It’s For All The Marbles ….. Now Or Never , The Big Players Step Up To The Plate ……..
By tophatal ………….. 4/1/201 22:39:28 PM
Well we’re entering the final stretch of the NBA regular season with a mere 17 games to go for the vast majority of the teams within the NBA . The coaches who have their franchises within ear-shot of a playoff berth are now seeking have their players for the inevitable playoff run . The Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder respectively lead the Eastern and Western Conferences of the NBA by sizable margins .
Slide show for your perusal .
And while the current talk evolving around who will be the regular season MVP , I have to admit the talk of Kevin Love entering the equation amongst the other noteworthy candidates for this season seems to be more than justified . The Minnesota Timberwoles’ power forward leads his team in scoring and is amongst the league’s leading scorers this season . The consensus seems to be that Kevin Durant , Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are the leading candidates for this season’s Most Valuable Player Award . Unfortunately the last time the recipient of the league MVP went to a player on a team with a losing record just happened to be when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was still a member of the Los Angeles Lakers/ ….. (’74-75) . The likelihood of Love winning the award is remote at best , but no one really knows what goes on inside of the minds of the writers of the NBA , who actually determine the winner of the regular season award .
Now while a number of teams seem to be having a number of issues defensively the same cannot be said from an offensive standpoint unless you happen to be either the New Orleans Hornets or Charlotte Bobcats . This duo just happen to be two of the worst performing teams within the NBA . And certainly for the league hierarchy as the owner of the Hornets and Michael Jordan as the majority owner of the Hornets this has to be a season that each would each rather forget . And the situation for Dell Demps and Rod Wiggins as the general managers for the respective franchises , has been the lack of candor in explaining their teams’ woes. Instead, it has been some rather asinine and idiotic public statements forthcoming from both of these front office executives ! Suffice to say , David Stern , as the commissioner has some explaining to do as to the lack of progress in seeking out an owner for the New Orleans Hornets’ franchise . But then again it’s simply another high-ranking sports’ executive making a complete ass of themselves as usual , not unlike the members of House and US Senate don’t you think ?
Now for all the ardent and fervent supporters of the Miami Heat who still consider that team to be the favorites within the Eastern Conference . I’d like for you all to either reconsider that premise or simply look at how inconsistent the players on the roster are said to be at present . Beyond LeBron James and Dwyane Wade there simply isn’t much to this roster . The bench is simply filled with role players , who if anything would rather spend their time seated on the pine watching their more illustrious teammates rather than contribute to the team as a whole . Consider that rather embarrassingly lopsided defeat suffered at the hands of the Boston Celtics . At no point were the Miami Heat ever in this match-up after the tip-off to start the first quarter of the game . From thereon-in , it was simply about Kevin Garnett and his teammates as they laid waste to a rather anemic group of players on the Heat roster who showed no heart !
Injuries asides , one could allude to the fact that players have been placed under a great deal of undue pressure because of a truncated schedule but that was no large due to the idiocy of the NBA hierarchy led by David Stern and those pompous asses of the NBPA (union) led by Executive Director Billy Hunter . The league enforced lockout that led to the season not starting until Christmas Day , instead of mid September , simply displayed to the public that the game as we know it , is simply no longer about entertaining the fans but simply about a group of overpaid athletes , a maniacal self-indulgent hierarchy and a group of team owners without as much business acumen as a homeless panhandler !
As the season now winds down it will be interesting to see how the New York Knicks address their issues , most notably with the loss of Amar`e Stoudemire quite possibly through the end of their regular season schedule and any prospective postseason games . Stoudemire is sidelined with a back injury that simply is best treated with rest , rather than having to undergo invasive surgery . I’m sure that Mike Woodson and his coaching staff know what this loss means not only to the organization but most definitely to the players on the roster . It will be now incumbent upon Carmelo Anthony , JR Smith , Tyson Chandler and Baron Davis to lead the team with a determined resolve . From my own perspective , I simply don’t believe that this New York Knicks’ team happens to be mentally tough enough to go deep into the postseason and their record (27-26) and standing within the conference simply reflects that position !
An envisioned first round match-up would pit the New York Knicks against the Chicago Bulls , a team that seems to find increasing ways of winning even without leading scorer Derrick Rose . Granted, in their most recent game against the Oklahoma City Thunder as they were ” torched ” by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook for a combined 53 points on the way to the team’s 14 point victory (92-78) over the Bulls .
Scott Brooks as coach of this Thunder team is aware that he possesses currently the most explosive one two offensive punch in the NBA ! Anyone who has witnessed the combination of Durant and Westbrook, surely must know how lethal that duo just happens to be ? As this pairing goes , then so does this team and it should be no coincidence to anyone to anyone as to how good this roster just happens to be . They have far more depth than their counterparts within the Western Conference and seem to be more adept in every aspect of the game from a defensive and .offensive standpoint within the Western Conference .
To my mind the conference is the Thunder’s to lose as it is my belief that neither the Los Angeles Lakers , Dallas Mavericks , San Antonio Spurs or for that matter the Los Angeles Clippers are simply good enough to go toe-to-toe with this team a in a five or seven game series . This unit is now mentally and physically tough and much of that came about from their postseason experience and travails of last season . This season , it has simply been about the Thunder playing at a high degree of efficiency and uptempo basketball , which no other team in the conference or the NBA has simply been able to match and that includes the much vaulted Miami Heat . Suffice to say an anticipated match-up against either the Chicago Bulls or Miami Heat in the NBA Finals would be eagerly enticing to any fan within the NBA . But as of now, we will have to wait and see how things simply pan out over the remainder of the regular season schedule .
Picture gallery for your perusal .
What thoughts any do you have concerning the subject matter and if anything what do you foresee as it relates to the upcoming NBA postseason ? Chime in with a comment as you see fit .
Picture and slide show details below .
(1) OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – APRIL 1: Russell Westbrook (0) of the Oklahoma City Thunder and James Harden (13) of the Oklahoma City Thunder smile during the game between the Chicago Bulls and the Oklahoma City Thunder on April 1, 2012 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images ….
(2) Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts after a dunk in front of Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng , right, in the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 1, 2012. AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki ….
(3) Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, right, works for position against Sacramento Kings defender DeMarcus Cousins during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, April 2, 2012. AP Photo/Steve Yeater ….
(4) Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (9) passes under pressure from Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) and forward Chris Bosh in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Sunday, April 1, 2012. Rondo had a triple-double as the Celtics won 91-72 . AP Photo/Elise Amendola ….
(5) Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley (0) drives by Miami Heat guard Norris Cole (30) in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Sunday, April 1, 2012. The Celtics won 91-72 . AP Photo/Elise Amendola
(6) New York Knicks’ Jeremy Lin , left, Jared Jeffries , center, and Landry Fields , right, watch from the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Saturday, March 31, 2012, in New York. The Knicks won 91-75 . Lin will miss the rest of the regular season because he needs knee surgery that will sideline him six weeks and could leave the Knicks without their star point guard in the playoffs _ if they make it that far. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II ..
(7) New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony (7) shoots over Cleveland Cavaliers’ Alonzo Gee (33) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, March 31, 2012, in New York. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II …
(8) New York Knicks’ Amare Stoudemire (1) reacts to the crowd after scoring during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons , Saturday, March 24, 2012, in New York. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II …. …
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