Shit does roll downhill, but it is even harder to try and push it uphill …

Shit does roll downhill, but it is even harder to try and push it uphill …

It has to be either naivete’ or a complete lack of intelligence , when fans try and suggest a team “tanking” their season and then hiring a legend will actually lead to an immediate turnaround for that franchise. Rarely does that happen in the world of sports today , and much the premise is predicated upon the staff being in place and their being able to acquire the right talent to put their plan into play. In the NBA this season, we are seeing that the New York Knicks is an organization still in transition , but even more so, a complete mess in terms of their performances during the schedule. While the hiring of Phil Jackson has to be lauded, the hire is no guarantee of success down the road , in spite of his legacy and the level of success achieved during his coaching career. This current chapter of Jackson’s career is completely a new one in its entirety and we should be reminded, he will have deal with one of , if not the most incompetent owners in the NBA , with James Dolan presiding over this franchise as its senior most executive and owner. Dolan’s ineptitude can be measured in a litany of ways , with perhaps the most infamous being, the decision to hire Isiah Thomas to head the Knicks’ Basketball Operations. A chapter which failed miserably on so many counts, with Thomas himself, having assumed the head coaching position during his tenure. The less said about those episodes , the better the case can be made the franchise is now in a better position, but not by much based on their current play.

=====================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


=====================================

Slideshow.

Twenty games into the season and the New York Knicks are an abysmal 4-16, and based on their current pace this team is unlikely to win more than twenty games when it is all said an done. Granted, Jackson hired a rookie head coach, with Derek Fisher succeeding Mike Woodson into the coach’s roll, but here too, it is hard to fathom what type of coach Fisher is likely to be, given his lack of experience then assessing his staff of coaching assistants. As experienced as many of them are said to be, it is likely to Fisher’s decision and his alone likely determine the strategies we see on the court , even with the input of Phil Jackson there for him to fall back on. Carmelo Anthony remains the lone offensive threat for the Knicks, but here too the team has failed miserably , with no one else on the roster willing to step up to the plate on nightly basis for this franchise. From a defensive standpoint the team has been woefully inept at home and on the road.

In one of the Knicks’ most contests the team just hhappened to be on the wrong side of a heartbreaking loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James had less than memorable performances in the in the match-up of two of the Eastern Conference’s less than competitive franchises this season .

Derek Fisher’s team will get the chance to redeem themselves when they face the Charlotte Hornets at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte , North Carolina on Friday night , in one of the NBA’s night of scheduled contests. New York currently leads their season series 1-0 , having won their first meeting by a narrow three-point margin 96-93 on the 2nd November , 2014. Friday’s contest might not prove to be as compelling, given their present status within the conference or their respective divisions.

A one game win-streak doesn’t season make, but in the case of the Philadelphia 76ers, it could be the victory that either defines the Sixers’ season or continues their morass as the worst team in the league at this point of the NBA schedule. Head coach Brett Brown remains forever optimistic, trying to suggest his young corps of the players , the youngest in the league are still capable of being competitive. Having gained their first victory of the season, defeating the Minnesota Timbeberwolves the climb out of the depths mediocrity has just become slightly less embarrassing, but not my much.

At 1-17, it is hard to imagine how things could get any worse for the Sixers , beyond the fact the league hierarchy seems to be condoning this style of ineptitude by several teams around the NBA. Changes in the format of the NBA Draft Lottery has done little to dispel this type of ongoing charade by Philadelphia , when you bear in mind their standing at the end of last season and their draft position in the first rounds of the drafts of 2013 and 2014. Sixers’ team owner Joshua Harris and GM Sam Hinkie suggest they are showing the inclination that the franchise’s wish is to build for the future , but I find that concept hard to believe when there is no veteran experience on the roster to lead by example for young players such as Joel Embiid , Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams. Carter-Williams , last season’s Rookie of the Year has proven to be good , but not great or a leader by example. Granted , he might just be the best player on the Sixers’ lineup , yet that is by no means of any real consolation for a team that has been a constant reminder of sheer ineptitude in the NBA this and last season .

