No fuss, no sweat, no tears, no problem ….

No fuss, no sweat, no tears , no problem …

Having almost reached the midway point of the NBA season , the divisions are now becoming a little more competitive on the whole. Needless to say, that the defending NBA champions the Miami Heat , in spite of a few hiccups along the way are plodding along nicely . Albeit, that there now seems to be doubts as to whether or not the current roster has the resiliency of the team that won he title last season in defeating the San Antonio Spurs .

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A two-game losing streak for the Heat , and the doubters have already began to question the mindset of Erik Spoelstra and his coaching staff . Those losses to the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets on successive nights in New York City and Brooklyn , may well have had the victorious fans of the teams in question now licking their lips , with thoughts of being capable of taking down the champions in a playoff series this season. For the moment, let’s not think too far ahead , for what is in all honesty an arduous and grueling eighty-two game schedule for each of the NBA’s thirty teams . While LeBron James remains the “heart” and ” soul” of this Miami Heat ensemble , then the team itself , will remain the best in the NBA , in spite of their current record (27-10) , standing within the conference and league .

The first of those two back-to-back defeats , came against the New York Knicks came last Thursday night at Madison Square Garden , New York City , New York , in front of a raucous Knicks’ crowd . Miami was subjected to a ten-point loss in a 102-92 defeat . James led all scorers with 32 points , six assists and five rebounds, but this teammates’ productivity in this contest can be best described as being sub-par. Carmelo Anthony for his part, has repeatedly shown why all season long, the Knicks would be an anemic force , were he not on this roster . He sets rhythm for the team and if they are not on the same page , it becomes the matter of another poor performance from the Knicks. It would now appear, that after an anemic start to the their season , New York is now finally on a roll. Next up for the Knicks, will be a game against the high-flying Indiana Pacers (30-7) , currently the best team in the Eastern Conference record-wise.

That second loss by Miami , may well have come out of the blue , as the Brooklyn Nets have been just as erratic as their divisional counterparts the New York Knicks. Consider the fact , that in the aftermath of the victory , Jason Kidd and his players headed up to the Air Canada Center (Rogers Center) in Toronto , to be hammered in a sixteen-point 96-80 defeat at the hands of the Toronto Raptors . Anyone under the impression that Kidd as a rookie coach has the Nets heading in the right direction , really has to rethink that mindset .

Erik Spoelstra has now become his own man , as a head coach , having no longer to look over his shoulder to see if his mentor Pat Riley still observes his every move . Back to back NBA titles , as the team now chases a third championship , now gives the head coach a great deal of security in terms of his position within the organization and its structure . Riley as the team President and a minority stakeholder in the franchise , has seen the Heat’s value rise , along with their revenues and profitability over the past five seasons. With that in mind , as the league’s most popular and visible team , the executive knows that any disruption, in that all too high-profile , knocks off the All Star image that organization has successfully portrayed. The team once seen as the ” Big Three “ ” has now become an All Star quartet with the addition of Ray Allen , who became an instant hero . with his postseason heroics in last season’s NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs. Suffice to say, that NBA’s best three-point shooter in league history , will be looking to further cement his legacy during the season .

Miami in light of the losses in question , will get the chance to rebound, when they face the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center in Washington , DC on Wednesday evening . The Wizards led by John Wall , will be seeking to make light of a series between these two teams, that has favored the defending NBA champions over the years.

Someone will have to convince me, that the brand of basketball now played in the Eastern Conference is actually conducive to the health of the NBA fan. David Stern , continually seeks to sing the praises of this league , but year in and year out , the NBA brand has become more about individualistic achievement , rather than of team achievement and success. The NBA title may well have been won by a team. In reality however, the fans relished the exploits of LeBron James as the Finals’ MVP , more than they remembered what was achieved by the Heat as a team or namely members of the team’s roster and how each fared during the series. Much of what has been exhibited within the conference and the very fact that only four teams possess a record above . 500, has to be seen as a blight to the NBA , rather than being viewed as a positive.

Team scoring is up , but at the same time, the defensive strategy of the teams are on the wane . So much so, that highlight reel dunks have become the cannon fodder for the league to entertain the fans in attendance and those watching by way of the broadcast or cable networks .

The Los Angeles Lakers , alongside the Boston Celtics , are by far in a way the two most successful franchises in NBA history . These two teams have combined for more than half the NBA titles won. Finals showcasing , the two celebrated and revered teams have produced some of the most memorable highlights in league history. Halcyon days of Magic Johnson , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy , as they gazed across court to match wits with Larry Bird , . Kevin McHale and Robert Parish , has now become a thing of the past. And the last postseason match-up, in an NBA Finals’ series, now seems a distant memory. That last occurrence took place during took place in 2010, when the Lakers led by Kobe Bryant prevailed in a thrilling 4-3 series’ win .

