You Want An NBA Storyline …………………… ?

You Want An NBA Storyline …. ?

It’s been something of an anticlimax to the say the least as the NBA season has got off to a rather inauspicious start. The Miami Heat of late has been the storyline that everyone wants to follow as the ‘Big Three’ have become the talk of the town . LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade have made the Heat relevant once again. That being said to my mind the story that has me wondering how asking what else can befall a team has been that of the Houston Rockets . It’s hard to comprehend the misfortune that has beset this team as having lost All Star center Yao Ming for the season to a recurring injury . While much of this has been happening the one constant to this all has been the play of Kevin Martin and the fact that without him the Rockets would simply just another byline to the NBA season.

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The troubling here there though has been the fact Yao hasn’t played a meaningful game in over a year and the danger is that his career now seems to be on the verge of being at end. Barring a miracle I seriously doubt that we’ll see this player back on a basketball court in a competitive NBA game. Say what you will but Yao Ming had his admirers as well as his detractors . At his peak, he was certainly one of the most admired but also one of the best centers in the game but herein lies the caveat to this all once injiries started to befall the player , you simply knew that it was only a matter of time before things would go south for both he and the organization . What now happens for the Rockets is now merely dependent upon the players and their desire play the remainder of the season with the zeal one would come to expect of a team looking for some type of redemption. If nothing else they owe it to themselves and their fans.

The NBA Western Conference has now become awash of the unexpected and as the plot thickens the idiocy surrounds the sudden lull in the play of the Los Angeles Lakers . Don’t be fooled by anything you’ve heard or read at this point of the season teams will have their ups and downs and it’s how they respond that will define them. The Lakers have rebounded back and Kobe Bryant and his teammates seem to now back in the driver’s seat and their resolve will be to play the games as they come and then in the postseason show the NBA world why it is they’re the reigning NBA champions . If nothing else you simply have to respect that pedigree and until they’re toppled off the pile then due respect has to be given .

The Lakers’ neighbors within the Staples Center the Los Angeles Clippers and their sudden recognition around the league. No one person is more responsible for this other than Blake Griffin and his play through much of the season so far . In the same way that Dominique Wilkins came to be known as the “Human Highlight Reel” , Griffin has single handedly made that nom-de-plume his very own this season with his spectacular dunks. Unfortunately for the Clippers and their fans this hasn’t resulted in that many wins and at the same the Clippers still remain the same old Clippers. I’ve often maintained that when an organization simply lacks the will and ambition to win then whatever befalls that team is simply one of its own making. Is there now a more despised owner in professional sports than the Clippers’ Donald Sterling ? OK, so we could add the Redskins’ Daniel Snyder , Pittsburgh Pirates Bob Nutting and last but not least Jerry Jones of the Cowboys.

I understand that the business of sports is primarily about making money and any bye product sought is to win championships but what can be said as to morass that continually extends and surrounds the Los Angeles Clippers ? Someone needs to explain to me at what point will their fans simply say enough is enough ………? It’s apparent that NBA Commissioner David Stern and the league hierarchy isn’t overly concerned as to the mediocre plight of the Clippers under the tenure of Donald Sterling. But then again simply but as long as the league is reaping the vast rewards of the billions of dollars that unyieldingly comes into its coffers he’s not going to be concerned. For Stern the storyline here is that of the attention gained by the likes of the Heat , Boston Celtics and Lakers . If they’re being repeatedly on by the press then Sterling’s concerns aren’t that great but then again this is the same individual who last season issued the statement that the $250 million paid to a number of teams should not be viewed as a bailout because of those teams’ financial plight due to the economic climate. Kind of makes you wonder what perception the commissioner is trying to create with that rather asinine statement ?

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Clueless in Phoenix as that appears to be the situation with the Phoenix Suns at present under Alvin Gentry as the Suns’ coach. Ever since their most recent trades with the team acquiring Vince Carter and a number of other players which in turn sent Jason Richardson to the Orlando Magic . This team can’t find a win much less play a lick of defense and statistically they rank in the bottom half of the league with that rather dubious distinction. And now with rumors circling that the franchise may well be willing to offload Steve Nash with a view as building for the future , the question being asked is where they go from here ?

