<![CDATA[NBC New York - Sports]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com en-us Tue, 26 May 2015 02:01:51 -0400 Tue, 26 May 2015 02:01:51 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Bears Release Ray McDonald]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 16:48:05 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/th-may-25-ray-mcdonald-mug.jpg

The Chicago Bears rolled the dice on signing defensive end Ray McDonald after a history of domestic abuse accusations and arrests, and on Monday their gamble didn't pay off as the team released McDonald following a domestic violence arrest

"We believe in second chances, but when we signed Ray we were very clear what our expectations were if he was to remain a Bear," Bears G.M. Ryan Pace said in a statement. "He was not able to meet the standard and the decision was made to release him."

McDonald, who played for the San Francisco 49'ers under Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, was released by the team last season after he was arrested for assault in California. 

That arrest (the charges were eventually dropped because of insufficent evidence) was one of several brushes with the law that McDonald has had over the past few years. He also was accused of sexual assault last year, and he was also arrested for DUI and charged with failing to appear in court on the charges. 

When the Bears signed McDonald, team chairman George McCaskey said that McDonald's case was one of "bad judgment" and that he believed that the lineman was a changed man. 

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<![CDATA[2015 French Open: Best Moments]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 14:37:29 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/474727000_master.jpg See photos from Roland-Garros, the 2015 French Open Tennis Tournament.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bears' Ray McDonald Arrested on Domestic Violence Charge]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 17:11:45 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/ray+mcdonald+getty.jpg

Former San Francisco 49er-turned-Chicago Bear Raymond McDonald has been arrested on a domestic violence charge, Santa Clara police confirmed. Hours after the arrest, the Bears released McDonald, only 62 days after he signed with the team. 

"We believe in second chances, but when we signed Ray we were very clear what our expectations were if he was to remain a Bear," Bears G.M. Ryan Pace said in a statement. "He was not able to meet the standard and the decision was made to release him."

According to Lieutenant Kurt Clarke with the Santa Clara police department, officers were called to McDonald's home in Santa Clara just after 3:45 a.m. for a report of a disturbance. Police said McDonald was accused of physically assaulting a victim while she was holding a baby.

After the alleged assault, McDonald left the home and was arrested in the 2200 block of Terra Nova Lane in San Jose, Clarke said. 

Two San Jose police sources told NBC Bay Area on Monday that they assisted Santa Clara police with the detention.

According to the sources, McDonald was arrested at the home of retired 49ers defensive end Justin Smith. Another source said he rents an apartment in Santa Clara on Carlyle Court for his ex-fiancee and baby.

McDonald was arrested for misdemeanor domestic violence and child endangerment and was taken to the Santa Clara Police Department, police said. He is expected to be moved to the Santa Clara County Jail. 

McDonald was signed to a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears in March.

McDonald was released from the 49ers in December after law enforcement officials in San Jose, Calif., began an investigation into an alleged sexual assault.

He has since sued the woman who accused him of assault, and he has not been charged in the case as the investigation remains open.

The defensive end was also tangled up in a domestic abuse case involving his fiancee last August, but he was not charged in the case.

"I feel like I didn't do anything wrong but you know, still, it's in the spotlight," McDonald told reporters at the Bears minicamp last month. "I'm just trying to move forward from it."

Also last month, Bears Chairman George McCaskey said he talked to McDonald about the incidents before signing him. 

"I made it clear to him what was expected of him if he were to become a Bear," McCaskey said. "I was confident at the end of that conversation that he'll do what needs to be done."

Reached by phone in Florida on Monday, McDonald's mother, LaBrina McDonald, told NBC Bay area that she knew nothing about the arrest.

"I'm not dealing with any more of this negative stuff," she said.

She did say that McDonald's baby, Amari, was born in March to his ex-fiance and that sometimes he visited his newborn son in Silicon Valley.

The Chicago Bears could not immediately be reached for comment. Neither DeFilippis nor McDonald's criminal attorney, Joshua Bentley, returned immediate requests for comment.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hundreds Rally for Tom Brady]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 19:32:24 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/free+brady.JPG

Tom Brady is living legend to the hundreds of fans who rallied at Gillette Stadium Sunday.

"He's a good player, he does nothing wrong," said one fan.

"Tom Brady's the greatest quarterback of all time," said another.

