There is no place like home and home is meant to be where the heart is ……….

There is no place like home and home is meant to be where the heart is ….

In the last few days we have seen an upheaval within the professional basketball world with the departure of LeBron James as he leaves the Miami Heat to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers . From my own standpoint, I believe that LeBron simply grew tired of having to support a team where his supporting cast were anything but supportive. As to this idiocy, Dwyane Wade’s sporadic appearances and performances during this past postseason were of benefit to the Heat would be like suggesting that Greg Oden became a force to be reckoned with during the season.

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Pat Riley’s ambitious rebuilding of the roster this past season, was so misguided, it begs the question what was he thinking to begin with ? Michael Beasley was meant to add to something to this lineup beyond the menial productivity of Rashard Lewis ? Granted, this was the Miami Heat’s fourth consecutive appearance in the NBA Finals was a great accomplishment, but the menial return of only two title wins, is a reminder of how overrated this team was said to be in their appearance against the San Antonio Spurs in this past NBA Finals.

LeBron James saw no reason to resign with the Miami Heat, knowing that the organization had shown little concern in rebuilding the roster with the talent needed to make the team more competitive. As to the talk of his wishing to be offered a max contract, one that would likely see him being offered a six-year $125 million deal, now seems more imaginary on the part of the media , in light of James signing with Cleveland in a two-year $42 million deal.It will be interesting to see the dynamics of the relationship LeBron James will have with his new head coach David Blatt , in comparison to that of his relationship with Erik Spoelstra .

The Miami Heat’s loss, will be the Cleveland Cavaliers’ gain as the Prodigal Son is welcomed home. A far cry from the events of just over five years ago when LeBron James left the Cavaliers under a cloud of controversy, with their being a great deal of controversy and antagonism between the player and Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert . The front office have to be pleased with themselves, in pulling off such a coup, in resigning the franchise’s best player James, along with point guard Kyrie Irving will be the focal point of this lineup in the upcoming season. Cleveland, almost overnight have gone from being outsiders for the NBA title to a presumptive favorites for this upcoming season’s championship.

Whether or not Gilbert and the front office will seek to pull off anymore deals during this off-season will obviously be predicated on the attractiveness of playing alongside the four-time League MVP . I certainly believe the Cleveland Cavaliers will make the upcoming postseason, simply because the NBA’s Eastern Conference remains extremely poor and will continue to be that way over the coming years. Cleveland are .likely to be seen as presumptive favorites alongside the Chicago Bulls and perhaps the Miami Heat, if the franchise is able to resign both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh . The pairing of Bosh and Wade along with LeBron James were the primary reasons behind the franchise’s most recent success, but the failing of the coaching staff and the front office led by Pat Riley in addressing the Heat’s lack of depth must be seen as one of the many reasons for their failure during the NBA Playoffs .

Miami Heat owner Micky Arison has yet to issue a public statement on the departure of LeBron James, but there has to be some disappointment with the owner’s knowing that the player’s departure will likely lead to a possible decline in the Heat’s play. Acquiring seasoned veterans such as Danny Granger and Luol Deng might well have added some respite ,but the makeup of Miami’s roster as it now stands , no longer makes them a legitimate threat within their division much less the conference.

If the disappointment of the Miami Heat’s postseason was said to be a surprise then the Los Angeles Lakers’ fall from grace has to be seen as one of the most embarrassing in recent NBA history . Lakers’ fans remain optimistic , that Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss can turn things around with a great deal of urgency. Yet, with the franchise being unable to land a marquee free agent during the off-season leads me to believe the team is likely to have another woefully inept season. An aging Kobe Bryant can no longer single-handed lead this team without considerable aid from his teammates. Anyone believing the likes of Robert Sacre , Nick Young , Marshon Brooks, Xavier Henry , Jordan Hill , Wesley Johnson and Jeremy Lin can make the Lakers a force to be reckoned with within the Western Conference , has no idea as to the considerable mountain the team is being asked to climb. You simply have to look at their failure this past season under Mike D’Antoni to fully appreciate, how the head coach and his coaching staff were completely out of their depth ,without considering the loss of Bryant for a large part of the season .

The Lakers remain without a head coach, while Mitch Kupchak conducts what he says, remains an in-depth interviewing process of prospective candidates . I liken the statement, to one of a suitor, who is not so sure of his choices of a companion for an upcoming dance . Such has been the incompetency shown within the Lakers’ front office , that it is hard to have any faith in the leadership or acumen shown by either Kupchak or team owner Jim Buss. . Among the candidates that are known to have shown some interest in the vacant head coaching position are former Lakers’ players Kurt Rambis and Byron Scott . Both have varying degrees of success as former head coaches in the NBA. Yet, it appears Mitch Kupchak would rather prolong the situation’s process, in the hope of hiring the right d candidate as the successor to Mike D’Antoni. . Unless the Los Angeles Lakers can hire a coach with a proven track record, then the franchise is likely to struggle in the upcoming years , without ever being able to challenge for an NBA title . As optimistic as their fans continue to be , in reality, they have to know that the writing is on the wall. Kobe Bryant is now in the waning days of an undeniably successful career , but it would be foolish to think he will still be playing for the franchise three or four years from now .

While I believe the NBA has been a marketing phenomenon on the global stage , I believe its hierarchy , first under David Stern and his successor Adam Silver have been negligent in their handling of the Donald Sterling issue ! As the legal process now plays out within the legal system , with the Los Angeles Clippers’ owner and his estranged wife Rochelle Sterling now fighting over the ownership of the franchise as well as their matrimonial assets.It begs the question, how could things have spiraled out of control , after Sterling’s repeated egregious behavior ? As to this idiotic insistence , the former commissioner has been of great benefit to the NBA , well if you value the rising value of the NBA teams , then you would be correct , he has been of benefit to the league. In the case of his custodial responsibilities in upholding the integrity and image of the NBA, I would say he proven to be a disaster , with his lack of leadership and corralling the behavior of the players, that of the team owners and in some cases the front office executives . Excuses continue to be made for the lack of common decency with apathy being shown not only by the fans themselves but also the media, in the ways they have continued to cover the stories within the league concerning player misconduct and that of the owners. But I believe this is simply a reflection of the society we now live in , where a lack of respect no longer seems to be the norm !

The NBA off-season is said to be encompassed by hyperbole, then a great deal of it comes down to the issue of the free agency period. Where conjecture, rumors and speculation make up a great deal of the idiotic news we are continually being force-fed by the media , but specifically, the on air talent who cover the league in general. If they cannot create the suspense surrounding a story , then why not simply create the perception it is for real by sprinkling some falsehoods. Sports’ journalism is no different from that of real news being played out on the domestic front and the o global stage . The journalists themselves now believe they are as popular as the stars they cover, if not more so in some cases , furthering their own profile in the public eye. Buy into their garbage and you are likely to believe just about anything that they will say or write.

Other than LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony was the biggest free agent to hit the market during the off-season. Anthony’s willingness to resign with the New York Knicks now makes him among the highest paid players in the NBA, by way of his contract and annual salary. The player’s six-year $124 million deal slightly dwarfs Joe Johnson’s still ludicrous contract with the Brooklyn Nets . And there are those who suggest that the NBA in terms the contracts being offered reflects a player’s worth and what the market is ready to bear ? An instant recipe for disaster for franchises without any financial expediency and fans who do not understand the nuance of how a business works and that sports’ economics, especially as it relates to the NBA.

Anthony’s return to the New York Knicks and Phil Jackson’s persuasive powers would prove to be too alluring, but I cannot help wonder if the reason was not the fact, the player knew, once LeBron James chose to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers , the chances of the duo teaming up together remained simply an elusive gambit. Carmelo and LeBron James in New York would have been a persuasive image for fans of the NBA to watch the Knicks with a great deal more intensity. Now it comes down to, how the Anthony will readjust his mindset under rookie head coach Derek Fisher and being surrounded with a new supporting cast , which on paper looks a great deal better than what was on offer from the team last season .

Far be it for me to suggest, but Kevin Love’s last three seasons in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ organization have been a complete waste of the player’s talents. Glen Taylor , Flip Saunders and the front office have spurned the issue of seeking to make the team more competitive. This has worn thin one of the NBA’s most talented players as he seeks with a great deal of legitimacy the chase for that elusive first NBA title . Love, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant might be the best players currently in the NBA without an NBA title to their list of achievements.

Now with the Timberwolves quite ready to trade the power forward, with a great deal of interest being shown by the Golden State Warriors , it will be interesting to see what directions the now ongoing deliberations take between the two teams. Will the asking price be too high and are the Warriors ready to give up a bevy of players to make the deal a reality ?

The Warriors’ co-owners, Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are known to very ambitious individuals who are well versed in their respective fields. Yet the thought of making their franchise , perhaps the best NBA team in the state of California is not something that can be overlooked. I certainly believe that the Golden State Warriors are the equal of the Los Angeles Clippers , certainly better than either the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings in almost every aspect of the game ! The continued knock against the Warriors , will be that until they make a deep playoff run with Steph Curry leading the team , they can only be looked upon as a franchise with a great deal of flair and offensive firepower .

The Golden State remains a work in progress and I believe the team in its current guise with the potential addition of Kevin Love are credible challengers to the San Antonio Spurs , Oklahoma City Thunder , Los Angeles Clippers for conference supremacy. As things now stand even with the Spurs having the same cast of characters with an addition or two they are still likely to remain the best team within the conference and the NBA in general. Their clinical dismantling of the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, was simple proof of the fact, they remain a team be reckoned with, just as long as their Hall of Fame destined triumvirate are part of their arsenal. With Gregg Popovich also having signed a contract extension with the Spurs, team owner Peter Holt and the front office have reaffirmed their faith in the head and his coaching staff . Now comes the defense of their title ,where they are likely to caught in the cross-hairs of the NBA’s other combative teams.

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Picture gallery .

During this NBA off-season, which story or event do you believe to be the most important? By all means leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it has always been greatly appreciated !

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(1) In a scene from the classic movie “The Wizard of Oz “ , from left to right , Bert Lahr, the Cowardly Lion, Ray Bolger , Scarecrow, Judy Garland , as the heroine Dorothy Gale and Jack Haley as the Tin Man. The movie made in 1939 remains a timeless classic loved by generations . Courtesy of Warner Bros .

(2) A pensive LeBron James speaks to the convened press during this past season’s NBA Finals . James’ gallant effort was not enough to stave off the Miami Heat’s embarrassing 4-1 series’ loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the Finals. His announcement that he is rejoining the Cleveland Cavaliers took the NBA world by surprise including the front office of the Miami Heat . AP Photo/ Chris Charles …

(3) Luol Deng of the Cleveland Cavaliers agreed to a two-year $20 million deal with the Miami Heat as team President Pat Riley seeks to rebuild the roster after the departure of LeBron James who rejoined the Cleveland Cavaliers, signing a two-year deal with the franchise . AP Photo / Amy Morton ….

(4) Jeremy Lin who this off-season was traded by the Houston Rockets , joining the Los Angeles Lakers . Lin hopes to add some much-needed productivity to a team that languished at the position within the conference this past season . Getty Images / Christina Belcher …. ..

(5) Byron Scott is rumored to the frontrunner to succeed Mike D’Antoni as the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers . Scott is the only known candidate to have been interviewed twice by Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss for the vacant head coaching position . AP Photo / Paul Matthews ….

(6) Minnesota Timberwolves’ power forward Kevin Love . The Timberwolves are said to be interested in trading the player , with the main suitors in such a deal, being the Golden State Warriors . Team owners, Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , a highly ambitious duo, are keen to make a big off-season splash and see the acquisition of Love as a big part of gaining a much higher profile for their franchise . AP Photo/ Morton Parker ……..

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Buzzer beater ………………….

Buzzer beater

With the NBA season now winding down , teams are jockeying position for the divisional as well as conference berths , with thoughts of qualifying for the postseason . The Miami Heat and the New York Knicks could very well be on a collision course for a meeting at some point during the playoffs. The fans and broadcast outlets will undoubted be hoping that these two titans and avowed foes will meet in the Eastern Conference Finals .

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The Eastern Conference is turning out to be quite a competitive staging point this season , but once again it would appear that injuries have played a part in the fates of a number of teams . Stars such as Rajon Rondo , Derrick Rose , Danny Granger , Kevin Love , Dwyane Wade and Amar`e Stoudemire have at some point been sidelined for all or part of the season . And for their respective teams , it has meant them showing their resilience, because of the adversity in question. While we may well choose to overlook this factor , it should be noted that the teams in question have fared well within the conference . With the Heat’s recent twenty-seven consecutive game winning streak coming to an abrupt end , with their assault on the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers’ record of thirty-three consecutive wins , is at least safe for another season. The focus now , has to be now , how does the team rebound from the disappointment of not being able to equal or surpass that feat . The eyes on the prize , has to be the bigger picture of winning the NBA title . As the defending champions , the Miami Heat knew that a target had been placed on their backs. And that might well have been further exacerbated by the fact , that the franchise , has proven to be relentless in acquiring free agent talent , as evidenced by the Heat’s acquisitions . Ray Allen and Chris Anderson to complement the franchise’s ready collection of “ high-profiled stars “ and role players on the team . And it could be maintained that Allen and Anderson are being well compensated , as contributing to the team’s , and being a part of the Miami Heats’ franchise .

Head coach Erik Spoelstra and the front office led by team President Pat Riley and team owner , Micky Arison have seen the value of the franchise rise exponentially , while remaining competitive and extremely profitable. Ever since the Heat’s acquisition of three-time League MVP , Lebron James , the expectations were and have remained high , with the evidence of that paying off with a rise in the franchise’s value and profits . It is prudent to add in the fact, that the Heat have now become the biggest and best show in town , as they have seen a rise in the attendance levels for the team’s home games at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida , since the star’s acquisition by the franchise. .

The Miami Heat for their part , will now seek cement their lead (ten games ) within the Eastern Conference over the second placed New York Knicks (51-26) and within their division . Currently, that lead within the conference is now at a staggering 10.5 games , with five games left in the regular season , it will be interesting to see how things pan out for the teams seeking to be part of the NBA’s postseason foray .

Wednesday will offer the fans ten games on the day’s schedule with the marquee match-up being the game between the Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets . The match-up could add more intrigue in the pecking order of the conference makeup , with both teams vying for the second third places within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference . The Nets are currently the fourth ranked team within the conference , with the Celtics seated as the seventh ranked team , above the eighth ranked Milwaukee Bucks (37-40) . Both teams have had their struggles this season , and this game should go a long way in determining how both teams maintain their composure going into the postseason.

I may well have missed something but for some unknown reason Sacramento city mayor Kevin Johnson , believes it prudent to still chase after pipe-dreams , as he seeks to retain the Sacramento Kings within the state capitol. As you may well be aware, the Kings’ Maloof family have agreed in principle to the sale of the franchise to a consortium led by Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer and venture capital billionaire , Chris Hansen . The duo seek to relocate the team to the city of Seattle and it would appear that the duos bid of $575 million , with Joe and Gavin Maloof still retaining a minority stake in the team. Pending the NBA’s hierarchy and its Board of Governors’ approval , it does appear that the Kings will be relocated .

A last-ditch attempt is being made by Kevin Johnson to have the remain in Sacramento , but his hopes now look to be dashed , as it will be derailed , after Californian real estate mogul , Ron Burkle dropped out of a rival bidding consortium , of which Johnson ,himself, is a member . However, with the departure of Burkle, the most visible and high-profiled member of this syndicate, after some internal frustrations, an d fractured relationships , which the billionaire entrepreneur refuses to address. One might still question why, Johnson would seek to retain a barely profitable enterprise , that remains one of the NBA’s least supported franchises over the last eight seasons. I was once told by a Sacramento native and patron of this site , that the Kings remain a viable franchise , but herein lies the idiocy of that individual’s statement. Yet here are the facts , the Kings remain an uncompetitive , mismanaged franchise, without any leadership on , or off the court . From a financial standpoint, there is little to be desired or to suggest that under GM Geoff Petrie . or the Maloof family, that they would have been able to turn things around , much less where the meager fans in attendance, could hold out any sort of hope that this team could be resurgent once again.