With the competitiveness of the Western Conference where week in week out it’s something of a dog fight one could say that last season’s Western Conference finalist’s this season appears to be something of a regression back to the ways of old. In all likelihood if Gentry is unable to have the Suns playing with any semblance of a will to win then team owner Robert Sarver will look to bring in a coach who can take the team back to the heights and expectations that he feels befits the organization .

There’s reason at present for noted film director Spike Lee and avowed basketball fan to be happy as his New York Knicks are once again relevant . Coach Mike D’Antoni and his coaching staff has the team playing with a great deal of resolve within the NBA. Amar’e Stoudemire , Raymond Felton , Landry Fields and Wilson Chandler have been playing at a pace that not many may well have expected. And those in attendance at Madison Square Gardens for the Knicks’ home games have to be more than pleasantly surprised but also extremely excited.

With what we’re now seeing within the Eastern Conference there’s no reason to believe that the Knicks cannot play themselves into contention within the conference and garner their first playoff berth in almost a decade. At their current pace the Knicks are on target to win 47 games, albeit that a sub .500 record or slightly above can garner a playoff spot within the conference. If that’s not enough of an indictment as to how bad the conference can be, then simply look over the past seasons and the records of the teams that have prevailed within the conference in garnering a postseason berth ? It hasn’t been uncommon for the teams ranked four through eight to have a record barely above .500 (41-41). It remains to be seen if this season we can see a vast improvement of the teams in the lower half of the seedings within the conference and how they may well fare. If nothing else the remainder of this season will be proof of that and what we ought to expect from some of those teams within the conference.

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Should the Knicks make the playoffs there’s a distinct possibility that Mike D’Antoni could very well be in with a chance of winning the NBA’s Coach of The Year Award . Given what he’s been able to achieve in assessing and building this team with the help of President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh this has been a season of redemption for the Knicks and their long suffering fans . One can only hope that barring injuries they can remain on course of achieving their goals .

Chime in with your comments as to your thoughts on the NBA season and any of the topics raised within this piece .

NB: NBA Conference Standings ..

Latest NBA news …..

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NBA Divisional Standings ….

NBA Statistics ….

NBA win streaks by conference and division

Alan aka tophatal ……………………….

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Faran W

Eye candy ……………. Faren Williams

More of Faren….. as you know doubt like it ?

Faren

That’s a body worth watching from any view ! Faren’s that is !

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Lupe Fiasco feat’g …… Matthew Santos …….. ” Superstar”

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Press Play Or Rewind ……….

Press Play Or Rewind ……….

Well the NBA ___ season though not yet in full swing has given us a great deal to contend with and to discuss. Washington Wizards’ rookie point guard John Wall has already set himself apart from the rest of this season’s rookies with a grand entrance by posting a triple double in the team’s first win of the season. And if the player’s exhilirating displays are anything to go by then fans attending the Verizon Center in Washington DC will be in for a treat for much of the season.

Wizards’ coach Flip Saunders has got to be encouraged with the effort put forth by the young rookie who seems to be showing a growth and maturity far beyond his young years. And indeed the front office of the organization led by team President Ernie Grunfeld, VP of Basketball Operations Tommy Sheppard and VP of Player Personnel Milt Newton must feel a sense of justification in making Wall the number one overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft . And while there can be no denying that the team will undergo some growing pains as the team tries to acclimatize itself with the offseason changes made within the organization it has to be said that this start may well augur well for the Wizards and the faith shown in John Wall .

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Now as we all know with the recent moves that took place within the Eastern Conference of the NBA wherein everything seemed to have revolved around the acquisitions of Chris Bosh and LeBron James by the Miami Heat made everything else pale into insignificance. So much so, that even with the New York Knicks acquiring Amar’e Stoudemire with Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal now finding a home with the Boston Celtics. All the fervor and furore seems to be about what happens within the conference and whether or not the Heat can seemingly led what many NBA analysts will be a ceremonial romp and anointing of the team as NBA champions .

