It’s Not Over Until The Fat Lady Sings …

It’s Not Over Until The Fat Lady Sings …

A game-seven will now be played in this year’s NBA Finals , providing the league hierarchy with the climactic and suspenseful finish they will be hoping for. Conspiracy theorists wherever they might be , will continue to question the veracity of the officiating and whether or not the league itself actually intervened at any point during the series between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors . No matter what the outcome in the Finals . there will be questions asked which I doubt NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will proffer up a satisfactory answer ! Clearly the referees have shown their inconsistency throughout the NBA Playoffs and during the entire NBA Finals, in the lead-up to a series’ deciding game seven which will take place at the Oracle Arena in Oakland , California on June 19th , 2016.

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There was a great deal of frustration on the face of Steph Curry during game six , which resulted in the Warriors’ loss and Curry being ejected , having thrown his mouthpiece into the crowd during game-six played at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland , Ohio on Thursday night. Golden State were outplayed and failed to get off to a fast start at the intent of Steve Kerr and the Warriors’ coaching staff . Sunday’s game could prove to be fateful if the defending NBA champions allow the Cleveland Cavaliers to dictate the pace of the game for its entire forty-eight minutes. Losing this game and their title would prove to be disastrous after such a sensational regular season for the Golden State Warriors. League record or not , the emphasis for the franchise was to make a successful defense of their title.

I do believe there is a great deal of merit to the claims , the NBA Playoffs have proven once again what we know to be true and it is the very fact, the hierarchy is unwilling to admit the officials are very poor and there seems to be a declining standard of the officiating talent among their on-court officials. The NBA Referees’ Union might believe this to be the contrary , but there seems to no denying the fact the league has a problem which it has failed to address over the past decade.

I’ll say this for the MLB season at this point of the schedule and it is the fact we have seen some stellar pitching from the starters and an abundance of offensive woes among several of the teams . No-hitters though not a rarity , have been seen already this season , but we have to see a perfect game . Offense from the players , has been somewhat sporadic, but in recent days we have seen Victory Martinez put on an amazing performance for the Detroit Tigers . Martinez set the trend which would lead to the Tigers’ most impressive performance of their season while leading the team to a victory over the Kansas City Royals , with the Tigers’ catcher hitting three home runs in the contest . The Detroit Tigers will be back in action on Friday when they face the Kansas City Royals in the resumption of their current series between these two AL Central combatants . Michael Fulmer will be on the mound for the Tigers as he faces the Royals’ Yordano Ventura in a match-up of two very good AL starting pitchers.

Give credit where it’s due , because even light of Jose Reyes having served a fifty-one game suspension for domestic violence and aggravated assault the Colorado Rockies are well within their right to rid themselves of the short-stop. Reyes has been designated for assignment , but will be hindered by the fact the player will be owed $40 million on the two remaining years of his existing contract . Playing sub.500 baseball the Rockies now find themselves sitting third within the NL West with a 32-33 record . Eight games behind the division leading San Francisco Giants (41-26) and three games out of a wildcard berth , the team over their last ten games are 8-2 . Yet within an un-competitive division, it simply isn’t good enough place them as a serious contender within their division.

The departure of Jose Reyes I certainly don’t believe will be on any great loss for the Colorado Rockies, given his lack of productivity since being acquired by the ball-club from the Toronto Blue Jays . Colorado has not reached the heights expected of the ownership group or their fan-base over the past ten years and it is becoming increasingly clear the management as well as the front office has become increasingly impatient with the lack of consistency and progress sought. The franchise’s farm system has talent , but there appears to be no one among their Minor League System capable of stepping up to the plate and leading by example. Among the Rockies’ starters it is already clear that has been the case , as seen with their play over the course of the season.

