The Ball is in your court ……

The Ball is in your court …..

By Tophatal

The NBA season hit its stride with an opening night schedule , which the defending champions the Miami Heat , open up the defense of their title , also with the members of the team receiving their NBA championship rings. LeBron James the reigning MVP and Finals’ MVP, will almost certainly be looking to make successful defense of their title. James along with new teammates, Rashard Lewis , Ray Allen , joining Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to what on paper looks to be an already formidable lineup .

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Tuesday night , the Miami Heat played host to the Boston Celtics in their season opener at the AA Arena in Miami, Florida. Heat executives, Micky Arison, and team President ,Pat Riley, have assembled a roster , that they believe will be successful , over the course of this season, with the ultimate goal of making a successful defense of the NBA title. Considering , that there has not been a back-to-back winner of the title, since 2010 , when the Los Angeles Lakers made a successful defense of the NBA championship won, previously in 2009. Complacency might be the only thing standing in the way of the Miami Heat , in defense of their title , although there is a common belief that the team they defeated in last season’s finals will seek to redeem themselves. Head coach, Erik Spoelstra , I do not believe will be susceptible to such an inclination, albeit that the Oklahoma City Thunder , in spite of their being a minor shakeup in their starting lineup , with the loss of the James Harden , via a trade to the Houston Rockets. How the Thunder’s Rockets’ fans may now feel about the loss of Harden, will obviously be dependent upon how they view the start of the team’s season and how the players acquit themselves in such an instance. GM , Sam Presti and head coach, Scott Brooks were forced with a situation where it came down to what was best for the organization . As a small-market franchise , with a limited revenue streams , the franchise was less committal in granting Harden’s wish for a sizeable contract. The vast majority of the Thunder’s financial commitment in team salary , was in fact tied up in the team’s two best players, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. James Harden has since signed a five-year $80 million contract with the Houston Rockets , to be on a team, whose ascent within the NBA is not seen as something that sees the franchise being sought and thought of as legitimate contender this season for the NBA title.

The Houston Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey’s wish, if anything, is to create more of an offensive minded team, but I do not believe that this current roster is simply good enough to even be considered amongst the elite teams within the NBA ! And the team’s opening game of the season , and their convincing victory over the Detroit Pistons , may well go a long way in convincing the fans that this might have been such a bad move after all , in acquiring James Harden.

Don’t look now, but something is not so right in “ Tinseltown” , with the Los Angeles Lakers getting off to an 0-2 start to their season . Mitch Kupchak, and Jim Buss , simply wanted to make a big splash in off-season , and that they did , with the acquisitions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash . Whether or not the Lakers’ non too fickle fans are amenable to such a lackadaisical start to the season , remains to be seen. For head coach , Mike Brown , should this team stall , and simply not find flight , then his stay in the “city of Angels” , could very well come to an abrupt end.

The Los Angeles Lakers were the guests of the Portland Trailblazers in a game that pitted a new look Blazers roster and a coaching staff led by Terry Stotts . In a game of contrasting styles , it was the Trailblazers who dictated the pace against a lethargic Lakers’ offense and defense in transition. And though Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard , led all scorers with a combined 66 points , for the Lakers in their second successive loss of the season. It was Nicholas Batum , LaMarcus Aldridge , Wesley Matthews and Damien Lillard , who led the way for the Traiblazers , as they knocked off their Western Conference counterparts 116-106 . The Lakers’ scheduled event, will see them take on the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center , which will be a home game Lakers who share the venue with their namesake. The series’ meeting between these two historic franchises is somewhat lopsided, with the Lakers leading the Clippers 143-49 , in their one hundred and ninety-two meetings.