"I'm here for him," said another. "I got the sweater - it's a little hot for a sweater, but I'll take the heat."

Heat is what they are hoping this "Free Tom Brady" rally will put on NFL officials to remove the Super Bowl MVP's four game suspension.

"We're crazy when we're unified," said organizer Paublo Munoz. "We're an amazing team - as Patriots Nation, that is - and this really shows it."

Some came from New Hampshire and Rhode Island just to show their support and purchase shirts, dawning the words "Free Brady".

After getting married earlier this month, one couple had a change of plans for their honeymoon in hopes of a change in plans with disciplinary action taken against Brady.

"God bless Brady, because we're backing him, no matter what," said new husband Paul Goodrow. "We're not going on our honeymoon until that ban is lifted." 

Last week, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he won't appeal the punishment dealt to the team. But these fans say the $1 million fine and losing two draft picks is way too harsh.

They also had some choice words for the NFL commissioner and Indianapolis Colts.

"Goodell is stupid," said a young fan.



Photo Credit: necn
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<![CDATA[Fan Attempts Selfie With Federer at French Open]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 10:33:23 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP978212670959.jpg

For Roger Federer, the menace did not come from the other side of the net.

After dispatching Colombian Alejandro Falla in straight sets, the 17-time Grand Slam winner was about to leave center court Sunday when a young man ran down the stands and made his way to the Swiss star unhindered. The fan brazenly put his hand across his shoulder to try and get a selfie with him.

Federer looked surprised, then a bit uncomfortable as he seemed to question with a hand gesture why the security guards did not intervene. One of them finally grabbed the man and took him away.

While there was no ill intent from this fan, the incident raised concerns about security at the event and clearly riled Federer.

"I'm not happy about it. Obviously not one second I'm happy about it," Federer said, adding that he received an apology from tournament director Gilbert Ysern. "It happened yesterday in the practice, too. I think it's true for all players that you have to feel safe when we play, feel safe on the courts. It shouldn't happen too often. It's happened twice in two days and also in 2009 during the final. I think people should react more quickly. First, it should never happen."

That was the only incident in an otherwise smooth start to the French Open for Federer, who advanced to the second round with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 win over Falla.

Facing a player who pushed him to five sets at Wimbledon five years ago, the 2009 champion was never threatened this time, extending his unbeaten run against the 111th-ranked Falla to 8-0.

On a sunny first day of play at Roland Garros, last year's runner-up Simona Halep also advanced in straight sets in the women's draw.

Federer put Falla under pressure in the eighth game of the first set, breaking for a 5-3 lead when the Colombian could not handle a good backhand return. Federer shouted "come on" after earning a set point in his next service game and closed it out when Falla sent a backhand into the net.

Federer's flashy outfit, with pink shorts and a lilac shirt, was almost as eye-catching as some of the shots the former top-ranked player produced. The 17-time Grand Slam winner broke again for a 2-1 lead in the second set following a game in which he left Falla stranded with a perfectly hit defensive lob.

Federer wrapped up the second set with another break in the ninth game. At 4-3 down in the third set, Falla called a trainer to get his right thigh massaged. The Colombian held his next serve but could not prevent Federer from breaking him in the 10th game as the Swiss unleashed a forehand attack that he returned wide.

On the women's side, the third-seeded Halep hit an ace on match point to beat Russian Evegenia Rodina 7-5, 6-4, while ninth-seeded Ekaterina Markova breezed past American wild card Louisa Chirico 6-4, 6-2.

Halep made a big breakthrough at the French Open last year, losing in final to Maria Sharapova after not conceding a set in her previous matches.

Halep, who said she is stronger than last year both physically and mentally, is bidding to become the first Romanian to win a Grand Slam title since Virginia Ruzici at the French Open in 1978.

"I have stronger body and I have improved a lot in my game," she said. "Serve is better, so I feel more confident now with my game."

Up againt Halep in the second round will be veteran Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who defeated American Lauren Davis 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Lucic-Baroni, who won her first match at Roland Garros since 2002, upset Halep at the U.S. Open last year.

"I have not good memories from that match," Halep said. "I just was blocked and I couldn't hit the ball."

On paper, the 33-year-old Federer has a relatively easy draw until the fourth round, where he could meet 13th-seeded Gael Monfil before a potential quarterfinal with his Davis Cup teammate Stan Wawrinka, who beat Marsel Ilhan 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.

