Revenge is a dish, best served cold … Dominance on the other hand, can take shape in different forms and guises, dependent upon one’s view …

Revenge is a dish, best served cold … Dominance, on the other hand, can take shape in different forms and guises, dependent upon one’s view …

Well the NFL season is now over and the fallout from an unbelievable end to the Superbowl (SBLVIX) still has not subsided five days after the event. Seattle Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll has staunchly defended offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and has suggested the decision in many respects, was Bevell’s alone and that he agreed with the coordinator’s take and final call. My question remains, if Marshawn Lynch throughout much of the game gave the New England Patriots a great deal more than they could handle, why would the Seahawks seek to change course at such a pivotal moment in the game ? Lynch, during this contest, scored a touchdown on a short yardage gain after a reception, yet this actually escaped both Carroll’s and Bevell’s notice ? Call me naive, but the head coach’s post-game explanation given during his interview, smacks of sheer stupidity and utter nonsense !

New England ascends back to the top of the NFL world, and simply cementing their dominance of this league, as a ” true dynasty, one of the most discussed, if not one of the most alienating also, in the world of professional team sports across the North American landscape over the past twenty-five years.

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Five months into the NBA season and the talk in recent weeks has been the unbelievable play of the Atlanta Hawks and their ongoing dominance within the NBA. In the month of January, Mike Budenholzer’s vastly improved team went a staggering 17-0 , unbeaten for the entire calendar month of their scheduled games. Consider the fact, the Chicago Bulls’ team of their championship winning season of 1995-96, where they went 72-10, setting an NBA franchise record for wins in a season. The team coached by Phil Jackson was never able to achieve that feat with a roster which boasted Michael Jordan , Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman among the starting lineup , which was also well-served by several role players who contributed greatly to the Bulls’ success of that season.

There is a great deal to be said, for the days of dominance once had by the Chicago Bulls, as for years the franchise was waylaid by the fact the Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics held center-stage within the Eastern Conference, while the Los Angeles Lakers were simply extending the glare of the Showtime Lakers’ extravaganza. During that time, the Chicago Bulls grew to overcome their fears and went about beginning their historic run, which rang in a new era and perhaps the most popular reign in NBA history, most certainly from a fan and global standpoint. Michael Jordan reigned supreme, as the most dominant player in the NBA and one of most recognized athletes on the face of the planet . With it, came the wealth and acclaim, few athletes today can match. LeBron James , currently, the best player in the NBA and rightfully so, the latest NBA star, seen as the heir-apparent to Michael Jordan. Kobe Bryant’s era of supremacy is slowly winding down and with it, the Los Angeles Lakers’ most recent chapter of NBA dominance. .

As good as the Atlanta Hawks appear to be and what they have achieved has been fascinating . The true test for any NBA franchise can be judged by what they have been able to do during the NBA Playoffs. For Atlanta the type of success sought, has been fleeting for an organization still seeking acceptance as an elite franchise in the NBA. This might be the season, in which the Hawks can finally stake that claim , if they make the NBA Playoffs and then go on a prolonged run, all the way to the NBA Finals.

The Atlanta Hawks’ exceptional month of January has heightened expectations for the month of February, even with the upcoming All Star Game Weekend fast approaching. Between now and then, it will be interesting to see how this team fares as it is being led by Paul Millsap , Al Horford , Jeff Teague, DeMarre Carroll , Kyle Korver and John Jenkins . Needless to say this has been a collective effort from the Hawks’ players over the course of the season . They have been able to eke out their victories on the road as well as at home against divisional , conference and Western Conference opponents .

Having gone 9-1 in their last ten games the Atlanta Hawks are as sure a bet, as you can get, for them to make the NBA Playoffs, where if things were to remain as they are, their first round opponents would be the Miami Heat , last eat season’s losing NBA Finalists . It would be definitely be an enticing first-round contest to survey , with the Heat seen as an opponent , good enough to cause an upset.

I believe the Atlanta Hawks are good enough to make a solid run through to the end of the season , winning their division outright and making the NBA Playoffs. Where they then go from there, is anyone’s guess, because during the postseason, it then becomes about the teams and their players standing tall , excelling at critical points of a game. Recent signs show the Hawks are not yet at the standard required for them to be seen as a credible contender to win it all .

If ever there was a sign to indicate , Phil Jackson erred in the hiring of Derek Fisher to succeed Mike Woodson as the head coach of the New York Knicks. Then look no further than what has been achieved by Steve Ker, the successor to Mark Jackson as head coach of the Golden State Warriors . The Knicks continue on their season of sheer ineptitude while the Warriors have not only slain the dragon, but chopped off its head. Leading me to believe, Jackson’s ego has gotten the better of him at this stage of his career.

Golden State behind the solid play of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson have led the team to the best record the Western Conference and along the way lead the Pacific Division by healthy 7 1/2 game margin over the Los Angeles Clippers. Coming off a fourteen-point victory over the Dallas Mavericks it is becoming hard to envisage any team within the Western Conference actually challenging the dominance of the Warriors over the remainder of this season.

To comprehend how the guile and tenacity shown by Golden State this season, has been such a success, you simply have to look at the margin of victory in their games where they overpower an opponent. Next up for the Warriors will be a cross-conference game against the Atlanta Hawks on the road, where the team has been very good. It’s pretty much safe to suggest, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson will be looking have their division and conference sewn up by no later than mid-March . It gives Kerr the opportunity needed, to rest a number of his front-line starters, while assessing what his bench players are able to do before the end of the season on the 15th April, 2015

Defending NBA champions the San Antonio Spurs have slowly plodded along while the elder statesmen on the team have sought to gain some semblance of consistency to their season. Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker have been the mainstays of the franchise’s successes and one of the reasons why they have been a perennial playoff team and contender for the NBA title. Seventeen straight NBA Playoff appearances and yet when fans, tend to talk about dynasties and dominance, rarely has the name of the San Antonio Spurs been mentioned in the same sentence as the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls or the Motown Bad Boys of Detroit under the coaching acumen of Chuck Daly, as he engineered the success of the Detroit Pistons. I suppose not playing in what is deemed to be a major-market, has a tendency of taking the gloss off a team’s achievements. While many, were surprised the Spurs were able to get past the highly favored Miami Heat in last season’s NBA Finals. It should not have come as any great surprise,if the suggestion was made, LeBron James and his teammates were simply complacent and went into the postseason foray, with the expectation of simply waltzing through through a seven-game series, merely based on having defeated San Antonio in the previous season’s Finals Series.

San Antonio now has a competent lineup beyond their Big Three of Duncan , Ginobli and Parker now joined by last season’s Finals’ MVP of Kawhi Leonard , it must be said the team does have have a formidable lineup , which I believe to be among the best in the NBA for a starting five, without delving into the contributions from the bench. It would also be remiss to not take into account the coaching staff of Gregg Popovich, a staff which includes the NBA’s only lead female assistant, former WNBA player Becky Hammon. As to whether or not this league will ever have its very first female head coach remains to be seen , but I am sure, it is something Hammon will seek to achieve !

With only the Cleveland Cavaliers , Memphis Grizzlies and Atlanta Hawks over their last ten games having a better record, it indicates at present, how competitive the NBA happens to be. San Antonio’s thirteen-point victory at home over the Miami Heat was indicative of what we know to be the frailties of a weak Eastern Conference as another franchise drops a game to a Western Conference foe. The Spurs’ next game takes them North of the border to face the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada. For both teams this should prove to be a fascinating contest as they seek to maintain their momentum in the run-up to the All Star Break .

A ninety million dollar ($90 million) payroll doesn’t appear to have aided the Brooklyn Nets this season as the team struggles to make sense of their failures at this point of the NBA schedule. It would be fair to suggest the Nets have been a major disappointment for their fans and the NBA alike. Personally, I believe the team to be lacking in leadership with Kevin Garnett and Deron Williams being overpaid and offering the franchise absolutely nothing on all levels at this stage of their respective careers.

For Nets’ head coach Lionel Hollins and his coaching staff at a loss for an explanation,while GM Billy King and team owner, Mikhail Prokhorov wondering if changes will have to be made before or at the trade deadline, if the franchise is to make some sense of their season. In their last ten games the Brooklyn Nets are a paltry 5-5 , simply mirroring what they represent as a team, to the NBA fans at large, being average and representing mediocrity !

Saturday night, the Brooklyn Nets will take to the court to face conference rivals the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. This will be game, between two teams of similar ambitions, seeking to make their presence felt within the conference as well their respective divisions could very well make or break their seasons from hereon-in. The All Star festivities to be staged at the Barclays Center, home to the Brooklyn Nets will provide a timely respite for the teams as they take stock and then prepare for the second half of the season. This will be the point where executives and team owners look to make some major deals and naturally shed players for salary cap reasons.

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As the first half of this NBA season comes to a close, which team or teams have been the biggest surprise in your opinion ? During the second half of the schedule which franchise and players will play a decisive role of making a playoff push within each conference ? Also, of the teams in the league (NBA) over the past two decades, which do you believe is the most deserving to be thought of as a dynasty ? Simply leave a comment or comments as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site, as it has always been appreciated ! Thank you !

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(1) Marshawn Lynch (24) of the Seattle Seahawks completes a catch against Tyler Gaffney (31) of the New England Patriots in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. Getty Images North America / Rob Carr

(2) Marshawn Lynch(24) of the Seattle Seahawks runs with the ball against the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. Getty Images North America / Jamie Squire

(3) John Wall of the Washington Wizards handles the ball against the Brooklyn Nets during the game on February 7, 2015 at Verizon Center in Washington, DC. NBAE/Getty Images/ Ned Dishman

(4) David Lee of the Golden State Warriors goes to the basket against Travis Wear(6) of the New York Knicks on February 7, 2015 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Getty Images / Nathaniel S Butler

(5) Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls handles the ball against the New Orleans Pelicans on February 7, 2015 at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Getty Images / Mike Hamilton

(6) Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks drives against Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors on February 6, 2015 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images / Scott Cunningham

(7) Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs shoots against the Miami Heat on February 6, 2015 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. Getty Images North America / D. Clarke Evans

(8) Becky Hammon , left , is seen here with San Antonio Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich . Hammon is the first full-time lead assistant head coach with any franchise in the NBA . The NBA might just be the most progressive of any of the four main professional team sports , with Michele Roberts also recently being named the Executive Director of the NBPA (Players’ Union) . Popovich believes Hammon due to her vast experience as a former WNBA player and now an assistant coach , could become the first female head coach in the NBA . AP Photo /Gary Ross
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As one door closes , another one opens . For Christ’s sake , keep the f##king door shut !

As one door closes , another one opens . For Christ’s sake keep the f##king door shut !

Well the idiocy of the NFL Draft has come and gone , in spite of this high-profiled event , nothing will really be learned until many of these rookies get their first taste of the NFL , during week one of the upcoming season . And to hear many of these draft geeks and on air personalities speculate and prognosticate , you would’ve thought that all thirty-two teams in the NFL were in sheer dire straits . In reality this draft had more to do with personalities , lack of real talent in a vast array of areas , in spite of the recommendations being made by members of the media .

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Now Tim Tebow having been cut from the organization at the behest of GM John Idzik , speculation still remains as to the future of the team’s beleaguered quarterback , Mark Sanchez whose performances in 2012 , were amongst the worst in the AFC and NFL throughout much of last season .

Courtesy of Pro Footballtalk.com

Testaverde disappointed Tebow didn’t get a chance

By Darin Gantt

While just-released quarterback Tim Tebow hasn’t had much support today, at least one former Jet is disappointed he didn’t get a chance to stay.

Former quarterback Vinny Testaverde had worked with Tebow recently in Florida, and he said he saw significant mechanical improvement.

“I was kind of disappointed because I was hoping he’d get a chance to show the coaches what we worked on,” Testaverde told Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com. “I think they would’ve been impressed if they had compared this year to last year ” .

Testaverde spent a week with Tebow, concentrating on his footwork. In layman’s terms, Testaverde said Tebow “was stepping in the wrong direction when he was throwing the football.”

Testaverde also consulted with IMG instructor Chris Weinke, saying they “speak the same quarterback language” because they both played under Dan Henning.

“Chris and I looked at Tim careful and we were both amazed,” Testaverde said. “Everybody has been focusing on his throwing motion, trying to fix that, but nobody had picked up his footwork. His footwork was all screwed up. Chris and I looked at each other after about four or five throws, and we saw the same thing. We got his footwork fixed. His throwing motion is now a non-issue.

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Sanchez is owed in excess of $12.8 million for the upcoming season , but it seems that in all probability , John Idzik will seek a trade of the player, rather than retain him for the entire season while still having to make the financial outlay . He is due a roster bonus of $4.1 million due on the 1st June , and a possible trade partner , if anything would rather seek to only pay a nominal sum with regard to the player’s salary , and then assuming the remainder of Mark Sanchez’s contract from 2014 through to 2016 . This upcoming season for the Jets will be very interesting to see how they fare in their season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the 8th September 2013 ,

It seems that fans , agents and analysts alike were simply surprised that a quarterback was not taken in the top ten of the first round of this NFL Draft . The fact that it was the Buffalo Bills , with the sixteenth pick in the first round taking EJ Manuel , made that whole premise all the more surprising . That being said , now consider the franchise’s options at the position , when you consider that Kevin Kolb is meant to be the Bills’ starter for the upcoming season . Shit , I’d rather walk on hot coals , rather than seeing Kolb quarterback any franchise within the NFL , as he simply does not possess the talent needed to be a starter in the NFL . Yet somehow, Bills’ head coach Doug Marrone and the front office believe the veteran to be their man . It is my belief , that sooner , rather than later , Manuel will be a starter in the league , quite possibly this season , if Kolb’s recent performances are anything to go by.

The AFC East , if nothing else , should prove to be a great deal fun , considering the antics of the teams from within the division and their performances from last season . Among the teams seeking redemption from last season’s nightmare , just happens to be the New York Jets , whose head coach , Rex Ryan barely escaped from the franchise’s purge of a mediocre coaching staff from 2012 . Out went , offensive coordinator , Tony Sparano , whose ides of team offense bordered on being absurd . And the very fact , that he has now joined the coaching staff of the Oakland Raiders , further enhances the notion , that coaching in the NFL , is no longer about creativity in terms of coaching talent but simply the “ rehashing” of “ mediocre coaches” “ , whose ideas are in essence , from a bygone age “ ! How else can one simply explain the fact that Sparano and Ryan were simply so how out of touch reality , while being allowed to ruin the franchise , and with asinine belief that Tim Tebow would be able to contribute to a team that was lacking in talent and creativity , never-mind poor coaching from every layer , within a considerably inept organization. Yet boneheaded individuals swayed by their emotions, continued to call for Tebow’s inclusion either as a starter or in some other capacity for the franchise . Fantasy geeks were either that blasé or simply that goddamn stupid, throughout much of 2012.

Sanchez is owed in excess of $12.8 million for the upcoming season , but it seems that in all probability , John Idzik will seek a trade of the player, rather than retain him for the entire season while still having to make the financial outlay . He is due a roster bonus of $4.1 million due on the 1st June , and a possible trade partner , if anything would rather seek to only pay a nominal sum with regard to the player’s salary , and then assuming the remainder of Mark Sanchez’s contract from 2014 through to 2016 . This upcoming season for the Jets will be very interesting to see how they fare in their season opener against Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the 8th September 2013 .

With this draft I expected the New England Patriots to do a great deal more than they did , but once again I believe they have failed miserably with this particular draft class . To try and suggest that Jamie Collin s , Aaron Dobson , Logan Ryan , Duron Harmon , Josh Boyce , Michael Buchanan and Steve Beauharnais . These are the players drafted by the organization with view redeeming itself after a monstrous postseason foray , which was best summed up in the team’s embarrassing loss to the eventual Superbowl champions , the Baltimore Ravens , in the AFC championship game . Given the team’s malaise during the game itself and the very fact that Bill Belichick was out-smarted and outmatched by his opposite number John Harbaugh .