Courtesy of CBS Sports

Ron Burkle drops out of group vying to buy Kings

By Royce Young, NBA Writer

On the surface, it seems like a major blow for Sacramento in its fight to keep the Kings. With 10 days to go before the NBA Board of Governors decides the future of the franchise, billionaire investor Ron Burkle is pulling out.

Why? Because of a conflict of interest. Via the Sacramento Bee:

Facing questions over a conflict of interest, Burkle instead will focus on redeveloping other portions of Downtown Plaza. “He’s so committed to Sacramento,” the mayor said, adding that he spoke with Burkle on Monday. “There’s a host of ancillary development opportunities that Ron will participate in.”

Burkle was going to take the lead in developing the proposed $448 million arena and would have held a small ownership stake in the team. Sacramento officials had said his presence was a huge asset in part because he successfully developed a new arena three years ago for his hockey team, the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Burkle is part-owner of Relativity Sports, which manages some NBA players’ careers.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson insists Burkle’s departure won’t hurt the city’s chances to keep the team, instead claiming other investors were going step in and fill the hole.

“I don’t look at this as a slow-up or a hiccup,” Johnson said, via the Bee. “We won’t miss a beat.”

With Burkle taking a step back, Vivek Ranadive and Mark Mastrov are going to be “lead investors” of the group. The report also says the Jacobs family of San Diego, who founded Qualcomm telecommunications, would take on a more significant ownership role.

The Jacobses didn’t join the Kings effort until late March and have kept a low profile. One of the family’s members, Jeff Jacobs, issued a statement Monday saying “we are thrilled to join Vivek and Mark in their efforts to keep the Kings in California and revitalize Sacramento.”

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has announced a new investor to help fill the role vacated by billionaire Ron Burkle in the city’s bid to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle.
Johnson also said Tuesday that Sacramento developer Mark Friedman has joined the group. Friedman will help build the planned arena downtown.

Burkle still plans on having a part in solidifying the future of the Kings in Sacramento, though, as he plans to work on developing the downtown area around the new arena.

Burkle was the original investor to step up in an effort to match the Seattle group’s bid for the Kings after the Maloofs reportedly sold the team for $525 million. He also stepped up in 2011 while the Maloofs angled for a move to Anaheim and helped shut down that.

“The Maloofs do not like Burkle,” sports-law expert Michael McCann told the Bee. “By removing him from the story … it could end up helping Sacramento.”

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The Sacramento Kings, is a franchise in name only , and the sole purpose, has to be placing a public face to this issue , for the residents to witness how inept and incompetent they have been . It simply makes no sense to retain a franchise within a city that itself has its own budgetary crunch , with the mayor now seeking an assist from private enterprise , as well as using public funds in seeking to retain a beleaguered NBA franchise . Yet somehow , this, has been the rallying call of Kevin Johnson . I simply wonder if the residents in the state capitol are fully cognizant of that fact ?

Well, Kobe Bryant may well have reiterated what many of us are coming to grips with , and that is , this may well be the player’s penultimate or final season in the NBA . Now a seventeen-year veteran in the NBA , having entered the league as a draftee of the then Charlotte Hornets in the 1996 NBA Draft as the thirteenth pick overall in the first round . How different might the fortunes of both the Los Angeles Lakers and Bobcats may well have been , had not then Lakers’ GM Jerry West pulled the trigger on a deal that brought Bryant to the Lakers in exchange for some nondescript entities superfluous to that franchise’s needs . Five NBA titles , four All Star MVP awards , two NBA Finals’ MVP awards and a League MVP award , along fourteen All Star Appearances , have pretty much cemented Bryant’s legacy in the NBA and the game’s history. Granted , the one accolade that might escape Kobe Bryant should he choose to retire at the end of this postseason , will be the chance to supplant Kareem Abdul Jabbar as the NBA’s most prolific scorer in terms of career points (38,387). Bryant currently holds the record amongst active players with 31,506 points which presently places him fourth all-time in regular season career points. He also sits third all-time in career postseason points with 5,640 in the postseason , all amassed with the Los Angeles Lakers .

This season for the Lakers , after the initial managerial upheaval , there were still frailties concerning this team , in spite of the additions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash . Head coach, Mike D’Antoni has been entrusted to run this ship , while executives Jim Buss , son of the late owner , Dr. Jerry Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak have presided over the drama and subplots , that have made up the Lakers’ soap opera season . Often critical of his teammates , Bryant has had to temper his angst , in order to produce as only he can , on a roster that really does lack cohesion , in spite of what their recent record might suggest. He remains the leading scorer and the second leading provider of opportunities in terms of assists per game for the team . If the Lakers are to prevail in the postseason , in the aftermath of Bryant’s prediction and guarantee of a playoff berth , then in all honesty every player on this roster will have to raise the level of their play over the remainder of the regular season and into the playoffs , itself. Anything short of that , and it will be all for nothing .

Tuesday night , Mike D’Antoni’s players “downed “ the New Orleans Hornets 104-96 in something of an uncompetitive game during its latter stages , without their being a genuine effort on the part of the away team ,in seeking to derail their more renowned Southern Californian rivals. Next up for the Lakers will be an away game against the Portland Trailblazers (33-44) , led by leading Rookie of the Year Candidate , Damian Lillard who will be ably assisted by teammates , LaMarcus Aldridge , Nicolas Batum , Jared Jeffries , Luke Babbitt , Wesley Matthews and J J Hickson . Blazers’ head coach Terry Stotts , will be looking for a spirited late run from his players , knowing that they have missed out on a playoff berth , with some missteps along the way during their season . With a central core built around Aldridge and Lillard , I believe that the Blazers’ front office , can acquire the players needed to place this franchise amongst the elite within the conference , with a view of making a genuine run of winning an NBA title. GM Neil Olshey certainly has the credentials to make this reality .

Having injured during the 2012 NBA playoffs , the Chicago Bulls’ , Derrick Rose , it was felt would take enough time to recuperate from what was thought at the time to be a serious injury , but not a career threatening catastrophe . Now at almost at the culmination of the Bulls’ regular season schedule , and the point guard and 2011 League MVP , has yet to suit up in a Bulls’ uniform for a game this season . With the player sidelined and unable to give a definitive time or any expectation , as to his return , head coach Tom Thibodeau is now left with the unenviable task of having to choose whether not to include Rose as part of the Bulls’ postseason roster. Rose has stated that his practices have been almost “near perfect” , with his body back to almost being in game shape. However, Derrick Rose’s issues now , might not be physical , but more psychological , as there seems to be a fear of re-injury , as it relates to his torn ACL and MCL. It would be something of a shock , were the young point guard’s career come to an abrupt end , having never fully reached the undoubted that many believe Rose has. From my own perspective , if the player is unable to play , then the coaching staff and front office need not take the risk of having him be a part of the roster as they enter into to the postseason ! That may sound somewhat cynical , but I feel given the investment made in Derrick Rose , he is seen as the heir apparent to Michael Jordan and the face of the franchise’s future . It is prudent if the player returns under his own time-frame , even if the fans and public alike , would like to see his quick return.

The Chicago Bulls were formidable enough to show the fans what they were capable of , when they derailed the Miami Heat’s quest in surpassing the Lakers’ consecutive games’ win streak , when they defeated LeBron James and his teammates’ quest for basketball immortality . A Bulls’ team showing that type of resolve and resilience is quite capable of derailing the hopes of some the Eastern Conference’s more prominent teams . A first round match-up based on the current conference standings, would pit the fifth seeded Bulls, against the fourth seed , Brooklyn Nets . It should come as no surprise that the Chicago Bulls leads the Brooklyn Nets 3-1 in their season series , in their meetings during the 2012-13 season . The Bulls also lead their potential postseason counterparts by an almost similar margin when it comes to their match-ups. Dating back to their first to their first meeting in 1998 at that stage of the NBA calendar , the franchise holds a 3-0 mark over the Brooklyn Nets.

In recent seasons the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love has evolved into one of the best Power forwards / centers in the NBA . Love’s evolution from an awkward angular player into on an offensive and rebounding giant has made him a superstar in the NBA , as well as an Olympian and member of Team USA’s gold medal winning team in London. And Love is handsomely paid for his prowess by the Timberwolves , and he is amongst the highest paid players at his position in the NBA .

Kevin Love has been sidelined with a fractured right hand which has prolonged his stay on the sidelines this season for the Timberwolves . With his being on the bench , although he has suited up for a mere eighteen games , it has been left to Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko , to lead this team from an offensive and defensive standpoint . With Timberwolves’ head coach Rick Adelman and his staff being entrusted to guide this team , it will be interesting to see how the franchise manages to steer their way through the remainder of the season , while looking forward to next season and the presumed imminent return of Kevin Love. Adelman recently became the eighth coach in NBA history to have won 1,000 games over the course his coaching career . The all-time NBA leader is Don Nelson with the figure of 1,335 wins over the course of thirty-three year coaching career in the league . With that in mind consider the fact that amongst active coaches of which Adelman is now the current active wins’ leader . The next coach expected to pass that milestone will be the San Antonio Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich (904 wins). That feat is likely to be accomplished with the franchise at some point during the during the 2014-15 NBA season .

The San Antonio Spurs may not be viewed as one of the glamor teams within the NBA , and while all of the hullabaloo tends to be about the Heat and the Knicks . Consider the fact, that , this will be the fourteenth consecutive season that the franchise has made it to the postseason , while averaging .. 50 wins per season . And yet the hype has been about the New York Knicks and their recent unbeaten run . Let’s get real for once , until this Knicks’ team has achieved something of relevance , simply don’t go overboard , because in reality the franchise has languished for four decades hoping for the “winds of change “ . And no amount regaling by the fans about past and current feats , can hide the years of inconsistency and gross mismanagement . The fans and prognosticators alike , tend to show their apathy , rather addressing both the positives and negatives concerning the Knicks’ franchise .

While the Eastern Conference has been granted with the presence, privilege and confidence of knowing that they have the reigning NBA champions within their midst . It must be said that this season, the occupants within the rival conference , the West , will try to do their damnedest to make sure that their Finals’ representative will be the best that the Western Conference has to offer . With the conference now locked with a two-way tie atop with the Oklahoma City Thunder (57-21) and San Antonio Spurs now sharing the best record in the conference, as well as within the NBA as a whole . It certainly will be interesting, to see how things play out, over the four games remaining over the course of the NBA schedule. Though the brackets have yet to be locked into place, as to who the first round match-ups will be , the prevailing thought appears to be, the way things are situated at present , will be as such, be representative of the first round series we are likely to see . With the Thunder holding the tie-break in their series this season against the Spurs , the chance for San Antonio to end up with the best record within the conference will mean the team having close out their schedule with at least three wins , with the hope that Kevin Durant and the Thunder drop at least one of their four remaining games on their schedule .

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Picture gallery .

As the regular season winds down what if anything to your mind has been the most memorable moment or team this season by way of expected or unexpected success ? And to your mind which player or players have impressed you the most , with regard to their attitude, and overall play ? Chime in, with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter .

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(1) Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade , left, sits on the bench with forward LeBron James during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Tuesday, April 9, 2013 in Miami. Wade was ruled out of Tuesday’s home game against the Bucks, the fifth straight contest that the All-Star guard will miss while tending to a sprained ankle and bruised knee. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …

(2) WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 10: Shane Battier (31) of the Miami Heat and Ray Allen (34) of the Miami Heat celebrate a victory over the Washington Wizards on April 10, 2013 at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images …

(3) Boston Celtics power forward Brandon Bass (30) dunks over Brooklyn Nets’ center Brook Lopez (11) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, April 10, 2013. AP Photo/Elise Amendola …

(4) BOSTON, MA – APRIL 3: Rajon Rondo (9) of the Boston Celtics practices shooting prior to a game against the Detroit Pistons on April 3, 2013 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Rondo, who is out for the remainder of the season, underwent ACL surgery in February. The point out with a torn ACL , now looks to recuperate during the off-season , with the hope of making a comeback for the 2013-14 season . Back up point guard , Jason Terry will be asked assume the role successfully filled by Rondo for much of his career with the Celtics . However , also on the roster , Celtics’ head coach Doc Rivers does also have the privilege of the use of using Avery Bradley , Jordan Crawford , Courtney Lee and Terrence Williams . Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images …..

(5) City of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson , center , is seen here speaking to the convened , press after a hastily arranged meeting, to explain the last-minute withdrawal of billionaire real estate mogul , Ron Burkle . The billionaire investor, an avid sports’ fan is happens to be the nemesis of the Maloof Family , owners of the Sacramento Kings, the franchise which Johnson hopes to retain within the California state capitol. However, it is also being rumored that Ron Burkle also has a conflict of interest in such a proposal , as he is also involved in a consortium seeking to develop the downtown Los Angeles city area , with a view to building $3.5 billion commercial and retail project that will also house a football stadium , with a view to either luring a relocated and existing NFL franchise or with the hope adding a new Los Angelean NFL team to the NFL’s thirty existing teams . AP Photo / Keith Marshall ………….

(6) Famed real estate mogul , entrepreneur and political Democratic power broker Ron Burkle . The businessman for what are said to be , personal and professional reasons, has dropped out of a consortium that sought to lodge a rival bid , in pursuant of the proposed bid made by rival suitors Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer , who as a duo have agreed in principle to buy and relocate the Sacramento Kings and move that franchise to Seattle , Washington , state . In what will undoubtedly be seen as a last-ditch effort by the Sacramento city mayor , Hansen and Ballmer’s bid , now only seeks the NBA hierarchy and Board of Governors’ final seal of approval. NBA Commissioner , David Stern has not commented publicly on the efforts of Kevin Johnson and his attempt to retain the Kings’ franchise in Sacramento . AP Photo / Tim Marshall …

(7) Timberwolves’ head coach Rick Adelman , is seen on the sidelines talking to his star center and forward, Kevin Love . The two have a very respectful relationship , that has seen Love’s career blossom over the past few seasons . However , with the player being lost to the team for much of this season , the Minnesota Timberwolves have labored after a promising start to the year . It is hoped that Love will make a fully recovery from his wrist injury to be a part of the franchise’s off-season workouts . Getty Images North America / Christian Hernandez ……….

(8) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant , left, drives on Portland Trail Blazers guard Will Barton during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, April 10, 2013. Bryant scored a season high 47 points , leading all scorers in the game against the Trailblazers . AP Photo/Don Ryan ….

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NBA related stories : Raptors’ Valanciunas injures neck against Bulls

Chandler out, Martin back for Knicks

Wade (ankle, knee) to sit out fifth game in row

Love, to have arthroscopic knee surgery

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Wu Tang Clan ____________ “Triumph”

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The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen …………..

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

By Tophatal

A patron of my site tried to suggest that a the presumed leader on a renowned NBA franchise was being disingenuous, in being critical of his teammates . From my own perspective, by appearance alone, when the player happens to be the best athlete and player on that team and he is expected to carry the burden of that organization upon his lone and competitive shoulders . Then he has every right to be “calling out his teammates” no matter what the circumstances , especially in the case where it would appear that the head coach takes a nonchalant and laissez-faire approach , merely seeking to make excuses for the team’s poor play and then drawing the ire and complete disdain from the fans . If you haven’t caught on by now , the team in question just happens to be the Los Angeles Lakers (25-28) and of course , the player , just happens to be , none other than Kobe Bryant .

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Now while the talk of the NBA at present has been outstanding play of play of LeBron James and his six-game run of averaging 30.4 points, 6 assists and 6.6 rebounds per game . Meanwhile , James, and the Heat, hold a comfortable seven-game lead over their closest rivals within the Southeast Division , the Atlanta Hawks (29-22) . It would remiss to think that Miami Heat and their head coach , Erik Spoelstra have had this season all to themselves . At present, the team is being is pushed hard, within the Eastern Conference , by none other than the New York Knicks (32-18). Who themselves have it on their minds, if at all possible , to supplant the Heat for the best record in the Eastern Conference . With that in mind, it is clear that Mike Woodson and his players had hoped to make that a reality before the All Star Break. The Knicks’ head coach however, can feel pleased with the fact, that his team leads the Heat, in their regular season series’ meetings (2-0) , so far, as part of the duos’ regular season scheduled contests.

