A plan of action that just does not seem to be working

A plan of action that just does not seem to be working

Well, three games into the NBA Finals for the 2012-13 season and the postscripts and obituaries could very well be on the verge of being written , as the Miami Heat now find themselves between a rock and a hard place . Down 2-1 in the best of seven-game series , it is hard to imagine how this Heat team can now survive when LeBron James is being poorly supported by what appears to be a cast of disinterested players . Off the court , Erik Spoelstra and his coaching staff are simply being out-coached by a seasoned veteran in Gregg Popovich . I offered an early synopsis of this series by suggesting that this NBA Finals’ series , could very well be that of the a chess match between a Grand Master and a young protégé . Well , Spoelstra is now proving to be less of a protégé and more of a first time novice . And that is hard to believe , when you consider Erick Spoelstra`s resume and his success in guiding the Heat to the 2012 NBA Finals , in their series` victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder .

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Last night was a game for the ages as the San Antonio Spurs rained down threes on a Heat defense , that simply did not know what they had been hit with , and how best to address the play of Gary Neal and Danny Green throughout four quarters of outstanding play . The fact that game three turned into something of an extraordinary blowout , with it being , the third largest margin of victory ever recorded in an NBA Finals’ game , can leave no doubt in any ones` mind how dominant the San Antonio Spurs were said to be on their home-court in last night`s game .

Gregg Popovich for his part , now seeking to add a fifth NBA title to an already legendary and impressive resume` , now knows that he will have to impart a great deal more knowledge to his players , and remind them that they cannot afford to be , at all complacent . The fact that they have Miami on the ropes , having to take a standing eight count , one more body shot , should very well be enough to subdue what has been a very poor performing Miami Heat team in this Finals’ series . . And while LeBron James leads all scorers on this Miami Heat roster during the playoffs . It must be said that he has been subdued and his play has been often pressured and unlike the usually proficient and prolific type of play off production in this series , is definitely not what we have come to expect from the ten-year veteran and four-time League MVP .

If Erik Spoelstra can now be adjudged, as having a problem with the poor and inconsistent play from Dwyane Wade , Chris Bosh , Mario Chalmers , Udonis Haslem , Ray Allen and Chris Anderson . Then it does beg the question , what else can he now ask of a team that has seemingly lost its way , and wherein , their on-court general , LeBron James , simply is now at a loss for words and who cannot navigate through what now appears to be a fully confident San Antonio Spurs , that is now said to be playing some resolutely stout defense ? Spoelstra , his coaching staff and the players will have to answer this very question , while preparing for game four on Thursday night in front of what is sure to be a raucous and vocal home crowd of San Antonio Spurs` fans at the AT&T Center , in San Antonio , Texas looking to will their team to a victory .

A 3-1 lead at that juncture for San Antonio , I believe would leave the Miami Heat with an insurmountable task of having to win three straight games at the American Airlines Arena in Miami , Florida , to close out and make a successful defense of their NBA title . One might deem it to be not out of the realms of possibility , given the team`s home record (37-4) during the regular season . Yet, this is the NBA postseason , the league`s showcase finale and it is where the Miami Heat have proven to be far from convincing at home or away so far during this series as well as in the Eastern Conference Finals in their series against a very young energetic and tough Indiana Pacers’ team .

For the San Antonio Spurs now chasing that fifth NBA title in the franchise’s illustrious history , all under the auspices of team owner , Peter Holt and the steadying presence of Gregg Popovich and GM RC Buford . It does go to show that you don’t necessarily have to be in a market city to be a perennial success while still being able to be a profitable NBA concern . Granted , when witnessing the idiocy of such teams as the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks , who in recent years , have been more known for their rather asinine belief that they can buy their way to success by lavishing exorbitant salaries on players , while getting little in return on that investment, by way of any tangible success. One seriously has to ask why is that these moronic fans try to repeatedly equate mediocrity as being acceptable , and as a degree of success ? It was abundantly clear to see that the New York Knicks` fan in particular , expected far more from their team during the postseason , than they even now would readily care to admit . Yet , it should come as no surprise however , when you hear the rather asinine excuses then proffered up by those less than intelligent fans for the team’s fall from grace during the playoffs . . Lame excuses , clearly showing , a lack of any conceivable intelligence one thought that could be found from a bunch of Neanderthals .

RC Buford and Gregg Popovich have gone about constructing this team with a view of building for the franchise’s long-term future , as well as seeking to be seen as a perennial championship contender . The Spurs’ record over the last seventeen years , simply speaks for itself beyond the legacy of many of their great players of the past . Constituted around their Big Three of Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker . It must be said that the chapter subsequently written after the retirement of David Robinson speaks well of what the franchise has been able to achieve and is likely to achieve with young players such as Danny Green , Gary Neal , Kawhi Leonard , Nando De Colo , Dajuan Blair , Aron Baynes , Patty Mills , Tiago Splitter and Corey Joseph representing the Spurs’ future. Plainly put , other than the Los Angeles Lakers in recent years and that of the Miami Heat . This San Antonio Spurs’ franchise has been the one constant on a landscape within the NBA , that has been simply devoid of creativity , deftness in terms of economic frugality and assuredness . The New York Knicks may well be the most valuable NBA franchise , but I can categorically state that their fans , team owner , James Dolan and GM Glen Grunwald would gladly trade that all , for just one NBA title to be recently added to that franchise’s list of accomplishments over the last decade . Any Knicks’ fans who claim to the contrary, can be considered , itinerant buffoons and complete idiots !

For the Miami Heat , their season now all comes down to this , win games four through seven , otherwise fold your tents and use the off-season to deconstruct what went wrong . Look at the numerous deficiencies on the team , and simply get away from believing the idiotic hype and plaudits being heaped upon a group of players that are simply not as dominant , but who were suggested as impervious , as was being suggested by the likes of imbeciles such as Bill Simmons , Stephen A Smith , Jalen Rose , Magic Johnson , Ernie Johnson and a whole multitude of on air NBA personalities , who have literally drank , way too much of the damn Kool Aid . LeBron James may well be the best player to have donned an NBA uniform since the retirement of Michael Jordan . Yet at this moment in time ” King James is being made to look like a mere mortal and not a basketball God , like the man he hopes to emulate , in terms of having an illustrious NBA career , while making a profound impact upon the game .

For Miami Heat President & General Manager , Pat Riley and team owner , Micky Arison , having assembled a three superstars to supposedly to win multiple NBA titles , garner the Heat franchise even more notoriety than they would be normally accustomed to. While, having appeared , in three consecutive NBA Finals, a commendable feat in of itself, the fact that this team , so highly favored after a franchise record breaking season . It has to be said, that were this team to be summarily be dethroned as defending champions , without much of a tenacious defense of that crown . The questions will be asked not just of a number of players on this roster , but also of the front office executives and their willingness to overspend on talent , far exceeding the NBA salary cap of $58.044 million . A lone title in 2012 , now seems indecent , when one considers the brouhaha made by Bosh , James , Wade and the local media market in Miami , as the franchise’s future dominance of the NBA was said to be a certainty . Well folks , that simply has not happened , and it is now time for the players on the Miami Heat , to put up or simply shut the hell up and stop with the rather mundane excuses for the team’s woes . Real champions , step up to the plate , they do not wait to be asked, nor do they seek to make excuses ! .

