Not Here To Be Anyone’s Stepping Stone ….

Not   Here  To  Be  Anyone’s  Stepping   Stone

So here   we  are  in the lead-up to  the  Christmas   schedule  of the      NBA     season  and   all  is  not  necessarily  well  for  a  number  of     teams around  the  NBA.    Reigning  NBA champions  the Golden   State   Warriors  are  the  best  team  in  the  league ,  even  if  their   present  record  doesn’t     reflect  that.   Until  they’re knocked  off their pedestal  then  they will  remain  the  bar  against   who everybody  else will  be  judged.   LeBron James remains  the  league’s best  all-round  player ,  albeit   that  the Cleveland   Cavaliers  are  now   having   some  teething issues  concerning  their  lineup.   Head coach   Tyronn  Lue  has  yet  to    figure   out  his   best   starting   lineup   among  his  team  of  highly  touted  stars. The Cavaliers themselves  have already   faced stern tests against some strong opponents early on in their schedule.

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Up next for the Cleveland Cavaliers will be a game against the Indiana Pacers on Friday 8th December, 2017. I’ve no doubt that the Cavaliers will be around for the NBA Playoffs, but I do believe this team might not be equipped to handle the improvement seen in several of their conference rivals if the Playoffs were to start today. While the Boston Celtics continue to take the league by storm , I am beginning to wonder if this Brad Stevens’ coached team are meant to be the real deal. Kyrie Irving is proving to be a force to be reckoned as he inspire the teammates around him. I do believe he has become a difference maker for the Celtics and I expect Boston to be more than an adequate match for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Boston’s bench has complemented the lineup and it might be among one of the many reasons they are so good this season. .

Brad Stevens will prepare his team for their next game when the Boston Celtics face the San Antonio Spurs on the road this Friday evening. This should prove to be one of the best games of the night on the schedule. I truly believe Brad Stevens is the best young coach in the NBA and his learning curve has vastly improved since he became the head coach of the Boston Celtics . GM Danny Ainge struck gold with his choice of hiring the former Butler coach.

I was once told that the Los Angeles Clippers were considered a legitimate contender for the NBA title during the tenure of Donald Sterling’s owning the franchise. Considering the Clippers’ playoff appearances were sporadic , I believe those claims were laughable to say the very least. This season the Clippers have struggled and the departure of point guard Chris Paul has left a massive vacuum on the roster . Head coach Doc Rivers and his coaching staff are at a loss to explain the Clippers’ poor record and it has become a talking point around the league. Over their last twelve games the Los Angeles Clippers have not been competitive at all and it paints a poor picture of a franchise now on the decline. There could be some drastic changes being made to the Clippers’ lineup if this team finds itself completely out of the playoff race by the trade deadline . Rivers and key members of the front office will have some decisions to make which would have some long-lasting and serious repercussions for the franchise moving forward. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are carrying this team but it’s clearly not enough given the dire circumstances they now face. .

In their next game the Los Angeles Clippers are due to face the the Washington Wizards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on the 9th December , 2017.

Carmelo Anthony has been a scoring champion in the NBA , two-time Olympic gold medalist , multi-time NBA All Star , but the one thing lacking on his resume’ are is an NBA championship ring. His tenures in Denver with the Denver Nuggets and then the New York Knicks has brought little personal or team success for the seasoned veteran. Having been acquired by the Oklahoma City Thunder the player seems to be more of a liability instead of being an asset for the team . Barely over .500 , with Paul George , Russell Westbrook and Anthony as part of the lineup it is almost inexplicable to explain the reasons why the team is failing. If it is not Billy Donovan and his coaching staff at fault , then the responsibility lies with the lackluster performances of the players themselves. Other than Russell Westbrook not one player on the roster is among the league’s top-twenty scorers in the NBA .