It has to be understood , that there are as such, for all sense and purpose only three teams that certainly matters in terms of piquing the fans’ and public’s interests when it comes to the NBA , namely those franchises are the Boston Celtics , the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat . And granted , a case can be made for the San Antonio Spurs , but for the fact that they’ve won four NBA titles since 1997 , one seriously would have thought that the Gregg Popovich coached, and Tim Duncan led franchise , would be seen as one of the NBA’s marquee franchises . And perhaps, over the last four years with the ascent of Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder , as a rising powerhouse not only within the Western Conference but the NBA as a whole .

While I am not against players showing their passion or zeal on the court for the game , away from it , I would like to think that they can hold themselves accountable for their actions. A great deal of criticism has been leveled at Kobe Bryant over the course of his career , much of if it valid , and other cases , most definitely . With Bryant’s recent criticism, of his teammates, for their lackluster efforts on the court , it could be seen that the player’s frustrations had boiled over into sheer anger and contempt. And much of that, I believe has been brought about from the mere fact Kobe Bryant no longer has any faith in the abilities of general manager , Mitch Kupchak and SVP Jim Buss , son of team owner, Dr. Jerry Buss. The duo of senior executives, have simply made a mess of the season, with some rather curious and dubious personnel decisions. And while, the pundits were singing the praises of the acquisitions of Dwight Howard , and Steve Nash and their insertion unto this team . It has to be said , that the experiment so far, has worked out about as successfully, as the 72 day ‘marriage’ of Kim Kardashian to Nets’ power forward , Kris Humpheries. All of the hoopla behind that sham of a marriage” could not hide the fact , that intellectually and emotionally, the pairing was contrived and orchestrated, simply to whet the appetite of the public’s fascination of a publicity hungry female and a moderately successful NBA player . I just hope, that you had at least one chance, to tap that ass Kris ? Just simply, tap that ass !

On a one game winning streak , but losers of seven of their last ten games , there is no denying that you would have to be simply naïve , not to understand Kobe Bryant’s frustration. The team’s head coach, Mike D’Antoni, seems to be completely devoid creativity and ideas ! And to this asinine theory , that D’Antoni would bring about a defensive resilience to this unit , that is tantamount to suggesting that Lindsay Lohan’s acting career, has been a resounding success, given all of her off-screen problems . In the case of D’Antoni , he simply, has not brought anything meaningful to the table , by way of his alleged coaching prowess. In terms of defense the Los Angeles Lakers rank sixth , in the Western Conference allowing an astonishing 100.5 points per game , while in the league as a whole they rank eighth in points allowed . And when one takes into account that Bryant has been the primary offensive weapon on a team that is devoid of leadership , beyond the player , himself , and the very fact that the Lakers are physically and mentally soft ! What would now give anyone the notion that this team is simply good enough to make a credible run deep into the playoffs , much less actually garner a playoff berth based on their current standing within the conference ? If there happens to be a loyal Lakers’ fan still pinning their hopes and beliefs that the team can somehow turn things around . Then I, for one, would appreciate a succinct explanation as to how this will come about , given the franchise’s present situation ! Anyone, surely, there is a Los Angeles Lakers’ fan with the gravitas to show their undying allegiance to this renowned franchise?

The Lakers’ next game pits them against their co-habitants of the Staples Center in Los Angeles , Los Angeles Clippers (38-17) , in what is sure to be a heated and highly contested match-up . Vinny Del Negro’s Clippers hold a 2-0 series’ lead in their head to head match-ups this season , with their last meeting ending in a five point , 107-102 victory for his team . Will the Lakers be up to the challenge or will Blake Griffin led Clippers be like marauding mercenaries laying waste to the Lakers’ slowly evaporating season ?

While the Lakers and Clippers are dueling it out , a repeat of last season’s NBA Finals will be on tap , as two of the game’s most prolific scorers and some arguably might say , the NBA’s two best players , LeBron James and Kevin Durant will face off against each other , when the Miami Heat are the guests of the Oklahoma City Thunder , at the Chesapeake Energy Center , in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma ,. It is likely that the fans in attendance and those watching the cable broadcast are likely to see a highly entertaining and offensive minded game. Two of the game’s, biggest scorers , and a pair of teams , with the players , who, are good enough , to keep the electronic scoreboard rattling along at a phenomenal pace .

I firmly believe that the NBA over the last eight years, has simply sold its very soul to the Devil ! And while it has a great brand on perception , if you simply delve beneath the surface and sift through the bull-crap , espoused by David Stern and so many of his subordinates , you will find that there is not a great deal of transparency or clearly defined demarcation points, in terms of the hierarchy’s leadership. Stern , simply eschews it all , and rules his fiefdom with a rod of iron , that the likes of Joseph Stalin and Muammar Gaddafi would have been proud of . Thankfully, the NBA does not, suborn the use of torture , life-long imprisonment, or execution by a firing squad , as a means of rendering punishment , or as a harsh deterrent for those who oppose his every whim. Be warned Mark Cuban , as I know at, $1.25 million in fines and counting , your adversarial foe (Stern) is simply looking for you to be critical of his very next idea of grandeur. As for the NBA commissioner , when will he get it into his thick skull that the wide latitude given to him , is not given in order that he belittles the fans , and the cities in which the NBA franchises are domiciled . If you think that last statement just happens to be off base , then consider David Stern’s distinct lack of aid , given to the city of Sacramento as the municipality and the fans of that franchise fought for the Sacramento Kings’ retention within the California state capitol . .

With the Kings having been sold for a reputedly exorbitant $ 525 million to a consortium led by hedge fund manager and venture capitalist billionaire , Chris Hansen, Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer , and a number of minority stake-holding partners , who now await the NBA Board of Governors’ approval , in relocating the beleaguered franchise to Seattle , Washington. And even with a last-ditch effort mounted by Californian billionaire , Ron Burkle , jointly with ex-President Bill Clinton with their last-ditch bid , which seems unlikely to be favored , even with the backing of Sacramento City Mayor Kevin Johnson , now leading the municipality’s efforts . This wouldn’t all be so comical and sad , when you realize that the basketball franchise is one of the NBA’s least supported teams , and in terms of competitive success , the Sacramento Kings’ last postseason appearance , came back in 2006 , that ended , with a first round series’ loss (4-2) to the San Antonio Spurs. Subsequently, things have been pretty sparse by way tangible success competitively , personnel wise and most definitely , from an economic standpoint , with the team eking out a mere $2.6 million in profits, on revenues of $96 million . A rather meager return , given the franchise’s locale and region , but yet one asinine Kings’ devotee , once suggested to me, that the franchise is a profitable concern compared to many of its peers. What this idiot failed to acknowledge because of his undoubted lack of business acumen, was that the franchise had distinct advantages over many of its rivals, but in reality, the ownership group and front office , clearly were , mismanaged the franchise and placing it on the brink of financial insolvency . All of which, he failed to acknowledge, when the evidence was placed in print for him to peruse. Well, if you can’t damn well balance a check book , then it’s clear that a financial balance sheet would be right above his intellectual being.

For the soon to be departing Sacramento Kings’ owners , Joe and Gavin Maloof , and their siblings . Well, let’s just say, that their sale of the franchise has come about at least, five years too late. During, their tenure, the Sacramento Kings have seen their fair share of highs and lows. In retrospect , I would definitely say more lows , than highs , but those are just my personal opinions ! I can only hope that with relocation and a far more resourceful ownership group , the Kings can hopefully see a return to better days ! The Maloof’s sheer indulgence and lack of forthrightness has to come into question , but so too must David Stern’s apparent willingness to let a franchise owner almost single-handed take the franchise to brink of extinction without ever once questioning the motives of Joe and Gavin Maloof. Well this should not at all come as a surprise to anyone , given the commissioner’s instincts and his own overall lack of honesty and integrity . One only has to follow the David Stern’s actions , and that of the present owners of the Oklahoma City Thunder, to fully comprehend the web of deceit and lies which took place during the sale of the Seattle Supersonics , and their subsequent relocation to their new locale , in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma .

The recent injury to the Kentucky Wildcats’ Nerlens Noel , a point has to be raised . In clearly what was a season ending injury , Noel , thought to be a consensus number one overall pick for the 2013 NBA Draft , will be sidelined for the rest of the team’ regular season schedule , with not even a remote chance of a return , for participation in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament . Wildcats’ basketball coach , John Calipari , in a somber mood , having spoken to the player after his injury , simply stated that he hoped to see the player back in a Kentucky Wildcats’ uniform next season . The chances of that happening , I e firmly believe just went up in smoke ! Should Nerlens Noel make a full recovery , and he is looked upon favorably by the draft experts , NBA coaching staffs , then it seems abundantly clear , that the player will declare his eligibility for the NBA Draft and seek to make his fortune in the professional ranks . A torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee , is the injury which has sidelined the young Wildcats’ star for what is not necessarily an indeterminate period .Surgery , and recuperation period of six to eight months is considered a bare minimum time for recovery . And this is the exact same injury that NFL running back Adrian Peterson was able to recover from in record time . Therefore, it all bodes well for Nerlens Noel, now, if placed under the appropriate medical staff for treatment. I would like to think, that the player seeks to make a return to the collegiate ranks , but everything would suggest that with the untold millions that awaits in the NBA , a young athlete of Noel’s potential would find it hard forgo the chance of that fortune .

Nerlen’s injury came in a game between the Wildcats and the Florida Gators . Billy Donovan’s , players came away with an exciting 69-52 victory , in which there were some thrilling plays from both teams . With Nerlens Noel scoring a game-low eight points in the Kentucky Wildcats’ loss. Their next scheduled game will be an interesting contest against the Tennessee (Volunteers) in Knoxville, Tennessee , this Saturday , the 16th February , 2013.

With the NBA hierarchy’s apparent intent to review eligibility status of college players , questions will arise of the intent of the league to review present rules governing the college athletes’ eligibility, of their entrance into the NBA Draft. Once again, the “one and done rule” becomes a subject of great conjecture, debate and speculation. Is it really the league’s duty impinge and deprive a potential employee a right to earn an income merely because the NBA sees it as a way controlling the apparent quality and branding of their product ? This essentially, is what this maneuver will all boil down to, should there be any anticipated changes. Fighting this, will be the agents, whose clients will be subject to this edict. NCAA President, Mark Emmert , will undoubtedly seek to offer his input with regard to this issue. This will either all come crashing down around the NBA’s ears or David Stern , will once again be able to use his power and cast aside any opposition to his authority. Your thoughts, on this all ?

Inasmuch as it pains me to say this , this an NBA season just seems to be mirroring many of their predecessors , in a great deal of the play we see being exhibited . Scoring seem to be on the increase ,meanwhile there are deficiencies on defense that fans seem to be overlooking , while they seek to gloss over these issues within the league (NBA) at present . A number of fans seem to be oblivious to this all , as they seek to make light of these obvious flaws within game , which is being ignored by David Stern , as his only thought seems to marketing a waning product to anyone willing to listen to his spiel . Suffice to say , with the NBA brand having saturated the North American market , the NBA’s need for growth , will come from the continents of Australia , Africa , Europe , and Asia .

The league’s biggest growth area will be in China , where its population of 1.6 billion people are now fans of the NBA. And with the Beijing Olympics , and the success of Team USA Men’s and Women’s basketball teams in bringing home Olympic gold, heightened the popularity of the game , even more so. Even, in light of retirement of former Houston Rockets’ , center, Yao Ming , a Chinese native , and the country’s most popular and prominent sporting export , until the recent ascent of WTA Tour player , Li Na . The female tennis professional is now idolized by young girls and women , in very much the same way , as Yao has been admired and appreciated by the country’s population. His popularity still remains high , as he now seeks to broaden the base and popularity of the sport of basketball across the country of China.

Na’s rise to prominence , has seen her become a three-time Grand Slam finalist and winner of the 2011 French Open title on the clay courts of the Roland Garros Stadium in Paris , France. Add in the fact , of her seventeen career singles’ titles , 16 doubles’ titles and over $10 .6 million in prize money , and one can fully appreciate why she’s held in such high esteem by the Chinese people and the People’s Republican Party of China. Li Na , is currently ranked fifth in the WTA rankings , with top spot held by Victoria Azarenka of Belarus . And with both sports , basketball and tennis reaching such a widespread audience globally , with each reputedly becoming multi-billion dollar enterprises , then clearly, any room for growth will be eagerly sought by the NBA , FIBA as the international governing body of the sport of basketball , and the WTA , as the custodians of the sport of women’s tennis.

Sunday, the 17th February , marks the fiftieth birthday of Michael Jeffrey Jordan, arguably , the greatest player in NBA history. Most certainly justified , as being one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players of All-time . The question now becomes, how will the NBA celebrate their most famous and universally recognized ambassador ? Jordan’s name is still revered globally , and that is in spite of the rise today’s era of stars , such as Kobe Bryant , LeBron James , Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony , Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose . Jordan’s legacy and his achievements will long be remembered after his passing and thankfully many of the accomplishments are either etched in our memories or held on film , where we can view them all for prosperity . Who can fail to remember his game winning shot over the outstretched arms of a then bewildered Craig Ehlo of the Cleveland Cavaliers , in the waning seconds , of what was a career defining play , of which he has repeated countless times over ? Yet this game winning shot, in Game 5 of the first round of the 1989 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs , meant a great deal more than just a victory , as it elevated Jordan to a God like, deity status. Michael Jordan remains one of the most recognizable athletes on the planet , and his universal acclaim might only be outshone at present, by retired boxer , Muhammad Ali and PGA Tour golfer, Tiger Woods . And no doubt , LeBron James , would like to see his fame take that ascent into the stratosphere , but first, it will take at least another three or four NBA titles , several league MVP’s , 6 or more Finals’ MVP awards , 8 more scoring titles , an additional ten more All Star Appearances, and shall we say, 20,000 more career points as an added bonus , before the comparisons can be made to Jordan , the icon , and the player who James , models himself after ?

Comparisons, will continually be made between NBA players of the past, and those of the present. Moreover, at times it may seem somewhat at disingenuous to gauge the greatness of these players , in thinking old versus new . In reality, there are no other means , nor is there an exact science to come up with a result that will meet everyone’s satisfaction , and that would deem to be fair . In my honest opinion to best way judge the players of the past against today’s crop of stars is to wait until an NBA of today makes his formal announcement to retire . And then we can start to deliver our verdicts , as to what we determine greatness to be !

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Picture gallery .

What do you believe may well be the NBA’s biggest failure as a sport’s brand ? In addition, do think that they can rectify those problems on long-term or the short-term ? By comparison , do you believe it to be justified in trying to suggest who is the better player of the two , in making a decision between Michael Jordan and Michael Jordan ? Do bear in mind that James is only now entering his tenth year in the NBA , having been drafted as the number one overall pick , from the 2003 NBA Draft. Your thoughts or comments on this and anything else you believe relevant to this article is greatly appreciated . So do take time, and chime on in .

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Picture and slideshow details below for your perusal .

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(1) “Faces of the NBA “ … the past and the present. Left, LeBron James holds the Bill O’Brien Trophy , signifying, his first NBA title (world championship). And right, Michael Jordan , long considered the NBA’s greatest player past or present . AP Photo / Chris Pearson …

(2) Los Angeles Lakers center , Dwight Howard , left, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan defends during the first half of their NBA basketball game , Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ….

(3) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) shoots as Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) defends during the first half of their NBA basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …

(4) Left , NBA Commissioner , David Stern and the Dallas Mavericks’ owner , Mark Cuban . The two individuals have had a contentious relationship , which is said to be built on ” mutual respect” . Yet, herein lies the dilemma , over the course of Cuban’s custodianship of the Maverick. He has reputedly, paid over $1.25 million in fines rendered by the league hierarchy led by David Stern . Cuban , a billionaire , tech entrepreneur will no doubt think of the fines as a mere pittance , when by comparison his net worth exceeds $2.35 billion . Getty Images/ Stuart Gough …

(5) Houston Rockets basketball center Yao Ming attended a press conference in Beijing, China to announce a partnership deal with the Brisbane company Monster Cable Products Inc. Yao and Monster has developed a broad range of co-branded “Yao Monster” consumer electronics and lifestyle products for distribution in China. Yao Monster products include headphones, bags, 3D glasses and home theater connectivity and power products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a portion of the proceeds will go to the Yao Ming Foundation, which builds schools for disadvantaged children in China. Courtesy of Pacific Coast News … @ copyrighted material all rights reserved ….