Perhaps this should not prove to be either surprising or all that idiotic given the immense propensity for the stupidity shown by the NBA team owners and their fellow executives , the general managers . It seems inconceivable to think that of the sixteen teams to be part of this postseason eleven of those teams have either summarily fired their head coaches or sought not to extend their contracts . And of the NBA’s thirty franchises , there were thirteen coaching vacancies as of Tuesday night . If the rumors are to be believed , then the Boston Celtics’ head coach , Doc Rivers is unlikely to return the team for the 2013-14 NBA season . Team owner , Wyc Grousbeck and GM Danny Ainge are said to be clearly aware of the situation and appear to be offering on the verge of offering Rivers a very lucrative long-term contract , in order to have the coach remain with the franchise . The contract would reputedly make Doc Rivers amongst the highest paid coaches in the NBA , and is rumored to be in the region of a five-year $38 to $40 million contract . With the Celtics thought to be in a rebuilding mode , and veterans Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce said to be on the downside of their respective careers . One can only surmise that Doc Rivers has no wish to be around another process that is likely to take two or three years to make the Boston Celtics , deemed a legitimate contender within the NBA much less the Eastern Conference itself .

With the recent joint retirements of Jason Kidd and Grant Hill , the league has now lost two of its greatest ambassadors for longevity within the NBA . Kidd and Hill were both co-joint Rookies of the Year in 1994 , the year the duo were drafted . Two possible future Hall of Fame inductees ? Well , that remains to be seen , but what we do know for certain , it is that Jason Kidd wishes to fulfill an ambition to be an NBA head coach . The former point guard , is now said to have formally been invited by Brooklyn Nets’ management to interview for the vacant head coach’s position with the franchise , with the now former player said to be an early favorite to succeed the ousted PJ Carlesimo . GM Billy King and team owner, Mikhail Prokhorov are not said to be in a hurry to come to a decision in making a formal announcement . Yet any long and protracted situation , concerning the vacant position , does not bode well , with the upcoming NBA Draft (2013) less than two weeks away. Teams and their executives will be vying to get their staffs together and assess the status the eligible college and international talent that have shown their intent to join the professional ranks of the NBA . A case can be made that the Brooklyn Nets should make the decision now rather than leaving it too close to the eve of the NBA Draft .

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What thoughts if any , do you have concerning the points raised within this article ? Also do you believe that the Miami Heat has it within them to even this series and win it outright , thereby making a successful defense of their NBA title ? Chime with your thoughts on this , and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter , as you see fit .

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(1) Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra watches a team during NBA basketball practice Wednesday, June 12, 2013, in San Antonio. The Heat trail the San Antonio Spurs 2-1 in the best-of-seven games series. Game 4 of the NBA finals series is scheduled for Thursday. A thirty six point loss (113-77) to the Spurs in game three has placed the Miami Heat in a precarious situation . AP Photo/Eric Gay …

(2) San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan, left, and guard Tony Parker, right, of France, talk during a practice on Wednesday, June 12, 2013, in San Antonio. San Antonio will face the Miami Heat in game 4 of the NBA Finals basketball game on Thursday; San Antonio leads the series 2-1 . AP Photo/Eric Gay …

(3) Miami Heat forward LeBron James looks to pass around San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan and Heat’s Chris Andersen during the first half at Game 3 of the NBA Finals basketball series, Tuesday, June 11, 2013, in San Antonio. AP Photo/David J. Phillip …

(4) Joint co NBA Rookies of the Year in 1994 , Grant Hill , left , is seen here with Jason Kidd. The players enjoyed successful collegiate and NBA careers and are almost certain to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame , having met the five-year eligibility requirements . AP Photo / Mark Parrish ………
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A side order of breasts please , just the way I like `em !

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NB: NBA related links to ongoing stories

NBA owners vote to keep Kings in Sacramento

Seattle still without NBA team after relocation denied

Hinkie formally introduced as 76ers president

The Splash Brothers

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It’s The Results That Matter …………………

It’s The Results That Matter

Well the baseball season is slowly unfolding and as it to be expected the highs and low of the season are to be expected . The Minnesota Twins it appears is on its way to becoming synonymous with mediocrity within baseball for this season . It will be interesting to see if the team does indeed end up with the worst record in baseball at season’s end. And for Twins’ manager Ron Gardenhire this can’t have been what he expected for his team and the very fact that their All Star catcher Joe Mauer was lost to the Twins for a prolonged period. The Minnesota Twins for their part have made Target Field in Minnesota something of an elephant’s graveyard with the mediocre play and lack of the real cohesion as a team .

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It would appear having got back to winning ways of sort in defeating the Texas Rangers —- 8-1 one would have thought that victory would enough to provide the Twins’ fans with some form of relief but nothing could be further from the truth. The Minnesota Twins are languishing at the bottom of the NL Central with a 25-39 record , some 10 games behind the division leading Cleveland Indians (34-28). Having won 8 of their last ten games the Twins continue to struggle and one would be hard pressed to believe that over the remainder of the season they could prove to be serious challengers not just for the division but also for a wildcard berth within the AL .

The month of June will tell us a great deal as to the directions that a number of teams will be taking . From a personal standpoint although I just can’t see the Twins making any sort of change that would have me believing that they can actually turn things around . This team appears to be lacking in confidence and I doubt that Gardenhire and his coaching staff can now coax this team to play with any level of consistency in spite of their last ten games. This has been a season thus far that I believe that the Twins’ fans and players would rather forget as they simply move systematically back and forth in terms of an uneven season .

The CONCACAF Gold Cup has started and no doubt Team USA under the management of coach Bob Bradley was hoping to see the team show some improvement as a sign that they are heading in the right direction in lieu of the FIFA —- World Cup (2014) in Brazil in 2012 . The team is off to an inauspicious start in Group C having played three games , winning one , a draw and a rather embarrassing 2-1 loss to Panama . If anything this result shows that Bradley faces a stiff challenging a team that will have the right traits not only to qualify for the World Cup but also have some semblance in winning the Gold Cup.

Viewed as a pre tournament contender and favorite alongside Mexico the team still stands a good chance of making out of the group qualifying rounds before the format of the tournament then becomes a knockout competition . Starved of an out and out attacker with formidable goal scoring talent this has simply been the Bradley’s biggest lament . In the tournament the team’s joint top scorers are Clint Dempsey are Clarence Goodson with one goal apiece . I have always maintained that the real problem with the game of soccer resonating amongst the large majority of the fans here comes from the very fact that it is merely viewed as a recreational pass-time . And even though MLS a divisional endeavor is up and running the league itself still struggles to create any form of a seismic rumble amongst fans . Granted with the number of international stars acquired to add some glamor to the league it really hasn’t helped given the fact that the likes of Thierry Henry , David Beckham and Maicon Santos are either players who were unable to establish themselves domestically in their respective countries or in the cases of Henry and Beckham their best is simply now a thing of the past.

This Gold Cup was obviously viewed as a precursor for the upcoming World Cup and with Bradley obviously wanting gain some semblance of consistency instead he now has a team that is bereft of creativity and ideas in light of this rather humiliating 2-1 loss to Panama a team that seven times out of ten they should beat handily .

The team now faces a stern test in their next game to be played with Group C against Guadeloupe on the 14 th June . A win is a necessity if they’re to not only qualify from the group but also gain a favorable match-up in the knockout phase of the competition . It remains to be seen whether or not Bradley will be able to regroup his players and have them ready in time for the match .

At the start of the NBA season it seemed that in large part the vast majority of fans were already prepared to anoint the Miami Heat as NBA champions even before the season had started . With the acquisitions of Chris Bosh and LeBron James to add alongside Dwyane Wade it appeared that all the Heat had to do was to simply waltz their way through their schedule and lay waste to the opposition during the postseason . Well as stories go this was a script that was still being written for the drama that would be played out in the NBA Finals .

