If You Snooze You Lose …….

If You Snooze You Lose …

So while the NFL becomes a battlefield and we have the President (Donald Trump) chiming with his own thoughts on the issue of patriotism. Let’s pause for thought, he calls players who choose not to stand “sons of bitches” , but clearly won’t appreciate it is within their right not to stand . Bear in mind , neither Donald Trump or his administration thus far, specifically the US Defense Department seems to have a problem paying out millions of dollars annually merely to have the national anthem paid the league’s regular season games. Am I missing something here ? I guess not !!! The league itself has got off to an inauspicious start and as usual idiots were quick to make prognostications without actually looking at the teams in depth.

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At long last the New York Knicks awoke from their slumber and their first act under the leadership of Scott Perry was to make the decision to trade Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for a bag of Juju beans and pot of gold. I will be exact , Anthony was traded for Enes Kanter , Doug McDermott and a second round unconditional 2018 NBA Draft pick . This trade has Sam Presti coming off looking like damn genius. From my own standpoint, this simply makes the Knicks even more vulnerable while the Thunder becomes a top-five team in the West Conference and a possible contender for the NBA title this upcoming season.

Last season , the New York Knicks were woefully inept in just about every facet of their game and it begs the question, where the hell does this franchise now go from here ? Is Jeff Hornacek as the team’s Head Coach , still able to get the best out of his players and specifically this newly revamped team ? Hornacek is in way above his head and I don’t believe the New York Knicks will be competitive enough this season to win their division much less be considered a playoff contender. This Knicks’ roster is extremely poor , with a lack of scoring after the departure of Carmelo Anthony.

The New York Knicks’ loss becomes the Oklahoma City Thunder’s gain, with the Western Conference becoming a great deal stronger than their Eastern rivals. In all likelihood the reigning champions the Golden State Warriors will be the prohibitive favorites to repeat as champions for the upcoming season . The team’s depth might be even better than last season, with much of its core remaining intact. It will be interesting to see how the Golden State Warriors will fare during their regular season meetings with the Oklahoma City Thunder this season. The first of those meetings will take place on the 22nd November on the road when the two meets for the first time as part of their regular season schedule.

If Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson are to turn around the recent lack of fortune for the Los Angeles Lakers , then these two idiots had better start reading the NBA handbook concerning league conduct , rather than believing they and the franchise are above the league’s rules. It wasn’t by coincidence the NBA hierarchy slapped the Lakers with a rather punitive fine , but I believe Johnson and Pelinka’s actions in trying to lure Paul George to sign with the franchise , when the player had yet to state his declaring status , smacked of sheer conceitedness. George was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder by the Indiana Pacers , much to the chagrin of the Lakers , most notably their executives GM Rob Pelinka and Head of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson.

The Los Angeles Lakers will enter this season with one of their weakest teams in franchise history. While there has been a great deal of ballyhoo concerning Lonzo Ball , the rookie has yet to play a game at the professional level . Summer League asides , it will be interesting to see how Ball will seek to break down some of the best defenses in the league , when playing on a team that is actually devoid of in-depth talent . Luke Walton and his coaching staff are likely to have a problematical season as the Lakers seek to find a groove. I for one don’t see a vast improvement on the twenty-six wins by the franchise last season and they will be lucky if they are able to improve on that figure by a significant margin.

Lonzo Ball and his teammates will begin their regular season schedule with a game against the Los Angeles Clippers , which will be the Lakers’ home opener at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California . With the Clippers also in a state of disarray after the abrupt departure of Chris Paul , it could very well be that the City of Angels’ two NBA franchises will be mired in mediocrity this upcoming season. The relationship between Doc Rivers and Chris Paul might well have reached breaking point and with the lack of defensive prowess on the Clippers last season and their fall from grace in the NBA Playoffs might well have been far too much for the veteran point guard to bear.

Somehow the Los Angeles Clippers will try to prove themselves a better team without Chris Paul than they are a team with him. Paul was the glue that held the team together last season and he provided the Clippers with the leadership they were sorely lacking from seasons past. When Steve Ballmer purchased the Clippers for $2 billion , it was hoped the erasing of Donald Sterling’s ownership would be gone for good , bringing about a new era of sanity within the organization. Instead , it has brought about a great deal of intrinsic complacency, far too much power with Doc Rivers not only being the Head Coach but also Director of Basketball Operations . Lawrence Frank might well be the President of Basketball Operations , but I doubt he has that much say in the personnel decisions made for the organization. Far too many Chiefs and not enough Indians . Hall of Fame player Jerry West has since been added to the mix as a Special Consultant . A similar role which he had in being the architect in the successful resurrection of the Golden State Warriors. Needless to say, if both Rivers , Frank and Michael Winger fail to heed the advice provided by the legendary player then the fortunes of the Clippers will sink further into the abyss.

A great deal is now being asked of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan , to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to glory , but I am not so sure either player has the maturity or temperament to get the job done. In the NBA Playoffs of last season the Clippers gave us a glimpse as to why they remain vulnerable and very much overrated . Defense is not a word in their vocabulary and it never has been with Doc Rivers leading the charge as the Head Coach . When the Clippers begin their regular season schedule , it will be interesting to see how this team fares through their first ten games.

It never ceases to amaze me when I read some of the idiotic comments by fans concerning a number of teams within the NBA ! More often than not, there hasn’t been a great deal of thought put into their assessments never-mind the statements made. Recently I read a comment by an avid sports’ fans , in which the individual stated the “window of opportunity” continues to close for the San Antonio Spurs . Less I am mistaken , with twenty straight Playoff appearances, a feat that has not been matched by any other NBA franchise in league history , then there has to be something wrong with the mindset of the individual. Need we be reminded that along the way , the Spurs have won five NBA titles under Gregg Popovich as the team’s Head Coach ? Popovich’s coaching staff is considered to be one of the best in the league and throughout the years a number of his former assistants have gone on to hold head coaching positions around the league. RC Buford has also groomed a lot of executive talent, who have since moved on to hold similar positions as a general manager within the NBA. I don’t believe there are any other teams around the league with that type of credibility as an organization and then you weigh in the consummate class and professionalism shown by Peter Holt . Nothing else needs to be said at this juncture.

It has been over a decade and a half since the San Antonio Spurs had a sub.500 season in the NBA and not win their division. Things began to change in terms of the franchise’s recent history when the Spurs made future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan their first round draft pick from the 1997 NBA Draft . Duncan’s career with the franchise are what legends are made of and it is a testament to the player’s legacy that he is held in such high esteem by his contemporaries . Having retired from the game at the end of the 2015-16 season , Duncan is a franchise leader in so many statistical categories with the San Antonio Spurs. His five NBA titles in tow with Gregg Popovich are symbolic of his legacy and this franchise.

The team which Tim Duncan left behind has now evolved with Kawhi Leonard seen as its leader, but veterans Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli remain part of its core. Leonard has become one of the league’s elite players , having twice won the NBA Defensive Player of The Year Award , his game has now evolved , with his becoming efficient on both ends of the floor.

As long Gregg Popovich is at the coaching helm of the San Antonio Spurs, then this team can never be written off. Only a fool would continue to underestimate the Spurs at their own expense. Last season San Antonio had the second-best record in the league , with only the Golden State Warriors having a better record while going on to win their second NBA title in the last three years. If the Spurs are to compete within a much more formidable Western Conference this season , then their games against stalwarts such as the Warriors , Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder should go a long way in telling us about the team , in particular Kawhi Leonard’s teammates LaMarcus Aldridge , Patty Mills , Pau Gasol , Danny Green , Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli.

The San Antonio Spurs’ preseason will consist of will consist of just five games , before embarking upon their regular season schedule beginning on the 18th October when they face the Minnesota Timberwolves at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas .

When Tilman Fertitta agreed in principle to buy the Houston Rockets for a reputed $2.2 billion , the sale price got everyone’s notice. The Rockets are not considered a big-market team , but the exploits of James Harden this past season has placed the franchise back into the stratosphere. Outgoing owner Leslie Alexander wasn’t desperate to make the sale , but he felt in order for the Rockets to move forward , now was the right time and Fertitta was the right owner to make it all possible. With Chris Paul having joined Houston in a totally inexplicable trade , the Los Angeles Clippers’ loss will be come the Rockets’ gain , their greatest gain over the past three seasons that is for sure. There is no doubt in my mind the Western Conference will literally take their opponents in the East this season and simply beat the living crap out of them all season-long !!

James Harden scored against everyone almost at will , keeping up a frenetic pace , to such an extent , it had everyone wondering was there anything else he wasn’t capable of doing last season. The Rockets will be a contender this season and there is no doubt in mind they are more than capable of beating the very best that the East will have to offer. As to their contemporaries within the West, that remains to be seen , but this will be a very interesting season for the franchise. Harden and his teammates will begin their regular season in earnest when they face the Golden State Warriors on Opening Night , 17th October in a game being played at Oracle Arena in Oakland , California .

So LeBron James is giving fans in Cleveland assurances that he won’t be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers anytime soon. Personally, I don’t believe it is a long-term commitment from the player , as his relationship with Dan Gilbert has continued to sour , without taking into account the rumored disintegration of his friend ship with former teammate Kyrie Irving . The point guard was traded to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Isiah Thomas . On paper the trade might seem to be equitable, until you take into account Thomas is coming off an injury and off-season surgery. The Cavaliers’ front office failed to use due diligence and threatened to rescind the deal , only to be forced to go ahead with the transaction after some intervention from the league hierarchy and the fact Kyrie Irving made it known he had no wish to remain in Cleveland. The Cavaliers remain the team to beat within the East, but I don’t believe the team in its current guise will have it all their own way within the East over the course of this season !

The Cleveland Cavaliers will have to come out of the starting gates firing on all cylinders , because I believe they will be in for a world of hurt if Isiah Thomas cannot find his footing , because to my mind , Derrick Rose has absolutely nothing left in the tank , whereby he can be productive for the Cavaliers. This much was evident with his play last season for the lackluster New York Knicks. Thankfully, the Cavaliers play in a weak division and a continuously mediocre Eastern Conference. If they qualify as a top four-seed, then the NBA Playoffs within the conference should not prove to be that much of a problem.

Not one , not two , not three , not four , but at least six NBA titles. Well that was the notion of the Miami Heat when they signed LeBron James as a free agent, as the four-time League MVP would join close friends Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh . Heat executive Pat Riley was hailed as a genius and history was quickly made with the franchise. Four consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals , yielded two victories , but then things began to get sour as Riley refused to bolster the roster , much to the chagrin of James. What LeBron failed to understand , while the Miami Heat were winning , the ever-increasing payroll could not keep abreast of the franchise continuing to hemorrhage red ink along its bottom line . It’s still something LeBron James is still not able to fathom in Cleveland with the Cavaliers having lost in excess of $80 million over the last two years.

Dwyane Wade after a nostalgic return to the state of Illinois , where he played last season for the Chicago Bulls , has agreed to a buyout of his contract , then chose to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers. It had been rumored Riley would have been interested in signing Wade , with the seasoned veteran becoming the team’s leader. The fact that this did not take place speaks to the volume of resentment I still believe there is between the player and the Heat executive . Behind the scenes, Pat Riley has often been ruthless and brutal , but in public he tries to come across as a likable character. Machiavelli has nothing on this particular executive . Like a moth to a flame it appears that everyone wants to be with LeBron , while the player himself has always tried to tell us he’s never played on a Super Team .

John Paxson and Gar Forman of the Chicago Bulls now have the unenviable task of trying to persuade the long-starving fans of the Bulls, they are on the right track to rebuilding this franchise. The glory years of the Jordan led teams to six NBA titles are a thing of the past and it appears an imminent return to those halcyon days are nowhere near apparent. Chicago’s best player of last season Jimmy Butler was sent to the Minnesota Timberwolves , with the belief that a fresh start behind a youth-oriented lineup would be the way ahead. A sighting of Dennis Rodman wearing a wedding dress , professing his love for all things magical now seems to reverberating around the city of Chicago . Lamar Odom now has his eyes on becoming a pharmacist , dispensing medical marijuana to those desperately in need and Bulls’ owner , Jerry Reinsdorf is now on the brink of having a nervous breakdown. Guess what ? You snooze , you lose .

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Which things are you most looking forward to as the NBA preseason and regular season beckons ? Do you believe the Golden State Warriors can make a successful defense or their NBA title ? Also which NBA Rookie do you believe will have the biggest impact on the league this upcoming season ?

Tophatal ….

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My balls, my rules in the NBA ….

My ball, my rules in the NBA

The NBA preseason is now upon us and the reigning league champions the Golden State Warriors will begin their quest to make a successful defense of their title with their preseason schedule as Steph Curry and his teammates seek to make it all once again be a reality. For Steve Kerr , his coaching staff as well as the front office led by co-owners , Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , as they have seen a spectacular rise in the value of the franchise, but also a marked increase in the revenues and attendance levels for the team. With the imminent move to a more fan-friendly and more attractive venue for the NBA’s current champions. The signs are, the Warriors’ ascent to the top of the basketball world has been well thought out and the intent of the franchise to have a lasting and long-term impact on the league.

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Steve Kerr and Steph Curry were recipients in the running for two of the top individual regular season awards of last season , with Kerr coming in second for the NBA Coach of The Year Award , while the point guard won the league’s Most Valuable Player Award after a scintillating season. Curry along with Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala will be relishing to get back unto the court and begin the defense of their title. The NBA Draft itself, saw the Warriors simply bolster their roster, with some young talent and these players are likely to get their chance at some point during the season to shine.

Without a doubt, the Golden State Warriors will have to be seen as the presumptive favorites within the Western Conference to make a quick return to the NBA Playoffs alongside perennial playoff bound and five-time champions the San Antonio Spurs. During the off-season, San Antonio without a doubt were the biggest winners in the free agency market , having acquired Texas native LaMarcus Aldridge alongside veteran power forward David West. Departures from last season’s roster were expected and the losses were certainly outweighed by acquisitions made by the franchise , whose general manager R C Buford has stood stall, showing his executive acumen and one of the many reasons why he has to be considered one of the very best general managers in NBA history.

San Antonio will also see the return of veteran players Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker for another year together , with the trio having won over five-hundred regular season games together as a combination as well as four of the franchise’s five championships all under the coaching tutelage of Gregg Popovich . All three players as well the head coach are future bound and likely inductees into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame joining another Spurs’ luminaries already enshrined in basketball’s most hallowed institution, George Gervin and David Robinson , the two most notable Spurs’ inductees were the starting point for the history of one of the NBA’s most respected franchises. However, it has been the astonishing success under coach Gregg Popovich which has been the template seen , which has led San Antonio to its present time.

The NBA during its preseason schedule will be playing second fiddle to the MLB postseason which begins on Tuesday , while the NFL season though in its infancy has begun to take on a life of its own. Away from the basketball court , there have been some less than palatable story-lines which have come into focus. Former League MVP and Chicago Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose finds himself at the center of allegations of sexual assault and battery claim from a female victim. A charge which the player categorically denies and he has been very adamant with his repeated denials of the alleged victim’s claims.

As to how this is viewed by the Bulls’ front office led by GM Gar Forman and Head of Basketball Operations John Paxson . Well, the executives have simply issued what can only be deemed a standard response, with the view , until there has been a legal investigation and legal outcome, the organization will continue to show support for the player.

For Derrick Rose , his failure to make an impact for the Chicago Bulls over the course of last season must come into question given the franchise’s long-term financial commitment to the player , who has missed over 100 games over the past two and a half seasons. This past season, Jimmy Butler stepped up to the plate for the Bulls and though they made the NBA Postseason their foray was somewhat short-lived . Rose for his part was simply a peripheral character in the team’s attempts to make a deep playoff run . The firing of Tom Thibodeau , with his being replaced by Fred Hoiberg as the new head coach of the Chicago Bulls , opens a new chapter for the franchise. It will be interesting to see what Hoiberg and his newly assembled coaching staff brings to the table as the Bulls begin their preseason schedule and then on into the regular season.

Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls will begin their regular season, when they open up with their first game against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in a contest at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois on 27th October, 2015. If the Bulls are to have a chance of prevailing within the Central Division of the Eastern Conference much less against the rest of the league , then it will be predicated upon of the play of Rose and the team over the entire schedule in 2015.

This season there will be a great deal of pressure on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The four-time League MVP had a roster built around a team which had his own personal blessings and specific wishes. The fact that idiot fans , bought into the belief James would be capable of leading the Cavaliers to their first NBA championship solely based on his play was utterly ridiculous. As good as LeBron James over the course of his career in the NBA , certain things were being overlooked by the James’ supporters. A rookie head coach with little NBA or postseason and a team, where the players , other than Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love would be barely thought of as being competitive in comparison to the other lineups around the league.

Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert along with GM David Griffin have a great deal riding on keeping in the good graces of LeBron James and the player’s yearning to bring a title to the franchise. Two appearances in the NBA Finals have ended up in significantly embarrassing series’ defeats each time for James, as a member of the franchise.

What is becoming abundantly clear is the very fact LeBron James remains an impatient individual who seeks not only to be acknowledged by his peers, but also by the NBA analysts and fans as the greatest player of his generation and the greatest player in NBA history. A tall order indeed, when one considers he has fallen short of the accomplishments of his idol , Michael Jordan. While I do not believe it pertinent to make comparisons between players of the past against players of the present. It is clear, James wishes to be seen as the heir apparent to the six-time NBA champion , Finals’ MVP and League MVP . Such comparisons are best made upon the retirement of both subject as it is best then start a meaningful debate over the accomplishments of the subjects in question.

This season might well be the last opportunity for both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to reestablish their legacies with the Miami Heat. The departure of former teammate LeBron James left the franchise in complete disarray. Inasmuch as there was criticism being leveled at James by Heat Executive Alonzo Mourning , what became abundantly clear was the fact the front office became lackadaisical and negligent in failing to bolster an aging roster , believing it best , James as a one-man band could simply lead Miami to another title. With LeBron James’ departure the Miami Heat became a listless team , with neither Bosh or Wade contributing much to the Heat’s mediocre showing and season in 2014 .

During the off-season, Pat Riley and the Heat’s coaching staff led by Erik Spoelstra bolstered the roster through the NBA Draft and free agency . Miami’s rookies will be expected to make solid contributions to the team over the course of the Heat’s eighty-two game schedule. Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson , the two rookies taken in this past draft will get their opportunities this season and I believe Erik Spoelstra expects to see some great play from these two young players. Miami will open up their regular season schedule when they face the Charlotte Hornets on the 28th October ,2015 at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida.

With the recent news that James L Dolan , owner of the New York Knicks has seen fit to relinquish control of the Cablevision , the public company where the Dolan family still has a sizable presence. The questions now being asked are , will the family quite possibly seek to sell their controlling stake in the Madison Square Garden Company which presides over the family’s sports’ interests ? Can the team actually be competitive this upcoming season ? Is it possible for the New York Knicks to be even worst off, than they were last season ? As woeful as the New York Knicks have been this past season under the guidance of Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher as the team sank to new levels of of sheer incompetence while supporters of Jackson are still trying to suggest the former NBA coach has a Master Plan for the resurrection of the Knicks’ fortunes.

To understand the incompetency of the New York Knicks , one simply has to look for an explanation as to the Phil Jackson first round draft pick of Kristaps Porzingis and how Jackson has tried to placate the fans with his thoughts on the matter. There can be no denying the choice had and still has a number of people perplexed and wondering what the hell is going on within the Knicks’ hierarchy and whether or not there is any semblance to be found there at all ?

Porzingis was taken as the fourth overall pick in the first round and is seen as a solid front court player , but in reality , the player is likely to remain a work in progress and not likely to be a major contributor to this team, which is need offensive talent as well as a solid defensive presence. Triangle Offense or not the basketball IQ on this team is way below average and almost a certain obstacle in the way of a franchise where the coaching staff has to be deemed equally incompetent as the players and the front office executives within the organization. The only saving grace for the New York Knicks has been the fact the franchise remains among the profitable of all the teams in the NBA and that remains about it. From my own standpoint, I do not believe the team in its current guise will pose that much of a threat to their divisional opponents or conference rivals this upcoming season.

Speaking of another vastly overrated NBA franchise, has anyone ever wondered where elephants usually go to die ? If there was said to be an elephants’ graveyard in the league, then it would have to be the Barclays Center , home to the Brooklyn Nets . From one year to the next this franchise over the past six seasons has been a monumental eyesore . For all the wealth of Russian billionaire tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov as the Nets’ owner . This organization would not be able to spot talent if the coaching staff of the franchise were given the aid of a flashlight , night vision glasses, if they were left in a darkened room and asked to figure it out all by themselves.

GM Billy King has outlived his usefulness and the only sound decision he has made was the jettisoning of Deron Williams , a player whose talents remain vastly overrated as a point guard . He certainly doesn’t excel under pressure and by no means can he be considered a leader much less the equal of several of his peers within the game today.

With Deron Williams having joined the Dallas Mavericks, it remains to be seen how much of an improvement his addition will be to the team and how competitive they’re likely to be over the course of this season. Dirk Nowitzki remains the best player on the current roster by far. If the Mavericks are to succeed as they seek to win a second NBA title , then it will be predicated Nowitzki’s indomitable play and leadership ability , because none the traits in question , are to be seen even vaguely in any of his teammates.

Two teams with something to prove this season, will be the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder. James Harden and Kevin Durant are now viewed as being among the elite players in the NBA and there can be no denying that fact. Both of these superstars are likely to be viewed as early preseason candidates for the League MVP this season. The disappointment of the NBA Playoffs was there for all to see as the Rockets failed to get by the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals last season. Harden and teammate Dwight Howard were simply not enough to get by the best team in the NBA during the playoffs. I certainly believe games between the Rockets and Thunder as seen last season and will prove to be extremely competitive.

Oklahoma City Thunder under their coach Billy Donovan will seek to make this season their big opportunity to advance to an NBA Finals for the second time under the ownership group of Clay Bennett and his partners. GM Sam Presti knows it is in the franchise’s best interests to keep the services of Kevin Durant, knowing the player is likely to weigh up his options as an impending free agent in 2016, the Thunder must know their best chance to have Durant within their organization is to have a successful season ,with the ultimate goal being to win a world championship. Kevin Durant and his teammates will begin that quest this season opening up their schedule with a home game against the San Antonio Spurs on 28th October ,2015.

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The NBA hierarchy enters this season looking to avail themselves of the best publicity possible , but I cannot help wonder what the biggest controversy is likely to be once the season gets into full swing .

🙂

Tophatal ……

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Brackets,jackets and tip-toeing around the patently obvious …

Brackets,jackets and tip-toeing around the patently obvious …

The seedings have been decided upon for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and quite rightly so. The Kentucky Wildcats having ended the season ranked number one in the nation, as well having an unbeaten season bearing a 34-0 record will enter the tournament as its prohibitive favorite, to win it all . John Calipari and his coaching staff head into the Tournament knowing, the first slip-up made, will essentially put to an end a season where a great deal more was expected.

