Fallout …..

Fallout …

Well , it all came crashing down around the necks of the Oklahoma City Thunder in their game-seven loss to the Golden State Warriors the defending NBA champions . Golden State advances to the Finals where they will meet the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second successive season. For the defeated Thunder, the ramifications are quite devastating with the speculation GM Sam Presti will be forced to break up the entire roster and start afresh. Fans and analysts alike continue to make their own comments known , with many moving from the sublime to the ridiculous, stating Russell Westbrook should be sent packing , because he’s too much of a ball-hog. Or it’s now time for Kevin Durant to move on and for Presti to try to get the best possible offer available with a sign and trade deal of Durant. Each of those options can be deemed valid, but from my own perspective, I believe with the lack of talent now available from the upcoming NBA Draft and the fact there are very few marquee free agents up for grabs this off-season. The only real alternative for front office is to seek to rebuild but keeping their two most prized assets in-tact with the franchise.

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Billy Donovan in his first season as the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder was seeking to guide the franchise to their second appearance in the NBA Finals, but the real issue for the team was its failure to close out the series when the opportunities arose in game’s five and six . That failure was borne out by the fact they allowed the Warriors back into the Western Conference Finals and the inevitable result seen with the series’ deciding game-seven at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California,.

The real issue for Oklahoma City during the regular season and NBA Playoffs was the mere fact beyond Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook was the continued issue there was never much of an offensive presence being provided beyond the duo. Furthermore, from a defensive standpoint , the Thunder failed miserably and were continuously being outperformed in several of the categories which mattered most defensively . These issues were never addressed by Billy Donovan and his coaching staff . The adjustments which were needed on-court to counter the presence of Draymond Green , Klay Thompson and the league’s two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry never ever materialized. So if there is to anyone who needs to be faulted , then all fingers should be pointed towards the coaching staff of Billy Donovan and his players . The idiocy of solely pointing the finger towards Russel Westbrook is simply asinine and without any merit at all !

A second consecutive NBA Finals’ meeting between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will begin and all signs will be pointing to see whether or not LeBron James can lead the Cavaliers to their first NBA title in the franchise’s history . This will be James’ sixth consecutive appearance in the NBA showcase event of the NBA Playoffs. For his many of his teammates , this will provide a chance to avenge last season’s defeat suffered at the hands of the Golden State Warriors. It was as clinical and embarrassing a series’ loss seen in the last ten years . The regular season meetings between these two teams could very well provide us with an indication of how the Finals could very well turn out. Each team’s lineups will also be paramount as to what the fans should expect and I believe game one of the NBA Finals will be a precursor as to what we can expect !

Opposing head coaches Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors and Tyronn Lue of the Cleveland Cavaliers are former NBA players with solid backgrounds and postseason experience. Their contrasting styles will also be a part of what the fans also expect from what could turn out to be a very fascinating series. Steph Curry and LeBron James will also give fans the opportunity to decide for themselves who they believe to be the best player in the NBA. Curry won the League MVP with a unanimous vote , much to the chagrin of James and his most ardent supporters. Less we forget , ESPN analyst Stephen A Smith who is an avowed James’ supporter and apologist for the NBA superstar , will be hoping he is vindicated by the four-time League MVP .

LeBron James’ career ever since his entrance in the league has been encapsulated by the highs and lows seen throughout. From 2003 until now it has been a fun-filled extravaganza during which time the player has amassed a considerable fortune and become the consummate businessman and entrepreneur. James does have a great deal to prove and should he and the Cleveland Cavaliers fail in this series against the Golden State Warriors for the second consecutive season. Then the ramifications for the player and the franchise will be considerable, beyond the likely economic cost . Team owner Dan Gilbert has a great deal invested in the team and specifically James , himself . For LeBron James and his twelve-year career in the NBA , failure here at this moment in time , will be seen as a major disaster. Granted , he won his two titles with the Miami Heat and there was the failure to secure a possible three-peat , when the team fell to the San Antonio Spurs and they were highly favored to succeed. Now he will be judged by this series as never before , and that includes last year’s debacle .