In the Colorado Rockies’ last game they they had an easy 6-3 victory over the struggling New York Yankees in a home contest played at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado on Wednesday evening . Walt Weiss and his Rockies’ managerial staff will prepare the team for a three-game weekend schedule against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Ballpark , in Miami Florida.. The first of the three contests will take place on Friday and Colorado will have starting pitchers Jon Gray of the Rockies facing Adam Conley of the Miami Marlins . Both of these teams are seeking to make an impact within the NL with an eye gaining a wildcard berth at least . It remains to be seen if either can make it a reality , but it will be interesting to see how things pan out at the end of the season.

Ichiro Suzuki has now amassed more than 4,000 career hits over the course of professional baseball career, but a large proportion of those hits took place while he played in the Japanese League . However, baseball’s hierarchy has seen fit accord Suzuki’s achievement of recently garnering his four thousandth two-hundred and fifty-seventh hit , accrediting as if it were an MLB career record . Now while it is an achievement within itself , it does not equate with what is still considered to be the legitimate record held by Pete Rose , whose 4,256 career hits which is seen as the all-time record. Rose may will still remain on the outside looking in as a pariah . Yet it does seem hypocritical of MLB to afford Suzuki this accomplishment and then overlook the career statistics put up by Hideki Matsui . Ichiro is still twenty-three hits shy of the 3,000 hits’ career plateau and would have to play another six more seasons to reach the league record set by Pete Rose in MLB (Major League Baseball) based on his current pace .

Only a game and a half out of the NL wildcard berth it has to be said the Miami Marlins have been one of the surprise teams in the NL this season. Yet from my own perspective , I do believe this Don Mattingly managed team will have to do a great deal more prove their detractors wrong in suggesting this group of players are not competitive enough to win a World Series title . The struggles of the Marlins have been there for all to see over the course of this season and I doubt things are likely to change anytime soon !

Something strange is happening in the state of Texas and it has nothing at all to do with the Dallas Cowboys . While year in year out great things are expected of the NFL franchise , you have to admit . it is always great to see the Cowboys’ repeated pratfalls , with Jerry Jones , the front office and their often injured quarterback Tony Romo continue to make the same old excuses for another poor season . The less news’ coverage to the Dallas Cowboys during the off and regular season , the better off we all are as sports’ fans. While the Cowboys wallow in self-pity and ridicule , the Texas Rangers are having a good season, leading the AL West and playing some solid baseball . Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels has shown a great deal of faith in Jeff Banister and his managerial staff this season while the Texas players have gone about their business with a great deal of professionalism.

Heading into their weekend series’ schedule of games Jeff Banister and the Texas Rangers will be seeking to increase their AL West divisional lead over their rivals by taking down the St Louis Cardinals , whom they will face at Busch Stadium , in St Louis , Missouri , with the first of those games taking place on Friday evening. Cole Hamels will be representing the visiting team when he faces Michael Wacha of the Cardinals.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are one of the few teams in baseball who can continue to spend capriciously on talent while their apathetic and clueless fans wistfully believe the money is being well-spent and getting absolutely nothing in return . Dumping an ineffective veteran Carl Crawford made a great deal of sense given the fact the player was well past his prime and no longer seen as a leader. Utter stupidity by former GM Ned Colletti was simply one of the signs that this organization still remained in a quagmire after the sheer lunacy seen from former team owner Frank McCourt . The Dodgers’ financial troubles notwithstanding, in the four seasons since being acquired by a cabal of billionaire entrepreneurs , very little has changed with the mindset of the franchise. Common sense now seems to be prevailing with Andrew Friedman having been brought in to lead the Baseball Operations , while Farhan Zaidi was installed as the general manager.

