monday by the rival Philadelphia Phillies.
The PGA Tour is considering a change to the end of its season in which players who don't make the FedEx Cup playoffs would compete for their cards in a series of tournaments against top Nationwide Tour players.
PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw confirmed the policy board has given preliminary approval to the concept, although it is in the early stages of discussion. The tour began informing players by memo late Monday afternoon.
Another change being contemplated is Q-school at the end of the year providing access only to the Nationwide Tour.
A judge in Nevada says a lawsuit filed by Manny Pacquiao against longtime boxing rival Floyd Mayweather Jr. over allegations that Pacquiao used performance-enhancing drugs can continue.
U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks said in a court order filed Monday that he would not dismiss the case as requested by Mayweather and others named in the defamation lawsuit filed by Pacquiao in 2009.
Figure skating's governing body hopes to select a new site for its world championships by the end of the week because Japan is unable to be this year's host. The championships were to have begun Monday in Tokyo but had been postponed because of the earthquake and tsunami.
The Azusa Pacific women's basketball team reached the championship game of the NAIA tournament with a 58-46 victory over Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) in Jackson, Tenn. The Cougars (32-5) will play Union (Tenn.) in the title game on Tuesday. Union won its semifinal game over Shawnee State (Ohio), 58-40, to improve to 35-1.
Krzyzewski: Irving could return for Duke's opener
Injured Duke point guard Kyrie Irving could return for the Blue Devils' NCAA tournament opener, coach Mike Krzyzewski said Tuesday night.
Krzyzewski said Irving practiced "a little bit" with the team Tuesday, but he won't know for a few days whether the freshman will be available for the top-seeded Blue Devils' West Regional opener against 16th-seeded Hampton on Friday in Charlotte.
"There is a chance that he would play," Krzyzewski said.
The coach added that if Irving does come back, he won't start, would see only limited minutes and wouldn't be on the court for extended periods of time.
"You don't want to get where he gets hurt and hurts something else because you extend him past" his limits, Krzyzewski said.
The Blue Devils will hold their pre-NCAA tournament open practice Thursday at the arena in Charlotte and "we'll know a heck of a lot more by then," Krzyzewski said.
Irving, a playmaking point guard with a quick first step, was the leader of Duke's uptempo attack _ and the team's leading scorer with an average of 17.4 points _ when he injured the big toe on his right foot in a win against Butler on Dec. 4.
Not long after that, Krzyzewski said the Blue Devils were prepared to play the rest of the season without him. Irving spent nearly two months in a hard cast to keep the toe immobilized, and his right foot was in a boot after that.
Speculation about his status intensified during the past week. Irving performed on-court drills in shorts and sneakers with the Blue Devils' training staff before their ACC quarterfinal against Maryland, switching to street clothes for the game.
Then after Duke's title-game victory, Irving said there was a chance he could return sometime during the tournament. Krzyzewski later said that was a long way off and downplayed the comments as a young player getting caught up in the emotion of missing out on a championship.
"I'm going day by day, because I never expected him to be where he's at today," Krzyzewski said. "This is like uncharted waters."
Both Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils insist Irving's possible return wouldn't threaten the chemistry developed over the past three months without him. Duke (30-4) went 22-4 in his absence, rolling to a third straight ACC tournament title and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament for the second straight year.
"All the guys, if he's able to play, would welcome him back," Krzyzewski said. "He's been the best guy ever on a sideline with his teammates. It'd be different if he wasn't that way. I think that would be a smooth transition, and if we're fortunate enough to win, and he's able to play, then you get more accustomed to it."
Said forward Kyle Singler: "Personally, I don't think he's missed a beat. ... He just fits in."
Irving's injury forced senior Nolan Smith to shift to the point and help make up for his absence at both ends of the court.
After a rough first game in that role, Smith responded. He not only became Duke's leading scorer, he led the ACC in scoring. Smith finished the season with at least 15 points in 22 straight games and 24 of 25 overall. Along the way, he flirted with the conference lead in assists and claimed two of the ACC's top awards: Player of the year and MVP of the tournament.
Irving's possible return would take some pressure off Smith, who might not have to guard the opposing team's primary ball-handler quite as often.
"If (Irving) does happen to come back and play, I think it would be very easy for him to fit right in and help us win games," Smith said. "He's obviously that talented. He wants to be part of winning, more than anything. If he gets back on the court with us, we'll just keep on rolling."
NFL Game-Day Employees, Businesses to Take Hit if NFL Lockout Happens
DALLAS -- Beyond the rich players and even wealthier team owners arguing over how to divvy up $9 billion in revenue a year, the people who would suffer most if there's no NFL season this year are those whose jobs, businesses and even charity work depend on games.
It's the 2,500 ticket-takers, janitors and other game-day employees at the Superdome in New Orleans, and Todd Roser, the suburban dry cleaner who washes all their uniforms and dry cleans for Saints players.