Whereas , the Cleveland Cavaliers have sought to build a team around LeBron James with GM David Griffin delving into free agency signing players to lucrative contracts . The path taken by the Golden State Warriors has been one of a steady course with the front office listening closely to the advice proffered by Jerry West which has been heeded by GM Bob Myers . The only major upheaval with the regard to the franchise once it was acquired jointly by Peter Guber and Joe Lacob was the firing of Mark Jackson . The former head coach’s dismissal was a necessity , given his wish to ignore the requests of team owners Guber and Lacob not to make his personal feelings known concerning homosexuality and the coming out of Jason Collins . Jackson would follow this up with homophobic slurs directed towards the LGBT demographic. Given the image problems faced by the league in recent years, it was something the NBA could do without. Steve Kerr’s arrival was a blessing for the long-suffering Warriors’ fans. The roster in place was one which was already established, but just needed to be tweaked to fit the style sought by Kerr and his coaching staff .

A record-breaking season in 2015 and the Golden State Warriors have affixed themselves firmly within the annals of NBA history. Winning a second successive title would be ‘ icing on the cake’ for the franchise. All that now awaits is the start of the series and then the fans can judge for themselves how great this team is said to be.

Someone will have to remind me why anyone should or would take an interest in the plight of either Los Angles Lakers or New York Knicks ? Over the last three seasons neither franchise has really sought to build for their long-term future . Now while both franchises are among the most profitable within the NBA , this might the only thing of relevance either team has going for it at present. Having made a big splash with Phil Jackson joining the Knicks’ front office as an executive. Jackson has shown why he can never be considered an executive with an eye for talent much, less assembling a competitive roster. This much is certain , failure with the upcoming NBA draft and acquiring a prominent free agent and he might as well head back off into a permanent retirement rather than a Sabbatical . There also appears to be cause for concern with his naming Jeff Hornacek to succeed Kurt Rambis’ tenure as the Knicks’ interim head coach. Hornacek’s coaching career has not been filled with anything remotely considered a success. All the more annoying when one considers there were far more suitable candidates available for the vacant head coach’s position. with the Knicks . Then again one simply has to look at the front office of the franchise , its owner James Dolan and then realize the reason why the New York Knicks remain a failure.

The Buss family continue to ruin the Los Angeles Lakers and in the aftermath of Kobe Bryant’s retirement , it is hard to envisage where the Lakers now go from here. Luke Walton has been hired as the new head coach of the team , after his success this season with the Golden State Warriors. During Steve Kerr’s absence , Walton in his capacity as the assistant head coach led the team an impressive run whereby they set a franchise record for wins in a month, as well as the longest unbeaten run in the Warriors’ history. The coaching acumen shown by Luke Walton was obviously something which caught the eye of Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak . With the Los Angeles Lakers not seeking to extend the coaching contract of Byron Scott , Walton being hired was welcomed within the Lakers’ circle of fans and former players who still have long-standing ties and loyalties to the franchise.

While I believe there is a modicum of talent on the Los Angeles Lakers’ current roster , it is going to take a great deal more than the players present to make this franchise competitive enough to compete and the highest level and be taken as a legitimate contender for a divisional title , conference championship , much less an NBA title . Need we be reminded also the Lakers still have to compete in a conference where there are likely to be no better than the tenth best team in the West. All of the optimism and pragmatism now being shown by their fans as well as by co-owners , Jeanie Buss , Jim Buss and Johnny Buss simply show how out of touch they will continue to be. Cap space availability and the lure of playing in Los Angeles will have to the desire to lure any potential big named free agent to sign with the Lakers.

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What have been your observations concerning the NBA Playoffs and which team do you believe will prevail in the NBA Finals ?

Tophatal ……… 2016/05/31 04:43 am

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‘i’ by Kendrick Lamar

 

A Swing and A Miss ….

A Swing and A Miss ….

Well, we’re just passed one-quarter way through the MLB schedule for this season and already there has been a managerial casualty , unlikely to be the last of the season . Fredi Gonzalez’s dismissal as the manager of the Atlanta Braves was not that much of a surprise, given the fact the team possessed the worst record in all of baseball. Elsewhere , the Chicago Cubs have caught everyone off-guard with their resolute play while leading the NL Central . Already , there has been growing discussion as to which players have been performing well and should be considered among the front-runners for an appearance at the All Star Game which is being held at Petco Park , home to the San Diego Padres . It will be interesting to see which players will obtain the largest tally of votes within the AL and NL for baseball’s mid-season showcase event.