I firmly believe that Belichick failed to address the concerns of this team on defense , albeit , that they made a few off-season deals that would suggest that he , GM Nick Caserio and the coaching staff have addressed the team’s failings over the past three seasons. ( 2012 , 2011 & 2010 ). This season if this team in its present guise is unable to address those woes , then the Patriots’ 2013 regular season foray is likely to be an extremely tough one . While fans and analysts alike will point to the potency of the team’s offense over the past few seasons . One should also remember , defense wins championships , and the offense is simply there , as the mainstay of the regular season .

With the NBA postseason now in full swing with the opening round series in some instances , all but established . It seems somewhat unbelievable to believe that the league’s two most renowned franchises are about to be or have been eliminated the first round of the NBA Playoffs . The Boston Celtics have fought back from the cusp of being eliminated in game four , but still find themselves with an almost insurmountable issue in having to still erase a 3-1 deficit in their first round series against the highly regarded New York Knicks .

Having watched this series unfold , to say that I am disappointed in the lack of commitment being shown by the Celtics , would be a tremendous understatement . The core of this roster simply is not good enough , nor has there been any leadership shown by seasoned veterans such as, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett . Granted , while Doc Rivers does not have the privilege of having the team’s best player on the court , It must be said , that as surely as Rajon Rondo is missed, it should not be made or seen as the primary excuse for the team’s poor play in this series . Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson has simply instilled into this team a real “killer instinct” , not often witnessed with the Knicks’ teams from the franchise’s recent past .

It would be fair to suggest that the Boston Celtics and the franchise’s front office will have to reassess the makeup of this roster and look to build around either Rondo or seek to bring in a marquee free agent during the off-season . Certainly , GM Danny Ainge and senior managing partner Wyc Grousbeck will have to come to a decision , sooner , rather than later as it relates to the immediate and long-term future of this renowned franchise .

This series may well be far from over in the eyes of the Celtics’ fans and players, and it does seem highly unlikely that the team will be derail what now appears to be a focused Knicks’ team obviously looking towards that perceived showdown with the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals . Alas , it is my belief that after all of the in-fighting within the Boston Celtics’ locker room and the animosity that allegedly lingered between Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen wasn’t quashed by the coaching staff , head coach or by the Kevin Garnett , the perceived leader of this roster . Instead , Garnett chose to show his immaturity , by berating his former teammate , haranguing him , after his departure , but even more so , when it was announced that Allen had signed with the reigning NBA champions , the Miami Heat.

These are certainly the twilight years in the careers of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce , certainly , two players that are likely to be enshrined in the Naismith (Basketball) Hall of Fame , having met the eligibility requirements upon their retirement .

Despite their value and profitability , it would be fair to say that the Los Angeles Lakers are the most storied franchise in NBA history alongside their most heated rivals the Boston Celtics . With the two franchises accounting for over thirty of the NBA Finals competed for in NBA history .

In what wasn’t seen as a strange turn of events, when the Bryant-less Lakers met the San Antonio Spurs in their opening round series , expectation were high. Instead lackluster … performances , an injury riddled roster and the growing immaturity of Dwight Howard shone through , in what can be best described as piss poor performances all-round from every participant on this Los Angeles Lakers roster during the series. And you simply know things are bad for the franchise when one of the Lakers’ most celebrated fans , actor , Jack Nicholson offers his congratulations to Gregg Popovich and the entire Spurs’ roster , while ignoring several members of the Los Angeles Lakers’ playing staff.

With the Lakers being swept 4-0 in the series , it was the franchise’s earliest exit in the postseason , where the Lakers has a lost series , in such an embarrassing fashion , with that coming in the 1967 Western Conference Semi-Finals to the San Francisco Warriors (Golden State Warriors) .

Mitch Kupchak and SVP Jim Buss now have the unenviable task of assessing the roster and making a number of far-reaching decisions as it relates to the makeup of this team . In my m honest opinion , the general manager and team owner have erred in so many decisions as it relates to this franchise in recent years , that it has been a constant comedy of errors , watching the Lakers as their season came to an abrupt end. Suffice to say , with Dwight Howard showing a real lack of commitment and his getting into foul trouble in the third quarter of game four (103-82) , the fate of this team was sealed as the Spurs came away with a rather lopsided victory , as they now await the victor of the series between the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies .

The Los Angeles Lakers, are now left on the outside looking in , as their season has simply gone up in flames . In all likelihood, with the Lakers’ bloated payroll ($100.1 million) , and no semblance of financial rationale for the never-ending stupidity to simply overpay for marginal talent , much as it would appear to be for a number teams around the NBA , while David Stern inexcusably tries to make the claim that the franchises of the NBA are financially responsible . Perhaps the NBA Commissioner could indicate the transparency of the claims he continually makes ? Once a boneheaded asshole , always a boneheaded asshole ! Nothing more , nothing less as it relates to David Stern !

ESPN’s David Aldridge is reporting that there will be a stay of execution as it relates to the sale of Sacramento Kings by the Maloof family to a consortium led by billionaire venture capitalist , Chris Hansen and Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer . In what is said to be a last-ditch attempt by the city of Sacramento mayor , Kevin Johnson , it appears that the NBA hierarchy and its Board of Governors have vetoed the sale of the franchise , and the consortium’s bid of almost $600 million is now likely to be overruled ,with the commissioner having been left with egg on his face , as initially he welcomed the pursuant bid of Hansen and Ballmer .

Courtesy of ESPN

In shocking twist, the Kings will likely stay in Sacramento

By David Aldridge

The NBA has all but officially decided to keep the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento.

In a unanimous vote of the league’s combined Relocation and Finance committees Monday afternoon, 12 NBA owners recommended that the league’s Board of Governors vote to deny the relocation of the Kings to Seattle — and, in doing so, deny the sale of the team from the Maloof Family to a Seattle-based group led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

The recommendation will be taken up by the full Board for a formal vote the week of May 13. But it is almost certain that the full Board will go along with the recommendation and vote to keep the Kings in Sacramento, at least for another year.

Relocating a team requires a majority, or 16 of the league’s 30 teams to vote yes. As 12 teams have already voted no, that means the Seattle group would have to get 16 of the league’s remaining 18 teams to vote yes, a near-impossibility. And once relocation is voted down, the sale of the team to Hansen’s group would follow, for Hansen has consistently said he was only interested in buying the Kings if he could move them to Seattle.

“I’ve never been prouder of this city,” Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson Tweeted Monday afternoon. “I thank the ownership group, city leaders, but most of all the BEST FANS IN THE NBA!!!”

While the Maloofs are not obligated to sell the Kings, they will now be under incredible pressure to do so, after Sacramento put together a group led by software magnate Vivek Ranadive, who would be the first majority NBA owner of Indian descent. Ranadive’s group submitted a formal bid to the NBA earlier this month that NBA Commissioner David Stern said was comparable to the Seattle bid, and which the league considered binding.

It is not clear what steps the league could take if the Maloofs opt not to negotiate with the Ranadive group or sell to it. Stern reiterated earlier this month that the league does generally allow owners to sell to whomever they want, provided the new owners’ finances are in place, even though the league decides whether teams will be allowed to move.

The league also knew that its owners’ decision would rip the heart out of one city or the other. There was no solution that could make both happy.

“It’s not exactly comparing two cities,” a source with knowledge of the discussions said Monday. “It’s been hard to leave a place that’s been good to the NBA. Leaving a team, leaving a city, leaving a bunch of fans when they stepped up. That’s what it is.”

The decision caps an incredible comeback by the city of Sacramento, which looked doomed to lose its team after Hansen and the Maloofs announced in January they had reached a binding deal for the Maloofs to sell 65 percent of the team to Hansen, or $341 million, on a franchise valuation of $525 million. Hansen gave the Maloofs a non-refundable $30 million deposit as part of the agreement.

Ranadive’s group, according to an April 17 letter from the Maloof Family to the league that was leaked to the media, agreed to match the $525 million valuation for the team, but wanted to give the Maloofs a $15 million non-refundable deposit instead of $30 million. The Maloofs claimed that entering into an agreement with the Sacramento group would constitute a breach of contract with the Hansen group and would reduce the family’s leverage to negotiate in case the league vetoed the sale to the Hansen group.

Hansen had meticulously put together a plan over two years, purchasing land near Major League Baseball’s Safeco Field on which he wanted to build a new arena for an NBA and National Hockey League team. He reached an agreement with the city of Seattle for construction of a $491 building with up to $200 million in public funds.

But Sacramento, led by Johnson, came roaring back, putting together its own arena deal and ownership group, first led by supermarket mogul Ron Burkle and 24-Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov. But Burkle had to drop out of the team and arena plans after a conflict of interest with one of his businesses, which represents NBA players, was discovered.

Burkle was replaced by Ranadive, a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors, who quickly became the face of the Sacramento group. The city and the Ranadive Group reached agreement on construction of a $447 million arena, with Sacramento contributing $258 million toward the costs.

The Board of Governors postponed a final vote on whether to accept the Seattle or Sacramento plans when it met earlier this month, with NBA Commissioner David Stern citing the incredibly complex issues the league faced. Could it vote to leave a city whose fans had been incredibly loyal over the years, and who had reached agreement with the Maloofs last year on a new arena deal, only to see the family walk away?

On the other hand, Seattle had famously lost its team, which became the Oklahoma City Thunder, in 2008, and the NBA had lost a potentially dynamic market. The Hansen bid for the Kings wildly inflated the value of all other NBA teams, and the potential revenues from a regional sports network and other corporate dollars made Seattle an enticing city. In addition, Hansen’s group went about its business quietly, as the NBA prefers.

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For the last eight years the Sacramento Kings have been one of the least supported franchises in the NBA , along with being one of the least profitable of the NBA’s thirty teams . Why in the world Johnson would seek retain a loss making concern that is barely supported with anemic attendance level seems somewhat idiotic , but for the life of me I cannot understand the reasoning behind the mayor’s madness when his city has its very own budgetary woes to deal with . As with any asinine politician, who ill-serves his electorate, and the citizens who have entrusted him to lead. It does beg the question , will he now seek to use public resources to aid millionaire software magnate Vivek Ranadive and his last-minute bid for the Western Conference franchise ? Ranadive stepped into the fray , the moment this consortium hastily put together by Kevin Johnson , when billionaire real estate magnate , Ron Burkle dropped out the syndicate citing personal and professional reasons . In reality, Burkle’s concerns lay elsewhere , as he is one of the lead developers of the downtown Los Angeles area, seeking build a commercial and private real estate development , that will potentially house a 85,000 to 100,000 seat stadium with the view of luring a relocating or a new NFL franchise into the nation’s second largest ad market and its second most populated city. Be that as it may , my question for commissioner , if he is now prepared be mindful of the Board of Governors’ wish in such an instance . Then what in essence is now so different here from the same situation that arose when the Seattle Supersonics’ sale to Clay Bennett , when that franchise was then relocated to Oklahoma City ? Clearly , the league hierarchy , in this instance, has never acted with any real transparency , as it relates to their decision-making .

Many of you will know by now, that there were allegations made that the NBA acted with a great deal of subterfuge as they simply sought to relocate the Sonics’ franchise because of the advantage tax breaks that would be received by the Oklahoma City Thunder , from the municipality of Oklahoma City . Over the first five years of the residency within their new home (Chesapeake Energy Center) , the franchise was able to receive in excess of $65 million in tax breaks and other lucrative benefits for the state of Oklahoma’s only professional NBA franchise , much less its only professional sport’s franchise. It now begs the question what benefits will the city of Sacramento offer to the new ownership group of the Kings and their wish to remain in the California state capitol ? Is this really how Kevin Johnson and his fellow city commissioners wish to spend the goodwill and the resources of the city, while the NBA once again profits from this all. Most of all, the biggest benefactors from this all will remain the Maloof Family , and the lead siblings, Joe and Gavin Maloof , who preside over the sports’ interests of the familial holdings .

If Vivek Ranadive’s bid is now approved , and the Maloofs walk away with their newfound cash haul of $600 million to aid them in now ailing business interests as it relates to the family’s beverage , hospitality and transportation interests , their departure from the ranks of owners within the NBA fraternity , cannot come around quick enough in some circles . Joe and Gavin Maloof’s alleged business acumen as it relates to the Kings , has been at best , mediocre and a complete farce . The very fact that GM Geoff Petrie has also presided in and over this fu#king mess , makes it all the more asinine , that David Stern continues to make these dubious claims as to the league’s continued financial health and well-being. Meanwhile, anally retentive fans, continue to buy into the commissioner’s continued bull$hit ! The sooner the commissioner departs from his post , the better off NBA will be ! Unfortunately, Stern’s heir-apparent , Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver will assume his role in February 2014 and will follow in the same vein, as his predecessor. What else could the NBA ask for, at this juncture ? Simply one more reason to see the NBA for what it has simply become , a brand and business template completely devoid of character , integrity but above all , real leadership from anyone with a position of authority. Does anyone actually believe that David Stern has always acted in the best interest of the league?

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? By all means do leave a comment as you deem fit , concerning the subject matter and anything else that you believe to be pertinent .

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Tophatal ……….. 2013/04/29

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) In this Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012 photo, New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) warms up before an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y. The New York Jets say, Monday, April 29, 2013, they have waived Tebow. AP Photo/Gary Wiepert ….

(2) Tim Tebow (15) is seen here alongside his now former teammate, Mark Sanchez(6) , after the former Heisman Trophy winner was waived by the franchise . The New York Jets still have 5 quarterbacks remaining on the roster . There now seems to be mounting speculation that Sanchez is likely to be traded by the Jets , should they be able to find a suitable trade partner willing to undertake the remainder of the player’s sizable contract . GM John Idzik and head coach Rex Ryan have refused to speculate on Mark Sanchez’s immediate future at this juncture . AP Photo / Richard Carter ….

(3) Jets’ front office executive John Idzik, left, sits next to New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan while waiting to be introduced as the Jets new general manager on the Jan 24th, 2013 . AP Photo / Mark Ruffo …..

(4) West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith is seen here making his first public appearance as a member of the New York Jets . The quarterback was drafted as in the second round by the AFC East franchise . Smith hopes to make an immediate impact and contribution for the Jets this upcoming season . Yet it appears unlikely that he will be the starter in week one , as the common belief is , that veteran quarterback David Garrard will be the starting quarterback in that game , their season opener , against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . Getty Images North America / Paul Windham …..

(5) Veteran quarterback David Garrard, pictured inset , is likely to be the team’s starting quarterback during the regular season , but he is likely to face stiff competition from newly drafted rookie Geno Smith , as well as the other passers on the roster seeking to become the primary quarterback in the team’s depth chart . AFP / Ricardo Marchiallo ….

(6) New York Knicks’ Raymond Felton (2) gets a high-five from a teammate as Boston Celtics’ Doc River s walks onto the court after calling a time out during the second quarter of Game 3 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Boston, Friday, April 26, 2013. AP Photo/Winslow Townson ….

(7) New York Knicks’ Iman Shumpert (21) tries to control the ball as Boston Celtics’ Paul Pierce (34) struggles with Knicks’ Kenyon Martin , far right, during the second half in Game 4 of a first round NBA basketball playoff series in Boston, Sunday, April 28, 2013. The Celtics won 97-90 in overtime. AP Photo/Elise Amendola …..

(8) Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol (16) , of Spain, knocks the ball out of the hands of San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan during the second half in Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series , Sunday, April 28, 2013, in Los Angeles. The Spurs won 103-82 and swept the Lakers in four games to bring the Los Angeles’ franchise’s season to an abrupt end . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ….