Having to play catch up in a division where it was felt the Dodgers would be totally dominant this season , we are beginning to see a number of weaknesses on the roster . The team lacks consistency and have not been able to put together a winning streak of more than four games during their entire schedule at this point of the season. Over their last ten games heading into their current schedule the Los Angeles Dodgers are an abysmal 4-6 . On Friday night the Dodgers would be playing host to the Milwaukee Brewers with Julio Urias on the mound for the home team against the Brewers’ Zach Davies . Having lost their Thursday night meeting against Milwaukee , it is easy to see why the Dodgers are such an inconsistent team . There is some great young talent being developed within the Los Angeles Dodgers’ farm system , but it will take time for that talent to prove to be effective long-term, in spite of what has been seen from Yasmani Grandal , Julio Urias and Corey Seager .

A great deal of pressure has been placed on the shoulders of Dave Roberts , with his having succeeded Don Mattingly as the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. I believe Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi will continue to show faith in the manager and his staff , but I also feel should things continue to head South , then this entire lineup could be blown apart , rather than having to witness the Dodgers’ continued futility.

If a case can be made for the unexpected season the Chicago Cubs are now having , then this must be the year where the stars are in alignment and something special could very well happen. Then you remember these are the Cubs we are talking about , a franchise whose fortunes over the last e ninety-five years reads like a sob story , never mind delving into their postseason woes . Theo Epstein , GM Jed Hoyer and the entire Cubs’ front office and ownership now seem to be on the same page. Add in the fact the organization now has one of the best managers in all of baseball. A winning formula now seems to be in place with Joe Maddon and his managerial staff to go alongside a team of truly determined players eager to win.

The Cubs have simply been relentless throughout much of the season winning games with ease , throughout the months of April , May and now in the month of June . The team has a healthy 10 ½ game lead over their nearest divisional rival in the NL Central . A lead I might add, which is the biggest in all of baseball’s six divisions . The Chicago Cubs have to be seen as a shoo-in to not only win the division , but also a leading contender for the NL Pennant , solely based upon their record. One could allude to their play which is head and shoulders above all of the NL teams , if not the entire league . A weekend schedule which began yesterday will see the Chicago Cubs take on the Pittsburgh Pirates , another divisional rival . Friday’s result saw the Cubs annihilate the Pirates without their breaking sweat during in the game . Wrigley Field in Chicago will be the scene for today’s action when the two teams resume their schedule with Jonathon Niese on the mound for the Pirates against Jon Lester of the Cubs.

Current NL Cy Young Award winner and Cubs’ All Star Jake Arrieta is considered to be the best starting pitcher on Chicago’s daunting rotation . Arrieta is having an astonishing season , but while I believe him to be one the best pitchers in the National League , he has to be perhaps one or two tiers lower than Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers . This year’s NL Cy Young Award could very well come down to the achievements and consistency seen from both of these starting pitchers and I believe should they meet head to head at some point during the season, we could very well witness some of the best pitching to be seen anywhere within the game !

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With the final of the NBA Finals set for Sunday evening prime-time what do you expect to see from both teams and have you been completely satisfied by these contests throughout the series ? Furthermore with the MLB season having now played a quarter of the scheduled games have you been impressed by certain teams and which ball-clubs and players do you believe to have been the biggest disappointments to date ?

Tophatal ……….. 2016/06/17

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You asked my opinion and now I’m giving it to you , nothing has changed

You asked my opinion and now I’m giving it to you , nothing has changed

What looked as if it would prove to be an exciting NBA postseason , is now turning out to be a horrendous nightmare not only for a number of favored teams who harbored championship ambitions , but it could also lead to a monumental nightmare for the television ratings and become a major catastrophe for NBA hierarchy led by Commissioner David Stern . Nonetheless , the league will now have to go with what now appears to be its only plotl-ine left , and that is the possible successful defense by the Miami Heat and the title they won in 2012 .

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With Stern , due to step down from his position in February of 2014 , it was widely known that he wanted to step down on a career-high, after twenty-five years as the NBA Commissioner . He will be succeeded by his able second in command , Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver . Though this postseason doesn’t appear to be have been clouded by any major controversies , it must be said that once again the officiating this postseason once again remains as inconsistent as it has ever been and as we have all known to be in recent years . Players and coaches , have ran afoul of the league officials , with financial penalties being levied against the perceived culprits . And as usual , David Stern has remained staunchly supportive of the referees , even when their errors have come to light.