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Several teams this season will be under a great deal of assessment from the fans as well as the analysts at large , most notably the New York Yankees who are still in transition after the retirement of former team captain Derek Jeter . This team seems to have lost its direction , while there appears to be no apparent leader , or anyone capable of showing the leadership qualities often seen by Jeter at his very best. Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi and his managerial staff have been nonplussed by the lack of competitiveness shown by the players and I fully expect there to be some major shakeups among the playing the staff , if the team is not in a position to be challenging for the AL East divisional title or a wildcard berth during the waning months of the regular season schedule. Over their last ten games the New York Yankees have posted a 7-3 record , but still placing them third within the division, 5 ½ games behind the Baltimore Orioles (26-16) .

On Tuesday afternoon the Yankees will be playing host to the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium , in the Bronx , New York . On the mound for the New York Yankees will be Nathan Evoldi (4-2, 4.44 ERA) against R A Dickey , the Blue Jays’ knuckle-baller. The contrasting styles of the two starting pitchers should make for an interesting contest.

If the Yankees are to have any chance of winning the AL East then their play will have to be far more competitive than the fans have seen this season and it is especially true against their divisional and AL rivals . It remains to be seen whether or not Joe Girardi can win the second World Series’ title of his managerial career with the first coming in 2009 when the franchise won their very last world championship .

Robin Ventura and the Chicago White Sox (27-19) have made a solid and surprising start to their season , but over their last ten games the team has been far from impressive with a 3-7 mark , leading an AL Central division where the reigning World Series champions the Kansas City Royals are within striking distance of the division leading White Sox. Ventura is in his fifth season as the manager of the Chicago White Sox , having succeeded Ozzie Guillen who had been fired by former GM Ken Williams after what was thought to be a great deal of dissension and off the field issues between the manager and front office executive. Team owner Jerry Reinsdorf backed Williams’ decision wholeheartedly and the hiring of Ventura was something of a formality. The White Sox manager and his staff will be hoping the players can meet the expectations of their fans and the front office , as their postseason appearances over the past six seasons have been rare. In fact Chicago’s last appearance came in 2008 when they made it to the divisional round of the postseason that year . Their subsequent 3-1 series’ loss to the Tampa Bay Rays ended their postseason sojourn for the year.

The Chicago White Sox will be preparing to take on the Cleveland Indians at US Cellular Field in Chicago , Illinois on Tuesday evening, in a meeting of the top two teams within the AL Central . Chris Sale of the White Sox will be seeking to become the first ten-game winner in the Majors this season. Sale remains unbeaten (9-0) , heading into the game against the Cleveland Indians and it will be interesting to see if he can maintain his spectacular start to the year.

During his astonishing career Ichiro Suzuki has hit some highs in terms of his personal achievements in the Majors . The one thing missing from the player’s mantelpiece is a World Series’ ring and title. He has been lucky enough to have played for three famed ball-clubs , but his postseason forays have been noticeably paltry , primarily because neither the Seattle Mariners , New York Yankees or Miami Marlins have made that much of an impact in the postseason over the past five years . Ichiro is now in his first second season with the Marlins , where he is seen as one of the team’s seasoned veterans . The player now stands on the threshold of joining a select group of players with 3,000 career hits and a career batting average of .300 or more . One should also remember at the height of his career he was also one of the best outfielders of his generation and though not as athletic as when he first entered the Majors in 2001 , winning the AL Rookie of The Year as well as ALMVP . Ichiro is still able to pull of a spectacular defensive play and showing why he is so respected among his peers.

