Gladiators in the arena would state we who are about to die, salute you . Today’s NBA has no gladiators , merely characters and a little scripted drama thrown in for good measure
Midpoint of the NBA season and the and the . news seems to be the season high score individually by Carmelo Anthony , as he broke the New York Knicks’ franchise scoring record for a contest , with sixty-two points against the Charlotte Bobcats at Madison Square Garden this past week. Now, the holder of that record, is a Knicks’ all-time great, in Bernard King . While Anthony’s achievement in that game should be applauded , let us not forget that although the Bobcats are holding the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference with an odious record of (19-27 [0.413]) . If that mark is not a damning indictment how bad the conference has become along with the league in general . Then, can someone please explain to me, what is ?
Perhaps, the irony of all ironies , coming out of this contest, might well have been the fact that the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats happens to be none other than Michael Jordan , someone who during his playing career , was known for some rather spectacular single game achievements , beyond the numerous other accolades , that highlighted perhaps the greatest career in NBA history . Fans and analysts may well have been drooling at Carmelo Anthony’s display , with his teammates at the time ,simply reveling in that prolific output . Unfortunately, currently for the New York Knicks’ fans there has not been a great deal for them to either revel in or simply suggest that this team has finally turned a corner . Their season so far, has been strewn with inconsistent performances , lackluster displays by a number of players , beyond the perfunctory excuses of players being sidelined due to injury . Take into account that Mike Woodson and his coaching staff have shown about as much acumen for their roles, as the US Congress, has in trying to abate the ongoing economic crisis still submerging and threatening the nation.
With all of the awe and fervor being thrown about, concerning the accomplishment of Carmelo Anthony, consider the fact that the sixty-two point outburst, albeit, a career high , it still ranks behind the eighty-one point explosion by Kobe Bryant against the Toronto Raptors in a game dating back to January 2006 , and the seventy-one points scored by Hall of Fame center David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs in a contest against the Los Angeles Clippers . Need we be reminded that the all-time single game scoring record belongs to the late Wilt Chamberlain , and that one hundred point explosion that had so many career and NBA highs interspersed within the contest between the Philadelphia Warriors and New York Knicks in a game that took place on March 2nd , 1962.
Now, while I do believe that the New York Knicks could quite possibly play themselves into contention for a postseason berth . I simply cannot see this team in its present guise being a nuisance to the likes of the Indiana Pacers or Miami Heat , undoubtedly , the two best teams within the conference by far . New York on Sunday afternoon, will play host to another laboring franchise , in the Los Angeles Lakers and their woes over the course of this season. The once mighty Lakers might not be the best NBA franchise in the entire state of California , given the present fortunes of late of the Los Angeles Clippers , Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings . There was a time when a contest between the Lakers and Knicks actually meant something within the NBA, but those times now appear to be long gone and it simply does not bode well for this league when there does not seem to be a major team rivalry within the NBA at present or even on the horizon. The league has now become all about individualistic achievements , rather than that a collective team achievement and success , in spite of what the on air analysts and members of the NBA hierarchy would like to have us believe .
In a match-up of last season’s NBA Finals , the San Antonio Spurs were the guests </a. of the Miami Heat on Sunday afternoon, where LeBron James and his teammates were looking to reestablish their dominance over the Finals’ foes, as well as send a sobering reminder why they are the reigning two-time NBA champions. A third consecutive win of the championship would certainly legitimize the franchise’s claims of being a dynasty, but over the course of this season the team has shown some worrying signs of complacency as well as what appears to be a lack of depth at certain positions. Take into account also, that Dwyane Wade has become a virtual invalid , is day-to-day in terms of a game-time appearance and only one-third of Miami’s “Big Three ” are now said to be playing at a high level, while still being productive . Granted, momentary glimpses of Chris Bosh might send shock waves around the league , but I find it somewhat comical to hear many say that he is a vital asset to the franchise. For the monetary outlay being made to Bosh , his productivity for the team should be a great deal more than it is .
I am sure that Miami Heat President Pat Riley along with Erik Spoelstra and the coaching staff are likely to continue to gauge the progress of the team before coming to a decision as to whether or not an acquisition or a trade needs to be made. Somehow, you get the feeling, that Riley is likely to pull the trigger , but not at the expense of taking breaking up his trio of All Stars. Wade and Bosh and Ray Allen , have now become the complementary foil to the still growing repertoire of LeBron James’ game.
