Walk before you can run …
You play with zeal or create the environment at least play up to the level of your opponent. It has certainly been the case within the NBA and how the teams have fared. All season long the Golden State Warriors have appeared to be on pace to break the regular season record for wins in a season . Several players on the Warriors’ roster have been weary and it has begun to take its toll on the Golden State with the recent performances of the team. With the best record in the NBA and a three-game lead in the wins’ total over their closest rivals the San Antonio Spurs , has provided us with every indication why why the Western Conference is far superior to the East and the teams, there. As the NBA season now winds down , with less than five games to play, the teams with a chance of a playoff berth are seeking to make that one final push for a postseason berth.
Steve Kerr and his coaching staff will have to assess the playing staff and how best to deal with the recent lapses seen with the Golden State Warriors over their last eleven games. One thing is very clear, heading into the NBA Playoffs the Golden State Warriors will be seen as the prohibitive favorites to make a successful defense of their title. If there are to be any challenges coming from within their conference , then they will be met head on , as I do not believe Steve Kerr or his players are going to be complacent . With the majority of the teams having played seventy-nine games of the NBA’s arduous eighty-two game schedule , there is still something to play for. In the case of the Golden State Warriors their task is to win the final three remaining games on the schedule and in doing so, they would break the long-standing record of the Chicago Bulls which has stood for two decades. The record has stood since the 1995-96 season was thought to be beyond the reach of so many teams. Chicago’s roster included three Hall of Fame players , with Michael Jordan , Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. Also part of that historic lineup was Steve Kerr the current head coach of the Golden State Warriors. Kerr having won titles with the Bulls , also went on to win titles as a member of the San Antonio Spurs .
The first of the three remaining contests of the Warriors’ schedule will see them facing the Memphis Grizzlies on the road on the 9th April , with their final two games against the San Antonio Spurs and the return engagement with Grizzlies to close out the season and their season series against Memphis. Greatness, as adjudged by their season exploits can then be compared to the Chicago Bulls’ own regular season achievements from the 95-96 season. Yet, if Golden State fails to win the NBA title this, then their season will simply be one which goes down in record books as great , but not outstanding.
If pressure is being brought to bear on any team within the NBA, then a great deal of it has to be on the Cleveland Cavaliers . Last season’s beaten finalists , along with their four-time League MVP and star player LeBron James will have to prove they are now ready to take on the might of not only the Eastern Conference , but also the best to come out of the West , should the Cavaliers make it to the Finals. Cleveland have been the runaway leaders within the Central Division all season-long . The team’s record also can be attributed to the coaching acumen of Tyronn Lue , who succeeded David Blatt , who had been fired by the front office , headed by team owner Dan Gilbert and GM David Griffin . Whether or not LeBron had any real influence in Blatt’s termination will remain subject to a great deal of conjecture and debate. Tyronn Lue and his coaching staff will now prepare the team for their final stretch run to round out the schedule .
A knock against the Cleveland Cavaliers might well be the fact they have not been as dominant as many believed they would be , whereas , last season the team proved themselves overpowering against their conference rivals . The make-up of the roster has changed , but injuries have played a part in the dominance sought , apart from lack of direction with David Blatt. Tyronn Lue’s contract with the franchise ties him the Cavaliers for the next three seasons. Lue and the Cleveland Cavaliers will on the court this weekend as they seek to secure their position as the number one seed in the East. On Saturday evening the Cavaliers will be the guests of their conference rivals the Chicago Bulls at the United Center , Chicago, Illinois.
If the standings remain as they are with the teams maintaining their current positions, then the first round match-ups for the NBA Playoffs should prove to be very interesting . The scenarios would be set, where the Cleveland Cavaliers would meet the Indiana , while in the Western Conference the Golden State Warriors would find themselves in a first round contest against the Utah Jazz . There is every possibility a first round upset could be in the making , but that would be totally dependent on the mindset of the underdogs and whether or not they have the belief to turn things upside down.
Just a few games into the MLB season and already the Tampa Bay Rays are facing difficulties . Not a good sign for a team with hopes of making the postseason after a rather disappointing year in 2015. Kevin Cash and the Rays’ managerial staff expected the team’s offense to be at the top of their game., but to date, they have been an unmitigated disaster. Throw in the fact the pitching remains suspect and I get the feeling the Rays will struggle to contend against their divisional rivals as well as the rest of the league !
Chris Archer is believed to be the best starting pitcher among the pitching rotation , but his season yet to be the standout , whereby he could be possibly thought of as a potential Cy Young Award candidate . Issues asides, the Rays’ ownership group have erred and blundered from pillar to post since the departure of Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman . Blundered trades , being unable to sustain themselves financially and yet we hear the idiocy of clueless fans and analysts within local area talking about the franchise’s profitability . Without the tax-sharing revenues the ball-club would barely turn a profit. Clueless individuals , just as we have seen among the cabal of political candidates seeking the Presidency, we ill continue to hear utterly stupid statements without any basis in fact. We have seen it repeatedly with the Rays’ ownership led by Stuart Sternberg .
In their last scheduled game the Tampa Bay Rays were sent crashing to a 6-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on the 8th April at Camden Yards / Orioles Ballpark , in Baltimore , Maryland . The team will resume the series after a rain delay with the Rays and Orioles taking to the field again on Sunday afternoon. Jake Odorizzi will be the visiting pitcher starting for the Tampa Bay Rays as he faces Vance Worley of the Baltimore Orioles.
