nba-basketball_web.jpgNEW YORK (AP) — Two weeks of NBA games are lost. Many more could be in jeopardy.

There's a “gulf” that separates owners and players and they will have to close it quickly to avoid further damage to the schedule.

Sticking to his deadline, Commissioner David Stern wiped out the first two weeks of the season — exactly 100 games — after more than seven hours of negotiations Monday failed to produce a new labor deal and preserve the Nov. 1 season openers.

The cancellations mark the NBA's first work stoppage since the 1998-99 season was reduced to 50 games.

Clashing more over the salary cap system than economics, but still far apart on both, Stern said the sides are “very far apart on virtually all issues. … We just have a gulf that separates us.”

Union president Derek Fisher emphasized that missing any games puts the season in jeopardy. He also stressed this was a lockout, not a strike, and that it was the owners' decision not to  play basketball.

“This is not where we choose to be,” he said. “We're not at a place where a fair deal can be reached with the NBA.”

The cancellation includes all games scheduled to be played through Nov. 14 and affected arenas have been authorized to release those dates.

Based on last year's average announced attendance league-wide (just over 17,300 per game) and the average ticket cost last season, the now canceled 100 games represent nearly $83 million in lost ticket sales — before the first concession or souvenir is sold and before the first car pays to park.

Season-ticket holders, however, get refunds, plus interest, for all canceled games.

Photo: Stock Photo