(6) Nerlens Noel , the Kentucky Wildcats’ guard is seen lying on court during a game between Florida and the Kentucky Wildcats . Noel tore his Anterior cruciate ligament in his right, knee and will be lost to the team for the rest of their schedule , missing in its entirety the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament . Florida would go on to defeat Kentucky 62-59 . While Noel hopes to make a quick return , it is highly unlikely that he will return for his sophomore season with the team . Nerlens Noel is considered to be a ” consensus top five pick overall “ , if not the number one pick for the 2013 NBA Draft. It seems almost a certainty that Nerlens Noel will forgo his sophomore season , declaring his eligibility for the draft , recuperating , while honing his game in the ranks of the NBA . A number of NBA coaches and scouts have seen Noel’s game and have been impressed with the player’s all-round skill-set . AP Photo / John Thorn …

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NBA teams’ salaries and with the league’s “soft” salary capof $58.044 million , one could attest to the fact that, the general managers , team owners and league hierarchy are simply ” kidding” themselves as to the NBA’s apparent frugality !

Highest paid NBA player , average salary and cap hit .

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Consequence , feat’g Kanye West …….. “ The Good The Bad & The Ugly “

This isn’t a Buss thing, as it’s about winning …. something that the Lakers aren’t accustomed to at present

This isn’t a Buss thing, as it’s about winning …. something that the Lakers aren’t accustomed to at present

By Tophatal

It is extremely difficult to focus on a starting point , let alone a finishing point , as it relates to the travails of the Los Angeles Lakers this season . The franchise’s woes, have been well chronicled in the print and television media, and with the team’s best player , Kobe Bryant , now voicing his displeasure, as to the recent lackluster efforts of his teammates , you simply know that it will be only a matter of time before Bryant rails against the management and senior executives within the organization. Mike DAntoni was brought in to replace the abruptly fired Mike Brown , after GM Mitch Kupchak and Senior Vice President , Jim Buss, son of the team’s owner , Dr Jerry Buss felt that an immediate change was needed .

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If five games into the season (1-4) , the is way, in which the NBA’s front office executives can attest to judging the playing form of their teams , then quietly possible several other of Mike Brown’s peers should have met the same fate , even if those might well have had a slightly superior record at the time . Yeah , but look , this is the Los Angeles Lakers we are discussing and anything remotely concerning common sense being shown , was thrown out the window , after the retirement of Phil Jackson , with both Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak , seeking to not offer the then vacant head coaching position to Jackson’s most trusted of his subordinates, Brian Shaw . This was even done, at the behest of Kobe Bryant, who voiced his wish both privately and publicly , for Brian Shaw to succeed Phil Jackson. Somehow , this all fell on deaf ears , as it relates to the aforementioned front office executives of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Entering into Tuesday, 22nd January , the Lakers bore a record of 17-24, within the Pacific Division of the Western Conference , wherein the team sits third place within their division , 14 ½ games behind the division leading Los Angeles Clippers (32-10) and 8 ½ games behind the second placed , and some might say the now surprisingly resilient , Golden State Warriors (25-15) , who are coached by former NBA point guard, Mark Jackson . Upon reflection , it was only a matter of time before the Lakers’ season simply resembled a train wreck , with the debris simply spread all over the place , with players simply out of gas , or feigning injury or as we are now being led to believe a number of the team’s acquisitions came into camp out of shape or with slight niggling injuries . The idiocy of this all, was that the print and television media were prepared to anoint this team as the best in the conference even before the season had tipped off . The Lakers are 2-8 in their last ten games albeit, that they are currently on three game losing streak , which does not augur well , for the franchise’s hope for a postseason berth , as they currently reside in twelfth place of the Western Conference’s fifteen teams .

The acquisitions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash , were meant to bolster the front court of this Lakers’ offense , complementing the skill-set of Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant . Gasol is now lost to the team for what is said to be an indeterminate period , and the play of Howard has been remarkably inconsistent , since starting for the Los Angeles Lakers . Another of the more troubling features of the team has been the lack defensive prowess from the players on the team , and it remains all the more asinine with claims of Mike DAntoni , that there is room for growth and toughness from his players . He and his coaching staff have “ clearly missed the boat” , as to how poor this team has been playing , and the sheer lack of determination from this entire roster . D’Antoni coached teams, have never been known for their proficiency as a defensive stalwart , and this asinine notion from the likes of current NBA analysts, Skip Bay less and Jon Barry , that the team can turn things around , as the season has now reached it’s midway point has become a cause for ridicule . I guess that both, Jon Barry and Skip Bayless are like to remain apologists for the Lakers , even when omnipresent signs of disaster are within their midst ?

Coming off a twelve-point loss to the Chicago Bulls at the United Center , in Chicago , Illinois ,. It has to be said , that seeing the team go down in an 95-83 defeat , where the effort from the Lakers’ players , was simply odious and thought-provoking. There is an increasing awareness and concern that if Mike DAntoni is not able to get this team with some semblance of cohesion and authority , then the now beleaguered coach could become the third coaching the fourth coaching casualty of the season , following Avery Johnson’s firing by the Brooklyn Nets , Mike Brown , with the Lakers , and Alvin Gentry with the Phoenix Suns . It is becoming all too clear that the hiring of the Lakers’ incumbent head coach could very well be joining his contemporaries on the tracks. Would it be too much to ask for either Jim Buss and Mitch Kolchak to now come forward and simply admit to the fact they erred in their decision to hire Mike DAntoni.

The Lakers’ draft classes in recent years have been non too impressive, and at the heart of the present roster Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol , Metta World Peace , Steve Nash and Dwight Howard , were all players acquired in a trade through free agency or in the case of Bryant , whose acquisition came by way of a trade during the 1996 NBA Draft in obtaining Kobe Bryant’s rights from the Charlotte Bobcats. The 2012 NBA Draft , saw the franchise draft , Robert Sacre , and from 2011 , Darius Morris , Andrew Goudeock and Ater Mojak . On paper alone , is there anyone who was of the belief that this team would be able to compete with any of the top teams within the conference , much less the rest of the NBA ? What the hell, are these, idiot analysts and fans actually looking at , by way of a comparison ? And should it come to a seven game series playoffs’ match-up, who amongst you, is of the belief that the Lakers , can take down the Oklahoma City Thunder , San Antonio Spurs , Los Angeles Clippers or the Memphis Grizzlies , in a seven game series during the postseason, never mind , an ultimate Finals’ meeting with the Miami Heat ?

The Lakers’ next game will be a scheduled match-up against conference rivals the Memphis Grizzlies at the Fedex Forum , in Memphis , Tennessee. The Grizzlies, who are coached by Lionel Hollins , with a team of high-caliber players , Rudy Gay , Zach Randolph , Tony Allen and Marc Gasol leading the charge for the for the franchise. And with the recent change of ownership from Michael Heisley to Memphis Basketball LLC , ownership group led by managing partner & Chairman Robert Pera and Vice-Chairman Steve Kaplan, a new era in the franchise ‘s history is now underway. Kobe Bryant and his teammates will undoubtedly be in for a stern test in tonight’s game , where another loss would hinder any progress that Mike D’Antoni and his coaching staff believes his team has. At this juncture , I would preface things by saying, I have never been convinced that D’Antoni was that great a coach to begin with , even during his reign with the Phoenix Suns , or that he was the right candidate to succeed Mike Brown !

Though, it is a growing trend amongst many of the big market franchises in all realms of professional sports , teams are beginning to exact their financial muscle , either by starting their own regional sports’ programming outlet or have a commercial tie-in with a major broadcast or cable outlet. The Los Angeles Lakers are not averse to seeking out a partner, who would be in a position to aid the franchise to maximize their exposure beyond the locale and beyond the nation , but towards a global market. Jim Buss and his sister , EVP, Jeanie Buss in conjunction with their father , team owner, Jerry Buss, have negotiated such a deal that will see the Lakers’ net an estimated $ 4 billion ($4,000,000,000) over the next two decades in a regional broadcast deal that is so financially beneficial for the organization, that , it leaves all other deals within the NBA , seemingly , trailing in the wind . Not even the mighty New York Knicks with the financial backing of parent company MSG Inc. , or team owner, James Dolan’s , patriarchy of familial holdings in Cablevision Inc could ever seek to usurp a deal of this magnitude . It now begs the question , will this be the way that the small market teams around the NBA not only seek to raise their profile but also their profitability ?

Courtesy of Forbes Inc.

Time Warner Cable Launches Two Regional Sports Networks, Lakers Reap $4 Billion

By Maury Brown , Forbes Contributor

In a continuation of the massive growth of sports programming options, the Southern California area will see the launch of not one, but two new regional sports networks through Time Warner Cable beginning today. Time Warner Cable will launch Time Warner Cable SportsNet, as well as the first-ever all Spanish language RSN, Time Warner Cable Deportes. The networks will be the new exclusive local homes of the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Galaxy and Los Angeles Sparks, as well as cover Mountain West football and basketball, in addition to soccer and boxing programming on Time Warner Cable Deportes.
The launch of the two RSNs highlights the explosion in media rights for sports over the last several years. The reported 20-year, $4 billion deal is wide-ranging and covers the rights to distribute all locally available pre-season, regular season, and post-season Lakers games, beginning with the 2012-2013 season. All Lakers games will be produced in high-definition in English & Spanish.

On-air talent for the TWC SportsNet includes former Laker great and Hall of Famer James Worthy, Chris McGee who was the Lakers’ sideline reporter at FOX SportsNet, as well as Dave Miller and Mike Trudell. That team joins Stu Lantz and Bill Macdonald who will call all Lakers games on Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Andy Adler, who joined the network in May, will serve as a studio anchor. On TWC Deportes, on-air personalities will include Ricardo Celis, Martin “El Pulpo” Zúñiga, Elmur Souza, Enrique Gutierrez and Hipolito Gamboa. Time Warner Cable Deportes will broadcast all local Lakers and Galaxy games entirely in Spanish.
Outside of basketball, TWC SportsNet will are 12 live Mountain West Conference football games and more than 24 Mountain West basketball games, making Time Warner Cable SportsNet the exclusive regional home for Aztecs, Rebels and Bulldogs.

The launch of the two regional sports networks sits against the backdrop of either new RSNs in the Southern California area cropping up, or lucrative rights extensions for the sports teams that are inking them. In mid-August, Time Warner Cable added the PAC-12 Network to their channel listing. According to the SportsBusiness Journal, PAC-12 Network has been seeking 80-cents per subscriber, which ranks higher than CNN, USA and FX. And, TWC could be positioning to land the Los Angeles Dodgers to a new deal, as well that could hit between $4-$5 billion over 20-years. Already, TWC prime competitor FOX Sports has reached a $3 billion, 20-year agreement with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
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Over the ensuing months leading up up to the NBA playoffs, which begin on the 20th April ,2013, there is no doubt that Kobe Bryant and his teammates will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed . However, I am of the opinion that Mitch Kupchak will seek to shake things up in terms of the makeup of the team’s roster , if things for the franchise are still in a quandary. The trade deadline this season falls on 21st February , which is barely a month away, so it is now incumbent upon the head coach , Mike D’Antoni and the general manager to have some intent, as to the direction that the franchise , is said to be heading . In terms of trade bait , the only viable options on the roster are, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace. Beyond that, there are no enticing pieces on the team , beyond its three preeminent stars , Bryant , Dwight Howard and Steve Nash.

After years of seemingly being in the wilderness , this season has seen a remarkable turn of events , as it relates to the Golden State Warriors (25-15) . Head coach , Mark Jackson , has this team playing an up-tempo form of basketball , that plays into the strengths of his core players , and when in transition , the Warriors just seem to be just as comfortable. The Warriors will get a further chance to assess their progress tonight, when they play hosts the Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder . In what is sure to be a high-scoring game , given the previous meeting between these two teams earlier this season, when there was a prolific output from the players on both rosters.

Leading the way for the Warriors this season , are Seth Curry and David Lee , but that would be to downplay the efforts of the duo’s teammates . And the fact that the Warriors have played themselves into a playoff berth at this point of the season , can only point to the optimism being shown not only by the coaching staff , but also by the front office led by managing partner , Joe Lacob , and indeed the franchise’s long-suffering fans. . There is a great deal that the franchise can indeed can perhaps feel contented with for the moment , they obviously have been playing in the background of gigantic shadow cast by the Los Angeles Lakers , and as of late, with the ascent of the Los Angeles Clippers , the Warriors can no longer be seen as one of the more inept franchises in NBA history. If they can simply maintain their present consistency of the remainder of their schedule , then there is every reason to believe that the franchise could very well make the postseason for the first time since the 2007 NBA Playoffs, which culminated their conference semi-finals’ loss to the Utah Jazz , after a sensational season by the franchise’s standards .

Currently, holding down the fifth spot in the Western Conference . With standings as they are currently , a first round match-up would elicit a series against the Memphis Grizzlies , the fourth seed. Again , this would be predicated upon the teams in question maintaining their consistency . So at this juncture as the remainder of the regular season schedule plays itself out .

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

In light of the ongoing issues with the Los Angeles Lakers , do you believe that the team can muster up enough wins , enabling the franchise to make the postseason ? If they fail to guarantees themselves a playoff berth , are you of the opinion that Mike D’Antoni well be retained by the front office for next season ? Chime in on this , and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter and the NBA as a whole .

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(1)FILE – In this April 26, 2012 file photo, the Maloof brothers, Phil, left, George, center and Gavin , co-owners of the Sacramento Kings, watch their team against the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif. The only thing stopping the Kings from a sale and move to Seattle is approval by NBA owners.The Maloof family has agreed to sell the Kings to a Seattle group led by investor Chris Hansen and Microsoft, Chairman , Steve Ballmer , the league confirmed in a statement Monday morning, Jan. 21, 2013.. The deal is still pending a vote by the NBA Board of Governors. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli …

(2) Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich (12) pressures Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Chicago. The Bulls won 95-83 . AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast …

(3) Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant walks off the court during a break in the action during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Chicago. The Bulls won 95-83 . AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast …

(4) Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni looks up at the scoreboard during a break in the action in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls  on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Chicago. The Bulls won 95-83. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast …

(5) From left to right , Lakers GM , Mitch Kupchak, SVP, Jim Buss , and team owner Dr Jerry Buss . With the team have reached a crisis point in their season having eight of their last ten games , it would appear that changes are in the offing for franchise amongst the player personnel , and if the rumors are to be believed , then head coach Mike DAntoni will be assessed on the team’s success between now and until the end of the season, which will be incumbent upon the Los Angeles Lakers making the playoffs. Currently laying as the twelfth seed in the Western Conference , the team is currently 3 1/2 games out of the eighth spot , held by the Houston Rockets (22-21) and are 15 1/2 games behind the conference leading Oklahoma City Thunder (33-9) . AP Photo /Martin Hill …

(6) Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) reaches for the ball held by Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. Golden State won 106-99 . Curry would go on to score 28 points in the Warriors’ surprisingly easy victory over their divisional rivals . AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez …

(7) Golden State Warriors’   David Lee , center, tries to keep a loose ball from Los Angeles Clippers’ <u> Lamar Odom </u> , left, and  <u> Eric Bledsoe</u>  during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Jan. 21, 2013.   AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez  ..  ….

(8) Head Coach  Mark Jackson   of the Golden State Warriors speaks as (L-R)   David Stern  ,   Rick Welts ,    Peter Guber ,    Joe Lacob  , Mayor   Edwin M. Lee  ,   Ahmad Rashad Jerry West   , and Lieutenant Governor of California Gavin Newsom     looks on at a press conference with the Golden State Warriors announcing plans to build a new sport and entertainment arena on the waterfront in San Francisco in time for the 2017-18 NBA Season on May 22, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  Getty  Images  North  America  / Thearon  W  Henderson  …..

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Mos Def —– “Ms Fat Booty “

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Sean Paul — feat’g Sasha …… ” I’m Still In Love “

And The Oscar For Best Drama , Best (Lead) Actor & Best Supporting Actor Goes To ……

And The Oscar For Best Drama, Best (Lead) Actor & Best Supporting Actor Goes To ……

By tophatal ……….