Miami Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly has inherited a team filled with talent , but they have yet to meet their potential and whether or not the players are able to do so will be dependent upon the motivation brought by Mattingly and his managerial staff . With established stars such as Ichiro Suzuki, Giancarlo Stanton , Jose Fernandez , Marcell Ozuna , Wei-Yin Chen and Christian Yelich . it is hoped this will be the season where the Marlins prove to be competitive enough to take on all-comers. Having won two World Series during their history , it could be said the franchise has far exceeded expectations during their two decade existence , but with a relatively new stadium , baseball within South Florida has yet to grab hold of the community at large .

The Miami Marlins still have sparse attendance levels for their home games and being on the road does not appear to have whetted the appetite of the fans of the teams they tend to be playing in those contests. Baseball in the state of Florida at the Major League Level is about as popular as a bikini contest featuring grossly overweight females who believe themselves to be supermodels on a catwalk. Both images have about as much appeal as watching paint dry in the hot sun. Playing in the non-competitive NL East , the Marlins will find themselves this season as perhaps the fourth best team in the division, behind the Washington Nationals , New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies . Holding up the rear would be the Atlanta Braves , whose season continues to be abysmal .

The Miami Marlins will be looking to make inroads into the divisional lead of their rivals when they play host to the Tampa Bay Rays at Marlins Ballpark, in Miami on Tuesday evening. Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays when he faces Tom Koehler of the Marlins.

Call me naive, but you will have to prove a hell of lot to me in order to justify being paid $28 million a year , as is the case with Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers . Granted , the remaining two years on the player’s contract is guaranteed by his former team the Los Angeles Angels . Yet, I get the feeling neither team will be the benefactor in this deal. Hamilton has yet to play a full season for the Rangers ,ever since his return back to Texas. During the time-frame in question his productivity for the Texas Rangers has bordered on being mediocre. All this from a player who still believes the Angels did not come to his support after his sobriety issues once again hit the headlines. Josh Hamilton’s fall from grace was of his own choosing and twice before , the Angels came to his support , by assisting the outfielder get into a rehabilitation program for individuals who suffered with alcohol and chemical dependency (drug abuse). Somehow this must have escaped Hamilton’s attention, when he harangued the Angels’ organization , directing his vitriol at former general manager Jerry Dipoto and team owner Arte Moreno .

Courtesy of ESPN

MLB Rumor Central: Will Josh Hamilton return to Texas in 2017 ?

Any hopes that Josh Hamilton would provide a late-season boost for the Texas Rangers ended Monday when the club announced the 35-year-old outfielder will have left knee surgery.

Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers (Getty Images/ Bill Butler)

Hamilton, already on the 60-day disabled list, has only 170 regular-season at-bats and eight home runs since being re-acquired in a trade with the Angels last year.

General manager Jon Daniels said Hamilton intends to play in 2017, which will be the final year of his five-year, $125 million contract. There is no guarantee, however, that Hamilton’s return will be in Texas.

“We’re not ready to address that yet,” Daniels told Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News.

There is little financial risk in bringing back Hamilton since the Angels will be picking up all but a small portion of his remaining salary. The Rangers, however, might balk at using a roster spot on Hamilton since they will have no idea on what they will get in return. Texas was left short-handed by Hamilton’s injury issues this spring, contributing to its pursuit of free agent Ian Desmond.

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Josh Hamilton is now on the Texas Rangers’ disabled list (DL) and will be lost to the team for the rest of the season . Due to become a free agent in 2018 , I certainly don’t believe Jon Daniels would be willing to sign the player to a long-term deal as the risks far outweigh the advantages . Hamilton is no longer at the peak of his career and he has never provided any sense of leadership or maturity with any team he has played for. A player like Josh Hamilton has been a great disservice to the game of baseball , in spite of the accolades feted on the outfielder. Unfortunately, baseball has become such a parody of all the things once thought to be pure about the game , it is easy to understand why it has been bedeviled by scandal and lack of leadership and incompetence throughout its history. There are those who still to suggest the social significance of the footsteps taken by the sport , but at the end of the day it has counted for absolutely nothing.

Hector Santiago of the Los Angeles Angels will be on the mound when he faces Colby Lewis of the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Stadium in Arlington , Texas on the 24th May , 2016. A continuation of the current series between these two long-established AL teams.