The Miami Heat have simply cake-walked through this postseason , easily dispatching their first round opponents the Milwaukee Bucks with effortless ease . In their conference semifinals’ showdown with an injury ravaged Chicago Bulls’ …. roster , LeBron James and his teammates , merely toyed with the Bulls this second round series , albeit , that they lost just one game , in that best of seven games series . At 7-1 this , postseason , Erik Spoelstra seems to have his team playing at a high octane level , ready to place their foot on the gas , as and when needed . James for his part has raised the level of his play , more so , now in the postseason , than at any time during the regular season .

Having come through that series against the Chicago Bulls unscathed , the Miami Heat now await , the series’ victors between the number the two seeded , New York Knicks , who are fighting off elimination against a determined Indiana Pacers’ team , coached by Frank Vogel . And for the teary-eyed Knicks’ fans who have now been inexplicably silenced by their team’s inept play in this series . Well, let’s just say , that when praise is due, it ought to be given and where criticism is warranted , then take it like a man , stop with your goddamn bitching and whining as to what might have been .

There is no doubt in convention circles , that this series against the Bulls would have been far more interesting had the Heat faced , Derrick Rose , Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich , a trio of players who in part , have been sideline during the postseason , due to various injury woes. Inasmuch as head coach Tom Thibodeau , might well be disappointed , he saw in several of his players , a grit and determination that he can build on for the future . And amongst the players , who I believe will be an integral part of the team’s long-term future, will be Jimmy Butler ! He proved to be a defensive stalwart , albeit , the team faced a Heat with a great deal of offensive fire power. Thibodeau also , can take pride that in Joakim Noah , he seems to have found someone who is not afraid to play with gusto , while leading by example . It now also raises the question , can and when Derrick Rose chooses to return , will or would he , be willing to defer his leadership role to Noah ? My own thoughts are , the point guard did his teammates and the Bulls’ organization no favors in being none committal concerning whether or not he would be a willing participant in the postseason . It would be remiss also , to overlook the contributions of Rose’s replacement this off season , diminutive point guard , Nate Robinson .

With the Bulls’ abrupt departure , it now leaves now speculating , which of the two teams left , now said to be slugging it out , will be or would prove enough of a formidable opponent for the Miami Heat , as they are now a mere eight games away from repeating as NBA champions ? In each of their regular season meetings with the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks , Erik Spoelstra’s team were definitely tested in each of the match-ups in question. In their regular season series’ meetings with the Pacers , Miami were on the wrong side of the loss column , 1-2 this past season . And in their always highly contested meetings with the New York Knicks , once again the match-up would lead to another regular season deficit (1-3) for the Heat . Yet this is the postseason , a time where nothing can be left to chance , and where the circumstances will be entirely different , with their being so much at stake . The odds-makers in Las Vegas will undoubtedly make the Miami Heat the prohibitive favorites in either of the series’ match-ups in question .

Now if someone can explain to me how a team that finished atop of their division , the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference , with a mark of 58-24 , some five games ahead of their closes divisional rivals , the Brooklyn Nets (49-33), can then suddenly in the wake in what do not appear to be insurmountable odds , seemingly fall apart , in the way that the New York Knicks have done ? Was it not enough that all season long their all too obnoxious fans, were simply lauding this team , as if they were the second coming of the era , during which the franchise led by Patrick Ewing were deemed perennial contenders within the Eastern Conference. Instead , but for their first round series’ victory , this team would not have been viewed a passable imitation of a varsity basketball team . No excuses , here it is , the New York Knicks are vastly overrated , upon which their play is solely based upon the offensive prowess of Carmelo Anthony , with their being little if any, overall leadership ability being shown by anyone on the entire roster .