It’s beginning to get mightily disturbing in Lakers’ Nation with Kobe Bryant now voicing his disapproval about the lack of movement in terms of the personnel decisions now being made by Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss , son of team owner Dr Jerry Buss . Far be it for me to suggest but the rush to judgment in the hiring of Mike Brown doesn’t appear to have been a decision that sat well with Bryant and a number of his teammates . Then add in the fact that former Sixth Man of the Year Lamar Odom was traded to the Dallas Mavericks . And the deal itself was handled so haphazardly it now begs the question who the hell just happens to be now making the decisions within the front office of the organization ? I mean it’s not as if Kupchak is said to have sought the player’s input as to who should succeed Phil Jackson , after the famed coach formally announced his retirement from the Lakers and professional basketball altogether . Jackson rides off into the sunset with his legacy firmly set and without a doubt the most successful coach in North American professional sports’ history .

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Mike Brown for his part knew that the job would mark a turning point in his career after his successful tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers . A part of this whole drama as it plays itself might just be down to the fact that the Los Angeles Clippers instead of the Los Angeles Lakers , are now are the “biggest show “ in La-La Land by far. And for the first time in recent history it would appear to be the Clippers , themselves , who are actually the biggest draw at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California , the venue shared by both franchises as their home-court arena . Also playing a part in the discontent amongst Bryant and the Lakers’ players , was the mere fact that with David Stern pulling the plug on what was meant to be a multi-player blockbuster trade that would have brought Chris Paul to the Lakers from the New Orleans Hornets . It simply placed the franchise in a predicament from which they simply were unable to extricate themselves from .

Courtesy of the LA Times

Who ultimately will win between Kobe Bryant and Mitch Kupchak?

Kobe Bryant lashed out at Lakers management after Sunday’s loss to Phoenix, saying that the constant trade rumors involving Pau Gasol since before the season started are taking their toll on the team.

Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss who will come out on top in this latest perceived battle between the Lakers star and General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Check back throughout the day for more responses and join the discussion with a comment of your own.

Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times

It’s no contest, really. Did Mitch Kupchak listen when Kobe Bryant wanted out of Los Angeles a few summers back? Did Kupchak hear that Bryant wanted Jason Kidd and subsequently ship out Andrew Bynum? Did Kupchak call the Dallas Mavericks and request that they send back Lamar Odom upon learning that Bryant was upset with the deal?

Bryant whines and Kupchak wins in the battle between superstar player and his GM. And that’s the way it should be, unless the Lakers want to give Bryant a dual role of making the baskets and calling the shots. He’s having enough trouble with the former task as it is.

Ultimately, Kupchak will decide whether he can improve the Lakers by dealing Pau Gasol before the March 15 trade deadline and Bryant will be left telling us how he feels about the move but powerless to do anything about it.

K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune

Forgive Mitch Kupchak if he yawns. Of course, yawning can cause one to close his or her eyes, and the Lakers’ general manager certainly isn’t going to blink during this latest installment of “Days of Our Kobe ” .

Look, Kobe and Kupchak are far more similar than different, wired to win at all costs. Kupchak may do so in a far more behind-the-scenes, and less expletive-filled, manner. But both bleed purple and gold and victories. So Kupchak, as usual, will win in this latest mini-personnel pull. Remember when Kobe demanded to be traded in the summer of 2007? That was how many NBA Finals appearances ago?

The Lakers no longer are among the NBA’s elite. But no matter what Kobe demands regarding resolution for Pau Gasol, expect Kupchak to make the best move to try to put the Lakers back in position to be elite again. That’s what Kupchak’s impressive track record has proven through the various chatter of Kobe, Shaq, even World Peace.

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With Paul now linking up with Blake Griffin and providing an offensive one-two punch that seems to be working for Vinny Del-Negro and his players . While the Clippers’ star is on the rise the Lakers’ seems to be on the decline with the inconsistent play coming from a number of players on this team . Never mind the fact that the point guard play from Steve Blake and Derek Fisher has been anything but productive .

Now as productive as Bryant has been he simply cannot do it all by himself and that is giving due credit to Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum when that particular duo sees fit to string together consecutive games where their productivity enhances the play of the team . So far it has been one of highs and lows for the center and power forward over the course of this season .

I can understand that the hierarchy within the Los Angeles Lakers wanted to move on in the aftermath of Phil Jackson’s retirement but to my mind Buss and Kupchak erred in having Mike Brown succeed Phil Jackson , as I felt that they had a ready-made replacement in Brian Shaw , who at the time was Jackson’s assistant on his coaching staff. Shaw , himself a former Lakers’ player had success with the franchise during his professional career before stepping down and becoming an assistant to his mentor.

Sunday , the Los Angeles Lakers were the guests of the Phoenix Suns in a game that has in many ways mirrored the inconsistency of the team this season. Suns’ coach Alvin Gentry had his players playing at a high level and with seasoned veterans such as Steve Nash and Grant Hill simply defying age as they made the younger players on the Lakers’ roster seem like novices . It’s crazy but not so long ago but I felt that the Suns were down and out and but a trade away from imploding altogether . Instead it would appear that Gentry has the players believing in themselves and the message that he is imploring them with may well be finally sinking in. And although of late their they’re on a losing streak a number of those games have hard-fought battles that could have gone either way .

In 2010 the claims were being made that the Lakers had the most well-balanced team in the league with its bench being the very best in the NBA . Well as we all know that was sheer bunkum , with that team simply being outplayed when it mattered most , during the postseason . This season it’s hard to see how a roster where the bench players are Luke Walton , Matt Barnes , Josh McRoberts , Troy Murphy , Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris . Not exactly the names that would tend to send shivers down an opponent’s spine , you’d think .

Monday night the Lakers play hosts to the Portland Trailblazers (17-15) in a game that will tell us a great deal about the directions that both teams are said to be heading in. The Northwest Division has the high-flying the Oklahoma City Thunder leading the division and conference and now are clearly bound to be the #1 seed for the Western Conference given the playoff picture at present.

Mike Brown needs to get his players focussed but more so, he needs to his players buying into a strategy that has them playing with a great deal of resolve . As for Mitch Kupchak , he now knows that something now has to be done in terms of bolstering the roster . A competent and productive point guard is needed if they are to have any chance of going deep into the NBA postseason . And while there are wild speculations that Boston Celtics’ GM Danny Ainge may well seek to shop Rajon Rondo given the fact that the Celtics’ …. season now appears to be spiraling out of control . Were such a trade to take place with the point guard joining the Lakers , perhaps in exchange for a starter and a bench player , then one would have to view Rondo’s addition as an added advantage . This is a dilemma that I for one don’t believe that the Celtics’ front office might have contemplated but senior managing partner Wyc Grousbeck now may well have to consider and do what’s best for the franchise . From my own standpoint , to trade Rondo would be a boon to the franchise , albeit that the front office may well feel that is in their best interests to do so. But with an aging core of Allen , Garnett and Pierce , I feel that Doc Rivers and Ainge should have set about rebuilding this roster with a view to the future at least two years ago !

As the 2012 All Star Weekend approaches there are bound to a number of transactions being worked out by the general managers , coaches and owners as they seek how best to bolster their standings with a view to gaining a playoff berth . The moves that are liable to be made may well give us a much clearer indication as to the ambitions of a number of teams around the league . We will most certainly see the contenders simply looking to separate themselves from the so-called “pretenders” within the NBA in terms of the overall play this season .

Coming into this season I felt that the Los Angeles Lakers would be challenging within the Eastern Conference but in reality I knew that this team had its frailties ! A new coach , brought in to succeed a legend creates a handicap right from the outset and the fact that the choice in terms of that coach’s successor wasn’t one that was welcomed by everyone with open arms would suggest that sooner or later a great deal of turmoil would erupt and come to the fore . That has clearly been the case with the extraordinary outburst from Kobe Bryant that was essentially an expletive filled volley aimed squarely at the Lakers’ management and coaching staff . If that wasn’t enough of performance given the player’s own exploits on the court this season . Then I for one don’t know what is ! Someone is going to be , and should be held accountable for the unyielding drama that is now taking place in LA and specifically within the inner sanctum of the Los Angeles Lakers ! Any ideas as to where the finger-pointing should begin and be directed towards ? Chime in with your thoughts . The Lakers’ cause also , hasn’t been helped by the Clippers’ success this season and the very fact that they’re now the talk of the town in ” Tinseltown” , where a court-side seat and night out at an NBA game usually meant watching the Los Angeles Lakers . Not so much now , but when you now have the Los Clippers holding away amongst the fans in the City of Angels , it begs the question who deserves the nod for the Best Drama , Best (Lead) Actor and Best Supporting Actor ? This is one particular weekend , wherein , the Oscars could well be upstaged by the drama now unfolding within the Los Angeles Lakers’ franchise .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Where do you believe that the fault may well ultimately lay with regard to the drama now unfolding concerning the Los Angeles Lakers ? And do you believe that the team in its present guise is capable of winning another NBA title ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on this and other topic you believe to be relevant as it regards the NBA . And as usual thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

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(1) LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 17: Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers is presented with the Western Conference Player of the Week award from General Manager Mitch Kupchak before a game against the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center on February 17, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. NBAE Getty Images / Evan Gole ……

(2) Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum , right, is guarded by Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge during the second half on an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 103-92 . AP Photo/Bret Hartman ……..

(3) Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher, right, works his way around Portland Trail Blazers forward Gerald Wallace during the second half on an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 103-92 . AP Photo/Bret Hartman …….

(4) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant , left, and Lakers forward Pau Gasol share a laugh after defeating the Portland Trail Blazers during an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Bret Hartman ……

(5) Mike Brown of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to play against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on February 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 103-92 . Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …..

(6) LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 20: Wesley Matthews (2) of the Portland Trail Blazers has his shot blocked by Andrew Goudelock (0) of the Los Angeles Lakers forcing a jump ball during the second half at Staples Center on February 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 103-92. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ….

(7) Raymond Felton (5) of the Portland Trail Blazers loses the ball as he falls in front of Steve Blake (5) and Troy Murphy (14) of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center on February 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …..

(8) Jim Buss, son of owner Jerry Buss is seen here with his father at a Lakers game last season . The son , along with his sister Jeanie Buss are senior executives within Los Angeles Lakers organization . It was at the recommendation of Jim Buss in consultation with GM Mitch Kupchak that Mike Brown was hired to succeed Phil Jackson , with final approval coming from Jerry Buss . AP Photo/ Chris Dickson …..

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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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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/

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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)

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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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The Weekend In Sports And Other Select Observations …………

The Weekend In Sports ……… And Others Select Observations ………

Well the NBA season is all but over with merely two games left to played on the schedule for most teams . The Los Angeles Lakers are limping into the postseason as reigning champions having lost 5 straight and in reality this is a team that is in complete disarray . Anyone who believes different simply ought to look at the box-score in their lopsided ( 120-106 ) loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder .

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If the Lakers are to fare well in the postseason then the team will have to be on the same page of their coach Phil Jackson and his coaching staff led by Jim Cleamons and Brian Shaw . I know that the team’s perennial All Star Kobe Bryant has come out openly and stated that he’d like to see Shaw succeed Jackson as coach of the team should he indeed retire at the culmination of the postseason. But I’m not so sure that that’d still be the case should the Lakers bow out early in the postseason , which given their performance against the Thunder is a distinct possibility . But then again it’s remiss to merely to take one game as a gauge for a team’s overall strengths and weakness. But as I mentioned earlier the Lakers have lost straight games and at no time were you under the impression that they were ever in with a chance of winning anyone of those games. But for the play of Kobe Bryant , Paul Gasol and Lamar Odom coming off the bench I’d say that one could describe the Lakers season as something of a failure when adjudged by their own lofty standards.

With that being said I’m not yet prepared to count the Los Angeles Lakers as being down and out , not while they’ve still Phil Jackson in their corner as coach ! Should he and the Lakers make a successful defense of their title then to my mind this would be his most impressive victory over the course of his storied career. I mean who else within the annals of the game has achieved his success while at the same having been denigrated by many because he was only able to coach superstars as we’ve so often been told ? These last two Finals triumphs are a testament that he can not only coach a team that plays a team but and are also willing to defer as and when needed . If the Lakers can regain their resolve then I would still favor them to come out of the Western Conference and that is with due respect to my beloved San Antonio Spurs the team with the best record in the conference and the NBA as a whole .

Sunday’s results if anything painted a clear picture as to where a number of teams now stand . Suffice to say teams seated on the bottom rung of the conference ladders , such as the Cleveland Cavaliers , Minnesota Timberwolves , Sacramento Kings , Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors can now begin to mull over their draft decision as to whether or not they ought to take Kemba Walker as the consensus overall number one pick in the upcoming NBA Draft . But oh wait we have to wait for Commissioner David Stern pick that little ball out of that revolving drum to assure us who’ll have the privilege of having that first pick.

I’ve got to admit I’ve read some idiocy in my time going around this medium but never have I read something without so much insight than a contributor’s claim that Rory McIlroy is a wasted talent merely because his final round in The Masters imploded . I suppose when you’re still young naive and have about insight on the world of golf and you do little research before writing a piece you’re entitled to come up with such absurd notions ? But then again I for one simply don’t succumb to such a notion because I feel if you’re going to make any sort of a claim then you ought to have the disposition to show both sides of the argument . If that’s the case then this particular observer has about knowledge of the game as Hall of Famer Johnny Miller whose own absurd notion that the Europeans simply aren’t capable of winning a Grand Slam title . Has Miller not simply noticed the most recent results in the Grand Slam Majors over the course of the last eighteen months , much less the fact that the US had its ass handed it by the Europeans in the Ryder Cup in 2010 ?

This tournament was as such merely heightened by the fact there was a Tiger Woods’ sighting and that he made a spirited attempt at winning the tournament which in the end would be in vain. However, the former world number one ranked golfer would end up tying for third in the first Major of the season . The eventual winner would Charl Schwartzel a staple on the European Tour and who after this win will rise up the world rankings from his present position of #11 to inside the top ten perhaps as high as number 5 . As to the contributor who should remain nameless I can only hope that he aspires to be productive in his chosen career because with regard to even have minuscule knowledge of the sport of golf even with the amount of information that there is to be gleaned this individual has merely shown that he’s completely out of his depth .

OK so what else can be said after the abrupt retirement of Manny Ramirez from the Tampa Rays’ organization ? Having tested positive for a second consecutive time for a banned substance and knowing that he’d have to face a mandatory 100 game suspension the slugger chose to retire instead. What to my mind is even more asinine is the very fact that a spokesman for the Rays’ front office states that they were completely taken aback by this and the fact that the player tested positive for a banned substance, albeit that this took place during the Rays’ Spring Training Schedule . Am I missing something here but is the coaching staff as well as the Rays’ ownership group led by senior managing partner Stuart Sternberg and GM Andrew Friedman that dumb , stupid and naive ? Never mind the fact that the league hierarchy had to have made the Rays’ front office fully aware of the test results prior to it being made public .

In the wake of this all Ramirez says he’s happy with his legacy . I’d say he’s happy alright because he’ll simply be looked at as a cheat , albeit , that his career as such would suggest otherwise having won two World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox . In the aftermath of this all the Tampa Bay Rays are left to pick up the pieces as one part of their experiment has come to a quick and unsatisfactory end . I’ve got to feel sorry for some of those Rays’ fans who’d hoped that the Rays would prove to be competitive and wherein Tropicana Field would be an enjoyable place to be. There’s now more of a chance to see a UFO sighting at the Rays’ home venue than this team seeking to be competitive at this juncture .

Unfortunately for the Rays their season started off inauspiciously having lost their first two series before eking out a much needed win (9-7) against the Chicago White Sox . The team however finds itself languishing at the bottom of the always ultra competitive AL East
and that 1-8 record simply doesn’t look at all look that enviable even if we’ve yet to exit the first month of the regular season . And the team’s efforts won’t at all be now helped with their best player Evan Longoria now being on the disabled list (DL) for what we’re told could be as long as three weeks with a strained right oblique muscle .

Can things now get much worse for the Rays ? Yes it can as they now have to face the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in a three game series where I fully expect the Red Sox’s offense will be looking to tee off on the Rays’ somewhat average pitching rotation . At the same time the Red Sox’s own pitching staff has been very susceptible this season . So it could be that the fans in attendance over the course of the next three days are liable to be thoroughly entertained .