Perhaps it’s too early to start talking awards and the leading contenders for AL MVP, NL MVP , Cy Young Award , and Rookie of The Year . But there are several extremely great candidates for each given their productivity for their respective teams. In the AL for MVP , it could come down to the usual list of suspects with among the front-runners , Miguel Cabrera , Mike Trout , Josh Donaldson , Robinson Cano , Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr . All of the players mentioned have stood out for their teams and they are one of the major reasons why those clubs have been prominent in the standings. In the NL we have Ben Zobrist , Ryan Braun , Yoenis Cespedes , Bryce Harper and Nolan Arenado to name but a few. It would be safe to say no matter which way you try to disseminate the argument , Clayton Kershaw remains the best pitcher in baseball by a wide margin . His success this season has been staggering and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher looks as if he is certainly the guy to beat in the NL for this year’s Cy Young Award. In the AL , you can take your pick from Chris Sale whose season just seems to be getting better with each game. His challengers could come from among the following candidates , Rich Hill , Jose Quintana , Danny Salazar , Chris Tillman and Josh Tomlin . Among the Rookies within the NL and AL , it will come down to the consistency shown these youngsters over the course of the season and their quest for Rookie of The Year honors within each league .

Joe Maddon has been a very good manager and in recent seasons he has shown why he is so well-respected among his peers. Having won the AL Manager of the Year while with the Tampa Bay Rays , it is quite possible he could be the leading contender for this season’s award within the NL. The Chicago Cubs are still flying high and have not been truly tested to date within the Majors , while having being among the best of the teams within the National League. Buck Showalter has the Baltimore Orioles leading the AL East and looking to make their way back to the postseason. The team has been playing with a great deal of resolve with Manny Machado showing why he is one of the best short-stops in the game. As the Orioles’ manager Showalter has been able to resurrect the fortunes of the franchise and make them relevant once again. All that is now needed , is a prolonged postseason run and their chance of winning World Series title. If this is to become a reality , then the effort from the players will have to be a concerted all-round push over the course of the season. Showalter remains my personal favorite to win his fourth AL Manager of the Year Award !

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What are your impressions of the first-quarter of the MLB season and which teams do you believe to be in danger of falling from grace and which do you believe are firm contenders for the pennants this season as well as the World Series ?

Tophatal ….. 2016/05/24

🙂

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Hit ’em high, hit ’em low …

Hit ’em high , hit ’em low ….

Well in the world of sports , the news encapsulating recent events have been widespread and intriguing. In the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown , the favorite for the Kentucky Derby , Nyquist romped to a victory and will now be looking towards the second leg of the triumvirate of races which makes up the sport’s premiere racing spectacle. The next race will be the Preakness Stakes to be held at Pimlico Racecourse on May 21st ,2016. Whether or not Nyquist can win the Preakness remains to be seen, but the whole world will be watching if the prohibitive favorite can take the second leg and join a select group of horses to have won the first two legs of the Triple Crown. In 2015, American Pharaoh became the first horse in almost four decades to have won all three races , and there can be no doubt Nyquist’s jockey Mario Gutierrez and his trainer Doug O’Neill will be looking to make this all a reality.

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Away from the world of horse racing the pugilistic world of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) saw the return of former UFC World Light Heavyweight champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones to the octagon. Jones having returned from the UFC mandated suspension was looking to resume his career and getting back to winning ways. Jones’ original bout was set to be against the current champion Daniel Cormier , but with Cormier having suffered an injury , Jon Jones met Ovince St Preux for the interim title. This now sets up a mega-match between the two dominant fighters within the Light Heavyweight Division . UFC President Dana White believes it should solidify the winner as the premiere fighter within the UFC at present given the recent hype over fallen champions Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey . If nothing else, MMA needs the spotlight to be shone brightly on the sport after some rather disappointing results within the octagon in recent months.

In spite of recent denials, there has also been mounting speculation that Zuffa LLC , parent company of the UFC , owned jointly by Frank Fertitta , Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White might be willing to sell the UFC for a reputed $4 billion to a Chinese venture capital firm. If the price is right, I believe the entity could be sold to a foreign entity without their being major controversy being created !

