LEFTOVERS: Fallen stars dim luster of NBA playoffs

These should be glorious days for the NBA. From Lob City with the Los Angeles Clippers, to Golden State’s dazzling backcourt, to the sheer greatness in Miami, every night is like a highlight reel.

It’s a stark contrast to what was a sleep-inducing college basketball season.

But a dark cloud has hovered over the NBA, and it got darker with Russell Westbrook’s knee injury that takes him out of the playoffs indefinitely.

In addition to possibly dealing a fatal blow to Oklahoma City’s title hopes, Westbrook’s injury is the latest to hit some of the league’s stars. The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant is out until next season, Rajon Rondo’s injury doomed any chance Boston had, and Chicago’s promising season could have been even better if Derrick Rose hadn’t been sidelined.

“This is a terrible blow for the Oklahoma City Thunder and for the league for that matter,” ESPN analyst Jalen Rose said. “The laundry list of notable players that have gotten injured during this season is way too long.”

But at least the NBA has this going for it — each game doesn’t end 52-50.

■ MEDDLING IN MIAMI — Most owners think they know more than they do, which is why Jerry Jones foolishly continues to be the Dallas Cowboys’ general manager. But most owners also recognize they shouldn’t cross the line of actually making on-field decisions.


Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria insisted pitchers Jose Fernandez and Ricky Nolasco flip starts in a doubleheader Tuesday, according to a Yahoo! report.

First-year manager Mike Redmond was forced to deliver the news to the starters.

“He was embarrassed,” a source told Yahoo! “He tried to fight it. He had nothing to do with it.”

Loria also made several suggestions last season to Ozzie Guillen, who ignored the owner’s overtures, probably leading to the end of Guillen’s brief reign as manager.

To be fair, Loria denied to Fox Sports he got involved in any pitching decisions, but his already low reputation is sure to take a hit from the story. He’d already chased away many of the Marlins’ few fans during the offseason by giving away most of his star power in a fire sale that was an embarrassment to baseball.

At 5-18, the Marlins have the worst record in the majors.

Maybe Redmond should be more like Guillen and stand up to Loria. Then he, too, could get out of that mess.

■ POWER TRIP — Friday was supposed to be “Tharold Simon Day” in Eunice, La., and folks there are proud of their hometown star who’ll likely be taken in the NFL Draft today.

But the ceremony to honor the former Louisiana State cornerback was canceled after he had a run-in with the law Thursday.

After a police officer asked Simon to move a car that was blocking a street, he replied with, “I own Eunice,” according to the police report.

Simon did move the car, but backed up “in an aggressive manner” and made sure to blast the stereo system. Then he said he had the support of the mayor, and the officer would be fired if he was ticketed.

Even so, Simon was arrested.

Like Loria, denials came from Simon’s corner, but this news may have given NFL teams cause to look elsewhere to fill their secondary needs.

But, hey, Simon does own Eunice.


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