Called upon to now show their mental and physical fortitude , the Knicks find themselves adrift in the midst of sheer ambivalence , and some rather asinine statements , forthcoming from members of the playing and coaching staff, as to the reasons why they now find themselves in a 3-1 hole to the Indiana Pacers . And if that were not enough , Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson , has to be in apoplexy as to why his team has been so poor in their defensive assignments . Nowhere, has this been more evident , than in this series against the Pacers . Roy Hibbert is being made to look like an All Star , while David West , Paul George , George Hill are making the core of this Knicks’ roster look their age . AARP would feel proud and privileged enough to make Marcus Camby (39) , Jason Kidd (40) , Kenyon Martin (36) , Amare` Stoudemire (31) and Pablo Prigioni (35) early paid up members of the organization representing the nation’s population, aged fifty and over . Far be it for me to suggest , but that grouping combined have played their part , in much of the Knicks’ defensive and offensive woes during the postseason .

Tonight’s game five remains pivotal for both teams , with the Pacers seeking to close out the series . Should the Knicks be fortuitous in their endeavors and manage to eke out a win on their home-court at Madison Square Garden , then it would set right up for a grand series’ finale over the possible , final two games of this conference semifinal series .

Zack Randolph , it has to be said, has simply come into his own over the past three seasons , but during this season , the player has looked like someone on a mission of acceptance from his peers , while seeking redemption , after his often troubled stay in Portland , with what was then a franchise known not only as the Portland Trailblazers but also as the “Jailbreakers” . So much so , that it was hard not take note of the back pages of the nation’s daily papers , when you simply read about another player from the Blazers’ organization running afoul of the law , for a litany of legal issues , be it DUI , spousal abuse , drug possession and or sexual assault . Take your pick , at one time or another, it was simply a staple within that organization , for a player or players to parlay their notoriety for some illegal or stupid act , that would have them become part of a police blotter after their apprehension and arrest.

Having easily dismantled the “ highly touted “ …. Los Angeles Clippers , few gave the Memphis Grizzlies much of a chance against the Oklahoma City Thunder , the defending Western Conference champions . In what was seen as a supposed precursor to a possible conference finals’ match-up against the winners of the San Antonio Spurs versus the Golden State Warriors . A clear path , had been set for the Thunder and Scott Brooks’ players, yet somehow , someone forgot to pass on that particular script to the Grizzlies. Lionel Hollins and his team , simply flipped the script and hoisted the Kevin Durant and his teammates on their ass , with a surprisingly easy , 4-1 series’ victory.

Now one could question whether or not Memphis would have won their series against the Thunder , who were without their All Star point guard , Russell Westbrook . On the sidelines , having suffered a season ending injury , the player has supported his teammates throughout the postseason. It must be said that with Westbrook missing from the team’s lineup , a great deal more was being asked of Kevin Durant as well as Kevin Martin . , who was not able to provide the foil needed , in order to assist Durant throughout the series . Last night’s game was very much indicative of that and a great deal more , as neither the team or Scott Brooks made the adjustments necessary in order to erase any part of the series’ deficit , much less play themselves back into contention . Suffice to say , with the departure of the Thunder , the Western Conference Finals may well lack the buzz , panache and excitement everyone might have been expecting . Randolph and his teammates await the outcome of the series between the Spurs and Warriors , knowing full well that the Grizzlies , now have their own destiny in their hands .

A decision has been made with regard to the future of the Sacramento Kings , with David Stern , pretty much playing Devils Advocate in a decision , which I find to be completely asinine , disingenuous and self-serving on the part of the commissioner . Hell, no one ever said that you had to be honest or a man of integrity to be the highest ranking executive within the NBA hierarchy . None of the traits that I believe Stern actually possesses ! With the NBA’s Board of Governors voting against the relocation and sale of the franchise to the consortium led by billionaire venture capitalist , Chris Hansen and Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer . This now leaves the road clear for a rival bid by software mogul , Vivek Ranadive to be accepted by the league to acquire a 65% stake in the Kings . The remaining 35% would still be retained by the Maloof family , current owners of the beleaguered Western Conference franchise .