Steve Nash may well have to miss the game due to a bruised right knee and contusion of his right leg. In what was hoped to be a classic match-up of two of the NBA’s marquee point guards, will now be left for a subplot to be written all of its very own. Clippers’ point guard Chris Paul, was amongst the most productive players at the position within the NBA. And in 2012, though we are a mere two games into the season we are a number players rising to the occasion . The Clippers for their part, coached by Vinny Del Negro must seek to see a more defensive approach and presence from this team. Del Negro and his coaching staff have revamped the roster to complement the skillset of Blake Griffin , Chris Paul, Lamar Odom , Grant Hill , Chauncey Billups and Ronny Turiaf .It may well be seasoned veterans such as Hill , Billups , Odom and Turiaf, who will have to provide a major contribution if the Clippers are to fare well over the course of this season. Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling and team general manager Gary Sacks in recent seasons has often been viewed as an owner who was averse to spending money on his franchise in terms of team salary. Chances are the Los Angeles Clippers will seek to make themselves a contender for the NBA title, and most certainly a viable candidate for the Western Conference title.

The city of Detroit has seen its NFL franchise , the Detroit Lions rise from the ashes like a phoenix, albeit that this season, the team seems to have fallen on hard times . With the NHL now shuttered down , with their being signs of this fiasco being found an amenable ending to their nonsensical drama. That would leave us with the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Pistons at the professional level , in terms of our sporting entertainment. The Tigers as we now know fell, all too listlessly to the San Francisco Giants in one of the embarrassing and lopsided defeats in World Series’ history.

The Pistons, ever since their NBA Finals’ triumph in 2004 over the labored , albeit the then overzealous Los Angeles Lakers , And that specific roster was filled a quartet of future Hall of Famers , that included Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone, Gary Payton, and Shaquille O’Neal, along with legendary coach , Phil Jackson. That series’ loss 4-1 to the Detroit Pistons would prove to be one of the biggest upsets in NBA Finals’ history. In the subsequent years since that loss, the Pistons’ franchise has had it high and low points. The organization has changed ownership with a new executive structure in place , with Joe Dumars, having become the Head of Basketball Operations, with Tom Gores , billionaire venture capitalist, owning the venerable NBA franchise. Head coach, Lawrence Frank, has been entrusted with the considerable task of coaching this team , having assembled an abled group of assistants . And the roster itself, it is not one that on paper looks overly impressive or distinguished . If anything , it is workmanlike in its makeup , led by ten-year and thirteen-year veterans , Tayshaun Prince and Corey Maggette. Considered to be the Pistons’ best player, Rodney Stuckey, he will be asked to do a great deal as the leader of this team, as they embark upon their schedule this season. In light of the Pistons’ 105-96 loss to the Houston Rockets , it will be interesting to see how they acquit themselves when they take on the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center , in Phoenix, Arizona , this Friday.

Another season, another year of low expectations , dependent upon how one looks upon the Charlotte Bobcats as an NBA franchise. And it does seem somewhat asinine to keep on repeating the fact that, this organization has been mismanaged, and the face of it , they seem bereft of creativity and intelligence within the front office . Yet , it is a fact that since Michael Jordan assumed control of this franchise, they have been incredibly inept right across the board , from management , on down to the players on the roster. One year removed , from having posted one of the worst records in NBA history , albeit that the season was one of sixty-six games , rather than the customary eighty-two game schedule. Nothing can be left to chance in 2012 , as it relates to the Charlotte Bobcats , and what the prognosticators might be suggesting concerning the franchise, as they embark upon their schedule. I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings , but I would be pleasantly surprised if the Bobcats were able to surpass last season’s mark of 7-59 !

I certainly don’t believe that the Bobcats were assisted in the subsequent NBA Draft Lottery or the Draft itself . If anything this format, insisted upon by the soon to be outgoing commissioner , David Stern , does not add intrigue or suspense to the whole system itself. It has become rather mundane, asinine, and if anything , it makes the NBA “ the laughing-stock “ of the sports’ world . Yet somehow , on each occasion that this ridiculous event takes place , there stands the commissioner , grinning from ear to ear , like a cat about to take a sip from a plate of milk. “Milk, may well do a body a great deal of good” , but it certainly hasn’t added to Stern’s intellect or overall intelligence. The 2012 NBA Draft , said to be littered with high-quality talent , and what should appear to be breakout prospects , could very turn out to be a monumental bust. The Charlotte Bobcats for their part under the auspices of head coach, Mike Dunlap, GM Rick Cho , and President of Basketball Operations , Rod Higgins, chose Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeff Taylor as their picks within this year’s NBA Draft. It remains to be seen whether or not these two highly sought after recruits can make a name for themselves within the NBA , on a team , being coached by a first-year coach , in Mike Dunlap. The odds are more stacked against the team and their freshman coach , than one would come to expect given the franchise’s overall lack of success since the Bobcats came into existence . As the team’s best player Kemba Walker may well struggle once again to find some semblance of success over the course of this season.