Federer, who achieved a career Grand Slam by winning the French Open in 2009 after three runner-up finish, has not made it to the final on the Parisian clay since 2011. He lost in the fourth round last year but has been playing excellent tennis recently and has a 26-5 record in 2015. On clay, he lost in final in Rome after claiming an 85th career title in Istanbul.

Among the seeded players to advance to the second round Sunday were also No. 19 Roberto Bautista Agut and No. 22 Philipp Kohlschreiber. The first seeded player to bow out was No. 25 Ivo Karlovic, who lost 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 to Marcos Baghdatis.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Is Chargers Move to LA Legal?]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 14:30:57 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/172*120/GettyImages-457517872.jpg

For quite some time now, the Chargers have been laying the ground work for a move to Los Angeles if the team and the San Diego government cannot come to an agreement on a new stadium in either Mission Valley or Downtown.

Carson is calling. Inglewood could be, too. But one major issue could prove to be an obstacle too large to overcome: Moving a football team from San Diego to L.A. might not be legal.

Chargers fans are dedicated to keeping their beloved team in America’s Finest City, even if it means they have to sue the NFL to do it, and they have found someone willing to help them if necessary.

“The Chargers and the NFL are basically saying give us what we want or we’re going to move the team,” says former City Attorney Mike Aguirre. “That really is a violation of the anti-trust laws.”

San Diegans who have followed the last decade and a half of stadium wrangling may have memories of Aguirre being a thorn in the Chargers’ side. He says he’s always been pro-Chargers, that he’s learned from those days and sees a constructive way of moving forward.

“It’s easy to come across as being anti-Chargers,” says Aguirre. “That’s where you have to be super, super cautious to say this is not anti-Chargers, this is pro-keeping the Chargers here in San Diego.”

The meat of the idea comes from a few different places. One is the Sherman Act. Another is the anti-trust lawsuit a group of NFL players brought against the NFL during the 2011 Lockout. Another is Boltman.

“What we would like to do here is get support and feedback from the fans that this is the best option if the Chargers turn their backs on us,” said Dan Jauregui, better known to many by his alter-ego Boltman. “The beauty of all this is it is not coming from the Mayor’s office or the city or CSAG. It’s coming from the Charger fans. No political issues from the city.”

In a written statement entitled, Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures, Jauregui outlines the idea of bringing a lawsuit against the NFL:

“We strongly feel that if the Chargers continue to threaten our city and hold fans hostage after a fair and reasonable finance plan has been submitted, we will have no choice but to prepare to make our case in court under the laws that prohibit unfair competition. I have also prepared a “demand” letter to the city of San Diego, requesting they file an injunction against the NFL to protect the rights of San Diego fans by asserting the city’s rights under anti-trust law. This demand letter has not yet been served to the city. We have arrived at this point very reluctantly, but we believe as Americans we have the duty to assert our rights under the laws that require our markets to be kept open and free. The NFL cannot be allowed to use unlawful monopoly power to deprive us of what the fans have worked and sacrificed to make possible: a very successfully NFL team.”

It is extremely difficult to win an anti-trust case in America. If any current business knows that, it’s the National Football League.

“What’s great about this issue is the NFL has already lost,” says Aguirre. “So if the city were the raise it as a serious issue and really get behind it the hope would be the NFL would see the city is serious and force everybody in to a position of, Let’s try to work this thing out.”

The case most germane to the idea came about in 2011. A group of NFL players led by Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and a few others filed a class action suit against the NFL and its 32 member teams on anti-trust grounds. Their complaint read, in part:

“The NFL Defendants comprise the only major professional football league in the United States. Together, they monopolize and/or restrain trade in, and/or have combined and conspired to monopolize and/or restrain trade in the United State market for the services of major league professional football players.”

That phrase, restrain trade in, is one of the keys here. Section 1 of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act says, in part:

“Every contract … or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal …”

That’s the verbiage that could cause serious problems for the Chargers and the NFL if an attempt is made to move the team to the Los Angeles market. The NFL lost its case in 2011 (a decision “overwhelmingly” upheld by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals) and would face a similar argument in San Diego.

According to Aguirre, restraining trade is legal if it’s done under reasonable circumstances such as a financial hardship.

“Normally what you would say is, look we can’t make money there. We can’t make a go of it. We’re not making as much as we need to keep the team going,” says Aguirre. “None of that argument can be made. (The Chargers are) making plenty of money. They’re making more money than they’ve ever made.”