The Western Conference now seems to have found calmer waters and the now surging Oklahoma City Thunder now appear to be the best team within the conference . With due respect to the always formidable San Antonio Spurs and the still surprising resilience being shown by Terry Stotts and the Portland Trailblazers . Perhaps, the second half of this NBA season , might be better spent, surveying the likely carnage that will be wreaked by the top teams in the West , rather than glaring at the ongoing futility that still exists in the East and has done for the past two years , at least .
Kevin Durant this season has been on a tear, while staking a really legitimate claim , that he is having a better all-round season than LeBron James . Durant along with teammate Russell Westbrook , while the point guard is on-court , remain the league’s best offensive duo averaging well over 28,5 points per game each as a duo. With that type of offensive output backed up by the play of Serge Ibaka , it is understandable to see the reason why many now feel that this team is likely to be the Western Conference Finals’ representative in this year’s NBA Finals . As an avid San Antonio Spurs’ fan, nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see both of these teams facing off in the aforementioned conference finals , and then letting the chips fall where they may ! A twelve-point victory over the Philadelphia 76ers’ has given the Thunder the best record in the NBA, with a current mark of 35-10 as of Saturday afternoon . That win simply an exclamation mark and stamp on the first half of the season , albeit , with a game on Monday night at home to the Atlanta Hawks , within the confines of the Chesapeake Energy Arena , should provide the Oklahoma City Thunder and their fans a great send off for the players likely to be a part of the Western Conference’s All Star roster , where Durant leads all players in the voting count within the West.
Of the teams in the Western Conference, vying to take that next step into the upper echelons of the conference are the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors. Two teams made up of prodigious young talent , but with a great deal of coaching acumen being exhibited in two of the game’s great point guards , now having made great strides within the coaching fraternity , with Doc Rivers of the Clippers and Mark Jackson with the Warriors . Both are likely to be part of the playoff picture as they each seek to position themselves within their respective divisions and the conference as a whole.
In the regular season meetings , between the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors, the two contestants have split their first two contests, with the margin of victory in each game , being no more than ten points on each occasion . The next scheduled meeting between the two will take place on the 30th January at the Oracle Arena , in Oakland , California ,. It will be interesting to see whether or not Doc Rivers will have the services of point guard Chris Paul , a player who is of pivotal and vital importance to the team , if they are to succeed this postseason. For Warriors’ owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , to have the franchise back to the point, where the team is gaining respect , while being given the added publicity , all stemming from the consistency of the players , but also combining that with the play of Steph Curry and his maturity , since entering the league as a first round draft pick in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors.
Curry, along with teammates , Harrison Barnes , David Lee , Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala are providing the fans with reason to believe that the team is capable of pulling off a major surprise during the playoffs. Certainly, a case could be made that were it not for the lack of experience , then last season during the NBA Playoffs the Warriors would have pulled off the biggest upset in the franchise’s recent history, had they got past the San Antonio Spurs in their conference semi-finals’ contest . A fifteen-point victory over the Portland Trailblazers on Sunday , further emphasized the strides made by the Warriors, as they seek to make themselves be viewed as a force to be reckoned with within the Western Conference.
Living in the shadows of the Los Angeles Lakers cannot be an easy thing, if you happen to be a Los Angeles Clippers’ fan or a member of the player personnel of the franchise. Having to share the same home venue is one thing , and then meeting in home and away games , does tend to provide something of a novelty. Be that, as it may, for the past two seasons , it has been the Clippers with the bragging rights , as the Lakers have floundered , providing the entire NBA with enough drama to be viewed as something of an ode to being self-absorbed and conceitedness .
From the ongoing petulance of Kobe Bryant, to the incessant stupidity of Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss , for the Los Angeles Lakers , this season as well as last season is something I believe that the entire organization would rather forget ! While, they continue to flounder , it has been the Clippers providing the noteworthy headlines in terms of basketball success for the City of Angels. Some might beg to differ, with Pau Gasol and Nick Young providing the Lakers’ fans of something of a momentary respite , but clearly Mike D’Antoni still has his issues in trying to get this team playing with a great deal of resolve . With Bryant still ailing from a persistent injury, it has hard to conceive how the Lakers’ most revered active performer, actually believed that this team in its current guise was capable of making the postseason. It has to rile and rattle the angst of every fan of the franchise, that the Los Angeles Lakers are now being belittled as less than average . In truth, this is exactly what the Lakers now just happen to be, with their record simply bearing this out.