(9) Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard , right, looks on along with San Antonio Spurs guard Gary Neal , left, after receiving a technical foul during the first half in Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Sunday, April 28, 2013, in Los Angeles. Howard scored seven points before getting ejected early in the third quarter for arguing . The Spurs won 103-82 . What we have seen from Dwight Howard in recent years has been the player’s growing immaturity and complete lack of leadership skills , but there are those who stand by the claim that he remains the best center in the NBA , and that may well be the case from a defensive and offensive standpoint , but it has to be said that he lacks the leadership qualities as such revered centers as Shaquille O’Neal , David Robinson , Hakeem Olajuwon , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar , Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ….

(10) Indian-American software mogul Vivek Ranadive who is now showing an interest in purchasing the beleaguered Sacramento Kings . In the aftermath of 12 of the NBA’s thirty owners voting against the sale and relocation of the franchise , it now leaves the road clear for Ranadive’s bid to be accepted by the league hierarchy and Board of Governors . Getty Images North America / Bill Parker ……….

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NFL news and news from around the league

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NFL quarterbacks taken in this season’s draft

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NBA news and archived stories

2012-13 NBA Postseason summary & news

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NBA results 28th April & results 27th April

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NBA free agents 2014

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Boston Celtics’ news

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Hot chic pic of the day Jordan Carver .

More of Carver on the move , just as you may well like it , or not .

Take it from me , those puppies of Carvers’ need to be sucked and played with a great deal , if only in fun !

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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Slideshow for your perusal.

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

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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?

Finally We are Getting Some Closure

Finally We are Getting Some Closure

By tophatal ……… 06/09/2012 02:04 AM (EST)

Well as the landscape seems to be setting for the NBA Playoffs where we have one contestant known for this season’s NBA Finals . From the Western Conference we have the Oklahoma City Thunder , who await the outright winners of the series between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat . As we know the Thunder came through a hard-fought series during which they prevailed over the San Antonio Spurs (4-2).

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Slide show for your perusal.

For Scott Brooks and the players of the Oklahoma City Thunder this was their coming out part y , as they announced themselves to the NBA environment and the nation at large . Kevin Durant has pretty much stepped into the role as “the leader “ of this team , while he is ably supported by teammates Russell Westbrook and James Harden . But not to be overlooked has been the contributions of Thabo Sefalosha and Serge Ibaka , who by themselves have seen fit to be role players under Brooks’ schemes during his tenure. For the fans who attended at the Chesapeake Energy Center as Oklahoma closed out the series in front of a sold-out arena . This was pretty much a night for a great deal of euphoria for all . The heartache for the city of Seattle cannot be overlooked but I see this as being nothing more than sour grapes on their part ! That asides , the city’s lack of really being thorough in their dealings with the NBA hierarchy led by David Stern and the prospective buyer of the franchise at the time , Clay Bennett , would suggest that the city government was very naïve. As we, all know Bennett and his partners purchased the Seattle Supersonics with a view to keeping the franchise in the city of Seattle but instead they reneged on that deal and relocated the basketball team to Oklahoma City . David Stern was unapologetic , even though he gave the impression that he , Bennett and his partners acted in good faith . Howard Schultz , the owner of the Sonics and the founder of the Starbucks’ coffee-house chain , was pretty much sold on the idea of the franchise being in good hands , and the fact that promises were made that the team would remain in Seattle long-term . Boy was he wrong , and the sheer gullibility on his part and that of the city’s council must come into question . In the end , a $25 million payoff by Bennett and the NBA hierarchy pretty much avoided a civil suit in US Federal Court . Therein , the Sonics relocated and the city was left without basketball team .

Over the ensuing the years the Oklahoma City Thunder has pretty much moved up the pecking order of relevance within the NBA and the Western Conference . Moreover, this was very much an indictment of that fact with the team’s performances over the course of the season . Now all that awaits this organization would be an emphatic triumph in the NBA Finals .

Well , the excitement provided by LeBron James in-game six of the Eastern Conference Finals has pretty much brought us to the position where there will be finality in this series. It is either “ win “ or “ go home “ for either team . The Boston Celtics under the tutelage of their head coach Doc Rivers have pretty much given it their all but they will have to give it one more shot , if they are to prevail over their Eastern Conference rivals .

For the Celtics’ veteran trio of Kevin Garnett , Ray Allen and Paul Pierce this will definitely be their last stand as teammates in such an event . The situation almost predicts that whatever the outcome at the end of the postseason , there will be an upheaval within the player personnel . Certainly, team GM Danny Ainge and owner Wyc Grousbeck must know that if the franchise is to look forward to its long-term future , then changes will have to be made . Garnett , Allen and Pierce , collectively have over forty years of NBA experience and a great deal of basketball acumen . It will that experience and the tenacity shown by Rajon Rondo that could very much determine the outcome of this series . While no one is denying that the Celtics were unable to corral LeBron James , I have to believe that Doc Rivers will not let his team be stung twice under such a premise !

On the other side of the coin, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra knows that he is now under a great deal of pressure to succeed . After the team’s triumph in-game six , it is now or never to finally put away the events of last season’s NBA Finals . A victory in-game seven casts away that dark shadow and places the Heat in what will be a highly anticipated showdown with the Oklahoma City Thunder . With several days in between the Thunder’s series victory over the San Antonio Spurs, will be looked upon as the prohibitive favorites in this match up. And while the Miami Heat may well have other ideas as that outcome there is the likelihood with the Thunder’s inexperience in the postseason what might be seen as favorable for the Western Conference team could well end up being a disadvantage . Given the tenacity shown by Kevin Durant and his teammates in the dismantling of the Spurs , I am not so sure that premise will hold true !

Heat team President Pat Riley and team owner Micky Arison having engineered the deal that saw the arrival of Chris Bosh and LeBron James was meant to assure immediate success for the franchise and financial viability . Arison has seen his team’s value rise , that places it amongst the top ten most valuable franchises in the NBA . And the very fact that the Miami Heat now has the drawing power that rivals the Los Angeles Lakers , Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks , augurs well for the franchise and its long-term future .

Perhaps the most intriguing matchup has to now be that of LeBron James and Kevin Garnett . Both have been multiple All Stars as well as league MVP’s who have climbed to unprecedented heights within the game . The duo this postseason have been two of the most productive players during the showcase for its finale . In addition, with that anticipated matchup and the possibility that Bosh and Wade , will have to play their part if the Heat are to win the second NBA title in the past five years .

Doc Rivers will be chasing his second title as an NBA coach and I am sure that he will be looking to his front line players as he seeks to garner further success for the Celtics’ franchise . The role players such as Marquis Daniels and Mikael Pietrus will also have to step up to the plate in order to support the roles that will undoubtedly be played by Kevin Garnett Ray Allen and Paul Pierce . The Celtics’ defense also will have to be more resolute if they are to stymie the offensive prowess shown by the Miami Heat . We can only hope that game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals provides with a great deal of excitement , with the added anticipation that the Finals itself up to the expectations the NBA has come to known for .

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Picture gallery .

Having witnessed the events of events of the NBA Playoffs which results or teams have been the biggest surprise to you during this postseason ? In addition, which team do you believe will prevail in the series between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat . Simply leave a comment on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter .

Picture and slide show details
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(1) Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks smiles as he answers a question during a news conference in Oklahoma City, Friday, June 8, 2012. The Thunder advanced to the NBA basketball finals by defeating the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference finals. AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki ..

(2) In this photo taken Thursday, June 7, 2012, Miami Heat forward LeBron James works the ball against the Boston Celtics during the fourth quarter of Game 6 in their NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals playoff series in Boston. James scored 45 points to lead Miami to a 98-79 win . Game 7 is scheduled for Saturday night in Miami. AP Photo/Elise Amendola …

(3) BOSTON, MA – JUNE 07: Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics reacts against the Miami Heat in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on June 7, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Jared Wickham/Getty Images …

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The Real Funny Side Of Sports You’d Think ………….

The Real Funny Side Of Sports You’d Think …………

The longer this facade goes on the more asinine I know that baseball has become in terms of the game’s hierarchy , the team owners and the mere fact that they’ve never been known to show any common sense . The sharks are now circling the Los Angeles Dodgers as they smell blood and the idiocy of the team’s owner Frank McCourt only further adds to the illusion that when the league hierarchy saw fit to grant him the right to purchase the team from Fox and its parent company NewsCorp when they simply hadn’t used due diligence .

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The organization is now mired in so much financial mismanagement that it’s hard to understand how McCourt and the rest of the executives within the Dodgers’ front office could have been so financially irresponsible . But herein lies the caveat the league hierarchy rarely looks into the finances of its teams unless they believe there to be something inherently wrong. What might be even more surprising is that even in spite of there being clear cut evidence that something was awry with the Dodgers from a financial standpoint Bud Selig chose not to intervene until things had got to a point where one now has to question whether or not the Dodgers can now survive in its present format. If McCourt and his now ex-wife Jamie McCourt were using this organization as their very own personal ATM then questions have to now be answered with a great deal of veracity by not only Frank McCourt by the entire hierarchy of the Los Angeles Dodgers. This so called $3 billion tv contract that awaits the league’s approval has been the sole basis for McCourt to suggest that the organization has no financial worries as it also asks for $ 300 million upfront as an advance from the local Los Angeles Fox tv affiliate . What gave McCourt the impression that $ 300 million would be the cure to what ails the Los Angeles Dodgers when it is clear that he and his subordinates have contravened many of the league’s very own rules ? Now it’s becoming transparent that McCourt and those very same subordinates have been less than truthful as it relates to the organization’s financial stability.

Now the ante may well be upped in lieu of the fact that neither McCourt and Selig have met publicly to discuss the team’s issues . And with it now being reported that the Dodgers simply doesn’t have the cash available to meet its budgetary expenses for the months of May and Junes ____ you simply have to ask how much longer this idiocy can be allowed to carry on , in allowing to have McCourt even be associated with this team in any form whatsoever ? Gross negligence on his part , much of it no doubt suborned by the front office as they may well have been powerless but at the same time they also have a responsibility to the league hierarchy to report any serious malfeasance within their organization . Either Ned Colletti and CFO Peter Wilhelm are that stupid or they simply went along with the insipid moves and his then wife Jamie Court in raiding the organization’s coffers for their own malevolent needs . Frank and Jamie McCourt it is suggested were loaned $108 million between 2004-09 to fund their lavish lifestyle . If this is indeed true then I can only surmise that Frank McCourt’s estimated wealth of $1.2 billion had to have diminished immensely for him to be taking money from the coffers of the organization while they struggled to actually be competitive within NL West.

Granted this season we’ve witnessed some competitiveness from the team but as of late things have tailed off somewhat for organization as the off the field troubles has simply become a major news sports story within the game of baseball this season . The NL West as competitive as some may well believe it to be in large part has been a division that has been viewed as where the baseball being played there between those teams can be best described as being marginal . The division is now led by San Francisco Giants with a 21-16 mark followed by the Colorado Rockies (19-16) and Dodgers some 3.5 games behind with an 18-20 mark. That being said with all of the off the field controversy and mayhem taking place within the Dodgers’ organization the events taking place on the field have been forced to take a back seat as this idiocy simply plays itself out as a spectacle within the public’s domain.

It’s sad that one of baseball’s great organizations has been allowed to sink such depths but in reality this merely shows the complete ineptitude that is now on display at all levels of the game from the league hierarchy on down to the very players themselves .

If Chad Ochocinco can’t have the glare of the limelight placed upon him this NFL player simply becomes bereft of all common sense . Not content with having tried out for a roster spot with MLS soccer’s Sporting Kansas City the player is now said to be interested in riding a bull on the PBR (Professional Bull Riding) circuit . Well given the amount of bull served up last season by Ocho and the Cincinnati Bengals I just hope that the bull he’s given to ride simply stomps his ass into several hundred pieces ! The more he’s around in the NFL , the more you simply know that any team that he’s a part of is almost certainly doomed for failure . Granted, coming off a 2009 season where the Bengals were the AFC North champions 2010 was merely an afterthought as the Bengals simply slipped into a season sheer ineptitude posting a 6-10 record for the year . If that wasn’t bad enough you then had the team’s Pro Bowl quarterback Carson Palmer demanding a trade rather than remaining with the Bengals . That situation seems close to resolving itself as the team took Andy Dalton as their second pick 35th overall in this season’s NFL Draft .

From my own perspective the problems of the Cincinnati Bengals are many , from a defense that’s simply become non-existent to an offense that on its best days would simply have problems making a first down, much less putting up points on the board as and when needed . It simply wasn’t merely about Palmer’s problems both on and off the field but the mere fact that Marvin Lewis lost control of these players and little of what he or his coaching staff imparted on those players actually manifested itself on the field of play last season. This season the Bengals could very well be at odds with itself as well as the incumbents within the AFC North. This much is certain if the Bengals are to have any chance being legitimately viewed as contender within the AFC much less the rest of the NFL then Ochocinco and this team will very much have to prove themselves worthy adversaries of their opponents this season . A great deal is being asked of Andy Dalton if he’s chosen to be the team’s quarterback but in lieu of that fact his being thrown in at the deep end may not be the wisest of choices but it may well be the only one that can be made by Marvin Lewis and his staff.

Well now that the Boston Celtics have been unceremoniously dumped out of this season’s NBA Playoffs in their series loss to the Miami Heat . The orbituaries are now being written as to the demise of several players on this team . It appears that negotiations are underway to retain the services of Doc Rivers as the team’s coach . But if anything GM Danny Ainge , senior managing partner Wyc Grousbeck and the other managing partners can’t have been entirely happy in the way that this teams was summarily dispatched by this Heat team .

This 4-1 series loss by the Boston Celtics to the Miami Heat in essence explained a lot about the two diverging paths that these two heave have taken over the course of the regular season. Having won their regular season meetings 3-1 the Celtics may well have felt that they had the upper hand were they to meet again in the postseason. But if anything it was the Heat who took heart from those meetings knowing that they had to up their game and play with a great deal more resolve. Erik Spoelstra having got this team play much more cohesively, began to see the fruits of his labor . At the same time team President Pat Riley and team owner Micky Arison now know that all of the maneuvering and the subsequent work done by Dwyane Wade in persuading both Chris Bosh and LeBron James to sign with the team was not only in the players’ best interests as it offered them the best chance of winning an NBA title but it also benefited the Heat organization from a competitive and financial standpoint as well.

For the Boston Celtics Ainge alongside Rivers and the coaching staff must now look at how best rebuild this team and what if any major roster changes need to be made if they’re return back the playoffs as a formidable postseason opponent. We surely have seen the last of both Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal as players within the NBA . Collectively the duo offered little if anything to the team during much of the postseason. However my greatest gripe concerning the fall from grace by the Celtics was the absurd notion by Danny Ainge that his trade deadline moves of trading both Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson actually made the Celtics better , when he got little , tangible in return from those deals . He may well have done that to pare down the Celtics’ payroll but that all seems redundant when you consider that jointly Jermaine and Shaquille O’Neal were earning more than Perkins and Robinson combined this season. Contract lenght asides who in their right mind would want two aging veterans who between them offered nothing to this team throughout much of the regular season other than being a complete waste of space on the bench ?

It remains to be seen the steps to be taken by Ainge and his staff but this much is certain for the large part this current roster will most certainly change in its current format and for the large part we will be seeing a number of new faces on this team be it via free agency or through the upcoming NBA Draft.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the topics raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment .

Alan aka tophatal ………………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Tom Schieffer , the man charged by Major League Baseball with sorting through the finances of the Los Angeles Dodgers, is interviewed in New York, Thursday, May 12, 2011. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews …..

(2) Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Ronny Cedeno, right, watches his throw to first after forcing out Los Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier during the second inning of a baseball <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2011_05_12_lanmlb_pitmlbgame in Pittsburgh on Thursday, May 12, 2011. Juan Uribe was out at first. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar ….