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Players on this Wildcats’ team know a winning season and the NCAA Tournament title will certainly insure great deal of plaudits and the near- certainty of a high draft position in the upcoming NBA Draft this upcoming June . With three consensus first round draft picks among this roster of stars. The names of Karl Anthony Towns , Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson simply stand out, as players likely to be taken in the top-ten picks of the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft. If not, then there is something seriously wrong among the general managers and head coaches within the NBA at this juncture.

The four seeds in the regional tournament of the NCAA Championship are Kentucky, Villanova , Duke and Wisconsin . All four teams are in regional draws which will have their pot-holes along the way . where at least one or two upsets are likely to take place as the tournament progress. Opening salvos will be fired in the when the first four teams take to the court on the 17th and 18th March , 2015, as the NCAA Tournaments gets underway to decide the Men’s national champion.

Mike Krzyzewsk and the Duke Blue Devils will certainly have their work cut out for them in this tournament, as their path is unlikely to be easy. As the top seed in the South Regional phase of the Tournament where their biggest challengers could very well be other than their own complacency a , will be the other seeded challengers in the regional phase , with those topping the list said to be , Gonzaga , Georgetown (Hoyas) and Iowa State. As talented as the this Duke team might be considered to be , I do not believe this will be the year in which Mike Krzyzewski guide the program to their fifth national title , all coming under the coaching acumen of the renowned head coach.

With either Derrick Rose or Joakim Noah missing from the Chicago Bulls’ lineup at some point of the season, it easy to understand the reasons why the team has continued to struggle in the aftermath of having lost their League MVP point guard to another season-ending injury , likely curtailing Rose’s long-term future and the rest of his career. Add in the fact, the ongoing relationship between head coach Tom Thibodeau , GM Gar Forman and Head of Basketball Operations John Paxson , is now said to have reached an all-time low, and one wonders how the franchise can gain anything meaningful out of this all, should they fail to make the playoffs .

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Bulls’ forward Jimmy Butler is seen here with Tom Thibodeau . In the absence of either Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose . It has been left to Butler to provide the bulk of team’s offense over the course of the season. Thibodeau’s relationship with the organization has been tenuous at best often becoming heated between the coach and executives, John Paxson and Gar Forman . Courtesy of USA Today/ ..

Not only has the rancor between the head coach and the front office said to have reached an unacceptable level , but it is believed with Thibodeau unwilling to resign, there is no likelihood Paxson or Forman will make the decision to fire their beleaguered coach and their having to honor the remainder of his contract. With Derrick Rose sidelined, it has been left to his teammate Jimmy Butler to step up to the plate in the absence of his more heralded teammate to lead the team by example.

With the Cleveland Cavaliers now raced to the top of the Central Division of the Eastern Conference , the Bulls are now left having to wonder, what to make of their season , while also seeking to play catch-up within the conference. A nine-point road loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder , a road defeat . Butler and his teammates’ next contest will be againstthe Indiana Pacers whom they host on Wednesday evening at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois ,.

In the contest between the Thunder and the Bulls, point guard Russell Westbrook continued his scintillating displays where he almost posted another triple-double . Easy to now understand why he become a consensus favorite for this season’s League MVP. Consider the fact also, Westbrook has been doing this all in the absence of his teammate , Kevin Durant.

Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks must be now salivating at the thought of Durant’s imminent return and the chance of his teaming up once again with Westbrook, to provide one of the most dominant and productive duos in the NBA. With only fifteen games left to be played in the remainder of the regular season, it will be interesting interesting to see how the teams acquit themselves as the season winds winds down .

All is fair in love and war . Granted, LeBron James has proven himself to be something of a warrior this season, as the Cleveland Cavaliers seek to justify themselves as the best team in the Eastern Conference. Their record suggests otherwise when compared to that of the high-flying Atlanta Hawks , who might just be the surprise team the regular season within the NBA . Hawks’ head coach Mike Budenholzer certainly has to be considered one of the leading favorites for this season’s Coach of The Year Award , as it would a complete travesty , were he not among the top vote-getters for the prestigious accolade.

(7)    Alonzo  Mourning   now a  senior   executive  within   the  Miami  Heat    organization   has   been  extremely  critical  of    former   Heat   player    LeBron  James   after  his   decision  to  leave  the  franchise  and    return  to  the   Cleveland   Cavaliers  .  Mourning ,   failed  to   suggest   why  Heat   failed  to  surround   James     with   players   complementary  to   his    skills    capable  of   actually   of  being   competitive   enough  to  have   won   last    season's   NBA  title  .   Getty   Images/  Paul  Miller

Alonzo Mourning now a senior executive within the Miami Heat organization has been extremely critical of former Heat player LeBron James after his decision to leave the franchise and return to the Cleveland Cavaliers . Mourning , failed to suggest why the Heat failed to surround James with players complementary to his skills capable of actually of being competitive enough to have won last season’s NBA title . Getty Images/ Paul Miller

At present, Atlanta and the Golden State Warriors are the only teams with fifty victories or more to their respective resumes`. A possible Finals’ meeting between the two seems a reality, but I believe it to be unlikely given the competitiveness of the Western Conference. Steph Curry and his Warriors’ teammates are having a terrific season , albeit, many would not have considered this to have been one of the teams to beat at the start of the year, with the transition of easing in a new head coach, and Steve Kerr assuming the reins after his predecessor, Mark Jackson’s idiotic decision to alienate himself by foistering his hypocritical beliefs outside the game , upon his players and then to some extent , denigrating the organization . Joint team-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber had no other choice but to dismiss Jackson, ” freedom of speech” rights or not . There is no longer any space for outright bigotry within the realms of sports , let alone the fact , the former head coach showed a great deal of disrespect for the franchise, with his inflammatory remarks .

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Former Golden State Warriors’ head coach Mark Jackson , foreground and his successor , Steve Kerr. This season the Warriors have not only the best record in the NBA , but the team also happens to be the league’s , most potent offense , leading the NBA in a number of offensive categories . Getty Images

If Mark Jackson wishes to make a point , then let him do so while not representing Warriors and most definitely, if he choosing to express his personal beliefs, it should not be done in such a venal way, with his wantoned disregard of others , his own ethnicity and historically what African Americans have gone through in this country, without then seeking denigrate others, because of their own sexuality. Obviously, Jackson’s own religious beliefs and his comprehension of Biblical teachings, indicates his lack of intelligence and compassion. This has nothing at all to do with “political correctness” having run amok, but more to do with simple bigotry . You don’t cry ” fire ” in a crowded theater , or show downright bigotry of others , without their being severe consequences , and those wishing to excuse such behavior are simply naive or just imbeciles.

In what turned out to be a surprise overtime win over the reigning NBA champions , the San Antonio Spurs . New York Knicks’ head coach Derek Fisher suggested the team should be rewarded for the efforts in this victory. Unfortunately, victories for the Knicks have been few and far between.

If Fisher is of the opinion his players ought to rewarded for those victories , then he sure as hell does not hold these very same players accountable, for the losses amassed over the course of the season. Fisher has shown as a rookie head coach, he still has a great deal to learn , and learning on the job when you have an inadequate group of players , and a front office which remains clueless, it becomes patently obvious to see why this franchise has been a complete mess and the ongoing butt of so many jokes around the NBA. Those subscribing to the fact Phil Jackson remains a basketball genius should really rethink that whole synopsis and realize it has been his ego and complete lack of knowledge in assessing talent which has also led to this debacle. Next up for the Knicks will be a road trip to visit the equally abysmal Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday evening.

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New York Knicks’ head coach Derek Fisher is seen here two of his assistant coaching staff Jim Cleamons and Kurt Rambis , as they discuss a pregame strategy in the lead-up to a game to be played the franchise’s home venue , Madison Square Garden , New York City , New York . On the road as well as at home the franchise has simply been pitiful , having been the first team this season to have lost in excess of fifty games , with a league-leading fifty-three defeats as of 17th March , 2015. AP Photo / Mark Warren .

With both the Knicks and Timberwolves likely to be part of the Lottery Pick for the right to the top pick in the upcoming NBA Draft , it will be interesting to see which of the two teams in question or one of their other fellow banal franchises will be joining them as part of this ongoing facade created by the league to seek in the Draft process.

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Picture gallery . Narrative can be viewed by clicking unto the formatted picture shown.

The NCAA Tournament will likely create a great many thrills and spills, with one or two surprises along the way, in terms of the results. This tournament will ultimately provide us with another D1 collegiate champion in Men’s Basketball. Given the excitement created in last year’s tournament, with the 2015 NCAA championship now underway, let all of the excitement now begin. I may well be wrong , but I do not believe there is now an outright favorite for this year’s NBA title , and granted, there have been two or three teams over the course of this season who have proven themselves worthy favorites or perceived contenders. Yet, a caveat remains , buyer beware, beyond stating the obvious , the only conclusion and sure thing , has been the winner from each conference championship will have an equal chance of being named the NBA champion for the 2014-15 season.

Which programs do you believe will rise to the occasion and become this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Champion ? With NBA regular season now winding down , which teams do you believe have been the biggest disappointment to the league and to the fans ? Also which franchises from the Eastern and Western conferences, will be the Finals’ contestants for this season?

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2015 Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament

Opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

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NBA news and archived stories

NBA standings (division) and conference standings

NBA standings (Playoff Picture and with games remaining

NBA results 17th March and schedule 18th March

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If you want to know how I feel, walk a mile in my shoes ….

If you want to know how I feel, walk a mile in my shoes ….

The NBA season is now in full swing with the often less than memorable Christmas week schedule of games either being of great interest or simply an eyesore . Ongoing stories have evolved around the worsening crisis befalling the New York Knicks (5-28) and the fact this Derek Fisher coached team simply cannot win anywhere , be it on the road or at home. Truth be told , the Knicks simply suck and they are sucking the life-blood out of their season and the league in general. It is a stunning fact one of the NBA’s most renowned franchises is stuck in a morass of its own making. The “quick fix” many felt Phil Jackson might be able to effect has not been a resounding success for a team simply bereftof talent with the exception of Carmelo Anthony whose decision to re-sign with the team must now come into question , bearing in mind he signed a max-contract with the understanding Jackson as Head of Basketball Operations would seek to improve the roster.

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Essentially, the Knicks’ front office executive has simply shown what I believe to be true and it is the fact, he simply has no idea how to assess talent and is simply a great motivator and coach, when the right pieces are in place. How else can you explain the success of the eleven titles won during his now legendary coaching reign , with players such as Scottie Pippen , Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal as the centerpieces of those championship winning teams ?

New York’s last victory came by way of a win over the Boston Celtics on the 12th December, 2014, whom they beat 101-95 at the TD Banknorth Gardens Center in Boston , Massachusetts, in a game marred by some sloppy play from both teams . Eight successive defeats has a way of indicating the lack of confidence shown by a team , but more indicative, has been the lack of leadership from any of the players, along with Fisher’s coaching staff , led by lead assistant Kurt Rambis. Add to this, the idiocy of some suggesting the assistants are experienced enough to provide Derek Fisher, a rookie head coach in his first season,with the experience needed to bring about some semblance of competitiveness. Well that premise, can be quickly put to rest , along with the belief Fisher’s learning on the job will in the end lead to success. During this run , it has been Carmelo Anthony leading the charge from an offensive standpoint. The Knicks’ continued woes are tied to the fact, they simply do not know how to know how to defend, nor are the players inclined to add the facet to their game.

Alongside Carmelo Anthony on this lightly restructured roster are Amare Stoudemire , Pablo Prigioni , Cole Aldrich , Quincy Acy, Jose Calderon , Samuel Dalembert , Cleanthony Early , Iman Shumpert and JR Smith . Suffice to say, if the rumors circulating are to be believed, with Phil Jackson having asked Carmelo Anthony to consider waiving his no-trade clause, it would suggest the Knicks are quite willing to bail on their season , while looking to build for the future. If that premise were to actually take flight , then it is clear the organization have suddenly come to the realization the team is simply not good enough to compete at the highest levels , much less gain a playoff berth for the NBA’s annual end of the regular season foray.

The New York Knicks’ next scheduled contest will be a road gameon the 31st December , 2014 when they face the Los Angeles Clippers (21-11) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, in what will be the last of the regular season scheduled games of 2014.

It was the move meant to send “shock waves “ across the NBA landscape, but instead LeBron James’ return to Cleveland and the Cleveland Cavaliers (18-12) as the ” Prodigal Son” has fallen well short of expectations . James and the Cavaliers are merely three games above.500, although they sit comfortably, as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference and four games behind the division leading Chicago Bulls (22-9) within the Central Division. Yet , for all of the brouhaha made of LeBron James’ departure from the Miami Heat to make a heralded return to the Cavaliers, the fact remains, the four-time League MVP while impressive on the on the court, his teammates have failed to follow his lead.

The top-pick from the 2003 NBA Draft remains a prodigious talent and now the standard bearer and face of the NBA, alongside Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder . This duo, one would hope will create a rivalry which will be long-lasting and appreciated as much as many of the greatest rivalries the league has offered over the course of its history. For the moment however, questions are being asked as to why , LeBron James , Kyrie Irving , Kevin Love and the supporting cast have not been more dominant within the NBA. In their last eight games the Cavaliers 5-3, something of a reflection of the team as a whole and the inconsistency witnessed over the course of the season .

As if to emphasize the issues the Cavaliers continue to face, consider the fact they are coming off a twenty-three point home loss to lowly Detroit Pistons . If that contest was not indicative of why Cleveland cannot be currently considered one of the top teams in the NBA, then someone needs to explain to me why there has been such a hype over this franchise merely because of LeBron’s return to this organization ! From the get-go , there was this rather idiotic rationale James would single-handed, make this team an omnipresent force, but seemingly , everyone who ran with this idiocy, failed to recognize the fact, rookie head coach David Blatt was a novice to the NBA and its coaching style . Blatt , his coaching staff and the team will get the chance to reassert their presence in the Eastern Conference, while also seeking to take the lead (1-1) in their season series against the Atlanta Hawks. With the Hawks having built a solid foundation around a core of Elton Brand , Jeff Teague , Paul Millsap , Al Horford , DeMarre Caroll, Mike Muscala , Kyle Korver and John Jenkins . Tonight’s contest between these two Eastern Conference teams could go a long way in telling us the directions the these franchises may well be heading in .

I certainly believe last season’s NBA Playoffs told us a great deal about the Indiana Pacers . As the number one seeds in the Eastern Conference as the playoffs began, it was felt Frank Vogel and his coaching staff had assembled a team make things tough for the Miami Heat during their postseason foray. Instead, the Pacers capitulated under little duress , albeit, the Pacers capitulated under little duress , albeit, the Pacers played a great deal of the Eastern Conference Finals’ series lacking the offensive firepower to match Miami during the best of seven-game series conference finals’ contest.

Coming into this season the Indiana Pacers remain a flawed team without a backbone and showing very little resilience. In their last five games the Pacers have managed to gain some semblance of consistency winning three of those contests, with their last victory coming in a twenty-five point demolition of the Brooklyn Nets on the 27th December , only to follow up that win with a loss to the Chicago Bulls in what can only be seen as the ongoing weakness of the Pacers as a team. A record of 11-21 is a clear indicator as to where this Frank Vogel coached team should expect to be , with the best player on the roster this season , none other than George Hill, being ably abetted by Roy Hibbert, David West, Rodney Stuckey, Luis Scola , Ian Mahinmi and CJ Watson. Indiana will renew their regular season rivalry when they meet the Miami Heat on Wednesday evening in a highly anticipated game at the Conseco Life Field House Center , Indianapolis , Indiana ,.

Having been the NBA’s youngest League MVP, it is hard to define the career of Derrick Rose. Certainly , on his best days , he can be considered one one of the league’s elite point guards,a facilitator , prolific scorer , stout defensive player and clearly an all-round asset to a team . Yet. for all of those very traits, the question remains, can Rose stay healthy enough to play an entire season, staying injury-free, to aid the Chicago Bulls winning their first NBA title since the era of Michael Jordan being with the franchise ? Tom Thibodeau coaches a tremendous Bulls’ lineup led by Rose , but with the talented shooting guard and small-forward Jimmy Butler coming into his own this season , it would appear the Bulls might now be as talented and with even greater depth than in recent years.

If there remains any doubts about the Chicago Bulls at this juncture, consider where they now stand and then take into account how effective they have been been with the ascent of Jimmy Butler. Derrick Rose and his teammates might be in for a stern test when they face the Brooklyn Nets at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois , on Wednesday night. The Nets are in need of win , while the Bulls simply want to distance themselves from their nearest rivals within their division.

A great offense can undoubtedly aid a team’s effort to come into its own during a season. Nowhere has it been more evident than with the Golden State Warriors (24-5) and Portland Trailblazers (25-7) who continue to blow their opponents away with almost effortless ease . Leading the charge for both teams are Steph Curry and Damian Lillard . These two extraordinary point guards are providing the league with some exhilarating play and perhaps some of the richest evidence to suggest, that in the last five years this has the been richest era of the game, where these positional players have been so dominant and prominent.

Steve Kerr’s easy transition in succeeding Mark Jackson as head coach of the Golden State Warriors has made his task simple and his merely instructing his players to play with gusto has brought them to the point where they are now at, atop of division and the upper echelons of the Western Conference. Trailblazers’ head coach Terry Stotts has simply shown his coaching acumen , while GM Neil Olshey has merely put together a competitive roster ready to play for a well-respected head coach and his coaching staff .

The Warriors’ most game had them playing the woefully inept Philadelphia 76ers (4-26) , a franchise I now believe should be demoted to the NBA’s D League , simply as a matter of common decency and to stop the promulgation of mediocrity exhibited by the Sixers throughout this entire season. The fact this contest ended in a 3 forty-point blowout loss (126-86) for Philadelphia should come as no surprise, but it ought to be for the NBA hierarchy who still try to brand and sell their on-court product, as riveting and of great appeal to the fans . A blind and deaf mute, is likely to find more excitement in their own solitude, than fans of the Sixers, who continue to watch this team while trying to extol the franchise’s virtues of being a worthy diversion within the NBA. It has been these type of issues the hierarchy has refused to address, along with instances of gross misconduct by team owners , until there is known to be public outrage for such antics, but what else would you expect of sports’ entity ran by a bunch of Neanderthal Caucasian middle-aged males, who are from a bygone age .

Stotts and the Traiblazers would likely make for a formidable contender in the NBA Playoffs if they can maintain their current pace. A projected win total of fifty-six or fifty-eight victories could see them land the top seed within the Western Conference , but that would all be based upon supposition and barring any serious injuries to front-line players on the roster. A well-deserved overtime victory over the Toronto Raptors , one of the surprising stories and teams within the Eastern Conference this season is a telling sign as to how well Portland just happen to be doing at present. The Portland Trailblazers’ first game of 2015 will be on the 3rd January when they play the Atlanta Hawks . A fitting way for Portland to begin the New Year than seeking to take down an Eastern Conference foe and further emphasize the fact the East is weak , while the West is extremely competitive among their top-ten teams.

For all of the continued bellyaching by fans of the Los Angeles Lakers , it is always good to know, we are always only moments away from annually seeing the petulant and self-absorbed behavior of Kobe Bryant. I understand his need to win and to be viewed in the eyes of the fans and public alike, that he is indeed this generation’s answer to Michael Jordan . Bryant may well have surpassed the Bulls’ and NBA icon for third all-time on the career points’ list , but that is all all he is likely to achieve in comparison to Jordan. He will not win a sixth NBA ring or title , most definitely not with the Los Angeles Lakers and their current lineup, coached by none other than Byron Scott and his clueless coaching staff !

Double-digit wins, ten (10-22) in total, have been all the Los Angeles Lakers can muster, just over one-third of the way through the NBA’s eighty two game schedule. Begs the question, if the Lakers were supplanted into the WNBA , would they fare any better ? The fact the Lakers have been unable show any type type of consistency putting together only three back-to-back wins should tell you all you need to know about this team and why they are currently one of the major laughing stocks around the NBA and among the game’s fans. Never kick a dog when it’s down, flea-bitten or not, as there is a likelihood for them to jump right up and take a bite out of your @ss. Something this current Lakers’ lineup is incapable of doing . Continuously over much of the season, Byron Scott’s players have sought to play beneath the level of their opponents, rather than above them . I do not believe I can put it anymore succinctly than that !

An eight-point victory victory over the Denver Nuggets , closed out 2014 for the Los Angeles Lakers but their task will not be any easier when they open up 2015 with a game against the Memphis Grizzlies . I believe Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol are prepared to provide an outcome the Lakers players and their fans will not be entirely happy with ! Kobe Bryant may well seek to return to the Lakers next season for an eighteenth year in this league, but at what cost to the organization ? A franchise where GM Mitch Kupchak remains at a loss at this stage of his professional career knowing how to assemble a competitive team, while team owner Jim Buss continues to look bemused , non-cognizant of his actual surroundings and what is happening to the organization he presides over .

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Based upon the evidenced witnessed within the NBA , what do you believe has been the biggest surprise in the infancy of the league schedule and which players , team or teams have proven to be the biggest disappointments ? Your comments are more than welcome , so take a stab at making your thoughts known .

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(1) John Wall(2) and Rasual Butler (8) of the Washington Wizards guard Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks in the second half of their game at Madison Square Garden on December 25 , 2014 in New York City. Getty Images / Jeff Zelevansky …

(2) Rasual Butler (8) of the Washington Wizards shoots over Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks in the first half of their game at Madison Square Garden on December 25, 2014 in New York City. Getty Images/ Jeff Zelevansky

(3) NEW YORK, USA – MARCH 18TH : New York Knicks introduce Phil Jackson as the new Knicks’ President at a press conference at Madison Square Garden. Also pictured are , far left , team owner James Dolan and GM Steve Mills . Jackson and Mills have seen the team struggle this season and there now seems to be growing speculation the front office will seek to trade their prized and only valuable asset , Carmelo Anthony , with the player being asked to waive his no-trade clause . Anthony is not due to become a free agent until 2019 , having signed contract with the New York Knicks prior to the beginning this regular season. AP Photo by Anthony J. Causi ….

(4) Paul Millsap (4) of the Atlanta Hawks defends against Kevin Love (0) of the Cleveland Cavaliers at Philips Arena on December 30 , 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin C Cox/ Getty Images …..

(5) LeBron James (23) and Kevin Love (0) of the Cleveland Cavaliers react after a play in the second half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Quicken Loans Arena on December 23, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio . Getty Images / Mike Lawrie …

(6) Jimmy Butler , left , defended by Alan Anderson , was held to eight points during the Nets’ 96-82 blowout win over the Bulls Tuesday night in Chicago at the United Center . AP Photo / Holly Anderson …

(7) Deron Williams (8) of the Brooklyn Nets moves against Derrick Rose (1) of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on January 23 , 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Johnathan Daniel /Getty Images …

(8) (L-R) Damian Lillard (0) , Wesley Matthews , Nicolas Batum and Meyers Leonard of the Portland Trail Blazers wait on the court as a play is reviewed during their game against the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center on December 22 , 2014 in Houston, Texas. Getty Images North America/ Scott Halleran …

(9) Byron Scott of the Los Angeles Lakers speaks with Kobe Bryant (24) during a time out in the fourth quarter of the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 14, 2014 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Lakers defeated the Timberwolves 100-94 . Getty Images/ Hannah Foslien ….