With the announcement by Alex Rodriguez , 2017 will bring about the culmination of his well-chronicled and controversial career . The prevailing questions likely to be raised , are can the New York Yankees win another World Series championship and where does Yankees’ slugger stand within the pantheon of the game ? Rodriguez will likely fall short of baseball’s most hallowed record , the all-time career home runs’ total held by Barry Bonds , now a member of the Miami Marlins’ managerial staff. Joe Girardi and his staff must be pondering whether or not this team is capable of winning a World Series , but more so , being competitive enough to beat their divisional rivals . A 3-2 start through their first five games of the season isn’t an indicator as to what to expect from the Yankees, but I believe a much clearer picture will surface by late June .
This will be a trying year for the New York Yankees , where the heart of the roster , this in an aging core among the players taking to the field for the franchise. Last season having made the MLB postseason the Yankees were swept aside with ease by the Houston Astros in the wildcard round . Completely outplayed , the team was never in with a chance to challenge the Astros. It should also be noted , leading into the postseason Yankees’ pitcher CC Sabathia revealed he had been suffering with alcoholism , though not having undergone treatment. Sabathia also revealed, at no time during his appearances made for the team was he ever a detriment to his teammates. One could either take those statements as a euphemism or see them for what they actually are, a player in complete denial.
The New York Yankees will be on the diamond for their regular season scheduled game on Tuesday 12th April against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Center in Toronto , Ontario. On the mound for the visiting team will be Masahiro Tanaka who will be facing Aaron Sanchez of the Blue Jays. John Gibbons and the and Toronto Blue Jays’ managerial staff will be looking to have his team prepared to the encounter the New York Yankees for not only this game , but also their year-long series of contests at home as well as on the road.
Buck Showalter as the manager of the Baltimore Orioles will be looking to make a serious enough challenge this season within the AL East as well as the league overall . Off to a fast start with an unbeaten record (6-0) the Orioles find themselves sitting atop of their division and they are the only remaining unbeaten team in the league as of the 11th April . Showalter will be looking to players such as Chris Davis and Manny Machado to spearhead the team this season as the Orioles look to make a postseason appearance . Prior to 2012 the last visit made to baseball’s postseason festivities for the Baltimore Orioles came in 1997 , when the ball-club made it to the ALCS where they lost to the Cleveland Indians in six games . In their last contest , during which there was a great deal of controversy to how the game ended , as Baltimore beat the Boston Red Sox 9-7 . Taking the field as their starting pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles’ game on Tuesday afternoon will be Mike Wright when he takes on Clay Buchholz of the Boston Red Sox .
I believe the Baltimore Orioles are capable of a postseason berth within the AL this season, but the team has to play with a great deal more urgency and consistency over the course of their schedule.
The Arizona Diamondbacks certainly have a great deal invested in Zach Greinke as the franchise made a big splash during the off-season signing the player to an enormous multi-year deal making him one of the highest paid starting pitchers in baseball. With the contract comes a great deal of expectation for a player who last season was among the best pitchers in the game. Greinke after an amazing season with the Los Angeles Dodgers would lose out on the NL Cy Young Award with the Chicago Cubs’ starter Jake Arrietta winning the award in 2015.
Arizona’s front office led by GM Dave Stewart , lead managing partner Ken Kendrick and his associates are seeking to resurrect the fortunes of the Diamondbacks and the signing of Zach Greinke along with several other transactions were a way of letting the fans know the ambitious intentions of the organization.
Chip Hale and his managerial staff have to be extremely optimistic about Arizona Diamondbacks’ chances this season as the team looks to play itself into contention. The NL West will be a ‘tough nut to crack’ as a division and the Los Angeles Dodgers will be looking to continue their recent dominance there. I certainly believe given the Dodgers’ recent lapses during the postseason , while they might well remain the favorites to repeat as the divisional champions , there is a belief their lineup is far from a convincing favorite to make a prolong run during the MLB postseason. Lack of leadership and managerial astuteness have brought about the misfortunes for the Dodgers in recent seasons. The Arizona Diamondbacks should be able to take advantage of the situation. Granted, Dave Roberts in his first season as the Los Angeles Dodgers has been entrusted to lead the team . With a multi-million dollar payroll and players at just about every position deemed to be an All Star or an emerging star. It will be interesting to see how both Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers will fare over the course of this season. Their regular season meetings should prove to be very competitive contests on the road as well as at home. These two teams will be meeting on Tuesday afternoon at Dodgers Ballpark in Los Angeles , California , where the opposing pitchers will be Patrick Corbin of the Diamondbacks against Kenta Maeda of the Dodgers.
This MLB season is liable to be an interesting one, with several teams out to prove themselves. I certainly believe with the team payrolls having increased over the past five years , top-flight players now > come at a high premium .
The profits and value of the ball-clubs have increased , but so too has the level of uncertainty and sustainability of the teams at the lower end of the economic base , as they continue to struggle . Something the league hierarchy continually fails to address .
What thoughts if any do you have on this NBA season and how do you believe the teams will fare during the NBA Playoffs ?
As the opening week of the MLB season gets underway , which are the teams which you believe will have the most to prove ? Chime in with your thoughts as you see fit on this and anything else you believe relevant to the subject matter.
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