So Football Spring Football has started and teams at the D1 level will be looking to get themselves ready for the upcoming season. From my own perspective given what took place over last season and the never ending controversy of teams , players and coaches contravening rules , I merely look at this upcoming season of one that’s about to be littered with controversy once again. I mean it’s not as if the NCAA in its sanctified much less than exalted position can do a damn thing to begin with ! I mean where have they been in the aftermath of the latest allegations concerning Auburn and the fact that several players on their teams from 2004-07 were recruited , induced through monetary gain, through having sex on campus with female co-eds as well as strippers ? And who can forget the debacle of Ohio State and in particular the actions of Buckeys’ football coach Jim Tressel ? Needless to say that Buckeye and Tigers’ fans will try and reassure us that this is merely regrettable and that they’re not the only ones doing this . And while I’m inclined to agree at the same time I’ll state this ………… it’s against the fu_king rules so why go down that route to begin with ?

In the SEC (Southeastern Conference) where they can boast national champions consecutively for the last six years . One can simply understand the reason why the SEC is deemed to be the powerhouse it is at the collegiate level in terms of BCS national title aspirations.

I read with a great deal of interest where South Carolina Gamecocks’ quarterback Stephen Garcia has one again ran afoul of his coaching staff as well as the school as a whole . To understand the problems of Garcia you simply have to know this , he simply attracts trouble like flies tend to hover around fecal matter because of the aroma and because they can feast off whatever there tends to be in the vicinity. With Garcia it’s no different !

The fact that he’s merely been suspended indefinitely , at first that wasn’t the case , though it has to be said at it still creates the impression that Steve Spurrier still believes that the player has something to offer the team . Whatever it is , I wouldn’t consider it to be his football talent or acumen in spite of how impressive his stats may well be. Why have a malcontent and disruptive influence on the team which usually in the long run leads to even more problems ? As has been the case here with Stephen Garcia , his never ending transgression of team rules and having ran afoul of the law enforcement on repeated occasions .

Courtesy of USA Today

Another suspension for South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia

By Erick Smith , USA Today

The future of South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia is in doubt after the rising senior was suspended from the team indefinitely.

It’s the fifth time in Garcia’s career he has been suspended and the second time this spring. The school did not specify the reason for the decision. The Gamecocks play their annual spring game on Saturday.

“We have expectations for our student-athletes and we make them aware that there are consequences for their actions,” athletic director Eric Hyman said in a statement released by the school. “Stephen has exhibited behavior that is unacceptable for one of our student-athletes.”

The loss of Garcia, who threw for 3,059 yards and 20 touchdowns in 14 starts, would be a blow to South Carolina, which won the SEC East for the first time in 2010. He was expected to lead an offense that also features running back Marcus Lattimore and wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey.

That responsibility would likely fall to rising sophomore Connor Shaw, who was Garcia’s backup last fall.

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And with regard to the Gamecocks competing this upcoming season within the SEC I’m liable to think that they’ll struggle but at the same time eke out the wins they’re expected over the course of their regular season schedule . In place of Garcia , Spurrier will have at his disposal qb’s Dylan Thompson , Andrew Clifford , Connor Shaw and Seth Strickland . I’ve no doubt that the coach and his coaching staff will assess the strengths and weaknesses of each of the likely candidates before coming to a decision as to who’ll be the like starter in the Gamecocks’ first game of the season against East Carolina on the 3rd September , 2011. Garcia on the other hand will now have time reassess his future and determine whether or not it lies within being a student athlete or simply a thug , because of now he’s simply been a disappointment to those around him who expected a great deal more of him as a player as well a leader and human being .

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Picture galley for your perusal .

What sporting events or news if any over the past weekend piqued your interest and what if anything are you hoping to see during the NBA playoffs and the month of April as it relates to the baseball season ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the matter .

Alan aka tophatal ……………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

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(1) Andrew Bynum (17) of the Los Angeles Lakers defends James Harden (13)3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first half at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106 Getty Images / Jeff Gross …….

(2) Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks draws up a play for his team during a timeout in the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106 . Getty Images/ Jeff Gross ……

(3) Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers argues a foul call in the second half against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106. Jeff Gross / Getty Images …..

(4) Kevin Durant (35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder rebounds a ball over Kobe Bryant(24) of the Los Angeles Lakers in the first half at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106. Jeff Gross / Getty Images ………

(5) Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeff Niemann , right, adjusts his cap as he listens to catcher Kelly Shoppach during the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in Chicago, Sunday, April 10, 2011. AP Photo /Nam Y Yuh ……

(6) Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) tags out Chicago White Sox’s Juan Pierre during the second inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Sunday, April 10, 2011. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ……

(7) The Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon shakes hands with Manny Ramirez (24) of the Tampa Bay Rays as Johnny Damon (22) of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on during a press conference at Tropicana Field on February 1, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Ramirez announced his retirement over the weekend rather than face a league mandated 100 game suspension having tested positive for a illicit banned substance for the second consecutive time over the course of his career. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……….

(8) Charl Schwartzel of South Africa celebrates his two-stroke victory with his wife Rosalind behind the 18th green during the final round of the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia. AFP Photo/Getty Images/ Robyn Beck …..

(9) Last year’s champion Phil Mickelson (left) puts the Green Jacket on Charl Schwartzel from South Africa after Schwartzel wins the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia.
AFP Photo/ Getty Images /Robyn Beck …….

(10) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks off the 18th hole green after finishing the final round with a final score of four under par at the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK

(11) South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw (14) looks for receivers during South Carolina’s Garnet and Black spring NCAA college football game Saturday, April 9, 2011, in Columbia, S.C. AP Photo/The State, Tracy Glantz ………..

(12) In this Dec. 29, 2010, file photo, South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia throws a pass during practice for the Chick-fil-A Bowl NCAA college football game against Florida State in Atlanta. Garcia has been indefinitely suspended from the football program. Athletic Director Eric Hyman announced the suspension Wednesday, (6th April) but did not give a reason. AP Photo/David Goldman …….

(13) Head coach Steve Spurrier of the South Carolina Gamecocks walks to congratulate quarterback Stephen Garcia (5) for his passing touchdown against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama. Getty Images North America / Kevin Cox …….

(14) Coach Steve Spurrier of the South Carolina Gamecocks lines up with players after play against the Alabama Crimson Tide October 9, 2010 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. Getty Images/ Al Messerschmidt …….

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There’s No Fool Like An Old Fool ………. And There’s Now One Born Every Minute ……

There’s No Fool Like An Old Fool ………. And There’s Now One Born Every Minute ……

Well it now appears as the Los Angeles Lakers’ —- season has been somewhat derailed by their uneven play there’s rumblings in ‘ La-La Land’ that the Lakers are prepared to trigger a deal that would bring the Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony to the Lakers in exchange for Andrew Bynum and either Lamar Odom or Ron Artest that would bring the prized All Star to the “City of Angels” . There are already preliminary talks that have taken place as was being reported by ESPN’s —- Chris Broussard the station’s widely respected NBA analyst.

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As we all know the New York Knicks and in particular GM Donnie Walsh , owner James Dolan and coach Mike DAntoni have expressed a desire to bring the Anthony to his native New York. The player himself has made it his desire to go to New York but herein lies the problem the Knicks aren’t any closer to being a contender in their present guise . And if anything the Knicks and the pieces that they would have on offer to the Nuggets would not be in any way as desirable as Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak would be able to offer the Denver Nuggets. Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri has to do what’s best for the organization and clearly he’s now caught between a rock and hard place.

Courtesy of ESPN Los Angeles

Andrew Bynum dismisses trade talk

By Dave McMenamin

All The Pros and Cons of Melo in LA ….

Boston — The basketball world might have been set aflame overnight considering a scenario where the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers would acquire four-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets for center Andrew Bynum, but you wouldn’t know it from looking in on Lakers practice Wednesday.

As the team made its way off the practice court at Emerson College, Bynum joked with Lamar Odom, and Kobe Bryant bristled when asked if he had to comfort Bynum.

“If he can’t deal with that, forget about a Game 7,” Bryant said of the trade talk that was first reported by ESPN the Magazine’s Chris Broussard on Tuesday. “I don’t need to talk to him about that. He’s a big boy, he can handle himself.”

Coach Phil Jackson barely batted an eyelash as he was approached by a throng of media that included reporters from national news outlets.

“I haven’t given it a second thought,” Jackson said. “I haven’t really entertained it.”

If Jackson hasn’t given it a second thought, then what was his first thought about the Lakers moving their 7-foot, 285-pound big man to pick up a wing player in Anthony?

“My first thought was, ‘Why are these people interrupting my life with these kind of rumors?’ ” Jackson said.

Bynum said his agent, David Lee , called him at 4 p.m. Tuesday to tell him about the report. It was a familiar refrain for Bynum, whose name has popped up in rumors linked to a laundry list of players — Jason Kidd , Jermaine O’Neal , Kevin Garnett , Chris Paul and Pau Gasol among them — in his six-year career.

“It’s just another rumor as far as I’m concerned,” a nonchalant Bynum said Wednesday. “I was caught up in [Chris] Bosh and Pau [trade speculation], so it’s nothing new to me. I’m just going to keep playing basketball.

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The NBA trade deadline is on the 24th February and there’s bound to be a flurry of trades around the league as a number of teams will look to bolster their rosters in order to make a playoff push. And it goes without saying that Carmelo Anthony is the most prized asset of the lucrative restricted and unrestricted free agents that are about to come on the market.

Los Angeles Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson clearly sees that there’s a flaw in his team and the way in which they’ve been playing recently . Statistically the load being carried on this team is being done predominantly as always by Kobe Bryant , who at times is being ably assisted by Pau Gasol when he’s completely free of injury. And it has been clear for all to see that this Lakers’ team has systematically limped along the way to their current position in the standings. The team’s 35-16 mark places places them third in the Western Conference Standings behind the conference leading San Antonio Spurs (42-8) and the Dallas Mavericks .

Now it’d be a surprise to many to see the Spurs be so dominant in the NBA this season but those who’d taken note of the Spurs’ team would have realized that this has been a collective effort , and not totally reliant on the team’s triumvirate of stars Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker . And one ought to take into account also that in Gregg Popovich the Spurs might possess the best coach in the NBA outside of the Lakers ‘ Phil Jackson .

Should the Lakers pull off this deal then clearly it would place them amongst the mainstay within the conference and even though they are the reigning NBA champions . This team was meant was built with the intent of making a successful defense and based upon the changes made by Jackson and Kupchak over the last season it’s very clear that the Lakers have fallen short of those desires . Ron Artest has been increasingly inconsistent and it’s clear that the likes of Odom , Bynum , Shannon Brown , Steve Blake and the Lakers’ bench haven’t met the expectations of the coaching staff or the fans in attendance at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. aren’t gense

Carmelo Anthony for his part gets to play on a team alongside a perennial All Star in Kobe Bryant and that can’t at all be bad for a player whose desire to win an NBA title at this stage of his career the desire is to win. The Nuggets aren’t any closer to doing that and their window of opportunity has already come to a close . They’re still a very good regular season team and that is in spite of last season’s playoff performances and the heroics by the team. Unfortunately with the illness of coach George Karl even with the experience shown by Adrian Dantley as he took over from Karl while he underwent chemotherapy and then the long drawn out process of recuperation . The problems for Nuggets stem from the fact that they contend in the always competitive and cuthroat atmosphere of the Western Conference .

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

A chance to see Carmel Anthony in the Lakers’ purple and gold could be the biggest thing to hit LA since the arrival of Shaquille O’Neal and from there the team’s unprecedented success of a trio of NBA titles under Phil Jackson . At this juncture when there’s more entertainment to be had from watching the Lakers’ co-resident at the Staples Center , the Los Angeles Clippers then you simply know that things aren’t all right with this Lakers’ team. It’s now gotten to the stage where Blake Griffin is now getting collectively more exposure on both ABC/ESPN and TNT than the reigning NBA champions. And when that happens then clearly one could surmise that all isn’t right in the basketball world and the fact that basketball gods are now said to be smiling.

The New York Knicks could well be on the outside looking in as the ones left out. The fans at Madison Square Gardens aren’t entirely happy that as of late that their team has suddenly been slipping and their recent displays can be best described as being erratic. With the excellent play of Amar’e Stoudemire , Landry Fields , Raymond Felton it has been the Knicks’ bench that has continued to let them down in the most untimely of situation when they’ve had games within their grasp. There’s no denying that the addition of Carmelo Anthony would be a tremendous boost to the organization from a number of standpoints not the least from a financial standpoint of the league’s most valuable NBA franchise. The most recent estimates have the Knicks valued at approximately $655 million with the league average being $370 million .

The cat and mouse games will now begin as quite possibly Donnie Walsh and James Dolan may well look to make a last ditch attempt to bring Carmelo to New York. You have the glamor of Hollywood being thrown up against the 24 hour none stop mayhem that we know to be the “The Big Apple” and it will all come down to which organization can use its wiles to lure the Nuggets’ player to be a part of their immediate and long term future. As of now either these two organizations could start to play a very interesting game of chicken with the loser quite possibly end up looking the fool. And as of now there’s no clear indicator as to who that might be.

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the potential trade of Carmelo Anthony to the Los Angeles Lakers rather than quite possibly ending up with the New York Knicks ? Chime on in with a comment as to your thoughts on this topic or any other as it relates to the NBA. Thanks as always for the continued support !

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Picture and slide show details below

(1) Denver , Co,. : Carmelo Anthony (15) of the Denver Nuggets looks on during a break in the action against the New York Knicks at the Pepsi Center on November 16, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. According to reports, the Denver Nuggets are in preliminary talks with the Los Angeles Lakers for a trade that would send Anthony to the Lakers for a package built around Andrew Bynum . Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images …….

(2) Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom goes to the hoop in the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Feb. 7, 2011, against the Memphis Grizzlies in Memphis, Tenn. Odom scored 15 points and had 11 rebounds to lead the Lakers to a 93-84 win. AP Photo/Alan Spearman ……….

(3) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) handles the ball away from the Memphis Grizzlies defenders in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 7, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. AP Photo/Alan Spearman ……….

(4) Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) defends Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol, left, of Spain, in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 7, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. AP Photo/Alan Spearman …………………..

(5) Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl hangs his head during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Monday, Feb. 7, 2011, in Denver. AP Photo/Jack Dempsey ………

(6) New York Knicks owner James Dolan (right) listens as newly hired president of basketball operations Donnie Walsh speaks during a news conference in New York, April 2, 2008. The organization are still said to be pursuing all venues possible to bring Carmelo Anthony to Madison Square Gardens home to the New York Knicks. But with the now rising interest of the Los Angeles Lakers the team will be matched in a battle of wits with the West Coast rival. Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

(7) ESPN’s NBA analyst Chris Broussard who first broke the story of the Lakers’ interest and pursuit of the Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony. The two teams have met privately to discuss a possible deal looking to finalize it before the NBA’s trade deadline of the 24th February . AP Photo / Steve Pearson ……….

(8) Nuggets’ GM Masai Ujiri formerly a mid-level executive with the Toronto Raptors . Ujiri who reports directly to owner Stanley Kroenke and his son Josh Kroenke the President & COO of the Nuggets organization . It will be on their say so whether or not the player will be traded to either the Los Angeles Lakers or New York Knicks . AP Photo / Richard Todd ………..

(9) Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson (left ) left is seen here with the team’s GM Mitch Kupchak on a private jet discussing team business . The two obviously not happy with the current state of affairs concerning the team are said to be eagerly in pursuit of the Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony in a trade that might possibly have the team’s center Andrew Bynum heading out of Los Angeles to Denver. NBAE/ Getty Images/ Andrew D Bernstein ……..

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🙂

Alan aka tophatal ………………

NBA News …….

NBA Standings ………………. Divisional

NBA scores

Tuesday’s schedule

Wednesday’s schedule

Thursday’s schedule

Friday’s schedule

Denver Nuggets’ news

Denver Nuggets roster

Nuggets’ team stats

Los Angelels news

Los Angeles Lakers roster

Lakers’ team stats

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Sasha

Eye candy …………. Sasha Delvalle

Nadia Dawn
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Jay Z & Alicia Keys ……….”Empire State of Mind”

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Tony – Toni – Tone …………”It Never Rains” (In Southern California)
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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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Slide show for your perusal

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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Picture gallery for your perusal . By clicking on each frame you can view that picture in its orginal formatted size.