The Dallas Mavericks may well be viewed as the underdogs coming into this series but if anything only a fool would actually have felt that way and there’s a reason why Vegas simply lured the suckers in with the odds favoring the Heat . Up 3-2 in the best of seven game series and with the final two games being on the Heat’s home-court of AAA Arena , Miami , Florida in order to close out the series . The Heat players in particular James and Wade knew exactly what was on the line for them not only in terms of the team players but the franchise as a whole . Team President Pat Riley and team owner Micky Arison’s master plan had been put into effect. An assortment of role players to surround their trio of superstars and all that had to be completed would be the defeat of the Mavericks to justify the whole experiment and season as a whole .
If only the Heat players and in particular James , Wade and Bosh had left their enormous egos at the door ! Instead we saw how complacent all three had become and the classness of their demeanor throughout much of the series . And for Erik Spoelstra one has to wonder whether or not some of the blame will be layed at his door beyond that of the players and in particular the triumvirate of superstars ?

Contempt and ignorance when it manifests itself in a team , then more often than not it tends to lead to disaster and it became a reality for the Miami Heat as their hold on what they believe to be rightfully theirs was taken right out of their presumed grasp by a Mavericks’ team that simply hungered for the title even more so than their opponent . Dirk Nowitzki along with Jason Terry and JJ Barea simply showed why at times it’s great to see the good guys actually win ! The trio led the team by example and outplayed the Heat when it mattered most and by securing the deciding game six victory 105-95 the Dallas Mavericks would secure the organization’s first NBA title . And for the victorious team owner Mark Cuban this had to be the most relishing moment in his tenure as the owner of the basketball club .
Perhaps the most heart warming moment after the Finals had ended was in knowing that seasoned veterans Jason Terry , Nowitzki and Jason Kidd could finally acknowledge that they can indeed now be looked upon as being champions .

Dirk Nowitzki justifiably so , was named Finals MVP with his stellar play throughout the postseason and the Finals itself . On the flip side of the case that will now be made ……….. was the hyperbole over the Heat simply worth it considering how lackluster this team’s performances were ? We had James and Wade mocking Nowitzki’s illness prior to game 6 and even if it were meant in jest it showed how lacking in class the duo were ! Pretty much sums up how best to describe a bunch of self absorbed athletes who simply believe that the entitlement mentality and adoration makes them the persons that they are ! From my own perspective I am thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle of seeing the Heat being hoisted on their own petards in front of their home crowd . It makes that defeat all the more embarrassing not just for the fans but the whole organization as a whole . Perhaps after this James and Wade will have at least learned some civility rather than the odious behavior that they’d shown throughout much of the regular and postseason. The results matter but so too does the demeanor under which a team carries themselves during a sporting event and that simply wasn’t shown here with the Miami Heat. Decorum was never within their sphere as they simply strolled around without any deference to anyone at all !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JUNE 11: Arthur Rhodes (53) of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Minnesota Twins during the eighth inning of their game on June 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …..

(2) Delmon Young (21) of the Minnesota Twins singles against the Texas Rangers during the first inning of their game on June 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …….

(3) Ben Revere (11) of the Minnesota Twins steals second base as shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) of the Texas Rangers catches the ball during the fourth inning of their game on June 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ………..

(4) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JUNE 11: Alexi Casilla (12) of the Minnesota Twins hits an RBI single while Mike Napoli (25) of the Texas Rangers defends home plate during the fourth inning of their game on June 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ….

(5) Clarence Goodson (21) of Team United States celebrates his goal against Team Panama during the CONCACAF Gold Cup Match at Raymond James Stadium on June 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Getty Images / J Meric ……..

(6) Jozy Altidore (17) of Team United States advances the ball against Team Panama during the CONCACAF Gold Cup Match at Raymond James Stadium on June 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. J Meric / Getty Images North America ….

(7) Team Panama celebrates their victory over Team United States during the CONCACAF Gold Cup Match at Raymond James Stadium on June 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images North America ……

(8) Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban carries the NBA Championship basketball trophy as he leads the team off the jet after their arrival at Love Field in Dallas, Monday, June 13, 2011. The Mavericks beat the Heat to win the championship. AP Photo/LM Otero ….

(9) “I am not a pussy . ” LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat looks on dejected against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …..

(10) Tyson Chandler (right) of the Dallas Mavericks attempts a shot against Miami Heat in the Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. AFP PHOTO / POOL / David J. Phillip ……

(11) TOPSHOTS : Dirk Nowitzki(notes) (R) of the Dallas Mavericks shoots before Chris Bosh(notes) (L) of the Miami Heat during Game 6 of the NBA Finals on June 12, 2011 at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida. AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT ….

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Ship Ahoy ………. Look Out For Another Mystery That’s About To Take On A Life Of Its Own

Ship Ahoy ………. Look Out For Another Mystery That’s About To Take On A Life Of Its Own

So here we are and with the ongoing NFL work stoppage now looking as if it’s liable to be a prolonged situation . It no longer comes as a surprise to me that the players are looking to paint the league and the team owners in a poor light. At the same time the league hierarchy isn’t about to make any concessions only seeking to further make this embattled situation more intolerable for the fans . At this juncture it’s pretty safe to say the longer the situation goes on the more suspect that I am the league schedule for the proposed 2011 season won’t commence on time as projected for the 3rd September . Suffice to say that both Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith as the highest ranked executives within the NFL and NFLPA might just be the most despised individuals in professional sports at present.

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Drew Brees in a public statement made the claim that the NFL were circled _____ that their target was indeed the NFLPA like sharks smelling blood after the death of former union executive director Gene Upshaw as they left it would be the right time to seek a change in what was the collective bargaining agreement as it stood at the time. I’m not so sure that I’d disagree with the claims being made by Brees but at the same time I’ve also got to question the confrontational approach of the union as this has all played itself out. From my own standpoint as this idiocy plays itself out and with there now being talk of the NBA quite possibly having their own problems with there also being a lockout there as well I can’t help but wonder when the next shoe will drop. David Stern and his counterpart Billy Hunter are now trying to create the perception that they are capable of acting like mature adults , albeit that the league hierarchy seems to be frustrated at the divergence in the differing views as to what’s best for the league. Union President Derek Fisher and the executive committee has said that the union isn’t prepared to make any concessions without the league itself acceding to the union’s own demands . Given the financial instability of the NBA and the fact that they are projected to lose in excess of $450 million for the fiscal year 2011 .

The NFL is up the creek without a paddle and it appears that the NBA isn’t that far behind as to their stupidity . The NBA’s postseason show case event the NBA Finals are now front and center with the Dallas Mavericks taking on the Miami Heat . A clash of styles and with a quartet of All Stars in Dirk Nowitzki , <a href=”http://nba.com/playerfile/lebron_james/”&gt; LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade . This series has the makings of being a classic if both teams play up to their true potential . But with that being said I can’t help but wonder if the outcome could once again be the same as before when these two teams last met in an NBA Finals in 2006 . The Mavericks would go on to lose that series 4-2 in what turned out to be very much a lopsided finals’ series . The Heat for their part during that series saw Finals MVP Dwyane Wade have a memorable NBA Finals in leading the team to their sole win of a championship. For then coach Pat Riley that would be his fourth NBA title as a coach over the course of his already legendary NBA career.

With Riley now as the team President he now has his protege` Erik Spoelstra coaching this star studded team . The young coach along with his Dallas Mavericks’ counterpart Rick Carlisle are both looking for their first title as a coach. And for Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban and team GM Donnie Walsh they may well now see this as the organization’s chance at redemption. The acquisition of Tyson Chandler has certainly bolstered the mindset of this Mavericks’ team . Certainly throughout this postseason Dirk Nowitzki has been playing like a man on a mission and he’s been ably assisted by a supporting cast that have simply stepped up to the plate .