According to numbers from the statistical website www.statista.com the Chargers have seen an increase in revenue every season for the last 15 years. In fact, the team’s revenues reportedly doubled from $131 million in 2001 to $262 million in 2013.

NFL Executive Vice President Eric Grubman has even said, “We have a healthy business. We are not losing money. We have never said that.” As a fun side note, Grubman’s Twitter handle is @EricNFLMoney.

Another reason for relocating the Chargers, says Aguirre, is the possibility of giving the San Diego market another NFL franchise.

“There’s no way for them to leave under the circumstances of the NFL saying we won’t give you another team. If the NFL were to say well we’ll give you another them, that’s a different story. They’re basically exploiting the fact that the NFL controls the number of teams. If you restrain trade it’s OK if it’s reasonable. If a monopoly restrains trade, then that’s a much more difficult case to make.”

Once again, Grubman’s response to whether or not San Diego would get an expansion team was less than favorable. He told the San Diego Union-Tribune it’s a “low probability.”

So if the groundwork for the lawsuit is there, another big question is money. Attorney fees are not cheap so who pays for it? Although it could be a taxpayer lawsuit, the taxpayers could avoid footing the bill.

“The taxpayers would not pay the legal fees unless the city council decided to invest in it and do it themselves,” says Aguirre. “Then it would be a combination of the city attorney and outside counsel. It could be structured in a lot of different ways.”

Taking this approach could get messy, and would likely be used only in a worst-case scenario to help level the playing field against the financial superiority in Los Angeles.

“It would not be requiring the city of San Diego to try to match the economic abilities of a much larger market like Los Angeles,” says Aguirre. “That’s the idea, to use all the arsenal if necessary.”

Aguirre would likely not be involved in the actual litigation. He suggests the same attorneys who helped the NFL players in 2011 take the lead on a lawsuit.

So what would be the underlying motivation of such a drastic course of action? To force the Chargers and local government to work together and truly pull out all the stops to make a stadium deal in San Diego.

“We are only trying,” says Jauregui, ”to help keep the Chargers in San Diego.”

Boltman is simply to make sure the Chargers don’t bolt, man.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clock Ticks But Fortune Smiles for Federer at French Open]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 20:53:22 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP896641031794.jpg

There are two distinct sounds when Roger Federer graces the courts of Roland Garros. One is the pop of backhands and forehands kicking up puffs of red clay. The other, getting ever louder, is the scratchy tick of life's clock.

At age 33, with 34 bearing down in August, time is increasingly the enemy to Federer's quest to add to his already record haul of Grand Slam titles.

The count climbed to 17 with his seventh win at Wimbledon in 2012, when he was still a young 30-year-old. Then, abruptly, it stopped. In Federer's golden spell from 2004-2009, there were 24 Grand Slam finals. Federer played in 20 of them, winning 14. But since his 2012 Wimbledon win against Andy Murray, just one of the 10 subsequent Grand Slam finals featured the Swiss: an epic five-setter lost to Novak Djokovic last year.

Of all places for Federer to prove that he still has another major title in him, Roland Garros would seem the least favorable. The slow red dust blunts nuances of his game so effective on other, faster surfaces. Having one of the sharpest tactical minds and best right hands tennis has ever seen were never quite enough for Federer at the only major he's not won multiple times. He needed a sprinkling of luck, too. Federer's only victory at the French Open, in five finals, came in 2009 against Robin Soderling, who did him the favor of taking "King of Clay" Rafael Nadal out of the picture in the fourth round.

Good fortune, in the shape of Maria Sharapova's fingers, is smiling on Federer again this year. The defending women's champion, called upon to pluck out the seeded men's names in Friday's draw, delivered a road map that could hardly be more favorable for Federer.

Sixth-seeded Nadal and third-seeded Murray were both drawn in the half of top-seeded Djokovic. That means second-seeded Federer would only have to play, at most, one of those infernal three who beat him at the semifinal or final stage of majors in 2013 and 2014. And such a blockbuster match could only happen in the June 7 final, if Federer gets that far.

"There is a chance to go very deep," he acknowledged. "How deep remains to be seen depending on the level of play."