The next major event being staged by the UFC will showcase   Fabricio Werdum     against Stipe Miocic for the UFC Heavyweight Title at UFC 198 in Las Vegas , Nevada on May 14th , 2016. Werdum will be making the third defense of his title while seeking to add to his legacy as the division’s latest champion.

With the recent retirement of Floyd Mayweather Jr and that of his contemporary Manny Pacquiao , the world of boxing now faces something of a vacuum with their being no widely recognized face to lead the sport for the next decade. Mayweather left the sport with an unbeaten record , having earned in excess of $400 million in career earnings , as well as  being the highest paid athlete in the world. Granted, the sport witnessed the dethroning of linear Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko as he lost his belts to British fighter Tyson Fury . A rematch is scheduled for later this year , with Klitschko vowing to win back the titles he has held for almost a decade. Fury, while being a talented fighter , has yet to make a name for himself in North America , which remains the Mecca for the world of boxing. This has been a sport which has been dying on its last legs for several years and having no unified and undisputed champion at any weight category , simply makes it all the more uninteresting and something of a morass. If boxing is to have any real continued traction among its fans , then real meaningful contests will have to take place and that should start with a title fight between Saul Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin for the unification of the world middleweight titles.

In the world of professional sports , for all of the ambivalent diatribe that tends to be referenced by the media as well as the fans . The one thing you can be sure of is that both will often continue to make excuses for the most repugnant behavior by the an athlete. Recently in the world of baseball we had the reigning NL League MVP and Washington Nationals’ outfielder Bryce Harper berating an umpire after what he believed was an erroneous call by the official . Harper’s actions , specifically his tone and abusive language directed at the official has been an ongoing trait of a player who remains immature despite his immense talent . Now vowing to accept his one-game suspension mandated by the league, the player initially sought to appeal the suspension. From my own perspective , I believe the hierarchy of Major League Baseball remains weak , and bereft of intelligence along with the continued ambivalence shown by the MLBPA (Players’ Union) .

Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals have been able to set a blistering pace within the NL East and the National League . Standing a half-game behind the division leading New York Mets (21-13) , the Nationals are coming off a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers and where Max Scherzer struck out twenty Tigers’ hitters on his way to a complete game. Harper and the Washington Nationals’ next game , will see them take on the Miami Marlins in Washington, DC.

Injuries will continue to plague so many of the teams this season and it will be up to teammates to step up to the plate when those players are sidelined. For the New York Yankees in recent years , it has simply been an ongoing issue for a franchise which continually failed to develop talent from within their farm system . In their present format the New York Yankees with a bloated payroll and a number of unproductive players on the roster the Yankees are already struggling to make their presence felt this season . The Yankees will continue to struggle while Joe Girardi and his managerial staff will continue to show they are bereft of ideas. This was very much indicative in their last result , where they were on the wrong side of a lopsided 7-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals . Thursday afternoon and both teams will back on the mound . The Royals will have Ian Kennedy as their starting pitcher in the contest when he faces Nathan Evoldi of the Yankees.

The NBA Playoffs are now in full swing as the remaining participants are now playing for a Conference Finals’ berth. Reigning NBA champions the Golden State Warriors have booked their berth having beaten the Portland Trailblazers in a lopsided series . In the Eastern Conference the Cleveland Cavaliers as the top seeds await the winners of the series between the Miami Heat and the Toronto Raptors . For the Heat , who were viewed as the presumptive favorites , they now find themselves on the brink of elimination and facing a pivotal game six contest . It’s now or never for the Miami Heat as the roster , with its current makeup is considered to be aging , with seasoned veterans Dwyane Wade , Udonis Haslem and Luol Deng now approaching the end of their respective careers.

In what might now be turning out to be the best series in the second round of the NBA Playoffs. The San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder have provided their fans with a wild and suspenseful ride . This series has ebbed and flowed due to the outstanding play from both teams.

Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich will implore his players to put it all out on the court tonight when they face the Thunder in game six , which now becomes a “ must win-game” for the team. Down 3-2 , they cannot afford to be eliminated at this stage of the Playoffs. Thursday’s game at the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma should prove to be truly entertaining as the San Antonio Spurs seek to draw equal in this series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

If there is one thing to be said as the regular season came to an end in the NBA. It was the mere fact, for the teams at the lower end of the season’s standings , theirs was not a season they wish to remember. No no need to have any empathy for either the Los Angeles Lakers or the Philadelphia 76ers . These two teams simply sank to a level of ineptitude not often seen in the NBA, as they continually wore out their welcome at home and on the road during the season. With Byron Scott no longer returning to the Lakers next season, with his successor Luke Walton having been named . It would appear the franchise now believes, change was needed sooner rather than later . For the moment , it would appear Brett Brown’s position within the Sixers’ organization is secure , but I can’t but feel , Jerry Colangelo will be ready to pull the trigger and relieve Brown of his coaching duties with the franchise ! It just seems to make sense given the disastrous tenure of Brown as the head coach of the Sixers.

The 2016 NBA Draft is imminent and both the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers will have the privilege of being Lottery choosers during the whole process in the first round . Mitch Kupchak and his Sixers’ counterpart Jerry Colangelo will be mulling over the Draft Board and making sure the decision they will make will be the right one concerning the needs of their respective franchise in the interest of the long-term future.

Twenty-four-seven , three-sixty-five, year-round the NFL remains part of the sports news’ cycle without fail . The passing of the 2016 NFL Draft , signing of the first round rookies and now OTA’s will be upon us , as well as the beckoning of the preseason .

Tom Brady’s suspension might well have been rescinded with the NFL hierarchy feeling pleased with itself and in particular NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell . Yet all signs seem to be pointing to a possible challenge to this latest verdict with a filing to placed on the docket with the US Supreme Court . Let’s just hope for Roger Goodell’s sake Chief Justice John Roberts isn’t an ardent New England Patriots’ fan or else , all bets are off as to the decision likely to be rendered by the Justices .

Johnny Manziel’s career in the NFL came and went in the blink of an eye. Immaturity , lack of real leadership and talent were on display to be seen and his supporters have now ran off to the woods to hide in silence. Good riddance to Manziel and the opinionated morons who simply bleated on like sheep as to greatness of the former Cleveland Browns’ player.

With each passing season over the past eight years we have seen the best and the worst of the Dallas Cowboys . Team owner Jerry Jones still yearns to win another Superbowl and he still has high hopes Tony Romo will be the quarterback to lead the team to the ‘Promised Land’ . Well Romo is no Moses and the parting of the Red Sea as positioned around Tony Romo’s postseason career , can be best described as the Israelites being engulfed by the high seas. God has forsaken the Cowboys and with good reason . He just doesn’t like ugly and the Dallas Cowboys gave simply been damn ugly over the last decade .

The Dallas Cowboys’ draft was somewhat nondescript , but as usual it is still being championed in some circles as one of their best in recent years. Jason Garrett still remains the head coach, with his staff having not really changed over the past two seasons. The Cowboys are coming off another season of exceptional mediocrity and while excuses are being made for the injuries suffered. There can be no denying the issues of the team were widespread and have yet to be address by the coaching staff or the front office .

Dallas’ preseason schedule should prove to be interesting as Jason Garrett and the staff look to assess their roster . However, in week one of their regular season schedule they will have a tough test on their hands when they face divisional rivals the New York Giants in a home game at Texas Stadium , in Arlington, Texas,. Dallas needs to get off to a fast start and in doing so, be in with a chance of winning the NFC East , a division I still consider to be the most overrated in the entire NFL ! If they can at least go 4-0 or 5-1 through their first six games , then it bodes well for the team. From my own perspective I believe the Dallas Cowboys will struggle if Tony Romo is unable to play at a continually high level let alone play a full NFL schedule of sixteen games each season . We know Romo’s postseason record to be abysmal and that is with good reason , his denials as to his own flaws , while also apportioning blame elsewhere. Should the Cowboys make the postseason , then it will be interesting to see how deep they are able to make it during the postseason and how their quarterback is able to acquit himself for the franchise .

 

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What have been your impressions in recent weeks within the world of sports and which unfolding story or stories do you believe will prove to be the most interesting during the coming weeks ?

Tophatal …. 05/11/2016

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