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At this point last season divisional and conference standings in the NBA

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This month in NBA history

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From  left to  right ,  Kevin  Durant  ,  LeBron    James  and   Anthony  Davis .
From left to right , Kevin Durant , LeBron James and Anthony Davis .

Act like you’ve got a pair , …balls that is

Act like you’ve got a pair , balls that is ……..
Strangely enough, hearing a sports’ fans continue to opine on the ills within the game, be it baseball, football, basketball or hockey. My take on it all, if your teams suck , don’t just look at the players , but also the coaches and owners in particular . How they act , will trend to give you a clear idea as to whether or not they know how to handle real adversity. The NBA season remains in its infancy , but we already witnessing several teams struggling to step away from their own ineptitude . There were high hopes for the New York Knicks after Phil Jackson was brought in , to lead their Basketball Operations where GM Steve Mills would be ultimately answerable to Jackson within the Knicks’ hierarchal organization . Owner James Dolan remains the one constant within the organization , whose decision-making continues to come into question. Granted , the franchise remains popular among its fan-base , profitable and still the most valuable team in the NBA.

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Nine games into the regular season and the New York Knicks are 2-7 , just above the win-less Philadelphia 76ers(0-7) within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference . For rookie head coach Derek Fisher it would be fair to suggest having seen his team get off to such a sluggish start should be cause for concern. The players themselves have been lackluster with only forward Carmelo Anthony actually showing signs of life .

In their two most recent games the New York Knicks suffered a six-point home loss to the Atlanta Hawks , then followed that up again with another defeat , where their guests, the Orlando Magic inflicted more pain upon what has become a troubling start to the Knicks’ season. Fans of the New Yorks, all too often, tend to point to the positives about their team , one , mainly from an offensive standpoint they can put up points on just about anyone , what they fail to indicate has been the very fact the team simply has no idea how to defend leading their ever increasing issues , which have yet to be addressed by Derek Fisher and his coaching staff

New York came into the season with one of the highest payrolls in the NBA , but nonetheless , Phil Jackson and Steve Mills felt they could live with just as long as the players lived up to expectations . Hard to believe this current roster is no better than the lineup from last season that failed to make the NBA Playoffs . As good as the New York Knicks believe themselves to be , this is not a team currently showing it can compete with the best that the NBA has to offer. Next up for Derek Fisher’s team will be a home game against the Utah Jazz , a contest which will likely tell us a great deal about the mindset of the host.

For two straight years the Chicago Bulls (6-2) have been heavily reliant on Derrick Rose being around for the long haul . In 2012 and again in 2013 , the Bulls’ point guard was felled by an injury . Come full circle and here we are , already wondering about the fitness of Rose after another injury scare. I doubt Tom Thiboadeau wants to head into the next three to six weeks of the Bulls’ schedule without their most prized asset .

In their two defeats the margin of victory for the Bulls’ opponents have been less than seven points in each case. This points to the fact Chicago remains a resilient defensive force , one of the best in conference as well as the entire NBA .

The departures of Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer , two of the Bulls’ best scoring options from last season may well prove to hinder the team’s chances this season, but there is every reason to believe with the addistion of Paul Gasol and the ever-improving play of Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson , Joakim Noah , Mike Dunleavy and Aaron Brooks , there is every reason to believe the Chicago Bulls can make a long and spirited run during the NBA Playoffs for this season . Chicago’s next scheduled game will be a match-up with the surprise of the team of the early part of the basketball season, the conference leading Toronto Raptors.

There will come a time when a price has to be paid for the alleged belief the NBA and its idiocy of a soft salary cap has been of benefit to the game. Not unlike the idiocy within baseball (MLB) , where Bud Selig and his successor Rob Manfred are still mired with their own hierarchical ineptitude . It begs the question, which idiotic fans of professional basketball actually has a clue as to what happened with regard to the economic vagaries of the NBA . Last season the Philadelphia Sixers’ willingly ” tanked “ the final quarter of their schedule , all with the hope gaining a lottery pick from the NBA Draft . Sixers’ owner Joshua Harris has given cart-blanche to ruin the franchise while fans think nothing of the destruction now taking place . Win-less and off to an 0-7 start , there seems to be clear evidence that this team cannot win a game no , matter who the opponent just happens to be .

Sixers’ head coach Brett Brown and his coaching staff have been far from inspiration for this team . Nerlens Noel , Luc MBah a Moute , Jason Richardson , Tony Wroten and Michael Carter-Williams are simply not enough to lure anyone to see the Sixers play . It is pretty much safe to say this season beyond being viewed as an eyesore is far from being desirable for the NBA . Yet , there you have it , with the league hierarchy unwilling to intervene when an organization shows an obvious unwillingness to compete . As to suggesting who the best player on the Sixers’ roster might be , well given what you might see as desirable , I would leave that choice in your hands ! Michael Carter-Williams having been a Rookie of the Year might just be the lone asset on this team .

Two consecutive losses for a combined eighty-five points defines mediocrity in the NBA. Philadelphia’s next game will be on the road when they face the Houston Rockets led by e James Harden and .Dwight Howard . The contest will be a decidedly lopsided affair favoring the home team.. Make no bones about it , the NBA remains a brand is in need of some real coaching talent beyond Gregg Popovich , Erik Spoelstra, Rick Carlisle and Doc Rivers .

Denver Nuggets’ (1-6) head coach Brian Shaw was overlooked when he sought to succeed Phil Jackson as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers . The Nuggets’ record this season reflects how bad this team just happen to be . In the Nuggets’ most recent game the team gave up eighty-four points in the first half of a contest against the Portland Trailblazers . Blazers’ players Damian Lillard , LaMarcus Aldridge and their teammates had a field-day in wiping the court with the Nuggets in their twenty-three point victory over their divisional rivals .

Beyond Kenneth Faried , Ty Lawson and JJ Hickson , there is absolutely nothing to suggest the Nuggets are capable of competing in the NBA . Team owner Stanley Kroenke and GM Tim Connelly have not shown the acumen to suggest they have the best interests of the fans let alone the league , but yet consumers are asked to tolerate this type of ineptitude not just from the Denver Nuggets, but with several teams around the league . Some fans are willing to show their apathy and ignorance by simply pointing to teams who are winning and not the dire consequences which . take place when the franchises are far from being competitive .

When the Nuggets face the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse , in Indianapolis , Indiana the meeting between these two teams should prove to be an caution as to the meaning of ineptitude based on the play of the two clubs this season.

Adam Silver the successor to David Stern as NBA Commissioner, seeks to spread his global brand and professional basketball remains the most popular sports’ brand North America has exported around the globe , far exceeding the reach of MLB , NFL and NHL . Silver has been engaging, while offering little to suggest he is the right person to be leading the NBA. As an executive he has been quick to point out that he believes the federal government should legalize gambling on all professional sports nationwide with their being tight restrictions , due diligence and oversight for the proposed statute. Given the lobbying presence of the hierarchy (NBA) up on Capitol Hill , is anyone actually surprised by Silver’s comments on the issue ? Sorry , but the commissioner is now creating a conflict of interest for his sport because , there are likely to be serious ramifications and misgivings should there be the slightest slightest impropriety within the game by a player coach or executive seeking to decide the outcome of a game by giving a less than forthright effort.

Granted, given the lax play at this point of the season , might I suggest , things might well have gotten off to the start neither Silver the league and the world of sports? College sports specifically football and basketball are aware of the problems encompassing their respective sports and it would be fair to suggest the monitoring by the NCAA under the leadership of Mark Emmert has been less than adequate. Yet , these are some of the issues likely to be faced by the NBA and Adam Silver , has not suggested if the league will seek to monitor the wagering , lines offered on the games and the final results. All well and good in the commissioner’s eyes , but once Pandora’s Box has been opened , the chances of it being closed will be remote .

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At this point last season the NBA was still in its infancy but then too., there were signs the league would be in for long and arduous year of rather mediocre play . What if anything has been the most disappointing aspect of the league this year ? By all means simply leave a comment as you see fit on on this and anything else you believe relevant to this article.

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(1) New York Knicks’ front office executives from left to right owner James Dolan, Phil Jackson SVP & Head of Basketball Operations and GM Steve Mills . The team is off to a bad start and hindering their chances within the division and Eastern Conference. Derek Fisher and his coaching staff struggled to find any form of consistency from the playing staff this season . AP Photo / Barry Gill …

(2) Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls has been limited in his play this season through eight games , having only appeared in four contests for the team at this point of the season. Head coach Tom Thibodeau may well seek lessen the minutes for the point guard over the next month as he seeks to regain full fitness . Bulls’ general John Paxson may add his input advising Thibodeau because of the franchise’s immediate and long-term investment in the player . Getty Images/NBAE/ Clark Jones …

(3) Head coach Brett Brown center is seen here with members of the Philadelphia 76ers’ coaching staff and players . The teams remain win-less and struggling to make leeway this season. Team owner Josh Harris has shown few signs that he seeks for the Sixers to be competitive over the course of this season, much to the dismay of their fans and several former players including Allen Iverson , who has been critical of the organization. AP Photo / Marcus Shaw ….

(4) Denver Nuggets’ head coach Brian Shaw and the team’s point guard Ty Lawson are seen here on the sidelines during a game . The Nuggets are far from being competitive this season and the fans are now voicing their displeasure with the team and play of the Nuggets. AP Photo / Bob Foster ..

(5) Josh Kroenke left , is seen here alongside his father Stanley Kroenke of the Denver Nuggets . The two are senior executives within organization . The elder Kroenke is also the owner the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche as well as Premierleague soccer team Arsenal . Getty Images / Tim Johnson …

(6) (6) Adam Silver commissioner of the NBA has issued the statement he would like to see legalized wagering for all professional sports, as well as at the collegiate level . Silver believes it would be of great benefit to the NBA but in his comments he made has stated little of how he believes the federal government can mandate a statute covering legalized gaming . The NBA has offered very little , by way their team owners, general managers or the players, . leading many to believe this whole scenario was not thoroughly well thought out . Clearly, Silver since being elected commissioner of the NBA , has sought to stamp his authority , identity on the league and creating the type of dialog that places him front and center of what is likely be a controversial debate . Getty Images / Harry How …

(7) Allen Iverson whose retirement from the NBA after a distinguished career winning a League MVP Award and multiple All Star appearances and litany of franchise records for the Sixers . Iverson has been extremely critical of his former team , management and the front office staff concerning their lack of competitive spirit. AP Photo / Matthew Miller … ….

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Related article : https://tophatal.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/whining-gets-you-nowhere-when-you-want-to-feel-good-about-your-team-especially-when-you-realize-theyre-on-the-decline/

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Well the sports’ environment at present has taken a back seat to the NCAA Tournament , with the event itself , having provided the fans with a number of stunning upsets , while there have been some that were not totally unexpected . With the number one ranked Florida Gators having now made their way to the ‘Sweet Sixteen ‘ , the road in some respects does now seem all but clear , for Billy Donovan and his team to capture the program’s third national title in the past eight seasons . Were the Gators’ head coach able to manage that feat , it would certainly make him the school’s most successful coach in terms of national titles won , beating out the likes of Urban Meyer and Steve Spurrier .

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Slideshow .

From my own perspective , I believe Donovan the equal of both of the aforementioned coaches , albeit that, Meyer and Spurrier left Florida to further their careers , elsewhere . In the case of Urban Meyer, his departure and subsequent criticism of his former employers and the program he coached to two BCS titles , may well have more to do with his egotistical character and the level of criticism aimed at him , with the failure of Tim Tebow to become a resounding success in the NFL . A great deal of that criticism is more than justified , when you simply bear in mind that Tebow’s collegiate career while stellar , at the next level of his evolution , his game simply did not materialize into anything more than that of a moderately average quarterback , who could barely read defensive tendencies , much less make a pass attempt in excess of fifteen yards or more , without their being a tendency of an interception or the pass simply falling short of its target , but there were , the vast majority of less than intelligent Gators’ fans, still singing Tim Tebow’s praises as a player. With his career now coming to an abrupt end , he has now been hired by cable sports’ programming network ESPN to provide fans with his insight into the Collegiate Football and the games , where he will be covering . One can only wish Tebow, all the success possible in his new endeavor , in the hope that he is likely to be more successful in his new vocation.

With a number of programs now having fallen by the wayside, in this particular NCAA Tournament, by contrast , at this point last season , things in some respects were somewhat similar. Florida for its part, have more than justified that national number one ranking , and proof of that , come by way of their regular season schedule and their run through the SEC (Southeast Conference) ,where the team went undefeated , a first for conference play, within the Southeastern Conference. Leading the way for Florida, in terms of the team’s play , have been Casey Prather , Patric Young , Michael Frazier and Scottie Wilbekin , but it has truly been a collective team effort , along with that of Billy Donovan and the coaching acumen shown by his coaching staff , which has taken them this far and proven their season-long dominance this year.

Through their first two games of this tournament, Florida has not truly been tested , with their first round contest against Albany NY being nothing more than a cakewalk , with their 67-55 defeat of that team , before facing an even less sterner test in taking down the Pittsburgh (Panthers) with another somewhat lopsided victory 61-45 . The Gators’ path to the ‘Elite Eight’ in the NCAA Tournament, will see them having to overcome the UCLA Bruins , in what is likely to be the best game scheduled during the ‘Sweet Sixteen’ .

Of the games , still to be played in the round of the Sweet Sixteen , beyond the featured contest, which I believe to be the best at this stage of the tournament. There are games between Iowa State versus Connecticut , Tennessee and Michigan , Louisville (Cardinals) and Kentucky , Baylor and Wisconsin , Arizona and San Diego State , finally Dayton versus Stanford . All great match-ups befitting a tournament, that now lures shall we say, degenerate gamblers into wagering billions of dollars, into the most lucrative sports’ event, for the gaming industry in North America .

Rick Pitino , as the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals, when he faces off against an old foe and nemesis in John Calipari , in a contest , of well-versed coaches , that will be a match of wits . What might also make this match-up also intriguing, with both coaches, having reached the pinnacle of collegiate coaching in winning a national title. Pitino, will now seek to take down a program , where, he was once a head coach and a well-respected one at that.

There are few coaches as well-respected as Tom Izzo within Collegiate Basketball and while one can be critical of the game at this level . It has to be said, that with the continued controversy of tainted programs , abuses of privileges and the ongoing issues of recruitment violations . Rarely, has Izzo’s tenure at Michigan St (Spartans) raised any suspicion of the program being mired, in any major impropriety. However, that is not to suggest, that Spartans athletics’ program has been pristine and above-board. Collegiate Athletics has become embroiled and awash, with far too much money , that the temptation to do something amiss, has become even more tempting than ever before. At the same time, the continued incompetency of the NCAA does not cover the distrust that the public has not only the entire landscape of college sports but also the hierarchical structure of the that particular body , under its current President , Mark Emmert , who came to the position, carrying a great deal of baggage of his own, concerning a number of improprieties and a lack communicative and administrative skills .

Izzo and the Spartans, while seeking to make their way to the Elite Eight, are not likely to have an easy time when they face the Virginia (Cavaliers) . Cavaliers’ head coach, Tony Bennett will undoubtedly want to pull off the upset , in taking the program this deep into the quarter-finals of the tournament for the very first time ever. The outcome of this contest, between Michigan and Tennessee , will definitely be predicated upon the offensive prowess shown by both teams and the coaching acumen of the respective staffs.

This NCAA Tournament has certainly lived up to expectations so far and the contests have provided the fans with a great deal more than most would have expected .

The big news within the NBA over the past eight days , has been the New York Knicks’ acquisition of Phil Jackson to head up the franchise’s Basketball Operations and being entirely responsible for all player personnel decisions. Jackson , himself, has been quick to point out, that the level of the play by the current roster has bordered on being inadequate and lacking the basic fundamentals , that the team itself , simply looks like a group of individuals at play on a high school playground. Subsequent to that statement by the Knicks’ front office executive , the players have responded in kind rolling off eight victories in their last ten games , perhaps reminding Jackson that they are capable of playing as a cohesive unit. As to what this might suggest as to the coaching strategies of Mike Woodson and his coaching staff , may well spell doom and his departure from the franchise at the end of this season. Woodson, might not be a proponent of the “Triangle Offense” and Phil Jackson has suggested that the scheme need not be adhered to, by the team, but , what he would like to see, is a great deal more resilience and tenacity from the players.

The New York Knicks’ continued malaise over the past seven seasons at least , has been brought on by the negligence of team owner , James Dolan and the litany of general managers heading up the front office during that time-span. Anyone who would try to suggest that under Isiah Thomas’ tenure , or that of Dave Checketts , Ernie Grunfeld , Scott Layden and in some respects Donnie Walsh , have in some way brought about some semblance of competitiveness to the franchise, need only look at the Knicks’ overall record from 1999 to 2013 and the number of playoff appearances made . In large part, the organization has spent more time acquiring nondescript talent and simply overpaying for the players assembled to represent the team during that time. It is certainly something, that will clearly have to be addressed by Phil Jackson and the staff that he will likely assemble to assist him in that stead, as he seeks to build a roster that will be viewed as a perennial contender, rather than being seen as an also-ran.

A playoff berth is now beyond the New York Knicks’ reach for this season, but in large part several players on the roster will be playing for their long-term future and livelihood with the franchise , in light of Jackson’s wish to revamp this roster. The team (29-41) at present , is lying in ninth place , within the Eastern Conference and three games out from that final berth , which is currently held by the Atlanta Hawks(31-37) as of 23rd March , 2014.

As if to further emphasize the numerous reasons why the Knicks have been woefully inept , consider the fact that at home, they are amongst the worst teams in the entire NBA , never mind the fact that they are simply unable to close out games, but yet the asinine analysis provided by on air commentators would have you believe to the contrary. Sunday’s six-point loss (106-100) at home at Madison Square Gardens in New York City, New York, to the Cleveland Cavaliers , is a damning indictment of not only the poor play of the New York Knicks , but also how damn awful , the Eastern Conference just happens to be overall , in terms of the poor play.

Inconsistency has now become the norm for the New York Knicks , while the air-headed print and television media within the New York market tend to be enraptured by Phil Jackson’s arrival , what they seem to be forgetting is actually how bad this team just happens to be and that is even with Carmelo Anthony having to carry his teammates on his shoulders for the majority of the season. One can choose to spin the tale of the New York Knicks for this season and then suggest that next year all of the events of 2013 , will be forgotten, because Phil Jackson , by then, will have begun to work miracles. Let’s get something clear, Phil can only work with the tools given him and what he has been provided with at this juncture , are a bag of nuts , bolts, and rusty tools, in seeking to get the job done . As to what transpires, in the coming months of this off-season, remains to be seen. It will be interesting to see whether or not, Jackson can indeed revamp an impoverished franchise, with them regaining some semblance of respectability.

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Picture gallery .

The events of the NCAA Tournament, as they have unfolded, which result has been of the greatest surprise to you ? Which program do you now believe to be in the driver’s seat, with the easiest task of making it to the Final Four and then going on to win the Men’s NCAA title outright ? With Phil Jackson’s introduction as the new Head of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks , do you believe his task will be an easy one to turn things around for the franchise and how much time in your estimation, will it take for him to make the Knicks relevant and competitive ? Simply take time to leave a comment, as you see fit and thank you for the ongoing support of this site, as it is greatly appreciated !

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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Florida guard Scottie Wilbekin, bottom, gets past Pittsburgh forward Lamar Patterson for a shot during the second half in a third-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, March 22, 2014. Florida won 61-45 . AP Photo/John Raoux ….

(2) Florida coach Billy Donovan gestures during the second half in a third-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament against Pittsburgh, Saturday, March 22, 2014, in Orlando, Fla. AP Photo/John Raoux…

(3) Florida guard Scottie Wilbekin (5) and center Patric Young (4) talk on the court during the second half in a second-round game against Albany in the NCAA college basketball tournament against Albany, Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Orlando, Fla. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack ….

(4) Louisville coach Rick Pitino , right, yells at guard Russ Smith (2) during the second half in a third-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament against Saint Louis , Saturday, March 22, 2014, in Orlando, Fla. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack ….

(5) Kentucky head coach John Calipari works from the sideline against Wichita State during the first half of a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament Sunday, March 23, 2014, in St. Louis. A highly rated Wichita State team that seemingly could not match the intensity shown by the Wildcats during this contest, which ended in disappointment for the Shockers. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ……..

(6) Kentucky guard Aaron Harrison (2) passes the ball as Wichita State guard Fred VanVleet (23) defends during the first half of a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament Sunday, March 23, 2014, in St. Louis. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …..

(7) Tony Bennett head coach of the Virginia Cavaliers . Bennett’s team face the MSU Spartans on Friday , with the victor guaranteed a berth in the Elite Eight as the prize . AP Photo / Rafael Gomez …..

(8) Michigan State’s Tom Izzo whose long and proud coaching resume’ indicates an impressive track record . Getty Images / Keith Turner …..

(9) NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 23: Jarrett Jack (1) of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots against the New York Knicks during a game at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images …
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(10) New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony talks with New York Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson during the second half of the NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden, Sunday, March 23, 2014, in New York. The Cavaliers defeated the Knicks 106-100 . .AP Photo /Adrian Miller …..

(11) New York Knicks’ executive Phil Jackson is seen here, inlaid, team head coach Mike Woodson’s ,whose tenure with the Knicks’ franchise now seems more perilous than ever , with the team not completely responding to his coach style, in spite of a recent impressive run of eight consecutive victories . Yet, the team’s home record remains one of the worst in the entire NBA and one of the numerous reasons why they have fallen out of contention within the Eastern Conference this season. It seems highly unlikely that Woodson will be returning to coach the team next season , with their being no guarantee whatsoever, from the front office , even if there have been some reassuring words coming from unconfirmed sources within the hierarchical structure of the franchise. AP Photo / Lou Mason …..

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College Basketball & NBA related pieces :

The running of the Bulls

It’s that time of the year again , and things are said be right with the world ….

You can talk a good game but can you play one ?

Stick to what you know and not what you’re told is the truth

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The running of the Bulls ……….

The running of the Bulls …..

As a youngster growing up in the UK , I caused my Mom a great deal of angst, as she had to raise three kids as a single mother . From my mid-teens, until I made the decision to join the military, I traveled extensively throughout Western Europe, and along the way, becoming fluent in French, albeit that my great grandparents are of Haitian descent , also speaking German and a little Italian . Of all my travels, some of the best experiences I had, were my times spent in France , Spain and Italy . Although, there was a memorable experience on the island of Cyprus, that included a moment of intimacy with a young female in the town of Limassol. Let’s just say, she knew how to “rock the mic’ “ . In the country of Spain, one the of the great experiences to be had , is the “ Running of the Bulls” in the city of Pamplona and if you are brave enough , then it is something that should be experienced , but I can tell you this , it is not for the faint of heart .