The Dallas Mavericks for their part made light work of the Oklahoma City Thunder in a thoroughly convincing fashion defeating Scott Brooks’ team —- 4-1 . For many this result may not have come as a surprise but I for one certainly didn’t feel that the Thunder would wilt so easily but then again with this being such an inexperienced team it is understandable that they would succumb under such circumstances.

The Miami Heat are heavily favored to win this series match-up and with their dynamic trio all playing at a </ahigh caliber this postseason showcase event could either be suspenseful or an unmitigated disaster with the Heat simply walking over the Dallas Mavericks with a great deal of ease. I’d certainly like to think that Mavericks will abate all our fears and make this a memorable NBA Finals ! I’ve no doubt that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade would like disprove that although the Mavericks may well have won their regular season series 2-0 the postseason becomes a completely different environment altogether. There’s a great deal more on the line and as such NBA immortality and a legacy to play for as well as an NBA title. That should be enough an incentive for both teams to showcase their undoubted talent and supply the discerning NBA fan with the best possible extravaganza that they can witness . With a worldwide audience approaching 500 million hoping to witness the event ABC as the host broadcast network will be looking to magnify the brand of the NBA as well as their own broadcast talents. And I am sure that David Stern will be hoping that the emerging markets will like what they see. The NBA brand has reached its maturation and saturation point within North America and the league hierarchy now has to look elsewhere to see how best to make the game still a viable and profitable concern. God knows with the mismanagement of the league and the financial mismanagement amongst the teams by their owners and the respective general managers and you can well understand why the league wants a thoroughly entertaining series . Anything that can showcase the league as a entertaining concern would undoubtedly make the NBA a lure for the fan.

As a bye note can someone explain to me how it is that all of a sudden idiocy rears its ugly head with the regard to the comparisons and contrasts with regard to the careers of LeBron James and Michael Jordan . Now looking to add their own thoughts on the matter happens to be none other than Jordan’s former teammate and fellow Hall of Fame inductee Scottie Pippen . The former Bulls’ player stated in a radio interview with hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic on their morning radio show “Mike & Mike” would state that Jordan being the game’s greatest scorer but James to his mind can be considered to be the game’s greatest player. Perhaps his statement can be misconstrued but in reality the idiocy of that statement at this juncture simply doesn’t make that much sense . James has yet to win a title and when I last looked two consecutive league MVP awards simply means nothing albeit that there’s a a couple of scoring titles to be added to that resume`. LeBron James needs to win NBA multiple titles before the contrasts and comparison can actually be made . Scottie needs to take a chill pill , quieten down before he alienates himself not only within the city of Chicago but also with his former teammates . If there’s one thing I know…… you simply don’t bite the fu#king hand that feeds you and for Scottie Pippen the hand that fed him was indeed Michael Jeffrey Jordan ! Enough said on the matter I do believe !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Simply chime in with a comment on your thoughts as to the points raised within this piece and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………………….

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 03: New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees makes his way into the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building for the NFL negotiations on March 3, 2011 in Washington, DC. Photo by Rod Lamkey/Getty Images ……….

(2) Drew Brees has organized workouts for his teammates while trying to organize labor negotiating efforts with NFL owners.
Jonathan Bachman/Cal Sport Media ……

(3) Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, right, watches fellow teammate Jason Terry, left, during practice on Sunday, May 29, 2011, in Dallas. AP Photo/Mike Fuentes ……

(4) Miami Heat basketball players LeBron James (left) and Dwyane Wade talk to the media after a practice session in Miami, Sunday, May 29, 2011. The Heat will play the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the NBA basketball finals on Tuesday . AP Photo/J Pat Carter ………

(5) Jordan and Pippen in a moment of triumph , one of many that the duo had over the course of their career with the Chicago Bulls. Also pictured is Steve Kerr a multiple title winner himself.

(6) A young LeBron James (left) gets the chance to meet his idol Michael Jordan . courtesy of je520wordpress.com ……

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

Alan aka tophatal ………………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’re Only As Good As Your Last Game ……. Unfortunately If Your Last Game Was Good As The Ones That’ve Been Played By The Cavaliers and Wizards Then Than That’s Not Saying A Great Deal ………….. !

You’re Only As Good As Your Last Game ……. Unfortunately If Your Last Game Was Good As The Ones That’ve Been Played By The Cavaliers and Wizards Then Than That’s Not Saying A Great Deal ………….. !

I’m sorry but being an avid NBA fan I’ve always loved the spirit of competition and that goes through a whole litany of sports that I’ve either grown up participating in or watching from afar. At present but there’s no other way to explain it but there really are some god-damn awful teams in the league at present . And it’s clearly down to the lack of real quality coaches in the NBA and the very fact that in large part many of the players simply aren’t that good.

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At present the two worst teams in the league record wise are Minnesota Timberwolves (11-30) and the preposterously bad Cleveland Cavaliers (8-39). I’m sorry but not even Byron Scott can now coach this team out of the mess that they’re in. Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert may well have made the fans in Cleveland a promise that a NBA title banner would be raised inside the Quicken Loans Arena before LeBron James and the Miami Heat would be a led to title by the former Cavaliers’ player. And I know that as of late the Heat have had their problems in the league with a number of setbacks and the fact that their triumvirate of James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade have suddenly become injury prone and the very fact that the team’s —- productivity has been a little inconsistent . Well it won’t hide the fact that they’re still one of the teams to beat in the Eastern Conference .

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra I’ve no doubt is a capable coach and will right the ship and I can see them contending . The same however cannot be said of the Cavaliers as they descend into an abyss of mediocrity. There’s not been enough that can be said about this team as they have lost 20 consecutive games . And if you thought that statistic was bad then you’ve only got to simply look at the team’s statistics to see how bad things have really become for the organization as a whole. Even with a veteran such as Antawn Jamison on board the Cavaliers simply hasn’t had an answer for any of their opponents that they’ve met this season.

It goes without saying that the only hope that the Cleveland Cavaliers may now have is to go for broke and simply just “tank the season” in the hope that they can earn one of the top picks in the 2011 NBA Draft. And with there being such an abundance of talent in the college ranks namely Kemba Walker , Jared Sullinger , Darius Morris , Marcus Morris , Jimmer Fredette , and Kyle Singler amongst a litany young college players who’ll be looking to make their mark at the professional level. It may well on appearance not be such a bad thing were the Cavaliers to go down that particular path. At this juncture I’m wondering also how Dan Gilbert’s demeanor has to be doing . In an offseason where he berates LeBron James for abandoning the team , I find it mildly amusing that much of this could have been avoided had both parties involved acted with common courtesy rather than letting this idiotic play out in public for their own personal consumption !

Now while no one can deny that John Wall had a stellar collegiate career with the Kentucky Wildcats but his career thus far with the Washington Wizards (13-35) has been anything but average at best. And while praise has been heaped upon the player I can’t help but feel that they’re simply not good enough to be even competitive within the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference. A number one overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft Wall was seen as the corner piece of this team with him perhaps working in part alongside Gilbert Arenas . But alas, that wasn’t to be as the seasoned veteran was shipped off to the Orlando Magic as part of a multi-player multi-team deal .

Say what you will but the Wizards’ fans in attendance at the Verizon Center in Washington , DC can’t have envisaged this all unfolding as a spectacle in front of their very eyes. Their season has been bad enough as it is with the inconsistency playing to all facets of the Wizards’ game . And with what has taken place with the Washington Redskins and their rather mundane season under the tenure of Mike Shanahan , Kyle Shanahan and that rather mediocre coaching staff , in truth one could have a great deal of sympathy for the fans in the nation’s capitol. It’s not as if the Washington Nationals were about to provide them with any solace whatsoever. Although the fans are holding out for a change in fortunes for the team this upcoming season at the Nationals Ballpark . I’d say at this moment in time they’d be better off praying for hell to freeze over first before they can see any of the three teams in question actually turn themselves into championship contenders.