(3) Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig listens to a question during a news conference on Thursday, May 12, 2011 in New York. Selig gave Frank McCourt the face-to-face meeting the Los Angeles Dodgers owner wanted, but provided no timetable on approving a proposed $3 billion television deal with Fox that would keep the club from running out of cash at the end of the month. Selig and McCourt met Wednesday when owners began a two-day quarterly meeting at Major League Baseball’s office. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews …..

(4) Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti (left) and the team’s owner Frank McCourt . This was Colletti’s formal introduction to the public as the team’s new GM in November 2005. Icon SMI/ Larry Goren ……. .

(5) A.J. Green(4) overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals, poses for a photo on stage with family members during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ….

(6) Cincinnati Bengals second round draft pick Andy Dalton(notes), left, a quarterback from TCU, and third round draft pick Dontay Moch, a linebacker from Nevada, right, pose with their jerseys during an NFL football news conference, Saturday, April 30, 2011, in Cincinnati. AP Photo/ David Kohl ……..

(7) Cincinnati Bengals first round draft pick A.J. Green, right, speaks at a news conference with head coach Marvin Lewis, Friday, April 29, 2011 in Cincinnati. Green, a wide receiver from Georgia, will wear number 18 for the NFL football team. AP Photo/Al Behrman ……….

(8) Chad Ochocinco begins tryout with Sporting Kansas City on March 23, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. The player having gained a roster spot with the team is now said to be interested in riding a bull within the PBR circuit . Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images ……

(9) Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge talks with reporters during a news conference at the team’s NBA basketball training facility in Waltham, Mass., Friday, May 13, 2011. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer …….

(10) MIAMI, FL – MAY 11: LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat gets emotional after closing out the series against the Boston Celtics in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 11, 2011 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images …..

(11) Mario Chalmers (15) of the Miami Heat is congratulated by Ray Allen (20) of the Boston Celtics after Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 11, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Getty Images /Mike Ehrmann ………

(12) Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers reacts on the sideline during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on May 11, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NBAE/Getty Images/ Mike Ehrmann ……….

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Dallas Mavericks …… TBD …….. winners of the series between Memphis Grizzlies …… & ….. Oklahoma City Thunder

When The Rubber Hits The Road It’s Time To Step Up ……

When The Rubber Hits The Road It’s Time To Step Up ……

When the rubber meets the road it’s time to step up and it appears that the San Antonio Spurs have hit the road with a flat tire. The Memphis Grizzlies have given the Spurs all they can handle a great deal more. A 91-88 victory by the Grizzlies with Zach Randolph leading the charge in his team’s victory . When it’s all said and done a question needs to be asked ….. have Gregg Popovich’s  —- players become complacent or are the Grizzlies simply too good ? ===========================================================================

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A 2-1 series lead and it appears with their next victory this series could be the Grizzlies for the taking . At this point Popovich has to get these players playing with a great deal more zeal as the Memphis Grizzlies simply have the Spurs on their heels. It’s seems strange to see the number one seed within the Western Conference simply being outplayed not only on their home court but also in large throughout much of this series as it has unfolded . Throughout much of the season this Spurs’ team played at a high caliber  with players such as Manu Ginobli , Gary Neal , Dejuan Blair , Tony Parker and Matt Bonner stepping up to the plate. However the zeal with which we saw during the regular season has been missing as this series has taken on a life of its own as it seems to be now slipping away from the grasp of the San Antonio Spurs. . If the Spurs are to be in with a chance of reasserting themselves and regaining some sort of momentum in this series then we’re going to have to see more from the likes of Ginobli , Parker and their seasoned veteran Tim Duncan . Granted , Duncan has seen limited time throughout much of the regular season .

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Clearly at this point of the playoffs the contenders ………….. ‘ the real contenders’ step up and separate themselves the pretenders’ . As an ardent Spurs’ fan I get the feeling that the Spurs rather than looking like a contender they’re now beginning to look and play like a pretender ! The four time  NBA champions are no nearer to adding a fifth title than there’s a chance of Donald Trump winning the 2012 Presidential elections based on their play in this series and in particular game three which saw them being completely outplayed by their Western Conference opponents . The credit where it’s due belongs to the Memphis Grizzlies and their belief that they’d nothing to fear in taking the game to the Spurs and forcing them to change their whole way of playing and the fact it has been this Grizzlies’ team in the driver’s seat. At some point we have to acknowledge that the league is now changing and that the so called  teams we believe to be dominant are no longer really that.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers  , Miami Heat and Boston Celtics will have their work cut out for them during these playoffs . Albeit that the Heat and Celtics have series leads as the playoffs progress these teams will face a much sterner test in the second round (conference semi finals) of the NBA Playoffs . As the playoffs unfold we’ll get to see what these teams are actually made of and how each faces adversity when stares at them from across the court . The Spurs are now in a position where they can ill afford to go down 3-1 in this series knowing full well that even on their home court they will be hard pressed to put the Memphis Grizzlies back on their heels. If anything it has been the Grizzles who have placed the Spurs back on their heels looking to stave off a series defeat and if anything what would be the shock of this season’s playoffs series so far. Zach Randolph has put this team on his back and played like a man possessed with something to prove to the doubters and naysayers who felt he’d nothing to offer . And as troubled as his career is said to have been Randolph now seems to have found a home where his talents have flourished and where the Grizzlies’ fans have no doubt shown their appreciation for all that they have witnessed from the player’s contributions on the court and within the local community . If it’s a given that the Spurs bow out of this series then I am willing to admit that I underestimated the Grizzlies but even more so I know that the the Spurs this while while their regular season was impressive if anything it created an illusion and an air of complacency that the lulled and lured their fans into thinking that this team was once again ready to contend and perhaps actually playing with a sense of purpose in marching towards the goal of winning another title .

A series loss would raise a great many questions as to this team and the direction that it is heading in. The triumvirate of Ginobli , Parker and Duncan is an aging one but the thought was that with a young nucleus of players looking to make their mark , instead it looks as if they have regressed lost in situation that in some respect is one of their own making. I certainly do believe that Gregg Popovich and GM R C Buford will have to reassess the qualities they seek in terms of the Spurs’ roster and how best to address the deficiencies that we now know that the San Antonio Spurs have. Now as the postseason plays itself out it will be very interesting to see what happens with each of the series in question . In the case of the Spurs and where a number one seed has previously faced a situation where they could be down 3-1 in the first round of a playoff series, that seed has gone on to win that fourth series game and to win that series four out of the six occasions since the playoff format came into being and where it changed from a best of five series to a best of seven game series . That if anything should be an added incentive to the team . But in reality the Spurs simply don’t need that as an incentive , what they actually need to do is to come out and play a meaningful game and series as if their very lives depended on it .

The 2011 NBA Playoffs have brought us a great deal of thrills and spills , and I must say that while I’d expected some controversy in terms of the officiating it has to be said the surprises if any, have come from the fact that certain teams we’re thought to have favored haven’t played anywhere near their true potential . And that has either been due to them either playing inconsistently or more to the fact that the lesser seeded teams in these playoffs have played well above their potential . It now remains to be seen how things will actually pan out for the teams and their loyal fans who have become engrossed in the NBA’s showcase event _ the playoffs as a precursor to the NBA Finals itself .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What series if anything in the first round of the playoffs has been of interest to you ? And how do you see the series between Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs ultimately ending ? Simply chime in with a comment as to your thoughts on this piece and the NBA postseason as you now see it.

* NB Is there an NBA team in the state of Texas that actually has a backbone ? The Spurs are in turmoil in their series . The Dallas Mavericks in allowing the Portland Trailblazers to erase a twenty three  point deficit in game four of their series shows us why this Mavericks’ team is simply softer than a roll of Charmin tissue paper ! Mark Cuban you’ve been Punk’d bitch !

As for the heroics of Brandon Roy , it was truly exemplary ! The Houston Rockets having chosen not to seek the return of Rick Adelman  next season are now without an NBA coach . As to who Adelman’s successor will be it remains to be seen but team GM Daryl Morey will be seeking a quality oriented coach who knows how to get the best out of a young team and its players .

Alan aka tophatal ………………….. Picture and slide show details below . ——————————————————————————————————

(1) MEMPHIS, TN – APRIL 23: Zach Randolph (50) of the Memphis Grizzlies celebrates with a little dance after defeating the San Antonio Spurs in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 23, 2011 at FedExForum  in Memphis, Tennessee. Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE /Getty Images …..

(2) Darrell Arthur of the Memphis Grizzlies against the San Antonio Spurs in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 25, 2011 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. The Grizzlies defeated the Spurs 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the best of seven series . Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images………

(3) Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) drives against San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9), of France, during the second half of Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball series on Monday, April 25, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. Conley led the Grizzlies with 15 points and Parker led the Spurs with 23 points. The Grizzlies won 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. AP Photo/Lance Murphey  …………

(4) Memphis Grizzlies forward Leon Powe  (7) grabs a rebound in front of San Antonio Spurs forward DeJuan Blair (45) and Daniel Green (4) during the second half of Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball series on Monday, April 25, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. The Grizzlies won 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. Behind Powe are San Antonio Spurs forward Steve Novak (23) and Memphis Grizzlies center Hamed Haddadi (15), of Iran. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …..

(5) Trying to instill confidence ? Maybe . San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan, center, talks with his teammates during the second half of Game 4 against the Memphis Grizzlies in a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Monday, April 25, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. The Grizzlies won 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …….

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Dumb , Dumber And Dumbest …………

Dumb , Dumber And Dumbest …………

Broke, devoid of creativity and ideas , I guess that could best describe the Congress , Senate and Barack Obama’s first two years in office and the performance of his Cabinet overall ! But no this piece isn’t about but that but the continued mediocrity of the Minnesota Vikings and in part that of the New York Knicks . But before I delve further into the sporting topic of the day I’d like to continue on the path of idiocy of the nation’s politics at present . Is anyone of the opinion that both the FAA ( Federal Aviation Administration) and Department of Transportation can be trusted to allay the fears of the public as it concerns air traffic safety when we’re being informed of air traffic controllers falling asleep in the control towers when there are flight departing arriving from the nation’s regional and major international departure airports ? Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says … ‘ the situation can no longer can be tolerated and that there will be much stricter enforcement as well as an adoption of new rules as it relates to working hours of the air traffic controllers on all shifts’ . Am I missing something here ? But in light of the volume of travellers that take to the air each year , that figure is approximately 500 million passengers flown domestically and internationally within US air space I find LaHood’s words of little comfort !

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As many of you may well have been aware several incidents have come to light in the past few weeks where there have been multiple mistakes due to fatigue and human error by air traffic controllers . Consider this also in a recent domestic travel of First Lady Michelle Obama’s flight into Andrews Air Force Base had a near miss with a military cargo transport plane as both were in close proximity of each other . The C 137 was less than three miles from that of the flight carrying the first lady which had to be delayed in its landing while allowing the military cargo transporter to land . Aviation rules call for planes of such size to be no more than no less than 5 miles apart when in flight and close proximity of each other during pre landing rules. This error concerning this incident wasn’t down to the military air traffic controllers but again due to the lax attitude shown by several controllers at a regional airport in Maryland who’d mistakenly allowed both planes into the same air traffic lane and space . Needless to say though there wasn’t a serious mishap the situation could have been much graver . Consider this also what might have been the domestic and international political fallout had the President been on board and Air Force One collided with that military transport plane ? Suffice to say that the country would be in turmoil and we’d be talking about this tragedy and questioning why it happened .

Given the season that the Minnesota Vikings had in 2010 and the ineptitude shown by the team with Brett Favre under the helm is it any wonder why that the team’s season flamed out the way that it did ? Having posted a mediocre 6-10 record within the NFC North any hopes that Brad Childress’ had of making the postseason before his abrupt firing went the way of Favre with a whimper . Childress was succeeded by Leslie Frazier but the team’s improvement as such can be best described as being marginal . With Favre being forced to sit out several games down the latter part of the season it was left to his backup Joe Webb to provide the team with any impetus that there was to be had .

In light of what Leslie Frazier and his coaching staff now has to work with in terms of the quarterbacks available to him on the Vikings’ roster , names such as Webb , Rhett Bomar , Tarvaris Jackson and Patrick Ramsey can either be viewed as journeymen or essentially players that can be relied upon to be good during practice but you simply wouldn’t want on an NFL field during a regular season game unless it was under dire circumstances . That being said if as is being rumored the Vikings front office led by Director of Player George Paton assisted by Rick Spielman are said to be seriously interested in seeing whether or not seasoned NFL veteran Donovan McNabb would indeed be a good fit for this team . Pardon me for saying this but McNabb’s best years are indeed behind him and even when he showed faint glimmers of his skillset at its best , it wasn’t as productive as one would have thought. OK, so he was playing on a Washington Redskins’ team that on a good day couldn’t sniff a out win in the NFL if they were handed a three touchdown lead with less than five minutes left in a game as they’d somehow find a way of fu_king things up , completely ! The fact that the team was coached by Mike Shanahan with his son Kyle as the Redskins’ offensive coordinator may well have a had a great deal to do with it . But in some respects much of the blame had to be laid at the feet of McNabb as well !

From my own perspective I think that Vikings’ owner Zygi Wilf is caught between a rock and a hard place knowing that this team greatly underachieved over the past two seasons , each time when the team was considered amongst the favorites for the Superbowl . Wilf’s will to win is only exceeded by the dire need for the Vikings’ organization to try and lure Minnesota State Legislature to pass a legislative proposal to pay for a new stadium for the organization replacing what Wilf and his co-executives feels is an archaic and out of date facility in the Metrodome (Mall of America Field) in Minneapolis , Minnesota. At an estimated cost of between $600- $800 million the proposed new venue for the team would be paid for largely in part through a bond issue and state funds at the state residents’ expense . Needless to say with the state now facing a budget deficit any such proposal within the legislature is now being placed on the backburner . Albeit that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league hierarchy could assist the Vikings in their endeavor by loaning them part of the costs to aid in the building of such a facility . But as of now the NFL lockout very much takes precedence over any such problems that the Vikings are said to facing on or off the field.

I can’t possibly see what advantage that there would in the Vikings acquiring McNabb as a free agent when they already have four quarterbacks on the team’s depth chart . But it either shows us that the Vikings are in such dire straits and the fact that Leslie Frazier has no implicit faith any of the quartertabcks on the roster. That being said Joe Webb was able to show that under the right set of circumstances that he’s quite capable of <l leading this team. But herein lies the caveat as it relates to the Vikings , as potent an offense as they’re said to have their defense had become porous and indeed an aging one that had showed signs of deterioration throughout much of last season . If the team is show signs of improvement this upcoming season should there be one then there choices will have to reflect bolstering their defensive line and looking via free agency to add any other pieces that they deem suitable to their needs . I certainly don’t believe that adding McNabb to this roster would make them any better given what I’ve seen from this team over the last two seasons !

The upcoming NFL Draft set to take commence on the 28th April , 2011 , being staged at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City , New York . And with the Vikings having the twelfth pick in the first round , eleventh pick in the second round (43rd overall) there’s bound to be an abundances of choices and picks that can be made I feel that can be envisaged being made by the Vikings organization ! I certainly don’t believe it prudent either for the team to take a quarterback in the first round no matter how good they’re presumed to be when it’s clear to see that the team’s immediate needs have more to do with its defense than anything else ! But whatever the choices that are to be made by the organization one can only presumed that it will be done in order to bolster their competitive needs and requirements .

So the New York Knicks are said to be relevant once again having made the postseason . And having to face the third seeded Boston Celtics , their task hasn’t now been made any easier with the fact that they now have to overcome a 2-0 deficit against the Celtics . That being said Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire have stepped up to the plate in leading the team into the postseason . But as good as this team is no doubt perceived to be , there remains flaws that coach Mike DAntoni has failed to address or quite possibly he and his coaching staff are actually too ignorant and unwilling to address . And that is the very fact that the Knicks simply cannot play any form of resolute defense . It has been one of the many flaws on this Knicks’ team that has and will ultimately need to their downfall should they not come to the conclusion that this situation needs to be addressed !