With Gilbert Arenas due to make an imminent return it will be interesting to see how the seasoned veteran deals with his new teammate and who takes the reins of the team. And given what we know about Arenas as a player and the fact that he’s still under close scrutiny of not only the NBA hierarchy led by NBA Commissioner David Stern but also the entire front office of the Wizards’ organization. He’s now on something of a tight leash and any major transgression could see his career with the Wizards come to an abrupt end. The player has already fallen afoul with his coach this preseason having lied to him having faked an injury in a preseason game to facilitate the entry of rookie Nick Young into the game played against the Atlanta Hawks. Even with a public apology to the organization and the fans it has to be said that Arenas just doesn’t seem to have that instinct as knowing what’s right from wrong. Being armoral would appear to be the norm for the player and his mindset would appear to be if …. I screw up a less than contrite apology will suffice .

I’m under no illusion about the expectations of this team and although I can foresee them making the NBA playoffs I don’t fully expect them to challenge the likes of the Atlanta Hawks , Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls or Miami Heat for overall supremacy and dominance within the Eastern Conference. At best should they qualify from within their conference I can’t see them being any higher than a fifth or sixth seed at best . Much of the team’s fortunes this season will be dependent on how much cohesion is shown by the team and obviously upon the coaching prowess shown by Flip Saunders and his coaching staff . If they can play with any type of consistency and maintain that level throughout the season then the bye product by way of an above .500 record and the garnering of a playoff berth would be viewed as tremendous bonus by the organization.

If you thought that the bloodbath of the midterm elections were bad wherein the Tea Party essentially corralled in not only what appears to be an intransigent Republican Party that gave the Democrats an ass kicking which its leadership will long remember well into the future. It has to be said that President Barack Obama , Senator Harry Reid and House Representative and former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi have to be licking their wounds and perhaps now see the error of their ways ? You simply cannot expect to always govern from a position of strength without showing civility and at the same time be willing to listen to an opposing view no matter how idiotic you might think it to be. Well that’s now what seems to have happened as the President has come out and accepted the blame for his party’s disastrous showing in these elections. Consider however , what now seems to be going on within the organizations of the Dallas Cowboys , Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins ? Comedic farces simply don’t get any better than this and it would take an extremely creative writer to script something far more riveting and funnier than what we’re all now witnessing . I’d dare say that should this ever hit the big screen there’d be a plethora of Hollwood A-listers willing to take on and play the lead roles of the main characters in question ?

Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones has offered his profound apologies to the team’s fans and the fact that he hadn’t envisaged things getting so out of hand . I beg to differ as this team simply wasn’t as good as advertized ! And in coach Wade Phillips , Jones possesses a coach who seems to be way out of his depth , never mind the fact that the coach himself and his coaching staff have been about as efficient as the use of a sponge would have proven to be on the Titanic . Suffice to say that Phillips couldn’t coach or find his way out of a wet paper bag ! To suggest that Phillips ought to be viewed as a lame duck coach would be something of an understatement but the longer this charade goes on the worse it becomes for the entire organization never mind the team itself. Not one of these players on the team has a sense of pride or purpose as they systematically seem to be “mailing it in” each successive week while the team’s owner continues to look like the proverbial buffoon ! I can only assume that the Cowboys’ fans will continue to attend in droves at Cowboys Stadium to witness the diatribe now being served up by team right through to the end of the season . In retrospect the Cowboys’ season is already over but I’d like to think that the Green Bay Packers can simply add another in that coffin when the two teams meet at Lambeau Field Green Bay , Wisconsin this upcoming Sunday !

I’d like to think that the farce also on display with the Minnesota Vikings will soon come to an abrupt end . But unfortunately anything that seems to involve Brett Favre seems to be prolonged and can be as painful to endure as a bad tooth ache. Suffice to say that with the fallout over the Randy Moss affair and Brad Childress’ rather innocuous explanation that the trade for the player was a mistake gives one the impression that the club has now become a legitimate asylum for the legally insane. Could this been what team owner Zygi Wilf envisaged for his team at the start of the season ? I certainly don’t think so ! But then again this is the Vikings we’re talking about and whose every move has been placed under the microscope this season as if we were all witnessing some kind of lab experiment taking place . God this petri dish just seems to be going rancid and personally I don’t think that I can stomach much more of this crap !

