National Sports Briefs
NEW YORK ó NBA owners and players resumed talks Friday aimed at ending the 148-day lockout in time to save the leagueís Christmas Day schedule.
That deadline has created a sense of urgency because the Dec. 25 schedule is traditionally a showcase for the league. This seasonís three-game slate was to include Miami at Dallas in an NBA finals rematch, plus MVP Derrick Rose leading Chicago into Los Angeles to face Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.
After a secret meeting earlier this week, the sides have returned to the table for more discussions. Commissioner David Stern has said the league needs about 30 days from an agreement to when games could be played.
Participating in the talks for the league were Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver, Spurs owner Peter Holt, the chairman of the labor relations committee, and attorneys Rick Buchanan and Dan Rube. The players were represented by executive director Billy Hunter, president Derek Fisher, vice president Maurice Evans, attorney Ron Klempner and economist Kevin Murphy.
LOWELL, Mass. ó A man accused of taking a swing at Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo inside a Massachusetts nightclub has been released on personal recognizance.
ATLANTA ó Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and other Turner Sports’ NBA analysts will share their stories and opinions in a new series debuting this week on NBA TV.
The six-part “Open Court” series will air Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. EST. Ernie Johnson will moderate from Atlanta, also joined by Kenny Smith, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, Steve Kerr and Steve Smith.
HAINAN, China ó Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell shot a 4-under 68 in alternate-shot play Friday for a share of the lead with Australia after the second round of the World Cup.
McIlroy and McDowell, both from Northern Ireland, matched Australia’s Brendan Jones and Richard Green (70) at 13 under on Mission Hills’ Blackstone Course.
COOLUM, Australia ó Australia’s Marcus Fraser shot a 7-under 65 to take a two-stroke lead over American Bubba Watson after the second round of the Australian PGA.
WYNCOTE, Pa. ó Joseph “Bud” Lewis, the golf professional who was the longest serving and oldest living member of the PGA of America, has died. He was 103.
With Lewis’ death, the PGA of America said Samuel Henry “Errie” Ball of Stuart, Fla., is the oldest living PGA of America member. Ball is 101.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands ó Prosecutors say an investigating judge has ordered the brother of slain Seattle Mariners outfielder Greg Halman to be detained for a further two weeks on suspicion of murder or manslaughter.
Halman was stabbed to death early Monday morning at an apartment in the port city of Rotterdam. Police said his stabbing may have followed an argument about loud music.
ATLANTA ó The Atlanta Braves have signed 14 players to minor league contracts, including right-handed reliever Adam Russell.
Russell pitched in 36 games for the Tampa Bay Rays last season, going 1-2 with a 3.03 ERA.
NEW YORK ó The New York Mets’ owners have been ordered to undergo a jury trial if the case against them by the trustee for the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme goes forward.
CHICAGO ó The Chicago Cubs have offered salary arbitration to free agents Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena.
TORONTO ó A Canadian bat company is embracing a Major League Baseball ban on the use of low-density maple bats by new players.
LONDON ó All that success finally caught up to Novak Djokovic.
A weary Djokovic finished his spectacular season by losing more matches in three days than he did in the first seven months of the year, earning the top-ranked Serb an early exit in the ATP World Tour Finals.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. ó Authorities involved in a sexual-abuse investigation of Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine carried out a search at his home Friday but declined to comment on what they were looking for.
The Post-Standard newspaper reported that four state troopers stood at the end of the driveway at Fine’s home in suburban DeWitt on Friday afternoon. It said at least six police vehicles were parked on the street and officers were looking through a trash can.
Two former ball boys for the Syracuse basketball team, Bobby Davis and his stepbrother, Mike Lang, have said they were molested more than 25 years ago by Fine, who is on paid administrative leave from the university. Fine has called the allegations “patently false.”
CHARLOTTEó Richard Childress predicted at the start of the season one of his drivers would win NASCAR’s championship.
So after falling short for a second consecutive season, Kevin Harvick will have a new crew in 2012.
Richard Childress Racing announced Wednesday that Shane Wilson will replace Gil Martin as crew chief of Harvick’s No. 29 team. Martin, who had been Harvick’s crew chief since May 2009, was moved to director of team operations.
“Kevin came to me after the Phoenix race a couple weeks ago and asked for a change in the leadership of his team for the 2012 season,” Childress said in a statement. “The expectations at RCR are to win championships, so the decision was made to move Shane Wilson.”
Wilson spent the last three seasons as crew chief for Clint Bowyer. That team is shutting down with Bowyer’s move to Michael Waltrip Racing, although the No. 33 is expected to run select events with Truck Series champion Austin Dillon, Childress’ grandson.
Wilson and Harvick worked together in the Nationwide Series in 2006, winning 10 races, scoring 24 top-five finishes and winning the title by a record 824 points.
“Shane is a good friend of mine and we had a lot of success together in the NASCAR Nationwide Series,” said Harvick. “He has a lot of experience now in the Sprint Cup Series and I look forward to working with him again.”
Harvick finished third to Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin in last year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, and Childress was certain at least one of his drivers would make a run at the title this year and dethrone five-time champion Johnson.
Instead, only Harvick qualified for the Chase. Although he opened it tied with Kyle Busch for the top seed, he finished third again in the final standings.
This marks the third crew chief change since the season ended Sunday at Homestead. Steve Addington quit as Kurt Busch’s crew chief this week, and Chip Ganassi Racing lured engineer Chris Heroy away from Hendrick Motorsports to crew chief Juan Pablo Montoya next season.
Also, three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart is in limbo: He told Darian Grubb he was being let go as crew chief before Grubb rallied Stewart to the title.