If the Oklahoma City Thunder are not in a position to challenge for a playoff berth by April then their chances of actually making an appearance is likely to diminish even more so. For the moment this Billy Donovan coached team will have to take it one step at a time , one day at a time. Up next for the Thunder will be a game against the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday evening.

Say what you will, but LaVar Ball is certainly making a name for himself on the national pages of the nation’s papers as well as on the sports’ pages . Ball Sr has been in the midst of a spat with President
Donald Trump
and his playing a part in the release of his son, LiAngelo Ball a player with the UCLA Bruins’ basketball team. LiAngelo and two other teammates were arrested by Chinese authorities , after the trio were caught stealing from three department stores in Beijing , China. The Bruins program was in China as part of a goodwill gesture and to take part in a local tournament. The incident caught everyone off-guard, including the State Department , Athletics Department of UCLA , much to the embarrassment of the President and his entourage. In the aftermath of the players’ release , with the help of the US Embassy in the Chinese capital and officials of the State Department . It has to be said that LaVar Ball has not sought to reprimand his son for his felonious behavior. He has seen fit to be critical of the university , after they made the decision to suspend him indefinitely , but the patriarch has since decided to remove his son from UCLA altogether. LiAngelo Ball’s academic future doesn’t seem all that bright and I seriously doubt that he would be accepted by a Division 1 program or for that matter a D2 program in the NCAA . In all likelihood, any ambitions of being seen as a high draft pick in the 2018 NBA Draft will be placed on the back-burner . .

LaVar Ball’s eldest son Lonzo Ball is now making a name for himself in his rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers . As things now stand , Lonzo and teammate Kyle Kuzma might be the only bright spots on a team still learning the ropes under their sophomore head coach Luke Walton . Over their last eight games the Los Angeles Lakers are a mediocre 2-6 and the teething pains are there for all to see. . It will be interesting to see how the this team maneuvers their Christmas schedule as this becomes one of the most pivotal times of the NBA regular season. Lonzo Ball and his teammates will next be in action when they face the Charlotte Hornets in a road game this Saturday (9th December).

A great deal is expected of the Houston Rockets this season and James Harden is simply looking to prove that his performances of last year as no fluke . Harden leads the league in scoring at this point of the season and his productivity for the Rockets has been scintillating to say the very least . The addition of point guard Chris Paul to the roster has been added bonus for head coach Mike D’Antoni and the franchise’s new owner , billionaire entrepreneur Tillman Fertitta .

I expect the Houston Rockets to be among the movers and shakers within the Western Conference this season and they are certainly one of the biggest threats to the continued dominance of the Golden State Warriors. These two teams are likely to be among the top contenders for the conference title at the end of this season if last season’s competitiveness was anything to go by. While many believe James Harden was a worthy candidate for League MVP and the fact he lost out to Russell Westbrook by a slim margin was a clear indication as to how good both players were over the course of last season .

James Harden could very well end up being this season’s League MVP if he continues at his current pace , though not yet matching the feats of last season. He’s clearly one of the most dynamic players in the league today , even if his defensive capabilities do come into question. Harden and the Houston Rockets have an upcoming game against the Portland Traiblazers which will be a Western Conference road match-up .

Steph Curry , Kevin Durant and the members of the Golden State Warriors might not be setting a blistering pace at present but if there’s one thing clear with or without either of their two big stars , this team remains among the best in the NBA . I am not about to suggest the two are interchangeable concerning the lineup , but in all honesty, any doubters of the Warriors are not that intelligent. Golden State will not be in action over the weekend, but the Warriors will return to the court on Monday night to face the Portland Trailblazers at home.


Picture gallery. By clicking on an individual image you can view that picture in a reformatted size along with a narrative.

At this point of the NBA season, which team has impressed you the most and which do you believe has been the biggest disappointment ?


NBA   news

  NBA    divisional  standings 

NBA schedule 7th December

This month in NBA history

  Tophatal    ….. 12/07/2017

Author: tophatal ...........

An avid sports' fans that's all !!!!!