Philadelphia will have as their guests the Oklahoma City Thunder when the two teams meet on Friday evening and where Russell Westbrook will hope to lead his teammates in the absence of Kevin Durant , who remains sidelined by an injury. After an ignominious start the Thunder are back to playing some semblance of competitive basketball. The point guard has been very impressive upon his return to Thunder lineup this season. Westbrook is averaging 26.5 ppg in his last two outings, and providing the offensive firepower sorely missed by the team with Durant out of the lineup.

Currently lying in third place of the Northwest Division of the Western Conference 9 1/2 games behind the division leading Portland Trailblazers (15-4), Oklahoma City Thunder will have to make some inroad in to the lead if they are place themselves in contention a competitive assault on the second quarter and half of the season. Scott Brooks and his coaching staff will be looking to his players to remain consistent as well as competitive in what is turning out to very tough divisionand conference.

I may well be mistaken , but Flip Saunders and team owner , Glen Taylor created the mess that has engulfed the Minnesota Timberwolves this season . Saunders the Timberwolves’ head coach , minority stakeholder and Head of Basketball Operations in conjunction with Taylor, made the decision to trade Kevin Love , rather than seeking build a competitive roster around the power forward. There has been nothing at all endearing about the Timberwolves this season and with the never ending rumors as to the dissatisfaction of Ricky Rubio , it simply makes you wonder whether or not , the mercurial and talented Spaniard might be bold enough to seek a trade. Can the Timberwolves do enough to dissuade the player from leaving the franchise. It as not as if the head coach brought in any refreshing ideas that might be of benefit to the team ? Having been the first team to fall at the hands of the 76ers was bad enough, but it has been plain enough to see , Flip Saunders remains clearly out of his depth as a head coach , along with his coaching staff.

Going into Friday night’s game against the Houston Rockets the Timberwolves must be aware their season is on the line for this franchise along with its long-term well-being. A playoff berth has eluded the Minnesota Timberwolves for the past several years , with their last appearance coming during the 2003 NBA season . first-round loss to the Los Angeles Lakers sealed their fate (4-2) in the NBA Playoffs , where they were the top seeds in the Western Conference that year. Hard to imagine a decade later and the team entering into the playoffs during that season was led by Kevin Garnett, Latrell Sprewell, Sam Cassell, Fred Hoiberg, Mark Madsen , Wally Sczerbiak ,Michael Olowokandi and Oliver Miller , to name but a few.

If it is December and the Los Angeles Lakers are playing badly , then expect Kobe Bryant sooner or later to begin to harangue and chastise the organization and indirectly a number of his teammates. There is not a great that can or needs to be said about a team so lacking depth and overall talent. Needless to say, you can point an accusing finger at Mitch Kupchak and the exceedingly poor job he has done in drafting players over the last few , seasons as well as the failures of free agent acquisitions , most notably Dwight Howard . The center’s failure to acclimatize himself to the rigors and task of playing in a major market , indicated that he not only lacks the maturity to perform on the “big stage”, but the hyperbole surrounding him was never really justified , even with his having won multiple Defensive Player of the Year Awards .

A year on from his departure , Howard is now playing “second fiddle” to James Harden of the Houston Rockets’, while his former team , the Lakers continue to look for semblance of consistency , character and dare I say it , leadership ? Kobe Bryant still yearns to be viewed as a winner , but clearly this team is not going to provide him that all elusive sixth NBA ring and title . Head coach Byron Scott and his staff have their work cut out for them in having coach one of the worst defensive teams in the entire NBA. Needless to say, with Bryant supplying the brunt of the offense, while customarily throwing up more bricks than a bricklaying mason , the question has to asked, who on on the team steps up to the plate to share the load with Kobe Bryant , or are we likely to see the player repeatedly just put on a one-man show night in and night out over the remainder of the season ?