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I’m not so sure as to what needs to be done in order for the Washington Wizards to be competitive. From a coaching standpoint this young roster needs to learn as much as they can as fast as they can if they’re to show any semblance of progress . And that’s the real task that Flip Saunders is now facing even with the assistance of his coaching staff led by Randy Wittman and former NBA player Sam Cassell . If this staff cannot get this Wizards’ team heading in the right direction then to my mind then the turnaround in fortunes that they seek won’t be happening anytime soon ! And that will be to the embarrassment of the Wizards’ front office , GM Ernie Grunfeld and that of principal managing partner Ted Leonsis .

Now when these two teams meet at the Verizon Center I’d certainly like to think that the NBA hierarchy won’t have the temerity to make this part of the national broadcast or through their cable broadcast on their own in-house provider NBA Tv . As poor as the two teams have been playing I certainly don’t think that the nation ought to have to endure such garbage ! Simply put , this will do absolutely nothing to enhance the brand of the NBA , certainly not the brand and product that has given us Jordan , Kareem , Malone , Ewing , Magic Johnson , the 95-96 Bulls’ team and a slew of other NBA greats !

As an avid fan of the game just like any other NBA fan I’d prefer to see competitive games with levels of dexterity and athleticism . Unfortunately when the Cavaliers and Wizards meet on Sunday 13 th February that’s unlikely to happen ! Somehow I think at this juncture I’m sure that David Stern is looking for options if not a chance perhaps to ask that both teams simply settle the result of the game by playing checkers rather than subjecting the nation to this particular form of mediocrity on an NBA basketball court .

What thoughts if any do you have on the NBA season and the woefully inept form of the teams lumbering at the bottom of their respective divisions ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on this topic and any other as it relates to the NBA .

Alan aka tophatal

Picture and slide show details immediately below .

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(1)Memphis Grizzlies’ Zach Randolph, right, knocks the ball away from Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love in the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Minneapolis. Randolph was charged with a foul on the play. AP Photo/Jim Mone ……….

(2) Minnesota Timberwolves’ Darko Milicic, center, of Serbia, crouches between Memphis Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol, left, of Spain, and Sam Young in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Minneapolis. AP Photo/Jim Mone ….

(3) Danny Granger (33) of the Indiana Pacers shoots against Christian Eyenga (8) of the Cleveland Cavaliers at The Quicken Loans Arena on February 2, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images ……

(4)Fans hope for the end of the Cleveland Cavaliers losing streak, in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers continued a disappointing season, losing 117-112 to the Pacers, as the streak reached 22 straight. I’d like to think that the Cavaliers’ fans have now become very much more appreciative of the team’s losing streak and their continued mediocre effort being shown on the court ? AP Photo/Mark Duncan …….

(5)Cleveland Cavaliers’ Manny Harris shoots against Indiana Pacers’ Mike Dunleavy, right, in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Cleveland. The Pacers won 117-112 to hand the Cavaliers their 22nd straight loss. AP Photo/Mark Duncan …..

(6) Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott, center, is flanked by his coaching staff, from left, Paul Pressey, Chris Jent, Jamahl Mosley and Joe Prunty , Monday September 27th 2010 at the team’s training facility in Independence ,Ohio ,. Picture courtesy of Associated Press .

(7) Alonzo Gee (33) of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives against the Indiana Pacers at The Quicken Loans Arena on February 2, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images ……

(8) Washington Wizards point guard John Wall walks onto the court at the end of a timeout in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Hornets in New Orleans, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011. Wall shot two for 11 with four points in Washington’s 97-89 loss to New Orleans. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky ………..

(9) Washington Wizards head coach Flip Saunders reacts to an official’s call in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Hornets in New Orleans, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011. New Orleans defeated Washington 97-89. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky ……

(10) Washington Wizards guard Nick Young, right, shoots over New Orleans Hornets forward Jason Smith during the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011. New Orleans defeated Washington 97-89, despite a game-high 30 points from Young. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky ……..

(11) LeBron James smiles as he’s introduced to the crowd at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School with owner Dan Gilbert, left, general manager Danny Ferry, second from the left, and coach Mike Brown, second from the right. In happier times the quartet saw untold success from a competitive and financial standpoint but the past offseason led to a tumultuous upheaval with Danny Ferry re-signing as general manager , Mike Brown being fired and as we all know James left the Cavaliers to ply his trade elsewhere with the Miami Heat. Gus Chan / The Plain Dealer ….

(12) Billionaire internet and media mogul Ted Leonsis the principal owner of the Washington Wizards as well as the NHL’s —- Washington Capitals . Leonsis and his partners bought the Wizards from the late Abe Pollin and his family . Courtesy of The Washington Post/ Getty Images/ Christian Hascher …………

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NB: Click on the links shown below to read the latest news and views around the NBA .

NBA News ……………

NBA Standings ………. Conference

Division

Daily Statistics

NBA Team Statistics

NBA scores & results

Tuesday results

Thursday’s scheduled games

Friday’s scheduled games

Saturday’s scheduled games

Sunday’s scheduled games

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Cavaliers’ news

Wizards’ news

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Junk-in-the-trunk

Eye candy ………………. Meet ‘Biscuits’ whose assets seem to be very well rounded wouldn’t you say ?

Continue reading “You’re Only As Good As Your Last Game ……. Unfortunately If Your Last Game Was Good As The Ones That’ve Been Played By The Cavaliers and Wizards Then Than That’s Not Saying A Great Deal ………….. !”

News With A Twist ……………….. And The Ridiculous

News With A Twist ……………….. And The Ridiculous

It may not help but it’d now appear that with the plea agreement accepted the world for former NFL great Lawrence Taylor has come full circle. His lust for still wanting to be part of of the spotlight having retired from football has now landed right back in front of the camera for all of the wrong reasons. In order to avoid jail time the player accepted a plea deal wherein he admits to adding to the delinquency of a minor and sexual solicitation for pecuniary gain and needs. Taylor will now become a registered sex offender and be subjected six years probation. And while the prosecutors are entirely happy with this verdict it doesn’t say enough about what took place behind the scenes concerning this case. As we now find out the player also assisted Federal authorities (FBI & Justice Dept ) in the tracking down and subsequent arrest of several felons who’d been involved in the trafficking of young females across state lines for the procurement of sex . This is now a growing epidemic that has swept across the nation and has led in many cases to the sexual assault and death of several underage teens. What might be even more striking is the fact that this type of crime doesn’t only involve young girls but now young boys as well.

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Now it goes without saying that Taylor’s life and troubles inside and outside of football have been well chronicled . From cocaine and drug abuse to allegations domestic violence Lawrence Taylor’s life has been one big maelstrom and hooplah of ups and downs. A Hall of Famer and two time winning Superbowl player to a now convicted felon and sex offender . How the mighty have fallen and with all this come the embarrassment to his wife and children. This simply goes to show fame and fortune has its peaks and troughs but in the case of former Giants’ great his head never left the trough .

Not wanting to make a complete ass of himself as if the “The Decision Interview” co-opted with Jim Gray wasn’t enough Miami Heat player LeBron James tried to explain to the fans and public that a < 'tweet' sent from his ‘Twitter’ account and directed at Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert in which stated ………………”Karma is a bitch” ! Well those very words now seem to have come back to have bitten James and his teammates in the ass. Having lost a recent game to the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center . The team , albeit without James were routed by the Denver Nuggets in their subsequent game at the Pepsi Center —— 130-101 .