Everyone seems to enthralled with the very fact that the city of New York now has two NBA franchises , presumably of relevance. Yet when you bear in mind that last season was the first time that the New York Knicks had ventured into the NBA Playoffs, it was for the very first time in after their disastrous foray in 2011 . There, a first-round loss (4-0) to the Boston Celtics , sealed their fate during the postseason schedule. Prior to that, the franchise’s last appearance came in 2004 , where again, they were not so lucky , as they fell to the New Jersey Nets . Joining, the Knicks in the “Big Apple” will be the Brooklyn Nets , formerly the New Jersey Nets. The franchise having moved into their new venue , the aptly named , Barclays Center , in Brooklyn , New York , a luxurious , half-billion dollar ($500,000,000) edifice , that might the most palatial of all of the NBA’s thirty arenas. Certainly, for Nets’ owner,Mikhail Prokhorov , beyond his investment of having purchased the franchise , there was also his stake in that multibillion dollar venture of commercial and residential estate deal , that should reinvigorate the community at large . Whether or not, the fans in attendance will be there on a regular basis , will most definitely be defined by the amount of success that is attained on the courts by the Brooklyn Nets.

Nets’ coach , Avery Johnson , and his coaching staff have assembled a capable roster of seasoned veterans along with core group of youngsters , to go alongside their 2012 NBA Draft picks. The “pecking order” and bragging rights will be up for grabs this season , as to who should be viewed as the city’s best NBA franchise. James Dolan , as owner of the New York Knicks will now have to match wits with the ambitious Russian billionaire, Mikhail Prokhorov, who also happens to be one of the wealthiest men in the world , with an estimated $13.2 billion fortune , far exceeding Dolan’s reputed $4.2 billion , net worth.

The Brooklyn Nets were due to host the New York Knicks at the Barclays Center, in what was meant to be the inaugural regular season game at the venue. That game has now been postponed until the 26th November , in the aftermath of Super-storm Sandy, which has simply decimated the city of New York and much of the Northeast United States , but specifically the eastern seaboard. As to the mindset of New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, still thinking it appropriate to proceed with the New York City Marathon , this upcoming Sunday , while many of his city’s residents are without a home, electricity , and a number of other staples needed to carry on with daily lives , seems to smack incredulity and incompetence on the mayor’s part, with his stating the staging of the event will boost the morale of the city, and not take away from the city’s resources in terms of the residents’ safety. PR image or not, Bloomberg’s , Chief of Staff and Press Information officer , Howard Wolfson , obviously are not of the opinion that the city’s plight and that of its residents , should take precedence over an event, that should be postponed and rescheduled for a later date. Bloomberg, in my opinion is simply looking for the nation’s sympathy as well as making the Marathon itself more of an event than it really needs to be at this moment in time. And why this decision by the mayor has not drawn the anger New York’s residents is simply beyond belief.

Courtesy of NBC News (NBCnews.com)

Backlash erupts as New York City prepares for marathon

By Andrew Mach and Elizabeth Chuck, NBC News

NEW YORK – Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision to allow the world’s largest marathon to proceed on Sunday has drawn a severe backlash from some quarters of the city.

“If they take one first responder from Staten Island to cover this marathon, I will scream,” New York City Councilman James Oddo, who represents parts of Staten Island and Brooklyn, said on his Twitter account. “We have people with no homes and no hope right now.”

