No team in the NBA has lost more games over the past six seasons than the Lakers, but whatever infects basketball operations has graciously spared game operations, which are still the league's best.,The team plays in the most appealing market in the league; their local broadcast deal pays them in excess of $150 million per season; they employ LeBron James; and they have picked second overall in three of the past four drafts.,Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAYRather than assign blame to unfavorable news reports that embarrassed her franchise, Buss could have taken a page from Robert Sarver, the owner of a Suns team with the fifth-most losses over these six seasons.,At some point, the Lakers must recognize that running an NBA team is far more than an exercise in brand management and talent recruitment.,A front office is a managerial project like any other business -- NBA teams make widgets, only they're wins (or, more commonly for the Lakers, losses).

And at this stage in James' career, with three championships, eight consecutive NBA Finals appearances to his name and an equally burgeoning business and political profile off the court, James is a transcendent star.,Johnson said the Lakers didn't want to make the team like the Cleveland Cavaliers all over again for James.,James was just starting to find his footing with this new cast in Los Angeles.,Since his return from injury, the Lakers have a defensive rating of 109.6 when James is on the floor in four wins; the Lakers have a defensive rating of 113.1 when James is on the floor in the eight losses.,Most of the roster wasn't going to be back next year anyway, given the team's insistence on signing players to only one-year contracts to preserve salary-cap space for a second star this summer.

CANTON — Cincinnati Sycamore junior Carson Foster set a national record in the OHSAA’s 93rd annual state swimming meet at C.T. Branin Natatorium on Saturday.,HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) — Christopher Bell led all but 20 laps while routing the field Saturday to win the Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.,Bell, who won a series-high seven races last season, gave up the lead during scheduled pit stops but cycled back to the front with 30 laps remaining.,Cole Custer made a late final charge, but Bell worked Atlanta’s abrasive racing lines over a three-lap sprint to the finish to win his first race of the season.,A clean pit stop put Bell back out front for the start of the second stage and he led all but one lap as his Toyota commanded the early part of the race.

So by November, when nearly 200 Catholic leaders — including Spokane's bishop, Thomas Daly, and his predecessor, Blase Cupich — gathered for the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the pressure to directly address the scandals was intense.,But to conservative and traditionalist Catholics, Cupich is a villain, and it's Bishop Daly — who recently told abortion-defending politicians they shouldn't take Communion — who represents what the church should be.,He recalls a nun telling him that some in the Catholic Church may be fearful of gay people, but here, in the Spokane diocese, he didn't have to worry.,Yes, the Catholic Church was opposed to abortion in all circumstances, but in this "toxic and polarizing" political environment, Cupich argued that decisions were made around the "kitchen table" rather than outside of clinics.,Sporting a Martin Sheen haircut and a pectoral cross hanging from his neck, Bishop Thomas Daly speaks with a pressing enthusiasm as he flits between pop culture jokes, impassioned laments on the state of the church, and miniature dissertations on Catholic history.

For the eleventh time in his career, Donny Schatz of Fargo, North Dakota, was voted the “Driver of the Year” by the North American 410 Sprint Car Poll voting panel of media members, promoters, sanctioning officials and manufacturers.,California’s Colby Johnson is the “Rookie of the Year” Award recipient in the ‘410’ division of the North American Sprint Car Poll.,Jack and Bonnie Elam of JJ Auto Racing (their 14th such award) will receive “Builder/Manufacturer of the Year” honors for the ‘410’ poll.,Past recipients of the North American Sprint Car Poll’s “Outstanding Contribution to the Sport Award” are as follows: Dave Pusateri, the late Bryan Clauson, Dave Darland, Sammy Swindell, Fred Rahmer, Johnny Gibson, the late Jerry Reigle, Steve Sinclair, Kasey Kahne, Tom Schmeh, Dick Jordan, the late Fred Brownfield, Doug Auld, the late Hank Gentzler, Tony Stewart, Emmett Hahn, Allan Holland, Dave Argabright, Ron Shuman, the late Kevin Gobrecht, Jack Hewitt, the late Jack Miller, Brad Doty, Art Carol Malies, Dave Bowman, the late Ralph Capitani, the late Ted Johnson, Mark Kuchan, Steve Kinser, the late Don Martin, Steve Beitler, Lee Brewer, Jr., Mark Kinser, Frank Lewis, the late Earl Baltes, Casey Beverly Luna, Elayne Hoff, Jean Lynch, the late J.W. Hunt, and Bert Emick.,`Brent Marks, `Myerstown, PA, `34 First Place Votes - Donny Schatz 16; Brad Sweet 2; Greg Hodnett 1.

