Paint me a picture of the NBA this season

Paint me a picture of the NBA this season

The NBA regular season will begin with its usual customary splash . The defending champions the San Antonio Spurs will begin their defense of their title with pretty much the same core group of players and Finals MVP and now the fourth cog in their wheel Kawhi Leonard being a focal point of the Spurs’ lineup. With head coach Gregg Popovich also returning with his full lineup of assistant coaches it should prove to be eventful in seeing how the Spurs go about in winning the franchise’s sixth NBA title. Few teams have achieved the type of success attained by this franchise over the past two decades.

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The teams have already began their ritual of preseason exhibition games , with many having new lineups. With the departure of LeBron James from the Miami Heat to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers , it has created a seismic shift within the Eastern Conference , with a number of analysts now making the Cavaliers the prohibitive favorites for this season’s NBA title. Undoubtedly, with the addition of Kevin Love to the roster , Cleveland will have to be looked upon more favorably as one of the better lineups within the conference but as to their being the best team in the NBA , is open to great deal of debate and speculation among prognosticators and supporters of the franchise.

David Blatt , the new head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers , while being a proven commodity , he is simply another rookie head coach within the NBA this season. Blatt will find his task a tough one albeit , he has league’s best player available to him __ LeBron James, along with a good point guard , Kryrie Irving and one of the game’s best power forwards in Kevin Love.

There is a distinct feeling, with both the Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs having begun their preseason schedules , the question now becomes , what type of seasons are the two teams likely to have? Age and experience would suggest the Spurs are not likely to be complacent and it is certainly not the way Gregg Popovich is known to approach a season . Cleveland are unbeaten through their preseason schedule . The team in their most recent overcame a tough Indiana Pacers’ team looking to reassert themselves after lackluster and disappointing postseason , where they fell to the Miami Heat —- in the Eastern Conference Finals . That series told us a great deal about the Pacers, specifically how mentally and physically soft the team was said to be as seen throughout the series against the Heat.

The San Antonio Spurs having started their exhibition season with a 1-2 mark with Tim Duncan , Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli playing sparingly during this preseason. Over an eighty-two game schedule, Gregg Popovich knows his players will be going through a rigorous season where fitness will of the utmost if they are to make a successful defense of their NBA title . San Antonio remains a team in its essence being able to play an uptempo game competing with the best in the league. In their most recent contest the Spurs were on the wrong side of a rather lopsided loss to the Phoenix Suns , albeit, that Popovich’s playing staff were under-manned with several players being sidelined for a number of reasons beyond the coach’s decision.

This upcoming season I expect the San Antonio Spurs to meet the challenges envisaged , that will likely come from the Los Angeles Clippers , Oklahoma City Thunder , Golden State Warriors , Portland Trailblazers and Houston Rockets . Of the aforementioned teams , I believe the Clippers , Thunder and Trailblazers are most likely to give he Spurs their toughest challenge over the course of their schedule ! With four games left on their preseason schedule , Gregg Popovich will hope to have his players in sync for their foray into the regular season , but first , a Saturday exhibition contest against their foes from the NBA Finals will be on the agenda , when they play hosts to the Miami Heat at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas,.

The defending NBA champions will begin their season against the Dallas Mavericks in the first of several meetings between the two teams this season.

It has been astonishing to see the growth in Kevin Durant’s game since he entered the NBA , having been drafted by the Oklahoma City (Seattle Supersonics) . An NBA Finals’ appearance notwithstanding and the team’s demoralizing loss (4-1) to the Miami Heat has not quenched the player’s thirst for his first NBA title . Accolades asides , Durant quite possibly poses the only threat to LeBron James’ dominance of the NBA as the league’s best player . What could hamper the Thunder’s season is the loss of Kevin Durant for the first two months of the regular season , with the player being lost to the team , having suffered a broken right foot .

Scott Brooks and GM Sam Presti will now have to press forward in how the Oklahoma City Thunder will proceed without their All Star . If this team is to have any chance of succeeding this season then a great deal of responsibility will be placed upon the shoulders of Russell Westbrook , with the player likely to be asked to provide the leadership needed in the absence of his teammate.

If Westbrook can prove himself worthy of the role in leading the team it would go a long way in allaying the fears of Brooks and the coaching staff. As mercurial a player as Westbrook is known to be , he has yet to show the leadership abilities desired by the coach . However, Scott Brooks believes highly in the point guard in spite of the concerns raised by others , who believe his star something of a loose cannon. Russell Westbrook has proven to be a highly effective player in his role as a point guard. The combination of Durant and Westbrook when on court , they are one of the most productive tandems in all of basketball . It is that type of productivity which will be needed throughout the first two months of the season if the Thunder are to make some headway this season , while Kevin Durant is sidelined by his injury. Who steps up into the role to be the appropriate foil for Westbrook will be predicated on the desires of this team and the coaching strategies of the head coach.

Oklahoma will begin their regular season and opening night schedule with a game against the Portland Trailblazers on the 29th October, 2014. Contests between these two franchises have proven to be competitive and that was clearly the case last season with the Trailblazers surprising a number of analysts and fans alike with their resiliency and sense of purpose . Portland’s head coach Terry Stotts and his coaching staff know that last season’s exploits were no flash in the pan with the team coming away with a 54-28 record, good enough for a playoff berth , but their conference semi-finals’ loss to the San Antonio Spurs bore the hallmark of a team simply lacking recent postseason experience .

LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard are the two players who have led to the team’s ever improving play over the past two seasons . Of the teams I believe capable of making a legitimate run of winning not only their division but also with a chance gaining a playoff berth within the Western Conference this season, the Portland Trailblazers most definitely fit the bill ! This is a well-coached core group of players capable of playing at a high level on both ends of the floor .

A fifty-four win season in 2013 was definitely a sign of the Portland Trailblazers heading in the right direction. This season will be one , likely to prove to be a real test of wills for LaMarcus Aldridge , Damian Lillard , Chris Kaman , Dorell Wright , Robin Lopez , Steve Blake , Nicolas Batum and Will Barton .

The $2 billion sale price agreed to and paid by billionaire and former Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer , if anything signified how quickly the league hierarchy and owners wanted to rid themselves of Donald Sterling when the Los Angeles Clippers was purchased by Ballmer . The missteps of the NBA and sheer hypocrisy of the team owners was one of self-serving and complete embarrassment to the league. As to the apathy and idiocy of fans who tried to suggest while Sterling’s actions were inappropriate , it was not overly derogatory damaging to the NBA. Perhaps those very same idiots have not looked at the makeup of the league’s player personnel and the number of executives and members of the hierarchy who happen to be of an ethic background . The sheer incredulity and lack of action shown by David Stern and his successor Adam Silver after the repeated acts of Sterling , indicates their own naivete and willingness to show that the “old boys’ network “ is alive and well in the NBA along with its ongoing lack of real leadership and social awareness . Pragmatism and rhetoric cannot be used as an excuse for ignorance and the allowance of racial bigotry . Yet somehow , the NBA caught with their pants around their legs, with their dicks in their hands and idiots fans still cannot comprehend the magnitude of Donald Sterling’s inappropriate behavior .

Doc Rivers head coach , SVP & Head of Basketball Operations for the Los Angeles Clippers will be hoping , his team has an even bigger showing this season than witnessed in 2013 . Rivers has seen the growth in the Clippers , with the play of Blake Griffin , Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan , there is every belief this could be the year where the franchise makes an even bigger run in the NBA Playoffs and quite possibly to their first NBA title . Steve Ballmer for his part with an estimated $22 billion fortune has made it abundantly clear , no expense will be spared , as he seeks to bring a title to the franchise , while making the team the most competitive and star-laden in the NBA .

Ballmer’s willingness to make these bold statements, might well be his way re-imaging the franchise , while also seeking to upstage the Los Angeles Lakers whose misfortunes last season were well chronicled. As long as the Lakers are breathing as a franchise , the Los Angeles Clippers will always play second-fiddle to the city’s most beloved and renowned professional sports’ franchise. The Clippers may well struggle this season as they seek to become one of the Western Conference’s elite and more celebrated teams . The talent is certainly there , as to is the coaching , but it has been the complacency shown at the most inopportune of moments which have led to the team’s failures in recent seasons . This year Rivers will be looking to make even greater inroads in the playoffs than seen last year . The conference semi-finals’ loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder told us a great deal about the Clippers and the potential of the team during the NBA Playoffs .

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Chris Paul and his teammates will open up their regular season schedule with an opening night game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles against their semi-finals’ nemesis from last season the Oklahoma City Thunder . If their previous regular season meetings are anything to go by, then the fans will be in for a great treat over the course of this season.

There is no doubt in my mind four teams in the Eastern Conference will have a great deal to prove this upcoming season ! The Miami Heat , Chicago Bulls , Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks are the quartet of teams in question. Erik Spoelstra will lead a newly revamped roster into this season with team President Pat Riley eagerly looking on in anticipation . Riley’s missteps in part led to the Heat’s debacle the postseason , because of his reluctance to improve the lineup in order to assist LeBron James . As to this idiocy whereby , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade would come to James’ aid , only an idiot would actually subscribe to that notion given how poorly Bosh and Wade played during the playoffs . Sporadic and inconsistent, could best describe the play of both of these individuals during regular season , with their being little comfort in the fact Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade were being handsomely rewarded for their endeavors and lack of real productivity .

I’ve no real wish to labor the issue of the Miami Heat being overrated during their regular season and the very fact , beyond LeBron James there was simply nothing about the team that would suggest they were capable of beating the San Antonio Spurs in this past season’s NBA Finals . Miami will begin its regular season sojourn knowing they are not likely to be the best team within the Eastern Conference

Derrick Rose considered to be back at full strength played his part in Team USA capturing gold at the FIBA World Cup in Barcelona, Spain. The Chicago Bulls will be hoping their All Star point guard will be able lead this team to another deep postseason run . Adding Pau Gasol gives them a veteran presence, but it must be noted Gasol is no longer the player capable of giving a team double-digit output , in terms of offense and rebounds . That much is clear after his final year with the Los Angeles Lakers last season. He will provide a wily veteran’s presence for the Bulls , but in large part the team’s success will be dependent on the form of Derrick Rose. It begins and ends with the determination of the point guard and his wish to rejoin the elite players within the NBA.