Well it appears that Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder for all of business prowess simply can’t hire a coach who seemingly possesses and ounce of intellect. With the recent hiring of Mike Shanahan and an entirely new coaching staff which also includes Shanahan’s son , Kyle Shanahan . It would appear that no sooner had things seem to have calmed down within the organization a full blown maelstrom seems to be back within the team’s midst. Now at the midpoint of the team’s season Mike Shanahan seems to be questioning not only the fitness of his starting quarterback Donovan McNabb but aslo the player’s skillset as it surround McNabb’s comprehension of the “two minute drill”. Not only that but Shanahan would then proffer up the comment that McNabb’s backup Rex Grossman would be better suited to lead the team in such moment’s during a game. Given Grossman’s lack of dexterity having replaced McNabb in the waning moments of team’s game against the Detroit Lions and their subsequent loss 37-25 .I’ve got to ask myself what the hell was it that Shanahan and his son were watching ?

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There’s the suggestion that parity within the NFL makes the game a great spectacle but given the display of the teams within the NFC I’m not so sure that’s exactly what we’re now seeing at present. If things get much worse I think that the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) ought to intervene and fine the NFL in order to protect the consumer (fans) from fraud. Because to my mind that’s what is now being perpetrated by the NFL at present !

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the fate of the Washington Wizards this season ? Also how do you see the turmoil now unfolding for the Cowboys , Redskins and Vikings ending up ? Simply chime on in with a comment . From my own perspective I’d rather see this all play out rather than there being a complete rewind of the whole charade we’ve all witnessed so far !

😦 * 🙂

Alan aka tophatal …. 🙂

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Bria Myles

Eye candy ……. Bria Myles

Bria's ass split

More of Bria is what I’d personally like to see and feel !

It’s Now Phil’s World And The Rest of The NBA Are Simply Just Living In It ….

It’s Now Phil’s World And The Rest of The NBA Are Simply Just Living In It ….

Well the NBA __ season is just around the corner and the Los Angeles Lakers/” will soon begin its quest to win its seventeenth NBA title. In doing so it’d equal the tally attained by the Lakers most heated rivals the Boston Celtics. In saying that also should Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson win what will be his twelfth title as a coach . And having surpassed Red Auerbach’s total of ten titles as a coach. That being said Jackson’s legacy as a coach and across the panoramic landscape of sports has been set. And if he’s not one of the most beloved coaches in all sports it says a great deal that finally Jackson is now attaining the respect that he so rightfully deserves. Before the criticism was that Jackson has only coached and won with superstars. Well this time around Jackson in his last two triumphs has won with merely Kobe Bryant and a complimentary supporting cast .

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While on paper that Lakers’ team may not look all that impressive other than Bryant’s name being already circled in . You do get the impression that players such as Bryant, Derek Fisher , Pau Gasol , Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum have simply loved the experience of being part of this most revered coach’s legacy. Phil Jackson’s contemporaries such as Pat Riley and Gregg Popovich may well be viewed as charismatic and deferential . But now at the end of it all no one can deny the achievements this triumvirate. Over the course of their tenured careers within the NBA these three have won 19 NBA titles between them.

My own feeling this upcoming season is that the Los Angeles Lakers are most definitely the team to beat _____like it or not. OK so “Hollywood” has come to “South Beach” with the much heralded move of LeBron James and Chris Bosh to the Miami Heat where they’ve joined Dwyane Wade and Pat Riley as team President , as the club looks to win its second NBA title . And with the thinking that the Heat will be the presumptive favorites within the Eastern Conference and an odds on certainty to win the title outright. I certainly do believe that while there might be some justification in that there’s no reason to think that the Heat will have this season all to themselves. As good as that triumvirate will no doubt be the supporting cast most definitely have to contribute greatly if the Heat are indeed to succeed. The challenges for the Heat within the Eastern Conference will come from the likes of the Orlando Magic , Boston Celtics , Chicago Bulls and quite possibly the Atlanta Hawks if they can actually believe in themselves.

