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NBA sides return, hope to build on progress

NEW YORK (AP) - NBA Commissioner David Stern says he would consider it a failure if the owners and players don't reach a deal to end the lockout in the next few days.

"There's no guarantee we're going to get it done," Stern said, "but we're going to give it one heck of a shot."

Union executive director Billy Hunter, too, struck a positive tone about the talks.

"I think we're within striking distance of getting a deal," he said after the two sides met for 7.5 hours Thursday.

The two sides will resume bargaining Friday morning.

"There's an element of continuity, familiarity and I would hope trust that would enable us to look forward to (Friday) where we anticipate there will be some important and additional progress," Stern said. "Or not."

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"We're looking forward to seeing whether something good can be made to happen."

Small groups from both sides returned to a hotel Thursday less than 12 hours after finishing a 15-hour meeting that went until past 3 a.m.

Union president Derek Fisher said they're working through a number of different issues and trying to close the gap in each issue.

Stern said he expects the two sides to address the distribution of basketball revenue on Friday.

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