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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The Real Season In The NBA Starts Now ….Because It’s Christmas And David Stern Is Santa Clause …. ?

Well if you had any doubts that the NBA season is underway, then look no further than the play of the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic , Cleveland Cavaliers , Los Angeles Lakers , Portland Trailblazers, Denver Nuggets, and the Atlanta Hawks. And perhaps the most surprising of these teams mentioned may well be the Atlanta Hawks.

Minneapolis , Minn,. December 22nd 2009. Josh Smith (#5) of the Atlanta Hawks rises to the basket against Kevin Love (#42) of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the game on December 22, 2009 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ David Sherman ...... copyrighted material @ All rights reserved ...
Minneapolis , Minn,. December 22nd 2009. Josh Smith (#5) of the Atlanta Hawks rises to the basket against Kevin Love (#42) of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the game on December 22, 2009 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ David Sherman ...... copyrighted material @ All rights reserved ...

The Eastern Conference Hawks have been playing some exemplary and an exciting brand of basketball. So much so, that one has to say that they’ve got to be looked at as the ‘surprise team’ within the NBA at present. And for Commissioner, David Stern ,this has got to be pleasing not only for him , but the NBA hierarchy and most of all the fans in general around the NBA. Without the usual up and comers shall we say , we’d still be looking at the usual suspects around the league for our entertainment. Granted , we’re also witnessing the privilege of seeing the mediocrity of the New Jersey Nets. And one sincerely hopes that their alarming slide into banality doesn’t continue throughout the remainder of the season ? If so, then their long suffering fans may well have to look elsewhere for entertainment in terms of the hardcourt game. And let’s put it this way the entertainment they seek , won’t be coming from the New York Knicks, either ! This Mike D’Antoni coached team gives a new meaning to the word putrid, in terms of their overall play. And what’s even more alarming is that there appears to be no effort forthcoming from the team.

East Rutherford , NJ,. December 19th, 2009. Kobe Bryant (#24) of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots against Josh Boone (#2) of the New Jersey Nets on December 19, 2009 at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/ Gett Images/ Nathaniel  S. Butler .........
East Rutherford , NJ,. December 19th, 2009. Kobe Bryant (#24) of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots against Josh Boone (#2) of the New Jersey Nets on December 19, 2009 at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/ Gett Images/ Nathaniel S. Butler .........

We know that the game’s major stars in the guise of Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James , Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Brandon Roy will be looking to hold sway over the league with their play. But it’d be remiss not to mention some of the rookies in the league who’ve started off strong. The Milwaukee Bucks’ Brandon Jennings has shown that he’s a star on the rise. And though he’s no longer a rookie the play of the Oklahoma Thunder’s Kevin Durant has made everyone sit up and take note of this ‘one man wrecking crew’. It seems that on any given night when his game is on , then Durant comes out to lay waste to the opposition by running them ragged with his offensive weaponry. Never mind the fact that he’s making the scoreboard register numbers faster than the women who are coming out of the woodwork to lay claim that they’ve been bedded by Tiger Woods.

Milwaukee Bucks' Brandon Jennings, front, backs down Indiana Pacers' Tyler Hansbrough during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Monday, Dec. 21, 2009. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ Michael Conroy ......
Milwaukee Bucks' Brandon Jennings, front, backs down Indiana Pacers' Tyler Hansbrough during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Monday, Dec. 21, 2009. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ Michael Conroy ......

There are number of teams that are on the decline due to a number of factors. A lack of coaching , inexperienced or an aging roster and then some could also say that there might be something of mindset with the lack of a will to win. And at present those traits seem to sum up the Detroit Pistons. The loss of Rasheed Wallace to the Celtics and the return of a ‘prodigal son’ in, Ben Wallace , seems to have not made a change for the better. If anything the team is struggling to show some semblance of competitiveness. And for team coach, John Kuester and General Manager, Joe Dumars this is something of anathema and a dilemma. The acquiring of Allen Iverson backfired with the team trading Chauncey Billups in exchange for the seasoned veteran. But the turmoil that followed, in essence summed up how far the team has fallen. Then coach, Michael Curry couldn’t instill what he wanted out of the players and nor did they reciprocate with their best efforts in return. It certainly then didn’t help that there was a degree of acrimony being built up between Iverson and Curry- and also between Iverson and Dumars. It would all lead to the abrupt firing of Curry and Iverson being allowed to leave the team as a free agent.

Charlotte, NC.,HARLOTTE,  Will Bynum (#12) of the Detroit Pistons guards against D.J. Augustin (#14) of the Charlotte Bobcats on December 22, 2009 at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina.  picture appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Kent Smith ..............
Charlotte, NC.,HARLOTTE, Will Bynum (#12) of the Detroit Pistons guards against D.J. Augustin (#14) of the Charlotte Bobcats on December 22, 2009 at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Kent Smith ..............

Allen Iverson’s sojourn with the Memphis Grizzlies was short lived. And he has returned to where his NBA professional career started, in the city of ‘Brotherly Love’ with the Philadelphia 76ers. His presence there, though welcomed with opened arms, it will take a great deal of more than a love-fest between the two parties for Iverson for to prove that he’s still capable to contributing to a team, not just as a player with offensive presence but also to prove himself as a team leader with veteran presence. That if anything will be the legacy now for Iverson at this stage of his career. He’s at the twilight of it and one seriously doubts if the 76ers has what it takes to be even viewed as a legitimate contender for postseason honors , much less as a contender within the Eastern Conference. At best they may well no more than a fifth or sixth seed out of the conference, when it’s all said and done.

Memphis , Tn ,. December 20th , 2009. Carmelo Anthony (#15) of the Denver Nuggets hugs Rudy Gay (#22) of the Memphis Grizzlies after losing to the Memphis Grizzlies  at FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee.  picture appears courtesy of NBAE / Getty Images/ Joe Murphy ..............
Memphis , Tn ,. December 20th , 2009. Carmelo Anthony (#15) of the Denver Nuggets hugs Rudy Gay (#22) of the Memphis Grizzlies after losing to the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee. picture appears courtesy of NBAE / Getty Images/ Joe Murphy ..............

While there’s a great deal to be said for the talent in the Eastern Conference . It is their counterpart in the Western Conference where ‘the show’ is said to take place. The eight best teams in the conference record wise , all have an above .500 record. Whereas , in the Eastern Conference ony five of the top eight teams even have an above .500 record. The quality and the talent is in the West but in the East there the game is greatly predicated on defense. In the West that’s not always the case. Though you’d be hard pressed to believe when hearing many of the fans there speak about how their teams are defensively. Say it ain’t so ?

Now as we may wile away our time opining on our teams. We ought to remember that the season has essentially started as of now. What little we’ve seen of the teams, has been for them to start to fine tune their games for the onslaught of the next six arduous months of traveling and playing. For some teams their season is already essentially over . No disrespect to the Nets, Warriors , Timberwolves , Knicks and Sixers. Don’t call us but we’ll call you if the NBA is in need of your services for the postseason.

Los Angeles, California ,.  Kevin Durant (#35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder dunks against Andrew Bynum (#17) of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on December 22, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  picture appears courtesy  of NBAE/Getty Images/ Andrew D Bernstein .............
Los Angeles, California ,. Kevin Durant (#35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder dunks against Andrew Bynum (#17) of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on December 22, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. picture appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Andrew D Bernstein .............

It has to be said that this season is one filled with a great deal if intrigue as there are so many plot lines ,suspense and theater to be had. Will LeBron James with Shaquille O’Neal in tow be able to lead the Cavaliers to a title ? This may well be his last shot at one with the organization. Can the Celtics regain their composure and acquire another title with Kevin Garnett leading the charge ? Or will we see Dwight Howard finally live up to that leadership role with the Magic, instead of the asinine portrayal of Superman ? The thing is, it wasn’t Kryptonite that led to Howard imploding in last season’s NBA Finals against the Lakers. It was his sheer arrogance and naivete’ that led to his and the team’s downfall.

For the Los Angeles Lakers and their influential coach Phil Jackson, this season and NBA championship is theirs to lose. As the presumptive favorites to win it all again this season. It’ll be down to the calming influence of Jackson and the mercurial skills and leadership of Kobe Bryant take to this once again to the ‘promised land’. And one would hope that Bryant’s new teammate, Ron Artest, can above all, keep a level head on his shoulders ? As it is, he’s already proving that his basketball mind is great but anything beyond that intellectually and he’s like a fish out of water.

Commissioner , David Stern sits down with noted columnist and tv sports personality Michael Wilbon. Stern discusses the economics of the NBA.

Plot lines , stocking stuffers , call it what you will. Because ‘Santa Claus Stern’ wants you to enjoy this festive season surrounding the NBA and up to the season’s finale. After all, it is the least he’s asking of you , or is it ? Have fun this NBA season and hopefully your team will do well !

NB: To view the NBA Conference standings click here….

General allround NBA stats click here .

NB: You can also find this post within http://thebasketballoracle.com under the same title The Real Season In The NBA Starts Now ….Because It’s Christmas And David Stern Is Santa Clause …. ?

Get By…….Got To Get By ………..

‘Get By’ …. Talib Kweli

Being socially conscious and aware are well meaningful things that one can aspire to be. But it at all falls into anonymity if you act the fool. Creating an image just to get by does no one any good at all. But unfortunately too many of today’s athletes simply fall into that trap in order to create that falsehood in terms of an amenable PR image and persona for the public to gravitate towards to.

Woods first came to prominence, catching the public’s attention with an appearance on television with his father, Earl Woods on ‘The Mike Douglas Show’ in 1978.

Failings such as this , are what essentially brought the likes of Kobe Bryant and now Tiger Woods to their very knees. A complete lack of self control and being led by an entourage of what was thought to be well meaning friends and acquaintances. One tends not to go looking for trouble but when one tends to find it. Then the ramifications can be far reaching and seismic in proportions. A fellow blogger and correspondent has essentially said that the troubles that Tiger Woods has now found himself embroiled in , will blow over in time. Unless I’m mistaken , it has been two weeks and all that has happened , has been the never-ending saga of a multitude of women coming out of the woodwork to parlay their lurid stories of clandestine meetings and illicit sexual encounters with the golfer. Far be it for me to suggest to this person but Woods is far from out of the woods, as of yet. Pardon the pun there ! He (Woods) has yet to fully accept responsibility for his actions.

The once amazing , Woods shows his dexterity ,amazing shot-making creativity and ability around the golf course.

Instead of being themselves , both Bryant and Woods eschewed what was natural for them and sought to create an image that neither could ultimately live up to. Be it through sheer naivete’ or just narcissism and being condescending . Their fall from grace has shown us not only what the media can do to a celebrity when they’re on top. But what it can also do and will continue do when a celebrity or major sport’s star steps out of line and crosses the lines of moral decency. With age comes maturity but it’d appear for Tiger his actions have borne out the fact that this particular individual is still very much immature. Hiding behind the veil of secrecy and ignorance does nothing but infer those very traits. And seemingly not wanting to be held accountable for his own actions and apportioning blame elsewhere , rather than looking at the reflection coming from the mirror indicating, who , he really is.

An apologetic Kobe Bryant protests his innocence over the allegations that he sexually assaulted a female hotel employee in Eagle , Colorado. Though the case never went to trial , the player did settle out of court with the alleged victim.

Suddenly, that luminous presence that was once Tiger Woods and whose very essence, shone so brightly. In all but a few fleeting moments, that brightness has in fact become a dud. And all of this was done as a means for an end . Essentially just for him to get by. And get by , by his own means and needs . Never actually once heeding the damage that would be done to his image and that of shame that he’s brought upon himself and his immediate family. Woods now seeks the public’s empathy and sympathy. But in reality, once again it’s now about trying to resurrect that now, tarnished image in order to get by !

Lyrics in part to ‘Get By’ by Talib Kweli


‘Yeah.. my Lord.. yeah

[Verse 1: Talib]
We sell, crack to our own out the back of our homes
We smell the musk at the dusk in the crack of the dawn
We go through “Episodes II,” like “Attack of the Clones”
Work ’til we break our back and you hear the crack of the bone
To get by.. just to get by
Just to get by, just to get by
We commute to computers
Spirits stay mute while you eagles spread rumors
We survivalists, turned to consumers
Just to get by.. just to get by
Just to get by, just to get by
Ask Him why some people got to live in a trailer, cuss like a sailor
I paint a picture with the pen like Norman Mailer
Me Abuela raised three daughters all by herself, with no help
I think about a struggle and I find the strength in myself
These words, melt in my mouth
They hot, like the jail cell in the South
Before my nigga Core bailed me out
To get by.. just to get by
Just to get by, just to get by
We do or die like Bed-Stuy through the red sky
with the window of the red eye
Let the lead fly, some G. Rap shit, “Livin’ to Let Die”

Click here to read on further for the lyrics to this song…..

Who’s Now Getting More Bang For Their Buck ? Kobe , LeBron Or Nike ?

Well now that the NBA Finals are upon us. It has to be said that the marketing behemoths of Madison Avenue will do their very best to entice us all to divest ourselves of our hard earned cash, as they look to bombard us with their wares. And no one will be more likely to do this throughout the series than Nike Inc.And the one thing that you can’t deny about this particular marketing behemoth is that when it comes to using the tools of their trade. There’s absolutely no one better at it on the planet than they are ! Much like Coke , Pepsi, McDonalds are known globally as a brand that transcends the market place. So to now does Nike and all that it represents. And yes there are those amongst us who view them as exploiters of cheap labor and children.As pertaining to the labor laws . Perhaps even much more asides. But there’s no escaping the fact that as Nike goes . So too does the world of sports apparel and sport’s fashion.

Bill Bowerman and Steve Prefontaine

Bill Bowerman co-founder of Nike Inc seen here with former track star Steve Prefontaine. It was Bowerman, who devised the Swoosh motif that’s readily identified with the sport’s apparel company. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Cale Langer …….

From humble beginnings in Beaverton , Oregon . The company founded by Bill Bowerman and Philip Knight has become a colossus amongst its noted peers. The company still strives for excellence in all of its endeavors. And its tentacles now stretches across the globe in terms of its very presence. And with revenues in excess of $18.6bn for last year alone. It’s quite easy to see why the company is still strongly revered and on the same hand so widely despised. It has to be said that we can either choose to ignore the actions in the market place or we can admire them from afar.

Phil Knight

Phil Knight co founder of Nike Inc along with Bill Bowerman the renowned track coach. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ ……..

As of late they’ve become socially conscious and also making sure that the public is very much aware as to the philanthropic efforts around the globe.

But the genius of Nike has always been their marketing and the quality of the product that they place within the market for the consumer. It also hasn’t hirt them by the fact that they make use of the most visibly high profiled athletes to endorse their wares. And from those halcyon days of the Spike Lee directed Michael Jordan ads . We now come full circle where we now have both Kobe Bryant and LeBron James now endorsing Nike made shoes.

So here’s one or two of the ads just in case you’ve not seen them as of yet. I’m sure that throughout the remainder of the NBA Finals they’ll be bandied about our television screens. And at the same time these particular ads will provide us with a great deal of humor.

And while no doubt that LeBron is sitting at home watching the NBA Finals. No doubt hoping that he were participating in. He can at least be content with the fact that residuals he’ll no doubt earn as the ads are replayed again and again. It’ll go some way in making amends for that exit that he and his teammates had to endure at the hands of the Orlando Magic. As for Kobe, he’s having his day in the sun and he appears to be loving it nonetheless. As if anything else really matters as he pursues a fourth championship ring ?

Continue reading “Who’s Now Getting More Bang For Their Buck ? Kobe , LeBron Or Nike ?”

Yo Lakers’ Fans Boo All You Want ’cause Once Kobe’s Gone The Lights’ll Go Out At The Staples Center …………….

They try to makes themselves out to be sophisticated fans and knowledgeable about their team. And of course, courtside you’ll always find the likes of Dyan Cannon and Jack Nicholson showing their unbridled passion and support for the Los Angeles Lakers.Granted, court side at the Staples Center is the place to be seen, when your team is winning on a consistent basis. And especially when the game’s best player is now happy with his lot. Kobe Bryant is atop of his game and the basketball world and it can’t be taken away from him.Not unless, he has a mindset to relinquish those accolades festooned upon him ? And at this juncture , I think that’s unlikely to happen.