It's the receptionists and accountants for the New York Jets facing unpaid leave to trim payroll.
It's the Episcopal church that collects $30,000 a year from parking cars for Tennessee Titans games, and the hotel across the street from the stadium in Houston which sells out for games.
And on and on it goes, across the communities of all 32 teams.
"It's like an earthquake -- there's a ripple effect out to other people, other parts of the region," said James J. Cochran, co-author of "An Event Study of the Economic Impact of Professional Sport Franchises on Local U.S. Economies" and an associate professor in economics at Louisiana Tech University. "You can't really assume the impact is limited to the area around the stadium. You feel the shock everywhere along the way. It may not be the same shaking as at the epicenter, but you feel it."
The NFL and the players union are talking with a federal mediator to work out a new collective bargaining agreement. If they don't have a deal by Friday, the owners could lock out the players or the NFLPA might decertify and take its fight to court. Either scenario would put the NFL on a path that might wipe out some or all of the upcoming season.
To gauge the fiscal fallout of NFL games not being played, The Associated Press interviewed dozens of economists, business owners and team officials from across the country. Several themes emerged:
-- Teams would be hit hard because they collect a lot of the money spent on game days (concessions, parking, souvenirs), especially in newer stadiums designed to maximize their haul.
Local tax districts would suffer, too, most of all in places where there are tariffs on tickets or parking spots to repay stadium costs. The way things are set up in Foxborough, Massachusetts, revenue from the New England Patriots' stadium pays for big-ticket items such as school buses, school computers, highway trucks and fire engines. The town's capital budget -- the line item that would be hit -- already has been "starved out" for several years, skimping on all but the school buses, said Randy Scollins, Foxborough's finance director.
"We have a big backlog of items that deliver services to town," Scollins said. "This would only delay that more."
-- With just eight home games per regular season, game days are only a part of a worker's income -- extra hours or a second job for stadium types, a busy day at the office for the waiter at a nearby sports bar. However, it's still money they are counting on.
"The doomsday scenarios are exaggerated, but there will be innocent bystanders who are casualties of this," said John Vrooman, who teaches sports economics at Vanderbilt University. "The overall losses to these people are going to be small, but they're not small to them.
-- Overall, local economies would not see money so much lost as spent elsewhere. Fans would look to entertain themselves some other way on Sundays.
No calculation exists for the total number of people who would be affected by an NFL work stoppage, though it's certainly enough to fill a few stadiums.
The NFLPA estimates there are an average of 3,739 workers at each game, and that does not include jobs at places near the stadium that are at least partly dependent on games, such as bars, restaurants, hotels and fuel stations.
How many dollars are connected to those people also is tough to determine. The figure thrown around most is $160 million per market over the regular season. It comes from the NFLPA, which arrived at that by using estimates teams relied on to win public funding for stadium construction.
Several economists -- though not the league -- have said those estimates are overblown and it's also worth noting the figures include player salaries.
Still, a work stoppage would "hurt the people who can afford it least," Cochran said. "Nobody is looking out for their concerns."
Bears release DT Harris
The Chicago Bears released veteran defensive tackle Tommie Harris on Monday, cutting loose a three-
time Pro Bowl player who had strled in recent years because of injuries.
The Bears also released linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer and offensive tackle Kevin Shaffer.
A Pro Bowl pick from 2005 to 2007, Harris was limited by knee and hamstring problems the past few
years and never regained his old disruptive form. He had signed a four-year, US$40-million extension in
June 2008 and was locked in through 2012, but the Bears decided to cut him after several ineffective
"We made out determinations on what we need to do, we talked about every player, and when you
talk about players, you're always talking about their contracts, you're talking about their performance,
you're talking about their attitude and how it applies to the team," general manager Jerry Angelo said
at the NFL combine in Indianapolis.
"And those in a simplified way is our formula on what we do with every player, so it's a filter we go
through and then whatever we determine, we'll announce it at the appropriate time if there's
something to announce."
Harris's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
Harris was a healthy scratch against Green Bay in September and finished the season with 13 tackles
and 1 1/2 sacks in 15 games. He was held out of a game last year and got suspended by the team for
one in 2008 because of detrimental conduct.
In seven seasons, he had 286 tackles, 28 1/2 sacks, 38 tackles for loss, six forced fumbles, seven
fumble recoveries and one interception.
Bears safety Chris Harris on Twitter wrote: "Its nature of the business. I wish him the best. He's a
Hillenmeyer made 69 starts and appeared in 101 games over eight seasons for the Bears, recording
458 tackles and seven sacks with two interceptions, six forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. He
missed almost the entire season after suffering a concussion in the preseason.
Shaffer, a nine-year veteran, made seven starts at right tackle over the past two seasons.