Now one might ask if after all of this James with his rather immature behavior will now finally get it into his head that for all of the empathy he seeks he will not be forgiven by the fans there in Cleveland because of his betrayal. It’s agreed that both James and Gilbert could’ve handled the situation better with regard to his departure without a doubt. But now it appears that this pristine image that the player tries to purvey has become burdensome for him and he’s now beginning to like a complete ass some of us took him to be after that ludicrous self aggrandizing interview conducted by Jim Gray coming courtesy of ESPN . If anything it shows how far both sides in this case , the network hand player have gone to overhype a non-event for what they believed it to be worth at the time.

James if anything having taken the night off due what we’re told is an ankle sprain had better get back on court because it looks as if teammates Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are mere microcosms of themselves when he’s not on the court with them. I’ve always maintained that Bosh was along for the ride on this roller coaster while James and Wade would simply supply with all of the highlight reels and entertainment the fans sought. Now this team along with the coaching staff led by coach Erik Spoelstra will have to put things right back on track .

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So the New York Jets’ Antonio Cromartie believes Tom Brady to be a spoilt unsportsmanlike individual after his gametime demeanor during the Jets’ 45-3 loss to the New England Patriots earlier in the season . Brady’s antics it’s believe infuriated Cromartie and his teammates after he gesticulated and pointed towards the New York Jets’ fans in attendance after the Patriots had scored a touchdown , one of many I might on their way to that now infamous rout.

If Cromartie wants to be seen as a professional shouldn’t the question that he ought to be asking himself is why he and the team played so badly and were unable to defeat the Patriots on the day ? Instead in his recent interview concerning this weekend’s divisional matchup between the two teams he went into an expletive driven tirade against the Pats’ quarterback which has since been defended to an extent by Jets’ coach Rex Ryan who states that this is merely two teams showing their dislike for each other . I hope he’s of the same opinion should his team be on the losing end of this game ! Cromartie on the other hand should count himself lucky that he’s still able grace the NFL stage given his off the field issues , his 9 children with eight different women including his wife are as such in dire need of financial support but yet here sits a player who’s only means of attention is denigrate one of his peers because his team was simply made to look bad while all Brady was simply doing was celebrating a touchdown during a game. What’s wrong with this picture ?

Well Cam Newton has declared for the NFL Draft ? Who didn’t see that coming down the pike ? I guess all that’s left now is for his father Cecil to now represent his son at the professional level as an agent because in essence that was what he has been essentially doing at the collegiate level. With that being said it should come as no surprise that NCAA President Mark Emmert now wants to tighten if not close the loopholes which have allowed Newton , Terrelle Pryor and several of his Buckeye teammates to basically flout NCAA rules without so much as a mere hint of punishment being levied upon the players for their transgressions. This coming from what I believe to the most corrupt organization in the country besides that of Mafia and US Congress and Senate . The NCAA has and always will be considered a joke never mind the ‘ idiots’ who oversee the BCS ! Trying to figure out what it is these bodies have to offer the public at large much less the sport’s fan in general is like trying to count the grains of sand on the beach while the tide comes in and there being a gust of wind blowing !
Is there a real reason behind their existence other than to look completely stupid and bereft of any intelligence whatsoever ?

What thoughts if any do you have on the topics raised within this piece ? Simply chime on with a comment as to your thoughts and as alwauys thanks for the continued support !

NB: Picture and slide show gallery details .

(1) This May 6, 2010 file photo shows Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor leaving the Ramapo Police Department in Suffern, N.Y. Taylor pleaded guilty Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011 to sexual misconduct and patronizing a prostitute, misdemeanor charges that carry no jail time but require him to register as a sex offender. AP/ Kathy Willens ……….

(2) Former NFL Players Dieon Sanders and Lawrence Taylor talk on stage during the 2010 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 25, 2009 in New York City. Getty Images/ Jeff Zelevansky ……

(3) Taylor (left) is seen here with his defense attorney Arthur Aidala at his arraignment hearing in May of 2010 to hear the charges he faced on statutory rape the solicitation of a prostitute and adding to the delinquency of a minor. The hearing took place in New City , New York. AP/ Rod Carpenter ……

(4) Taylor is seen here with his lawyer Arthur Aidala at his trial and hearing as to sentencing at Federal court in New City, New York . AP Photo/ Mark Walls ………….

(5) New York Jets coach Rex Ryan , center, reacts near the end of the Jets’ 28-21 win over the New England Patriots in NFL divisional playoff football game in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011. AP Photo/Winslow Townson ….

(6) New England Patriots tight end Alge Crumpler (82) delivers a stiff-arm to New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie (31) during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011. AP Photo/Stephan Savoia ……

(7) Los Angeles , Ca,. January 12 th 2011 . LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat warms up before taking on the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on January 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Players are wearing special warmups recognizing the one year anniversary of ongoing efforts of recovery from the earthquake in Haiti on January 12-13 2010. Copyright 2011 NBAE Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images …..

[8] LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat is fouled by Blake Griffin (32) of the Los Angeles Clippers during a 111-105 Clipper win at the Staples Center on January 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ….

(9) Chris Bosh (1) of the Miami Heat grabs a rebound away from Al Harrington (7) of the Denver Nuggets as Mike Miller (13) of the Heat watche the action at the Pepsi Center on January 13, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Heat 130-102 . Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ….

(10) In this Dec. 11, 2010, file photo, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton holds the trophy during a news conference after winning the Heisman award, in New York. Newton will forgo his senior season and make himself eligible for the 2011 National Football League Draft. AP Photo/Craig Ruttle …..

Alan aka tophatal ……………………….

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Amy Leigh Andrews

Eye candy of the eye popping kind . Playboy stunner Amy Leigh Andrews

It’s your duty to want to tap this booty.

Amy isn’t afraid to show her softer side as we can all see.
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Outkast ………..“Hey Ya”

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Winding Down Or Winding Up As The Case Maybe

Winding Down Or Winding Up As The Case Maybe

Like me I suppose for the rest of you the topic and I do mean topic of conversation in the sports world may well have rested on LeBron James’ announcement that he was leaving Cleveland to resume his NBA career in Miami with the Miami Heat . Glasses were raised on South Beach while the once loyal fans of James in Cleveland showed their “disdain” for the player by burning his jersey replicas and whatever else they had in their possession associated with player. Not to be outdone Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert had a scalding reprimand for the player and essentially called him a coward.

Now far be it for me to show no real concern over this but once ESPN and their reporter Jim Gray chose to bilk this story for far more than it was worth , I essentially became tired of the story and of James the self appointed ” King” without a kingdom . Now don’t get me wrong with James now joining the Heat along also the recently acquired Chris Bosh to play with Dwyane Wade . This has now in essence made the Heat the presumptive favorites in the Eastern Conference and a legitimate challenger to the Los Angeles Lakers and the defense of their NBA title .

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Now while all of this has come into play perhaps the two proudest and most certainly the happiest are Heat team President Pat Riley and the team’s multi-billionaire owner Micky Arison who also happens to be the owner of Carnival Cruise Lines . My concern now has to be for the Heat’s coach Erik Spoelstra , given the fact that Riley engineered this coup-d’etat with little or no input from his coach. And with that in mind I wonder if Spoelstra will go now the same way of his predecessor Stan Van Gundy ? We all know that Van Gundy was relieved of his position so that Riley could make a quick exit from his executive position to take charge of the team win an a title and then relinquish the coach’s position and make a quick return back to his executive duties. Could this once again happen given the fact that the Heat now has Bosh , James and Wade all on the same team and with the lure there for Riley to return to the fray of coaching ? If I were Spoelstra at this juncture I’d be deeply concerned and looking over my shoulder with each passing second to see if Riley were there and whether or not he had a dagger in his hand !