Both the Celtics and Lakers are in a season of transition, Boston in particular , with a new coaching staff headed by rookie head coach Brad Stevens and a revamped roster under the leadership of point guard Rajon Rondo . Rondo has yet to be on court this season , still recovering from an injury sustained last season . In his absence, those leadership responsibilities have fallen squarely on the shoulders of Jeff Green and Avery Bradley . Yet, it has been all-round contribution from just about every player on the Celtics’ roster, which has seen the team post a 13-26 record within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference . That mark places the franchise out of a playoff berth, that sees them lying in the twelfth spot of the conference, 1 ½ games behind the eighth seeded Charlotte Bobcats (16-23). Coming off a /. twelve point loss to the Houston Rockets on Monday night , the team will play host to the Toronto Raptors at the TD Banknorth Center in Boston Massachusetts, on Wednesday night. A victory would serve this young team well and set them in a positive direction, while Brad Stevens seeks to find a footing in this league , among his more experienced and noted peers.

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The Celtics’ most recent visit to the NBA Finals came in 2008 and there , once again the opponent cross-court were their perennial adversaries the Los Angeles Lakers . It was left to Paul Pierce , teammates Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to provide the franchise with their most recent title , Boston’s seventeenth overall , leading their closest rival the Lakers whose tally of sixteen remains second all-time .

It is pretty much safe to say, that a struggling Los Angeles Lakers’ team is not good for the NBA. Likewise, the same is also applicable to the New York Knicks, as two of the league’s most recognized teams. Mike D’Antoni , is still under the gun, as he seeks to find a group of players that can execute the strategies he believes they are capable of putting into place. . A record of 14-24 , at this point of the season , and I believe that this team can be now left for dead ! A seven-point loss last night to the Phoenix Suns , pretty much sums up one of the numerous reasons why the franchise is in a maelstrom of inconsistency beyond the continued idiocy of that the front office led by Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak are seeking to bolster the roster by acquiring a marquee free agent during the off-season. Hopes of acquiring either LeBron James , Carmelo Anthony , two players who can choose to opt out of their existing contracts do appear to be a pipe-dream. Yet needless to say , in Los Angeles and its close proximity to Hollywood , leads me to believe that the Lakers’ fans and the front office executives are just dreamers, seeking to weave their own pieces of fiction in order to create their own personal “Utopia” . A lack in developing talent by way of their drafts over the past eight years have essentially shown why the franchise is now in period of transition and inconsistency . Never mind, the very fact that D’Antoni struggles to get the best out of his players from a defensive standpoint.

The Los Angeles Lakers next scheduled game will be on Friday night, when they are the guests of the Boston Celtics. In a regular season series , that now sets a new chapter in motion, the changes in their respective environments and of the rosters in question.

They may not be the runaway trains , but the consistency now being shown by both the Portland Trailblazers coached by Terry Stotts and as always , the perennial contenders within the Western Conference , the San Antonio Spurs , leads me to believe that based on current form, both of these teams will be part of the postseason foray ! Spurs’ head coach , Gregg Popovich remains the best coach in the NBA, albeit , that Miami Heat fans will believe that Erik Spoelstra has become his equal , because of his body of work over the past three seasons. Valid as that point may well be , until Spoelstra takes his team to twelve consecutive postseason appearances , the debate becomes moot.

With both the Spurs and Trailblazers on a considerable role within their divisions and the Western Conference , it remains to be seen whether or not any other contender is likely to step up and make that race within the West more entertaining and actually suspenseful. Granted, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are back to the their very best , while guiding the Oklahoma City Thunder(28-10) to one of the best records in the conference and league. Scott Brooks and his players , are on a mission to simply erase the aberration of last postseason . And while the talk may well be about the rise of the Los Angeles Clippers (27-13) , let us analyze that team’s current situation under their head coach Doc Rivers , who took over after the abrupt firing of Vinny Del Negro .

As good as the Clippers appear to be , it is highly debatable, as to their likelihood of taking down the Spurs or Thunder in a seven-game postseason series , with their being n a great deal on the line. Teething problems remain for an experienced roster that is still finding its way , even with the coaching acumen of Doc Rivers and the playing experience of Chris Paul. Exuberance and a great deal of overconfidence remains one of a number of flaws on the team alongside being unable to commit themselves to playing defense as and when needed.