Stern was very welcoming of the Hansen , Ballmer bid , when it was first announced, with the billionaire entrepreneurs giving the league a clear indication that it was their intent to buy the franchise for a reputed $575 million and then seek to relocate the Kings to Seattle , Washington . David Stern is either averse to making money or he simply got weak kneed when the team owners snubbed their noses at two individuals whose combined fortunes could swallow up the entire NBA in terms of the value of the league’s thirty teams . Either way, this episode leaves a rather distasteful odor , when you seek to dig to the bottom of this all. Sacramento City Mayor , z Kevin Johnson , whose last minute effort led to the Ranadive bid , will now seek to use public funds to either refurbish the Sleep Train Arena , home to the Sacramento Kings , or they well may well seek to use those funds in conjunction with what we are told will be private financing to possibly build a new venue and a commercial and residential complex that will sit by side with the proposed venue . Now bear in mind , that the Kings remain one of the NBA’s poorest supported franchises in terms of home and overall attendance , as well as being one of the NBA’s least profitable teams . It does beg the question what are the ulterior motives behind Johnson’s moves , when his own city is currently facing an economic blight , with a major budgetary deficit that still has yet to be properly addressed ? Anyone care to answer that particular question ?

Politicians no matter what their altruism might appear to be, are no different from drug dealers who pedal their ware to young and old . Only in such instances , it is deemed as a felony and a crime . whereas , an incompetent elected official can lie , cheat and steal , will not face any legal repercussion , unless his hands are physically caught in the “ cookie jar “ , misappropriating public funds for his own personal use or soliciting a bribe . I’d like to think that Kevin Johnson doesn’t fall into any of the categories mentioned , but , then again , the former NBA star , turned politician , has himself , been less than upfront throughout this whole saga . Much like the NBA commissioner , who continues to bask in his own limelight , claiming accolades that he is not necessarily deserving of .

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What thoughts if any, do you have concerning the salient points raised within this piece ? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit , and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it greatly appreciated !

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(1) Miami Heat’s LeBron James (6) talks with Dwyane Wade (3) during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal against the Chicago Bulls, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, in Miami. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …

(2) Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade (3) and Chris Bosh , right, hug after the Heat defeated the Chicago Bulls 94-91 in Game 5 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal, Wednesday, May 15, 2013 in Miami. The Heat advanced to the conference finals having defeated the Chicago Bulls 4-1 in the series . AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee ….

(3) Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose , left, stands with teammates during the second half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal against the Miami Heat on Wednesday, May 15, 2013, in Miami. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …

(4) Chicago Bulls’ Carlos Boozer wipes his face as he stands with Joakim Noah (13) during a time out in the first half against the Miami Heat in Game 5 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinal, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, in Miami. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …

(5) New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony, left, and Indiana Pacers’ Paul George vie for a rebound during the first half of Game 4 of an Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series, on Tuesday, May 14, 2013, in Indianapolis. AP Photo/Darron Cummings ….

(6) Memphis Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph (50) shoots as Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins (5) and Serge Ibaka (9) defend during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference semifinal, in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki …

(7) Vivek Ranadive , left, has the support of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and California state Sen. Darrell Steinberg in buying the Kings. Photo: Richard Drew, AP ….

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NBA owners vote to keep Kings in Sacramento

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I’m Not Buying ……….

I’m Not Buying ……….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NBA News

NBA Schedule Sunday 10th April , 2011

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

Playoff Picture scenario before today’s scheduled games .

Orlando Magic

Orlando Magic history

Orlando Magic front office ….. General Manager Otis Smith

Orlando Magic roster

Team stats

Magic team splits

Orlando Magic 2010-11 schedule

Head coach Stan Van Gundy

Orlando Magic news

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New York Knicks

New York Knicks News

New York Knicks front office

New York Knicks’ roster

Team Stats

Team Splits

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

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Pick Your Poison ? The Officials ……………. Or How To Interpret The Rules ?

