Your other opening night contest: Rockets at Lakers


Thumbnail image for Lakers_huddle.jpgDid you really think there was any chance the Lakers would not be an opening night game? What with the rings and the banner and Kobe, you think the NBA wasn’t going to put their other big attraction out there?

Then add in the return of Yao Ming, with all of China tuning in, and you have a ratings winner. And something the NBA can hype until you’re sick of it.

It’s happening. Lakers vs. Rockets will be the second game of the opening night doubleheader on TNT Oct. 26, right after the Heat and Celtics go at it.

This could be a good one. The “ring game” is often a trap game, where the champions get caught up in the celebration while the other team stews and comes out pissed off. The Rockets with a healthy Yao are one of the teams that could really challenge the Lakers in the West, and while the first game of the season tells you nothing about May and June, it still should be an entertaining night.

Players’ union, NBA to set up cardiac screening for retired players

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First it was Darryl Dawkins. Then it was Moses Malone.

Two all-time great players who recently died — and at t0o young an age, 58 and 60 respectively — from undiagnosed heart conditions. Even before that, recognizing the issue the NBA players union and the league itself were setting up supplemental health coverage to provide cardiac screening for retired players, something ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan recently broke.

The joint effort between union executive director Michele Roberts and NBA commissioner Adam Silver — at a time when there still may be potentially acrimonious labor negotiations looming for their sides — is intended to ease the health concerns of its retired players.

Roberts said action from the players’ association on providing screening for its retired players is “imminent.”

“I wish I could give you an exact timetable, but we have to make sure all the components are in place,” Roberts told ESPN recently. “I will tell you we hope to have something sooner than later.”

The Cardiologists are affiliated with the NBA already, and some of the money will come from the league, while the union is both pitching in a chunk of cash and is the one organizing this, according to the report.

It’s good to Roberts and Silver working together on this. While you’d like to think this would be the kind of no-brainer move that the league and union would work together on, in the past the relationship didn’t always facilitate this sort of cooperation even on the obvious.

I’d like to think this bodes well for future labor talks, but I’m not willing to completely draw that parallel.


Stephen Curry drops 30 on Portland in preseason (VIDEO)

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Somebody is in midseason form.

Stephen Curry put up 30 on Portland in a preseason game Thursday night, hitting six threes and getting to the line 15 times over the course of his less than 26 minutes. It was quite a show.

Portland won the game 118-101 behind 25 points from Allen Crabbe and 22 from Damian Lillard. Not a lot of defense in this one but it was fun to watch.