The Clippers coming off a high scoring two- point victory over the Dallas Mavericks , they will now take their game on the road to face the New York Knicks on Friday night in Madison Square Garden . Having signed veteran guard, Hedo Turkoglu , it will be interesting to see how the team acquits itself against their Eastern Conference opponent. San Antonio and the Portland Trailblazers for their part, will parlay their prominence into a anticipated and eagerly awaited contest when the two meet at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas on the 17th January, 2014. A precursor, to the conference finals perhaps or just a another regular season game on the calendar? Well, that remains to be seen, but one way or another, it should be a good enough guide in telling us what we are likely to see from both teams over the remainder of the season.

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The NBA continues to march to the beat of its very own drum and with David Stern due to step down after a close to a three-decade tenure as the league’s commissioner. His heir-apparent Adam Silver will now have the unenviable task of taking on the next phase of the league’s evolution , while trying to remain relevant amongst its existing fan-base and seeking to increase the game’s popularity on a global scale . Stern has brought to the NBA brand into greater prominence, than one could ever have imagined, from the days when a televised game was something of a novelty. Today, those broadcasts, have become a sports’ staple, along with a growing number of former players parlaying their ex-careers into a highly respectable second vocation, as a NBA broadcast analyst . As to what, may well now be expected be over the remainder of the schedule could be very well be summed up the level of the play seen over the first half the season.

:)

Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Greg Oden (20) of the Miami Heat dunks the ball during a game played against the Washington Wizards played at the Verizon Center in Washington , DC. Miami lost the contest and their third consecutive road game on their schedule . John Wall of the Wizards and LeBron James of the Heat led all scorers in the contest played on the 15th January, 2014 . Getty Images / Rob Carr ……

(2) John Wall of the Wizards drives to the basket in a game played against the Miami Heat. The Wizards’ point guard and his teammates prevailed in defeating Miami 114-97. Getty Images / Rob Carr …..

(3) LeBron James of the Miami Heat looks up at the scoreboard during the first half of the game between the Washington Wizards and Miami Heat. A third consecutive road loss seems to have created some amongst Heat fans . Yet the team still remains atop of their division as well as having the second best record in the Eastern Conference . Getty Images /Rob Carr ….

(4) Paul Pierce of the Brooklyn Nets goes up for the offensive play during a game played against the Toronto Raptors this past Saturday at the Air Canada Center in Toronto , Canada,. The visiting team would end up on the wrong side of sixteen-point 96-80 loss to their hosts . AP Photo/The Canadian Press/ Chris Young ….

(5) NBA Commissioner David Stern is seen here alongside Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver during a press conference convened prior to last season’s NBA Finals . Stern made the announcement that he would be stepping down in his role, with Silver succeeding him as the new NBA Commissioner, as of the 15th February 2014,. AP Photo/ Josh Rogers …

(6) Jodie Meeks (20) of the Los Angeles Lakers makes an offensive play over the Suns’ Gerald Green during an NBA game against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night . The Suns defeated the Lakers in that contest. Subsequently , former Lakers’ great Magic Johnson was openly critical of the coaching staff , GM Mitch Kupchak , but in particular of team owner Jim Buss , and the lack of direction of the franchise. AP Photo/ Ross D Franklin …..

(7) Portland Trailblazers’ point guard Damian Lillard is seen here alongside head coach Terry Stotts , court-side, as they discuss an upcoming play. The Trailblazers have been one of the surprise teams in the NBA this season , showing a great deal of consistency as the schedule approaches its midpoint . Portland will be the guests of the San Antonio Spurs when the top two teams within the Western Conference meet at the AT&T Center on Friday evening . Matthew Arnold /UPI …

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:)

tophatal ………………. 2014/01/15

:)

Official NBA teams’ news site:

Boston Celtics news

Brooklyn Nets news

Miami Heat news

Los Angeles Lakers news

New York Knicks news

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NBA news and archived stories

NBA standings (division)

NBA standings (conference)

NBA overall league standings (best record)

NBA transactions

NBA results 14th January 2014

NBA schedule 15th January

This month in NBA history

This date in NBA history

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About Alan Parkins

Brit ex-pat living C Florida . Work within corporate law for a law firm in the field of corporate governance on the international front concerning economic policies . Also cover the area of finance , banking . An , MBA graduate (LSE)and UCL (London) , M&A, economics , risk management & assessment . Martial artist (tae-kwondo, karate, savate & muy-thai) & vowed sports fan & sports junkie. Served in armed forces British ... Royal Marines Also an avid motorcycle junkie . Eclectic musical tastes _ reggae, r&b, soul, hip-hop, rap , jazz, classical. Film genres , Preferably thrillers , crime dramas Hobbies ..... reading biographies & anything by John Grisham Just a lil' something to make me feel comfortable ! Tophatal
This entry was posted in Basketball, Miami Heat, NBA, San Antonio Spurs, Sports, Sports & Social Commentary, Sports Commentary, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to No fuss, no sweat, no tears, no problem ….