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In the NBA this season , many may well have written off the Chicago Bulls and their season , after the team’s point guard Derrick Rose went down with a another knee injury, once again incapacitating him for the season . Bad luck or simply karma, call it what you will. Suffice to say, Rose’s career is now sitting on a precipice and the dangers signs are suggesting , that it could very well be over before he has been able to make a real impact on the NBA. Rose is one of the youngest players ever to have won the NBA League MVP , all at the tender age of twenty-two , having entered the NBA as a first round draft pick of the Chicago Bulls in the 2008 NBA Draft .

With the loss of Rose, in many circles , it was thought that the case would, the Bulls would “tank” the season and simply look towards the upcoming draft to supplement the roster and by way of free agency , and also to jettison high salary capped players in order to make the team cap-friendly and a viable destination for any potential marquee free agent, looking for a fresh opportunity, as well as being viewed as being on a championship-caliber team. I felt at the time, that two of the Bulls’ lead front office executives , GM Gar Forman and Head of Basketball Operations John Paxson made a major monumental blunder in trading away Luol Deng , who at this point had been the Bulls’ best player all season long and who had also shown himself to be a great on-court leader. Yet, somehow what should well have spelt disaster for the Bulls and their season, has now turned out to be something of an opportunity as this Tom Thibodeau coached team , now seems revitalized and induced with sheer optimism , as they seek to play themselves into contention for a divisional crown and a high seeding within the Eastern Conference .

Coming off a very convincing victory over the highly touted defending champions the Miami Heat , you kind of get the feeling that this NBA season might not end up being as uninteresting within the Eastern Conference, as some might have thought it would be , as it appeared that the Heat and Indiana Pacers would have the conference to themselves , with the victor having the “spoils of war” . All of a sudden, with the wheels discombobulating off the vehicles of the Heat and Pacers, there very well could be a great deal to play for, before the regular season ends its schedule.

Tom Thibodeau has proven himself to be one of the better coaches in the NBA and given what he has to work with this season, with the loss of Derrick Rose and the departure of Luol Deng, in making the Bulls still competitive, to my mind he is a worthy candidate to be named the NBA Coach of the Year , as I do not believe that there are any other viable candidates based solely on achievement alone for this season ! ! At 35-29 the Bulls’ mark stands as the fourth best within the Eastern Conference behind the surprisingly resilient Toronto Raptors (35-27) the second placed Miami Heat (44-17) and the Indiana Pacers(47-17) who are a slim three games ahead of their closest rivals the Heat.

While I do not expect there to be a complete falloff in terms of the top two contenders within the Eastern Conference ! I do believe the momentum, now being shown by the Chicago Bulls adds a little more intrigue to the conference, rather than elements there, become something of a foregone conclusion . For Miami, that seven-point loss to the Bulls proved to be a wake-up call, as they rebounded to defeat the Washington Wizards on their home-court with 99-90 victory , with LeBron James leading the way for the Heat with twenty-three points , leading all scorers in the contest. James is seeking to prove to the naysayers that he is not yet ready to relinquish his League MVP crown to anyone as of yet , even if the cries are that Kevin Durant while leading the Oklahoma Thunder to the best record in the NBA is now having a better year from a statistical standpoint . From my own perspective , I believe that Durant apart from having a better season , he is proving , that in allowing his teammates to become involved in many of the team’s victories this season , it is simply not just about him alone . A case can be made that for the Heat , without James , their record would be considerably more troubling . The two players have this season , have stood head and shoulders above their rivals and that includes players such as Blake Griffin and Carmelo Anthony , who have each had their own individual moments this season .

As the season continues to spiral out of control for the Los Angeles Lakers , there have been very few positives for the franchise over the course of the year. Kobe Bryant still remains sidelined with an injury. Meanwhile, head coach Mike D’Antoni still guides this team with reckless abandonment, having not taught any of the younger group of players a thing with regard to playing defense . Doubt my word, then simply look at the team’s stats and where they lie within the conference and league as a whole. Then you can easily understand the reasons why, the Lakers have been in trouble all season long, in spite of the absence of Bryant. Although their surprising defeat of the Oklahoma City Thunder might well have been the team’s biggest victory of the season , beyond that success there have been very few positives to report.

Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak and team owner Jim Buss , have made several mistakes in the past eighteen months that have come home to roost , by way of a lack of a real scorer on the roster beyond Bryant. An aging Pau Gasol is unable to carry the burden of the team’s offense and one or two individualistic moments from the likes of Nick Young or Jodie Meeks cannot and will not hide the fact that the lineup is simply devoid of depth and real underlying talent. Now the franchise is simply pinning their hopes on the free agency market of 2015 and the likelihood, that there will be a dearth of highly sought after players, hitting the market all at the same time. If as anticipated, the likes of Carmelo Anthony and others do make it known of their intent , then Kupchak is likely to be given the go-ahead to pursue anyone of a number of those highly sought after players with a view to bolstering the roster. From my own standpoint , with next season likely to be Kobe Bryant’s last in the NBA , it will provide the player and the franchise the last opportunity of their winning an NBA title, before his likely retirement. Having signed a two-year $48.5 million contract this past season , the deal itself might well have been seen as outrageous, it does lead many to believe that at this juncture , there is a great deal of desperation within the front office of the organization with Jim Buss being under a great deal of pressure to succeed , while following in the footsteps of his late father , Dr Jerry Buss, the erstwhile late owner of the franchise.

The Los Angeles Lakers will now face another stern test, as the now have a rematch with the Thunder for the second time in the past four days , when they are the guests of their opponents at the Chesapeake Energy Center , Oklahoma City , Oklahoma on Thursday , 13th March, 2014 .

The Western Conference continues to remain as competitive as ever, far more so, than that of the Eastern Conference. While the feeling remains, that the combatants in the West, are likely to be in for an arduous battle, as the playoffs begin , whereas, the East will be as predictable as ever, with the top two teams in the conference, likely to meet, in the Eastern Conference Finals.

It would be fair to suggest that this season has been a profound disappointment for anyone who happens to be a fan of the New York Knicks. The team has under-achieved, with head coach, Mike Woodson being unable to get any semblance of consistency from his players. With a record of 25-40 the team currently lays 3 ½ games out of eighth place for the final playoff berth within the East. The Atlanta Hawks (27-35) , holding down that final spot, have to be fearful of the Knicks finding any sort of momentum enabling a playoff push and erasing that deficit. . For all of the heroics of Carmelo Anthony this season , it is hard to envisage the Knicks finding that sort of resilience at this stage , when in the earlier part of their schedule they have simply not been able to exhibit any type of consistency whatsoever.

James Dolan, owner of the New York Knicks has been very reticent to answer any questions concerning the franchise’s woes. However, in light of his agreement in principle to hire Phil Jackson , former player with the franchise and the most successful coach in NBA history , to now head up the front office as Head of Basketball Operations . It now begs the question , how much power will now be placed in the hands of the former head coach and what will be the long-term futures of both GM Steve Mills and that the current Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson ? With neither being hires of Jackson, one could speculate that both will be allowed to remain with the franchise until the end of the season , before he makes a decision as to whether or not both Mills and Woodson will remain with the organization in their current capacities .

I believe that this hire of Phil Jackson was done in large part, to impress upon Carmelo Anthony , that the franchise now means to do whatever it takes to retain his services , while seeking to build a competitive team to complement his skill-set . The player, himself has not been abundantly clear, as to what his intentions will be concerning his long-term future with the franchise . Yet, if the indications are too believed, then he is likely to opt out of the final year of his contract and test the free agency market. The New York Knicks however, remain with the upper-hand, knowing that they will be able to offer Anthony a long-term deal, paying the player a far bigger contract than any likely suitor will be able to offer as mandated by the league. Yet , for Carmelo Anthony , at this stage of his ten-year career in the NBA , I do not believe it comes down to money , but more so the opportunity to play for a legitimate contender for the NBA title , rather than a franchise that in recent seasons , has simply been an afterthought in the minds of the vast majority of fans of the NBA , with the exception of those who just happen to be fans of the New York Knicks’ franchise.

With their recent lopsided victory over a dour Philadelphia 76rs’ team, the Knicks’ next contest will pit them against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night at the TD Banknorth Gardens in Boston , Massachusetts , against Brad Stevens’ young and inexperienced roster . If New York Knicks are seeking to make a serious run at a playoff berth at this juncture , then this will be a game that they simply cannot afford to lose. As to what the rest of the season now holds for the franchise, remains to be seen , and that of the intent of Phil Jackson , also .

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Picture gallery .

As the NBA season winds down , what are you expecting to see from the teams vying for a playoff berth ? Also, do you believe the hiring of Phil Jackson to head up franchise’s basketball operations will be in their best interests or do you believe that it will add a great deal of uncertainty around the organization?

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) The Running of the Bulls in Pamplona , Spain honoring St Fermin. A seven-day event, that takes place during the month of July . It has become a worldwide event , which has also its detractors , especially amongst animal rights’ group around the globe. REUTERS/UPI …

(2) Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls is seen here centering the arena at the United Center , in Chicago , Illinois, prior to the game before the Chicago Bulls played the San Antonio Spurs at their home venue . Chicago would end up losing the game 104-96 . AP Photo / Keith Kirkpatrick ……….

(3) Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs looks to make the pass during an offensive play during the game against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night , 11th March , during the contest played at the United Center . Also in picture are Jimmy Butler of the Bulls , Kawhi Leonard (21) of the Spurs and defending Duncan , Joakim Noah . AP Photo Keith Kirkpatrick …

(4) Tom Thibodeau converses with Derrick Rose (1) of the Chicago Bulls during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks at Phillips Arena on May 6, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. This season Rose has been lost to Bulls for their entire schedule but amazingly enough the team now seems likely to make the postseason without their All Star point guard . Getty Images North America / Kevin C. Cox …..

(5) Chicago Bulls GM Gar Forman , seen here in the foreground, alongside the franchise’s Head of Basketball Operations , former Bulls’ player John Paxson . Forman and Paxson have worked studiously over the past four years in acquiring the talent and then with the hiring of Tom Thibodeau to make franchise a championship contender . Team owner , Jerry Reinsdorf has continued to heap praises upon the franchise’s two lead front office executives . Chicago Sun Times / Eric Moffitt ………

(6) A lost and forlorn season for Los Angeles Lakers’ guard Kobe Bryant , who , having been declared done for the year , will now watch from the sidelines as the team embattled the rest of the season , seeking something positive out of it all . In recent months Bryant has been critical of the front office questioning the ambition of Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak and their wanting to make the roster competitive . With no chance of making the playoffs , this could end up being one of the franchise’s worst seasons in recent years in terms their year-end record. Another vocal critic of the Los Angeles Lakers’ has been former player and Hall of Fame great Magic Johnson , currently a senior managing partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ ownership group. UPI/ Anthony Hughes …..

(7) NEW YORK, NY – April 5: Phil Jackson , a member of the 1973 Championship New York Knicks team during a press conference before a game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the New York Knicks on April 5, 2013 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Jackson has agreed in principle to head up the Knicks’ front office operations and will be an EVP & Head of Basketball Operations . GM Steve Mills will have Jackson as his immediate superior , with new executive reporting directly to owner James Dolan , concerning all matters with regard to the player personnel . It is unclear what sort of impression this will make on the pending status of Knicks’ star Carmelo Anthony , who can opt out of his existing contract at the end of this season. Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images ………

(8) New York Knicks’ center . Tyson Chandler (6) is seen here alongside teammate Carmelo Anthony (7) during a game . Both are said to be tired of the team’s losing and the apparent lack of direction coming from the front office and that of the coaching of Mike Woodson. With their season floundering both players are now said to be discussing their futures with the Knicks and it is likely , one , if not both players may well seek to leave the organization . Getty Images/ Martin Stewart ……. …….

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tophatal ……………….

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NBA news and archived news

NBA standings (divisional) and by conference

NBA Playoff picture (projected)

NBA schedule 12th March

This month in NBA history

12th March

NBA milestones points

Launching paper planes and making excuses

Launching paper planes and making excuses

Isn’t it amazing how soon we forget after proselytizing as to the greatness of a team , and once they have fallen from grace , we tend to start to make excuses for the prognostications and false claims . In the world of politics that has always been the norm. In the aftermath, of the New York Knicks’ exit from the postseason , all of the diagnosis has begun . And I might add, those who bore false witness are now running for the hills seeking still trying to seek some positives from what has been a monumental mess concerning the postseason . Granted , the Knicks and Mike Woodson came through the first round unscathed with a none too competitive first round series’ win over an aging and some might say clearly mismatched Boston Celtics’ team in a rousing 4-2 series` victory .

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The New York Knicks’ season was filled with highs and lows , with the team ending their sojourn with a 54-28 record , good enough to be the second seed in the Eastern Conference , finishing twelve games behind the Miami Heat (66-16) . A great deal of the Knicks’ failures during the postseason can be summed up with the fact that this team is simply not , defensive minded , lacks the competency to play it with any great authority , in spite of the claims of the supporters of the team who claim to the contrary . And a few games , to where the Knicks held the Celtics, to under eighty points in their first round does not point or indicate to the fact that the team can play defense with any presumed authority . To believe that , would be to suggest that the Knicks would be able to make it the norm , as it relates to their play. One ought to note that the Boston Celtics are an offense challenged team to begin with , where scoring is simply not a premium , in where having to place their faith in an aging Paul Piece indicates the magnitude that they had as a unit , when there was no else capable on the roster to carry that burden of scoring .

Having dispatched the Celtics , the New York Knicks were faced with having to go up against the NBA’s best defensive team during the regular and fourth best in postseason . The Indiana Pacers , coached by Frank Vogel , are well coached and play as a team , rather than as a disproportional edifice , where the play of a lone superstar dictates the play overall of that team . Much as it is in the case of the New York Knicks and their having Carmelo Anthony be the “tip of the spear “ and foil for just about everything that they do from an offensive standpoint . There is no doubt that the New York Knicks were favored to win this Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Indiana Pacers , and that is even now with the all too dubious claims of the Knicks’ supporters who would now have you believe that all they were hoping for was simply a berth in the playoffs . All well and good , but in reality , the Knicks’ front office , players and fans , had ambitions and were looking towards a potential Conference Finals’ series against LeBron James and the Miami Heat . Alas , it was not to be , and one could point to a number of reasons behind the team’s failure in the postseason. As laudable as it was , to see the franchise’s presence back amongst the NBA’s end of year showcase , in reality , we all knew that this team simply was not good enough to be even remotely considered a legitimate contender to take down their Eastern Conference rivals , much less the potential win the NBA title .

Where this now all leaves the New York Knicks and in particular the frustration for Mike Woodson and his obvious disappointment , will now be based upon how team owner , James Dolan and GM Glen Grunwald will seek to make any moves as they deem fit , in bolstering the Knicks’ roster . Old at its core , let’s be realistic , the contributions of Marcus Camby , Jason Kidd , Kenyon Martin and Steve Novak as well as Amare Stoudemire , could be best described as being anemic during the postseason . It might not be deemed so comical and idiotic , when it was suggested that Woodson was actually unsure what to expect from Chris Copeland , as a player . I can only surmise that Copeland was viewed as nothing more than a bench-warmer by the Knicks’ coaching staff . In the Knicks’ game five victory over the Pacers , Copeland came off the bench , scoring thirteen points , to be a hero in the team’s second win of the series . And JR Smith may well have won the Sixth Man of the Year Award for his regular season contributions ,but can someone please explain to me , why he was nowhere to be seen during the postseason ?

Of the sixteen participants in the postseason , the New York Knicks’ payroll was amongst the highest of the teams left at that stage of the proceedings . The team’s payroll for the season , of $80.3 million , was not of season’s past , when it exceeded $100 million , hitting the franchise hard in terms of the league mandated ” luxury tax” , which saw teams having to pay a dollar for dollar sum back to the league hierarchy for exceeding the “soft salary cap” . And it would appear that while David Stern sells the idiocy of the NBA being on a sound financial footing , the Knicks for their part will continue to spend their money capriciously on players , who in large part , simply do not pay off as a tangible return on that investment . As proof of that , Amare Stoudemire is still owed an astonishing $45 million on the two years remaining of what still in many eyes , was viewed as a ludicrous and outlandish contract, a five-year $ 100 million deal for the center / power forward . I would preface this by saying, with the idiocy witnessed within the Knicks’ front office, by former head coach and team President , Isiah Thomas , was allowed to simply throw money at players with little or no talent whatsoever . Inasmuch as Thomas’ successor Donnie Walsh tried to steady that ship, it would appear that the idiocy remained , while Jim Dolan craved the success of seeing his franchise back amongst the elite of the NBA .

A decision will have to be made on whether or not a number the Knicks’ impending free agents will be retained , as well as the long and short-term future, as it relates to Amare Stoudemire whose contract remains a yoke around the neck of the Knicks’ franchise , when one bears in mind the league’s existing $58 million soft salary cap , and that the franchise will this season will be remitting $23 million back to the league hierarchy in terms of the luxury tax .

With a $1 billion price tag the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers are by far the most valuable franchises in the NBA . For the Knicks being just one of the baubles in the Dolan family sporting interests that makes up parent company holdings for MSG Entertainment Inc / The Madison Square Garden Entertainment Company , it easy to understand why the franchise has been always been perceived as one the bell-weather models of the professional sports’ franchise industry . With that being said , wealth and fortune are by no means a guarantee of competitive success , when there has been poor professional acumen shown by the Knicks’ organization over the past few seasons. Bear in mind also , that beyond the fans within the New York state area , you also have the print , television and radio media simply lauding the franchise at every turn over the course of the regular season . Now that they have been inauspicious dumped out of the NBA postseason play . Fans and the media , are at a juxtaposition , as to how best to explain their team’s fall from grace . Self absorbed, and conceitedness or simply an unwillingness to accept the fact that they are not as good as advertised ? I will leave it for you to be the judge of that !

In what was deemed to be a competitive Western Conference Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Memphis Grizzlies , who defeated the number one seeds , the Oklahoma City Thunder with surprising ease . The Spurs have nonchalantly dusted down the Grizzlies in the first two games , taking a 2-0 lead before the series resumes at the Fedex Forum in Memphis, Tennessee on Saturday 25th May , 2013 .

The Spurs’ Big Three of Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker have provided the experience and bulk of the offensive output of the franchise during the postseason . Duncan in spite of his age , is having one of his better seasons in what is sure to be undoubtedly viewed as a Hall of Fame career. Game three will be pivotal for both teams and should Lionel Hollins’ Grizzlies suffer a home defeat , then for all sense and purpose this series will be over , bar the ticker tape parade .

Zach Randolph has proven to be the Memphis’ best player during the regular and postseason , is now seeing what it is like to play with a great deal of emotion , only to have the door slam shut in his face . And while in the series against the Oklahoma City Thunder he was ably assisted by Marc Gasol , Tayshaun Prince and Mike Conley . The reality of that first round performance , was that it placed the Grizzlies’ on an emotional high and a physical plane , but now having met the San Antonio Spurs , reality has now finally set in , that their story is only half-written , and the ensuing chapters are now looking , not so bright .

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Picture gallery .

What thoughts if any , do you have concerning the points raised within this article ? Also , in light of the Knicks’ postseason demise , how would you go about addressing several of their personnel decisions that will undoubtedly have to be made ?

Picture and slideshow details below for your perusal .
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INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAY 18: Lance Stephenson(1) of the Indiana Pacers celebrates in the game against the New York Knicks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 18, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana.The Pacers won 106-99 . Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images …

(2) New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson talks to Carmelo Anthony (7) during the first half of Game 6 of an Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series against the Indiana Pacers . Getty Images /Andy Lyons …

(3) Paul George (24) of the Indiana Pacers battles for the ball against J.R. Smith (8) and Kenyon Martin (3) of the New York Knicks during game three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 11, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Pacers won 82-71 . Getty Images North America / Joe Robbins …..

(4) From left to right , New York Knicks’ owner James Dolan , GM Glen Grunwald and head coach Mike Woodson . In light of the team’s demise in the postseason, all three executives will face some tough decision-making concerning the makeup of the team’s roster as they enter the 2013-14 NBA season . Courtesy of NY Daily News/AP Photo / Drew Pearson ….

(5) New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire , center, is tied up by Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert , right, and forward David West during the second half of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series in Indianapolis, Saturday, May 11, 2013. AP Photo/Michael Conroy …

(6) San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan celebrates with the team as he comes down to the bench during the overtime in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals NBA basketball playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies, Tuesday, May 21, 2013, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 93-89 . AP Photo/Eric Gay …

(7) Memphis Grizzlies’ Zach Randolph argues with an official during the second half in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals NBA basketball playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs, Tuesday, May 21, 2013, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Eric Gay ….

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tophatal …………….. 2013/05/24

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NBA news and archived news

NBA schedule (postseason)

Eastern Conference Finals : Miami Heat (1) vs Indiana Pacers (3)

Western Conference Finals : San Antonio Spurs (2) vs Memphis Grizzlies (5)

NB : seeds shown in brackets

NBA playoffs’ overview

New York Knicks news

NBA teams’ salaries ($58.044 million salary cap). For teams exceeding that threshold they are surcharged a dollar for dollar amount which is paid back to the NBA hierarchy at the end of the season .

NBA team values , revenues and net income

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Hot chic pic of the day Kathy Lantigua .

Why not simply place a mannequin in your shop window ?

Why not simply place a mannequin in your shop window ?

No good can ever come from letting your heart rule your head when it comes to business or in the world of sports . Let’s face it, those now trying to suggest that an NFL team would benefit having Tim Tebow on their roster solely from the point of being able to lure fans to an NFL venue . Case in point , did that scenario actually work for NFL franchise, the New York Jets in 2012 ? Granted , the team and franchise were thoroughly mismanaged with Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano simply making a mockery of their profession as NFL coaches . Never mind the fact that , then GM , Mike Tannenbaum and many of the alleged asinine decisions that were said to have been made in conjunction with both Ryan and Sparano . Those decisions included the signing of Tebow after what was said to be “his great season” in 2011 and the fact that he led the Denver Broncos into the postseason .In reality , those exploits were less about Tebow and more to do with the desire of the team and their front office staff led by former Broncos’ star and Hall of Fame inductee John Elway .