The one thing you can say about the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks and it is , both franchises will find a way to hog the NBA headlines. With their payrolls being among the highest in the NBA . There remains no real signs of intelligence or life within their respective front offices. Phil Jackson is now trying to resurrect a Knicks’ franchise still looking for its first title in almost four decades. Carmelo Anthony still remains with the Knicks , but his supporting cast appears to be an ill-matched set of cogs put together without a thought for competitiveness. Add in the fact a rookie head coach, Derek Fisher has been brought in to coach this lineup and you either have a recipe for disaster or the possibility of the New York Knicks surprising a number of fans and analysts alike.

Jason Kidd’s abrupt departure from the Brooklyn Nets says a great deal about Mikhail Prokhorov and his unwillingness to accede to Kidd’s wishes to be given a greater role within the organization . The fact of the matter became the former head coach’s belief he had a right to demand and dictate the player personnel decisions was an affront to the owner and GM Billy King whose responsibility it is for such decision making . Kidd’s primary role was that of being the head coach , a job which in part, he did rather haphazardly and at times showing a great deal of unsportsmanlike conduct and lack of respect in his role .

With a new coach in tow , Lionel Hollins and his coaching staff will be asked to make this team more competitive and to achieve what Mikhail Prokhorov believes to be a realistic goal of winning an NBA title . I believe the task beyond the Nets’ reach because there is simply no real depth to the lineup even with players such as Andrei Kirilenko , Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez on the roster . The question still remains , who among the players will step up to the plate and assume the vocal role as the Nets’ leader ? Garnett is well past his sell-by-date and his productivity is not what it once was. Deron Williams when healthy, is an extremely talented player , but that is all he is and will remain, talented , never a winner . Joe Johnson over the past four seasons has simply been robbing the Nets blind , while rarely stepping up to the plate .

Brooklyn, if they are to succeed this upcoming season they will have to overcome divisional and conference adversaries Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks within the Atlantic Division and from within the Eastern Conference, usual stalwarts the Chicago Bulls , Miami Heat, Washington Wizards, Indiana Pacers and the likely resurgent Cleveland Cavaliers. The first game on the Nets’ regular season schedule will be against the Boston Celtics at the TD Banknorth Gardens in Boston , Massachusetts,.

The NBA season itself should prove to be an exciting one , with the individual awards likely to be front and center , with Kevin Durant looking to defend his League MVP award. Elsewhere , among the rookies , Andrew Wiggins , Joel Embiid , Jabari Parker , Julius Randle , Aaron Gordon and Dante Exum will be looking to place their names on the Rookie of the Year Award . Michael Carter Williams of the Philadelphia 76ers won the award last season , where he was one of the main reasons why the Sixers had some semblance of success. Upheavals within the organization has seen Josh Harris become the managing partner , but the real problems still lies with the coaching staff and the overall makeup of the Sixers’ roster . A deliberate act or not , last season , during the later stages , it looked as Philadelphia was simply looking to “tank their season “ in order to avail themselves of a lottery pick . Unfortunately, the league hierarchy sees nothing wrong in the teams simply fraudulently taking the consumers for a ride, while selling a mediocre product to the fans and public alike being a major attraction.

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As the NBA season approaches which players are you most looking forward to seeing and which teams do you believe likely will be the main contenders for the NBA title ? Your comments as always are welcomed , appreciated and as always thank you for the continued support of this site !

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(1) LeBron James(6) of the Miami Heat is helped off the court after cramping up against the San Antonio Spurs during Game One of the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 5, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. Getty Images / Andy Lyons …

(2) LeBron James (6) and Dwyane Wade(3) of the Miami Heat celebrate after defeating the Indiana Pacers in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 30, 2014 in Miami, Florida. Mike Ehrmann /Getty Images …

(3) Kawhi Leonard is seen here with San Antonio Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich court-side during a regular season game. AP Photo / Adam Shelton …

(4)LOS ANGELES, CA – AUGUST 18: Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers and new owner of the Clippers Steve Ballmer, right, address the media after Ballmer was introduced for the first time during Los Angeles Clippers Fan Festival at Staples Center on August 18, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images..

(5) Jason Kidd seen here court-side during a game between the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers played at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn , New York on the 27th November , 2013 . Getty Images/ Chris Powell …

(6) Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers is hoping to make an impact in his rookie season for the franchise . AP Photo / Miles Moore ..
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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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Hot chic pics of the day Ewa Sonnet .

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A side order of breasts please , just the way I like `em !

Speak no evil , see no evil and hear no evil

Speak no evil , see no evil and hear no evil

Well modesty forbids me to gloat , but I can’t help but feel that while the San Antonio Spurs many of the doubters of this team must now be somewhat disappointed . At the ripe of old age of thirty-seven , Tim Duncan is still proving that he remains a formidable player after all these years . Gregg Popovich , has now guided the team to their fifth NBA Finals` appearance since 1997. The franchise is also seeking to win their fifth title under Popovich`s tenure . This much we do now know , whoever the Spurs are to meet in the upcoming Finals , will be meeting a rejuvenated team with three future Hall of Fame players on the team`s current roster .

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In the unlikeliest of situations, San Antonio simply slipped by the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference Finals in a four-game sweep of their conference counterparts . For Lionel Hollins and his coaching staff of the Grizzlies , theirs was a commendable year , where their season-high came by way of their first round defeat of the number one seeds in the conference , the Oklahoma City Thunder . Suffice to say , as the Spurs await the winners of the ongoing hard-fought series between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers .

Now while the Heat have taken a 2-1 lead in their series , no one is saying that this duel has reached a finality by way of LeBron James and his teammates having slammed the door shut on Pacers` postseason aspirations . This still remains an unfinished and a completely unwritten chapter , a number of plot-lines and episodes that still remain unresolved .

The baseball season has become something of an anathema as the duels between the pitchers and batters remains a highly competitive one . That being said, there is very good reason to believe that if things play out as they currently are , the fans MLB analysts alike , could be in for a great deal of fun , as the year unfolds .

Last season’s Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera is ahead of last season’s pace , as he looks to possibly make history as the game’s only repeat champion in that specific category . Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers (29-20) are themselves riding high in the AL Central , with Jim Leyland’s players seemingly looking to run away with the division . However , in light of that all, the Cleveland Indians , led by new installed manager Terry Francona has the Indians a mere 2½ games behind the Tigers .

Far be it for me to suggest , but I believe that the last time Indians Tigers contended for anything in baseball , I was in the midst of a divorce , not exactly a happy time for myself and presumably the franchise at the time . Amicable as the parting was said to be , it must be said , my ex-wife doesn’t remain on my list of high priorities . In the case of the Cleveland Indians winning does remain utmost at the top of their agenda , along regaining their respectability amongst their peers within the game.

If there is likely to be a managerial casualty within the game at present , then one could possibly look no further than Bo Porter of the Houston Astros , Don Mattingly of the Los Angeles Dodgers , Mike Redmond of the Miami Marlins and Terry Collins of the New York Mets . All three managers currently have their respective teams playing sub .500 baseball , and I might, the sort of mediocre baseball , that I seriously doubt that their owners or general managers thought would be so dire .

I am not about to go into any in-depth prognostication as to why I believe that four managers in question should be relieved of their duties . Yet , there is enough evidence there to suggest that this season , neither of the aforementioned individuals have done anywhere near enough to guide their respective teams , with any great authority . Mattingly’s position on appearance alone , might appear to be all that tenuous , but you simply cannot overlook that the Dodgers , in spite of the team’s compilation of injuries , the team has performed miserably . What makes this all the more embarrassing , is the very fact that with a $200 million payroll , team owners , Magic Johnson , Todd Boehly . Peter Guber and Mark Walter , may well be putting on a brave face , while their ball-club is beset by on the field issues . Yet who would have guessed that this team would be performing so badly in the midst having been purchased with a $2 billion price tag and with the lingering odor of former owner Frank McCourt still wafting over Dodgers’ Stadium , in Los Angeles California , like rancid feline urine . It begs the question that in spite of the big splash and the bold predictions , the Dodgers have come up way short of Johnson’s own lofty expectations for this team and the season.

The Dodgers will entertain their cross-town rivals the Los Angeles Angels today in a game to be played at Dodgers Ballpark in Los Angeles , California . On the mound for the team when they face off against the Angels will be Hyun Jin Ryu against the Joe Blanton in what should prove to be a very good pitchers’ duel . For GM Ned Colletti and team President Stan Kasten , the issues faced beyond the team’s bloated payroll and the under-achievement of the players , is that there now appears to be no leadership forthcoming from either Matt Kemp or Adrian Gonzalez , two of the team’s better offensive players and likely to be amongst the NL’s prime candidates for the NL MVP .

No lull before the storm but the NFL OTA’s (organized training activities) for a number of teams , have brought about a few odd spectacles for a number of franchises . Perhaps none more so , than for the Buffalo Bills , whose playoff drought in the league has been so lean , that the fans crave it , like the air they breathe . Head coach Doug Marrone and the front office had their turmoil during the off-season, but the big surprise came with the franchise’s choice to take a quarterback in the first round of this past NFL Draft . EJ Manuel was the player who had the privilege of being the franchise’s first draft pick , player , surprising a number of fans NFL analysts around the league environment . As a draftee taken out of Florida State where he had a moderately successful collegiate career .

Signs are , with Manuel along with veteran Kevin Kolb are likely to have something of an unsettling regular season , albeit , that it might still be too early assess how good or bad this team is likely to be . Marrone will certainly be looking to see of a journeyman such Kolb , still has anything to offer a franchise at this stage of his career . Kolb has suggested that he has joined the Buffalo Bills with a view to winning and to guide the young rookie quarterbacks on the team`s roster . Last I looked , Kevin Kolb`s resume` as a player , gave nothing by way of a suggestion , that he could or would be ever considered to be a winner ! The former Eagles and Cardinals` signal caller , if anything , can be best described, as a below to moderate backup quarterback in the NFL .