Staten Island, the marathon’s starting point, suffered some of the worst destruction from Superstorm Sandy. At least 19 of New York’s 37 deaths occurred in the oft-forgotten borough, home to 500,000. Officials are still searching homes for survivors.

On Thursday, the bodies of two children who had been missing since the storm were found. The boys, ages 2 and 4, were swept away from their mother’s arms Monday night after the car they were driving was swamped by floodwaters on the island.

“The prudent course of action here — postpone the marathon, come back a different day,” Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie. “Our first priority, let’s help people who lost their homes, who are missing loved ones.”

Stringer said downtown Manhattan, the city’s financial hub, “looks like a wasteland” and is nowhere close to being ready for the race, which goes through each of New York’s five boroughs.

Bloomberg has vowed the marathon will not divert any resources from victims, and expects power to be restored to downtown Manhattan by race day. In defending his decision to go forward, the mayor cited the thousands of out-of-town visitors who come for the marathon.

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As to the proposed game between the Knicks and Nets, as I alluded to earlier , that event has been rescheduled. The Brooklyn Nets’ inaugural regular season game will now be against the Toronto Raptors on the 3rd November , which will be followed by a second home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on the 5th November , 2012. There is a great deal that the NBA fans will have to look forward to over the course of this season as the Knicks and Nets get their season’s schedules underway. Most notably though, will be the meetings between these two franchises. The stars may well align for one if not both of these teams at some point during the season, but much of that will predicated on the play and coaching styles adopted by Avery Johnson of the Nets and Mike Woodson of the New York Knicks. Issues already abound for the Knicks , as they are like to be without C/PF , Amare’ Stoudemire, who could be out for for 6 to 8 weeks , with having to undergo knee surgery . I’ve always maintained, that prudent decision-making by way of the Knicks’ front office and specifically that of GM Glen Sather has left a great deal to be desired . Stoudemire has failed to live up to the almost $100 million contract , which expires in 2015 . The outlay made to the player by the organization, is just more of the continued idiocy that the Knicks have become known for in recent years . And yet to no avail, has there been any financial expediency been shown by Sather or for that matter by the owner , James Dolan.

Granted, as the NBA’s most valuable franchise does assist the New York Knicks in how they conduct their business operations , something that is not afforded to the vast majority of the league’s thirty teams . Much of the financial malaise that the NBA currently finds itself in , has been summarily been brought on by the lax rules applied to the NBA “soft salary cap” ($58.044 million). And there seems to be this tendency to believe that NBA Commissioner David Stern is without blame for this continued idiocy. However, do bear this in mind, the commissioner’s annual salary is in excess of $25 million , which would place him amongst the highest paid players in the NBA . Far be it for me to suggest, if Stern is asking the NBPA (Players’ Union) to make concessions in terms of their share of the league’s revenue pie . How is that, he, has never indicated that league hierarchy is prepared to the same? Clearly, that is something that has never been posed to David Stern as a question. What thoughts if any do you have on that premise? Billionaire owners , multimillionaire NBA athletes simply pissing into a lake, to see how much of a ripple effect is made , meanwhile the fans are being imbued with a less than satisfactory product ! Fuck it! Professional sports, has no integrity or morals, as cash rules everything . Anyone who believes to the contrary , is seriously delusional .

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Picture gallery.

What thoughts if any , do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? And what do you wish to see come out of this NBA season by way of the players’ and teams’ performances ? By all means do you leave a comment on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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Slideshow and picture gallery details below.
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(1) Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade holds his 2012 NBA Finals championship ring during a ceremony before a basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in Miami. AP Photo/J Pat Carter ….

(2) From left, Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James pose with their 2012 NBA Finals championship rings during a ceremony before a basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in Miami. AP Photo/J Pat Carter …

(3) Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett (5) backs down Miami Heat’s Udonis Haslem (40) during the first half of their NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in Miami. AP Photo/J Pat Carter …..