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In the aftermath of the Broncos’ short-lived postseason foray , John Elway and team owner Pat Bowlem made the decision that changes would be needed in terms of the make up of the team’s roster and who would ultimately lead the team during 2012 at the quarterback position . Tim Tebow became superfluous to the team’s needs and he was traded to the New York Jets . The trade itself was met with a great deal plaudits as it was felt that the Heisman Trophy winner would bring a revived presence to the Jets’ offense and a luring of fans to their palatial venue , Met Life Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey , home to both the AFC East franchise as well as the New York Giants . Inasmuch , as I believe Tebow to be a great ambassador for the game of football , at as a player , but for a few fleeting moments in 2011 , he has yet to show that he can play in the NFL with a great deal of consistency . As to Tim Tebow being viewed as a brand that can sell tickets much less be the face of a major corporation. Well let’s now take a look at that shall we ? Can Tebow be considered a “winner “ in the NFL , because essentially that is what an advertiser will base their product’s selling point on , apart from what they believe are the quarterback’s unique qualities . Furthermore , in terms of Tebow’s marketability , beyond his Christian faith , this asinine notion that he is now the most influential athlete in North America does actually ring hollow , if not being downright asinine and insulting .

Beyond Tim Tebow’s affability , what is it that the fans can actually most look forward to ? The NFL in this day and age is about winning , making money and the overall marketability of its stars . Tebow is a draw , but he is not a major draw where instantaneously you would be drawn to him or a product that he would be hawking on behalf of a major endorser . And while we are at it , let’s look at the so-called major endorsers now said to be part of the Tebow “ branding “ . Other than his ads for TiVo , the player’s presence as a major marketing draw for Madison Ave , is barely noticeable and his annual earnings of $ 4 million by way of his off the field activities , pales into insignificance when adjudged against that of Peyton Manning , Drew Brees and Tom Brady . Granted, the three players in question, have longer tenures in the NFL and have been far more successful than the now unrestricted free agent with a four-year career to his name .

The rumblings, well not necessarily around the NFL , but more so within the state of Florida and the NFL franchise that is in desperate need of more notoriety .Jacksonville Jaguars’ owner Shahid Khan is said to have taken a liking to Tim Tebow, and originally upon his multimillion dollar purchase of the beleaguered North Florida franchise , it was being suggested that the team acquire the former Florida Gator . This AFC South team has been in a state of disarray for several years , and this has revolve around the lack of progress and productivity in the play of Blaine Gabbert and the fact that his coach at the time Jack Del Rio was ill-equipped to aid the player in his troubles , in spite of his experience and that of the coaching staff at the time . Khan and general manager David Caldwell may have mulled over the novel idea of bringing Tebow to Jacksonville , with a view to luring fans to one of the NFL’s least supported franchises and where in their last eighteen regular season home games , the Jaguars have been unable to sellout a single game and thereby initiating in the NFL’s television blackout policy .

Personally , I think that even if Tebow were part of the Jaguars’ roster , merely as a selling point , he would add nothing more than the curiosity and novelty factor for the franchise ! In a hotbed area , where College Football ” rules the roost ” , it easy to understand the reasons why the Jaguars have failed to attract a fan-base big enough to fill its venue , Ever-Bank Stadium , in Jacksonville , Florida . From an economic standpoint , how much in value would Tebow add to franchise such as the Jacksonville Jaguars , by way of their bottom line , overall value or for that matter by way of additional revenues overall

? Just because he has the top jersey sales in the NFL , that simply counts for squat ! In reality however , all three NFL franchises that reside in Florida , do have a tremendously tough time even attracting and selling out on a regular basis for their regular season home games and that has been widely known amongst sports’ economists and the NFL hierarchy for several years now . Something that you would be hard pressed to even get NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , to readily admit , much less that of the ownership groups of the Jaguars , Miami Dolphins or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers .

The NFL is actually big , in Florida , but not to the point, where fans are thronging to see the three franchises domiciled within the state . Go figure ! .

What the immediate future now holds for Tim Tebow, is now based upon whose statements you are prepared to believe , whether or not they are coming from NFL insiders , on air television personalities who cover the sport or from Tebow’s own agent . At present Tim Tebow’s agent , Jimmy Sexton has not provided the public or any of Tebow’s fans with a desired destination of his client . Yet this much we do know , Tebow still yearns to be a player in the NFL , though not as a position player but simply as a quarterback . As to the possible takers for the player’s lackluster talents , even if he were to be viewed as a backup or merely as a selling point for a franchise . In light of 2012’s debacle in New Jersey with the New York Jets , would you as an owner , general manager of head coach bring in Tim Tebow to be part of your franchise ? I think that New York Giants’ co-owner Steve Tisch , summed it up best, when he stated , “ the Jets ruined Tim Tebow “ ! Truth be known, Tim Tebow was already ruined before he ever played his first down in the NFL . The Florida Gators’ coaching staff under his college coach , Urban Meyer simply did not prepare the player in terms of his skill-set in preparation for what he should have expected in the NFL . One should also take note that another of Meyer’s pupils Alex Smith struggled for the first few years of his NFL career , only in 2012 to be then subjected to humiliation and then be beaten out by second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick for the staring role on the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 . The rest as they say is history as it it regards to Kaepernick’s own accomplishments in 2012 with the franchise .

Well over the weekend the once and highly favored New York Knicks were summarily dumped out of the NBA postseason . Reasons to be happy ? Hell yeah , if you’re not a Knicks’ fan but then again , who amongst really expected to the Mike Woodson to guide this team deep into the postseason ? Were we meant to be sold on the fact that Carmelo Anthony , on his own , would lift his fellow teammates unto his broad shoulders and take them to the promised land ? In no uncertain terms , the reality for the Knicks and their loyal devotees , this team couldn’t support their own lofty goals much less anything else . Aging at their core , the New York Knicks’ roster had more in common with prospective members of AARP , than it would for a franchise seeking to win their first NBA title since the ’72-73 NBA season .

So much was made of the prodigious talent on this Knicks’ roster and the fact that its offense was said to be explosive . Yet what no one failed to pick up on , even those who are said to be avowed experts on the game , was the very fact , the New York Knicks were a defensively challenged team , and where several players on the team were simply averse to playing a defensive role , even when not called upon by Woodson’s coaching staff . The very fact that they were summarily dumped out of the NBA postseason by the Indiana Pacers in game six of the Eastern Conference semifinals was enough of an indicator to me , what playing as a team was meant to be about and simply having one superstar and a group ill-fitting parts that were so disjointed , that you would have that they were glued together with saliva mixed with epoxy resin. Nothing ever stuck and so errant and inconsistent was the Knicks’ play against the Pacers that 4-2 series’ loss was nothing short of a real embarrassment . However, the Knicks’ fans will try to make light of this all , by trying to suggest that their only wish was to see the team simply make the postseason . Well , they were able to achieve that , but the front office led by owner James Dolan and GM Glen Grunwald , expected a great deal more from one the NBA’s most respected franchises .

Beyond Carmelo Anthony , the Knicks’ guard was barely supported in this series , which begs the question what will be or should one say , what decisions are likely to be made by Mike Woodson and Glen Grunwald concerning the makeup of this roster , as it relates to the upcoming season . Power forward , Amare Stoudemire is owed an astonishing $44 million over the next two seasons , and it once again further emphasizes why this franchise still remains absolutely bereft of intelligence within the upper echelons of its organizational structure .

Forty four million dollars to guy way past his prime , and whose wish is to go out a winner ? Grunwald’s predecessor Isaiah Thomas as the architect of that deal , still casts a giant shadow across the whole panacea of this Knicks’ franchise beyond his alleged sexual proclivities and peccadilloes that cost the organization in excess of $2 million in a legal suit settled in the US Federal Court several years ago .

It is my own personal belief that as ambitious as Carmelo Anthony just happens to be , he simply cannot win an NBA title being surrounded by a team that at its core while showing a great deal of playing experience , in reality those players’ best years have already passed them by ! It certainly will be interesting , to see what players are jettisoned from the roster and which are likely to be retained .

Whatever was said by Bud Selig to convince Houston Astros’ owner Jim Crane to make the jump from the NL Central to the AL West this past off-season , was clearly a situation where beyond the added “sweetener “ of a $60 million rebate after his purchase of the franchise . The Houston billionaire must have been lulled into a false sense of security , as to how his team would fare in the AL . The Astros alongside the Miami Marlins , currently have the two worst records in all of baseball and are likely to be on course of actually surpassing last season’s marks for sheer ineptitude by both franchises .

Astros` GM Jeff Luhnow has done as much as is humanly possible , but his biggest mistake in terms of the personnel decisions made , may well have been the hiring of Bo Porter to manage this team . Beyond that , what looks like the inexperience of Porter’s coaching staff , has been the multitude of mistakes by the manager and his staff , concerning game strategy and what his best starting lineup might just be . At 12-32 , losers of eight of their last ten games , the Astros are twelve games behind the division leading Texas Rangers (29-15) within the AL West.

The Astros will play host at Minute Maid Field , in Houston , Texas in a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals , staring today . Jeremy Guthrie will start for the Royals against Dallas Kuechel of the Astros in a game that will tell us a great about both of these teams and their apparent ambitions as it relates to the overall season . .

Jose Altuve and Carlos Pena appear to be the most productive players on the Astros’ roster by way of the team’s offense , yet the team’s struggles this season are not solely confined to the offense but also their pitching . . .

The Astros’ projected number of wins’ total for the season is 46-116 , and when adjudged against last season’s total of 55-107 , it easy to understand why there seems to be a great deal of apoplexy and some might suggest the belief that it was misguided to have the Houston Astros relocate from the National League to the American League.

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Picture gallery .

What thoughts if any, do you have concerning the salient points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and once again thank you for your continued support of this site !

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Picture and slideshow gallery details .
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(1) Sports agent Jimmy Sexton is seen here in his office . At present Sexton’s most visible and high-profiled client ,Tim Tebow , is an unrestricted unsigned free agent , still in search of an NFL team . AP Photo / Roger Carter ……

(2) Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez look on, as as Jets’ offensive coordinator Tony Sparano and head coach Rex Ryan explain a play to starting Greg McElroy during an NFL game in 2012 . AP Photo / John Corbett ………

(3) From left to right Jaguars’ head coach Gus Bradley , Shahid Khan and David Caldwell . The trio are beset with multiple of issues concerning this upcoming season and the ambitions of this franchise and their ambitions . The team’s quarterback Blaine Gabbert , has simply been lackluster in his performances for the franchise and it is one of the primary reasons behind the team’s failures in 2012 . AP Photo / Clark Devlin …..

(4) New York Knicks’ J.R. Smith reacts late during the second half of Game 6 of an Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series against the Indiana Pacers, Saturday, May 18, 2013, in Indianapolis. Indiana defeated New York 106-99 to win the series 4-2 . AP Photo/Darron Cummings …

(5) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAY 18: Head Coach Frank Vogel of the Indiana Pacers gestures during the Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers during the 2013 NBA Playoffs on May 18, 2013 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(6) New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson talks to Carmelo Anthony (7) during the first half of Game 6 of an Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series against the Indiana Pacers Saturday, May 18, 2013, in Indianapolis. AP Photo/Darron Cummings …

(7) Pittsburgh Pirates’ Pedro Alvarez , right, rounds the bases in front of Houston Astros shortstop Marwin Gonzalez (9) after hitting a home run in the fifth inning of the baseball game on Sunday, May 19, 2013, in Pittsburgh. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic ….

(8) Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve , top, hops over Pittsburgh Pirates’ Michael McKenry as he is forced out on a fielder’s choice on a ground ball to third by Clint Barmes in the fifth inning of the MLB interleague baseball game on Sunday, May 19, 2013, in Pittsburgh. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic ..

(9) Astros’ owner Jim Crane , left is seen here with team general manager Jeff Luhnow at Minute Maid Park in Houston , Texas . The team has gotten off to an incredibly bad start this season are projected to win no more than 46 game games as part of their one hundred and sixty-two game schedule in 2013 . Should that figure be correct , then it would fall considerably short of the fifty-five games won in 2012 , which was an MLB season record low for the thirty teams that make up the league. Getty Images North America / Bob Levey …

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tophatal ………. 05/20/2013

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NFL news and archived stories

NFL preseason schedule and NFL schedule

NFL transactions

NFL Draft 2013

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NBA news and archived stories

NBA postseason (2012-13)

NBA results 19th May

NBA schedule 20th May

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MLB standings and wildcard standings

MLB schedule

MLB results 19th May

MLB probable pitchers 20th May 2013

The boy who cried wolf …..

The boy who cried wolf

Now inasmuch as I love the game of golf and like the majority of the fans , I believe the sole reason to watch the sport, is primarily the ongoing ‘dominance’ of Tiger Woods , as he chases down with a view to surpassing Jack Nicklaus’ all-time Grand Slams’ tournament wins of eighteen Majors . Woods , the winner of fourteen Grand Slam titles , is already a four-time winner on the PGA Tour for this season , as well as leading the PGA Fedex Cup standings . Not so long ago, I read a rather asinine , yet innocuous and inane piece by a fellow blogger, who suggested Woods’ career was on the decline . Clearly , the piece was written by an individual with very little knowledge of the sport and someone who I believe, had done little research if any , into Woods’ career , let alone that of Jack Nicklaus and many of the all-time greats within the sport . It is all too easy to come out with a rationale , yet to make a statement and not have anything to back it up with , is simply asinine and completely lacking in intelligence . Leave that sort of bullshit to those who espouse it best , the lame ass politicians in Congress !

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In The Players Championship , held this past weekend at the TPC Sawgrass Course in Ponte Vedra , Florida . This tournament often considered to be a “fifth Major” by PGA Tour professionals , had a great deal of thrills and excitement over the four days of competition . Nonetheless , the tournament itself , will now become more known for what has taken place off the course , rather than for any of the exceptional play that was said to have taken place throughout the four days competitive play. Long considered , two of the best players of this era , Tiger Woods and Spaniard , Sergio Garcia , have long held some might say a great deal of animus towards one another . Whereas , Woods has had a considerable amount of success worldwide as well on the PGA Tour . Garcia’s success , if anything , have been fleeting , with no one lingering moment that would indeed make you sit up and take note .

The final round of The Players Tournament would turn out to be a round full of errant play, several players in contention for the lead , with most notably both Woods and Garcia vying for the top spot on the leader-board. As the final holes of this event played themselves out , it was clear for all to see that Garcia was the player under pressure and someone who is not known to handle adversity all that well . Consider the fact that Woods, when in contention for the lead of a tournament from the third round onward , the player is a staggering 52-4 . Pressure ? I’d say that Sergio Garcia might well have been pissing and defecating in his pants , for all of the good it would do ! The Spaniard would suffer a meltdown in the final round of play , twice placing his ball in the water on the fifteenth green as well as double-bogeying that the sixteenth hole , leading to his falling out of contention for a victory . Woods would end up with the victory , his second Players Tournament Championship win and the seventy-eighth of his professional career on the PGA Tour . A mark that now leaves him four behind the all-time leading total of eighty-two wins , held by the legendary and late Sam Snead .

In the aftermath of it all , Garcia would claim that Woods’ conduct was unsportsmanlike , very much unrepresentative of the etiquette of golf . Pardon me for saying this , but since when was there anything remotely resembling the etiquette of golf , much less sportsmanship of the PGA Tour ? Consider the fact, that fairness and sportsmanship is seemingly judged by the interpretation of the rules, as seen fit by Tour Chairman Tim Finchem and members of the PGA Tour Executive Board . And if that wasn’t enough , players are now of a differing opinion , on whether or not belly-putters should be allowed to be used on the Tour by their fellow professionals . One should also not that Tour professional Vijay Singh is now seeking to sue the PGA Tour for loss of reputation and seeking punitive damages for what he says are unfounded allegations that he used a banned substance . With the R&A (Royal & Ancient Golf Club) , international governing body for golf , along with the PGA Tour are now sensitive to the issue of steroids within their sport , as well as now seeking to have te sport reintroduce to the Summer Olympics , first as an exhibition event , in 2016 , and ten formally in 2010 . One could attest to the fact that these are now sensitive times for the sport , as they seek international recognition beyond their already large international fan-base . With WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) and and the USOC (US Olympic Committee) and USADA (US Anti Doping Agency) already tackling the issue of illicit use of banned substances within the sport of cycling and the recent behavior of former seven-time Tour De France champion , Lance Armstrong , does anyone truly believe that Tim Finchem now wants to see golf , its image and the PGA Tour dragged through the mud , with its image sullied any further ? Your thoughts on this all ?

Courtesy of ESPN

Vijay Singh sues PGA Tour

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Vijay Singh sued the PGA Tour on Wednesday for exposing him to “public humiliation and ridicule” during a 12-week investigation into his use of deer-antler spray that ended last week when the tour dropped its case against him.

The lawsuit was a surprise, and so was the timing — the day before The Players Championship, the flagship event on the PGA Tour held on its home course where Singh, who has three major championships among his 34 PGA Tour victories, has honed his game for the past two decades.

More from ESPN.com

Vijay Singh’s decision to sue the PGA Tour is misguided and says a lot about the man himself, writes ESPN.com’s Bob Harig. Story

“I am proud of my achievement, my work ethic and the way I live my life,” Singh said in a statement. “The PGA Tour not only treated me unfairly, but displayed a lack of professionalism that should concern every professional golfer and fan of the game.”

Singh filed the lawsuit in New York, where he has a home and the tour has an office. He is in the field at The Players Championship and will start with Robert Garrigus and J.J. Henry at 2 p.m. ET Thursday.

The 50-year-old Fijian, inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2006, said in a Sports Illustrated article in January that he used deer-antler spray and he was “looking forward to some change in my body.” The spray was said to include an insulin-like growth factor that was on the tour’s list of banned substances. The tour sent a sample from Singh to be tested, and it returned small amounts of IGF-1.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem announced April 30 that the tour was dropping its case because of new information from the World Anti-Doping Agency, which said deer-antler spray no longer was considered prohibited because it contained just minimal amounts of the growth factor.

The lawsuit claims the PGA Tour relied on WADA’s list of banned substances and methods without doing any of its own research, including whether such substances even provide any performance-enhancing benefits. Singh’s lawyers said the tour “rushed to judgment and accused one of the world’s hardest working and most dedicated golfers of violating the rules of the game.”

“We have not seen the lawsuit, just the statement,” PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said. “We have no comment.”

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Singh’s character to my mind, still remains in question in spite of his worldwide career , and as an inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame . When first questioned, on this matter , the Fijian golfer was reluctant to answer any questions on the matter . Vijay Singh is reluctant to discuss the matter in public , without the presence of a legal adviser . As to what that might suggest , I will let you be the judge of that ! Consider also, the PGA’s own rules on banned substances are ambiguous at best , and with the substance in question known to be used by Vijay Singh , commonly known as Deer Antler juice , known to have slight traces of anabolic steroids . It does beg the question how will the PGA Tour and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club address the issue on the Tour as well as on a global basis ? The spirit of the game be damned , if the ambiguity continues , then to hell with this bullshit of fairness and sportsmanship ! It is now time for Finchem and his cohorts to stop blowing smoke up everyone’s ass, in trying to suggest that golf remains the last true bastion of sportsmanship and professional course etiquette , as nothing could be further from the truth .

Well , with a number of series now about to reach a crescendo in the semifinal stages of the NBA postseason . It is now time to take stock of the teams and how they are said to be faring . If you consider yourself to be a loyal and devout New York Knicks’ fan, do you bury your head in shame by the team’s embarrassment in their continually woefully inept displays against the Indiana Pacers ? Or do you simply decry the fact that this is nothing more than an aberration that the team is now facing a pivotal game four while quite possibly being on the cusp of elimination . All season long , Knicks’ fans and many of their players , were seemingly under the impression that it would be preordained that the team would be on their way to the Eastern Conference Finals , and a potential match-up against the Miami Heat . Well as now , things are not looking so good for Mike Woodson’s players , as they seek to erase a 2-1 deficit against Frank Vogel’s all too competitive Pacers’ team .

Tonight’s game will be a true test of the intestinal fortitude of Knicks’ forward , Carmelo Anthony and his teammates when they face the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana , Indianapolis . Grit and determination has been ever present, but it has been the defensive mindset of the Indiana Pacers throughout much of the playoffs . For all of the talk of the Knicks and playoffs their perceived prowess , other than their first round series victory , there has been very little to suggest in this series they are capable of erasing this deficit (2-1).

Should the Pacers prevail , tonight , then it would certainly cast a giant shadow over the Knicks’ organization . Most notably for team owner , James Dolan , GM Glen Grunwald this would be seen as a truly disappointing season , in light of franchise’s own lofty expectations . Of the remaining participants now in the now postseason , only the Miami Heat have a larger payroll than their Eastern Conference counterparts , the New York Knicks. A commitment that is just under $80 million , with the biggest outlay going to Amar`e Stoudemire , a player who has yet to make a solid contribution of any kind to the Knicks during the regular or postseason for the organization. That being said, if Carmelo Anthony is able to lead this team in erasing this deficit , then it leads to a best of three game series’ finale , in what so far has been a highly entertaining and scintillating series .

In world of theater , the saying “ it is not over until the fat lady sings “ , might just be ringing true as it relates to the Oklahoma City Thunder . The number one seed in the Western Conference , now find themselves in a horrendous hole , after last night’s inexplicable six point loss to the Memphis Grizzlies . Needless to say , that the fat lady off stage near right is simply clearing her throat she gets set to regale us will with an aria . On the other hand , it could very well be that Kevin Durant and his teammates are trying to lull us all into a false sense of security . At this juncture , my money is now definitely on the fat chic ! . Who would have thought that the Thunder would be facing a 3-1 deficit , and that Zack Randolph and Marc Gasol would have been amongst the most explosive offensive duos during the postseason ? Not I said the fly ! Likewise , even with the loss of Russell Westbrook to a season ending injury , I still felt that that Scott Brooks’ players had enough to simply withstand an all-out assault from Lionel Hollins’ players . Now all that awaits this Grizzlies’ team and a path to the conference finals , will be for them to close out their series with a rousing game five victory at the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma on Wednesday night when the two teams meet to resume their conference semifinal series . And the chances are , that will be the likely outcome given the rather inconsistent play from the Thunder over the past two games .

The series as they are now placing themselves out within the Western Conference now seems to be taking on a life of their very own . And nowhere is that now self-evident tan the series between San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors . The head coach of the Warriors Mark Jackson has simply made believers out of is doubters who were dubious of his abilities as a coach in the NBA .From my own perspective I firmly believe that Jackson was greatly overlooked in the NBA Coach of The Year balloting , but this is merely my belief , objective as it appears to be.

For the Spurs` Big Three of Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker , this might well be the trios` last hoorah . In their time together, the triumvirate have garnered several of the game`s highest individual and team awards . That in of-itself will not be enough to satisfy the most ardent of fans of the San Antonio Spurs , who simply wish to see another title brought to the franchise , whose last postseason triumph, the fourth in their history came in 2007 .

With the series now tied at two games apiece (2-2) , it now leaves Gregg Popovich in something of a dilemma , and how he makes the adjustments needed to secure a series` victory . It is clear that from a defensive standpoint , the Spurs are struggling and have struggled to negate the effectiveness of Steph Curry throughout this series . As Curry goes in this contest , then so might the Warriors` postseason foray and the franchise`s aspirations .