Inasmuch, as I love to watch energetic and competitive football , I truly believe that the AFC East will be determined this season will be determined by the play of the New England Patriots and how Bill Belichick sets about in the preparedness of his team . As the Patriots go , then so will the destination of the divisional title . With the Bills opening their regular season a> schedule with a game against the New England Patriots at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo , New York on the 8th September, 2013 , opening weekend of the NFL regular season schedule . If the game is anything like the previous meetings between these two teams , then the fans in attendance, will be definitely be in for something of a treat . Newly installed GM Doug Whaley , in his first draft , in a capacity as a general manager , sought not to make the type of mistakes that were often associated with a number of his predecessors . That being said , it might will be the off-season free agent acquisitions , that may well stir a great deal of debate as it relates to the Buffalo Bills .

I am not about to suggest that Bills draftees , EJ Manuel , Robert Woods , Kiko Alonso , Marquise Goodwin , Duke Williams , Jonathan Meeks , Dustin Hopkins and Chris Gragg will not be able to make solid contributions for the team this upcoming season . Yet considering , the Bills` lackluster performances in 2012. By comparison to the team`s draft class of last season , was less than superlative , by way of their contributions for Buffalo , in terms of their schedule and the franchise`s final divisional and conference standings overall .

I am sorry, but after the idiotic behavior we all witnessed that went viral concerning, the now former Rutgers University men`s basketball coach, Mike Rice . and the school’s former AD , Tim Pernetti , whose incompetency was only outdone , by his sheer and utter stupidity in not having fired Rice , with cause , rather than seeking to make Rice is own personal reclamation project , even when it was known that Mike Rice was a repeat offender . I felt that there could be no way in hell that things could have gotten worse for the once distinguished educational establishment . State ran, or not, the absolute incredulity shown by all involved within the university`s administration is a clear indication why greed , and stupidity , overtakes common sense and moral expediency within collegiate athletics . And please, do not look for to any sound reasoning or common sense to be shown by anyone within the NCAA hierarchy , Most definitely not while on NCAA President Mark Emmert`s watch . Emmert has enough skeletons in his own damn closet to make a corrupt member of the US Congress blush .

Courtesy of ESPN

Julie Hermann remains under fire

By Andrea Adelson ,

Incoming Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann, already accused of abusive behavior toward student-athletes during her time as the women’s volleyball coach at Tennessee, is the focus of another lawsuit — this one during her time at Louisville in 2008.

According to a report in The New York Times, assistant track and field coach Mary Banker approached Hermann, who was then a senior athletics administrator at Louisville, about what she thought was sexist behavior and “discriminatory treatment” by head coach Ron Mann. After taking her concerns to human resources, Banker was fired within three weeks.

According to the legal filings obtained by The Times, Hermann initially was supportive of Banker after hearing of her complaints. In an email to Banker, Hermann wrote: “Thank you … We’re lucky to have you … You’re a change agent … don’t let their limitations take you out of the game … thank god you’re here.”

According to a filing, Hermann expressed concern after Banker went to HR with her complaints about Mann.

“Hermann called Banker into her office and flat-out told her, ‘You should not have gone to HR,’ ” the filing states, adding that Hermann allegedly told Banker: “I don’t know how I’m going to restore trust in you amongst staff now,” and “I don’t know how you’re going to work downstairs after this.”

On Monday, Rutgers president Robert Barchi gave a vote of confidence for Hermann, and supporters defended her as a strong leader and advocate for women after it came to light that Hermann had been sued by former Tennessee volleyball assistant coach Ginger Hineline in the 1990s. According to the suit, Hineline accused Hermann of discouraging her from getting pregnant. Hineline was awarded $150,000 in a settlement in 1997.

Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich told ESPN, “In 15½ years, I never had one problem” with Hermann. “She did impeccable work for us. No one has said anything the past 15 years. She is beloved here.”

Joan Cronan, Tennessee women’s AD emeritus, also voiced support for Hermann, claiming in a statement that she does not “recall it being an abusive situation.”

Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich told ESPN, “In 15½ years, I never had one problem” with Hermann. “She did impeccable work for us. No one has said anything the past 15 years. She is beloved here.”

Joan Cronan, Tennessee women’s AD emeritus, also voiced support for Hermann, claiming in a statement that she does not “recall it being an abusive situation.”

“I hold Julie Hermann in high regard, and I believe she is well-prepared for her new role at Rutgers University,” Cronan wrote in her statement, according to MyCentralJersey.com. “My recollection of the time Julie was at the University of Tennessee is that it was a very frustrating time for everyone connected with the volleyball program, which had performed far below our expectations. However, I do not recall it being an abusive situation.”

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Click on link to read in full .

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Rutgers University President Robert Barchi has used about as much expediency while this continued idiocy has taken a familiar course along the route of ineptitude . The school recently hired Julie Hermann to succeed Tim Pernetti . Yet only now, has it come to the fore after grave doubts had been presented about Hermann`s character , honesty and integrity . In choosing to make Julie Hermann the first female athletic director of a D1 school in the last fifteen years , now poses the question , how much due diligence was used by Barchi and his subordinates during the entire interview and hiring process ? Throughout much of Hermann`s career`s in collegiate athletics , either as a coach, or as an administrator , some form of controversy has continued to followed her . Now with allegations of sexual impropriety , allegations of misleading investigators in a legal issue , as well as issues concerning her own competency in her now chosen field as an administrator . One has to wonder , why Barchi and interim AD made the decision to hire Hermann . New Jersey governor , Chris Christie has now entered the fray with reservations in part questioning Robert Barchi`s choice of Julie Hermann to succeed Tim Pernetti . Christie , conscious of this latest problem , obviously, does not want to see the state ran university fall any deeper into a quagmire of its own making .

. The nation`s children are being sent to establishments of higher learning to first and foremost , obtain an education and learn how to be productive citizens. Unfortunately , it is the faculty members who now seem to be falling way sort of what the parents and public alike expect from our state ran and private universities .

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Picture gallery .

What thoughts if any , do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit .

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) SAN ANTONIO, TX – MAY 21: Mike Budenholzer , assistant coach of the San Antonio Spurs, speaks with Tim Duncan (21) and Kawhi Leonard (2) before resuming play against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals during the 2013 NBA Playoffs on May 21, 2013 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images …

(2) Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) blocks a shot by San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) during the first half in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals NBA basketball playoff series in Memphis, Tenn., Monday, May 27, 2013. AP Photo/Danny Johnston …..

(3) San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan, of the U.S. Virgin Islands, left, is congratulated by Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins after Game 4 of the Western Conference finals NBA basketball playoff series in Memphis, Tenn., Monday, May 27, 2013. The Spurs defeated the Grizzlies 93-86 to advance to the NBA finals. AP Photo/Danny Johnston ….

(4) DETROIT, MI – MAY 28: Miguel Cabrera (24) of the Detroit Tigers singles to left field in the first inning of the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Comerica Park on May 28, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images ….

(5) LOS ANGELES, CA – MAY 28: Hyun-Jin Ryu (99) of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts as he watches the third out of the ninth inning for a two hit complete game shutout of the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on May 28, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …

(6) Quarterback E.J. Manuel from Florida State stands with the team jersey after being selected 16th overall by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the NFL football draft , Thursday, April 25, 2013 at Radio City Music Hall in New York. AP Photo/Jason DeCrow …..

(7) Kevin Kolb of the Buffalo Bills speaks to the convened press, after recently been acquired by the team as a free agent . Kolb now seen as a journeyman quarterback will be viewed as starter for the team this upcoming season , but the prevailing thought appears to be that the job is E J Manuel`s for the taking as Buffalo`s options at the position do appear to be thin . Ryan Peters / Getty Images ….

(8) FILE – In this May 15, 2013 file photo, Julie Hermann , left, sits with Rutgers president Roberet L. Barchi, as they listen to a question during a news conference where she was introduced as the new athletic director at Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J. A high ranking official at the University of Tennessee has voiced her support for Hermann, who is facing allegations she verbally abused players while she was the volleyball coach with the Volunteers. AP Photo/Mel Evans ……..

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tophatal ………………………. 05/28/2013

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NBA news & archived stories

NBA scheduled game

NBA playoffs` overview

This month in NBA history and for the month of June

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MLB news and news from around the league

MLB standings and wildcard standings

MLB schedule and probable pitchers

This week in MLB history

MLB standings 28th May 2012

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NFL news and archived stories

NFL transactions month of May and in April

NFL preseason schedule and regular season schedule , week`s one , two , three and four .

Buffalo Bills` news

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Hot chic pic of the day Vida Guerra and another framed picture below .

When The Rubber Hits The Road It’s Time To Step Up ……

When The Rubber Hits The Road It’s Time To Step Up ……

When the rubber meets the road it’s time to step up and it appears that the San Antonio Spurs have hit the road with a flat tire. The Memphis Grizzlies have given the Spurs all they can handle a great deal more. A 91-88 victory by the Grizzlies with Zach Randolph leading the charge in his team’s victory . When it’s all said and done a question needs to be asked ….. have Gregg Popovich’s  —- players become complacent or are the Grizzlies simply too good ? ===========================================================================

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Slide show for your perusal .

A 2-1 series lead and it appears with their next victory this series could be the Grizzlies for the taking . At this point Popovich has to get these players playing with a great deal more zeal as the Memphis Grizzlies simply have the Spurs on their heels. It’s seems strange to see the number one seed within the Western Conference simply being outplayed not only on their home court but also in large throughout much of this series as it has unfolded . Throughout much of the season this Spurs’ team played at a high caliber  with players such as Manu Ginobli , Gary Neal , Dejuan Blair , Tony Parker and Matt Bonner stepping up to the plate. However the zeal with which we saw during the regular season has been missing as this series has taken on a life of its own as it seems to be now slipping away from the grasp of the San Antonio Spurs. . If the Spurs are to be in with a chance of reasserting themselves and regaining some sort of momentum in this series then we’re going to have to see more from the likes of Ginobli , Parker and their seasoned veteran Tim Duncan . Granted , Duncan has seen limited time throughout much of the regular season .