As Kevin Love continues to put up impressive numbers for the Minnesota Timberwolves , it is becoming extremely difficult to see how he can remain with an organization that has done very little to assist in lifting the burden off his shoulders , while seeking to make the team competitive. While Flip Saunders , a former head coach with the franchise has been brought in as a special consultant and to aid GM Milt Newton and the coaching staff of Rick Adelman with regard to player personnel decisions. With Love having signed a four-year $61 million deal to remain with the Timberwolves in 2012 and not due to become an unrestricted free agent until 2016 . It could be argued , that the power forward has been ill-served by that deal , given the lack of support overall that has been provided by the Timberwolves to fulfill his own personal ambitions well as those of the franchise as a whole.
From my own standpoint , I believe that Glen Taylor , owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves , has been one of the most incompetent owners not only within the NBA , but perhaps amongst the very worst in all of the four major professional team sports. Years of mismanagement and simply idiotic personnel moves , have seen this franchise , simply mired in mediocrity . The franchise’s last postseason appearance came almost a decade ago, during the 2003-2004 NBA season , in which the team was led by Kevin Garnett . Minnesota would make it to the Western Conference Finals that season, eventually losing to the Los Angeles Lakers, with a 4-2 series’ loss . In the ensuing decade, there have been very few highlights for the franchise, beyond the exploits of Kevin Love.
With a record of . 21-22 , good enough for eleventh seed within the Western Conference , the Timberwolves are 3 ½ games out of the eighth spot, currently held by the Dallas Mavericks(26-20). A game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois awaits Minnesota , and it will be interesting to see whether not they can make some inroads into the lead of the Mavericks, while seeking to chase down a playoff berth. It may well be, that the organization could seek to abandon that chase , with their being mounting speculation that the All Star power forward of the Timberwolves, has become decidedly unhappy with the current direction of the franchise. A trade might well be the only objective that can be sought, where Kevin Love can feel satisfied , and at the same time the front office can obtain an equitable exchange for the player, that would be financially advantageous for the Timberwolves. Far be it for me to suggest , but I believe it would be preferable to allow Kevin Love to play on a championship contender , rather than remain on a team that seems to be aimlessly heading nowhere are at this juncture !
Picture gallery .
As the NBA schedule, meanders towards the NBA All Star Break , what if anything do you believe has been a positive for the league during the first half of the season ? Also , with David Stern due to step down in his role as NBA commissioner , do you believe that the leadership under his successor Adam Silver will be of benefit to the league as a whole ? Your thoughts on this and anything else, you believe pertinent to this topic.
Picture and slideshow details below.
(1) Carmelo Anthony (7) is all smiles , having just hit a three-pointer during the game against the Charlotte Bobcats . Anthony would go on to score a career high sixty-two points for the New York Knicks during the contest , which was also a franchise record. That mark was previously held by former Knicks’ great Bernard King . The Knicks would go on to defeat the Bobcats 125-96 . AP Photo / Bill Kostroun ……
(2) The Bobcats’ Anthony Tolliver (43) tries to make the defensive play as Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks looks to make the lay-up play during the game between the New York Knicks and Charlotte Bobcats, played at Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York , on Friday , 24th January , 2014 . AP Photo / Bill Kostroun …..
(3) LOS ANGELES – 1984: Bernard King (30) of the New York Knicks calls for the ball on the wing against the Los Angeles Clippers during an NBA game in 1984 at the LA Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California. Copyright 1984 NBAE Photo by Ron Koch/NBAE via Getty Images ….
(4) Kobe Bryant of the Los Angles Lakers and Jalen Rose of the Toronto Raptors are seen here during a game between the two teams. Bryant would go on to score a career high 81 points during the contest played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, on the 22nd January, 2006. Getty Images / Marty Webb ….
(5) Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat looks to strip the ball away from Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs . Bosh’s teammate, LeBron James (6) looks on, hoping that the defensive play is a successful one during the contest played at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida this past weekend . Miami would go on to defeat San Antonio 113-101 . AP Photo / Pat Carter …..
(6) Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder . Durant and Westbrook are the NBA’s leading offensive duo and one of the primary reasons why the team now has the best record in the Western Conference as well as the NBA as a whole . Getty Images / Richard Hart …..
(7) LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trailblazers looks to drive the lane as Kevin Love (42) of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks to make a decisive defensive stop during the game between the two Western Conference opponents played at the Moda Center in Portland , Oregon on Saturday , 25th January , 2013. AP Photo / Don Ryan ….
On this date 26th January in NBA history
Saving the best , for last and then some .
Yes I can give you one of those as a treat