BREATH BLESSING: Beginning a Jewish Mindfulness Journey with Jeryl, Brown, MSW and Rabbi Debra Cantor at the Mandell JCC, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford on Thrusday, Feb. 28 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon - $60; free for Neshama Patrons - Please RSVP to B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom by calling 860-243-3576 or office[email protected] CEI TALKS: Tunxis Community College’s Civic Engagement Institute invites the community to the following free lectures and discussions during the semester, in 600 Building, Room 6-127 Farmington.,SHABBAT ACROSS AMERICA: Shabbat Dinner Friday, March 1 following 6:00 p.m. Shabbat Services at B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom, 180 Still Road, Bloomfield - $18 per person $40 family maximum — Please RSVP by calling the BTS Office at 860-243-3576 or [email protected] PLAY: Renbrook School presents “Freaky Friday” Renbrook School, Stedman Auditorium, 2865 Albany Ave., West Hartford.,Learn more about preschool through grade 8 at Renbrook School by visiting www.renbrook.org GOLF RULES CLINIC: The Rockledge Men’s and Women’s Clubs are sponsoring a free 2019 USGA Golf Rules Clinic on Saturday, March 2 from 10 am to 12 pm at the Rockledge Grille in West Hartford.,Monday, March 4, 7:00pm - 8:45pm West Hartford Libraries and the Capital Classics Theatre Company team up to bring you the Shakespeare Book Club monthly.,WEST HARTFORD GARDEN CLUB MEETING: Thursday, March 7, 12 p.m. Joan Butler and Jana Milbocker present “Birdscaping, Home Sweet Home: Turning Your Property into a Mecca for Birds”.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on NBA All-Star Weekend (all times local): 10:55 p.m. Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers scored 35 points, Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics added 30 and the U.S. beat the World team 161-144 in the Rising Stars game for first- and second-year players at All-Star Weekend.,___ 9:05 p.m. Famous Los scored 22 points to win MVP honors, and the Home team held on to beat the Away team 82-80 in the All-Star Celebrity Game on Friday night.,At a Hall of Fame event Friday at All-Star weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina, Abdul-Jabbar said Kaepernick "had a statement that he had to make through his demonstrations, but he's a quarterback and I think he should be working.",The mother of Stephen and Seth Curry sank a one-handed, half-court shot — that she took underhanded — to help her three-person team beat teams led by her NBA sons and one by her daughter to win a family shootout at a newly refurbished at a community center in Charlotte, North Carolina.,Jones was a four-time NBA All-Star, a huge part of Philadelphia's 1983 NBA-title-winning team and the league's sixth man award winner that season.

ESPN, along with other media outlets, reported Thursday afternoon that the Pelicans sent forward Nikola Mirotic to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Jason Smith, Stanley Johnson and four second-round draft picks.,Mirotic, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, is averaging 16.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, both of which are career highs.,The Pelicans also officially announced Thursday that the team had acquired forward Markieff Morris, as well as a 2023 second round draft pick, from the Washington Wizards in exchange for forward Wesley Johnson.,Morris is a former lottery pick was selected by the Phoenix Suns with the 13th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, one spot before his twin brother and Kansas University teammate Marcus.,In 26 games (13 starts), the former lottery pick out of Syracuse averaged 3.7 points and 2.1 rebounds.

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, with all due respect to local football fans following the Rams' Super Bowl defeat, thinks his team has some similarities to the NFL champion New England Patriots.,"I think early on they were facing a ton of adversity," Pelinka said on a conference call with reporters Friday to discuss his team's NBA trade deadline deals.,The Clippers' deal opened a roster spot, and Pelinka said the team is evaluating "a handful" of players to fill it -- either now or closer to the March 1 deadline to add a player and have him be playoff eligible.,Continuing the Patriots' parallel, Pelinka compared Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman to the players the Lakers added, noting how New England found its rhythm after the slot receiver returned from a four-game suspension, much the same way he hopes the Lakers find their stride now.,Pelinka confirmed a Los Angeles Times report that detailed Johnson's plan to meet the team in Philadelphia -- Pelinka said Johnson is attending a reunion celebrating Michigan State's 1979 NCAA championship as he makes his way west to east.

The board on Thursday hired Bryce Minor as deputy director to fill the vacancy created with the recent resignation of elections board Director Adam Booth, whose last day is Feb. 15.,Minor graduated summa cum laude in 2016 from Youngstown State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science, and while in college he served as an intern for U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta.,After that Minor helped run the Ohio House’s legislative page, intern and constituent service program until last month, when he took a job as legislative liaison for new state Auditor Keith Faber.,Under Ohio law, the elections board director and deputy director have to be from opposite political parties to serve as a checks-and-balance.,Minor, at 26, is only 18 months younger than when Booth was hired in 2009 as deputy director.