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Clearly at this point of the playoffs the contenders ………….. ‘ the real contenders’ step up and separate themselves the pretenders’ . As an ardent Spurs’ fan I get the feeling that the Spurs rather than looking like a contender they’re now beginning to look and play like a pretender ! The four time  NBA champions are no nearer to adding a fifth title than there’s a chance of Donald Trump winning the 2012 Presidential elections based on their play in this series and in particular game three which saw them being completely outplayed by their Western Conference opponents . The credit where it’s due belongs to the Memphis Grizzlies and their belief that they’d nothing to fear in taking the game to the Spurs and forcing them to change their whole way of playing and the fact it has been this Grizzlies’ team in the driver’s seat. At some point we have to acknowledge that the league is now changing and that the so called  teams we believe to be dominant are no longer really that.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers  , Miami Heat and Boston Celtics will have their work cut out for them during these playoffs . Albeit that the Heat and Celtics have series leads as the playoffs progress these teams will face a much sterner test in the second round (conference semi finals) of the NBA Playoffs . As the playoffs unfold we’ll get to see what these teams are actually made of and how each faces adversity when stares at them from across the court . The Spurs are now in a position where they can ill afford to go down 3-1 in this series knowing full well that even on their home court they will be hard pressed to put the Memphis Grizzlies back on their heels. If anything it has been the Grizzles who have placed the Spurs back on their heels looking to stave off a series defeat and if anything what would be the shock of this season’s playoffs series so far. Zach Randolph has put this team on his back and played like a man possessed with something to prove to the doubters and naysayers who felt he’d nothing to offer . And as troubled as his career is said to have been Randolph now seems to have found a home where his talents have flourished and where the Grizzlies’ fans have no doubt shown their appreciation for all that they have witnessed from the player’s contributions on the court and within the local community . If it’s a given that the Spurs bow out of this series then I am willing to admit that I underestimated the Grizzlies but even more so I know that the the Spurs this while while their regular season was impressive if anything it created an illusion and an air of complacency that the lulled and lured their fans into thinking that this team was once again ready to contend and perhaps actually playing with a sense of purpose in marching towards the goal of winning another title .

A series loss would raise a great many questions as to this team and the direction that it is heading in. The triumvirate of Ginobli , Parker and Duncan is an aging one but the thought was that with a young nucleus of players looking to make their mark , instead it looks as if they have regressed lost in situation that in some respect is one of their own making. I certainly do believe that Gregg Popovich and GM R C Buford will have to reassess the qualities they seek in terms of the Spurs’ roster and how best to address the deficiencies that we now know that the San Antonio Spurs have. Now as the postseason plays itself out it will be very interesting to see what happens with each of the series in question . In the case of the Spurs and where a number one seed has previously faced a situation where they could be down 3-1 in the first round of a playoff series, that seed has gone on to win that fourth series game and to win that series four out of the six occasions since the playoff format came into being and where it changed from a best of five series to a best of seven game series . That if anything should be an added incentive to the team . But in reality the Spurs simply don’t need that as an incentive , what they actually need to do is to come out and play a meaningful game and series as if their very lives depended on it .

The 2011 NBA Playoffs have brought us a great deal of thrills and spills , and I must say that while I’d expected some controversy in terms of the officiating it has to be said the surprises if any, have come from the fact that certain teams we’re thought to have favored haven’t played anywhere near their true potential . And that has either been due to them either playing inconsistently or more to the fact that the lesser seeded teams in these playoffs have played well above their potential . It now remains to be seen how things will actually pan out for the teams and their loyal fans who have become engrossed in the NBA’s showcase event _ the playoffs as a precursor to the NBA Finals itself .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What series if anything in the first round of the playoffs has been of interest to you ? And how do you see the series between Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs ultimately ending ? Simply chime in with a comment as to your thoughts on this piece and the NBA postseason as you now see it.

* NB Is there an NBA team in the state of Texas that actually has a backbone ? The Spurs are in turmoil in their series . The Dallas Mavericks in allowing the Portland Trailblazers to erase a twenty three  point deficit in game four of their series shows us why this Mavericks’ team is simply softer than a roll of Charmin tissue paper ! Mark Cuban you’ve been Punk’d bitch !

As for the heroics of Brandon Roy , it was truly exemplary ! The Houston Rockets having chosen not to seek the return of Rick Adelman  next season are now without an NBA coach . As to who Adelman’s successor will be it remains to be seen but team GM Daryl Morey will be seeking a quality oriented coach who knows how to get the best out of a young team and its players .

Alan aka tophatal ………………….. Picture and slide show details below . ——————————————————————————————————

(1) MEMPHIS, TN – APRIL 23: Zach Randolph (50) of the Memphis Grizzlies celebrates with a little dance after defeating the San Antonio Spurs in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 23, 2011 at FedExForum  in Memphis, Tennessee. Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE /Getty Images …..

(2) Darrell Arthur of the Memphis Grizzlies against the San Antonio Spurs in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 25, 2011 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. The Grizzlies defeated the Spurs 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the best of seven series . Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images………

(3) Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) drives against San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9), of France, during the second half of Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball series on Monday, April 25, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. Conley led the Grizzlies with 15 points and Parker led the Spurs with 23 points. The Grizzlies won 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. AP Photo/Lance Murphey  …………

(4) Memphis Grizzlies forward Leon Powe  (7) grabs a rebound in front of San Antonio Spurs forward DeJuan Blair (45) and Daniel Green (4) during the second half of Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball series on Monday, April 25, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. The Grizzlies won 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. Behind Powe are San Antonio Spurs forward Steve Novak (23) and Memphis Grizzlies center Hamed Haddadi (15), of Iran. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …..

(5) Trying to instill confidence ? Maybe . San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan, center, talks with his teammates during the second half of Game 4 against the Memphis Grizzlies in a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Monday, April 25, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. The Grizzlies won 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …….

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NBA News

Sunday’s playoff schedule

Monday’s playoff schedule

San Antonio Spurs news

Memphis Grizzlies news

NBA Playoffs 2011 .

All the series latest news and results NBA Postseason Stats at a glance NBA Stats Year 2010-11

(a) NBA Standings (Conference) (b) NBA Standings ( Division) NBA Statistics

Offense —— Defense

Player stats …… Regular season Scoring

Double doubles

Assists

Rebounds

Free Throws

Brief But Not Breaking Sports Stories …………..

Brief But Not Breaking Sports Stories …………..

Well I’m not about to bore you all with my thoughts on the ongoing NFL labor dispute because I think for the most part the majority of us are fed up with the lack of any form of compromise having not been met or agreed upon as of yet. Inasmuch as with each passing second ESPN and Foxsports tries to keep us all abreast of the latest developments as if it’s going to be breaking news , merely the mention of either Roger Goodell or DeMaurice Smith’s name in essence simply makes me want to puke ! Suffice to say , even with the NFL coming out with a 2011-12 schedule and wherein they’ve essentially leaked the fact that they’ve a contingency plan in place that would have the season start at Week 3 and all teams playing that week would then have a bye-week later on in the calendar of the season’s schedule . Of what comfort that will be to the fans in question I can’t at present tell you . My bone of contention is that the NFL in spite of itself , in terms of PR, they continue to make the situation worse knowing full well each snippet information leaked won’t in fact undo the damage that has already been done. At the same all of the hoopla that one would come to expect has been created with the hyperbole surrounding the upcoming NFL Draft . What, the fact that a season as the fans had hoped for but yet the NFL wants to lure us all into that false sense of security with three days of the dumb diatribe and where the likes of John Clayton , Mel Kiper and Chris Mortensen will induce us all into wanting to throw something at our tv sets because of their self absorbed overblown analysis ! Simply inform the viewer that’s all we want , nothing more nothing less , it’s as simple as that .

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Three weeks into the MLB season and it seems the fans are abuzz with the play of the teams and the very fact that the divisions are playing themselves out rather nicely . And while the talk of now seems to be the fact that the MLB hierarchy has seen fit to take over the day to day running of the Los Angeles Dodgers , wherein team owner Frank McCourt has been forced to relinquish control of his debt laden organization. I can’t help but wonder why it has taken Bud Selig so long to come to making this decision . I can only surmise that he sought counsel not only from the league’s legal representative but also in large part many of the most prominent team owners within the game . I surely cannot believe that they would have agreed to this action unless they felt that it was imperative that something needed to be done. With the facts being laid bare that McCourt had sought a loan from the local Fox tv affiliate of some $30 million merely to pay primarily the players’ salaries and meet other budgetary expenses for the month of April . I can’t see how Frank McCourt can still believe that the organization isn’t in dire financial straits . Good God almighty we’re barely a month into the Dodgers’ season and the Dodgers couldn’t afford to pay the salaries of its employees ? If you don’t think that’s strange then tell me what is ?

The further we delve into this sordid mess the more murky it becomes because it’s becoming abundantly clear that many of the Dodgers’ front office executives were either simply powerless to stop McCourt in his tracks or they completely suborned his actions without taking into account what could go wrong should things begin to fall apart . Certainly GM Ned Colletti now seems perplexed because in giving a public statement when asked if he was in control of the organization as its senior most executive outside of the owner , Frank McCourt , his reply was ‘ …… I’m not so sure what I can really tell you at the moment ‘ . If you’re an ardent Los Angeles Dodgers’ fan how must you feel at the moment ?

The Dodgers’ as a team hasn’t really let the off the field problems get in the way of their on field efforts . And in their game against the Atlanta Braves we saw them give a heroic effort defeating the Braves 5-3 at Dodgers’ Stadium with walk off 2 run home run from Matt Kemp in extra innings . If that didn’t lift the spirits of the players and the fans in attendance then nothing else may well have done , other than knowing that McCourt is no longer in charge of the team for the time being. Frank McCourt has however said that he is quite prepared to challenge the league’s authority by legal means , in filing a restraining order in the US Federal Court in Los Angeles , California . That legal recourse could either be swift or it could well be a battle of wills between the embattled owner and that of the league hierarchy. Either way, no one actually wins because the damage has already been done to the game’s credibility and that of the Dodgers themselves .