As of the 5th December the Los Angeles Lakers held the bottom rung of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference , while clinging to a mediocre record of 5-15. Pretty much sums up the Lakers’ season so far. Kobe Bryant has signaled his wish to sign on with the team for another two years , but I am not sure he is willing to offer home town discount , with his now averaging just over $24.25 million per year on his existing contract. May be , the Los Angeles Lakers can live with that type of risk-reward , but given the stage of his career where Bryant now finds himself at, there seems to be no real advantage in taking the player up on the offer at the time he becomes a free agent in 2016 and it is not as if the organization has used any type of due diligence in assembling a roster to complement Kobe Bryant over the last two seasons. A seventeen-point loss to the Boston Celtics summed up the ongoing issues the Lakers continue to face with any last vestiges of dignity, having been flushed down the crapper after another dismal display . When they face Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans at the Staples Center on Sunday , I can only hope for the sake of the Los Angeles’ Lakers fans’ sake, their team actually show them (fans), they do possess a backbone . This season, there has been little evidence to suggest the Lakers even have that amongst their artillery.

Just as the Los Angeles Clippers can be considered to be the Lakers’ bi#ch or lapdog ,whichever colloquial term you feel fits the the persona. Then, so too, do the Brooklyn Nets as it equates with the New York Knicks. Granted, neither the Knicks, Nets or Clippers have won an NBA title in the last two decades and their combined appearances in the league’s showcase finale in the time-frame mentioned , would amount to two visits , all by the Nets.

Bearing a record of 8-10 the Brooklyn Nets are struggling and for GM Billy King and team owner Mikhail Prokhorov this has already become another season of discontent , with a team payroll among the highest in the NBA. I have to believe that some drastic changes are needed for the makeup of this roster, either before the trade deadline or at the time of its being. A twenty-three point loss to the Atlanta Hawks was not only a cause for concern, with Lionel Hollins and his coaching staffobviously bewildered why this team has performed so poorly to start their season. With experienced players such as Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett , Andrei Kirilenko , Jarrett Jack and Brook Lopez there is clearly a disjoint as to why a team thought to be so talented cannot get out of the way of their own mediocrity on both ends of the court .
.

Personally, I have never had an inclination to believe the Nets were ever good enough to win an NBA title, even with the wealth and resources of their billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov. The Barclays Center ,home to the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA’s most lavish venue remains an extravagant edifice to opulence and a “White Elephant” . Attendance levels notwithstanding, there is little to suggest the Nets’ front office has the wherewithal to place a competitive product on the court, much less having an economic template to make this franchise a profitable endeavor beyond the value of the commercial and residential value of the entities which surround the Barclays Center, many of which are owned by the Russian billionaire , Prokhorov,through his US business holdings, Onexim Sports & Entertainment Inc and parent company Onexim Group .

Next up for the Brooklyn Nets will be a home game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn , New York when they will have as their guests LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers . With the Cavaliers on a six-game winning streak and point guard Kyrie Irving recently scoring a season high 37 points in the team’s demolition of the New York Knicks on Thursday night in a road victory , there is every reason to believe Cleveland’s winning streak is likely to be extended against a Nets’ team completely devoid of any defensive capability. LeBron James and Deron Williams will also get the chance to renew an under-appreciated player rivalry in the NBA .

=====================================


=====================================
Picture gallery.

Given what you have seen up to this pointof the NBA season do you believe there can be room for improvement among the teams as they enter the second quarter of the schedule in the build up to the All Star festivities and thereon after ? Simply chime in with your thoughts as you see fit on this particular subject matter and anything else you believe relevant to the NBA.

🙂

Picture and slideshow gallery details below.
================================================
(1) Dec 5, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets center Jefferson (25) shoots the ball over New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire (1) during the second half at Time Warner Cable Arena. Hornets defeated the Knicks 103-102. Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports ..

(2) Dec 5, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA;New York Knicks head coach Derek Fisher looks on during the second half against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena. Hornets defeated the Knicks 103-102. Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports ….

(3) Dec 5, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) shoots the ball over Charlotte Hornets center Cody Zeller (40) during the first half at Time Warner Cable Arena. Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

(4) New York Knicks’ owner James Dolan, left , is seen here alongside Phil Jackson who returned to the Knicks in the capacity of Head of Basketball Operations &SVP within the Knicks’ hierarchical structure . GM Steve Mills will take his lead from Jackson and cede to him all personnel decisions made concerning player personnel . During the off-season the Knicks will have several decisions to be made concerning the makeup of the team’s lineup entering into next season. AP Photo / Marty Cooke ..

