Basketball: NBA in shut-down

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THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL Association took the unprecedented step of cancelling the first two weeks of the regular season yesterday after collective bargaining talks between owners and players broke down.

The league's record of not losing a game because of a work stoppage - stretching over 51 years and 35,001 consecutive games - was ended as the deputy commissioner, Russ Granik, announced that the fixtures from 3 to 16 November will not be made up.

The decision followed rejection of a proposal from the players aimed at ending the dispute over salary structure. The next move will come from the owners.

"It doesn't look promising," the commissioner, David Stern, said.