Federer opens his 62nd consecutive Grand Slam campaign, extending his record, on Sunday against a qualifier. In the women's championship, last year's losing finalist Simona Halep, seeded three, opens against Evgeniya Rodina, ranked 91. The 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic plays Yaroslava Shvedova, quarterfinalist in 2010 and 2012.

Federer has a relatively easy-looking path until the fourth round, where he could meet 13th-seeded Gael Monfils before a potential quarterfinal against his Davis Cup Swiss teammate Stan Wawrinka, seeded eight. In the semifinals, a possible meeting with either Japan's Kei Nishikori, seeded five, or fourth-seeded Tomas Berdych looms.

But all that is just on paper. The end, in the Wimbledon second round in 2013, of Federer's astounding streak of 36 Grand Slam quarterfinals or better punctured the idea that he's assured a place in the second week of a major tournament. Roland Garros last year ended in the fourth round for Federer, with a five-set loss to Ernests Gulbis. The Latvian, ranked 25, is in Federer's section of the draw again this year.

"There (are) a lot of good players out there that want to win the tournament that can win the tournament. Others that are dangerous on the day," Federer noted. "Whether it's in semis or in the finals, if you lose, you lose at one point or another, and that's not funny. So my objective is to not lose."

Nadal's seeding dropped lower than ever at Roland Garros this time, leaving him vulnerable in the draw, after the nine-time champion endured his worst season on clay in 10 years. The 14-time Grand Slam champion enters the tournament with five losses in 2015 on the surface where he used to be superhuman, accumulating a 66-1 record at Roland Garros.

Federer has been playing excellent tennis and has a 25-5 record in 2015. On clay, he lost a final in Rome to Djokovic after claiming an 85th career title in Istanbul. His previously aching back is now old history.

"I feel like I have had a great last 12 months," Federer said. "I've just got to make sure I adjust my game according to the playing conditions here, and then we will see how far it takes me."

After his Rome final, Federer returned to Switzerland for a family break before touching base with coach Stefan Edberg, the former player who has been instrumental in adjustments to Federer's game following a below-par 2013.

"2013 cost me a lot of energy," Federer said. "We now have a good momentum; 2014 and 2015 have been good. I feel much better. But that doesn't mean anything when it comes to results."

Time will be the judge of that.

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<![CDATA[Top French Open Stars, and 1 Who Missed the List]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 13:28:27 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/thumb-458711872.jpg

NBC’s coverage of the 2015 French Open begins this Sunday, May 24, at 1 p.m. ET. Follow along for live opening-round coverage, and don't miss the the live Women’s Final on June 6 and the live Men’s Final on June 7.

TV SCHEDULE

Sunday, May 24 1 - 3:30 p.m. ET First round (LIVE)
Monday, May 25 12 - 3 p.m. (all) First round (LIVE ET)
Saturday, May 30 12 - 3 p.m. ET Third round (LIVE)
Sunday, May 31 12 - 3 p.m. ET Fourth round (LIVE)
Thursday, June 4 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. (all)  Women's semifinals (LIVE ET)
Friday, June 5 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. (all) Men's semifinals (LIVE ET)
Saturday, June 6 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. ET Women's final (LIVE)
Sunday, June 7 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. ET Men's final (LIVE)



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Blackhawks Offer Late-to-Work Note After Longest Game in Team History]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 07:46:15 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/blackhawks-ducks-G2-3.jpg

Can you call in "hockey" to work? The Blackhawks say so. 

Following the Blackhawks' triple overtime win in Game 2 against the Anaheim Ducks, a game that is now the longest game in Hawks history, the team shared their latest excuse note for fans who stayed up late to watch the game. 

The note, signed by the Chicago Blakchawks, asks for employers and teachers to excuse fans from their "lateness" or "sleepiness" Wednesday.

"He/she was up too late celebrating the win," the note reads.

But fans won't have much time to recover. The Blackhawks will look to defend home ice when the series resumes at the United Center Thursday night. The puck will drop at 7:00 p.m.



Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn, Getty Images
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<![CDATA[As Knicks Lose Big in Lottery, Jackson is a No-Show]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 09:27:12 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Knicks-Lottery-0519.jpg

As promised, Phil Jackson didn’t show up for the lottery, even if it was only a short walk from his Manhattan residence.

Maybe he knew what he was doing.