Throughout much of the regular season the New York Knicks struggled to make their presence felt . And even having made the playoffs as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference you simply knew that they’d have their work cut out for them no matter which of the top four teams that they would have to face in the playoffs. If anything their 42-40 record reflected greatly where they sat in the pecking order of the Eastern Conference. Albeit that their fans undoubtedly feels that their record doesn’t justify their actually competitiveness as a team within the NBA . I do believe that most Knicks’ fans under the misapprehension that this team is far better than their regular season record reflects .

At this juncture when the series resumes at Madison Square Garden the Knicks will be hard pressed to not only try and derail Doc Rivers’ team but I believe that they would very well bow out of the first round of the playoffs in the most decisive of ways and that’s quite possibly being swept by the Boston Celtics . Game two saw the Celtics eke out a three point victory (96-93 ) even with the advent of with a 42 point offensive output coming from Carmelo Anthony who was ably assisted by Toney Douglas . But as I’ve alluded to earlier in this piece if you’re coach and his staff aren’t prepared to ingrain it into the players that they’ve got to play defense then you’re bound and will be doomed for failure !
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Game three and it’s all to play for and with that raucous home crowd to be found at MSG showing their support for the home team . One would expect for the Knicks to rise to the occasion with the fervent support of their fans . But I do know this , if they continue to allow the Celtics to dictate the pace and rhythm of this game and series then they will end up losing it all too decisively . They have to play defense and negate the perimeter shooting of Ray Allen and Paul Pierce in particular . And needless to say it’d also help if they were able to put a damn body on Rajon Rondo , rather than allowing him to continue to run wild being the architecture of much of the Celtics’ play and offense . I kind of get the impression that these minute details seems to have escaped not only the Knicks’ players but also their dumb and lame assed coaching staff ! .
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Picture gallery for your perusal .

To your mind do you believe that the Minnesota Vikings would be making an immense mistake in acquiring Donovan McNabb as a free agent at this point of his career ? Or do you believe that he can still offer the team something by way of his veteran leadership and in some form still be productive ? Moreover which of the quarterbacks on the Vikings squad is best equipped to lead this team should they not sign McNabb ? And what thoughts if any do you have on the outcome of the playoff series between the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks ? Simply leave a comments as to your thoughts on each of the topics raised within this piece .

Alan aka tophatal ……..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House regarding support for infrastructure development October 11, 2010 in Washington, DC. Obama was joined by members of his administration and members of local governments around the nation including (L-R) former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (far right). Getty Images / Win McNamee ……….

(2) Obama Departs White House For Columbus Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (L) talks with U.S. President Barack Obama as they walk across the South Lawn before departing the White House aboard Marine One June 18, 2010 in Washington, DC. Obama is traveling to Columbus, Ohio, to mark the 10,000 road construction project paid for by the Recovery Act getting underway in downtown Columbus. Chip Smodevilla / Getty Images North America …….

(3) Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) is tackled by Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90), linebacker Bobby Carpenter (59) and defensive tackle Corey Williams (99) during the first quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. The Lions would go on to defeat the Vikings 20-3 AP Photo/Carlos Osorio …….

(4) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre (4) comes out of the tunnel before an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday , Jan. 2, 2011. AP Photo/Rick Osentoski ………

(5) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joe Webb (14) looks downfield during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) ……

(6) Donovan McNabb (5) of the Washington Redskins greets DeSean Jackson (10) of the Philadelphia Eagles prior to their game on October 3, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Jim McIsaac / Getty Images ……..

(7) Head Coach Mike Shanahan (R) of the Washington Redskins talks with his son Kyle Shanahan (L) offensive coordinator for the team during Redskins training camp on August 6, 2010 in Ashburn, Virginia. …

(8) In this photo taken Tuesdauy, April 19, 2011, Boston Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal , far left, whistles from the bench during the first quarter against the New York Knicks in Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Boston. Celtics head coach Doc Rivers announced Wednesday, April 20, that O’Neal will miss his third straight playoff game with a right calf injury when they meet the Knicks on Friday night in Game 3. AP Photo/Elise Amendola ……….

(9) BOSTON, MA – APRIL 19: Ray Allen(20) of the Boston Celtics shoots a three point basket against the New York Knicks in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 19, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Celtics defeated the New York Knicks 96-93 Getty Images /Elsa Martinez ……..

(10) Carmelo Anthony(7) of the New York Knicks tries to shoot over Jermaine O’Neal (7) of the Boston Celtics in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 19, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Celtics defeated the New York Knicks 96-93. Getty Images/ Elsa Martinez ……

(11) Toney Douglas (23) of the New York Knicks tries to pass as Rajon Rondo(9) of the Boston Celtics defends in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 19, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Celtics defeated the New York Knicks 96-93. Elsa Martinez/ Getty Images ………

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NFL News

Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings front office

Minnesota Vikings roster

Minnesota Vikings’ coaching staff

Minnesota Vikings’ 2011 Draft order

Minnesota Vikings 2011 schedule

NBA News

NBA Playoffs 2011

NBA Playoff Picture team draws

Boston Celtics — vs New York Knicks’ playoff series

And So It Begins ……….. The NBA Playoffs Are Here …….

And So It Begins ……….. The NBA Playoffs Are Here …….

The NBA postseason is almost upon us and the first round of games beginning this upcoming Saturday the 16th April . But on a side note it cannot have escaped the latest incident whereby NBA Commissioner David Stern had to impose a severe $100,000 fine on the Los Angeles Lakers’ guard Kobe Bryant for using a derogatory homophobic term towards a referee during the Lakers’ game against the San Antonio Spurs . I’ve always felt that far too many of today’s athletes are nothing more than a bunch of entitled primadona self absorbed idiots who think themselves above the law and above the rules that govern their game ! Bryant seems to be no different and his less than contrite apology speaks volumes as to the player’s immaturity at this juncture .

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Slide show for your perusal .

The Lakers’ season has now become all the more tenuous when it was announced that their center Andrew Bynum has a recurring knee injury that could very well sideline him for initial part of the first round of these playoffs. A match-up against the New Orleand Hornets has all the semblance of a potential upset if the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t fully prepared for their task against the Chris Paul and David West led Hornets . This will be a match-up of styles and though many feel that the Lakers are the more athletic of the two teams I personally believe that the Lakers’ Achilles’ heel is that their bench lacks real depth ! The likes of Joe Smith and Theo Ratliff on paper may well look impressive but in actuality , do they actually strike fear into anyone much less you as a fan ? Admittedly , the Lakers may well this season’s potential Sixth Man of the Year in Lamar Odom but beyond that the roster in terms of its bench has nothing . The team’s greatest strength is that of their duo Pau Gasol and Bryant himself who leads the team in scoring .

Courtesy of NBA.com

NBA fines Kobe $100,000 for apparent slur toward ref

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The NBA fined Kobe Bryant $100,000 on Wednesday for using a derogatory gay term in frustration over a referee’s call.

NBA Commissioner David Stern issued a swift disciplinary ruling after the Los Angeles Lakers’ five-time NBA champion guard cursed and used the homophobic slur when referee Bennie Adams called a technical foul on him Tuesday night in the third quarter of a victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

“Kobe Bryant’s comment during last night’s game was offensive and inexcusable,” Stern said. “While I’m fully aware that basketball is an emotional game, such a distasteful term should never be tolerated. … Kobe and everyone associated with the NBA know that insensitive or derogatory comments are not acceptable and have no place in our game or society.”

Stern’s action drew praise from gay-rights organizations that had demanded a fuller apology from Bryant and condemnation of his words by the Lakers. Bryant, the sixth-leading scorer in NBA history, issued a statement earlier Wednesday saying his words came strictly out of anger and shouldn’t be taken literally.

“We applaud Commissioner Stern and the NBA for not only fining Bryant but for recognizing that slurs and derogatory comments have no place on the basketball court or in society at large,” Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said. “We hope such swift and decisive action will send a strong and universal message that this kind of hateful outburst is simply inexcusable no matter what the context.”

Bryant’s words and actions were captured by TNT’s cameras during the network’s national broadcast of the Lakers’ regular-season home finale.

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A patron (JW aka Dubs) of my site had posed the question to me who amongst the teams in the Western Conference would simply be good enough to derail the hopes of the Lakers in the off-season ? My response to him ___ was , that should the Lakers and Spurs meet in the conference finals it would not be beyond the realms of possibility to see the Lakers succumb to Gregg Popovich coached Spurs . The equalizing factor may well be the two head coaches in Phil Jackson and Popovich who between them have won nine of the last fifteen NBA titles since 1996 . If that’s not accounting for the dominance of these two coaches and their respective teams , someone needs to explain to me what is.

The seedings within the Western Conference has worked itself out coming into the last week of the regular season schedule with the San Antonio Spurs sewing up the number one seed followed by the Lakers , Dallas Mavericks , Oklahoma City Thunder , Denver Nuggets , Portland Trailblazers , New Orleans Hornets and finally the Memphis Grizzlies .

The Eastern Conference played itself out with the Chicago Bulls taking the number one overall seed much to the surprise of many who may well have felt that Tom Thibodeau’s young team led by MVP candidate Derrick Rose weren’t yet ready to be viewed amongst the elite teams within the conference. Instead we had the inconsistency shown by the Celtics , Heat and Magic all thought to be potential leading candidates for the conference’s number one seed. But the inconsistency shown by those trio of teams over the course of the season opened the door for the Chicago Bulls their successful regular season.

Rose for his part ably abetted by Luol Deng , Joakim Noah , Taj Gibson and Carlos Boozer have all played their part resurrecting the fortunes of the ball-club from those lofty days when Phil Jackson was the coach and Michael Jordan was leading the organization to their numerous triumphs . The question now being asked by the faithful Bulls’ fans who’ve attended the home games at the United Center is whether or not this team is actually capable of winning this season’s NBA title. This postseason may well go a long way in answering those questions and a great deal more not only about the Chicago Bulls also as to the aspirations of several other teams within the Eastern Conference. Undoubtedly the coaching acumen of Tom Thibodeau as coach of the Bulls has to be admired and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him being rewarded with the NBA’s Coach of the Year Award as he’d be thoroughly deserving of the award !

It goes without saying that while the Miami Heat were obviously viewed as the prohibitive favorites within the Eastern Conference merely because of the Pat Riley off-season engineered moves amongst the free agents on the market _____ many felt that the Heat would walk away with the conference. You even had the asinine notion being raised by none other than former coach Jeff Van Gundy and former Knicks’ point guard Mark Jackson that this incarnation of the Miami Heat would be able to challenge the Bulls’ single season record of 72 wins . In essence both Jackson and Van Gundy were enamored with style over substance rather than what was tangible and in front of their very eyes. And hence ,it’s one of the primary reasons why I tend not to take anything that they have to say about the NBA with any sense of intelligence. Because it’s as if duo had a man crush on LeBron James and this team rather than looking at their body of work over the course of the season . Gullible and unintelligent would simply sum up their knowledge and the asinine prognostications that they’ve made about this team and what they thought was actually possible.

Now while I believe that the Heat stands as good a chance as any of the deemed favorites within the Eastern Conference , I firmly believe that if they’re to prevail then the play of their main trio of James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade will have to be at a heightened level with the role players on this roster also stepping up their game . If they’re able to do that then it’s my belief that they can prevail within the conference but given the relative postseason inexperience of the team’s coach Erik Spoelstra it could well be that in part that they will struggle along the way as the team’s postseason efforts evolve. My firm opinion is that the top four seeds within the Eastern Conference will be the conference semi finalists and that the match-ups there will go along way in suggesting who we are likely to see in the conference finals .

If there is to be a surprise to be had in the first round of this season’s playoffs I do believe that it could come at the hands if the New York Knicks pushing the Boston Celtics for all their worth. And though this Knicks’ team leaves a great deal to be desired in terms of their defensive efforts there’s no denying that offensively they can stand toe to toe with just about any high scoring team left in these playoffs. GM Donnie Walsh in acquring Amar’e Stoudemire , Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups made sure that the team was at least capable of competing but there’s little to suggest that there’s now that consistency sought to actually make that one big push in the postseason. But herein lies the caveat once the postseason comes around everything indeed appears to be on a level playing home field advantage or not , and I do believe that both Anthony and Stoudemire wish to prove the team’s doubters wrong.

The Boston Celtics with a mix of some youth and veteran experience seem to relish the postseason and in Doc Rivers they have a coach who knows how to coax the best out of his players. But as I’ve repeatedly said to a number of patrons who’ve proffered an opinion on the team , it’s my belief that GM Danny Ainge made a profound mistake trading both Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson and getting very little in return. The duo of Perkins and Robinson were two of the unsung heroes on this roster . Unfortunately, they have an aging pair of seemingly unproductive players in Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal whom I believe will offer very little beyond their experience in the league. I know Shaq has five rings to his name but in reality after his decade and a half in the NBA, he’s no longer the once potent offsensive player he once was. And to my mind Jermaine O’Neal is literally robbing the Celtics blind while offering little in return !

Now while I’m really looking forward to the postseason it goes without saying that what I truly do hope to see are some very competitive series that are adjudicated by the officials with a great deal of impartiality and sound judgment rather than the usual quantity of blown calls and rather insidious wish of theirs to place themselves in the midst of a series, as if they’re indeed part of an ensemble cast. I’ve always felt that a great game is one where you see very little of the officials and more of the players exhibiting their skills and athleticism ! More often than not once the NBA postseason comes around you tend to see little of the latter and more of the referees interjecting themselves into a game or series for all of the wrong reasons that in the end tends to create more controversy than there really needs to be.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on this upcoming postseason and what if any are you really looking forward to seeing in terms of the teams playing ? Simply chime in with a comment on your thoughts on the NBA postseason . As a bye note are you also in agreement with the fine imposed on Kobe Bryant after his display , pointed and heated comments at a referee during the Lakers’ game against the Spurs ? Once again do leave a comment concerning that incident also.

Alan aka tophatal …………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Sacramento Kings fan Ralph Miller IV, 9, holds a sign conveying his sentiments during the Sacramento Kings NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, April 13, 2011. The Maloof family, majority owners of the Kings, are expected to go to New York later this week to ask the NBA permission to move the team to Anaheim. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli ………………

(2) (L-R) Tiago Splitter(22), George Hill (3) , Chris Quinn (11) , Steve Novak(23) , and Gary Neal(14) of the San Antonio Spurs look on against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on April 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California . NBAE/Getty Images/ Andrew D Bernstein ….

(3) Andrew Bynum (17) of the Los Angeles Lakers grimaces after an injury against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on April 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images / Harry How ……….

(4) 12: Kobe Bryant(24) of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots as he is defended by Tiago Splitter(22) and Richard Jefferson(24) of the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on April 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California . Getty Images/ Harry How …….

(5) CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 13: of the Chicago Bulls of the New Jersey Nets at the United Center on April 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Nets 97-92 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……

(6) Carlos Boozer(5) of the Chicago Bulls is called for charging as he hits Dan Gadzuric(50) of the New Jersey Nets at the United Center on April 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois . Getty Images/ Johnathan Daniels ……..

(7) ‘The Three Stooges’ Jeff Van Gundy, right, appears comfortable with his broadcast partners Mark Jackson, left, and Mike Breen. Breen says of Van Gundy, “He’s even smiling sometimes.” . I’m not so sure that the trio mightn’t be the worse on air analysts covering the NBA either on broadcast or cable network today ! What they believe they provide in , insight , is simply dulled by their ineptitude and stupidity with the belief that they’re also funny ! Courtesy of ESPN / Scott Clarke …….

