Author: Kurt Helin

Shelly Sterling, Donald Sterling

Donald Sterling loses appeal to reverse $2B sale of Clippers

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California appeals court has rejected former Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s attempt to reverse the $2 billion sale of the team.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled Monday that Sterling failed to show any legal error by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge who approved the sale last year.

Sterling’s estranged wife sold the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer after the NBA threatened to seize the team after banning Donald Sterling for life for making derogatory remarks about blacks.

The 81-year-old billionaire sued his wife of six decades for seizing the family trust that owned the team after two doctors found he had signs of Alzheimer’s.

Sterling has since filed to divorce Shelly Sterling.

Donald Sterling also has sued his wife and the NBA in federal court.

Bucks’ Jabari Parker to miss at least three games with foot sprain

Jabari Parker

Come on basketball gods, can’t you go easy on the kid?

Jabari Parker looked like the Rookie of the Year until a torn ACL sidelined him for the majority of last season. He missed the start of this season and in the five games he played showed a little rust but was scoring 7.2 points a game on 48.6 percent shooting. But now an injury has sidelined him again.

It sounds like he will miss at least three games, maybe more. You know the Bucks will be cautious bringing him back.

The Bucks are off to a 5-5 start, but the defense that powered them to the playoffs last season has slipped this season — they are 27th in the league. The hope was they were getting healthy and would start to find their groove, but that plan has to go on hold for a little while.

Rockets’ Trevor Ariza tells truth: “We’re not playing hard enough”

James Harden, Dwight Howard

Energy is a skill in the NBA — and one the Houston Rockets have been lacking.

The Rockets have the second-worst defense in the NBA this season. Our old friend Matt Moore laid it out brilliantly at CBS’s Eye on Basketball with these stats: The Rockets are 28th in defensive rebound percentage; 28th in allowing second-chance points; 25th in putback points per possession allowed; 25th in number of opponent field goal attempts in the restricted area per game; and 29th in opponent field-goal percentage at the rim. This is a team with Dwight Howard on it (and the numbers are a little better when he is on the floor), but the Rockets are simply getting outworked nightly on defense.

Trevor Ariza admitted as much to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

The good news for Rockets fans is that effort is correctable. While this is the kind of thing that gets coaches fired, it should be James Harden, Howard, and the other veteran locker room leaders on this team who make the change happen (by words and example).

If you’re in the camp that thinks any team based around Harden and Howard can’t ultimately succeed, you’re just nodding your head.

But this is a team that won 56 games and made the Western Conference Finals last season — this team should not be this bad. Maybe they tasted success, saw the addition of Ty Lawson, and thought they could snap their fingers and make it back to that level. Complacency has destroyed many a season. Maybe it is something else in the locker room.

Whatever it is, the Rockets need to figure it out sooner or later because the elite teams in the West are not going to wait around for them.

X-rays negative, but Hawks’ Kent Bazemore out with sprained ankle

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Kent Bazemore has been a welcome surprise for the Atlanta Hawks. He stepped into DeMarre Carroll‘s slot in the starting rotation (Carroll bolted to Toronto this summer) and his raw offensive game suddenly showed more polish — he is working well off the ball, is a threat in transition, is scoring a dozen points a game and shooting 43 percent from three. His game came together, and the Hawks’ offense is 3.3 points per 100 possessions better when he is on the court.

Which is why they are going to miss him.

Bazemore suffered a sprained ankle near the end of the Hawks’ loss Sunday to the Jazz and had to be helped back to the locker room. Monday the Hawks confirmed the diagnosis saying that X-rays were negative, but an MRI confirmed the sprain. There is no timetable for his return, but he is not with the team as it travels to Brooklyn to take on the Nets, and he likely misses more time after this.

It’s a blow to the Hawks who are already are without point guard Jeff Teague. This means the likely starting backcourt for the Hawks for the next few games is Dennis Schroder and Thabo Sefolosha.


Ron Harper: ’95-96 Bulls would sweep today’s Warriors


With the Warriors off to an 11-0 start and the chance for a 15-0 start possible — which would tie the fastest start in NBA history, the 93-94 Rockets — there has been talk about the Warriors chasing the 72-win Bulls record. That despite the Warriors’ GM saying that is an impossible goal. That despite the fact the Warriors have only beaten one team so far with a record currently above .500 (Clippers), the toughest parts of their schedule are ahead. That despite the fact we know as the season wears on Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and other Warriors will get nights off for rest, with the team willing to potentially sacrifice games to be fresh for the playoffs.

Chasing records is all well and good, just don’t tell Ron Harper of that 95-96 record-setting Bulls team that Golden State could hang with Michael Jordan’s Bulls.

This is a fun little barstool discussion, but nothing more. Three quick thoughts.

1) I have little use for the “back in my day” arguments of former athletes in any sport. They bore me.

2) Comparing teams across eras in the NBA is nearly impossible because the defensive rules were different. When the Bulls were racking up titles you could hand check on the perimeter, which allowed you to push, grab, and clutch the guy with the ball in a way you can’t now. Defenses today have gotten more sophisticated in their help schemes to compensate for this — I’m not saying Jordan wouldn’t have had success against a Thibodeau overload style of defense, but the Bulls would have adapted to have more Warriors-like ball movement to get guys open shots.

The game evolves — if you think that the basketball of the 1990s (or 1980s or whatever era) is better than today it’s because you have an emotional attachment to that era. Which is fine, but recognize that things evolve and not always for the worse. I don’t miss NBA bench clearing brawls, or the Pat Riley Knicks defenses that dragged the game down to a halt, personally. Things change, and that’s okay.

3) Watching Scottie Pippen guard Stephen Curry, and Draymond Green on Michael Jordan, would be fun. But it exists only in the world of 2K Sports.