Jackson avoided an ugly scene. The Knicks had the kind of night that made you wonder whether the Zen Master really gets inside messages from the basketball gods, as he often claims in his tweets. If so, on this night at least, they told the Knicks president to pretty much drop dead, sending his team to the No. 4 pick in the draft.

Thirty years after the Knicks gave us the shot of the century -- GM Dave DeBusschere pounding on the table upon learning that Patrick Ewing would be his grand prize in the NBA’s first lottery -- the reaction of the night came from Jackson's errand boy, GM Steve Mills. As deputy commissioner Mark Tatum opened the envelope to reveal the Knick logo, the crowd at the Hilton let out a loud, pained groan and Mills' head sank in dejection as a blank look came over his face.

Just like thousands of Knicks fans who follow basketball and know the sad truth.

It’s a three-player draft, headlined by the two bigs the Knicks so desperately need to kick-start Jackson’s rebuilding program. But Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns, this year's most prized big men, will most likely be headed to the Timberwolves and Lakers at No.’s 1 and 2 when the picks are made in Brooklyn next month.

Then logic says the Sixers, tankers supreme of the NBA, will use the No. 3 pick to take D’Angelo Russell, the Ohio State guard they need to address their backcourt weaknesses. He’s got the best court vision in the draft among wing players and the “it’’ factor a team like Philly -- or the Knicks -- are always looking for.

So at No. 4, the Knicks will take … Jackson will probably look to work the phones to see if he can’t package the pick and move down to get an established player or additional assets. It won’t be easy, since the Knicks’ roster isn’t exactly bursting with the valuable pieces anyone else wants.

But Jackson has hinted all along that he might be willing to move the pick and this is precisely the worst-case scenario where he’ll have to put on his trader’s hat and work the phones. Get creative. Find a player who can step in and help the team make the long climb back to respectability and relevance. This is not exactly Jackson’s strength, after what we saw in his first season of work when he made one blunder after another.

The player expected to go at No. 4 is a playmaking guard, Emmanuel Mudiay, but he’s something of a mystery man since he left high school and went to play this past season in China after passing up a chance to play college ball for Larry Brown at SMU.

Not everyone is cut out to play guard in Jackson’s Triangle, so there’s that to ponder for Jackson. But overall, teams are not working with much when it comes to the Dallas product who was born in the Congo.

“It’s very hard, very hard, to know what he can do,’’ Indiana president Larry Bird, a legend as much as Jackson, told NBC 4 New York after the lottery as he sat on the stage. “We had people over there to see him play, but he didn’t play much. He got hurt. It’s a very tough situation. So now you’ve got to see him work out and see what he is. Because you can’t go by high school stats. They’re all good in high school. But it’s a tough deal.’’

What killed the Knicks on this night was coach Derek Fisher’s foolish play-to-win mentality at season’s end, when he needed to lose to ensure that the team finished up with the most chances to win the No. 1 pick.

All season long, as painful for fans as it was, the Knicks at least were steaming toward having the worst record. But wins in Orlando and Atlanta on the final weekend put the Knicks ahead of Minnesota in victories, 17 to 16, and ended up costing them precious Ping-Pong balls.

Fisher forgot the big picture, that the future of the franchise was eminently more important than two meaningless W’s to wrap up the worst season in franchise history.

So when the balls came to rest on lottery night, Jackson’s old Laker team had switched places with his new team. Not a good night for the Zen Master, wherever he was.

Longtime New York columnist Mitch Lawrence continues to write about pro basketball, as he’s done for the last 22 years. His columns for NBCNewYork.com on the Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and the NBA, along with other major sports, will appear twice weekly. Follow him on Twitter @Mitch _ Lawrence



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Blackhawks Beat Ducks 3-2 in Triple Overtime]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 03:53:52 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/474027552.jpg

The Blackhawks tried just about everything to get a puck past Frederik Andersen while Game 2 of the Western Conference finals wound through three overtime periods and deep into the night, eventually becoming the longest game in Chicago's 89-year history.

Andrew Shaw even headed the puck into the net — which was amazing, but illegal.

After nearly 110 consecutive scoreless minutes by Chicago, Marcus Kruger got it done with plain old work in front of the net, ending a landmark game and evening a series that's already the endurance test everyone expected.

Kruger batted home Brent Seabrook's shot 16:12 into the third OT, and the Blackhawks earned a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 2 on Tuesday night.

"I got lucky," Kruger said. "Happy to see that go in."