With that in mind I can’t help but wonder if Bud Selig will now challenge the authority of New York Mets’ ownership group and their financial situation as it now stands . One can’t but help notice that Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz as lead managing partner and team president are carefully trying to portray themselves as victims of the Bernard Madoff ‘Ponzi’ scheme and scandal. Suffice to say, with the duo and their company Sterling Equities as well as the Mets’ organization being named as defendants in a civil lawsuit claiming that they profited greatly from the scheme which defrauded clients of an alleged $59 billion ($59,000,000,000 ) . The plaintiffs represented by lawyer Irving Picard are seeking the return of a sum believed to be anywhere between $450 – $750 million that the duo is said to have received over the years by the defendants and their business entities, while Madoff’s scheme was said to be ongoing . What that says about the claims of both Katz and Wilpon that they unaware that the monies received was in fact due to fraud , has to be questioned , given the exorbitant rates of return at the time on their own then alleged investment in the scheme . Both as co-founders of Sterling Equities either had to be completely naive and ignorant or they in fact weren’t duped into believing that their gains were legal _____ they knew all along that something was awry and just simply didn’t care how they derived of this monetary gain.

Personally , I’m of the opinion that Katz and Wilpon knew exactly what was going on but thought that they were never in any danger of being seen as crooked should the scenario play itself out for the press’ and public’s consumption. The fact of the matter may well have been they viewed themselves as bastions of ownership hierarchy within baseball , where as such , the owners there are viewed as captains of industry or self made multi millionaires and not white collar criminals . My feeling is , if you’re involved within the inner workings of Wall St you’re a crook because who else but high ranking executives have profited so greatly from this economic blight wrought upon the nation ?

As the NBA postseason plays itself out we’re beginning to see a number of players come into their own during the playoffs . Dwight Howard has been playing at a high caliber and if anything has been the primary force on the Orlando Magic as they’ve leveled their series (1-1) against the Atlanta Hawks . That being said watching the Altanta Hawks waste a golden opportunity in this series only further emphasizes what I’ve always thought about this team , they’re gunshy and literally scared of their own shadow . If Larry Drew and his coaching staff can’t get this team to play any better than they’re now said to be doing then this series will be closed out on its return to the Amway Center in Orlando , Florida . This much I am certain off , teams cannot afford to waste opportunities when given to them in the playoffs because there’s no looking back and saying ……’ what might have happened if only we’d done that ‘ ?

If the Hawks are to stand any chance of actually winning this series then Joe Johnson will have to step up to the plate and show that he’s indeed the leader of this team rather than an overpaid and less than compelling athlete . How he was able persuade the Hawks’ front office into offering him a 6 year $96 million contract for his less than stellar figures is way beyond anything that I for one can imagine ! I can only surmise that because there weren’t any serious takers for his talents during the trade deadline he saw fit to dupe the Hawks’ management into thinking he as their primary role player on this team would be their best chance of success and a shot at the NBA title .

As the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference the Hawks are a vastly different team from last season if anything they’ve tailed off somewhat but then again this in essence is the same team that was so convincingly swept in the first round by the Orlando Magic last season in the of the NBA Playoffs . That 4-0 series drubbing had to have left a bitter taste in the mouths of the players and the Hawks’ fans . Are we about to see history repeat itself once again this series with only a slight change somewhat in the outcome ? It remains to be seen whether or not the Atlanta Hawks can acquit themselves and redeem some honor as the rest of this series unfolds .

Is a team as good as the coach they’re playing under or does it happen to be , the players or a marquee player that in essence makes the coach’s name ? Could one as such affix that moniker to the likes of Phil Jackson , Gregg Popovich or Red Auerbach for that matter in terms of their unprecedented success ? The reason I say this is because there are those who believe that the Chicago Bulls aren’t genuinely a legitimate contender because of their youth , inexperience and the fact that they’ve a first time coach in Tom Thibodeau . But there has to be a reason why this team was so successful this season and easily ran away with their division and in becoming the number one seed in the Eastern Conference . It solely wasn’t down to the heroics of Derrick Rose and his sensational season because he was ably assisted by his teammates who all bought into Thibodeau’s coaching philosophy , strategies and the lessons of his coaching staff .

The Bulls in the first round have had their struggles against the Frank Vogel coached Indiana Pacers . But in essence if the Bulls are being viewed as inexperienced then how should one judge the Pacers as a team overall …………… over achievers having made it into the playoffs with a 41-41 record ? Last night’s victory by the Bulls in game three essentially sowed up the series with a hard fought victory and all but insurmountable 3-0 series lead . The Pacers’ best player Danny Granger had a chance of winning the game in the dying moments but his three point attempt was a belated and off target effort . TNT studio analyst Charles Barkley was succinct as ever in describing the effort as ‘ garbage’. But if anything Granger wasn’t at all to blame because on close inspection were it not for the harassing defensive play and effort by the Bulls’ Luol Deng the shot may well have been a game ending winner for the Pacers. Instead they now face a series saving game four on Saturday against their conference rivals . Staving off defeat, elimination and living to fight another day is what both Vogel and his team are looking to achieve. But given the effort that has been put forth by this team and the fact that they seem to be their own undoing at the most inopportune of moments I for one can’t see them having the wherewithal or temerity to pull off the win and then trying to win the series outright ! They simply haven’t played consistently enough to convince me that they’re anywhere near the equal of the Chicago Bulls as a team.

As to the chances of Tom Thibodeau as a first year coach taking his team to the NBA Finals , well those chances seem to have improved greatly based upon his team’s efforts so far. One more win and the Bulls make the Eastern Conference Semi Finals where they would meet the winners of the series between the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks . And that series at the moment favors the Celtics with Doc Rivers’ team now up 2-0 in the best of seven series . Game two at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston , Massachusetts , saw the Celtics eke out a hard fought 96-93 victory over the Knicks . But for the heroic efforts of Carmelo Anthony and his 40 plus points in the game the Knicks would surely now be looking even demoralized . But instead they may well be even more galvanized knowing that the the next three games of the series are to be played at their home venue of Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York.

Though Tom Thibodeau may well be viewed as a first year coach, his coaching background and pedigree has proven to be invaluable. If anything the experience of having been assistant to both Gregg Popovich and Doc Rivers gives him something of an advantage over the other coaches left in the Eastern Conference playoffs other than Rivers and the Magic’s Stan Van Gundy. His presence having been an assistant to a duo of coaches (Rivers and Popovich) who have won 5 NBA titles between has to be an asset rather than a disadvantage but yet I hear the naysayers out there stating that the Bulls simply aren’t good enough. If they’ve been good enough to essentially stroll their way to the conference’s best record with a series of notable team highs in terms of season success then why are they not good enough to win it all ? If their record isn’t an indictment of how good they are and that of their coach and his resume’ then what is ? It may well be the one thing that could stop the Bulls is simply that they don’t believe that they’re capable of winning it all which would be a given but would you really be willing to bet against a team who’ve proven to be hard to beat on their homecourt at the United Center and are just as difficult to beat away from home as their season schedule has undoubtedly shown us ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the topics raised within this piece and as such as the NBA Playoffs unfold what if anything so far has been of great interest you ? Simply chime in with your own comments and anything else that you may well feel pertinent to this piece .

Alan aka tophatal …………………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Indianapolis Colts Vice President and General Manager Chris Polian responds to a question during a news conference in Indianapolis, Friday, April 22, 2011. Polian talked about the 2011 NFL Draft that will be held next week in New York. AP Photo Darron Cummings ……

(2) NFL lawyer Jeff Pash speaks to members of the media after leaving court ordered mediation presided over by Judge Arthur Boylan at the U.S. Courthouse on April 20, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mediation was order after a hearing on an antitrust lawsuit filed by NFL players against the NFL owners after labor talks between the two broke down last month. Photo by Hannah Foslien /Getty Images ……

(3) NFL lawyer Bob Batterman and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell leave court ordered mediation at the U.S. Courthouse on April 20, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mediation was order after a hearing on an antitrust lawsuit filed by NFL players against the NFL owners after labor talks between the two broke down last month. Photo by Hannah Foslien /Getty Images …….

(4) Catcher Brian McCann(16) of the Atlanta Braves drops the ball as Jamey Carroll(14) of the Los Angeles Dodgers slides safely into home to tie the game in the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium on April 21, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers defeated the Braves 5-3 in twelve innings. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images ……..

(5) Matt Kemp(27) of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a game winning two-run home run in the 12th inning against the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium on April 21, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers defeated the Braves 5-3 in twelve innings. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images …….

(6) Matt Kemp, center , (27) of the Los Angeles Dodgers is mobbed by his teammates after hitting a two-run home run to win the game in the 12th inning against the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium on April 21, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images …….

(7) Dwight Howard(12) of the Orlando Magic shoots over Zaza Pachulia(27) of the Atlanta Hawks during game two Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 19, 2011 at the Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …..

(8) Joe Johnson(2) of the Atlanta Hawks rebounds against the Orlando Magic during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 19, 2011 at the Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida. The Magic would defeat the Hawks 88-82 to level the series at one game (1-1) apiece . Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(9) Derrick Rose(1) of the Chicago Bulls shoots the ball while defended by Jeff Foster (50) of the Indiana Pacers in Game three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 21, 2011 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Bulls won 88-84 to take a 3-0 lead in their best of seven series . Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images ……

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MLB News

MLB Scoreboard

MLB Results 20 th April 2011

NFL News

NBA News

NBA Playoffs 2011

NBA Results from 21st April 2011

NBA Games scheduled for 22nd April 2011

Boston Celtics vs New York Knicks

Orlando Magic vs Atlanta Hawks

Los Angeles Lakers vs New Orleans Hornets

NBA scheduled games Saturday 23rd April

NBA scheduled games Sunday 24th April

There’s No I In Team ………….. In Miami They’ve No Team But They’ve Got A Great Many Flaws !

There’s No I In Team ………….. In Miami They’ve No Team But They’ve Got A
Great Many Flaws !