(4) Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) drives to the basket against Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe (10) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Duane Burleson …

(5) Amar’e Stoudemire (C) of the New York Knicks introduces new players Carmelo Anthony (L) and Chauncey Billups (R) at a press conference at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2011 in New York City. Chris Trotman / Getty Images North America ….

(6) Brooklyn Nets’ owner Mikhail Prokhorov , the billionaire entrepreneur seeks to make the NBA franchise a worldwide brand , as he seeks to the Nets a competitive force in the NBA .
AP Photo / Richard Laurence ……..

(7) New York City Mayor , Michael Bloomberg ,foreground, is seen here with the city’s police chief , Ray Kelly . Bloomberg made the decision to proceed with the staging of the New York City Marathon , this Sunday , which will have 24,550 competitors for the event . There has been a great deal of anger at the mayor’s decision , in light of the recent devastation in the city , causing billions of dollars of damage to New York City’s infrastructure , residential and commercial property . AFP / REUTERS / Keith Hammond ….

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NBA related links: Hornets’ Gordon says knee injury legitimate

NBA, NBPA pledge $1 million for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts

Barclays Center Suites to Become ‘Your Home Away from Home

NBA pieces within this site
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NBA news & archival news’ pieces

NBA Calendar key dates

NBA standings by division

NBA results 1st November 2012

NBA results 31st October 2012

NBA schedule 2nd November, 2012 (12 games to be played)

NBA transactions

Brooklyn Nets’ news

New York Knicks’ news

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Amber Lynne, currently a member of the Miami Spice of The Bikini Basketball League , a new start-up women’s professional basketball league where the uniforms are in fact a two piece swimsuit. What’s bad about that?

10 thoughts on “The Ball is in your court ……

  1. Let’s hear it for Michael Bloomberg , seeking to make his city a place where it is simply ruled by an boorish as#hole !


    “Unlike Mitt Romney , even if 75% of my constituents dislike me , I am still more fortunate than they are, because I’m rich ,
    bitch ” ! Bloomberg

    Where’s Kanye West when you need him ? Michael Bloomberg …. doesn’t like New Yorkers , no matter what their ethnicity happens to be .

    The Brooklyn Nets seek to be ambitious this season , whereas the Knicks simply seek to be relevant . Which of these two teams is liable to finish with a better record within their division and within the Eastern Conference as a whole ?

    So now Bloomberg being the ass that he is , has now relented and postponed the New York City Marathon . How the f#ck did he make his fortune to begin with ? Counting straws or helping kids with their homework before starting the financial information news’ company Bloomberg News . ‘

    New Yorkers had to be duped or dumb , if not both , to have voted for this mutha##cker (Michael Bloomberg) !

    Tophatal ……………………………

    Like

    1. Chris Humpherys(@SportsChump)

      It’s still early days yet , but twenty games into the season and things could certainly will be different , but should the Lakers still be struggling , then we could see some serious issues being raised concerning Mike Brown , this team and their play . The Rockets look good , but they have not been truly tested by anyone in term of the teams they have played . At this point of the season , I think we are seeing how good ….. Harden really is, and then some .

      As good as the Rockets are appear to be at present , let’s see how they will fare during the month of December , wherein , that is where we will see the teams truly tested , because in essence , the season by then , is in full swing .

      NBA standings (division)


      Tophatal . ……..

      …….

      Like

  2. , Bryant ranks third and fifth on the league’s all-time post-season scoring and all-time regular season scoring lists , respectively. He is also the all-time leading scorer in Lakers franchise history. Since his second year in the league, Bryant has been selected to start every NBA All-Star Game that has been held in the last fourteen years. He has won the All-Star MVP Award four times ( 2002 , 2007 , 2009 , and 2011 ), tying him for the most All Star MVP Awards in NBA history. He is a 14-time member of the All-NBA team and an 12-time member of the All-Defensive team; he is also the youngest player ever to receive defensive honors. At the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics , he won gold medals as a member of the USA national team . In 2009, Sporting News and TNT named Bryant the top NBA player of the 2000s (decade).

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