Training Camp at Lehigh? Fugetaboutit Updated

Training Camp at Lehigh? Fugetaboutit Updated

Update: Another article in today's Morning Call would suggest the university will accommodate the Eagles even on short notice. "If there's an ideal time," Sterrett said, "then, yes, we'd like to know
by mid-June if we're going to provide the same quality setup as before.
But is there a drop-dead date we have to know by? No." Still, further delays reduce the prospects of holding camp at Lehigh. The team would likely abandon the idea if it became a headache, and regardless, it needs to conclude before students return. Hat tip to Lehigh Chris.**

One of the Eagles' great traditions could soon become another casualty of the lockout. Lehigh University, which has played host to training camp since 1996, and the Birds' organization will reach a decision on whether they will hold the event on campus or not by mid-June. Camp typically opens later in July.

The sad realization we've come to though is this announcement was probably just a formality. With only one more major court date remaining on June 3, it appears litigation won't resolve any labor issues, and the players and owners have made no defined progress since the lockout began. In fact, they aren't even in mediation right now. Barring a miracle ruling, or a very sudden about-face in negotiations, there is virtually no way this thing is over in time to save camp, at least it's highly unlikely.

And certainly a shame, as training camp at Lehigh has been one thing everybody can agree the franchise has gotten right. Each year, tens of thousands of fans attend the practices, with no price of admission. It's an easy thing to take for granted, but less than half the league still holds camps that are open to public.

You can't blame either side for taking a position on cancelling. It's not something the university just whips together. A lot of work goes into preparing the campus for the influx of visitors. When it's over, they have to tear it all down and get ready for the school year. The Eagles have to be honest with themselves, too. Even if the lockout ends before the date they would have opened camp, is there even enough time to coordinate the trip?

Of course, first it's training camp, then it's the preseason, and finally... games?

Before this thing started, I didn't think there was any way the NFL would risk losing games to a work stoppage. While talking some Birds the other day, I realized now I am starting to believe it's inevitable.

When will something happen? After the appeals court reaches their decision on June 3? July? At the last possible minute in August? And what is "the last possible minute?" Regardless of where it's held, teams need some kind of formal training camp, at least a couple of weeks I would imagine, and maybe a preseason game or two. Hell, they haven't even had free agency yet, or signed rookies. They can't just notarize a deal one day and be playing football the next.

Unless a collective bargaining agreement comes soon after, the official cancellation of training camp will be a very bad day not just for Eagles fans, but perhaps all fans of the sport. These folks are reaching a point of no return soon, and while they probably wouldn't allow the entire season to go under no matter what the cost, even one missed or delayed regular season game is one too many.

>> Lehigh is still holding space for Eagles [Morning Call]
>> Lehigh, Birds agree to decide on camp around mid-June [Daily News]

Best of NBA: DeRozan scores career-high 43 points in Raptors' win

Best of NBA: DeRozan scores career-high 43 points in Raptors' win

TORONTO -- DeMar DeRozan scored a career-high 43 points and the Toronto Raptors rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the Boston Celtics 107-97 on Friday night.

DeRozan shot 15 of 28 from the floor as he surpassed his 42-point effort against the Houston Rockets on March 30, 2015, helping the Raptors overcome the absence of fellow All-Star Kyle Lowry. Lowry sat out with a right wrist injury.

Serge Ibaka, acquired by trade from the Orlando Magic last week, scored 15 points in his debut, while fellow newcomer P.J. Tucker, picked up from the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, had a game-high 10 rebounds and nine points in his first game for his new team.

Isaiah Thomas scored 20 points for Boston, which also got 19 points each from Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart (see full recap).

Westbrook triple-double lifts Thunder over Lakers
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Russell Westbrook scored 17 points in his 28th triple-double of the season, and his new teammates fit in seamlessly as the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 110-93 on Friday night.

Westbrook also had 18 rebounds and 17 assists for the 65th triple-double of his career.

It was the first game for new Thunder players Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott, acquired Thursday in a trade with the Chicago Bulls. Gibson scored 12 points and McDermott added eight, even though they arrived Thursday night and weren't even available for shootaround on Friday.

