Basketball fans across the country are being deprived of pro basketball action due to the lingering NBA lockout, so they’ve had to get their hoops fix elsewhere.
That has often come in the form of these barnstorming exhibition games across the country.
Several NBA stars made their way to Houston on Sunday night to participate in the John Lucas NBA Lockout Celebrity Charity game. And for about two hours fans were treated to a variety of dunks and a couple breath-taking moments as Los Angeles Clippers forward DeAndre Jordan, Portland Trailblazers center Marcus Camby, Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph, Denver Nuggets first-round draft pick Kenneth Faried and Houston Rockets guard Kyle Lowery put on quite a display at Delmar Fieldhouse in Houston.
With defense not a priority, the two teams combined to score 323 points.
“It’s just to have fun,” said Chicago Bulls reigning MVP Derrick Rose, who was in attendance but did not play in the game. “These games like this are for the fans and everybody just to come in. We have great talent in the building and it’s an exciting game.”
But that didn’t stop the players from feeling like they should have been elsewhere on this November night.
“Optimism is gone. There is nothing optimistic about this situation,” said Houston Rockets forward Luis Scola. “I should be playing a real NBA game right now and I’m not. Even if the lockout finally solves and we go back to play, it’s not good. It’s the best we can get out of the situation but we should be playing the whole season.
“We all knew this CBA was expiring so why didn’t we start this whole process earlier so that by the time the season was starting this all the way over. We waited all the way until the last minute and we are missing games now. I don’t like that.”
But with the lockout entering its fifth month and the 2011–12 season appearing bleak, many of the players said they are continuing to train and condition with hopes that the two sides can come together and get a deal done soon.
“I’m just trying to stay positive,” Jordan said. “I’m working out every day as if training camp started next week. I’m just trying to stay as ready as I can, keep my conditioning level up and work on my game and just try to keep everything tight so that when they do come to an agreement I will be ready to play.”
Contact Terrance Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Terranceharris.
(Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)