Stan Van Gundy and the Orlando Magic to my mind in terms of their window of opportunity I truly believe it is quickly closing . Dwight Howard , Vince Carter and the supporting cast (team) continually disappoint. For a team that was built to win the past two seasons Howard if anything has been an utter disappointment and the coaching prowess of Stan Van Gundy has come into question. If Van Gundy can’t guide this team back to another run deep into the NBA playoffs then my view is that GM Otis Smith may well have to rethink his view that the team is built for an NBA championship run and title. If the team simply isn’t good enough and the idiocy of the local writers within the market who cover the team simply have no idea as to what is they’re watching as they continually try and sell the fans a ‘bill of worthless goods’. Power forward Rashard Lewis rarely can put together a series of competitive minded games and the physical aspects of his game is so limited. It’s almost as if he’s gun-shy and scared to attack the low post and rim but yet Van Gundy continues to stand by a player who’s somewhat lazy and often at times lethargic in his play. In Carter you now have an aging veteran whose best days are behind him and if nothing else the explosiveness which once signified his game is no longer there.

All Star center Dwight Howard either wants to be an NBA caliber center or the “class clown”. I’ll best leave it for you all to decide as my own opinion of Howard is that he’s a player who still has a great deal to learn about this game and what it takes to apply one’s self to that specific task.

The Celtics and Bulls could prove to be problematic for the Heat and I do believe that although the Celtics have added both Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal to their roster that already has Ray Allen , Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce . I think that the Doc Rivers’ coached team will face an uphill task in making to at least the Eastern Conference semi-finals. And while this team can only go as far as Garnett can take them much of the team’s play I do think will be predicated upon the performances of Rajon Rondo throughout the season and beyond. The Bulls given their performances of last season we saw the maturity of Derrick Rose , Joakim Noah and with the addition of Carlos Boozer from the Utah Jazz via free agency. If the Bulls can get off to a great start and continue show improvement on the form they showed last year then I do believe that they could prove to be a team contend with , within the conference.

The Hawks are an enigma wrapped up within a conundrum and as a team I just can’t understand how it is that they ended up as the number three seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs last season . While the Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic were deemed to be the immovable force within the playoffs. The Hawks made their way to the postseason and then had the proverbial meltdown in the playoffs and never got beyond the second round . And while I believe that a team can simply learn from their experiences in order to make themselves better I’m not so sure that the Atlanta Hawks have actually learned enough wherein they can actually make it beyond the first round of this season’s playoffs , should they even get there.

Now as I alluded to earlier within this the Western Conference it will be all about the Los Angeles Lakers and whomever amongst the teams there who visibly have the will to take them down. Teams such as the Oklahoma City Thunder , Phoenix Suns , Denver Nuggets , San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks would all like to think that they’re in with a chance of usurping the Lakers. The added advantage however is in the fact that the Lakers possess Phil Jackson as their coach and with his postseason experience which is unmatched by any of his contemporaries so how can you simply bet against him ? Percentage of postseason victories and victories themselves are amongs the highest in NBA history and let’s not forger also those eleven NBA titles as a coach.

The Thunder could well be a team given their maturity and the play of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook __ this is a team that seems intent on making their presence known this season . And given the year long growth for this team last season their fans fully expect them to make improvements on last year. It would not surprise me at all to see this team fully make the playoffs as one of the top four teams claiming a playoff spot this upcoming season. I fully expect this team to upset the applecart amongst the top tiered teams within the Western Conference.

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What thoughts if any do you have on the career of Phil Jackson ? And what if any are your hopes as to the upcoming season within the NBA ?

NB: Below are news and views as well as the NBA itinerary for the season.

Miami Heat roster ….

Los Angeles Lakers’ roster …

Click here for NBA news

NBA schedule

😦

Alan aka tophatal ………………. 🙂

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Miss-Issa

Eye candy vocalist Miss Issa courtesy of Lowridermagazine.com

Preach, Preacher , Preach …….. The NBA Hits Its Stride And Not Much Has Really Changed !

Preach, Preacher, Preach …….. The NBA Hits Its Stride And Not Much Has Really Changed !

As an ex-pat Brit who has now been residing is the US for now what will be 18 years on 10th August, this year. I’d like to think that I’ve now become acclimatized to the country, its nuances and a great many of its customs , up to a point. I love the passion for the sports but being that as a kid from elementary school on up , I’ve always loved sports. This particular aspect of life wasn’t really anything new to me. Though being being primarily raised by a single mother with two younger siblings. My mom always ingrained into us that it was ‘education first’, last and always above everything else. Somehow, that failed to have sunk in with my sister. As for myself and my brother , we took it upon ourselves not to disappoint our mother. That asides, I’d link to think that each of us have done well for ourselves along the way !