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Picture gallery .

In light of the points raised within this article what thoughts if any do you have concerning this article ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site !

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Tiger Woods of the USA plays a shot from the 11th tee during round two of The Players Championship at The Players Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 10, 2013 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Richard Heathcote/Getty Images North America … (2) Sergio Garcia of Spain plays a shot from the 11th tee during round two of The Players Championship at The Players Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 10, 2013 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Richard Heathcote/Getty Images North America ….

(3) Sergio Garcia (left) and Tiger Woods shake hands on the first tee prior to the start of the third round of The Players Championship from the TPC Sawgrass Course at Pontre Vedra Beac , Pontre Vedrea , Florida , AP Poto / Micael Fletcer ….

(4) Vijay Singh (L) of Fiji talks to Robert Allenby of Australia during a practice round for THE PLAYERS Championship at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 8, 2013 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Singh has field a federal civil suit in US Courts claiming defamation of character , libel and slander in a suit filed against the PGA Tour and Commissioner Tim Finchem . Vijay Singh is claiming that suit derives from the fact that the PGA Tour knowingly leaked details concerning an ongoing investigation of his knowingly taken a banned substance . Singh maintains is innocence stating that he only takes a medical supplement known as Deer Antler juice , which does contain small amounts of anabolic steroids . The player is seeking punitive monetary damages . Many of Singh`s peers believe tat is actions will do irreparable damage and harm to the PGA`s reputation and they have called for him to halt his legal action . AP Photo /Keith Meachem ………

(5) New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony wipes his face as he leaves the court following the first half of Game 4 of an Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series against the Indiana Pacers, on Tuesday, May 14, 2013, in Indianapolis. The Knicks would lose game four 92-83 , and now face a pivotal game five on Thursday night , as they are now down 3-1 in the best of seven-game semifinals` conference series . AP Photo/Darron Cummings …..

(6) New York Knicks’ Jason Kidd (5) shoots past Indiana Pacers’ George Hill 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 …..

(7) San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan (21) is fouled by Golden State Warriors’ Harrison Barnes , left, and Golden State Warriors’ Festus Ezeli also defends during the first half in Game 5 of a Western Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series , Tuesday, May 14, 2013, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Eric Gay ….

(8) Steph Curry (left) is seen ere looking to defend the lane against the Spurs` Tony Parker during game three of the Western Conference semifinals played at the Oracle Arena in Oakland California on the 10th May , 2013 . AP Poto / Keith McCarron ……

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Tophatal 05/14/2013 aIK

NB : As of 14th May 9:32 pm EST no results were known concerning NBA games being played .

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NBA results 13th May

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Miami Heat news

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PTI , it was a weekend, of highs and lows . More lows , than highs , I believe!

PTI , it was a weekend, of highs and lows . More lows , than highs , I believe !

Well just like LeBron James , I decided to take my talents elsewhere , in this case , North to visit the state of North Carolina over the weekend . A number of work colleagues and myself traveled up to Tobacco Road , Blue Devils’ country to take in the game between the Miami Hurricanes and the renowned Duke Blue Devils , coach by four-time NCAA championship winning head coach Mike Krzyzewski . These two titans with the ACC this season , have been on the path of a vengeful rematch , ever since Jim Larrinaga’s players took the Blue Devils behind the woodshed and comprehensively gave them an a$s whooping in mid-January , that not until Saturday afternoon, were the hosts be able to exact some sort of revenge at Cameron Indoor Arena , in Charlotte , North Carolina .

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Slideshow .

Cameron Indoor Arena is a venue filled with heralded history , as well-being home to one of the most well-respected programs in collegiate athletics’ history . And make no bones about it , the success achieved in men’s basketball is primarily down to the program’s now legendary coach, Mike Krzyzewski and his astonishing achievements as a basketball coach.

If there is one thing that we should now be accustomed to, it is that you can never take Mike Krzyzewski team lightly. And where, there w ere many simply looking to “write off the Blue Devils’ season . It was abundantly clear, that the ACC and in particular the season was not yet lost for this team . The players on Krzyzewski’s roster sought to make a statement, that would be seen and heard across the collegiate basketball landscape , as a reminder of what to expect during the upcoming NCAA Basketball Tournament . And the hero of the hour , in this game on Saturday , just happened to be Ryan Kelly , whose single-handed display took on epic proportions and was described by the Blue Devils’ coach as one of the five best performances ever , by a player that he has coached under his tutelage . High praise indeed , coming from a coach of Mike Krzyzewski’s esteem , and when you consider the players coached by Krzyzewski during his tenure with this program, you have to realize how special Kelly’s achievements were on Saturday afternoon.

Ryan Kelly scored 36 points on 10 of ten fourteen , shooting, hitting seven threes from beyond the arc , as well as , pulling down seven rebounds , and leading all scorers in Duke’s 79-76 victory over the Miami Hurricanes. With both programs also ranked in the top ten of the NCAA rankings and with both having ambitions with regard to the regular season ACC championship crown . This game most definitely went along way letting us know what we should expect once the NCAA Tournament gets underway . I certainly expect both of these ACC programs to be in “ the thick of things “ , the farther along we get into the tournament !

“ Pretense “ and “ pretenders “ do go , hand in hand , as how else would you expect to now hear the bells within Madison Square Garden a faux cathedral to mediocrity , go exceedingly silent quiet ? The cacophony of noise extolling the virtues of the New York Knicks (35-21) were soundly silenced on Sunday afternoon. Mike Woodson’s team played host to their heated conference rivals the Miami Heat (43-14) . In what should have been a game emphasizing the best of what the Easter Conference had to offer . The Knicks simply threw up the white flag of surrender and must now realize that in a seven game series , they will not be remotely in the same area code when it comes to competitive play, especially if they are matched up against the Heat at any stage of this postseason .

LeBron James and his teammates simply overwhelmed the Knicks with an exhibition of teamwork , whereas their opponents were simply struggling for solutions as to how best to stop the league’s best player and one of its most potent offensive weapons . I have always maintained during the regular season , you can put up all the damn points you want on the scoreboard , but if you can’t play a lick of frigging defense , then you are definitely not going to progress deep into the NBA postseason.

Undoubtedly, the front office of the New York Knicks saw this team in its current guise , had ambitions not only to challenge the Miami Heat , but to also lay down the gauntlet to the rest of the aspirants within the Eastern Conference as well as the NBA as a whole. And while I have been impressed with the Knicks in large part , primarily because of the play of Carmelo Anthony . I simply believe that there are still far too many flaws on this team , that GM Glen Grunwald has failed to address ! It would appear that the organization is intent on spending money and acquiring free agents as a way of attaining success , rather than by appearance alone , seeking to nurture talent organically. Having dropped from the second seed to the third seed within the conference , does not aid the franchise , given their recent form of the New York Knicks in their endeavor for the season .

Well , the Baltimore Ravens have their man , having signed quarterback , Joe Flacco in what is now said to be the “ highest salaried contract “ in NFL history. The deal in question , is a six-year $ 120 million compensation package , that makes the player , the highest paid in the NFL as well as the highest paid quarterback in league history. Far be it for me, to suggest, that the player is overrated or overpaid , as I feel that the league , long ago failed to eschew financial accountability , much less intelligence , being shown by Commissioner Roger Goodell , or the league hierarchy , team owners and the front office executives ! Flacco for his part , simply lived up to his team’s and that of John Harbaugh’s expectations , as the Ravens triumphed over the San Francisco Giants in Superbowl 47 (SB47/XLVII).

With the off-season now in full swing and teams seeking to offload impending free agents and players thought to be superfluous to their needs . The player personnel version of “ Black Monday “ has begun , with some notable players having been discarded by their respective franchises . And nowhere was this more evident than with the Atlanta Falcons and their summarily discarding amongst others , running back , Michael Turner , Dunta Robinson and perennial Pro-Bowl defensive player , John Abrahams . The team’s failings this postseason , I believe are a reflection not only of their poor play but also , a clear lack of leadership , and the very fact that quarterback , Matt Ryan , appears to be a “lamb being led to the slaughter” , once the postseason comes around. He’s great during the regular season , yet for some reason any type of postseason foray becomes his “ Achilles’ Heel” .

The fact that head coach, Mike Smith in conjunction with Team President , Rich McKay GM, Thomas Dimitroff have sought to make these wholesale changes , is a clear sign of dissatisfaction as well as the fact that they now believe that they have gone as far as was ultimately possible with the players that they have jettisoned . While the players taken from their most recent drafts have proven to be productive , quite obviously , many of the team’s seasoned veterans simply did not meet expectations. As to where the Falcons now go from here , it remains to be seen, but it becoming abundantly clear that Matt Ryan should he fail this upcoming season to lead this franchise deep into a postseason run. The questions will be raised concerning his abilities and the fact that this first round 2008 NFL Draft pick could very well be viewed as something of a “ considerable bust” . Your thoughts on this , and anything else you believe to be relevant as it relates to the Atlanta Falcons , this past season ?

The fact that head coach, Mike Smith in conjunction with Team President , Rich McKay GM, Thomas Dimitroff have sought to make these wholesale changes , is a clear sign of dissatisfaction as well as the fact that they now believe that they have gone as far as was ultimately possible with the players that they have jettisoned . While the players taken from their most recent drafts have proven to be productive , quite obviously , many of the team’s seasoned veterans simply did not meet expectations. As to where the Falcons now go from here , it remains to be seen, but it becoming abundantly clear that Matt Ryan should he fail this upcoming season to lead this franchise deep into a postseason run. The questions will be raised concerning his abilities and the fact that this first round 2008 NFL Draft pick could very well be viewed as something of a “ considerable bust” . Your thoughts on this , and anything else you believe to be relevant as it relates to the Atlanta Falcons , this past season ?

The NFL Combine while it lasted , was something of a drab display and granted , there are no real players of standout talent . There is this continued belief that teams will be able to pick up “ a diamond in the rough” .Yet , from what many of us have witnessed and the NFL analysts have suggested , there has not been one overpowering performance that has simply blown everyone away. This weekend , Lauren Silberman , sought to make history as the first female to be part of the NFL Draft participants , as part of a combine , by trying out as a kicker . The fact that the tryouts in question , were held at Florham Park , New Jersey , home of the New York Jets’ practice facility , should tell you all you need to know . Gimmick or not , only the Jets as a franchise , would be prepared to subject themselves and Silberman to such ridicule . And the former soccer star with the University of Wisconsin (Badgers) , while trying her best , her two attempted kicks went for a combined 32 yards . Silberman, in her later interviews after her unsuccessful tryouts suggested that the quadriceps injury that she suffered some weeks earlier , restricted her full range of motion and complete movement . My thoughts on this all , there’s a place for Lauren Silberman , within the Lingerie Football League , but most definitely , not in the NFL !

Spring Training may well be here, and the standings as they currently are , within the Citrus and Grapefruit Leagues , do not really give enough of an indicator , as what to expect , once the regular MLB regular season schedule gets underway. Besides , isn’t there an idiotic international competition, that will somehow , interfere with the preparations of the teams? The quadrennial event known as the World Baseball Classic , is now once again within our midst and the group play will commence on the 2nd March , 2013 . The television coverage for the Classic, will be provided jointly by ABC/ESPN , in its entirety. The fact that team USA since the competition’s inception has never had a great showing , indicates one of two things , (1) ____ the top US born players , simply have no interest in a competition where they will not be richly rewarded and (2) ____ this competition devised by the MLB hierarchy and IBAF , baseball’s international governing body simply knows that the sport can gain no traction while it remains under suspicion because Bud Selig has failed miserably to rein in the actions of the ” drug cheats” within the game ,here on the continent of North America .

Team USA manager Joe Torre will be looking to stave off the team’s bad showing in the WBC . Since its inception the organization has failed to make a deep run , whereby it has qualified for the championship game , itself . The current makeup of the roster while extremely talented , it doesn’t create the impression that this is any way the best or most competitive team that could be fielded for what is said to be most prestigious international team tournament , beyond the IBAF World Cup. The team is drawn in Group D in a four team group, which consists of Canada , Italy , Mexico and the USA , itself . They will be based in Phoenix , playing their initial group games at Chase Field , in Phoenix , Arizona , home to the Arizona Diamondbacks . The sixteen team tournament , with its first round of group staged games should make for an enthralling event, as the scenarios begin to play themselves out .

As I alluded to earlier the Team USA roster , while being talented , it is by no means a team that offers the fans the best of the talent available , for what I believe to be a truly competitive team ! The pitching staff led by R A Dickey , also consists of Derek Holland , Mitchell Boggs, Tim Collins , Ross Detwiler and Gio Gonzalez , amongst others . In terms of offense , the lead will be provided by Mark Teixeira, Giancarlo Stanton , Brandon Phillips , Adam Jones , Ryan Braun , David Wright and Ben Zobrist . A real threat to anyone , when you consider the strengths of the other participants as the two-time reigning champions , Japan , Cuba , China , Chinese Taipei and the Dominican Republic .

And the game of baseball faces an uphill battle as it seeks to have the sport reinstated as part of the Summer Olympics . The mere fact that Selig is now pressing Ricardo Farrari , President of IBAF to merge their efforts with ISF (International Softball Federation) , the governing body for the women’s softball as they present a joint bid to have both sports reinstated , spells out for me clearly how low on the “pecking order” both sports have now become on the international sports’ scene. So much so, that IOC President , Jacques Rogge and the fellow members of the IOC Executive Committee have indicated that both sports, were they to be reinstated , the earliest proposed return would not take place until the 2020 Summer Games . Do however , bear in mind that a decision has not yet been made , as to which country and city will be the host for the games in question . Those with a vested interest in hosting the quadrennial event , are the cities of Istanbul , Turkey , Tokyo , Japan , Madrid , Spain , Doha , Qatar, and Baku in Azerbaijan. I am sure that there will be enough intrigue and the atypical connivance of bribery and corruption , that will go along with the bidding process in question ! Not unlike the asinine antics, we have come to expect from the MLB team owners and the league hierarchy , itself .

Inasmuch, as I am looking forward to baseball’s season of ridiculous intent , of luring the fans , in with they believe will be an exciting year . Let’s get one thing straight , the game will still be engulfed by those who have , and those who do not ! The fact that the New York Yankees this year , will have a payroll exceeding $200 million , once again sets us up for a season , where even the Bronx Bombers will be hard pressed to outdo the Los Angeles Dodgers for print space and within the television media , as Magic Johnson and his latest bauble , with their $215 million payroll will try to outdo their AL counterpart , both on and off the field of play. Personally , I am beginning to wonder whether or not the Oakland Athletics and their rather menial payroll of $60 million will be able to reproduce the form , and excitement witnessed last season , at home and away from the O Coliseum and still be competitive enough to compete at the highest echelons of the game ! And dependent upon who you may ask the AL West might either get exceedingly tougher or softer , with the addition of last season’s worst baseball franchise , the Houston Astros (55-107), as they now become the latest member of the American League (AL). Make of it what , you will , but I am sure that the sweetheart deal and sweetener offered ($65 million) to Astros’ owner Jim Crane , will ease the burden and pain of another insufferable season !

Speaking of insufferable seasons, how much longer will the fans of the Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates have to endure the years of ignominy in terms of their poor showing from year to year ? Several years ago a patron of this, claiming to be a knowledgeable individual and an employee of a well-known NL Central franchise made the claim , that the Royals were a ball-club on the rise and would be a serious contender in 2011 and 2012. Well, here we are, in 2013 , and the franchise is no better than a .500 team and that is even with the aspiring talent that is made to make up the roster. Personally , I do not believe that the Kansas City Royals’ owner , David Glass , has the slightest interest in seeing the franchise be a competitive concern within baseball. If that were the case, then surely with the resources at Glass’ disposal , in terms of his wealth , then he would have made a concerted effort to change the mindset of this entire organization . Instead , year in and year out , the Royals are the backwaters’ organization relying on the largess of the league hierarchy and the continued asinine tax sharing revenue scheme. Bud Selig believes this exercise has been to the benefit of the small market teams around the league , but in reality , nothing could be further from the truth.

I’ll say this for Pirates’ owner Bob Nutting , he really does know how to blow smoke up people’s ass. Having purchased the franchise from McClatchy family , the Pirates have yet acquire a winning season , during his tenure, as the owner of this ball-club. The lone star, on this Pirates’ team , and the organization’s best player , is their All Star center-fielder, Andrew McCutchen . Granted, Nutting has made an effort to raise and then pare down the Pirates’ payroll repeatedly over the years , dependent upon the ball-club’s degree of success. GM Neal Huntington , has worked in conjunction with the team owner and coaching staff to draft prudently to meet the team’s needs over the last few years (2009,2010,2011 and 2012). With the departure of the Houston Astros , it will be interesting to see if the Pirates can avoid being the bottom feeder within the NL Central this season .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Over this past weekend, which sporting event to your mind, provided you with the most interest ? Also, do you believe that there will come a time when a female can compete, at any level, within the NFL ? Your thoughts on this, and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter . Thanks as always for the continued support of this site, as it is gratefully appreciated !

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Picture and slideshow details for your perusal .

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(1) Duke’s Ryan Kelly (34) drives to the basket as Miami’s Shane Larkin (0) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, March 2, 2013. Duke won 79-76 . AP Photo/Gerry Broome ….

(2) Miami’s Kenny Kadji (35) dunks over Duke defender Ryan Kelly during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, March 2, 2013. AP Photo/Gerry Broome …

(3) Mason Plumlee (5) looks to make a pass during the against Miami Hurricanes at Cameron Indoor Arena , Charlotte , North Carolina on Saturday 2nd March , 2013 . Duke would go on to defeat Miami 79-76. Miami Sun Sentinel / Jorge Vargas ….

(4) Duke fans celebrate after the team’s triumph over their ACC rivals the Miami Hurricanes in a conference match-up between these two teams with NCAA championship aspirations. Before, however , there still remains the conference title as well the championship to be decided . @ copyrighted material …….. all rights reserved .

(5) NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 3: LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat shoots in a game against the New York Knicks on March 3, 2013 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Heat would go on to defeat the Knicks 99-93 , and then on Monday night , they would gain their fifteenth consecutive victory by outlasting the Minnesota Timberwolves in a lopsided 97-81 triumph . Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(6) Further emphasizing that the Knicks can’t defend “worth a damn ” . Lebron James goes in , unchallenged for an uncontested dunk against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on March 3, 2013 in New York City. Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images ..

(7) Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco walks up to a microphone before speaking at a news conference at the team’s practice facility in Owings Mills, Md., Monday, March 4, 2013. Flacco agreed to a contract that will make him the highest paid quarterback in NFL history after leading the Ravens to a Super Bowl XLVII victory over the San Francisco 49ers. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky …

(8) FILE – In this Dec. 9, 2012 file photo, Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner (33) sits on the bench before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C. The Falcons have released Turner, defensive end John Abraham and corner-back Dunta Robinson The moves were announced Friday, March 1, 2013, by a team that came up just short of the Super Bowl. AP Photo/Bob Leverone …..

(9) From left to right , Atlanta Falcons’ team President , Rich McKay , GM Thomas Dimitroff and team owner , Arthur Blank are seen in the executive sky-box suites at Falcons’ home game . McKay and Dimitroff have made the decision to revamp the team’s roster by cutting several players as part of an off-season purge and “salary cap easing” , as they prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft and the possible signing of free agents this off-season . AP Photo / Marcus Richards ….

(10) Lauren Silberman talks to officials after taking two attempts during kicker tryouts at an NFL football regional combine workout, Sunday, March 3, 2013, at the New York Jets’ training facility in Florham Park, N.J. AP Photo/Mel Evans

(11) Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen runs off the field in the rain before a baseball spring training exhibition game against the Baltimore Orioles, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, in Bradenton, Fla. AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall ….

(12) Andruw Jones 25 and Jonathan Balentina (29) of Netherlands celebrate with team-mates after 4-1 victory against Australia during the World Baseball Classic First Round Group B match between Australia and the Netherlands at Intercontinental Baseball Stadium on March 5, 2013 in Taichung, Taiwan. ….

(13) Joe Torre will manage Team USA in the World Baseball Classic . Torre is hoping to lead the team to international success in a competition that the country has yet to win since its inception in 2006 . AP/REUTERS/ Martin Jacobs …..

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If at all interested do take time to participate in the above mentioned poll .

By Tophatal and my bio

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NCAA archive basketball news

NCAA Men’s Basketball rankings

NCAA men’s basketball results 03/03/2013 and results of 2nd March 2013

Men’s basketball schedule 4th March 2013

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NBA news

NBA results 3rd March 2013 & scheduled games for 4th March 2013

NBA standings by division and by conference

NBA playoff picture

NBA team statistics offense

NBA team stats defense

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NFL news & news from the NFL Combine

NFL transactions

NFL Draft 2013

Atlanta Falcons news

Baltimore Ravens news

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MLB news

MLB results 5th March 2013

MLB schedule 6th March

MLB Spring Training Standings —- Citrus & Grapefruit Leagues

World Baseball Classic home page and team brackets

World Baseball Classic news

World Baseball Classic schedule

I say fi’ty, you say fifty , but who gives a damn ?

I say fi’ty, you say fifty , but who gives a damn ?

By Tophatal

Many of those who know me , through my offerings within this site , may well be a aware that at one time , one of my first loves in the sporting world , was the sport of boxing . My two favorite’s fighters in history are modern-day contemporaries , middleweights, “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler and Bernard Hopkins . Albeit , a special place remains in my heart, for the undisputed “ greatest fighter in history” , Muhammad Ali , a three-time heavyweight champion. With the recent revelation , that rapper and business entrepreneur, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson , has now been licensed in the states of Nevada, New York and California , as a boxing promoter . It begs the question, is this something that the sport now needs to be revitalized, and to remain relevant ? I liken the sport of boxing to the NHL (hockey) and the fact , that particular sport has been mismanaged , does not have a sound economic base , but yet, their half assed fans are still trying to sell the NHL and its teams as something relevant ! Four labor stoppages inside of two decades , doesn’t make you relevant , it makes you by appearance alone, goddamn stupid , and deservedly so !