Explain this to me the Miami Heat were meantt to be the team to beat and the conventional wisdom of thinking was that they would be the presumptive favorites within the Eastern Conference to win the NBA title . Pardon me for saying this but when you’re 1-7 against the five of the top teams within the league it shows that you’re simply overrated !

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Slide show gallery for your perusal .

Coming off giving up a 24 point lead in a loss to the Orlando Magic at the Amway Arena the Heat would fall flat in their blowout loss to the San Antonio Spurs . And as a statistic consider this the Spurs were able to hit seventeen 3 pointers in the game as the Heat and their big three were simply no match for the conference and division leading Spurs in their runaway win .

The “team” that Pat Riley built is more style over substance and it continues to show despite the rationale of Dwyane Wade , LeBron James and Chris Bosh talking about growing as a team shows that this Heat roster still has a long way to go. And it simply hasn’t helped that the bench play of this team has been awful throughout the season and defensively their inconsistency continues to be a cause of great concern.

Though the Miami Heat has the third best record within the Eastern Conference the thought is that now Eric Spoelstra and his coaching staff will now have to truly prove their worth over the remainder of the season. It’s all well and good when a team is winning but in reality when the expectations of the fans and the front office are so high that failure is not an option and by failure I mean winning this season’s NBA title. The Heat players may well tell you that this season is simply about playing with consistency but their most recent trials and tribulations have been anything but that .

From a coaching standpoint I certainly don’t believe that Spoelstra’s position is in danger as of yet but if things continue to get worse then I do believe that Pat Riley may well have to rethink that issue and be quite possibly willing to step down from his executive suite of the Heat’s front office and step back into the fray as an NBA coach. The mindset of this team is the belief that three players all with their own abilities makes a unit considerably better but then you don’t complement them with a core group of players that can play at both ends of the court then any aspirations that you might have won’t at all come to fruition. Players such as Zydrunas Ilgauskas , Eric Dampier are past their sell by date and please tell me that Carlos Arroyo has something to offer the Heat rather than simply just portraying a mannequin !

If there’s anything that the Heat can take away from this loss is the mere fact that they still lead Atlantic Division even in light of the Orlando Magic’s loss to the Chicago Bulls . Next up for Miami is a game against the Bulls at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois. And their situation won’t be made any easier with the fact that the next six of their eight games are against teams with records above .500 within the NBA .

For Gregg Popovich he had to have been pleased with what he saw from his team and in particular the play of Matt Bonner , Gary Neal and Tigao Splitter but simply put this was a collective effort in the team’s seemingly effortless 30 point victory (125-95) which was the Heat’s largest loss inflicted on the team this season .

The Spurs’ trio of Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker may well believe that this team is quite capable of winning their first title since 2007 . And most certainly bodes well for the rest of the regular season for the San Antonio Spurs as they look to put their own seal of approval on the year .

This NBA postseason promises to be one filled with a great deal of intrigue and it remains to see what will transpire from it all . As to the immediate fate of the Heat and how they might fare over the remainder of the season it all comes down to the fact this team has no heart when they steer real adversity in the face and that was plain for all to see in this rather humiliating loss . At no point did anyone step up to the plate and show any semblance of leadership in any regard . Certainly not from Wade , James or Bosh much less anyone else on the team and the postgame interviews of the triumvirate merely reiterated that fact with usual rhetorical response as to their disappointment. This Miami Heat has simply shown more style over substance and far too many people have bought into that hype rather than looking at the heart and soul of this team and that has been what has been missing all along. It’s all been style over substance and you simply no that style points get you nowhere when it comes to the postseason. And as to the asinine summaries from TNT analysts such as Chris Mullin and Mark Jackson as they really need to look at how the Heat play rather than simply being in awe of LeBron James !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the play of the Miami Heat and their season so far ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on this topic and anything else as it relates to the NBA ?

Picture and slide show details below.

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(1) Tony Parker (9) of the San Antonio Spurs takes a shot against the Miami Heat at the AT&T Center on March 4, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas. Ronald Martinez/ Getty Images ……….

(2) Dejuan Blair of the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on March 4, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas while the Heat’s Chris Bosh is unable to defend the play. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images …..

(3) Guard Dwyane Wade(3) of the Miami Heat takes a shot against Tim Duncan(21) of the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on March 4, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas. Ronald Martinez/ Getty Images ……………

(4) Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra speaks with referee Michael Smith during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio, Friday, March 4, 2011. The Spurs won 125-95. AP Photo/Bahram Mark Sobhani …….

(5) San Antonio Spurs center Matt Bonner shoots a 3-pointer as players on the Miami Heat bench watch during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Antonio, Friday, March 4, 2011. Bonner was 6-for-7 on 3-point attempts as the Spurs beat the Heat 125-95 . AP Photo/ Bahram Mark Sobhani ………

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Alan aka tophatal ……………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/


NBA News

NBA scores &

schedule

Saturday’s schedule

Sunday’s schedule

Conference Standings ……………………… Divisional Standings

Standings by streak & by games ahead

NBA scoring leaders

Statistics by Defense and Offense


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Eye candy ……………. Ajay Milan

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E-40 …………. ” Come Hard Or Go Home ”

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Twice In A Lifetime ………………..

Coming off a high having beaten the Miami Heat at the AT& T Center in San Antnio ,Texas the conference leading San Antonio Spurs now had to gauge themselves against the reigning NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers hosting them
at their home venue.

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Slide show gallery for your perusal .

That display against the Heat so clinical , decisive in its execution that the 30 point margin of victory shocked many who witnessed the game in its entirety. They say you can tell a great deal about a team by the way they can handle adversity and after this debacle it was extremely clear that the Miami Heat players , coaching staff and front office weren’t at all happy with the outcome. Hoisted on their own petard (backside) the team was completely embarrassed by their Western Conference rivals . What might be even more improbable was seeing Matt Bonner shoot the lights out having hit 8 of the team’s seventeen three pointers on the way to the Spurs’ 125-95 defeat of the Miami Heat.

I’m not about to use this one game as a precursor to an envisioned NBA Final as there’s still a great deal left to be played for either team as we now hit not quite the closing stretch of the NBA season . But it does give us some insight as to where both teams are respectively as it relates to their respective seasons. On the one hand you have the Miami Heat who with the litany of All Stars and the adoring fans of South Beach and within the locale it has to be said that for Chris Bosh , LeBron James and Dwyane Wade the expectations are extremely high. All their protracted discussions that their reason for getting together is to win an NBA title , multiple titles in fact . Failure to win this season and there’s going to be a great many questions asked of the triumvirate as well both Pat Riley , team owner Micky Arison and the team’s coach Eric Spoelstra . It may well have been the fact that the Heat were being viewed as clear cut favorites to win this season’s NBA title but let’s simply anoint this team before they’ve actually done anything as of yet.

The same proclamation was made with regard to the Los Angeleles in 2004 when that team had future Hall of Famers Gary Payton , Karl Malone , Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Byrant . And as well know that this team was completely embarrassed by the Detroit Pistons in one of the most lopsided series in NBA history with the Pistons subduing and shellacking the Lakers 4-1 in the 2004 NBA Finals . That one series spoke highly as to what can be expected when a unit becomes complacent and simply believes that they can essentially sleep walk their way through a season as well as the postseason.

The Spurs after their exhilarating victory as I alluded to earlier had to deal with the Lakers and if anything these games tend to be highly competitive and a true test for both teams. A match of wits also between two highly respected coaches Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich who between them have won fifteen NBA titles over their illustrious coaching careers. Popovich seeks his fifth title as the Spurs’ coach , and all have been won during a fifteen year span with Gregg Popovich at the helm.

The game itself in front of a soldout crowd once again at the AT& T Center and a nationally televised audience it slipped out the Spurs’ hand right away as it appeared that Phil Jackson’s team simply wanted to be no part of another embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Spurs whereby it was a collective effort by team and where Matt Bonner stood out as “the hero” from Friday night’s victory with his long range sharp shooting. Kobe Bryant essentially made sure that any thought of a repeat victory in a similar vein. The perennial All Star and former league MVP who simply is perhaps the most single minded individual in terms of psyche and his willingness to sacrifice himself in order to win. That’s something that hasn’t been seen within the league since Michael Jordan was at the height of his fame with the Chicago Bulls and leading them to six world championships as well as having won multiple league and Finals MVP awards . Bryant is now seeking to emulate his idol by winning his sixth NBA title and further enhance his legacy as one of the all-time greats of the game.

By contrast the Spurs have their future Hall of Famer in Tim Duncan and although his stats are down somewhat this year he’s viewed as the heart and soul of this team . Along with Duncan you have also the able duo of Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker who’ve been able to allow Duncan to be more of a make shift player as Popovich has sought more productivity from the younger players on the roster as well as veterans such as Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess . Each have played their role this season in the Spurs’ exceptional display this year contributing in all aspects of the game . And Sunday afternoon wasn’t to be the Spurs’ day as the Lakers held San Antonio in check on their way to a 99-86 victory narrowing the Spurs’ lead within the Western Conference .

There’s a great deal that one could as such take away from this game in terms of the way it was played and the resultant victory but I’d preface this by saying it’s merely the regular season and what really will count is the inevitability of each team’s performance as the postseason commences . Then we’ll be able to ascertain for ourselves which of the two teams has the greater chance of ultimately making their way to the NBA Finals . The two could very well meet in the latter stages of the playoffs and that event could make for an exceptional and highly competitive series . So make of it what you will.

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What thoughts if any do you have as to the aspirations of both teams and which of them to your mind at this juncture do you view as the favorite to win the conference title and quite possibly the NBA championship itself predicated upon their play ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the matter anything else you feel of relevance to the NBA .

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich argues a call as the Spurs play the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half of an NBA basketball game at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Sunday, March 6, 2011. AP Photo/Bahram Mark Sobhani

(2) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant gestures to teammates after making a basket against the San Antonio Spurs during the second half of an NBA basketball game at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Sunday, March 6, 2011. The Lakers defeated the Spurs 99-83 . AP Photo/Bahram Mark Sobhani …….