East Rutherford March 3rd 2010. LeBron James (#23) of the Cleveland Cavaliers controls the ball against the New Jersey Nets at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. photo appears  courtesy  of  Getty Images / Jim  McIsaacs ........
East Rutherford March 3rd 2010. LeBron James (#23) of the Cleveland Cavaliers controls the ball against the New Jersey Nets at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images / Jim McIsaacs ........

The NBA is now rounding that last corner in the regular season, as the ‘top contenders’ jockey themselves for the positional seedings in the Eastern and Western Conferences of the NBA. Leading the charge in the East are the Cleveland Cavaliers (48-14) . And record wise they have a 6 game advantage over their closest rival within the conference . The Orlando Magic (42-20) of the Southeast Division lead the third placed Atlanta Hawks (39-21) by 2 games within the division and conference standings. That asides , it gives you something of an overall indication that of the eight teams from each conference that garners a berth for postseason play. Within the Eastern Conference at present seven of the eight teams have an above 0.500 record. And of those 7, two of them are barely over that 0.500 mark. What this says about the state of play within the conference, I’ll leave that up to you, to decide ! But it is clear, that when measured against their Western counterparts , the state and quality of play isn’t on par.

In the Western Conference it’s all about who has the presence to chase down the Los Angeles Lakers (46-15) for the ‘top seed’ in the conference ? Sitting pretty atop of the heap and with a handy 5 1/2 game lead over their closest rivals, the Dallas Mavericks (41-21) . And as good as this Phil Jackson coached team has been playing. I think that everyone feels that there’s still some room for improvement by them overall. I’d mentioned to one of my colleagues within this domain and over at his site , that as good on paper and performance as the Mavericks might appear to be at present. I fully expect them to resort back to their customary selves and just essentially , ‘swoon in June’ ! chappy 81 can you hear me baby ? I repeat again, the Mavs will swoon in June ! Teams that can play in the postseason have to be first and foremost , mentally and physically tough ! And nowhere have I heard any so called supporter of this team actually emphasize that ! Instead all they seem to come up with is the regular season record that has been posted by the Mavericks thus far. And let’s not get into the fact of their lone appearance in an NBA Finals ! They were completely over-matched and outplayed by the Miami Heat duo of Shaquille O’Neal and Dywane Wade in a 4-2 NBA Finals’ series romp. It wasn’t even that close to begin with ! And I’m to expect that four years later , that they’ve improved enough to even usurp the Lakers and then go on to defeat whoever comes out of the Eastern Conference ? There’s more chance of Sarah Palin winning the Republican Party nomination for the Presidential candidate in 2012 , than seeing the Mavericks entertain the idea of making an appearance in the NBA Finals once again ! Finals’ MVP Wade showed why it was, he was so highly sought after by then Heat coach, Pat Riley out of Marquette.

Jonny Flynn (#10) of the Minnesota Timberwolves drives the baseline against Dirk Nowitzki (#41) of the Dallas Mavericks during a game at the American Airlines Center on March 3, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. photo appears  courtesy of  NBAE/ Getty Images/ Danny  Bollinger  ..........
Jonny Flynn (#10) of the Minnesota Timberwolves drives the baseline against Dirk Nowitzki (#41) of the Dallas Mavericks during a game at the American Airlines Center on March 3, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/ Getty Images/ Danny Bollinger ..........

Now the rigors of an arduous NBA season should tell us that the game and season is just as exacting mentally as it is physically. And for the teams who possess the might to win, first and foremost they have to have the frame and mindset to undertake such a task. If you’re found wanting, then that will be your downfall ! .

In the conference standings all eight teams in the West are above 0.500 . And even the ninth placed team , the Memphis Grizzlies (31-30) though some 4 1/2 games behind the Portland Trailblazers (37-27) shows us the sort of disparity there is in the level of play and competitiveness that there is in comparison between the conferences of the NBA. Though one could allude to the fact that in the Eastern Conference there’s a preponderance to play more defense ? That’s not to say that the same isn’t being done in the Western Conference. What we may well have, is a higher standard of play and far more competitive teams. Never-mind the fact that the quality coaching and coaches may well be a hell of a lot better in the Western Conference than it is in the East !