24 thoughts on “Not Here To Be Anyone’s Stepping Stone ….”

  1. Team with the best record over their last ten games just happens to be the Cleveland Cavaliers . Once again as would be expected it has been LeBron James leading the Cavaliers in scoring in those contests . Up next for the Cavaliers will be a game against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday 12th December , 2017. I do believe given their respective status , the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers are by far the two best teams within the Eastern Conference . The Celtics for their part are due to face the Chicago Bulls on the road in all conference match-up .

    The Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors have the Western Conference all to themselves with the Rockets having the most wins but the Rockets having the best win percentage overall .

    NBA news

    Tophatal ……………


  2. I think we’re lined up nicely for a fourth Golden State-Cleveland Finals. Boston’s playing well but I’m not buying into them just yet. I wanna see how they do in June.

    As for Houston, I’m not convinced either.

    If the Warriors and Cavs play in a fourth straight Finals, where will we rank them among great NBA rivalries? I would think you’d have to put it right behind Lakers-Celtics at that point.


    1. Chris Humpherys (SportsChump)

      I don’t think we can start to say this is a rivalry to rank alongside the great regular and playoff series seen between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics or even the ones where the Chicago Bulls had to deal with their conference rivals before breaking out for their record of six NBA titles in an eight year-span . For now we can revel in what we’re seeing from the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors. From my own perspective , I still believe the Warriors possess greater depth and they’re a much better team all-round than the Cavaliers by far. Kevin Love remains inconsistent and Dwyane Wade is way past his sell-buy date with his best years now behind him. So that leaves with LeBron James and in reality the support needed just isn’t there, because even with the return of Isiah Thomas they still don’t have enough firepower to deal with the Warriors defensively or on offense .



  3. The X Factor is Kyrie Irving and he’s been by far the best point guard in the league this season and he is certainly better than anything the Cavaliers have to offer in terms of a match-up at the position . The Cavs and Celtics have already met once this season with Cleveland narrowly eking out the win .

    Golden State has a far better lineup and more depth than anything the Houston Rockets have to offer. Their first meeting was a close run , but high-scoring game between the two teams. Houston got a narrow one-point victory .

    Tophatal …………


  4. Some stirring results in the NBA on Tuesday night . Big winners on the night were the Dallas Mavericks over the San Antonio Spurs as they welcomed back Kawhi Leonard to the Spurs lineup for the first time this season. The New York Knicks got passed the Los Angeles Lakers , while the lowly Sacramento Kings faced the equally anemic Phoenix Suns in a game that was mind-numbing and boring .

    While some might believe Ben Simmons is the person to make the Philadelphia 76ers tick this season , the best player on the team’s roster will be none other than Joel Embiid . While Markelle Fultz sits out the early part of this season , if Philadelphia is to compete , then it will be down to Embiid and Simmons to lead this Brett Brown coached lineup over the course of the season. Over their last eight games the Sixers have been less than impressive (3-5) . The next game on the Philadelphia 76ers’ schedule will be a contest against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday 15th December at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania . It will be interesting to see how the Sixers fare in this home game .

    NBA news

    Tophatal ………………….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wednesday night in the NBA and all was said to be right with the world . Big winners on the night were victories for the Chicago Bulls (7-20) over the Uthah Jazz (13-15) . This was the Bulls’ fourth win in their last ten games . Impressive for a team with the worst record in the entire league . Best game of the evening might well have been the contest between the Milwaukee Bucks and the New Orleans Pelicans . Giannis Antetokoumnpou went toe-to-toe with the Pelicans’ DeMarcus Cousins in a battle of the big men . Both players excelled in the contest showing their prowess on both ends of the floor .

    NBA news

    NBA results 13th December and schedule for 14th December

    Tophatal ………….