Now while this has been going on the African continent and the country of South Africa has been hosting the World Cup. Outside the Summer Olympics this might just be the most watched sporting event and spectacle on the planet. FIFA President Joseph (“Sepp”) Blatter says that he expects as many as 700 million viewers worldwide to tune in and watch the finals itself. It has now all come down to this with the 64th and final game of the competition between Spain and the Netherlands . And though Spain would prevail as the 1-0 victors from a goal scored by Andres Iniesta in overtime , the game itself was something of a monotonous bore. With each team failing to convert a number of chances during regulatory play. As to what this might suggest to the first time observer of the sport I’ll leave that up to you to decide !

The most recent edition of FHM an adult oriented male magazine dealing in a wide range of topics issued their list of the “100 Sexiest Women In The World” and specifically dealt with their final top ten . Nothing wrong in that by my way of thinking but then again not all heterosexual males might well feel happy with FHM’s findings and their end result. Much like Maxim Magazine has its own list of their Top 100 Most Desirable Females , I for one feel that it’s something of a trade off in order to create some hype and controversy between the two publications on their observations and then leaving it for their patrons to continue to argue over or discuss !

And amongst FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women (2010) they have Desire Siahaan , Freida Pinto , Megan Fox and slew of bodacious looking females that would be enough to make a guy salivate and drool like a newborn child . But then again what grown man doesn’t when looking at a voluptuous and beautiful female ? My own thoughts on the matter goes with the old saying ………..”beauty is in the eye of the beholder” .

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Picture gallery for your perusal. Click on frame to see the picture in its original format.

Chime in with a comment if you so wish and your thoughts on the sporting weekend in general.

NB: Click on the link provided to view the list of FHM’s Sexiest Women In The World For 2010 . You will most certainly enjoy this pictorial . And that I can assure you will be the least of your concerns !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………….. 🙂

Black Sheep ………………………. “The Choice Is Yours”

Hey Pat You’re Going ’bout Things The Wrong Way ……… Dwyane Ain’t Comin’ Back If The Heat Are This Bad !

Hey Pat You’re Going ’bout Things The Wrong Way ……… Dwyane Ain’t Comin’ Back If The Heat Are This Bad !

If you thought that billionaire cruise line operator and NBA sport’s franchise owner , Micky Arison had problems, then you’d be absolutely right. The economic downturn being what it is, Arison and his company, Carnival Cruise Lines , has seen something of a drop-off in not only revenues but also in terms of passengers being able to afford cruises aboard his luxury vessels and cruise liners. A marketing push has been started by the company to lure passengers back to the fine art of cruising , traveling the seas and enjoying one’s self amongst the camaraderie on-board a cruise ship .

<strong>  Pat Riley (l), Erik Spoelstra , team  head coach (center) and  right  ,team owner , Micky  Arison </strong>.    Here  the  three are  seen  after  the   formal  announcement  had  been  made  that  Riley  would  return  to the front office  of  the   Miami  Heat  to  resume his  duties  as  President of  Basketball Operations   and  General Manager of the  team.   Spoelstra  would  assume  the  position  as  coach  of the  Miami   Heat.   photo  appears   courtesy of   Associated Press /  Mark   Thomas   ..............
Pat Riley (l), Erik Spoelstra , team head coach (center) and right ,team owner , Micky Arison . Here the three are seen after the formal announcement had been made that Riley would return to the front office of the Miami Heat to resume his duties as President of Basketball Operations and General Manager of the team. Spoelstra would assume the position as coach of the Miami Heat. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press / Mark Thomas ..............

Arison for all of his brilliance as a businessman has seen limited success with his sport’s endeavors , with regard to his ownership of the Miami Heat. Granted, the franchise has to its name , its lone NBA title won (2006) under the tutelage of NBA coaching great, Pat Riley. But since that win , with both Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal< at the helm to lead the charge to NBA championship glory. Things for the franchise have literally cooled off. Were it to get any colder , then the streets of Miami and South Beach would be littered with ice , several inches of snow , sledges, Eskimos and Alaskan huskies. That’s how bad things have now gotten for the team and their young head coach, Erik Spoelstra. The coach was Riley’s hand picked successor, having succeeded the NBA legend , after his return to the Heat’s front office as President of Basketball Operations and the team’s de-facto General Manager. Power they say ‘corrupts’ but for Pat Riley , it seems to be an elixir that even he simply can’t ever seem to get enough of . It was the same way when he was the head coach of the New York Knicks and it may well have been the thing that led to his abrupt departure from the franchise , after his contentious relationship with team owner, James Dolan.

<strong> Dwyane Wade (#3) </strong> of the Miami Heat lays one in against the Toronto Raptors during a game on January 27, 2010 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  photo  appears courtesy  of  <strong> NBAE/Getty Images/</strong> Ron  Turner  .................
Dwyane Wade (#3) of the Miami Heat lays one in against the Toronto Raptors during a game on January 27, 2010 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Ron Turner .................

The relationship between Riley , Arison and Spoelstra, on the face of it seems to be a pleasant one. With each individual doing what’s needed to make the organization productive and a well ran business concept and entity. However, on the field of play the Heat are having their problems and by all accounts underachieving. The standings being what they are at present continues to bear this out. Within the Eastern Conference the team has posted a 23-22 mark that puts it two games over .500. A challenge at best for a team that was expected to be amongst the elite within the conference this season. But we are talking about the Eastern Conference where a .500 record can garner you a playoff berth at the end of the regular season. And I’m to believe that’s meant to be competitive ?

<strong> Chris Bosh (#4)</strong> of the Toronto Raptors celebrates a basket late in the game against<strong> Jermaine O'Neal (#7) </strong>of the Miami Heat during a game on January 27, 2010 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The  Raptors  would  go  on  to defeat the  Heat  <strong>111-103 </strong> in  the  match-up  between  the   two   Eastern  Conference  foes.  photo  appears  courtesy  of  <strong> NBAE/Getty Images/</strong>  Ron Turner  ...............
Chris Bosh (#4) of the Toronto Raptors celebrates a basket late in the game against Jermaine O'Neal (#7) of the Miami Heat during a game on January 27, 2010 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Raptors would go on to defeat the Heat 111-103 in the match-up between the two Eastern Conference foes. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Ron Turner ...............

Based on that record the Heat as a team would garner the sixth seed in the conference , were the playoffs to start today. And within the Southeast Dvision the Heat now lies in third place behind the surprise division leading, Atlanta Hawks (29-14) , with in second place, last season’s Eastern Conference representatives in the NBA Finals, the Orlando Magic (29-16). And beneath the Miami Heat within the division are the Charlotte Hornets (22-22) followed by the last plaaced and woefully inept Washington Wizards(14-30). The standout teams within the division this season are Atlanta Hawks and the Orlando Magic. And it would appear that both will be contesting the divisional honors based on their present form. The same cannot be said of the Heat , as they have lacked consistency and Dywane Wade has been lacking in support from his teammates. And one well understand the frustrations behind the player and his lack to make a full commitment to the team, as it concerns his immediate future. At the end of the season Wade become an unrestricted free agent. And he, alongside LeBron James are thought to be the most prized assets of what likely will be ‘a blockbuster crop of talent laden stars’ on the open market.


Courtesy of Miami Herald

Miami Heat’s Jermaine O’Neal could be dealt for Amar’e Stoudemire

By M Wallace , Miami Herald

Toronto — The last time center Jermaine O’Neal was traded, he was involved in just about every step of the negotiation process in his move last February from the Raptors to the Miami Heat.