Head Coach Phil Jackson and Ron Artest  of the Los Angeles Lakers talk after the Lakers practice on November 16, 2009 at Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.    picture appears courtesy  of nbae/getty images/ Noah Graham ...............
Head Coach Phil Jackson and Ron Artest of the Los Angeles Lakers talk after the Lakers practice on November 16, 2009 at Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Noah Graham ...............

So undoubtedly, I’m as perplexed as the next person to find out that some itinerant Lakers’ fans saw fit to berate, disparage and boo the team after a recent loss on their homecourt. And as fickle as fans can sometimes be. I think that the Lakers’ fans in particular ought to be happy with their lot and appreciative of the talent that Bryant has been surrounded by. Hell, it could be a hell of a lot worse , you could be watching the Clippers ? OK , so I threw that in there to annoy you, the most discerning of Lakers’ fans ! But like I’ve said be appreciative of what you have in front of you. Not only in terms of Kobe Bryant , but also the team’s coach in , Phil Jackson and that of his coaching staff. Because without the likes of Frank Hamblen, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Brian Shaw,Craig Hodges and Jim Cleamons. One seriously doubts that the Lakers would’ve made it as far as they did last year. he old adage is that….’players wins games and defense wins championships’. But to my mind without the proper coaching they’re not able to achieve the goals that are set for them to begin with. And that’s most certainly where the abilities Phil Jackson and his coaching staff comes mightily handy.No one’s of the belief that this Lakers’ team could’ve rode single handedly on the shoulders of Bryant alone, on their way winning last season’s NBA title ?

 Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers controls the ball against Trevor Ariza  of the Houston Rockets on November 15, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  The Rockets won 101-91.    picture appears courtesy  of  getty  images/ Stephen  Dunn
Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers controls the ball against Trevor Ariza of the Houston Rockets on November 15, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Rockets won 101-91. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Stephen Dunn

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports and Associated Press

Lakers booed at home in 101-91 loss to Rockets

By Beth Harris , AP Sports Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP)—Trevor Ariza(notes) got his NBA championship ring and his Houston Rockets got the win.

Aaron Brooks(notes) saw the ring dripping with diamonds and suddenly he was off on a career night. He took the Houston Rockets with him, scoring a career-high 33 points, including five 3-pointers, in a 101-91 victory over Los Angeles on Sunday night, sending the Lakers to a second consecutive loss.

“That’s my first time seeing an NBA ring,” Brooks said. “It moved us and we played inspired basketball.”

And the NBA champs? Well, they looked downright ordinary again.

The Lakers were coming off a 105-79 drubbing at Denver two nights earlier only to have another team they vanquished in last season’s title run show them up at home, where they got booed.

“Defensively, we need to step it up,” Andrew Bynum(notes) said. “That’s what we’re lacking right now. We got guards trying to box out bigs. Bigs trying to box out guards. We’re all over the place right now.”

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So forgive me for saying this, but we’re a mere eleven game into the season, with the Los Angeles Lakers (7-3) having the fourth best record tied with the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference. Whereupon, they only sit 1 1/2 games behind the division leading, Phoenix Suns (9-2) in the Pacific Divsion . And within the division you have the likes of the Sacramento Kings, L. A. Clippers and the Golden State Warriors. And while one might only view the Suns as their most serious threat within the division. That isn’t to say that Phil Jackson and his players are overlooking the Suns, or any other team within the Western Conference.

Winning, we know cures all that ails but the true test of a team is how they handle the adversity of losing. And whether or not the lessons that are learned from a loss makes them a better team in the future. Something it appears that the Lakers’ fans in attendance couldn’t care less about. But as I alluded to earlier they’d have you believe that many of them are the most knowledgeable NBA fans around. That may well be the case in some instances but I can only surmise that those who were showing their displeasure during and after the 101-91 loss to the Houston Rockets, were either inebriated or they’re just your normal belligerent oafish fans, you’d come to expect in attendance at a sporting event. And OK, so we know that this loss didn’t help, knowing that this came off an earlier loss to the Denver Nuggets,some nights earlier. The result there too was another blowout loss 105-79 and where the Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with an almost effortless 25 points,4 reb’s,3 steals, 2 assists and a thoroughly engaging display. But if anything,it was an allround team effort, with some stifling defense from the George Karl coached team.

Two consecutive losses and you’d have thought that the Lakers’ season is already over ? But nothing could be further from the truth and if anything the majority of Lakers’ fans ought to know this. But it would appear that far too many of them are about the here and now- what have you done for me lately ? That sort of thinking shows the crass side of the fans who are essentially unintelligent ! Yes, I said it ,unintelligent ! What are going to do, piss on me for telling the truth ?

The Lakers’ display,though woefully inept against the Nuggets. No one
could’ve imagined that it would carry over the game against the Rockets and result in the 101-91 loss. It may well have come out of over complacency, exhaustion. Or the mere fact that having just received their championship rings they were to in awe of the event and just thought that they’d ride their through part of the game and then turn it on at will, against the Rockets ? For Ron Artest formerly of the Rockets and now with the Lakers. This must’ve been a night that he’d rather forget. And for the Rockets, Trevor Ariza was facing his former team and no doubt hell bent on showing what they’d be missing out on , in not having re-signed him.

And while one can appreciate that the Los Angeles Lakers are the NBA champions. The hardest thing in the world to do , is to come back and successfully defend that championship. Albeit, that Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant have been recipients of such a feat. In the case of Jackson, he achieved his three-peat with the Chicago Bulls twice, with Michael Jordan being the tour-de-force on each of those occasions. And then came a third three-peat , this time around with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant in tow with the Lakers. We know that if the Los Angeles Lakers are indeed to successfully defend their title. Then it’ll have to be an allout effort right across the board from the team .

Lamar Odom of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots against the Houston Rockets on November 15, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.   picture  appears courtesy of  getty images/ Stephen  Dunn   ..............
Lamar Odom of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots against the Houston Rockets on November 15, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Stephen Dunn ...................

A great deal is expected from the likes of Jordan Farmar, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom ,and in particular both Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum. Artest, in particular has to show that the organization’s faith in signing him was justified. And Bynum has to prove that he’s finally ready to take his game to the next level. For Bryant, all he has to do is just lead this with the resolve and maturity he’s shown. While undoubtedly showing that he’s still marquee player in the league , bar none ! People can opine about LeBron James and how he is the best player in the NBA. But until his legacy as a player, shows something tangible by way of a championship. In essence ,he’ll be viewed as nothing more than a protoge’ and an exceptional player.

As I alluded to earlier though Kobe Bryant has yet to bow from the NBA stage and ride off into the sunset. Chances are that if the behavior of those alleged Lakers’ fans continue. Then he may well choose to ride off into the sunset, not into retirement but to ply his trade elsewhere in the NBA. Stranger things have happened and will happen in this game we call basketball. But the strangest of them all, would be to see Kobe Bryant driven out of Los Angeles because of the bellicose fans who call themselves true Lakers’ fans. We expect fans to be critical of their teams when they’re not playing well. What one doesn’t expect, is for those fans to behave as if they’ve suddenly found the art of being an absolute moron. Appreciate Bryant while you can. Because I’d hate to see the lights go out at the Staples Center , should Kobe up and leave. Because if ‘The Mamba’ leaves, there won’t be much to entice the fans to the Staples Center. And then what would the likes Jack, Dyan, Will, Jada , Tom and Katie do for an evening out ? Go watch the L A Galaxy of the MLS ? I think not !

Los Angeles Lakers’ Team Roster 2009-10

NUM PLAYER POS HT WT DOB FROM YRS
37 Ron Artest F 6-7 260 11/13/1979 St. John’s 10
12 Shannon Brown G 6-4 210 11/29/1985 Michigan State 3
24 Kobe Bryant G 6-6 205 08/23/1978 Lower Merion HS (PA) 13
17 Andrew Bynum C 7-0 285 10/27/1987 St. Joseph HS (NJ) 4
1 Jordan Farmar G 6-2 180 11/30/1986 UCLA 3
2 Derek Fisher G 6-1 210 08/09/1974 Arkansas-Little Rock 13
16 Pau Gasol F-C 7-0 250 07/06/1980 Barcelona, Spain 8
28 Didier Ilunga-Mbenga C 7-0 255 12/30/1980 Kinshasa, DRC 5
6 Adam Morrison F 6-8 205 07/19/1984 Gonzaga 2
7 Lamar Odom F 6-10 230 11/06/1979 Rhode Island 10
21 Josh Powell F 6-9 240 01/25/1983 North Carolina State 4
18 Sasha Vujacic G 6-7 205 03/08/1984 Maribor, Slovenia 5
4 Luke Walton F 6-8 235 03/28/1980 Arizona 6

HEAD COACH
Phil Jackson (College – North Dakota)

ASSISTANT COACHES
Frank Hamblen (College – Syracuse)
Brian Shaw (College – UC-Santa Barbara)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (College – UCLA)
Craig Hodges (College – Long Beach State)
Jim Cleamons (College – Ohio State)

ATHLETIC TRAINER
Gary Vitti (College – Southern Connecticut State, Utah)

C – Captain
** – Unsigned Draft Pick
(FA) – Free Agent

He Stoops To Conquer ………..

 

He Stoops  To  Conquer    ………………

 

 

 

 

As  of  late   a  great   veracity   of  an  argument   can  be  made as   to  why  the  Miami  Heat’s   Dwyane  Wade   ought  to be  added  into  the  mix   of   MVP  candidates.  The   player  has   been   putting  up   monumentally  astounding   numbers   alone.  And   almost  single  handedly   he’s  defeated  the   Boston  Celtics  and  Chicago  Bulls  in successive   games.    

 

 

A  Miami  Heat  fan  makes  it  plainly  known  where  his  allegiances  lie in  expressing  his  sentiments  towards  his  favorite player  Dwyane Wade.
A Miami Heat fan makes it plainly known where his allegiances lie with regard to his favorite player Dwyane Wade . picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Victor Baldizon ..............

  

 

His   play   in  particular   against  the  Boston  Celtics   could   be  described as   being   spectacular .   And  it  can  be  borne   out   by   the   stats   accumulated  by  the  player  on the   night  in  his   team’s   success   in  defeating  the  Celtics   107-99  at  the  American Airlines Arena  in Miami, Florida. Wade  on the  night   would   score  32 pts to go  along  with  a  well  balanced   display   of  on  both   ends  of  the  court.

 

Dwyane Wade  signals  to the  bench   during  the game  played against the  Boston  Celtics.
Dwyane Wade signals to the bench during the game played against the Boston Celtics at the American Airlines Arena , Miami , Florida. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/Victor Baldizon ...............

 

 

 

 

One   might  suggest  that    we  can   overlook   Wade’s   feats    as    he’s   playing   on   a  team  that’s  not   necessarily    viewed   championship  caliber   material.  But   I’d   hasten   to  add    the  way  that   this   team  is  playing  and   given  the   confidence   being   shown  by  the  player.  They    might   well   be  a  danger   to  any  of the  top   contenders  within  the  Eastern   Conference   at  this  juncture.     And   though  the   talk   throughout  much  of the  season   has   been  the  play   of  LeBron   James ,  Kobe  Bryant and   Dwight  Howard.   I’d  say  personally    that   we   ought to  broaden   our   horizons   beyond  that   triumvirate.  To  ignore   Wade   at this   juncture   would  be   akin  to  stating  that   Jack  Nicholson’s   role  of  Randle Patrick  Murphy  in  “One  Flew  Over The Cuckoo’s  Nest”  wasn’t  an  Oscar  worthy portrayal.    But  then  again  the   adjudicators  of   this   award   have  been   known  to  make  mistakes.   And   at  this   juncture    I  think  that  we  can  leave  it at  that.   To   pursue  that  road   and  to  stake  a  claim  as   to   the  mistakes  that’ve  been  made    would   take   far too  long   to   discuss  the  merits   to  anyone’s  satisfaction.  Suffice to  say  it’s  a   subject   best  left  untouched.

 

Jermaine O'Neal of  the  Miami  Heat  blocks  the  shot  of  a  Celtics'  player  during  the  game.
Jermaine O'Neal of the Miami Heat blocks the shot of a Celtics' player during the game. The Heat would go on to defeat the Celtics 107-99. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Victor Baldizon ..............

 

 

 

 

As   to  Wade’s   own   play  this   season     one   can   say  that  we’ve  seen a   rebirth   of  the  player.  He’s   rejuvenated  and   coming   off  an   impressive   Olympic   display.   One  can   say  what  we’re  now  seeing   …..”  is  The  Flash  of  old “.    And   in  no  way   is  that  meant  to   demean  the   exploits  of   his   peers  at   this   juncture.  Each  of  them   in  their   own   right  are   having   outstanding   seasons.   But it’d  be  a  gross  injustice   if  Wade   were  not   to   be  considered  in  the   voting  process  at this   time.   And  I’m   sure   if  anything  that   the other    contenders   mentioned   have   their  own   supporters  and  arguments   are   being   made  why  their  choice   ought to  be  considered.   However  at the  end   of the  day    the  choice   won’t   be  made    by   you  or  I.  But   by     those   who  are   believed  to be   more   insightful   and  with   more   of  a  keen  sense   as  to what  is  being  sought    and    warrants   being  the  regular  season  league  MVP.  The   award   has  been   one   by   litany  of  the  league’s  best  players  over  the   years ,   some   more    warranted  than  others.

 

 

Erik Spoelstra coach of  the Miami  Heat   speaks  to  his players  before  the  game  against the  Boston Celtics played  at the American Airlines  Arena, Miami, Florida,.
Coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat speaks with his players before the game played against the Boston Celtics. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Victor Baldizon ................

 

 

As  to  Wade’s  own  standing  within   the  NBA .  It  has   to be   said   that   he  is   one  of  the  elite   players    within  the  league   whose    bravado   on  the  court   is  unquestioned.   Night  in  , night   out  his   game  is   of  a  consistently   high  level.  And   he  tends  to  lead   by   example.   One  can  only  surmise   how   good   the   Miami  Heat  might   be   were   he   complemented  with  a  group  of  players  who   possessed   his   passion   for   the   game.  And  who   also  are  willing   to    play  at    that   heightened    level.

 

Celtics' coach  Glenn 'Doc'  Rivers  speaks  with  his   point  guard  Stephon  Marbury    during the  game.
Glenn 'Doc' Rivers coach of the Boston Celtics speaks with his point guard Stephon Marbury during the game against the Miami Heat. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Victor Baldizon ............

 

 

 

 

 

 

The  Miami  Heat (35-29)  are  chasing   a  playoff  spot  under   first  year  coach  Erik  Spoelstra.  One  might  hasten  to  add that   President  and GM Pat Riley  is  waiting  in the  wings. But   I  sincerely   doubt  that  he’d  be  willing  to   rain   on Spoelstra’s   parade.  And  as  much  as   we   know  that  Riley   craves the   limelight . Even   he  wouldn’t   have  the   temerity  to  derail   his   young   protégé’s  ambitions.  Would  he  ?

 

 

The Miami  Heat's  Dwyane  Wade contests  a loose   ball  with the  Boston Celtics' Mikki  Moore  during  the  game.
The Maimi Heat's Dwyane Wade contests a loose ball with the Boston Celtics' Mikki Moore during the game. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Victor Baldizon ..................

  

 

And  with  the   standings   being  what  they  are  in  the  Eastern Conference.  The   Miami  Heat   it  can  be  said  are   sitting   pretty   in  the   fifth  spot.   A  favorable   matchup   against  the  Atlanta  Hawks   would  look   mighty   tempting  were  those   standings  to hold  up  at the  end  of  regular  season.  But   as such  the  games   aren’t  played  in the  minds  of  the   fans   but  on  the   court  and   are   played   out  to   the  end. If  nothing  else  we know   that   making   presumptions   are   not   in  anyone’s   best   interests.    And  the  case   can  also   be  made   when  it  comes  to   adjudicating   the   league  MVP  as  far  as   the  NBA  is  concerned.

 

 

 

  Continue reading “He Stoops To Conquer ………..”