  6. The mantel has yet to be passed , but already idiots are talking about the Thursday night clash where fans were able to see LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers take on Lonzo Ball and the Los Angeles Lakers . I know that Ball’s father LaVar Ball has been hyping up the talent of his son , but in all honesty , the younger Ball has yet to prove himself to be a real leader and a player with the caliber to lift the Lakers to where they need to be. At this point of the season Lonzo Ball might not even be the best player on the Lakers’ roster in spite of one or two good games for the team.

    The contest between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers was not even remotely close in spite of the nine-point margin of victory for Cleveland.

    Cleveland Cavaliers news

    Los Angeles Lakers news

    Tophatal …………….


  7. So let the stupidity begin . With the unveiling of Kobe Byrant’s jersey recently in a game against the Golden State Warriors in a contest where the Los Angeles Lakers came up short on the wrong side of a conference loss. A debate has begun as to how effective the duo of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal just happened to be . The duo won three NBA titles together as a formidable offensive pairing , but for idiots to suggest that the duo ranked more highly than the combo of Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar let alone many of the other great combos in Lakers’ history is not only a great slight but also insulting to the great players of Los Angeles Lakers. .

    Kobe Bryant is destined to become a Hall of Fame bound player and his stats measure nicely against many of the Lakers’ all-time greats and other inductees in the Hall of Fame.

    The Los Angeles Lakers this season are struggling within the Pacific Division of the Western Conference . Winning remains a constant problem for the Los Angeles Lakers as does scoring and consistent performances from the players of this Luke Walton coached team . Up next for the Lakers will be a contest on the 20th December against the Houston Rocket , an away game for the team . Lonzo Ball of the Lakers will be looking to see if he can out-gun James Harden of the Rockets when the two players hit the court . If will be interesting to see if Harden can notch another double-double with the schedule yet to have reached its halfway point.

    Los Angeles Lakers news

    Tophatal …………..


  8. On the court tonight , there are several games . Looking to make some waves these teams have something special to offer . The Cleveland Cavaliers will be up against one of their toughest opponents up to this point of the season when they face the Milwaukee Bucks , where Giannis Antetkounmpou will face up against LeBron James as these two titans of the front court look to be dominant .

    NBA news

    NBA schedule 19th December

    NBA standings

    Tophatal ……


  9. The Milwaukee Bucks surprised the Cleveland Cavaliers by lowering the boom on the LeBron James’ led Cavaliers. This was only second loss for the Cavaliers in their last twelve games. James did as much as he could for Cleveland , but they were unable to negate the play of Giannis Antetokounmpou , who led the Bucks in scoring for this contest. Both of these Eastern Conference teams will be back in action over the next few days with the Cleveland Cavaliers due to face the Chicago Bulls , while the Milwaukee Bucks will have their game faces on in a match-up against the Charlotte Hornets .

    Results 19th December

    NBA news

    Tophatal ……..


  10. Well the NBA Christmas schedule came to a close with the Oklahoma City Thunder posting a 5-0 unbeaten record over the period . This Billy Donovan coached team will be back on the court to face the Toronto Raptors on the the road this Wednesday evening , 27th December . Among the players coming to the fore for the Thunder this season has been Steven Adams whose rebounding has helped
    the team out tremendously . I firmly believe that if the Thunder are to be taken seriously then they must either win their division or at least be no worse than a fifth seed within the Western Conference in the league this season .

    Haters are still going to hate on the Golden State Warriors , but after something of a shaky start this team has found its
    winning legs and they’re now playing some high-caliber basketball. Kevin Durant and Steph Curry remain the two dominant players
    on the Warriors’ roster this season . Over their last fifteen games the Golden State Warriors have one of the best records in the league, posting a 13-2 record . Head coach Steve Kerr will be preparing the team for their next game when they are due to face the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night , which will be the first of three consecutive home games for the Warriors.