  1. Remind me why I should be impressed with the Warriors when the Blazers are a far more well balanced and coached team ? The same can also be said of the Clippers , even though some have been drooling over the players as if they were part of a Playboy pictorial or just some hot piece of @ss .

    NBA standings conference

    NBA team splits

    Western Conference marks

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    :)

    Shake ‘em like you just don’t care .

    Krystal Lorrie

    Squeeze ‘em like you want them to be squeezed .

    :)

    :)

    tophatal ………….

    Like this

  2. SportsChump says:

    Pretty down year for the NBA, Al.

    I’m trying to harken back to 1996. There’s been lots of drugs, booze, women and good times since then that have occupied my memory banks but I will say this. As I recall, that sixth Bulls title wasn’t a given. A lot of people were probably giving the Utah Jazz, and a few other teams, a pretty good shot at finally knocking off MJ.

    People are starting to do that now with LeBron and the Heat. That might be a bit premature. The Pacers are really good. So are the Spurs and a few other potential contenders in the Western Conference.

    But when it’s all said and done, I still think the Heat, like most championship teams that get bored with the regular season, can flip the switch when they need to.

    Plus they have LeBron. That kinda helps.

    Like this

  3. Chris Humpherys (SportsChump)

    All you need to know with regard to this season in the NBA i s that the likely best record based on the projected wins’ tally for the East and Western Conference is not likely to be more than 68 wins . Yet that figure is likely to fall below that projected mark .

    You are right concerning the Miami Heat . As long as LeBron James remains on the Heat’s roster and does not sustain a prolonged injury at any point of the season. Then the team is likely to remain the favorites for the NBA title . Their likely only challenge from within the East will come come from Frank Vogel and the Indiana Pacers once again . A potential repeat of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals seems to be on the cards . The rest of the conference are so far off the charts that does not seem worth talking about . The less than knowledgeable fans, who still believe that the Knicks or Nets . are worthy adversaries are simply clueless !

    Eastern Conference team stats : Defense , differential and offense

    Player stats in the Eastern Conference : Scoring , field goal percentage , assists and rebounds

    tophatal ………………

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  4. :)

    Jhene` Aiko ……… ” The Worst ”

    For some reason this Jhene` Aiko song , I cannot get it out of my head . Damn great piece along with the stunning lyrics .

    Aiko , herself , is one fine piece of @ss !

    tophatal ………..

    Like this

  5. I believe that NBA fans of today would relish the NBA Finals of the past when players such as Magic , Bird , Jordan and Kareem were so dominant in the finals alongside their respective teams. Granted , over the past two postseasons , LeBron James has given us moments of unsurpassed excellence . Dare I say it , but Kobe Bryant was able to do that , as well ? Yet in all reality , Bryant’s postseason forays with the Lakers are now a thing of the past , because that team in its present guise , were they to make the playoffs , they would be dumped in the first round of play.

    :)

    Bird and Magic made the NBA Finals epic affairs

    ’92 NBA Finals and Jordan’s heroics

    tophatal …………..

    Like this

  6. The Chicago Bulls were lucky enough to be the participants in six NBA Finals’ contests in eight years , during which they were victorious in each . Yet , where would rank each of those Finals in the annals of NBA history in terms of NBA Finals’ series ? Chime in with your thoughts on that and which singular performance do you regard as being the best in Finals’ history by a player ?

    :)

    Did Magic really choke in the ’84 Finals ?

    tophatal ……………

    Like this

  7. It’s not often you hear that Gregg Popovich being ejected from a game , it is something of a rarity . So when it happens you have to perhaps consider the reasons why. In Friday’s match-up between the Trailblazers and Spurs at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas. There was a bone of contention of a questionable call and the official’s decision that caused the coach to show his disdain for the official . Repeatedly , we have seen the NBA referees make not only questionable calls but actual downright idiotic mistakes simply by not knowing the rules and how to apply them correctly .