Shaw and Marian Hossa scored power-play goals in the opening minutes, but Chicago couldn't score again in the longest game in Honda Center history until Kruger got in front and forced a ricochet past Andersen, who made a career-high 53 saves.

The Blackhawks celebrated with more relief than excitement, realizing they only had about 42 hours until the puck drops for Game 3 in Chicago on Thursday.

"I just hope we don't have any more like that," Shaw said. "I think this helps us, and showed us what can happen if we keep sticking to it and competing. We'll find a way to win."

Corey Crawford made 60 saves as the Blackhawks finally handed the Ducks their second loss of the postseason.

The game was the 17th-longest in NHL history, and the longest since Dallas and San Jose went four overtimes on May 4, 2008.

Shaw attempted to end it during a power play 8:47 into the second overtime by knocking a high-arching rebound of Patrick Kane's shot into the net with his helmet in a stunning soccer-style play, but the goal was illegal. The officials briefly conferred before waving it off — NHL rules prohibit players from deliberately knocking the puck into the net with anything except their sticks.

"It was just a reaction right there," Shaw said. "You do whatever you can to get that puck across the line. But we just kept working and competing, and we got lucky. ... Overtime goals are huge, so I tried to sell it as much as I could. It was just exciting, the reaction at the net. I was just out there using my head, I guess."

Corey Perry tied it late in the second period for the Ducks, who dropped to 9-2 in the postseason with their first home loss in seven games, missing numerous chances to end it. Andrew Cogliano also scored for Anaheim, which was shut out over the final 78:42.

"There were a few posts, a few crossbars," Perry said. "It's a tough one to swallow, but you get right back at it, put it behind you and get ready for the next one."

These Western powers came into the series with ample rest after easily winning their second-round series, but they used up much of that extra energy in a marathon Game 2.

Anaheim hadn't played a game with multiple overtimes since May 3, 2009, while Chicago won two multiple-overtime games in the first round against Nashville. The game was the second-longest in Ducks history, trailing only a five-overtime game at Dallas in 2003.

Two days after Anaheim comfortably won the series opener to improve to 6-0 at Honda Center in the postseason, Kruger's fortunate goal ended a nail-biting rematch.

"You just try to limit the mistakes as much as possible," Cogliano said. "You're drained. I think both game plans on both teams get a little lax, because you're out there for so long. Physically it's tough. Guys cramp. You're out there for so long, going through so many hits, and the game is so fast-paced, especially against this team. It's a tough pill to swallow right now, but you've just got to get over it. We've got to recover."

Perry put a shot off the crossbar roughly 10 minutes into the first OT, and Sami Vatanen hit the posts behind Crawford twice in extra time. Andersen made two enormous saves early in the second overtime, and Crawford matched him with a handful of stunners late in the period.

The Blackhawks never led in Game 1 while struggling to match the Ducks' depth and going scoreless on three power plays. Chicago kept its bench short in Game 2, largely playing only four defensemen — Duncan Keith logged just under 50 minutes of ice time, while Niklas Hjalmarsson and Brent Seabrook both topped 47 minutes — and relying on its top-end talent.

In the end, Kruger came up with his second goal of the postseason.

Chicago capitalized twice in the opening 6:19 after poor penalties by the Ducks. Shaw and Hossa both scored their second goal in three games after nine-game droughts to open the postseason.

Anaheim played a dominant second period, outshooting the Blackhawks 17-1 in the final 13 minutes. Perry finally evened it late, deflecting a long shot from captain Ryan Getzlaf for his eighth goal in 11 games.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Curry's Daughter Steals the Show]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 21:38:21 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/0519-2015-RileyCurry.jpg

Few, if any, can steal the spotlight away from Steph Curry during this year's jaw-dropping, MVP season.

But 2-year-old Riley Curry did just that Tuesday night after the Golden State Warriors defeated the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

Curry, who dropped 34 points en route to the 110-106 win, brought along his daughter to the post game press conference.

Riley instantly stole the spotlight, waving to the media and telling her All-Star dad to "be quiet" after he was talking "too loud."

At one point during the press conference, Riley got off Curry's lap and disappeared from the camera's view while her father fielded questions from reporters.

But moments later she re-appeared under the press table and again waved at the audience.

Riley Curry, you are the real MVP.

Visit NBC Bay Area's Warriors page for more team coverage.


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