    There will come a time when every team in the NBA wished they had at least one superstar on their roster. For the Miami Heat those days are now long gone as they try to make sense of their year . This has not been the best start to a season for this Erik Spoelstra coached team . Spoelstra recently passed his mentor and Heat Team President Pat Riley for the number of regular season wins for a Head Coach of the franchise. Spoelstra will be looking for the team to push their win streak to two consecutive in their last ten games . Up next for the Miami Heat will be a game against the Brooklyn Nets on December 29th . Miami’s leading player this season has been their point guard Goran Dragic .

    NBA news

    NBA schedule

    Tophatal ………………..


  11. So Kyle Kuzma and his more celebrated teammate Lonzo Ball were recently taught a lesson as to what it will take for the Los Angeles Lakers to win in the NBA . In a match-up against the reigning NBA champions the Golden State Warriors . The Lakers were sent reeling to one of their most embarrassing losses of the season to date . Let’s just say Lakers’ head coach Luke Walton and the coaching staff now have their work cut out for them over the remainder of the regular season schedule .

    Next up for the Los Angeles Lakers will be a game against the the Los Angeles Clippers , a team which has yet to find its groove at this point of the season. This game should prove to be competitive between two teams with sub.500 records within the Western Conference as well as the league overall. I certainly believe Doc Rivers will be on the clock with the ” hot seat ” being there for all to see . The departure of Chris Paul has certainly made the Clippers a lesser team than they were last year. The emphasis for the Clippers has been for Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan to step up to the plate for the team.

    Steve Ballmer the billionaire owner of the Los Angeles Clippers has to be perturbed by what he’s seen from this team over the course of the season . Billionaire owner or not , even with his business acumen and front office thought to be among the best in the NBA , there can be no denying the wheels are now beginning to fall of this particular vehicle. Doc Rivers’ powers need to be lessened with his simply dealing with the coaching aspects of the team rather than wide latitude of power which he has been given by Ballmer.

    Thursday night will feature several interesting contests as we get ready to close out 2017. The best match-up will feature the Houston Rockets taking on the Washington Wizards in a battle between two of the best teams within their respective conferences.

    Friday night will also provide the fans with several more games over the entire weekend .

    Los Angeles Clippers news

    Los Angeles Lakers news

    Tophatal ……………

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The next ten days within the NBA schedule could prove to be pivotal for a number of teams. A number of them do have something to prove and it has to be said now more than ever they will have to get the ball rolling as the schedule moves closer to the halfway point of the season.

    With the return of Kawhi Leonard to the San Antonio Spurs’ lineup I fully expect the team to make a spirited challenge against their Western Conference rivals this season. Leonard will certainly be looking to get back into shape alongside his teammates . The San Antonio Spurs’ next game will see them face-off against the Detroit Pistons on Saturday 30th December , 2017. Their first game of 2018 will be a match-up against New York Knicks on Tuesday , 2nd January . I fully expect the Spurs to win both of these road games and improve their divisional standing.

    NBA news

    NBA weekend schedule

    NBA standings (conference)

    NBA players’ stats (points) and players’ stats field goal percentage

    Tophatal ……………..


  13. It looks as if the season for the Houston Rockets could now take a turn for the worse. With the loss of James Harden this team becomes less formidable without one of the league’s best players and scorers . Harden is likely to miss at least eight weeks according to the news coming out of the Rockets’ camp . Harden remains the best player on this Mike D’Antoni coached team .

    The Houston Rockets for their part should be able to deal with this loss of James Harden, but it creates difficulties for the Rockets as they seek to be without their best player for the next two months. In their next game the Rockets are set to face the Orlando Magic in match-up between the East and Western Conference.

    From my own standpoint I still believe the Houston Rockets are one the top-five teams in the NBA without a doubt ! It will be interesting to how capable this team can be without James Harden and which player will be able to step up to the plate in his absence.

    Tuesday’s contests games in the NBA will offer up several enticing games with the best of the bunch being the match-up between the New York Knicks and the San Antonio Spurs .

    NBA news

    NBA results 23rd December to 1st January

    Scheduled games 2nd January

    NBA standings (division)

    Tophatal ……..