(5) PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 5: Nerlens Noel (4) of the Philadelphia 76ers looks to pass against the Orlando Magic during the game on November 5 , 2014 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Noel along with Joel Embiid and Michael Carter-Williams it was hoped would make a solid impact for the Sixers , but instead the team has failed miserably, while having the league’s youngest roster , where the average age is twenty-two, as well as seven un-drafted making up the twelve-man roster. Even with the experience of head coach Brett Brown , formerly an assistant to Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs. NBAE Photo by Jesse Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

(6) Minnesota Timberwolves’ point guard Ricky Rubio is having an indifferent season as is the team in general . Flip Saunders might well be left contemplating the trading away of the talented Spaniard who is not due to become free agent until 2018 . There has been a great deal of indifference among the fans of the Timberwolves’ , who have seen the departure of Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers. AP Photo / Mary Morris ..

(7) Kobe Bryant (24) is seen here court-side as he and head coach Byron Scott discuss a game plan. Not much has gone right for the Los Angeles Lakers this season . The team has struggled on both ends of the court , with only the guard seemingly providing the brunt of the offense. Unfortunately, it has not been all to the benefit of the Lakers, but more so to the personal benefit of the player as he recently broke the 30,000 career points’ plateau , leading active players and ranking him inside the all-time top ten in NBA history. UPI Syndicated Press …. @ copyrighted material …

(8) From left to right , Joe Johnson , Deron Williams and Bojan Bogdanovic are seated court-side during a game this season. The Brooklyn Nets have been adisaster on the court with their being little resilience being shown with a team that is the highest paid in the NBA. Team owner , Mikhail Prokhorov for the past two years has been willing to have his franchise carry that dubious honor, while failing to gain any type of meaningful success . The Nets’ most recent NBA Playoff appearances have ended with the players showing little appetite to perform to the best of their alleged abilities . AP Photo / Chris Hendricks ….

(9) Brooklyn Nets’ head coach Lionel Hollins, left, is seated next to GM Billy King, as Hollins is introduced the convened press announcing his signing to succeed Jason Kidd as the head coach. Kidd was abruptly fired by organization after the former Nets’ player made it known he wished for more input /on all personnel decisions concerning the team . The Nets made the NBA Playoffs last season, but fell short of their goals that year . Getty Images / Amy Hughes … …

============================================= ====

😉

Tophatal 2014-12-07

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

o_O

========

NBA news and the season’s important dates

NBA schedule 5th December

NBA schedule 6th December

NBA schedule 7th December

NBA results 4th December

NBA standings (division)

NBA standings (conference)

NBA free agents

NBA team cap hits (2014)

NBA teams’ salaries (2014-15) [salary cap $63.075 million]

NBA player stats

NBA teams’ offense

NBA teams’ defense

History of NBA champions chronologically

😀

This month in NBA history

On this date in the NBA

——————–

The Larry O’Brien Trophy . A championship, each of the NBA’s teams will be in pursuit of this season .

When Father Time Comes Knocking, You Can’t But Fail Not To Answer …..

When Father Time Comes Knocking, You Can’t But Fail Not To Answer

There comes a time when you become the elder statesman within your sport, there are calls and suggestions that you retire , or because of injuries suffered , you are no longer productive enough within your chosen profession. This baseball season will see the retirement of baseball’s most popular , with Derek Jeter having announced that 2014 will be his last in a New York Yankees’ uniform . The Yankees’ shortstop has graced the stage for almost two decades as a player having won five World Series’ titles with the franchise , several individual awards by way of the Golden Gloves , and an AL Rookie of The Year Award , but surprisingly never an AL MVP . That asides, when he plays his last regular season game , which will be a game against the Yankees’ venerable adversary , the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston , Massachusetts , we are likely to see one of the most emotional days in recent baseball history .

===========================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

=========================================================

Slideshow .

I believe that Derek Jeter’s retirement will leave a huge vacuum within the game of baseball and most certainly a huge void on the current New York Yankees’ roster , where he has been the captain of the team for at least the past six seasons. He will depart from the franchise as a leader in several offensive categories but more than anything else , perhaps one of the most beloved and well-respected players in that franchise’s history . As to where he might rank amongst many of the great players to have worn the Yankees’ Pinstripes will now become a matter of great conjecture and debate across the panacea of the game amongst fans, baseball purists and historians alike .