Alex Abrines and Andre Roberson each set a career high with 19 points, and Steven Adams added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Thunder.

D'Angelo Russell scored 29 for the Lakers (see full recap).

Pacers beat Grizzlies to snap six-game skid
INDIANAPOLIS -- CJ Miles made five 3-pointers and scored 17 points, Paul George had nine points and nine rebounds after remaining with Indiana following the trade deadline, and the Pacers snapped a six-game losing streak with a 102-92 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night.

Monta Ellis finished with 16 points, Myles Turner scored 12, and Lavoy Allen, Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young each added 10 for the Pacers.

The Pacers outscored the Grizzlies 64-42 across the middle two quarters and never relinquished their lead, leading by as many as 27 points in the second half. The Grizzlies finished the game shooting 41 percent from the floor (35 for 84).

Troy Daniels had 13 points for Memphis and Marc Gasol scored 12. Indiana outrebounded Memphis 50-39 and scored 29 points off 17 Grizzlies turnovers (see full recap).

Thrust into bigger role, Sixers' Holmes stars in win over Wizards

Thrust into bigger role, Sixers' Holmes stars in win over Wizards

BOX SCORE

For as much as the Sixers’ bigs are talked about, Richaun Holmes often is left out of the conversation. 

He’s not the centerpiece of the team like Joel Embiid nor was he heavily involved in trade talks like Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor. He is the backup center who bides his time on the bench and quietly stays ready when he gets the nod.

And on Friday, he was the standout player in the Sixers’ 120-112 win over the Wizards (see Instant Replay)

“He’s been sort of the person that people forget about because of the logjam of five men,” Brett Brown said. “We all sort of think, ‘Well, he should just accept it because he’s behind Joel and Nerlens and Jahlil. Good ol’ Richaun. Go to the D-League and it’s OK.’ And that doesn’t work. He’s a pro, he’s competitive. He’s handled it. He’s really been a wonderful teammate.”

Holmes was bumped up in the rotation following the trade of Noel to the Mavs. He moved into the second-unit role while Okafor started in place of the injured Embiid. 

Holmes recorded his first double-double with 12 points (6 for 9 from the field) and 10 rebounds (three offensive). He also blocked a career-high five shots, tying Embiid for the most by a Sixer this season. The second-year big man put together this impressive performance in 26 minutes off the bench (see feature highlight).

“Just play hard,” Holmes said of his approach. “Just go out there, show what you’ve been working on, play hard every second you’re out there. That’s the motto I’ve got.”

Holmes is averaging 16.1 minutes and has appeared in just 32 of the Sixers’ 57 games. This season, he also spent time with the Delaware 87ers of the Development League to get playing time. Holmes embraced an opportunity similar to Friday’s a month ago when he scored 18 points in as many minutes against the Clippers. 

“I try to approach every game this season the same way, whether everybody was playing or people were hurt,” Holmes said. “Prepare like I’m going to play 30 minutes a game. I think having that mindset helped me to stay ready at all times and be aggressive when I had a chance.”

Brown did not rule out the possibility that Holmes could start at some point if he continues this production. The Sixers are limiting Okafor to 20 to 24 minutes per game, according to Brown. That, combined with Embiid’s injury, could lend itself to an increased role for Holmes. 

“I think in that environment, it wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary for Richaun to get a start from time to time,” Brown said. 

Even if he remains on the second unit, Holmes proved he can provide a spark off the bench. Dario Saric noted how Holmes’ impact on both ends of the floor bolsters the frontcourt in addition to a more offensively-minded Okafor (11 points, two rebounds). 

“I think he played unbelievably good in both ways,” Saric said. “Everybody knows he’s an elite guy finishing around the rim, and he stepped in Nerlens’ place, he replaced him unbelievably good. I hope he will get the same minutes for the next game because we have Jahlil, who is more like a post-up player, who likes more to score from the low-post block, and we for sure need some guy like Richaun who will play in both ways." 

Perhaps the person least surprised by Holmes' game was Holmes himself. It was the result he puts in long hours to produce.

“It’s all about the grind,” he said. “All about keep working, keep trying to move up, keep trying to get better every second and it’ll pay off.”