    Gregg Popovich head coach of the San Antonio Spurs . The team lost a game , during which several questionable decisions were made by the referee during the contest played at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas against the Portland Trailblazers . A . contest that the Trailblazers won 109-100 .

    When such instances arise , the hierarchy has stood behind the officials and their officiating , even when it has been known that a monstrous error has been made . More so when such instances happen during the playoffs . David Stern , in spite of his longevity as the commissioner and the strides made by the league during his tenure . This has been one of the many issues that he and the hierarchy have not chosen to address in-depth . When a player or coach or team owner chooses to voice their displeasure over such an incident of a referee’s blunder , rather than seeking some input from the teams or players , he has sought to mete out hefty financial penalties, which have actually served no purpose . Instead , the same idiotic mistakes are repeated by the referees and no accountability is held concerning the officials in question .

    Damian Lillard , Wesley Matthews and league official Ron Mott .

    The game itself was simply great , with the Blazers’ Damian Lillard showing why he’s one of the best young players and point guards in the game . Both Lillard and Wesley Matthews were the main reasons why Portland were victorious and actually defeated San Antonio for the second consecutive time during their season series thus far .

    tophatal ……………….

    Like this

  8. Don’t look now folks, but the Knicks are about to become and endangered specie . After last night’s mauling at home by the Clippers . Why do their fans still maintain this idiocy , that the sole reason why they continue to fail, is because they’re unable to develop players ? It’s not only about the drafting of the players it has also been about the free agents acquired through trades that they have then sought to overpay and the players in question are not that productive .

    Other than Carmelo Anthony , which player acquired by the Knicks over the past six years has actually been worth a damn ?

    Might I add in the fact that the coaches over the past eight years for the franchise have been about as successful as the last two Republican Presidential campaigns ( John McCain & Mitt Romney ) God knows , the two idiots seeking that office at the time , their combined IQ’s would not have gained them admittance into the International MENSA organization , much less the US chapter .

    ,

    “Jason Whitlock is not fit to kiss my rear end “. Stephen A Smith of ESPN

    ” I tend not to use the N-word that often but this time I must . Stephen A Smith is one of those Uncle Tom ni#gas ” !

    Jason Whitlock

    Only an imbecile such as Stephen A Smith would try to suggest that the Knicks can turn things around . Smith with continued stupidity makes Jason Whitlock seem like an intelligent life form .

    If things get much worse for the Knicks , then the American Humane Society , World Wildlife Fund or perhaps the NBA itself , ,might need to get involved and speak to both James Dolan , GM Steve Mills and the entire front office of the Knicks’ organization as well the coaching staff and players .

    JR Smith

    Is there currently a bigger #sshole on the Knicks’ roster than JR Smith ? What the hell has this guy brought to the table in terms of his overall play ? Can anyone answer that question including an intelligent Knicks’ fan ?

    Courtesy of CBS Sports

    J.R. Smith had ‘heated’ confrontation with Mike Woodson .

    By Royce Young , NBA Writer ,CBS Sports

    You’ll never believe this, but something happened recently with J.R. Smith and the Knicks.

    According to ESPN New York, Smith was late to a team meeting on Tuesday which likely is what led to his benching that night against the Bobcats.

    Also, according to the report, he had a “run-in” with coach Mike Woodson on Monday after griping about playing time, or the lack there-of, against the Suns.

    Sources say Smith expressed his frustration with Woodson during the game and the two had a brief, heated discussion over Smith’s displeasure shortly after the game. Smith’s tardiness on Tuesday and his frustration with playing just 45 seconds in overtime likely led to Woodson benching him on Tuesday night against Charlotte.

    Smith’s situation has been a rocky one recently in New York as the mercurial sixth man was fined $50,000 by the league for not heeding warnings about untying shoes on the free throw line. Because of it, Woodson blasted Smith in the media saying the player needed to grow up and act professional.

    Smith said following Tuesday’s game that he was surprised by not playing and called it “ridiculous” for the sneaker incident to have been the catalyst.

    “For that to be the trigger point and for all this to happen is ridiculous,” Smith told reporters. “I’ll figure out what I can do better to help this team and go from there. If I can’t help the team, [there's] no point in me being here.”

    According to a recent report, because of the headaches caused by Smith off the court, the Knicks had begun to explore the trade market for last season’s Sixth Man award winner. Smith, though, signed a three-year, $18 million contract in the summer, which makes him a very difficult player to trade.

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    Click on link to read in full.
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    Smith makes the celebrated antics of Metta World Peace seem docile by comparison .

    tophatal ……..

    Like this

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