If the Heat has any plans to move O’Neal and his $23 million expiring contract before next month’s trade deadline, the 14-year veteran apparently is not aware of them.

O’Neal could be a major cog involved in a potential deal if the Heat is serious about acquiring Amare Stoudemire from Phoenix.

The Heat has been mentioned among a half-dozen teams that might pursue a trade for Stoudemire if the Suns make him available. Stoudemire has a $17 million contract option for the 2010-11 season, but could opt out after this season to join free-agent class highlighted by Cleveland’s LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

League and team sources confirmed Wednesday the Heat is in its “due diligence” process, something team president Pat Riley does when a big-name player surfaces who could help Miami.

Despite concerns at times over his role, O’Neal is not believed to have publicly or privately asked to be traded, and would like to make it work in Miami. The Heat seemed committed to O’Neal for the season and had not ruled out trying to resign him.

Riley’s plan has been to maintain enough salary-cap space this summer to re-sign Wade, add another maximum-level player and also convince a third star free agent to take less money on what would be a title contender.

If Miami is reluctant to package second-year forward Michael Beasley in a potential offer for Stoudemire, then O’Neal and a first-round pick might entice Phoenix.

Such a package could be constructed under salary-matching guidelines that would allow the Heat to swap O’Neal for Stoudemire and still get beneath the league’s $71.2 million luxury-tax threshold.

Riley has said Miami is about $2.5 million over the tax and is intent on getting under it.

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Fearful of the fact that he could lose the player to free agency , Pat Riley has sought to do almost everything within his power to try and persuade the player to stay. Wade for his part, has said all of the right things but at the same time he’s been critical of the organization and none committal as to his immediate plans for the future and whether not the Miami Heat are part of those plans. Which leaves the Heat fans thinking that they could be once again facing those dark days wherein the team was merely used as a stop off point for South Beach by an opponent and at the same time as ‘cannon fodder’ in an NBA contest. Well that would appear to be the scenario were Dywane Wade not a part of this team in the future. And the Heat certainly hasn’t helped its cause with the understated play of Michael Beasley . Nor has it helped that aged veteran, Jermaine O’Neal appears to be at least five steps too slow from his prominent days where he was considered to be a top ten performer in the league. Such has been the falloff in his play that one wonders why he’s still on the Heat’s roster ? Beasley for his part, has had his moments but they’ve also been overshadowed by his private off the field issues.

<strong> Michael Beasley (#30)</strong> of the Miami Heat throws down the dunk ahead of <strong>Hedo Turkoglu (#26)</strong>  of the Toronto Raptors during a game on January 27, 2010 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  <strong>photo  appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/</strong>  Ron  Turner  ...............
Michael Beasley (#30) of the Miami Heat throws down the dunk ahead of Hedo Turkoglu (#26) of the Toronto Raptors during a game on January 27, 2010 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Ron Turner ...............

One can surmise that until Beasley’s mindset is completely on basketball , then he’ll continue to disappoint not only the Miami Heat fans but also those of Kansas State (Wildcats), where Beasley attended college. It’s too early yet to conclude that Beasley has been ‘a complete bust’ in the NBA. But given the fact that a player of the caliber of Kevin Durant is lighting up the NBA with his enormous presence and phenomenal play. Albeit, that he preceded Beasley by a year in the NBA Draft. Whilst Durant’s game has steadily progressed with each year ,for Beasley it has been just moments of rare glimpses of brilliance and little much else. So much so, that is was widely believed around the league that Riley might pursue a trade of the young player, feeling that a change of environment might to be better Beasley altogether. However, there ‘were no takers’ for the number 2 overall pick from the 2008 NBA Draft , where the overall pick was the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose. Far be it for me to suggest that in making the pick, Riley erred on the side of caution. But given the facts and the play of Rose during the NCAA tournament of that year. It would’ve proven to be fortuitous had he chosen Rose over Beasley by having initiated a change of picks with the Bulls on draft day. But as they say ‘……hindsight sight is 50/50’ ? For Pat Riley this wasn’t necessarily about hindsight but poor judgment by him and the entire Heat coaching staff on the day.

There’s no bone of contention however, that for the Miami Heat to retain Dywane Wade , then the play of note Beasley will have to improve but so too will the play of Jermaine Neal and the entire Heat roster for that matter ! They face enough of an uphill task as it is trying to hold unto the sixth seed within the Eastern Conference. The struggles of this Miami Heat team paints an ominous picture were they to miss the playoffs entirely. So acute now is their situation that Heat coach, Erik Spoelstra , has to be looking over his shoulders to see if Riley will step down from his palatial executive suite in the front office of the organization to return to coaching, relegating his young protoge’ back to the assistants’ bench. After-all he’d done it once before with Spoelstra’s predecessor, Stan Van Gundy, on his way to coaching the team to his fifth NBA titleas a coach and the team’s first and only championship in their entire existence. The latter scenario may not happen but given the present situation , anything is possible at this juncture.

For the Miami Heat fans this may not be something that they can envisage or stomach. And that’s a team without the best player in team history no longer being part of the organization or even the fabric of the local community. Dwyane Wade’s appearances and his philanthropic efforts in the community and beyond have been well documented. And Wade’s recent efforts in not only raising awareness of the Haitian crisis within the community but also putting on a fundraiser amongst fans and members of the team , speaks well as to how much as to how beloved he is within the community but also in the City of Miami. He has in effect become their ‘favorite son’ .

If the Heat are to fare well throughout the remainder of the season , then it will have to be through a collective effort by the team as well as the entire coaching staff. And with trade deadline just around the corner it will be very interesting to see whether or not Riley will be a player in the market , either by trading a player or acquiring one that’ll be of benefit to the team. But it has become very clear to see that the initial gamble made by Riley in the draft hasn’t paid off at all . But where success is now judged by the immediacy of the here and now and what have you done for me lately ? This might well prove to be the last chance for Pat Riley to show us all how good a personnel executive he really is . If he and Erik Spoelstra can’t turn things around then for all sense and purpose they might as well wave goodbye as Dwyane Wade departs from the city of Miami and away from Miami Heat, also. There’s a sense of inevitability that this is about to happen. But as alluded to earlier , Pat Riley will do his damn best to make sure that scenario doesn’t take place in the very near future.

What are your thoughts if any on the possible or imminent departure of Dwyane Wade from the Miami Heat ? Do you believe that it is likely to happen or not ?


Ever  wanted  to  know  what  a   female  JAG  lawyer  looks  like out  of   uniform  ?  Well  here's   your  chance.  It's  Catherine  Bell   from  the  CBS  hit  show  <strong> 'JAG'  </strong>  of  which   Bell  played  US Marine  Cpt  and  lawyer <strong> 'Sarah Mackenzie' </strong> .   A  role   which  she  played  for   six   years  on  the network.    The  spin-offs   from  the  show  has  been   NCIS   and   its   counterpart  NICS-Los  Angeles.  Both  shows are   <strong> bonafide hits  </strong for  the  network.    And   Bell  to  my  mind  is  a hit  in   or  out  of   uniform .

Catherine Bell, the former star of the CBS hit action-drama ‘JAG’. On the show Bell player US Marine lawyer and‘ Lt. Colonel , Sarah Mackenzie. Let’s just say in or out of uniform , Bell looks ‘damn fine’ !

And as an added treat , here’s a video covering Bell’s photo shoot for FHM . Can we praise Bell for showing us some skin ? Yes we can as it’s change that we can all believe in !

50 cent ‘drops it’ for Pat Riley as a reminder as to what’s needed. ‘Window Shopper’

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………. 🙂

He Stoops To Conquer ………..

 

He Stoops  To  Conquer    ………………

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

  

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

  

 

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

 

 

 

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