Sports Extra


If he wants his old job back, Phil Jackson can have it

LOS ANGELES – As if the indications weren’t strong enough that Phil Jackson was the Los Angeles Lakers’ top target to replace fired coach Mike Brown, they grew stronger Saturday.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Jackson, who won five championships in L.A., is meeting today with Lakers officials, and the job is his if he wants it. Meanwhile, a person close to another candidate, Mike D’Antoni, told USA TODAY Sports that no meetings had been arranged with the former Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks coach.

“They’re focused on getting a deal done with (Jackson),” said the person, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

The Lakers fired Brown on Friday after the team struggled to an 0-8 preseason and a 1-4 start to their regular season. Bernie Bickerstaff is leading the team in the interim, and he won his first game Friday night against Golden State.



Two sides trade a negotiating table for a lunch table

Date: Saturday, Nov. 10.

Day: 56.

Last Negotiations: Friday, Nov. 9, in New York.

Next Negotiations: TBD.

Games Lost: 327 (all games through Nov. 30, plus the New Year’s Day Winter Classic).

TAKING A BREAK: After four consecutive days of talks, the NHL and the players’ association stayed in contact from afar Saturday morning, then got together for a small, informal lunch meeting in the afternoon. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and union special counsel Steve Fehr made plans to talk either Saturday night or Sunday morning to try to set up the next bargaining session. Talks hit a snag Friday night during discussions on the core economic issues that so far have prevented an agreement.

What We Missed: The lockout forced 13 games to be lost Saturday, including a matchup between the new-look Minnesota Wild and the Detroit Red Wings in Hockeytown.


Klitschko retains his belts against the 6-7½ Wach

HAMBURG, Germany – Wladimir Klitschko retained his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles, unanimously outpointing Poland’s Mariusz Wach on Saturday night.

The 6-7½ Wach was the tallest opponent Klitschko has faced in his 16-year professional career, but he offered little threat against the faster Ukrainian.

The judges scored it 120-107, 120-107 and 119-109 for Klitschko, who was troubled only at the end of the fifth round, when Wach surprised him with a right hook before a flurry of punches.

Klitschko left the 32-year-old Wach wobbling in the seventh with a devastating right followed by a series of combinations. Wach displayed incredible stamina to continue.

The 36-year-old Klitschko improved to 59-3 (51 KOs), while Wach dropped to 27-1 (15 KOs).

Ski Racing

Hoefl-Riesch wins slalom; Shiffrin skis to 3rd for USA

LEVI, Finland – Olympic champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany overcame a hip injury Saturday to win the season’s first World Cup slalom, with 17-year-old American Mikaela Shiffrin in third place.

In a race 80 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the northernmost venue on the circuit, Hoefl-Riesch skied an excellent second run to overtake Finland’s Tanja Poutiainen, who finished second.

Defending overall World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn skipped the slalom to prepare for races late November in Aspen.

Hoefl-Riesch trailed Poutiainen after the first run but had the fastest time in the second for a total time of 1 minute, 55.58 seconds.

Slovenia’s Tina Maze, who won the giant slalom opener two weeks ago in Soelden, Austria, was fourth to keep the lead in the overall World Cup standings with 150 points.

Associated Press