(3) San Antonio Spurs guard George Hill (3) drives past Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom during the first half of an NBA basketball game at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Sunday, March 6, 2011. AP Photo/Bahram Mark Sobhani ………….

(4) San Antonio Spurs players Manu Ginobili (20), of Argentina, and Tony Parker (9), of France, walk up court after a turnover against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half of an NBA basketball game at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Sunday, March 6, 2011. AP Photo/Bahram Mark Sobhani ……

San Antonio Spurs forward Tiago Splitter , left, of Brazil, is defended by the Los Angeles Lakers’ Matt Barnes (9) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Antonio, Sunday, March 6, 2011. The Lakers defeated the Spurs, 99-83. AP Photo/Bahram Mark Sobhani …………

(6)San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, center, of Argentina, passes the ball after driving between the Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol , of Spain, and Andrew Bynum during the first half of an NBA basketball game at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Sunday, March 6, 2011. AP Photo/Bahram Mark Sobhani …………..

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Alan aka tophatal ………………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com


NBA News

Los Angeles Lakers’ news

Lakers’ team stats

Lakers’ team splits

Lakers’ roster

Lakers’ schedule

San Antonio Spurs’ news

Spurs’ team stats

Spurs’ team splits

Spurs’ roster

Spurs’ schedule

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Eye candy ………………… Not everything out of Jamaica tends to be violent ….. aka Jamaican Coolie . Show her some love .

Oh my !
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Nelly Furtado ………………….. “Say It Right”
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This Ain’t No Ordinary Rodeo …………

This Ain’t No Ordinary Rodeo …………

The San Antonio Spurs (42-8) are no doubt having a terrific season and they’re winning at an unprecedented rate although they’re viewed as being under the radar. All the hype has simply been about the Boston Celtics , Miami Heat and the defending NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers . Now for some reason the league saw fit to schedule 14 of the Spurs’ next nineteen games on the road as the team’s home venue is being used to host a rodeo.

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On the face of it that hasn’t really stopped the Spurs as players such as Tony Parker , Manu Ginobli , Tiago Splitter , Richard Jefferson have stepped up to the plate. Aging veteran and four time —- NBA champion —– Tim Duncan still is capable of playing at a high level when called upon but being the cerebral player we’ve all known him to be for Duncan once the postseason comes around that’s when we’ll look to see him raise his game to the next level.

Coach Gregg Popovich and his coaching staff have to be greatly appreciative of what they’re now seeing from the team and in particular from the younger players on the roster. DeJuan Blair is proving that he’s got the game to be potent within the league and his defense has vastly improved. Certainly many around the league have woken up to the fact that these aren’t the same old Spurs who’d wilt when pressed and it’s to Popovich’s credit that he’s simply nurtured this team and then at the same time seen the veteran leadership of Duncan and Antonio McDyess come to the fore . Both of these solid veterans are deeply respected by their teammates have seen if the duo can rise to the occasion then they too can simply do the same.

Though as an avid fan of the team and with the season having reached its beyond its halfway point I like what I’m seeing from the San Antonio Spurs at present and hopefully it bodes well for the rest of their season .

The NBA All Star Game is now but a week away where the event will be staged at the Staples Center and hosted by the Los Angeles Lakers. NBA Commissioner David Stern no doubt will view this as a way of gauging the game’s intrinsic value at a time when the league hierarchy has a number of economic problems . The league’s teams are on track to lose in excess of $500 million this season if Stern’s projected figures are to be believed. And to top it all the league is still in the midst of ongoing labor talks with the NBPA . NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter and the union’s representatives led by NBPA President Derek Fisher have been reticent in the fact that they’re not prepared accede and make any concessions that they believe will be to their disadvantage. And with the union having de-certified as a way of taking that first step of challenging the league’s antitrust exemption in the Federal Court system should things fall apart during the negotiating process it gives you a clear picture as to how far apart both sides are in the process.

It’d be asinine to see the NBA have an enforced lockout and labor stoppage . The players say that they don’t want this scenario evolve into a major conflict between the two sides. And from a fan standpoint the image of the league in particular , this doesn’t bode well for what David Stern and the game’s corporate partners had envisaged for the game. Twenty five years in as the game’s highest ranked official and Stern has led the organization to untold riches but at the same time his autocratic rule has been bemoaned by many in and outside of the game. Albeit that team owners around the NBA have to appreciative for what Stern has done for the game from a financial standpoint. In the twenty five years of David Stern’s tenure as NBA Commissioner they’ve seen their franchises appreciate in value and to the point where their revenues have more than quadrupled over that period of time. The branding of the NBA product represents a $4.5 billion to $6 billion ($4,500,000,000-$6,000,000,000) a year industry for all parties concerned. And it’s easy to understand why the owners are thankful to Stern and the business acumen he’s shown over the years.

The NBA much like the NFL can’t afford to be viewed as the villain of the piece as both seek union and labor stability within their respective sports. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been saying all the right things but he’s nearer in avoiding an unwanted lockout . But he simply knows that with hour glass petering and the sand emptying as the March 3rd deadline inches ever closer he has to have an agreement in place with the NFLPA Executive Committee before the March deadline. If that’s not available to him then look for the NFL owners to lock the gates and all hell break loose.

From afar I’m wondering what both the NBA and NFL think that they can achieve from all of this ! I find it somewhat ridiculous that the executives within both organizations and the respective unions could have simply thought that the untold riches that they’ve been in receipt of wasn’t ever going to decline ! But here again lies the fact that much like the present administration , Congress and Senate their thinking has been short term rather than long term when it comes to a business and economic template. How else can you simply explain the economic mess that the country is now in apart from the rather asinine behavior also shown by idiots on Wall St and within the boardrooms of major corporations across the nation ? And not unlike those entities we’re now hearing and seeing the excuses come about as they now try to explain many of the problems they now have within their midst. The NBA , NFL and US government has become >one big joke as they seek to absolve themselves of the problems which in large part much of it they created with their rather irrational and irresponsible behavior !

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What thoughts if any do you have on the San Antonio Spurs’ season ? And also chime in with your own thoughts as the NBA and NFL’s ongoing labor dispute .

Picture and slide show details .

(1) Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans , second from left, tries to the protect the ball from San Antonio Spurs’ Manu Ginobili, of Argentina, left, Tim Duncan, third from left, and Tony Parker, right, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli ……….

(2) San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, of Argentina, right, gets treatment for a cut in his mouth from Spurs trainer Will Sevening , during the second half against the Sacramento Kings in a NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. The Spurs beat the Kings 113-100 . AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli ………..

(3) San Antonio Spurs head coach Greg Popovich was called for a technical foul for arguing with official Marat Kogut , unseen, during the second half against the Sacramento Kings in a NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. The Spurs beat the Kings 113-100. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli …..

(4) San Antonio Spurs forward DeJuan Blair, right, comes up with a loose ball against Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. The Spurs beat the Kings 113-100. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli …..

(5) San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker, right, of France, drives to the basket against Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans, left, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli ……..

(6) Head coach Phil Jackson (left) of the Los Angeles Lakers receives his championship ring from NBA Commissioner David Stern before the season opening game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on October 27, 2009 in Los Angeles. Getty Images/ Kevork Djansezjian …..

NBA News

NBA Standings Conference ……… Division

NFL News

Alan aka tophatal ……………………..

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San Antonio Spurs ….

Spurs’ roster

Team Stats …

San Antonio Spurs’ 2010-11 schedule

Coaching Staff ……. led by Gregg Popovich

Team owner Peter Holt

General Manager R C Buford

San Antonio Spurs’ history

San Antonio Spurs’ news


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Summer Walker

Eye candy ……………….. Summer Walker . Hell yeah !

Summer Walker 2

Isn’t she the most interesting season of the year ? Summer Walker !

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Mint Condition ………….. “Breakin’ My Heart” (Pretty Brown Eyes)

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All Star ? Is This American Idol ?

All Star ? Is This American Idol ?

Well at the midway point of the NBA season teams are now jockeying for positions as the meat of the season now awaits after the game’s midseason showcase event the All Star game. Now what many view as one of the better professional staged midseason events amongst the four major sports it has to be said that beyond the MLB All Star game the NBA All Star event might just be the most popular of the four major sports.

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Slide show for your perusal

From my own perspective the game itself is about as competitive as the NFL Pro Bowl is meant to be. There’s no real incentive and it is in essence really about the multi million dollar owners —- players of the league merely to have one great big party that in essence in the end comes at the expense of the all too willing public who are in attendance at the game and the surrounding events that take place over the All Star weekend. Now the voting itself for the event borders on the insanity that we see each quadrennial when the Presidential elections take place. Do you vote for who you favor because of their popularity or from the substance of their being ? There’s more acrimony over who’s been slighted but in the end there it’s also nothing more than a popularity contest as the fans participate in this alongside the coaches of the teams participating in the All Star event. And what’s portrayed isn’t far off the non-sense we see on the ratings juggernaut reality show American Idol . Only here there’s no three panel of arbitrators offering up their thoughts of the talent on view but at times you might feel that there ought to be . I mean Paula Abdul use to show about as much insight on the show than the idiocy we’ve seen being shown as to the nominees for some of the spots on the NBA All Star roster .

The Eastern Conference may well give us starters Dwight Howard , Kevin Garnett , Amare’ Stoudemire , LeBron James and Dwyane Wade . Coaching the Eastern Conference team will be Doc Rivers but that may well change given precedence that’s normally set . Reserves for the team will be firmly adjudged with the fans’ voting and that of the input of the coach himself.

The Western Conference will throw up the usual suspects Kobe Bryant former league MVP and the likes of Steve Nash , Carmelo Anthony , Dirk Nowitzki , Deron Williams , Yao Ming who’ll miss the event due to season sending surgery . Cases are now being made for the Los Angeles Clippers’ —– Blake Griffin , and the Minnesota Timberwolves Kevin Love after the outstanding seasons that they’ve had. There are some who may well feel that neither is deserving while others who feel that there’s a possibility that one of the duo will make it unto the Western team roster while the other will be a reserve for the game.