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NBA News

NBA Officials …… (Referees)

NBA Hierarchy

NBA Team Statistics (Team by Team Stats)

NBA Standings Season Finale (Conference)

Standings by Division

NBA Team Statistics Defense

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NBA Playoff Matchups

Eastern Conference

(1) Chicago Bulls …. vs …. (8) Indiana Pacers

(2) Miami Heat …. vs ….. (7) Philadelphia 76ers

(3) Boston Celtics ……vs …… (6) New York Knicks

(4) Orlando Magic ….. vs ….. (5) Atlanta Hawks

Western Conference

(1) San Antonio Spurs ….. vs …… (8) Memphis Grizzlies

(2) Los Angeles Lakers ….. vs ….. (7) New Orleans Hornets

(3) Dallas Mavericks ….. vs ….. (6) Portland Trailblazers

(4) Oklahoma City Thunder ….. vs ….. (5) Denver Nuggets

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It’s becoming rather idiotic to see what might be the meltdown of the Orlando Magic and the fact that All Star center Dwight Howard having received his eighteenth technical foul has to sit out a one game mandatory suspension without pay. All this coming from a player who’s meant to be the leader on this team ? Howard has shown his offensive and defensive capabilities but in terms of moral and real vocal leadership it just doesn’t seem to be there . And granted the Magic’s coach Stan Van Gundy has complained to the NBA —- hierarchy that the officials are gunning for Howard each times he steps unto the court . There may well be some veracity to that argument but Howard doesn’t do himself any justice with his candor and irrational behavior when he runs afoul of the officials and the officiating .

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Slide show for your perusal .

In terms of support from Dwight Howard’s teammates this team is so inconsistent that it’s hard to make an argument as to why they can be viewed with any justification as a favorite for the NBA title much less being viewed as conference favorite . They’ve fallen somewhat down the standings in terms of a playoff berth and now sit behind conference leading Chicago Bulls , Boston Celtics and Miami Heat . And with the Heat and Celtics due to meet this weekend in what will be viewed as a series decider and who will ultimately gain the number two seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Orlando Magic’s season if anything has been uneven and in large part that has been down to the fact their inconsistency and the fact that they simply don’t close out games that they need to win. Whether or not that is the fault of Stan Van Gundy and his coaching staff I’ll let you be the judge of that ! With what appears to be a potential playoff match-up against the Atlanta Hawks another team to my mind that continually underachieves and how it is that Joe Johnson is continually viewed as a marquee player within the NBA is simply beyond me ! If it’s OK to steal money from an organization by simply offering them nothing in return then Johnson may well be the poster child for such a sentiment . Given the value of his current contract with the Hawks I think you’ll understand where I’m coming from as it relates to this argument. The Hawks’ front office may well have impressed with something about Johnson prior to the trade deadline as he was being courted by several teams around the league while he was an unrestricted free agent. Joe Johnson can play but as a leader he’s simply not the player I’d view as a franchise player , if anything I see him as rather the number two scorer for a franchise that it is need of offense . Beyond that there isn’t really much to Joe Johnson’s game.

If the Orlando Magic are to have at least a remote chance of going deep into the playoffs then Dwight Howard will have to really corral his aggressiveness and show that he can undoubtedly lead this team with a great deal of authority . And given the trades made by GM Otis Smith as sought by Van Gundy , as goes Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson then so will the fate of the team as they seek to return to the NBA Finals . Gilbert Arenas in spite of his waywardness while with the Washington Wizards you knew that he had the potential to give you 20 , 30 if not anywhere up 40 plus points in a game when he sets his mind to it . Now with the Magic he’s simply become something of a non-factor and if anything he’s got to improve his productivity along with that of Quentin Richardson and Brandon Bass will be needed to make the Magic more of an all round team and a constant threat.

The Eastern Conference in spite of its ‘star power’ what still resonates with me is that you still have teams that qualify for the postseason with sub .500 records and I’m suppose to think that the quality of play has been heightened by the addition of LeBron James , Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams who are viewed as elite players within the NBA ? Granted , within the conference the play is in large part predicated upon defense . And undoubtedly it has played a factor for many of the teams but in essence I feel that a team has to be well balanced in the aspect of its play. And that is also one of the primary reasons why I cannot see the New York Knicks going deep into the playoffs. No team coached by Mike DAntoni has ever been known for their defensive prowess and the Knicks aren’t about to become the first.

The acquisition of Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire by the Knicks at the behest of team owner James Dolan and GM Donnie Walsh had more to do with the fact that Madison Square Garden was on the way to becoming an elephants graveyard in terms of attendance for Knicks’ home games than it was a place to be seen by the paparazzi . What might be even more troubling is the fact that the Knicks are a moribund 11-15 since the trade acquisition of Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets . And granted the player has come in and showed his offensive prowess for the team but beyond that the Knicks have little to show for it all by way of anything tangible . What that says about the Knicks as an organization clearly will be translated by the success achieved by the team this postseason.

The NBA’s most valuable franchise needed to make a big splash merely to remain relevant within the NBA as a whole . And if anything it had to have been a welcoming sight for NBA Commissioner David Stern to see the organization cap off the move of acquiring both Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire . What awaits the team this postseason remains to be seen but it has become clear for those with any knowledge of the game the New York Knicks had better be able to prove the naysayers wrong if they’re to have any real semblance of success rather than the perception that the trades alone instantly made them a great deal better and a major force and threat in the NBA this postseason and for the foreseeable future .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the overall chances of both the Orlando Magic and New York Knicks’ chances in the playoffs ? And what signs if any are you most looking forward once the postseason starts this postseason ? By all means leave a comment as to your thoughts on the matters raised here in these topics and as usual thanks for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

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Picture and slide show details below
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(1) Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, left, argues a call with referee Bennett Salvatore in the second half of the Magic’s 111-102 win in an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, April 6, 2011. AP Photo/Chuck Burton …………….

(2) Charlotte Bobcats’ Kwame Brown (54) reacts after being charged with a technical foul after an altercation in the second half of the Magic’s 111-102 win in an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, April 6, 2011. Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, center, and Magic’s Ryan Anderson , right, look on. AP Photo / Chuck Burton ………

(3) Toronto Raptors forward Reggie Evans, right, tries to defend as Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard shoots during first-half NBA basketball game action in Toronto on Sunday, April 3, 2011. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn ……………

(4) Orlando Magic’s Gilbert Arenas (1) shoots over Charlotte Bobcats’ D.J. Augustin (14) in the second half of the Magic’s 111-102 win in overtime in an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, April 6, 2011.

(5) Orlando Magic’s Jameer Nelson, left, passes the ball around Charlotte Bobcats’ Dante Cunningham, right, in the second half of the Magic’s 111-102 win in overtime in an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, April 6, 2011. AP Photo/Chuck Burton …….

(6) New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony pulls down a rebound during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game against the New Jersey Nets Friday, April 8, 2011 in Newark, N.J. The Knicks won 116-93 . AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ………….

(7) New York Knicks’ Amar’e Stoudemire wears a boot on his foot as he looks on during a timeout in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the New Jersey Nets Friday, April 8, 2011 in Newark, N.J. The Knicks won 116-93. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ……

(8) New York Knicks’ Bill Walker, left, puts up a shot over New Jersey Nets’ Stephen Graham during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game Friday, April 8, 2011 in Newark, N.J. The Knicks won 116-93. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun …………..

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NBA News

NBA Schedule Sunday 10th April , 2011

NBA Conference Standings by Conference …….. Standings by division

Playoff Picture scenario before today’s scheduled games .

Orlando Magic

Orlando Magic history

Orlando Magic front office ….. General Manager Otis Smith

Orlando Magic roster

Team stats

Magic team splits

Orlando Magic 2010-11 schedule

Head coach Stan Van Gundy

Orlando Magic news

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New York Knicks

New York Knicks News

New York Knicks front office

New York Knicks’ roster

Team Stats

Team Splits

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Chris Brown ………….. ‘ Look At Me Now ‘ ……….. feat’g …. Lil’ Wayne & … Busta Rhymes

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Have You Had Your Dose Of The NBA Today ?

Have You Had Your Dose Of The NBA Today ?

Well it’s back to the hum drum return of an NBA schedule that will play its part in now separating the contenders from the pretenders amongst the stalwarts of the league. And I’ve no doubt at present we’ll see one or two surprises as the season now enters its post midseason point. The San Antonio Spurs still remain the team with the best record in the league but they’re closely followed by what seems to be a resurgent Dallas Mavericks team led by their All Star —– Dirk Nowitzki .

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Now while the talk has been about the multiple team , multiple player trade that sent both Carmelo Anthony , Chauncey Billups and several other players to the New York Knicks in exchange for Raymond Felton and what GM Donnie Walsh and coach Mike D’Antoni feels are players obsolete to the team’s needs in the opposite direction to the Denver Nuggets I can’t help but wonder what happens should the Knicks not go deep into the playoffs ? And as much as the Knicks’ fans are in awe of this deal , on the face of it , it merely adds some luster to a team and fanbase that has been in need of it for over a decade . I mean as heralded the legacy has been for Madison Square Gardens you’ve got the readily admit the place has resembled a graveyard in terms of recent success when it comes to the New York Knicks. The days with which the Knicks under Pat Riley were thought of as a constant omnipresent threat in the Eastern Conference seems an eternity ago.

Courtesy of NBA.com news

From West to East, the balance of NBA power starts to shift …..

Dallas-Tx,. Tyson Chandler wasn’t speaking on behalf of the just Dallas when asked about the balance of power relocating from the Western Conference to the East. He might as well have been a spokesman for anyone with designs of winning the West after Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups and Deron Williams split for Greater Gotham.

“I wish we could get Kobe and Duncan and Ginobili and all those guys over there, too,” he quipped, “but I guess then it wouldn’t be any fun.”

No doubt there has been a seismic shift in the makeup of the two conferences. The West, for the past decade, has been considered the superior collection of teams from top to bottom. Twice in the previous three years, all eight of the West playoff teams won at least 50 games.

Not gonna happen this season.

And while the East may struggle to field more than six playoff squads with winning records, the so-called Least only figures to get more Beast in the years to come. The days of Western dominance are over, according to a certain All-Star known to wear a cape.

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Don’t get me wrong I’ve no doubt that the Knicks will do well with their new revamped team but here’s the caveat , in acquiring Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups while they gain a great deal of offense the team now loses to an extent a great degree of defensive capability. But then again a Mike D’Antoni coached team has never been known for its defense and therein now lies the dilemma facing the Knicks over the remainder of the season . As good as this team now becomes unless Amar’e Stoudemire and Anthony are on the same page in conjunction with the coach then this costly experiment will all be for nought ! And this experiment is proving to be costly as the Knicks are now committed to a $65 million commitment for the next three seasons. For some of the Knicks’ most vociferous fans in terms personalities Spike Lee and ESPN radio sport’s show host Stephen A Smith this now becomes their personal Utopia and future aspirations as it relates to the Knicks.

The trade deadline itself wasn’t without other deals that took place but in reality the real talk was in essence WWCAD ……………..”what will Carmelo Anthony do” ? Well for the Denver Nuggets under coach George Karl their future may well seem bright and the coach himself feels that his team can make a run at a Western Conference playoff berth. It may well be that a sub .500 record or slightly above that may well garner the team a playoff spot. For Nuggets’ GM Masai Ujiri this maneuver may well the deal that breathes life into the Nuggets or casts a shadow organization for the immediate and long term future. It seems along way from a postseason where the team made the playoffs before succumbing to the Utah Jazz in a rather lopsided series .

Of the teams that I’ve followed within the NBA this season the Oklahoma City Thunder to my mind are a team to be feared and coach Scott Brooks does seem to have this team playing at a high level . Potential league MVP candidate Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook provide one of the “most potent one two punch ” in the NBA . And if things do pan out as I believe that they will concerning this team I do believe that they will be one of the teams to be feared come playoff time !

From the sublime to the ridiculous as the Cleveland Cavaliers continue their slide into an abyss of ineptitude . I’m not saying that coach Byron Scott has suddenly found himself in quicksand or in a riverbed filled with piranhas but given the state of things there in Cleveland at the Quicken Loans Arena I’d have said that either of those two scenarios might’ve been preferable . This team now seems to have found enumerable ways to lose —- games with ghastly consequences not only for the team but for the entire organization from a competitive and financial standpoint . Dan Gilbert may well be ruing the day that he sought to remain in control of this team rather than sell it outright to a Chinese investor .

Not to be outdone when it comes to showing ineptitude this season we have the continuing woes of the Washington Wizards , Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves proving to us that you can’t teach can’t teach an old dog new tricks . Losing with increasing regularity has become ingrained into these teams and when that happens the fans do tend to depart in droves from the those teams’ respective home venues. I’ve read where fans of some of these complaining that no one comes to watch them play . Well , would you be willing to shell out your hard earned cash to watch three teams who have a combined 36 wins and 130 losses between them ?

The reigning NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t dive into the trade market looking to bolster their roster but you can bet that Phil Jackson has bent the ears somewhat of the players whom he feels have been underachieving . It has been left as usual to the likes of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol to lead the charge offensively but there continues to be disappointment as to overall erratic and inconsistent play of the team. Arguably , Lamar Odom , Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum have played nowhere near their perceived potential when measured by their contributions to the team last season .

There’s now a growing belief that the Los Angeles are now ripe for the taking as it now seems that the team is now more susceptible than ever before in losing the grip on the defense of their NBA title. The two time defending champions are a pale comparison at present of the team that took control of last season’s finals when it looked as if the Boston Celtics to have the championship all sewn up. Instead we saw this Doc Rivers’ coached team flounder like a capsized vessel with the passengers on board being without the assist of a life jacket ! I do firmly believe that both of these teams will make the postseason and should they meet once again in the NBA Finals it will be fascinating to see whether or not this current Celtics’ embodiment of a team can usurp their Western Conference foe.

Now it goes without saying that while the season progresses our thoughts can’t be far away from the current situation evolving the ongoing collective bargaining negotiations between the league’s hierarchy and the NPBA (union). Union President Derek Fisher and Executive Director Billy Hunter have stressed the fact they wish to come to an amicable resolution during this process. And it has to be said that David Stern wants no part of the madness now taking place between the NFL and NLFPA (union) . That whole slew of cow dung now being mediated by a federally appointed mediator can only suggest that these two groups of mindless idiots are so out of touch with reality that it simply doesn’t bear thinking about. And I can only hope that their NBA counterparts show some insight and wisdom and actually do what’s right rather than thinking solely about greed and their pockets ! If not , then both of these sports could very well lose whatever goodwill is left to be had from the fans .

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the most recent incidents that’ve have taken place within the NBA over the past few days ? And how as such do you see the remainder of the season panning out ? By all means leave a comment as to your take on it all and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated .

Picture and slide show details below as a guide .

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(1) Amar’e Stoudemire is joined by new teammates Carmelo Anthony (left) and Chauncey Billups (right) in an official picture to introduce the duo to the convened press at Madison Square Gardens , New York City, New York. The duo were part of a multi-player , mutli-team trade that brought them from the Denver Nuggets with several players from the Knicks heading in the opposite direction to the Western Conference team and elsewhere. Getty Images / Chris Trotman …………..

(2) Cleveland Cavaliers general ganager Chris Grant announces a trade which will send Cavaliers’ Mo Williams and Jamario Moon to the Los Angeles Clippers for Baron Davis and a first round draft pick in the 2011 NBA Draft , at a news conference at the Cavaliers training center in Independence, Ohio on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011. AP Photo/Amy Sancetta ……

(3) Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks drives against Carlos Delfino (10) of the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2011 in New York City. The Knicks defeated the Bucks 114-108 . Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ……….

(4) Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks shoots the ball over Andrew Bogut (6) of the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2011 in New York City. The Knicks defeated the Bucks 114-108. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images …….

(5) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, right, celebrates with teammate Ron Artest after Bryant scored two free throws to ice the game in overtime during their NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Feb.23, 2011. Bryant scored 37 points and Artest scored 24 as they beat the Blazers 106-101 . AP Photo/Don Ryan ……..