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Jackson hopes to bring along his expertise, having built an estimated fortune of $250 million , from his clothing line, real estate , record and film production company, as well as from selling his stake , in supplement and bottled water product Vitamin Water, for a reputed $100 million , while still retaining a minority stake in the company. Who says, gangster rappers and “bangers”, don’t know, how to make that “government cheese “ (money)? Boxing remains a sport riddled with corruption , mismanaged by the five relevant boxing hierarchies , and wherein the three biggest fight promoters within this environment tend to collude when it supports their interests to deprive and cheat the consumer almost at will. Veteran promoters , Bob Arum , founder of Top Rank Inc , Don King of his self-styled and named Don King Promotions Inc , and the last entrant unto the scene, former multi-world title-holder , Oscar de La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions Inc , have simply made the boxing landscape seem like downtown , Kabul or Baghdad , after another terrorist atrocity , which has left a path of death , destruction and utter chaos. Does anyone, now realize that it has been almost a decade since the sport of boxing had an undisputed heavyweight champion? At present the division, is dominated by East Europeans that are truly lacking in talent. So, much so, that it has become so embarrassing to see those fighters on display inside of a boxing ring. The last fighter to hold the undisputed crown was the British fighter , Lennox Lewis , who retired from the sport in 2004. Since Lewis’ retirement, the heavyweight scene has been dominated by Ukrainian siblings, Vitali (45-2-0) and Vladimir Klitschko (59-3-0) . The two brothers, hold all five of the title belts that matter and with no wish to unify the division , the sport remains devoid of a truly recognizable champion for the heavyweight category .

Arum , King and de La Hoya , have all failed miserably, with their endeavors, in not only cleaning up the sport , but also, in creating a lasting interest , in this once revered spectacle of gladiatorial pugilism . Boxing , if anything , in spite of the presence of Floyd Mayeathter and Manny Pacquiao , has simply lost ground to the explosive arrival and the ascent of MMA under the banner of UFC . And for the idiot who once wrote within his domain, that the genre of Mixed Martial Arts was on the decline , because hockey has more of a fan-base and viewership . Please shut the hell up , take note of the NHL , where it currently stands , and the fact that NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman and the NHL hierarchy now pays NBC Sports to carry its lame ass brand ! Shouldn’t that be, the other way around? So this is how a $2.5 billion sporting enterprise is meant to be ran ? Well , actually , be ran right into the goddamn gutter ! Piss on that , if you like , as I know that I will !

As to the altruistic intentions of 50 Cent , well , you can either judge by his deeds, in terms of his already astonishing success as a recording artist and as an entrepreneur , or by the fact that he comes in as a novice within this realm, but having a sizable knowledge of the sport , and with what now appears to be a budding stable of young and up and coming talent signed to his G-Unit Boxing Promotions Inc . Of the most recognized names within that stable is the undefeated Cuban exile , junior lightweight title aspirant , Yuriorkis Gamboa (22-0-16 KO’s). In September of 2012, 50 Cent and his then budding friendship with Floyd Mayweather , saw the pairing of the two obviously ego-driven talents , forge a business relationship that was begin with the setting up of a fight promotion’s company TMS Promotions . However, with the rapper being openly critical of his partner , and his refusal to take on his young protégé’ Gamboa , in a proposed title fight . What should have been a mutually beneficial business arrangement between Mayweather and 50 Cent , turned into an acrimonious relationship of “name calling “ , with a slew of profanity laden rants, which were exchanged, between the two , virally , in print and on , more than one occasion, in public . The last such exchange, took place after , Manny Pacquiao’s most recent bout , his loss to Juan Manuel Marquez , in which Mayweather, described the Filipino fighter as a boxer past his prime, who deserved an ass whooping, in refusing to give the public what they desired , a super-fight between the two megastars . Jackson’s response , was swift in suggesting , and defending Pacquiao, by suggesting, if there was anyone deserving of an ass whooping , it was Mayweather , himself , and that his fighter, Yuriorkis ” Yuri” Gamboa , would be the fighter to hand out that “said ass whooping “ in grand style .

The vitriol between the two , has reached a new high, with the cacophony of verbiage and garbage being exchanged between 50 Cent and Floyd Mayweather , seem far more thrilling and interesting than any staged fight at the heavyweight level over the past eighteen months .

Did you see that ? Well for almost the second time in ten days, the once high and mighty New York Knicks were brought back down to earth , by an upstart with the NBA . The Knicks playing at the revered and venerable Madison Square Garden, in New York City , New York , were taken to task by Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors . Curry , would score a career high 54 points in the Warriors’ 109-105 loss to the Knicks. And with the Steph Curry leading all scorers on the night . The game although a victory for the Eastern Conference franchise , further emphasized how poor a defensive team the Knicks just happen to be , and will continue to remain.

Curry’s performance was a season high within the NBA this season . However, what might be even more inexplicable, was how the player was snubbed as an All Star representative for the Warriors this season . Steph Curry has been one of the most prolific scorers within the Western Conference , the NBA and by far the most productive player on the team’s roster . And much of that credit, should go to budding Coach of the Year candidate , Mark Jackson , who now has the franchise on the cusp of returning to the NBA Playoffs for the first time , since 2007 .

As much as Mike Woodson tries to get his players buy into a defensive mindset and strategy, it seems that there is no one cognizant or seemingly intelligent enough on the roster to fully comprehend what that might mean . Ergo , “ defense wins goddamn championships “ , points on freaking board during the season, only gets you regular season wins . Get it ? Good !

There is a lot that the New York Knicks have going for them at present , as Carmelo Anthony , is having one hell of a season . Beyond that , several of his teammates have stepped up , but unfortunately that hasn’t happened on a consistent enough basis . Mike Woodson may well be happy enough with the team’s showing within the their division , but the ball club has slipped off , in the conference standings . No real threat , as of yet , but if the team becomes any shakier , don’t panic , just simply acknowledge that , they are not as good , as first advertised . Knicks’ fans, while knowledgeable , tend to act , as if the goddamn world owes them something . If its respect that they are said to be looking for , then , before you can respect , you have to earn it . And the Knicks simply haven’t done enough to earn that respect , in spite of what their fans may well think . The New York Knicks , are not perennial contenders for the NBA title and haven’t been so , in a considerably long time . And their recent body of work over the past five years tends to bear this out .

With the Knicks having fallen down in the conference standings from that coveted #2 seed to where they now sit behind the surging Indiana Pacers coached by Frank Vogel . It has to be said that all of those wishes and ambitions held by the Knicks’ front office could be forlorn, should this franchise fail to make a successful and deep run in the NBA postseason. Team owner, James Dolan and GM Glen Grunwald have seen fit increase the team’s payroll to where they exceed the league’s soft salary cap of $58.044 million . That figure for the Knicks, is now set at $79,405,151 , which ranks the team’s payroll as the sixth highest in the NBA for the 2012-13 season. The vast resources at the organization’s disposal as part of The Madison Square Garden Company , the familial holdings for the sports’ ventures of the Dolan family. Take into account also, the very fact that the franchise remains the most valuable ($1.1 billion) in the NBA as well as the most profitable by the most sizable of margins besting their nearest rival , the Los Angeles Lakers by almost 50%.

With the NBA’s greatest player recently celebrating his fiftieth birthday ____ Michael Jordan. It was somewhat surprising to see the league not celebrating the event, even more so. The former league star, now the C owner the Charlotte Bobcats , has seen his team perform poorly , all season long. Jordan , alongside team GM Rich Cho , have not seen a great deal of success in recent years with draft pick , after draft pick , has been something of a monumental bust . Granted, this season the Bobcats have struggled primarily from having seen their best player , Kemba Walker beyond the missed games , has been his inconsistency to what was said to be a very good all-round game.

It is extremely sad and exacerbating to see Jordan’s fall from grace as a front office executive, be so extreme. Counting the biggest mistake on that resume` being his decision to take Kwame Brown straight out of high school as the number one draft pick in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards , as then owner, Abe Pollin , was countenanced by Michael Jordan, who was serving in his role as the Head of Basketball Operations , for the Washington , DC based franchise . And as we now know, Brown’s career has seen more misdirection and incompetence, as many believe the decision to acquire the untested high school “ phenom “ , was a mark of sheer indulgence and stupidity , only marked by the imbecilic explanation by the executive, that the player’s game could be honed , and making him a perennial All Star. Unless, I am mistaken, Brown has yet to aspire to those celebrated heights , heights or be a solid contributor to any team that he has ever played on ! And over the course of his ten-year career the player has earned in excess of $58.23 million dollars, with his most productive year being the 2001-02 season when he averaged 10.7 points per game with the Washington Wizards in what was then, his rookie season . Brown now with the Philadelphia 76ers , now languishes on the bench , which comes courtesy of head coach , Doug Collins . And the coach may well seek to use the player as, and when, he so pleases . . Which, given Brown’s average of 1.7 points per game for this season , in the twenty-two games , in which he has started , for which he has been a participant in half of those games, the returns have been a mere pittance for the Sixers , at this juncture . In this day and age, when the perception that the league hierarchy wishes to extol financial expediency , it seems hard to equate, how someone of Kwame Brown’s menial stature be rewarded with a two-year $5.5 million contract by the Sixers’ franchise , with the player becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2014 ? Any takers by then , do you think ?

Next up for the Sixers, will be a home game against the Golden State Warriors , in what is sure to be an entertaining match-up between these two aspiring franchises , seeking to makes themselves heard, amongst the cacophony of teams now seeking a playoff berth within their respective conferences, as the playoff picture begins to get a little clearer in some areas and more into focus . Doug Collins’ players find themselves six games out of the eighth spot , within the Eastern Conference , where the position in question, is currently held by the Milwaukee Bucks (28-28 [.0500]) .

50 Cents’ altruism and wish to make the sport of boxing once again relevant , while commendable, he alone, cannot orchestrate the changed needed , when the “major players” such as Bob Arum , Don King and not coincidentally, the four international governing bodies of the sport, seem so averse to change . The , IBF , WBA , WBC and the IBO have simply created , an all too corrupt landscape where the promoters dictate far too much of the branding , the major bouts that take place , and who in essence are the participants in those major fights , be they title or none title bouts.

The NBA for its part this season , has presented the fans with a monstrous brand of basketball , which if it continues along its present course , could very well lead to where the fans question their allegiance to a brand that has in recent years has been more concerned about its image , revenues and shown little if any thought for the most important aspect of its environment , the fans who pledge their allegiance to the teams , attend the games, with an even bigger television audience watching nationally , as well as internationally .

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What thoughts if any, do you have with regard to the salient points within this article? And do believe that over the remainder of the NBA season we are inclined to see a marked improvement in the play of the teams? Do you believe that rapper 50 Cents’ entrance into what is already a convoluted and corrupt sport will see any sort of difference within boxing at all? Chime in with your thoughts on this , and anything else you believe to pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) Bernard Hopkins (R) poses with former boxer Marvin Hagler after defeating Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright by unanimous decision after Hopkins and Wright’s light heavyweight fight at the Mandalay Bay Events Center July 21, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Getty Images North America / Ethan Miller ….

(2) Boxing promoters Don King , left , and Bob Arum , long time enemies now respected friends . The two most powerful men in the sport of boxing with over six decades of experience the two , have a stranglehold on the sport , which they have no wish to relinquish control. King, the founder & CEO of Don King Promotions Inc , based in Palm Beach , Florida, has promoted some of the most important heavyweight fights in boxing history as well as managing or promoting some of the most well-known fighters within the division over the past four decades. His contemporary Bob Arum , through Top Rank Inc , based in Las Vegas , Nevada in recent years has promoted some of the biggest fights staged in the city of Las Vegas and the state of Nevada . At present , Arum’s most famous client is former multi-world titlist Manny Pacquiao . Within his promotion’s company , he has a litany of rising and established stars, well-known to the fans of the sport . AP Photo/ Mark Walters …

(3) A towering figure over the sport of boxing and the heavyweight division’s first three-time champion , Muhammad Ali, whose career and legacy have been well established . The seventy-one year old fighter , now suffers from Parkinson’s disease , as well as the early onset of Alzheimer’s Disease, and he is now rarely seen in public , suffering a speech impediment and severe neurological disorders brought by the longevity of his boxing career and the injuries inflicted from that fight career. At his side constantly is his wife and companion of twenty-seven years , Yolanda Ali. Ali , a ” prized inductee “ into the International Boxing Hall of Fame now through his writings , promotes peace and humanitarian efforts that embraces the joint efforts between Muslims and Jews across the globe , in counteracting stereotypes about both religions , while seeking to spread tolerance between not just both religious sects but also across all ethnic divides. AP REUTERS / Ingemar Halstead ….

(4) Floyd Mayweather Jr. weighs in at the MGM Grand Garden Arena May 4, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Joining him , is rapper and entrepreneur 50 Cent , as the two bonded and formed a business relationship ,forming TMS Promotions Inc . Mayweather Jr. fought Oscar De La Hoya for the WBC super welterweight championship at the MGM on May 5, 2007 winning in a split decision . The two former associates and best friends , have now taken to the social platform, Twitter to be highly critical of each other . The falling out , between the two luminaries, centers around the rapper’s claims that he’s owed $2 million by the boxer , after the dissolution of their joint venture, and also Mayweather’s unwillingness to meet his fighter Yuriorkis Gamboa , whom he manages and promotes. Getty Images North America / Carlos Jiminez …..

(5) NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 27: Stephen Curry (30) of the Golden State Warriors advances the ball against Raymond Felton (2) of the New York Knicks on February 27, 2013 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Curry scored a career and season high 54 points in the Warriors 109-105 loss to the Knicks . AP Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images …..

(6) New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony (7) reacts after scoring during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, in New York. The Knicks won the game 109-105 . AP Photo/Frank Franklin II ….

(7) New York Knicks’ Tyson Chandler , left, and Iman Shumpert , right, defend against Golden State Warriors’ Jarrett Jack (2) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, in New York. Jack was called for traveling on the play, resulting in a turnover. The Knicks won 109-105. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II …

(8) LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 26: Blake Griffin (32) of the Los Angeles Clippers passes the ball against the Charlotte Bobcats at Staples Center on February 26, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. The Clippers won 106-84 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ……

(9) Charlotte Bobcats guard Ramon Sessions , right, tries to shoot over Los Angeles Clippers center Ronny Turiaf during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. The Clippers won 106-84. AP Photo/Chris Carlson …

(9) In the foreground at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte , North Carolina , are Charlotte Bobcats’ general manager Rich Cho seated , and joining are team owner , Michael Jordan , right and the team’s Snr Exec VP , Fred Whitfield . The Bobcats this season are once again under-achieving and it appears that the franchise looks as if they finish the season once again with a .500 record for the 2012-13 for the year , repeating what appears to be an ongoing cycle of ineptitude of this ball-club , since Jordan assumed control , having bought the team outright from former owner , Robert L Johnson , founder of BET (Black Entertainment Television) . Getty Images / Sarah Gilling …….

(10) Dallas Mavericks guard Darren Collison (4) shoots as Philadelphia 76ers guard Maalik Wayns (18) and center Kwame Brown (54) defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game , Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, in Dallas. Brown is having torrid time this season with the Sixers , producing career lows in a variety of categories , while proving to be one of the least productive centers in the entire NBA this year . AP Photo/John F. Rhodes …

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Boxing news

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NBA news and archived news’ features

NBA Standings by division and by conference

NBA schedule 28th February and results of the 27th February 2013

NBA schedule 1st March , 2nd March schedule and Sunday 3rd March

NBA statistics

NBA scoring leaders , Player efficiency , Points , rebounds and assists

NBA team statistics offense and team defense

NBA stats differentials

NBA stats daily leaders

NBA team payrolls , highest paid NBA players —– NBA team values , also detailing revenue streams and profits

NBA all-time #1 draft picks

Brooklyn Nets news

Charlotte Bobcats news

New York Knicks news

Washington Wizards news

Philadelphia 76ers’ news & team payroll

Kwame Brown’s bio , career stats , game by game stats and season splits

Kwame Brown’s career earnings , along with other statistics.

2001 NBA Draft and Draft Board

NBA Rookies’ stats for the 2001 season

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Guys, who among you , wouldn’t mind playing with Melissa Rauch’s ” puppies” ?

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50 Cent ” I Get Money ”

It takes a village to raise a child , but what does it take to make an NBA franchise better ?

It takes a Village to raise a child , but what does it take to make an NBA franchise better?

By Tophatal

Well with the NBA schedule now eagerly making its way into the third quarter of the season , we can see that the divisional and conference standings now taking shape . No real surprises here , with the Miami Heat (40-14) and San Antonio Spurs leading their respective divisions with comfortable leads . And before the rather inane supporters of the New York Knicks (33-20) start to belly ache with their continued idiocy as to how dominant their team has been , let’s really take a look at that shall we . Beyond, leading the Heat in their season series , the team’s record and play has been somewhat uninspiring . I mean how and why is that they have disappeared into the shadows faster than a priest caught disrobing , as they seek to force themselves upon a young victim ?

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Only, the ever so obnoxious Knicks’ fans can one moment speak so passionately about their team, one minute , to then remain silent , the next ! Now not only are the Knicks suddenly a team without direction but they now find themselves as the third seed within the Eastern Conference , ½ game behind the suddenly surging Indiana Pacers (35-21) , a team , which recently blew Mike Woodson’s players off the court , in a rather embarrassingly lopsided twenty-six loss to the Pacers 121-95. Somehow , you won’t hear the Knicks’ ingrates discuss that loss , but they will suggest that Carmelo Anthony ought to be considered a worthy candidate for this season’s league MVP. Granted, there may well be some veracity to that argument, but this year , the race is essentially between LeBron James and his shadow , because no one else, is even remotely close to the player in terms of his extraordinary play this season .

Consider the fact that, the New York Knicks are now 4-6 in their last ten games , whereas the team that they seek to supplant , the Miami Heat , as the “best “ in the Eastern Conference are in fact 10-0 in their last ten games . Hardly ,seems fair , does it,? Yet, these are blatant facts borne out , for those who really seek to delve further into the matter . Yes, you, the Knicks’ fans out there, why so goddamn quiet? ? You guys, can talk the talk, but as always, more often than not , there tends to be more bullshit behind it , as you are not always prepared to “walk the walk” , more than anything else !

I don’t that there is a great deal to be said about the Detroit Pistons , as this franchise is seemingly heading into oblivion . Coming off an eleven-point loss to the Atlanta Hawks , I am not so sure that GM Joe Dumars and the team’s ownership group led by billionaire venture capitalist , Tom Gores and Dennis Mannion could have ever envisaged this team , playing so ineptly . Head coach Lawrence Frank , in spite of his youthful exuberance and experience , it is becoming abundantly clear that the franchise , while its core of players are considered to be young , the talent level and leadership needed , simply is not there , for them to be even considered a legitimate contender within their division , much less the Eastern Conference as a whole .

Greg Monroe , , Jose Calderon and Rodney Stuckey , might well be considered the franchise’s best players , and the remnants from the Pistons’ most recent success , the title team of 2004 , are now a fast fading memory, for the fans normally in attendance at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit , Michigan, . And for Dumars , the architect of that championship winning team , time must be now fast running out , as I seriously doubt , that Tom Gores can considered it , to be in the franchise’s best interests to have the front office executive remain in his current position , that much longer .

The 2012 NBA Draft cannot be considered to be a productive one for the Pistons’ franchise , with Andre Drummond , (9th pick overall) taken in the first round , to be followed by Khris Middleton and Kim English . Thought to be prudent, but worthwhile picks , all three players having contributed overall in the team’s play , it is apparent there are still some great strides needed , before each can be considered a major star in the NBA . Albeit , that both Drummond and Kyle Singler , the franchise’s top pick from the 2011 draft , do figure in the top twenty of the league’s rookie players for scoring this season . Leading the way, in that specific category has been the Portland Traiblazers’ Damian Lillard, whose exciting play has been one of the standout highlights , for an otherwise somewhat under-achieving season for the Western Conference franchise .

Coming off a thoroughly convincing 92-86 victory over the now laboring Boston Celtics at the Rose Garden in Portland , Oregon,. It has to be said, that if the Trailblazers (26-30) are to chase down the eighth seeded Houston Rockets (31-27) and the ninth seeded Los Angeles Lakers (28-30) for that eighth and final qualifying berth for the chance to be an active participant in the postseason. Then, the level of play we are currently witnessing from the team will have to be of a much higher standard .

Blazers’ head coach Terry Stotts and GM Neil Olshey can only hope to achieve any semblance of success , just as long as team owner, Microsoft co-founder , billionaire, Paul Allen , is willing to keep the “purse strings” open , in order that the franchise is able to lure talented free agents to the Pacific Northwest . And given the premise that success, as it relates to the Portland Trailblazers in recent years, has become something of a lost cause , their last postseason appearance came by way of the 2011 postseason , in which they suffered a first round series’ loss (4-2) to the eventual NBA champions , the Dallas Mavericks .

In the aftermath in the death of Los Angeles Lakers’ owner , Dr Jerry Buss , it was a time of soul-searching , solemnity and dare one say , “ empathy for this renowned franchise” ? Well, the time for mourning, is now over and it is back to playing with passion, rather than going through the motions. In their most recent games , it would appear that the team have begun to heed the words of teammate Kobe Bryant , after the player chastised his fellow players for their sheer lack of effort . Personally, I have no problem with the presumed team leader “calling out “ his teammates , especially where , in the case of the head coach , in this case , the witless Mike D’Antoni , who is being paid a King’s ransom , but yet he has brought not a goddamn thing to the table by way of his coaching acumen . It were as if he is now leaving the players to figure it out for themselves , because he sure as hell , hasn’t been able to figure it out along with that lame assed coaching staff , whom he apparently calls upon for assistance. At times , this season , it were as if Sarah Palin were advising the team on their playing strategy , but I digress, the Tea Party advocate and “ doyenne of all things stupid “ , might just be more equipped to proffer up meaningful advice than a bonehead , such as Mike D’Antoni ! The Lakers’ head coach brings with his a resume’ that first glance seems impressive , until you realize he has never achieved anything of note from a coaching standpoint , nor has he ever developed a player that has become a perennial All Star . Need one say anymore, on the matter?

Presiding over this debacle in recent weeks or to be more accurate, throughout this entire season , has been GM Mitch Kupchak and Lakers’ EVP Jim Buss . The deluge of abuse and criticism , rendered against the duo , has been far and wide, it has been deeply scathing and seething with such venom , that you would be hard pressed to suggest that much of that was not warranted. And granted, while the Lakers have now played themselves into the position where they now sit on the cusp of obtaining a playoff berth , but it remains to be seen whether or not the team will be competitive for a deep playoff run in the postseason. Beyond the 2012-13 acquisition of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash , the makeup of this roster is uninspired and failing in so many ways. Unfortunately, the apathy shown by the fans is what you should now come to expect when success in recent years has simply been bought through high-priced acquisitions , rather than being organic and from within .

Does anyone feel truly threatened by names such as Robert Sacre , Darius Morris , Andrew Goudelock , Earl Clark , Darius Johnson-Odom , Jodie Meeks and Devin Ebank ? Yet somehow , there was this rather asinine idiocy that a team bolstered by Bryant , Pau Gasol , Nash , Howard and Metta World Peace , would be deemed a likely conference favorite for an NBA title ? I would have drunk the Kool-Aid , until I realized that it might well have been pissed into by profound idiots such as Skip Bayless , Tony Kornheiser and Jon Barry , allegedly knowledgeable NBA pundits and media darlings , who are trying to sell this organization as a credible contender for the world championship. I’m sorry, but, I have never drunk from the pot, that others have defecated or urinated in ! It is simply not my style , nor will it, ever be!