Pick Your Poison ? The Officials ……………. Or How To Interpret The Rules ?

What if anything are you looking forward to in the upcoming NBA playoffs ? The seedings are pretty much set with regard to the upper echelons of the divisions and the respective conferences that are the East and Western Conference of the NBA . Twelve more regular season games are due to played over the next fourteen days before the postseason begins. And this avid basketball fan is most certainly looking forward to its commencement . That being said the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has hit full stride with the Sweet 16 now set to begin . At this time of the year is there as such , a better spectacle that can befall a basketball fan ? I think not !

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Slide show for your perusal .

A patron of my site who’s an avid college and NBA basketball fan is convinced that the NCAA has essentially made sure that a number of teams have been given somewhat of an easy passage through to the Sweet 16 and I’m not about to completely disagree with his outlook on the matter. I even question at times the whole process as to how collegiate athletics’ governing body chooses the participants for the national championship. Granted , conference champions , conference tournament champions are automatic qualifiers and so too are the respective conference divisional champions but herein lies the dilemma of those teams/programs who may well have come up short in the eyes of the NCAA . It’s then left to the competition committee to make those final arbitrary choices that can at times bring instant notoriety to a school or abject disappointment . Such are the vagaries of what we see fosters competition at the amateur level as prescribed by the NCAA.

The NBA for its part once its postseason starts , tends to be clouded with no less controversy but here it tends to be with the officiating and the complete inconsistency shown by the referees . And if you think that the performances during the regular season are grossly filled with mediocre decisions and suspect adjudication from not just the head referee and his assistants , simply look at what takes place over the course of the postseason ? I’ve always maintained that until NBA Commissioner David Stern and the league hierarchy begins to address these problems head on, we will continue to see gross errors in judgment and in the performances of the officials. Stern believes so implicitly in the officiating that any form of criticism of a referee is usually met with a hefty fine for anyone critical of an oncourt official , be it a player or a coach . And with Stern’s autocratic rule there tends to be no right of recourse even in light of when there’s found to be an error in judgment after the fact by an official . Can’t say you’re not forewarned as what to expect this postseason .

In light of that fact I’m not about to say that the teams will have to be wary of the officials but I do know this , there’s bound be a situation at some point in a game where a call will come into question during the NBA postseason . We’ve seen it happen far too often in seasons past and it has happened with an alarming regularity . And it will most definitely happen again during these playoffs , if anything it could very well prove to be the turning point in a closely competitive series between two teams that will in the end leave one on the outside looking in when it’s all said and done . And that to my mind is no way to decide a series when it comes down to human error by an official during a game ! OK , so one plays to the whistle rather than seeking a call but what happens when you know there to be an error and it’s falling on deaf ears with regard to lodging an appeal with the referee during the game ? Unfortunately the result will always stand even in the light of one being able to prove that the official may well have made a call that has cost a team a game or series.