(6) Kevin Durant (35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder shoots against Tim Duncan (21) and Manu Ginobili (20) of the San Antonio Spurs on February 23, 2011 at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. The Spurs would end up defeating the Thunder 109-105 . Photos by D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images ………..

(7) In this Jan. 26, 2011, file photo shows Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams , center, attempting to score over Spurs guard Tony Parker of France, left, and Spurs forward DeJuan Blair , right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Salt Lake City. A person with knowledge of the trade says the New Jersey Nets have agreed to acquire All-Star point guard Deron Williams from the Jazz in a three-team deal. The Nets are sending rookie Derrick Favors and point guard Devin Harris to the Jazz as part of the package in a deal that also includes the Golden State Warriors . AP Photo/Colin E Braley ……..

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NB NBA News & views

NBA Schedule

NBA Trade transactions

Wednesday night schedule

Thursday night schedule

Friday night schedule

Saturday’s schedule

Sunday’s schedule

Milwaukee Bucks @ New York Knicks

😛

Alan aka tophatal ………………………

🙂

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

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Guy ……………………… “Let’s Chill”

“Groove Me”Feel Me”
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If at all interested take time to participate in the poll ?

All Star ? Is This American Idol ?

All Star ? Is This American Idol ?

Well at the midway point of the NBA season teams are now jockeying for positions as the meat of the season now awaits after the game’s midseason showcase event the All Star game. Now what many view as one of the better professional staged midseason events amongst the four major sports it has to be said that beyond the MLB All Star game the NBA All Star event might just be the most popular of the four major sports.

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From my own perspective the game itself is about as competitive as the NFL Pro Bowl is meant to be. There’s no real incentive and it is in essence really about the multi million dollar owners —- players of the league merely to have one great big party that in essence in the end comes at the expense of the all too willing public who are in attendance at the game and the surrounding events that take place over the All Star weekend. Now the voting itself for the event borders on the insanity that we see each quadrennial when the Presidential elections take place. Do you vote for who you favor because of their popularity or from the substance of their being ? There’s more acrimony over who’s been slighted but in the end there it’s also nothing more than a popularity contest as the fans participate in this alongside the coaches of the teams participating in the All Star event. And what’s portrayed isn’t far off the non-sense we see on the ratings juggernaut reality show American Idol . Only here there’s no three panel of arbitrators offering up their thoughts of the talent on view but at times you might feel that there ought to be . I mean Paula Abdul use to show about as much insight on the show than the idiocy we’ve seen being shown as to the nominees for some of the spots on the NBA All Star roster .

The Eastern Conference may well give us starters Dwight Howard , Kevin Garnett , Amare’ Stoudemire , LeBron James and Dwyane Wade . Coaching the Eastern Conference team will be Doc Rivers but that may well change given precedence that’s normally set . Reserves for the team will be firmly adjudged with the fans’ voting and that of the input of the coach himself.

The Western Conference will throw up the usual suspects Kobe Bryant former league MVP and the likes of Steve Nash , Carmelo Anthony , Dirk Nowitzki , Deron Williams , Yao Ming who’ll miss the event due to season sending surgery . Cases are now being made for the Los Angeles Clippers’ —– Blake Griffin , and the Minnesota Timberwolves Kevin Love after the outstanding seasons that they’ve had. There are some who may well feel that neither is deserving while others who feel that there’s a possibility that one of the duo will make it unto the Western team roster while the other will be a reserve for the game.

Now while I’ve never really been enamored with the event I do think that for Commissioner David Stern the league’s hierarchy and the owners this is more of getting the NBA global brand further out there. With countless billions of dollars in revenues each season and the mere fact that the game is perhaps more widely recognized across the globe than the NFL and MLB combined. Michael Jordan was and still is the pre-eminent face of the NBA albeit that he’s retired from the game . The mantel may well have been assumed by Kobe Bryant and LeBron James as they seek basketball fame and immortality but other than the regular season and the NBA postseason the regular schedule as such provides us with nothing more than seeing the stars and team we’ve come to support .

Reigning champions the Los Angeles Lakers have had their season of ups and downs but they’ve been able to maintain their status amongst the West’s elite as they seek a three-peat with coach Phil Jackson at the helm of this team . While I’ve no doubt that they’ll be a part of the postseason parade I must admit that they do need to get more solid contributions from players such as Ron Artest , Lamar Odom and in particular Andrew Bynum if they’re to prove to be the team to beat not just within the conference but as the presumptive favorites for the NBA title.

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Well it does go without saying that glamor of the “Big Three” in Miami engineered in part by Pat Riley at the insistance of owner of Micky Arison that if they should fall short of the expected goals that many believe has been set within the organization even though no one has gone on record that winning the NBA title has been set as the target. It’s clearly evident that this is what is actually wanted by all associated with the team and organization. Should they fall short of that presumed target then questions will have been asked and answered and I’ve no doubt that James’ former employer and team owner Dan Gilbert of the Cleveland Cavaliers would be the happiest man in the world should LeBron James come up short with the Miami Heat.

At midpoint of the season there’s no denying that a number of teams have underachieved and there have been one or two pleasant surprises. The San Antonio Spurs have come flying out of the gate and have the best record in the league . Tony Parker , Manu Ginobli and Tim Duncan are still omnipresent on this team and with there being added contributions from the young players on the roster DeJuan Blair , George Hill , Tiago Splitter and seasoned veteran Antonio McDyess who are making Gregg Popovich quite possibly a shoo-in for the NBA Coach of the Year .

If there’s said to be an immense disappointment it may well be the seasons for the Sacramento Kings and that of the Minnesota Timberwolves . If nothing else both teams could be on the cards for the top pick in the NBA Draft . Jared Sullinger , Kemba Walker and Nolan Smith are thought to be the top three players liable to be the top picks in the draft. And given that triumvirates’ play this college season I’ve no doubt in my that they’d be able to contribute to the Kings and Timberwoves greatly !

At the midpoint of the season what are your impressions of the NBA and the upcoming All Star event itself as a spectacle ? And if anything are you entirely happy with how the players are voted unto the respective team rosters ? Fans’ contributions apart and that of the coaches do you believe that there’s justification as to how the votes are accorded for the NBA midseason showcase ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the topic and as always thanks for the continued support !

Picture and slide show details …………….

(1) In this file photo taken Jan. 17, 2011, Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant rests during a timeout in a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Los Angeles. Representatives for Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood announced Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011, that Bryant will have a ceremony setting his hands and feet in cement at the theater as part of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend festivities on Feb. 19, the day before the All-Star game in Los Angeles. Bryant will become the first athlete honored with the ceremony. AP Photo/Alex Gallardo …..

(2) Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, left, dunks over Portland Trail Blazers center Joel Przybilla during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011. AP Photo/Don Ryan …………

(3) LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Atlanta Hawks at American Airlines Arena on January 18, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ……

(4) San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan, left, congratulates DeJuan Blair during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 104-95 . AP Photo/Darren Abate ……

(5) Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, below, dunks as forward Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ………..

NB

The 2011 NBA All Star Game will be held at the Staples Center home to the Los Angeles Lakers

NBA News

NBA Scores & results …..

NBA schedule

NBA Standings ……….. Conference ………. Division ….

NBA Team Stats

NBA Player Stats

NBA All Star ballots

Alan aka tophatal …………………………………

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Lenny Kravitz ………… “Come On Get It” NBA TNT theme song for the season

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Karmen

Eye candy ………………….. Karmen Sutra and a continued montage of the beauty .

What’s not to like ?

Karmen  Sutra

Bootylicious !

As Kravitz says in his song ‘Come On Get It” …….’come get some of this’ !

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David Stern Proves Why He’s An Ass !

David Stern Proves Why He’s An Ass !

It seems unusual that NBA Commissioner David Stern would seek to punish with impunity through a fine any mention of LeBron James with regard to his impending free agency. By perception alone if any team or team executive should make a statement regarding the player’s status it would be viewed as tampering by the NBA hierarchy . This same edict also applies in the NFL , NHL and MLB .

It would appear that Stern sees fit to show his autocratic power in a number of ways that would give cause for concern. Far too often Stern much like his NFL counterpart , Roger Goodell , tends to fight the battles he presumably can win.

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It is now being widely reported that the Chicago Bulls are in the midst of hiring the Boston Celtics’ assistant coach Tom Thibodeaux. Now pardon me for saying this but with the Celtics being in the NBA Finals where they’re undertaking a highly anticipated contest against the Los Angeles Lakers . Now from where I sit the Bulls are tampering in making overtures in looking to hire Tom Thibodeau while his team are still in the playoffs , which by the NBA’s own mandate would be viewed as tampering. Somehow the league and in particular Stern seems to have overlooked or chooses to overlook this matter. In light of that it would seem somewhat strange that Stern would seek to fine Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban with impunity, $100,000 for the owner merely expressing an opinion as to where he thought that LeBron James might end up concerning his impending free agency status. At no point did the owner expressly make a statement that he’d be seeking to lure the player to his franchise. But yet somehow he gets punished for this ?

Courtesy of Washington Post

Report: Boston Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau to coach Chicago Bulls next season

By Michael Lee , Washington Post

El Segundo , Calif. Boston Celtics assistant and defensive coordinator Tom Thibodeau accepted a three-year deal to become coach of the Chicago Bulls, according to multiple reports on Saturday.

Thibodeau was also a candidate for the vacancy in New Jersey and was offered the New Orleans head coaching job, which was reportedly filled by Monty Williams. The Bulls don’t plan to consummate the deal or make a formal announcement until after the NBA Finals.

Celtics Coach Doc Rivers was unable to confirm the reports, but said that he “hopes it’s true” because “I think he’s the best candidate out there. I’ve said that for three years now.”

Thibodeau joined the Celtics’ staff in 2007-08 after first accepting and leaving a similar job with the Washington Wizards. He devised the defensive strategies that led to the Celtics claiming the franchise’s 17th NBA championship in 2008.

“Tibs brings a passion for defense, I think,” said Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, who won the defensive player of the year award in his first season with Thibodeau.

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Now if Stern purports to be the person he believes and claims to be, as being a dutiful custodian of the game. Then he had better begin to show some semblance of intelligence and stop spewing up this asinine notion that the game of basketball is above reproach. Because if this matter goes down wherein, Thibodeau is hired by the Bulls and there’s no investigation as to how this potential hiring came about . The Bulls front office if it is believed that they approached Thibodeau while his team still remain in the playoffs. Then that act alone by the Bulls can be viewed as an act of tampering.

With its showcase event now in full motion and the world watching . This is the last thing that Stern would want to address. But then again as I alluded to earlier the perception is and has always been about what makes David Stern looks good in the eyes of the fans and public alike !. And one thought that politicians were the only “pompous narcissists” out there ? Meet David Stern perhaps the most pompous of all the four major sports‘ commissioners .

David Stern for all of his supposed business acumen is now facing a situation where the NBA this year alone will lose in excess of $400 million . That averages out at $12,500,000 per team . With declining gates, in terms of attendance at all games and declining viewer-ship in North America. But globally the game has seen a spike in its popularity, in particular in Europe and the Far East. The worrying thing is that Stern and the NBA hierarchy are oblivious to the fact but the real problem is that they appear to have no notion as to how deal with the situation and address it in the appropriate manner.

Courtesy of NY Daily News

Rejection! David Stern sings financial blues but NBA players not listening

By Mitch Lawrence , NY Daily News

NBA players are planning to respond within the next few weeks to the league’s last contract proposal, which calls for a major overhaul to the current economic system and would drastically reduces salaries.

When the players respond, they are expected to reject David Stern’s contention that the league is going to lose $400 million this season. Since Stern brought up that figure — around twice what the league has lost annually over the last few seasons — at the All-Star Game last month in Dallas, the players union has not officially responded. Union officials say they are still conducting their own financial analysis, but more than a few players think that the commissioner has engaged in a negotiating ploy, with the current collective bargaining agreement entering its final season in 2010-11.

“I’m sure there are some owners who are not doing great these days,” said Denver’s Chauncey Billups. “But we’re not totally buying that figure. It’s a negotiating tactic, absolutely. Through our own investigations and due diligence, we have found that not to be 100% true.”

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The commissioner for all of his bombastic attitude you just can’t help to dislike his demeanor and presence as a person. Could he the most despised person in all of sports amongst the executives ? We know that the athletes themselves are continually in awe of the pedestal that they’re placed upon by the fans and press alike. But rarely are they prepared to reciprocate by showing themselves in being supportive of the fans. Moreover, they’re prepared to just sell that their wares rather than showing the fans the respect that they’re undoubtedly due. Similarly the same can be said of David Stern and his attitude towards the fans and press alike.

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

What thoughts if any do you have on the situation and how do you feel that Stern should address the matter concerning the potential hiring of Tom Thibodeau ? Chime on in with a comment on this matter and any other observations that you may have on the world of sports.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………………

TI ………………..”Rubber Band Man”

Classics And Then There Are Classics …………..

Classics And Then There Are Classics …………

Well with the NBA Conference Finals culminating in “two rather lopsided series” that ended with both the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers prevailing 4-2 over the respective conference opponents. We’ll now have the two most storied franchises in the NBA tussling out for the Larry O’Brien trophy and quite possibly supremacy of the NBA.

This match-up now gives us the chance to see if the Lakers can avenge their series defeat from the 2008 NBA Finals when the Celtics prevailed over the Lakers. In Doc Rivers and Phil Jackson we are seeing two of the most successful coaches in the NBA in recent years. Jackson will be seeking his 11th NBA title as a coach and his twelfth overall. Rivers will be seeking his second NBA title in the last two years . And with these two former players matching wits and squaring off against each other. This series could very well be one of the more intriguing and interesting finals series of recent times.


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Kevin Garnett , Ray Allen , Paul Pierce , Rasheed Wallace and Kobe Bryant are all potential future “Hall of Fame” candidates. And their legacies though etched already with regard to the game. The outcome of this series could very well be the define how that legacy will become a fact. Either way in all like this quintet of players will one day make their way into the Naismith Hall of Fame .

In all likelihood the Lakers will be looked at as the presumptive favorites once the series gets underway. But it’d take a foolish person to underestimate the resolve of this Boston Celtics’ team . Anyone who witnessed their dismantling of the Orlando Magic in the Easter Conference Finals will know full well that Doc Rivers’ team has if anything shown everyone that rumors of the being old and uncreative as merely just that . The Celtics have proven that they can outplay a team who was thought of as being more athletic and offensive minded. What has made their appearance all the finals more surprising , was seeing the team steadfastly defending with such zeal. The Celtics made sure that the Magic were never able to gain any traction against the Doc Rivers’ coached team. Much of this came down to stoutness of the Celtics’ defense and the presence shown in the leadership qualities shown by Celtics’ Rajon Rondo . And the Celtics’ point guard may well the best performer in these playoffs.

The Los Angeles Lakers make a successful return to the finals looking to defend their title and further add to the franchise’s and Phil Jackson’s legacy. And though there has been wide speculation that this might be Jackson’s last season with the organization . It’s clear to see that Jackson has no intention of going out from the game without a bang and big send off . As a coach Jackson has made his presence felt within the game. And the coach’s presence has been made and felt across the game and the entire “NBA fraternity”.

As Jackson looks to add his name to the annals of NBA history . Lakers’ players such as Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher will be looking to add their names to that legacy as well . Though there have been a number of players that’ve won multiple NBA titles . There are but a handful of players who’ve won five NBA titles with the same team. Normally the case has been where those players amass that many titles with just one team. That has been the case with the all-time greats such as Pippen , Russell , Jordan , Johnson and quite possibly the names of Bryant and Fisher will be added to that illustrious list. But that last scenario is one that will be played out in this upcoming series . Ultimately, whomever the victors are, will be will be played out in front of a world wide audience of tens of millions of viewers. The global visibility of the game and its popularity grows greater each year as the names such as Bryant , LeBron James , Dywane Wade become more widely popular and recognized. The game at present has never been as popular as it is now.