Now while I’ve never really been enamored with the event I do think that for Commissioner David Stern the league’s hierarchy and the owners this is more of getting the NBA global brand further out there. With countless billions of dollars in revenues each season and the mere fact that the game is perhaps more widely recognized across the globe than the NFL and MLB combined. Michael Jordan was and still is the pre-eminent face of the NBA albeit that he’s retired from the game . The mantel may well have been assumed by Kobe Bryant and LeBron James as they seek basketball fame and immortality but other than the regular season and the NBA postseason the regular schedule as such provides us with nothing more than seeing the stars and team we’ve come to support .

Reigning champions the Los Angeles Lakers have had their season of ups and downs but they’ve been able to maintain their status amongst the West’s elite as they seek a three-peat with coach Phil Jackson at the helm of this team . While I’ve no doubt that they’ll be a part of the postseason parade I must admit that they do need to get more solid contributions from players such as Ron Artest , Lamar Odom and in particular Andrew Bynum if they’re to prove to be the team to beat not just within the conference but as the presumptive favorites for the NBA title.

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

Well it does go without saying that glamor of the “Big Three” in Miami engineered in part by Pat Riley at the insistance of owner of Micky Arison that if they should fall short of the expected goals that many believe has been set within the organization even though no one has gone on record that winning the NBA title has been set as the target. It’s clearly evident that this is what is actually wanted by all associated with the team and organization. Should they fall short of that presumed target then questions will have been asked and answered and I’ve no doubt that James’ former employer and team owner Dan Gilbert of the Cleveland Cavaliers would be the happiest man in the world should LeBron James come up short with the Miami Heat.

At midpoint of the season there’s no denying that a number of teams have underachieved and there have been one or two pleasant surprises. The San Antonio Spurs have come flying out of the gate and have the best record in the league . Tony Parker , Manu Ginobli and Tim Duncan are still omnipresent on this team and with there being added contributions from the young players on the roster DeJuan Blair , George Hill , Tiago Splitter and seasoned veteran Antonio McDyess who are making Gregg Popovich quite possibly a shoo-in for the NBA Coach of the Year .

If there’s said to be an immense disappointment it may well be the seasons for the Sacramento Kings and that of the Minnesota Timberwolves . If nothing else both teams could be on the cards for the top pick in the NBA Draft . Jared Sullinger , Kemba Walker and Nolan Smith are thought to be the top three players liable to be the top picks in the draft. And given that triumvirates’ play this college season I’ve no doubt in my that they’d be able to contribute to the Kings and Timberwoves greatly !

At the midpoint of the season what are your impressions of the NBA and the upcoming All Star event itself as a spectacle ? And if anything are you entirely happy with how the players are voted unto the respective team rosters ? Fans’ contributions apart and that of the coaches do you believe that there’s justification as to how the votes are accorded for the NBA midseason showcase ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the topic and as always thanks for the continued support !

Picture and slide show details …………….

(1) In this file photo taken Jan. 17, 2011, Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant rests during a timeout in a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Los Angeles. Representatives for Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood announced Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011, that Bryant will have a ceremony setting his hands and feet in cement at the theater as part of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend festivities on Feb. 19, the day before the All-Star game in Los Angeles. Bryant will become the first athlete honored with the ceremony. AP Photo/Alex Gallardo …..

(2) Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, left, dunks over Portland Trail Blazers center Joel Przybilla during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011. AP Photo/Don Ryan …………

(3) LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Atlanta Hawks at American Airlines Arena on January 18, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ……

(4) San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan, left, congratulates DeJuan Blair during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 104-95 . AP Photo/Darren Abate ……

(5) Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, below, dunks as forward Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ………..

NB

The 2011 NBA All Star Game will be held at the Staples Center home to the Los Angeles Lakers

NBA News

NBA Scores & results …..

NBA schedule

NBA Standings ……….. Conference ………. Division ….

NBA Team Stats

NBA Player Stats

NBA All Star ballots

Alan aka tophatal …………………………………

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Lenny Kravitz ………… “Come On Get It” NBA TNT theme song for the season

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Karmen

Eye candy ………………….. Karmen Sutra and a continued montage of the beauty .

What’s not to like ?

Karmen  Sutra

Bootylicious !

As Kravitz says in his song ‘Come On Get It” …….’come get some of this’ !

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

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

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

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Slide show for your perusal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal. By clicking a frame you can view that frame in its original formatted size.

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

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

Miami Heat roster ….

Los Angeles Lakers’ roster …

Click here for NBA news

NBA schedule

😦

Alan aka tophatal ………………. 🙂

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Miss-Issa

Eye candy vocalist Miss Issa courtesy of Lowridermagazine.com

The Writing Was On The Wall ……Somehow Some Didn’t Heed The Warning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Last   night   the  San   Antonio  Spurs   were   unceremoniously    dumped  out  of  this   year’s   playoffs  in the   NBA.   Having  succumbed at the  hands  of  their  instate   foe  divisional   rival  the Dallas Mavericks.  It  has to   be   said  that    this   was  all   foreseen    the  very  moment   they   lost  their indomitable  super   sub   Manu   Ginobli   before  the start of  the  playoffs.   If  nothing   else   this was   as much  a   gut  wrench  to the  team  as  it  was   for   their   fans.

 

 

    Josh Howard  of  the  Mavericks  dunks the  ball while the  Spurs'  Michael  Finley   looks  on  in   game 5 of  the  playoff  series between  the two teams.
Josh Howard of the Dallas Mavericks dunks the ball while the Spurs' Michael Finley looks on. The game was played on the Spurs' homecourt of the AT&T Center in San Antonio ,Tx. The Mavericks would end up winning the game (106-93) and close out winning the series 4-1. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ D Clarke Evans ................

 

 

However  in  losing  the   series   outright  (4-1)   and   the  result of  the   game  last  night  being   so  conclusive  with  an  emphatic   106-93  win.   The  Dallas  Mavericks   move  on   with a   no  doubt   happy   owner  in Mark  Cuban   smiling  from  ear to ear. For  the  San  Antonio  Spurs  the   ride  while   it  lasted  was a  pleasant  one   for  their  fans  and   the  community  at   large.

 

 

 

 

However it  can’t  hide  the  fact  that   the   team    underperformed.  And   much of  that  responsibility   rests   squarely  on the  shoulders   of  coach  Gregg Popovich  and   that of    his  bench  players   who   failed to  show   up.  It  was  left   to the    team’s   erstwhile duo  of  All  Stars   in   Tim   Duncan   and   Tony  Parker   to  try  and  carry   the  team   on  their   shoulders.     And  as  gallantly   as  they   both   performed    the   task   was  made   all   the  more  insurmountable   by  the  ineptitude  shown   by  the   duo’s  supporting   cast.

 

 

Erick  Dampier  of the  Mavericks  and the  Spurs'  Tony  Parker  contest  a  loose  ball.
Erick Dampier of the Mavericks and the Spurs' Tony Parker contest a loose ball during the game. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Eric Gray ....................

 

 

 

 

Popovich   in  large  part   was   outcoached   by  his   counterpart  Rick Carlisle  throughout   much  of this  series.  But  then again   the  Mavericks’  players  also   stepped  up  to  the  plate  and   answered  the  call  of their   coach  to   go  out  there and   execute.  And   nowhere  was   this   more apparent   than  with  the  play   of  Josh  Howard     who   proved  to  be  the   catalyst    for  the  Mavericks    through  much  of  the  series  when  it  mattered   most.    There  were  also    valid   contributions  from  Dirk Nowitzki  and  Jason  Kidd.  For  Nowitzki  he  may  well  be   now  cast  off  that   name  tag  of   being  considered    just  a  regular  season  player,  instead of   being   a   postseason performer.

 

 

 

 

 

And that if  anything   has   proven  to  be  the   difference  between  the  two   teams.   When   asked  for  the  contributions  to be   made  in whatever   way   possible   it   was   the   players  of  the  Mavericks   who  stepped  and   answered the   call.   For   the    Spurs  it  was   the  complete    opposite   but   for  the  exceptions   of  Duncan and  Parker.   The  Spurs  were   languid  and   slow  to   the   touch   and   but   for   their  sole   victory  in game   2 of  the   series.    This    would   definitely   have    been a  blowout    for the  Dallas Mavericks.  The  heroics  of   Tony   Parker  in that  105-84  triumph   cannot    be   underscored.   Parker   himself   single  handedly    willed  the  team  victory  and   ended   up  scoring  38 pts  in  his   team’s  triumph.

 

 

Tony  Parker  of  the  Spurs  tries to  evade the  much  larger  presence  of  the  Mavericks'  Dirk  Nowitzki.
Tony Parker of the Spurs tries to evade the defensive presence of the Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki during the game. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ D Clarke Evans ..................

 

  

The  thing  now   everyone may  well  be  asking    is  what  now  happens to  the  San Antonio  Spurs  ?   Having   won   four   NBA  championships    in   the  decade.   They may  well  have   been  considered   a   modern  day   dynasty.   And   if   nothing  else theirs  is  a   consistency   that’s  not   often  seen   in the  game   over  the  decade  in  question.  However  with   Duncan   now   viewed as   an  aged   veteran    no  longer  being  able  to  perform   like   the   player   he   once  was in  his  halcyon days.  It  has  to  be  said  that this   is  no  longer  the   team    that  once    performed   so  methodically and   whom   about   everything  was   admired  as  an  organization  within the  NBA.    Never    viewed  as  one   of  the   more  glamorous  franchises   within the  NBA.   That  spotlight   is  often  shone  on the  Los Angeles    Lakers , Chicago Bulls  (Jordan  era) and  Boston  Celtics   because of the  renowned   history. Though   now  there  are   fans   who  believe  that  the Cleveland  Cavaliers   ought  to be   added  to  the  mix.   I  beg  to   differ  as  having   perhaps  the  game’s  most  celebrated   player   in  LeBron  James  at  present   doesn’t  give   you   legitimacy  for staking  that particular   claim. You  have to  win something  first   be  considered  a  perennial  contender   amongst  the  game’s   elite.

 

 

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