Orlando’s Dwight Howard fined by NBA

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard has been fined $35,000 by the NBA for criticizing officials on his blog.

Howard was in chronic foul trouble and constantly complaining about officiating in the Magic’s series sweep over Charlotte. Orlando Coach Stan Van Gundy and forward Matt Barnes also were fined $35,000 each last week for criticizing officials.

Howard posted on his blog: “I’m not looking to say anything to get myself in trouble with the league, but I just don’t see other star players getting called for fouls the way I get them. No star player in the league is outta games the way I am.”

Howard also was fined $15,000 in November for similar comments on his Web site.

Iowa State has given former star Fred Hoiberg a five-year contract to get things turned around as coach.

Nadal wins Rome opener

Rafael Nadal opened his bid for a fifth Rome Masters title with a quick 6-1, 6-3 victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber. After withdrawing from last week’s Barcelona Open, Nadal appeared fresh and dictated play with his usual combination of heavy topspin, few unforced errors and baseline winners. The third-ranked Spaniard improved to 6-0 in his career against his 29th-ranked German opponent.

Nadal has won the clay-court tournament four of the past five years and is the favorite again after top-ranked Roger Federer was stunned by Ernests Gulbis on Tuesday.

Justine Henin ignored a broken finger to win her opening match at the Porsche Grand Prix at Stuttgart, Germany, ending a two-match losing streak with a 7-6 (3), 6-1 victory over Julia Goerges of Germany. Defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova was upset by Li Na of China, who overcame the third-seeded Russian, 6-3, 7-5.

Dolphins GM apologizes to Bryant

Miami Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland has apologized to former Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant for asking whether his mother was ever a prostitute. The apology Wednesday came after Yahoo! Sports reported that Ireland posed the question during a pre-draft interview with Bryant.

“My job is to find out as much information as possible about a player that I’m considering drafting,” Ireland said in a statement. “Sometimes that leads to asking in-depth questions. Having said that, I talked to Dez Bryant and told him I used poor judgment in one of the questions I asked him. I certainly meant no disrespect and apologized to him.

“I appreciate his acceptance of that apology, and I told him I wished him well as he embarks on his NFL career.”

Bryant was taken by the Dallas Cowboys with the 24th pick in the first round last week.


Former USC and Los Angeles Rams coach John Robinson has been hired as the defensive coordinator at San Marcos High in San Diego County. Robinson, who lives in the area, last coached in 2004 at Nevada Las Vegas.

Nevada Las Vegas says Matt Shaw is off the Runnin’ Rebels men’s basketball team after failing a postgame drug test in the team’s NCAA tournament loss. A resulting one-year suspension makes Shaw, from Fairfax High, ineligible for what would have been his senior year.

Top-seeded Stanford faces Hawaii after Cal State Northridge meets Brigham Young in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation men’s volleyball semifinals Thursday night at Palo Alto.

Rookie Joe Sacco, who led the Colorado Avalanche on a surprising run to the playoffs, along with Phoenix’s Dave Tippett and Nashville’s Barry Trotz of the Nashville Predators, were selected as finalists for the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year. The winner will be announced June 23.