Prior to Jeter’s retirement , the only other player I believe that was held with such high esteem within baseball within the past ten years , who left the game under what, were thought to be his terms, was that of Ken Griffey Jr , the famed outfielder , and son of Ken Griffey Sr . Injuries robbed the former Cincinnati Reds and Seattle Mariners’ player of some of the best years of career , but he left the game with a batting average that one would deem respectable , along with some spectacular highlights as to his phenomenal athleticism in the outfield . Before, there was Torii Hunter and Mike Trout , there was Ken Griffey Jr, simply amazing the fans and analysts alike with his power and fielding . Perhaps only Bo Jackson showing his phenomenal prowess , might well have been Griffey’s equal at a time when the game was a joy to watch and before the “dawn “ of the “steroid era” and the advantages it provided hitters and pitchers alike .

While LeBron James continues to prosper within the NBA , currently making a mockery of many of his peers , perhaps with the exception of Kevin Durant , of whom, many believe may well be James’ closest rival as the best player in the league. Another player , who currently sits on the sidelines while his team labors under the rigors of an arduous season , while failing to live up to expectations. The question now has to be asked , was it really worthwhile for the Los Angeles Lakers to have offered Kobe Bryant that ridiculous two-year contract extension that will pay Bryant $48.5 million over the next two years , ending 2015 ?

As of the 4th March , 2014 the Lakers possessed the worst record in the NBA’s Western Conference and the team was simply uncompetitive under Mike D’Antoni’s coaching and the guidance of his coaching staff . From my own standpoint, coming into this season, I did not see this Lakers’ lineup as being a championship caliber team or a roster capable of winning their division , much less the Western Conference itself ! An aging Steve Nash at the point guard position , is simply not the answer for a team that sought someone who should be more productive, never mind Nash’s ongoing ailments and the fact that he has played a mere handful of games for the team this season . The alternatives for D’Antoni at the position , has been threadbare, along with any type of real productivity.

With Nash intimating that this is likely to be his last season in the NBA , the two-time League MVP , will bow out of the NBA with a list of accomplishments that belie his age , with the one missing notable achievement being an NBA title and championship ring. Steve Nash had a solid career, wherever he played , prior to his arrival with the Los Angeles Lakers at the beginning of last season. One now wonders what might have been, were Nash a part of the team prior to last season , when indeed, the franchise needed a player of his caliber ?

A recent seven point loss at home to the New Orleans Pelicans has pretty much summed up the woes of the Lakers’ season and the very fact that Mike D’Antoni’s coaching has become listless and uninspired , along with the play of this team. One could make excuses, that without Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers are a mere shell of a team. Yet, with Bryant on court , this lineup would simply struggle against many of their peers not just within the conference but across the league as a whole. The team’s record, now reflects a clear indication of they are and have become, and that is even with the advent of GM Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss thinking ahead with regard to the litany of free agents that will hit the market with the front office seeking to maneuver and place itself in better position with regard to its cap space .

For Kobe Bryant , now a seventeen-year veteran of the NBA , he is at the tail end of a career , that has seen him win every individual honor and team honor possible for a player within the league . Now a five-time NBA champion, the possibility of his now winning a sixth title, has seen that window of opportunity greatly reduced. Athletically, he is considerably slower than five years ago , with the explosiveness of his game, is no longer there. The question now becomes, without another marquee name beside him, can Kobe Bryant lead the Lakers to another title? Pau Gasol , has been a willing foil , assisting the All Star guard, but he too has become an aging veteran in the league , and again no longer the player, he was , three years ago . It is my belief that the upcoming season, will be Bryant’s last in the NBA, before he too , chooses to ride off into the sunset under his own steam , rather than being forced out by the team’s hierarchy !

Next up for the Lakers on their schedule , will be a game against their divisional rivals and inhabitants of the Staples Center , the Los Angeles Clippers . With their season series tied at one game apiece (1-1) , this third contest between the two teams , should prove to be very interesting, as Doc Rivers and his players seek to strengthen their grip on the Pacific Division within the Western Conference.