At present there have proven to be two teams , one in either conference that has surprised me in terms of their play. In the West it has been the charge of the Oklahoma City Thunder led by the charge of their ‘formidable duo’ of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook . Coached by Scott Brooks , the sixth placed seeds in the Western Conference currently have a 36-24 record within the Northwest Division of the Western Conference. They currently sit in third place within the division behind the division leading Denver Nuggets (40-21) . This young team may well remind everyone last year’s Trailblazers , in terms of their zeal and play throughout much of the season. And were it not for the play at present of Carmelo Anthony , Kobe Bryant and LeBron James , I’d dare say that most people would not be at all surprised if Durant ended up being the regular season league MVP. He has proven to be that much of an integral part of the Thunder’s success this season. That were it not for him, then quite possibly the team wouldn’t be in the position that they’re in at the moment. Quite literally, they’re on the cusp of obtaining a playoff berth and making their first appearance in the postseason. And it’s something that their fans and ownership are no doubt quite appreciative of and excited about. As to what this will preclude to for the remainder of the season, we’ll just have to wait and see.

<strong> Kevin Durant</strong> (#35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder goes to the basket against Chris Andersen (#11) of the Denver Nuggets  on March 3, 2010 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.  photo appears  courtesy of  NBAE/ Getty Images/ Garrett W Ellwood .............
Kevin Durant (#35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder goes to the basket against Chris Andersen (#11) of the Denver Nuggets on March 3, 2010 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/ Getty Images/ Garrett W Ellwood .............

In the Eastern Conference the belief was the top contenders would be the Cleveland Cavaliers , Boston Celtics (38-21) and Orlando Magic. Well as always, someone forget to send the script to someone who wasn’t suppose to gate crash the party. In this case the recipients have been the Atlanta Hawks. They’ve played themselves into contention and are no doubt proving to be something of a worrying factor in an equation that wasn’t considered by Mike Brown , Doc Rivers or Stan Van Gundy . And for Hawks’ coach Mike Woodson , this may well be the best coaching performance of his career. He has guided this team with a great deal of verve and they’ve all bought into his chain of thought as to what it takes to attain success. And it has become something that has resonated with the Hawks’ fans at the Philips’ Arena in Atlanta , the team’s home venue.

Joe Johnson (#2) of the Atlanta Hawks puts up a shot against the Philadelphia 76ers on February 28, 2010 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.  photo appears courtesy of  NBAE/ Getty Images/  Scott Cunningham  ..............
Joe Johnson (#2) of the Atlanta Hawks puts up a shot against the Philadelphia 76ers on February 28, 2010 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/ Getty Images/ Scott Cunningham ..............

And with that success in terms of the team’s form there has been the recognition for some of the unsung heroes on this team. All Star , Joe Johnson , teammates Josh Smith , Jamal Crawford , Mike Bibby and Al Horford have all played a part in the team’s success this season. And you’d be hard pressed to think that they won’t press ahead under the misapprehension that they’re there just to make up the numbers. They’re out to shock the supposed contenders who presumably everyone felt would be sitting atop of the pile. And nothing spells upset more, than seeing one of the ‘big-wigs’ taken down by one of the presumed lesser lights within the conference. And there’s a great deal to suggest that the Hawks are the team that will not only quite possibly surprise the likes of the Cavs , Celtics and Magic . But who’s to say that they’re not capable beating ‘either’ of the three in a playoff series ? Stranger things have happened over the course of a postseason series and will continue to do so in the NBA. That’s what makes the NBA postseason all the more intriguing.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………

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DMX of Ruff Ryders’ fame gives you ….. ‘Slippin’. Pity he couldn’t keep himself level headed , instead the wheels fell of his particular bike ! This can also be a pointer to the teams on the outside looking in as to what needs to be done if they aspire to claim a playoff berth.

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More from DMX …..’Ruff Ryders’ Anthem’

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports


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

By Brian Mahoney , AP Basketball Writer

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

Story of this game.

Story of the season.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………..

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

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In order to view the gallery’s pictures in full just click unto see each in their full
display. Photos appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images & Associated Press @ copyrighted material ..all rights reserved.

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