And for those of us who are supporters of both teams playing out our allegiances . It is going to be a great deal of fun watching this series play out between the NBA’s two most storied franchises. The rivalry between “these two teams” would rival that of say Ali vs. Frazier, McEnroe vs. Borg , Federer vs. Nadal and the Chicago Bulls versus the rest of the NBA at the height of their unprecedented success. A Boston Celtics vs Los Angeles Lakers finals’ match-up tends to bring out the best that the two teams has to offer as well as serving up the crème-de-la crème of the NBA . Doubt that, then consider this, how enthralled or interested would you have been, were the proposed finals were that of a series of seven games between the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns ? Would you still be showing the same anticipated eagerness ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

So what if anything will you be looking forward to during this NBA finals match-up between the Celtics and Lakers ? Will it be Kobe Bryant seeking to show why he’s viewed as the best player in the NBA ? Or could it be Kevin Garnett or Rajon Rondo stepping up to the plate to show why he could be the next player to be considered amongst the elite players in the NBA ? This and a great deal more will be answered in this upcoming series . Will you be tuning to see what the outcome will be ? And if so where might your allegiance lay and why ? I’ll look forward to reading your comments in this regard and as usual thanks for the continued support . It’s greatly appreciated !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………….

Jay-Z ……….“Show Me What You Got”

He’s Got Game …………. The Magic Are Who We Thought They Were It’s Just That Now They’re Proving To Us That They’re Simply Just Not That Good !

He’s Got Game …………. The Magic Are Who We Thought They Were It’s Just That Now They’re Proving To Us That They’re Simply Just Not That Good !

If you remember these particular sound bytes then you’ll know that the coaches in question simply were being animated and couldn’t hide their disappointment of the failure of their respective team’s performances. We have Dennis Green’s now infamous meltdown and rant …….” they are who we thought they were” ! It’s become legendary and will there for all too see in the annals of sport’s history. We also have former Indianapolis Colts’ coach Jim Mora’s ……….” playoffs ? What playoffs” ? And who can forget Herm Edwards’ ……..”you play the game to win” !

Former Arizona Cardinals’ coach Dennis Green’s now infamous meltdown after his team’s loss to the Chicago Bears.

Unfortunately , all of those anecdotes as they relate to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs may well be now falling on deaf ears. This coming from a team that swept its way through the first two rounds of these playoffs with effortless ease . Who knew what we’d now be seeing from this Stan Van Gundy coached team would be a worthless effort and more so out of complacency and the lack of a will to win ? While one cannot deny that Van Gundy has been thoroughly out-coached by his opposite number in Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics . It’s been made to look worse, given the fact that the Magic were presumed to be the prohibitive and outright favorites to take this series with some ease.

Jim Mora reminds us what the “playoffs” are allegedly meant to be about ?

With the Orlando Magic down 0-2 to a Celtics’ team that’s playing with a renewed vigor and being commandingly led by point guard Rajon Rondo who may just be the best player in the 2010 NBA Playoffs based on his performances throughout the entire NBA postseason so far. Last night at the Amway Arena in Orlando , we saw the difference between two teams that are about as close in ability as one could envisage. But based on the effort being put forth they are about as far apart as the city of Los Angeles is from Cape Town, South Africa. And that’s a distance of approximately 9,974 miles. Could the distance between the two teams be any farther apart than that ? Let’s just say that while one team appears to be heading in one direction to an NBA Finals’ appearance while the other may well be on its way back home unable to fully understand what went wrong and why it all went wrong.

Hem Edwards let’s us know that you play the game to win. Unfortunately Herm’s record ___ (139 games__ 57 wins , 87 losses) as an NFL coach , simply doesn’t bear this out.

The game two loss by the Magic to the Celtics 95-92 now places the Eastern Conference second seed in an unenviable position. Having lost home-court advantage they now have to go the Celtics’ home court at the TD Banknorth Garden Center , Boston looking to at least win two of three to keep themselves in contention for the remainder of this series. And while the talk has been the match-up between the two opposing point guards. It’d be foolish to suggest that the Magic’s Jameer Nelson is anywhere near close to performing as effectively as Rajon Rondo . He’s yet to show it in this series and while he was center stage for the Magic’s earlier sweeps of the Charlotte Bobcats and Atlanta Hawks . Those two teams collectively put up about as spirited a performance as a wet sponge would’ve been about as much use on-board the Titanic .

The Orlando Magic lives and dies by shooting the threes and if their center Dwight Howard isn’t posting up then their offensive presence in essence becomes one dimensional ! And for Van Gundy and his coaching staff the tenets “adapt” and “evolve” don’t appear to be in their glossary when it comes to strategy. And one wonders why they’re being completely outplayed and annihilated in this series so far ? If Howard isn’t on top of his game then this Magic team has the tendency of wilting under pressure. It’s become the norm thus far as the Celtics have found ways to negate the presence of the Howard’s teammates such as Rashard Lewis , __ Vince Carter and Matt Barnes . Players whose contributions will be greatly needed if the team is to stand a chance of evening the series and perhaps win it outright. But in reality , this will be more about the collective effort of the team more than anything else and their capability in overcoming in adversity when it’s staring right back at them. Dwight Howard , however, will have to show that he’s the leader of this team rather than trying to live up to a rather asinine caricature of a superhero. If Howard thinks that he’s Superman then it’s become completely obvious to those watching ____ the Boston Celtics are a large dose of Kryptonite that’s not only negating Howard’s alleged powers but it is also making Magic look all the more ordinary as a team !

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Slide show gallery for your perusal. Use the arrowed indicator to move the
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At this juncture it’s hard envisioning the Magic overcoming this two game deficit ! At best this series is liable to go no more than six games at best. They’ve simply not shown enough resolve to even come within a hair’s breath of beating the Celtics in this series. Everything they’ve thrown at Doc Rivers’ teams they’ve been able to withstand and in return the Celtics have merely demoralized the spirit of the Orlando Magic , its fans and in large part those who thought the Celtics were past their “sell by date” . As the title of this piece would suggest ……………”He’s Got Game …………. The Magic Are Who We Thought They Were It’s Just That Now They’re Proving To Us That They’re Simply Just Not That Good” !

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Picture gallery for your perusal. In order to view each picture individually just click unto the
desired frame.

As things now stand how do you as a fan see this series ending up ? And which teams do you feel that we’ll be seeing in the upcoming NBA Finals ? By all means chime on in with a comment and as usual thanks for the continued support ! I look forward to reading your responses and commenting in kind.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………….

Public Enemy ……………”He Got Game” If only Dwight had the game of Jesus Shuttlesworth ? Oh I forgot , Jesus is playin’ for the Celtics and he’s none other than Ray Allen . Well fancy that ?

* NB Allen co-starred in the Spike Lee directed movie He Got Game ___(1998) . The movie starred Denzel Washington in the lead role as Jake Shuttlesworth , who’s son Jessus is portrayed in the movie by the NBA star. Also co-starring in the movie are Milla Jovovich and Rosario Dawson .

Movie trailer for “He Got Game” .

Is There No One Amongst You ? C’mon Now !

Is There No One Amongst You ? C’mon Now !

Slowly but surely, one can sense there’s some urgency about LeBron James’ game and his initial pursuit of that elusive first NBA title . He and the Cleveland Cavaliers have gone about posting ‘the best record’ in the Eastern Conference . And if nothing else they’re looking to acquit themselves for last season’s loss in the conference finals to the Orlando Magic .

Ray Allen (#20) of the Boston Celtics looks for a play against LeBron James (#23) of the Cleveland Cavaliers on February 25, 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/ Getty Images/ Brian Babbineau .....
Ray Allen (#20) of the Boston Celtics looks for a play against LeBron James (#23) of the Cleveland Cavaliers on February 25, 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/ Getty Images/ Brian Babbineau .....

With a 45-14 mark, the Cavaliers have the best record within the Central Division and the ‘best overall’ within the entire NBA, besting the mark of the Los Angeles Lakers’ 43-15 in the Western Conference . Now make of that what you will but ‘the great teams’ know how to overcome adversity when placed under real pressure during the regular season. In doing so , it prepares them for the much more difficult task of post-season play , where it’s all or nothing. My colleague, Sportschump had simply put so much into the fact that this Cavaliers’ team had lost three straight games recently to top flight opponents, in the Denver Nuggets , Charlotte Bobcats and the Orlando Magic . Now that asides , were those losses to lesser teams within the NBA , then there would be cause for concern for this Mike Brown coached team. As it would suggest either the rigors of ‘fatigue’ or just ‘sheer complacency’ by the Cavaliers.

Within the Eastern Conference the battle for dominance and supremacy essentially rests between three teams. They are the Boston Celtics , the Cavaliers and the Magic . All three have been playing at an exceptional level. Though it must be said , each each of the triumvirate has had their share of false starts but at the same time they’ve been able to overcome those deficiencies. As to what that might suggest, can be best summed by ‘the very fact that the Eastern Conference won’t be won by a team that is performing inconsistently ! I made this a point to Sportschump, that for Cleveland , the conference is theirs to lose. And that will only happen, if they show complacency on their part. As good as both Boston and Orlando are. And both teams are very good by the way ! But they’ve still yet to show me that when faced with ‘real adversity’ , they both have what it takes to stare it down and beat it with some ease. In Doc Rivers and Stan Van Gundy , the Celtics and Magic possess two coaches with a great deal of experience between them and a coaching staff that is as good as any within the NBA . Each has made an appearance in the NBA Finals as a coach. As too, has the Cavaliers’ Mike Brown and it is becoming more apparent that each would like nothing better than to make another appearance there, this season. This in essence sets up what may well turn out to be ‘one hell of a dogfight between the three’, as they battle for conference dominance and supremacy. It favors the Cavaliers at present and with the playoffs dictating that ‘the team with the best record’ within the conference has home-court advantage throughout the postseason. Let’s just say that the odds still favors the Cavaliers at this point. And it is likely to do so through the remainder of the regular season.

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports


Cavs blow past Celtics in 4th, win 108-88

By Brian Mahoney , AP Basketball Writer

Boston (AP)—The Celtics were better early, then LeBron James and the Cavaliers blew right by them.

Story of this game.

Story of the season.

James had 36 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, Mo Williams scored 14 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, and Cleveland dominated the second half in a 108-88 victory Thursday night.

Unable to stop Rajon Rondo or the Celtics in the first quarter, the Cavaliers turned up the defense in the fourth, limiting the Celtics to 3-of-21 shooting and snapping a nine-game losing streak in Boston, counting playoffs.

“We haven’t had much success here,” James said. “We’ve lost nine times coming into this building. So it gets the monkey off our backs. But don’t read too much into it.”

James kept the Cavaliers in it for three quarters on a night they lost Shaquille O’Neal to a first-half thumb injury, then Williams made four 3-pointers when Cleveland outscored Boston 35-14.

“I think in the second half our level of aggressiveness really stepped up on both ends of the floor,” Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. “There was no panic among our guys. We knew 24 minutes was a lot of time. We just started chipping away from it.”

Ray Allen scored 21 points, and Rondo had 19 points and 11 assists for the Celtics, who badly missed injured All-Star Paul Pierce (right thumb) when their offense went stagnant in the final 1 1/2 quarters.

“They were a lot more aggressive in the second half. They made adjustments to stop Rondo’s penetration,” Celtics forward Kevin Garnett said. “We knew it was a real big test. We can’t play one half and relax.”

Cleveland improved to 20-10 on the road, tying Boston for the best in the NBA, and avenged a 95-89 home loss on opening night.

That came back when Boston looked like the class of the Eastern Conference while the Cavaliers struggled early. But the Celtics have been unable to stay healthy and Cleveland has left the Celtics and everyone else in the East behind, opening a 5 1/2 -game lead over Orlando while dropping Boston 7 1/2 games back in a tie with Atlanta.

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Click on the above link to read this Brian Mahoney article in its entirety.
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Last night the Cavaliers and Celtics met in a game that would give us enough of an indication as to where both teams now stand at this point of the season. And with both teams having added to their respective rosters, it would also give the fans a chance to see those newly acquired players. With Nate Robertson having been acquired by the Celtics via a trade with the New York Knicks . It was presumed that it would give the team some balance, added offense and a certain amount defensive presence from the diminutive Robertson. In the case of the Cavaliers they acquired Antawn Jamison from the Washington Wizards , sending Zydrunas llgauskas in the opposite direction. Jamison gives the team that additional rarity of a player who can shoot ‘the three’ with added ease, just as much as he can be creative around the basket and give the Cavaliers that added offensive productivity that they so desperately required. And this was the main reason why Brown and Cavaliers’ GM Danny Ferry viewed him as better option and fit, than the Suns’ Amar’e Stoudemire . Many probably question the choice , as Stoudemire offer the Cavaliers a proven offensive presence and a very good defensive player. But given the team’s long term view that Stoudemire would no doubt seek free agency at the end of the season. The prudent choice seemed to have been the safer and better choice financially for the organization . We shall see as the rest of the season unfolds for the Cavaliers.

The game prove to be ‘one of missed opportunities’ for the Celtics as ‘their offense spluttered’ over the final two quarters. It resulted with the Cavaliers easily winning the game with the usual customary effort forthcoming from LeBron James, who led all scorers with 36 points, in his team’s 108-88 victory over the Celtics. And though Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo did all that they could to stave off defeat , it simply wasn’t enough on the night for Celtics in front of their home crowd at the TD Banknorth Center, Boston and that of the Celtics’ senior partners ‘Wyc’ Grousbeck and his father H. Irving Grousbeck . For Celtics’ GM Danny Ainge this had to have been a troubling scene, to witness this team suffer such a lopsided defeat at the hands of the Cavaliers. With the fact that one of their veteran All Stars , Pierce Paul Pierce was unable to play due to injury. The defeat only exacerbates the situation even further as it now places the team just a little further behind both Cleveland and Orlando in the conference standings . And now nipping at their heels with a similar record of 36-20 are the Atlanta Hawks . So now what essentially was meant to be a ‘three horse race’ now has the potential of turning into a ‘four horse race’ , with all four teams within 7 1/2 games of one another.

As I alluded to earlier , it’s still my firm belief that the Cavaliers can not only end up with the best record in the Eastern Conference of the NBA but also win the conference championship and outright ! The conference is theirs for the taking and the margin between themselves and the rest of their opponents within the conference just seems to be widening in terms of their play and competitiveness. Whether or not there is a team up to the challenge of upending the team’s postseason aspirations remains to be seen. But as Brad Pitt’s character ‘Achilles’ is heard to have said in the movie ‘Troy’ (2004) ………….’is there no one else ‘…..? ‘ Is no one amongst you ‘ ? This is the challenge that the rest of the conference faces at this moment in time. Who amongst the seven other teams vying for a playoff berth is actually prepared to ‘challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers’ ? Your thoughts on the matter , if any ?

NB : Click here to see the Cavaliers’ schedule . Click here to see the Celtics’ schedule . Click here to see the Magic’s schedule. (In each case schedules shown are the teams’ regular season game’s schedule-through the month of February). Just click on the additional months shown to view their remaining regular season as indicated.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………..

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As with Homers’ ‘The Illiad’ (The Battle of Troy). The landscape that is now the Eastern Conference playground for LeBron James, who may well view himself as the league’s version of Achilles. But remember, even Achilles had a weakness and that was, his heel – ” Achilles’ heel “.

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display. Photos appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images & Associated Press @ copyrighted material ..all rights reserved.

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Israeli  model  Bar Refaeli    seen  here  doing  a  Sports  Illustrated  Swimsuit  edition  phot-shoot.
Israeli model Bar Refaeli seen here doing a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition phot-shoot.