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Friday, July 1, 2011
Day 1 of the NBA lockout

By Stacy Title

NBA: The NBA locked out its players Friday when its collective bargaining agreement expired at midnight. The two sides have been drawing lines in the sand for months -- maybe even years -- and those lines are miles apart. The owners say 22 of 30 NBA teams are not profitable, (compared to the NFL, where all the teams come in above the red line). The players' association thinks that number is inflated  it says only about 10 teams are in the losers' circle. (Not much of a bargaining chip, is it?) Neither side thinks the dispute (over hard, soft or flexible salary caps) will be resolved soon. Ugh. The lockout comes as the NFL is trying to end its own work stoppage. It is believed to be only the second time that two leagues have been shut down simultaneously.

Side note: Kobe Bryant kept up his secret medical regimen. A source confirmed to ESPNLosAngeles.com that Bryant received the controversial PRP treatment (stay with me: platelet-rich plasma), following in the footsteps (er, knees) of Rafael Nadal, Tiger Woods and the Steelers' Hines Ward. Blood is drawn from the patient's arm, then spun into isolate platelets (in 20 minutes!). The platelets are injected into the injured area to help stimulate tissue repair. The thing is, this same treatment can also be used to game the game. HGH (human growth hormone) or IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) can be added to the platelets. How long until PRP treatments are deemed off- limits?

Wimbledon: Maria Sharapova, who beat Sabine Lisicki 6-4, 6-3, is back in the final for the first time since she won in 2004 as a mere 17-yearold, the longest spread between final appearances in the Open era. It's been a grueling road back, and she faces a complex opponent in eighth seed Petra Kvitova, who will be making her first appearance in a Grand Slam final. A 21-year-old southpaw from the Czech Republic, Kvitova hit 40 winners in her 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 semifinal victory over Victoria Azarenka. Meanwhile, the entire British Isle is monitoring Rafael Nadal's foot injury in the hopes it will help Andy Murray in their semifinal match and help end Britain's decades-long slump with no championship.

Women's World Cup: France decimated a highly regarded Canadian team 4-0 (France's biggest-ever WWC win). Host Germany barely edged out Nigeria on a 54th-minute goal from Simone Laudehr, putting itself and the French into the quarterfinals. Rarely do the French thank the Germans for anything, but maybe this time they did.

MLB: Tigers ace Justin Verlander went seven innings with just one earned run in a 5-2 win over the Mets on Thursday. He had a stellar 0.92 ERA in June with six wins. ... Pinch hitter Geovany Soto hit a three-run walk-off home run in the 13th inning to give the Cubs a 5-2 win over the Giants. ... CC Sabathia struck out 13 (matching his career high) against his old team as the Yankees topped the Brewers 5-0. Sabathia became the first major leaguer to reach 11 victories. Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter targeted Monday for his return from a calf injury. His quest to reach 3,000 career hits continues.