  14. LaVar Ball has to be perplexed in seeing how poor the level of play from his son , Lonzo Ball and his teammates , with the Los Angeles Lakers (11-24) . This team is now playing so badly that if they maintain their current level of play they’re likely to have a Lottery Pick in the upcoming 2018 NBA Draft . Not only is this team struggling , but head coach Luke Walton are now mindful of what is expected front office executives Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka must now be contemplating all of the options at their disposal . If the rumors are to believed there will be widespread and drastic changes on this roster before the trade deadline as well at the end of the regular season .

    Having gone 2-10 in their last twelve games it’s easy to understand why the Los Angeles Lakers have been so bad. In their last game the Lakers lost a game to the Minnesota Timberwolves that wasn’t even remotely close by any stretch of the imagination. Their next contest will see them take on the Oklahoma City Thunder at home . It will be interesting to see how Lonzo Ball will fare against the Thunder

    Los Angeles Lakers news

    Tophatal …………..


  15. Tuesday’s games in the NBA resulted in in the following movements within the league . Tipping off last night were the Cleveland Cavaliers as they faced opponents the Portland Trailblazers in a match-up of East meets West.

    With the return of Kawhi Leonard the San Antonio Spurs had perhaps their best starting lineup as they took on the New York Knicks who appear to be somewhat of a better team without Carmelo Anthony. On the night the Knicks were no match for the Spurs as they fell in a nine-point loss to their Western Conference opponent.

    Also in action on Tuesday night we had the Los Angeles Clippers taking care of business as they took down the Memphis Grizzlies .

    Wednesday should provide us with several interesting contests .

    NBA news

    NBA results 2nd January

    Tophatal ……………………


  16. I know it’s early days still , but the Boston Celtics scored an emphatic victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers , humbling the reigning Eastern Conference champions to the point where not even LeBron James had an answer for the Celtic’ offense. These two teams are by far the best in the conference by a considerably large margin . This was the second meeting between the two teams with their now having split their series at one apiece (1-1) so far this season . As part of their regular season schedule the pairing will meet again two more times over the course of the regular season . Their next scheduled meeting will take place on the 11th February n Boston , Massachusetts ,.

    Brad Stevens could very well be in for Coach of The Year Honors if the Boston Celtics continue at their current pace . Both the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers will be in action over the course of this weekend as each seeks to remain atop of their respective divisions .

    Boston Celtics news

    Cleveland Cavaliers news

    Tophatal …


  17. All of the hype in the world cannot hide how bad the Los Angeles Lakers are . Having gone 1-9 in their last ten games , the frustration has begun to set in all sides with LaVar Ball now said to be frustrated with the team and at the hierarchy of the Lakers’ front office led by GM Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson , Head of Basketball Operations.

    Lonzo Ball was meant to be long-term future of this Lakers’ lineup , but there’s been little to suggest he’s really capable of leading this team to any great heights in spite of his sporadic play. Likely to miss out on a playoff berth , beyond the lack of consistency shown , head coach Luke Walton now has to also deal with an immature and bickering group of players. The waiving of veteran Andrew Bogut is enough to indicate there are likely to be more moves on the horizon for the Los Angeles Lakers as Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka
    seek to position the franchise for a big name acquisition within the free agency market during this off-season.

    Up next for the Los Angeles Lakers will be a game against the Sacramento Kings , a contest between conference rivals to be played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California on the 9th January , 2018.

    If the Los Angeles Lakers are struggling then both the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors are leading the way within the league . These two teams are quite capable of becoming the conference champions if they maintain their current pace . Both teams will be in action over the coming days with the Boston Celtics set to face the Philadelphia 76ers in a road game on the 11th January while the Golden State Warriors will be up against the Denver Nuggets at the Oracle Arena in Oakland , California on Monday , 8th January .

    NBA news

    NBA standings divisional

    NBA results 7th January

    NBA transactions



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