I have long-held the contention that the Lakers will be a franchise , that will be bereft of leadership and talent , the moment that Kobe Bryant officially walks away from the game . He will go down in history , as one the top fifteen players in NBA history , Look beyond the career statistics and where he ranks amongst the all-time greats and look at the player’s achievements on the court as a player , and I believe that you get a much clearer picture as to what he simply about as an individual and as a competitor . There is not one player on this existing roster that has the competitive instinct or the all-round ability to lead this team into for the next decade or more . And for anyone to have the temerity that Dwight Howard can be seen as such an individual , leads me to believe that the person in question is either a downright blithering ass or clearly a person, who simply doesn’t understand the nuances and the fundamentals of this game ! Howard has never been, a leader, nor does he possess the intelligence or the maturity to assume such a role . And the mere fact that Mitch Kupchak sees the center as the heir-apparent to Kobe Bryant, is both a sign of desperation on the part of the executive , as he clings to straws, while looking for a lifeline to save the Lakers’ floundering season . . The team’s next game will be against conference rivals the Minnesota Timberwolves , scheduled for tipoff at 10:30 pm EST at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California , on Thursday evening .

Make of it what you will, but teams that simply do not plan ahead for the future , and who would rather spend their way to success , tend to fall abruptly from grace because the know-how , and business acumen simply isn’t there ! Cases, can now be made for both the Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks , of which the latter is now simply on its last legs, as they seek to gain the last gleaming remnants of competitiveness out of Dirk Nowitzki , and the now laboring Mavericks . At 25-30 the eleventh placed Dallas Mavericks are now on the outside looking in , as they seek to climb out of their present position and up the conference rankings . Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban ” gambled and lost” in the Deron Williams’ sweepstakes as the Nets’ point guard chose to remain with the Eastern Conference franchise , as they sought resurrect their fortunes . The Brooklyn Nets with a payroll of $87.6 million for the season , have the second highest payroll in the NBA , which is led by the Los Angeles Lakers and their whopping $100.1 million , far exceeding the league’s “ soft salary cap figure” of $58.044 million for the 2012-13 season . And far be it for me to suggest, but even though the Mavericks’ figure of $69.6 million seems minuscule by comparison , in 2011 , they were amongst the highest salaried teams within the NBA , with Kobe Bryant being the highest paid player in the league that season , with a salary of $24,806,250 .

Mavericks’ GM Donn Nelson is now left seeking ways , how to best move forward as they seek build towards the future with the winding down of Nowitzki’s career . The 7’ center/power- forward has been of the best European players to graced the NBA over the past two decades , and to my mind there has not a player this good , from the European continent the Croatian , Drazan Petrovic graced the scene as a player with the New Jersey Nets . And Petrovic’s skill-set was as a mercurial point guard who simply astonished the fans with his passing dexterity and playmaking abilities . The closest we have now come to seeing this by way of European point guard , might well be the San Antonio Spurs’ dangerously deceptive Tony Parker , a three-time winning NBA titlist with the NBA franchise .

It is hard to see where the Mavericks will go from here because the team in its present guise is suffering growing pains , even in light of this and their 2011 draft picks . Defensively , the Mavericks are exceedingly poor and giving up 102.6 points per game for fourth worst in the league. And from an offense standpoint , the team remains woefully inadequate in more ways than Mark Cuban and Donn Nelson would care to admit.

Mikhail Prokhorov , the billionaire owner of the Brooklyn Nets cannot be entirely happy with what he has witnessed from his team this season . Already on their second head coach of the year, after the firing of Avery Johnson , who would be replaced by P J Carlesimo . As the interim head coach , he now has to work with the self-indulgence of Deron Williams , an “ overrated “ point guard , and the lackluster Joe Johnson , who with $60 million plus , remaining on his existing contract , he could very well be “ one of the biggest busts “ of the NBA season by way of his lack of productivity . GM Billy King , may well be rethinking his original stance of acquiring Johnson , albeit , the thinking would be that the player would be deemed a comfortable fit , alongside Williams and Brook Lopez , the young center , that the franchise now pins their hopes upon , having lost out in the race to acquire , then free agent , Dwight Howard .

The Nets are coming off a rather debilitating 76-72 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies , in which the team played some uninspired basketball in their defeat by one the Western Conference’s best teams. As to what this says about this Nets’ franchise and their overall ambitions over the remainder of the season , one can only surmise how it might all end . The team will seek to recover from that rather lackluster performance as they are the guests of the New Orleans Hornets , one of the NBA’s more uninspired teams of the season. A second successive defeat would not necessarily write off the hopes of the Nets , but it certainly wouldn’t create a conducive environment , as the franchise moves into the final quarter of their schedule . And with the outlay by way of the team’s payroll (87,577,676) , anything short of the playoffs and a deep run in the postseason and the front office of the Brooklyn Nets might seek to make some long-term changes right across the board that would most certainly have some far-reaching ramifications for the franchise. The financial resources asides , with Prokhovorov , being worth an estimated $13.2 billion , a fortune which places him as the fifty-eighth richest individual on the planet. It does lead one to believe that even with the Russian’s vast wealth , he must have known that his fortune alone , the lure of Brooklyn , and the ostentatious-ness of the cavernous Barclays Center/Atlantic Yards’ Complex. That alone , as the attractive pearl , could not have been enough of a driving force , for him to truly believe that his franchise could be taken as a legitimate contender for this season ? For him to have truly believed that , either he was under the mistaken belief , that the team was simply that good or the fact that rest of the Eastern Conference was simply mediocre , and would be willing to become “ lambs to the slaughter “ as the Nets laid siege to the conference . Which, do you believe it to be?

From my own perspective , I never bought into the Nets to begin with , as this current team had no real body work for which one could truly judge by . And the continued apathy , and idiocy shown by the fans of both the Knicks and Nets , as if it is now , both of these franchises’ time to shine, is simply idiotic to begin with ! As I alluded to earlier New York Knicks were a mediocre 5-5 in their last ten games , hardly something to tie one’s hat on , by way of viewing them as a legitimate , much less a perennial contender . Meanwhile, the Nets are simply a team , lacking in leadership , with a coach whose greatest claim to fame , was the very fact that he escaped being choked out by a psychopath NBA professional several years ago.

If things were to get any worse for the Boston Celtics (30-27) , then what guise would it take? They have lost their best player, point guard Rajon Rondo for the rest of the season, and the dark shadows have begun to set over this franchise. Rumors are circling that GM, Danny Ainge , would like to jettison Kevin Garnett and his burdensome contract , given his age and the fact that there are said to have been several inquiries from interested parties looking to acquire the seasoned veteran. Yet, with a no-trade clause tied to the contract , which would have to be waived and agreed upon by the player. It seems highly unlikely, that Garnett would actually leave a franchise , where he has stated categorically , he would like to play out the rest of his career with the Boston Celtics. With three years remaining on Garnett’s existing deal and approximately $36 million owed to the player , it would take a major concession on the part of the veteran and multiple All Star , to suddenly jump ship. And I can only envisage, Garnett going to a legitimate contender , rather than Ainge and owner , Wyc Grousbeck simply engineering a salary dump . As to what this might indicate to the Celtics’ fans , who may well see it, as the front office simply giving up on the season , when there is still something to play for , could very well sit either way , with those diehard individuals .

As the seventh seed within the Eastern Conference , the Celtics are quite comfortably set , with a two-game lead over their closest rivals the Milwaukee Bucks (27-28). All that is now being asked of Doc Rivers and his staff is to guide this team into the playoffs , and then simply let the chips fall where they may .

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Picture gallery, for your perusal .

It may well takes a village, to raise a child , but sheer know- how , real expediency and acumen is needed to make a successful NBA franchise . Something I truly believe, to be lacking in several of the franchises now playing within the NBA ! David Stern , longing to be seen as the best executive in professional sports , often comes off and across as a conceited self-serving pompous ass ! And is further proof is needed , during this last labor dispute with the NBPA (union) , while seeking concessions from the union , the commissioner was still compensated to the tune of $25 million in salary , not inclusive bonuses and other discretionary incentives . It simply makes you wonder . what really , does the NBA have to offer the fans by way of a very good product , and if anything by way of real integrity or intelligence ? The apathy of the fans , who state that there are some wonderful story-lines to be had , only speaks to their sheer stupidity , if it is simply a feel-good story that an individual is said to be looking for , when the product being served up , is nothing more than a rehashed meal , that is simply being reheated and packaged to look ever so fresh . Your thoughts, on this all ?

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Picture, and slideshow details below.
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(1)MIAMI, FL – FEBRUARY 26: LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat works up the crowd during a game against the Sacramento Kings at American Airlines Arena on February 26, 2013 in Miami, Florida. The Heat would go on to defeat the Kings 141-129 . Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …

(2) Sacramento Kings’ John Salmons (5) fouls Miami Heat’s LeBron James (6) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. AP Photo/J Pat Carter …

(3) San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan (21) passes under pressure from Phoenix Suns’ Goran Dragic , of Slovenia, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, in Phoenix. The Spurs would go on to defeat the Suns 97-87 . AP Photo/Matt York …

(4) Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith (5) shoots around Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe (10) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game at the Palace in Auburn Hills, Mich., Monday, Feb. 25, 2013. AP Photo/Carlos Osorio …

(5) Detroit Pistons’ owner , Tom Gores is seen here with the team’s GM Joe Dumars during a pregame shoot around at the Palace of Auburn Hills , in Detroit , Michigan, . This season has simply been one of immeasurable struggles for the franchise , whose roster has been completely been revamped over the past two seasons . AP Photo & Detroit Free Press / Asa Hutchinson …

(6) John Starks (3) , left of the New York Knicks , looks to defend against the Nets’ point guard Drazan Petrovic during a game played at Madison Square Garden , in New York City , New York . Petrovic’s career in the NBA was cut short , when he died in an airplane accident , in his native Croatia , formerly known as Yugoslavia . Heralded as one of the greatest European players ever to have played in the NBA , his legacy still lives on in the minds of many Nets’ fans who saw him play. Courtesy of NBA.com/archives @ copyrighted material all rights reserved ….

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This is not what I signed up for !

This is not what I signed up for !

By Tophatal

The NBA season is moving along nicely, but for a new of teams , it now looks as their seasons could very well be over before we have reached the midway point of the 2012-13 NBA calendar . The plotlines to the season are now being played out , with Charlotte Bobcats , Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards , all three teams are seeking to redefine mediocrity , and now the fans have been witnesses this all.

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Slideshow.

In the Eastern Conference , the three teams that seem to the setting the pace , are the Miami Heat(23-11) , New York Knicks (23-12) and the surprisingly resourceful Indiana Pacers(22-14) . While the reigning champions, the Heat are looking to make a successful defense of their title. Yet on the face of it, this team do seem to be trying to make things extremely hard for themselves with their rather inconsistent play. The NBA season, having had the first of two coaching casualties, with the dismissals of Mike Brown of the Los Angeles Lakers , five games (1-4) into their season , with a rather asinine explanation coming from GM , Mitch Kupchak , as to the reasons for the improbable decision .

The other casualty to fall , was Avery Johnson of the Brooklyn Nets , and whether or not this is pertinent , but it would appear that Nets’ point guard , Deron Williams , is now becoming known , as something of a “ coach killer” . It should come as no surprise , with the evidence being there for all to see , first with the Utah Jazz , and the departure of Jerry Sloan, albeit the famed former head coach resigned , rather than being forced out , but the tell-tale signs were there for all to see . An underperforming star , continually, complaining about his team’s play, without ever once, showing any form of leadership to his teammates . I’ll say this for Deron Williams , in spite of his play , his lack of maturity far outweighs anything that he is said to have achieved at this point of his career .

The Brooklyn Nets , with P J Carlesimo , now coaching the team on an interim basis , have made a hard push to lure famed and future bound Hall of Fame coach , Phil Jackson , out of retirement , literally offering him a King’s ransom and a rumored minority interest in the Nets’ franchise . Part ownership of a listless team, that is also without a leader , much less having any real character , is not I believe, a scenario where Jackson would be lured back into coaching ! And the same situation can now be applied to the idiocy that has now befallen the Los Angeles Lakers , another aging , uninspired franchise and team . As Kobe Bryant , recently stated, we’re getting old and heading nowhere fast “ . It is now beginning to look all the more probable that the franchise could very well end up missing the postseason , should the team continue with their ongoing season of ineptitude and inconsistency. It has now left many fans and NBA analysts wondering , how could things spiraled so out of control, so fast , without their being any inclination at the start of the season , that , it would be one , of sheer ridicule of the ownership and management ?

The hiring of Mike D’Antoni to succeed Mike Brown , is befuddling to myself , as to this ongoing belief and fascination with the paparazzi, that the career of Lindsay Lohan , still remains relevant when she has done absolutely nothing of merit over the past five years. As to D’Antoni’s resume` , well let’s just say , there’s not a great deal that one could truly say , is altogether inspiring ! I truly believe, that Mitch Kupchak and Lakers’ SVP, Jim Buss , have now erred twice in their most recent managerial hiring! If you believe my statement to be a mistake, then do take the time to explain your reasons why?

The makeup of this Lakers’ roster pivots around the play of Kobe Bryant , and as he goes , then so does the rest of the team, Granted , Bryant can go off , for forty-plus points , and inevitably given their play of the team, and they still end up losing . Yet the enigma, here , is that the team either choose not to , or has no idea , how to play a lick of goddamn defense , when it matters most ! As things now continue , with the winners of four of their last ten games , it begs the question what is the perceived direction that the team , is said to be heading in ? The Lakers now sit 12.5 games out of first place , within the Pacific Division behind the surging Los Angeles Clippers (28-8).

With Blake Griffin leading the way alongside one of the NBA’s premier point guards , in Chris Paul , it has to be said that the Lakers’ task is becoming all the more unenviable , especially when the Clippers are now seen “ as the best story happening , in the city of Angels” . Failure at this juncture , and we could very well see the franchise go through their second managerial change inside of a calendar year . Something, I would have said , was impossible at the start of the season . And this is a franchise known for its semblance of continuity , albeit , that the glitterati and paparazzi make the organization the center and focus of the NBA landscape , and that is with due respect to the residents of the “Big Apple” and “ Brooklyn” .

Now unless I’m mistaken, we were led to believe that the NBA is a brand that has become world renown , yet, I seriously doubt David Stern would have expected three teams within the Eastern Conference subjecting the fans of the league , to such abject futility! The Charlotte Bobcats (9-26) , Cleveland Cavaliers (9-29 ) , and the Washington Wizards (5-28) , this season have given a whole new meaning to the words , “ futility” and “mediocrity” , which is clearly reflected in their respective records and play.

Inasmuch , as I have admired Michael Jordan’s career as an NBA player , it has to be said his successes as an NBA front office executive is now “peppered” with a “ litany of failures” . Anyone who would now suggest that Jordan is at the forefront of his present career, as owner and de-facto general manager , should now begin to acknowledge that he might now be the NBA’s answer to Jerry Jones of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys . I am not about to suggest that Michael Jordan doesn’t accept the input of his fellow executives , in particular that of GM, Rich Cho . Yet it has become , and will remain abundantly clear, that Jordan is prepared to things his way , and is not truly prepared to accept any criticism leveled his way. And the Bobcats for their part , are not making the situation any more acceptable with the ongoing futility of this team . If there is a silver cloud to this nightmare , then it is the fact that , the organization is unlikely to end up with the worst record within the NBA at season’s end , especially when one bears in mind , the franchise’s 7-59 mark of last season , in reduced schedule of sixty-six games , from the customary eighty-two game schedule the NBA is naturally known for.

I’ve called it , and the anally retentive idiots who sought the retention of the Sacramento Kings in the California state capital , clearly have no fucking idea as to what is happening within their very midst , let alone within the front office of the Kings , altogether. I suppose that all comes down to the apathy of those fans , and what they feel is their all-knowing belief, that the NBA eats , breathes and shits , by the events take place on the West Coast, and shapes this league as a whole ! In what should not be seen as a surprising turn of events the ownership group the Sacramento Kings , led by the Maloof family , of Joe and Gavin Maloof , have agreed in principle to the sale of the NBA franchise to a Seattle-based consortium that will relocate the Kings to Washington State. For the better part of two and a half years, the city’s mayor , Kevin Johnson , himself a former NBA player , has judiciously negotiated with the Kings , primarily with GM, Geoff Petrie , but also with, Joe and Gavin Maloof.

Courtesy of USA Today

Sacramento Kings’ possible move uneasy for players, fans

SACRAMENTO (AP) — Aaron Brooks has been in an awkward spot since news surfaced that the Sacramento Kings could be sold and moved to his hometown of Seattle.

The Kings guard has no answers for family and friends who have been calling and texting for information. Even the excitement his brother, Alvertis, had when he showed up for a visit evaporated once he realized those in Sacramento might feel the same sorrow as when the SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City in 2008.

NEARING DEAL: Seattle group negotiates with Maloofs

“Seattle does need a team. But you would hate to have a team leave a city you know wants a basketball team,” Brooks said. “It’s unfortunate.”

For Sacramento players, coaches and fans, this is not an easy time.

In the first game since the latest — and perhaps most serious — round of relocation talks began, the Kings lost to the Dallas Mavericks 117-112 in overtime Thursday night, with chatter around the aging arena seemingly centering on everything but basketball.

GAME: Mavericks come back from 17 points down

Newspaper and television reporters from Seattle showed up along with an increased local media presence. Fans contemplated whether they should keep supporting a team they love. Ushers and parking attendants who depend on the team for work approached reporters wondering if they knew what might happen.

Even players and coaches admitted all the attention made it difficult to focus on the game.

“It’s definitely going to be a distraction,” said Kings coach Keith Smart. “But we’re pros. We’ve got to figure out a way how to separate the two and then get ready to play.”

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However, it has been intransigence of the franchise’s owners and the very fact , that David Stern has failed to act as a willing intermediary and peacemaker , that has led to this actual debacle . From the very outset, it was my belief that Johnson was negotiating from a position of weakness! And this continued idiocy by a number loyal but misguided Kings’ fans that it would be in the city’s best interest to use public funds in conjunction with that of private enterprise within the city’s locale , presently shows why the state and city remains a “complete cluster fuck “ , politically and economically , with no apparent leadership or the capacity to do what is ethically right , and that is to walk away while you have the option , instead of being made to look like a complete asshole ! As of now, that can be the only way to view Kevin Johnson and the Sacramento City Council. When will these municipal politicians, learn that continually kissing the ass of a billionaire or millionaire professional sports’ franchise owner , rarely benefits a city in the long-term !

Courtesy of USA Today

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson says he’ll save Kings

By Sam Amick , USA Today Sports

SACRAMENTO — Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson swears he still has a shot to save his hometown team.

Johnson, the native son and former NBA point guard who has spent recent years trying to keep the Maloof family that owns the team from taking it elsewhere, told USA TODAY Sports on Friday night that Seattle hasn’t won this game just yet. Asked if his window had closed in light of a Wednesday report that the Maloofs and the Chris Hansen-Steve Ballmer group were finalizing a deal to bring the NBA back to Seattle and more reports on Friday that the deal was done in principle for $525 million, Johnson spread his hands wide and smiled. The window, he swears, remains open.

“(NBA Commissioner David Stern) knows that I’m going to make a request to speak to the governing board (before any Seattle deal is formalized),” Johnson said, noting that the deadline to file for relocation is March 1.

NBA A-Z: Sacramento turns out to support Kings

Stern said Thursday night that potential buyers who might keep the team in Sacramento deserve a shot, even naming billionaire supermarket mogul Ron Burkle as one candidate.

“This will be decided by a committee of owners and the NBA’s board of governors with the advice of me but not leading the way,” Stern said on Thursday night.

As was the case when he made an impassioned and ultimately successful pitch at a board of governor’s meeting in New York to keep the team from going to Anaheim, Calif., in April of 2011, Johnson — who had an agreement in principle with the Maloofs and the NBA for a new arena last February before they backed out — is confident Stern will give him the time necessary to organize his effort.

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A web of lies, and deceit , have been built around this whole sale , and it is clear that the Maloofs simply sought vested parties willing to take a beleaguered and an unprofitable franchise off their hands . Now comes the hard part , how will the fans act with regard to his monumental betrayal by the ownership group , and their malfeasance ? The irony here , has been the apathy of the fans who bought into this fucking bullshit , with regard to Joe , Gavin and Robert Maloof’s intent of keeping the franchise in Sacramento . I’ve always maintained before you run , you have to learn how to walk , and before you start to talk about the economic sports, at least have the goddamn temerity to know what the hell you are talking about , and that has been the stupidity of the Kings’ fans at this juncture !

At 13-23 , there does not seem to be a great deal that the Kings seem to be offering their fan at present , no matter how you view the situation. Coming off to a tough 117-112 loss to the Dallas Mavericks at the archaic and impoverished Sleep Train Arena , one of the NBA’s more dilapidated venues , for which the Maloofs, offered no assistance in refurbishing, when this whole negotiating process began . From the very outset it was abundantly clear , that neither Joe or Gavin Maloof, intended to negotiate in good faith , yet Kings’ fans in their continued bewilderment and sheer stupidity , held out hope that an amicable agreement could be reached between the city of Sacramento and the owners of the NBA franchise. It was merely the blind, and the blissfully stupid, being led down the garden path by the Maloofs . At the end of the day , one simply knows that David Stern in celebratory mood will commending the new owners of the soon to be relocated franchise , while the city of Sacramento , are left egg on their face and a white elephant , whose only use will be to stage a number of concerts and perhaps , a number of business expositions .

Next up for the Kings, will be two consecutive home games , with the first being tonight against the Miami Heat to be followed by a meeting against the Cleveland Cavaliers , on Monday night . There is not a great deal that can be said in terms of a positive for head coach Keith Smart and his coaching staff . The team’s best player remains Tyreke Evans , who’s ably assisted by Aaron Brooks , John Salmons and the troubled enigma that is , DeMarcus Cousins , whose exploits off the court , have now become the sole reason to even take an interest in the troubled player , who just doesn’t seem capable of harnessing his abilities and being truly productive for this beleaguered franchise . Beyond that, there is not much left, that can be said !

While, I am impressed with the growing stature of the Los Angeles Clippers , and their body of work this season . There can be no denying that if this franchise is to prove itself a success , then their efforts against the top tiered teams within the league will have to be amplified and maintained over the course of the season , and Vinnie Del Negro cannot be complacent in settling for half-measures in terms of his team’s productivity . If anything , while having the league’s best record , the continued “ knock” against the Clippers , will be , until they have proved themselves in the postseason , they will just be looked upon as a very good regular season team.

If the Clippers based upon their record are deemed the best team in the NBA at present , then surely , the Oklahoma City Thunder must pose an ominous threat , along with the San Antonio Spurs , within the Western Conference ? ? The “ dark horses” within the conference are the Memphis Grizzlies , a team capable of beating the very best within the NBA when they apply themselves to the task at hand .

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