During the NCAA Tournament itself , I’ve not as such seen any major errors by the officials but I have at times questioned one or two of their calls . I’m not about to suggest that these officials are inexperienced as many of them have a great many years of experience officiating at all levels of the amateur and collegiate ranks. And I’ve no doubt that they’re richly rewarded dependent upon their skill-set and experience. The same can also be said for the referees amongst the professional ranks and I’ve no doubt that there too they’re just as passionate about the game as their counterparts amongst the collegiate level. But at times not unlike any other NBA fan the officials will draw my ire with their mistakes that I’ve often said that even Stevie Wonder could’ve recognized were he officiating an NBA game ! The fact of the matter is , for now , this will be the best that there is to offer the fans by way of the officiating that we will all witness and it’s unlikely to change anytime soon . So as of now it’s pick your poison the officials or how to interpret the rules ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts do you have on the officiating that you’ve witnessed within the NCAA Tournament and what you’ve actually witnessed by the officials within the NBA over the course of the regular season ? Also are you in agreement with me on my conclusions that there has and always will be gross standards of officiating by the referees during the NBA’s own postseason , bearing mind also that those mistakes become more heightened now than they normally are during the regular season merely because of what is ultimately at stake for the participating teams ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the points raised within this piece and any other thoughts you might have with regard to the NCAA Tournament and that of the culmination of the regular season within the NBA and opening of its postseason schedule .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Utah Jazz forward Paul Millsap (24) drives past New Orleans Hornets forward David West (30) for a shot during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Thursday, March 24, 2011, in Salt Lake City. The Hornets won 121-117. AP Photo/Jim Urquhart ………

(2) Utah Jazz guard Ronnie Price bottom and New Orleans Hornets center Aaron Gray dive for a loose ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Thursday, March 24, 2011, in Salt Lake City. The Hornets won 121-117. AP Photo/Jim Urquhart …….

(3) Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) of Germany shoots against Minnesota Timberwolves’ Anthony Randolph (15) and Anthony Tolliver (44) during the second half of the NBA basketball game in Dallas, Thursday, March 24, 2011. AP Photo/LM Otero ………

(4) AUBURN HILLS, MI – MARCH 23: Dwyane Wade(3 of the Miami Heat gets fouled by Tracy McGrady(1) of the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills on March 23, 2011 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Miami won the game 100-94 . Gregory Shamus / Getty Images …………..

(5) Xavier Henry stands with NBA Commissioner David Stern after being drafted twelfth by the Memphis Grizzlies at Madison Square Garden on June 24, 2010 in New York City. Al Bello / Getty Images ………….

(6) Alex Tyus #23 of the Florida Gators and Noah Hartsock #34 of the Brigham Young Cougars tip off to start their game during the Southeast regional of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 24, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images ……..

(7) Jimmer Fredette (32) of the Brigham Young Cougars reacts during their 74 to 83 loss to the Florida Gators in the Southeast regional of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 24, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images ……

(8) Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger, left, laughs after head coach Thad Matta broke his concentration during a free throw during practice for an East regional semifinal game in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Thursday, March 24, 2011, in Newark, N.J. Ohio State will play Kentucky on Friday. AP Photo/Julio Cortez …..

(9) Solomon Hill (44) of the Arizona Wildcats drives to the basket against Miles Plumlee (21) and Kyle Singler (12) of the Duke Blue Devils during the west regional semifinal of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Honda Center on March 24, 2011 in Anaheim, California. Duke would fall to Arizona 93-77 in somewhat of a lopsided game . Harry How / Getty Images ………

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NBA News

NBA Playoff picture

NBA Standings by Conference

NBA Schedule

Thursday night 2 games results

Minnesota T’wolves vs Dallas Mavericks 104 -96

Utah Jazz vs New Orleans Hornets 121-117


Friday 25th March 2011 13 games

Saturday 26th March 6 games

Sunday 27th March 9 games

NCAA Basketball Tournament News

NCAA Brackets

Results & Scores

Scheduled games for Friday 25th March ,2011

Ohio St —- v —- Kentucky
Marquette —- v —- North Carolina
Kansas —- v —- Richmond
Florida St —- v —- Virginia Commonwealth (VCU)

Results 24th March 2011

Elite 8

Teams in to the Elite as of Thursday night

Arizona —- vs — U Conn

Butler —- v —- Florida

Games scheduled for Saturday 26th March , 2011

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Baje Fletcher

Eye candy …………………….. Baje Fletcher

Jasmine Jannay

Jasmine Jannay courtesy of King Magazine
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Phil Collins ………………. ” In The Air Tonight”

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Mystikal …..feat’g …….. Nivea ……………………. “Danger “(Been So Long)

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