One game above ,500, at 30-29 , the Brooklyn Nets are lucky enough to be playing in a rather uninspiring division of the Eastern Conference . Currently, three game behind the Atlantic East leading Toronto Raptors (33-26) , perhaps the ” surprise”: team of the Eastern Conference this season. It would be fair to suggest, that this Jason Kidd coached Nets’ team , have been a great disappointment this season . . GM Billy King and team owner , Mikhail Prokhorov have simply sought to abandon any type of sound business principles and simply assembled a roster of high-priced players , with an aging core of veterans , in Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to surround the talents of Deron Williams , Brook Lopez and the “highly overrated “ Joe Johnson , whose contract and salary this season is one of the NBA’s biggest travesties and a clear reason why David Stern , the league hierarchy , team owners and general managers have no concept of fiscal responsibility .

What has been abundantly clear, is that the $110 million payroll of the Brooklyn Nets , the highest in the NBA this season , is further proof , that simply assembling roster of high-salaried players , is by no means a guarantee of success. The Nets found that out to their cost last season , with the team failing to make it deep into the NBA Playoffs , as hoped for, by then head coach Avery Johnson and interim replacement P J Carlesimo . The Nets failed to make it beyond the first round , falling to the Chicago Bulls in the best of seven=game series. Complacency, on the part of the players and a complete lack of leadership led to their demise.

If the NBA season were to end today, the Brooklyn Nets’ projected first round opponent, as the number six seed within the Eastern Conference , would see them meet the Toronto Raptors , currently holding down the third seed in the East. The Raptors lead their season series over the Nets 2-1 , and the likelihood of this Dwane Casey coached Raptors’ team overcoming Brooklyn, does seem a real possibility with the Toronto based franchise seeking to make it to the postseason for the first time since 2008 . For Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, after long and illustrious careers in the NBA , this may well be their last chance at combined postseason glory . The duo, were part of the Boston Celtics’ most recent triumph , when a Doc Rivers’ coached team were triumphant over the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals with a 4-2 series’ triumph. If the Nets are to have a successful postseason foray, then the leadership abilities of both Garnett and Terry will be called upon , beyond Jason Kidd’s own postseason experience as an NBA champion with the Dallas Mavericks and their triumph over the Miami Heat in 2011 .

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, are likely, future Hall of Fame bound players, given the body of their respective accomplishments as members of the Boston Celtics. Yet, at this stage , with both in the twilight of their careers, it says a great deal about both players and their ambition to go out as champions

Tim Duncan , already a four-time NBA champion, with the San Antonio Spurs , has an astonishing body of work as a player . His relationship with head coach Gregg Popovich , is like that of a father, proud of his first-born son. Duncan has been described as the greatest power forward in NBA history , something that Hall of Fame inductee Karl Malone may not be entirely in agreement with . Yet, you cannot deny that ” Mr. Fundamental” , as he is often known around the NBA, has simply made the position his own , in terms of his accomplishments. Yes, at present, there may well be, power forwards currently in the NBA, who show more athleticism than Duncan and are far more productive , but were you to ask a vast majority of fans would they take any power forward over Tim Duncan when a game is on the line , many of those individuals would definitely not have to think long and hard before coming to a decision .

Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves may well be the best player at the position, currently playing in the NBA , but as he continues to toil away with the Timberwolves , you simply get the feeling that in the end , it will be all for nothing . The Timberwolves’ front office appears to be lost and aimlessly heading nowhere , with their being little to show by the franchise in terms of any tangible success this season.

San Antonio comfortably sits behind the conference leading Oklahoma City Thunder (46-15) , one and a half games adrift , in second place. While, the talk within the conference and league wide, may well be whether or not Kevin Durant can succeed LeBron James and the League MVP . Gregg Popovich has the team concentrated on locking down that second seed and if possible , seeking to erase the Thunder’s conference lead in the coming weeks, as the regular season schedule winds down. If nothing else, one of the prime objectives also, has to keep the Spurs’ starting lineup injury free down that stretch as the last thing wanted , would be for Popovich to enter the postseason without one of the primary starters. Point guard , Tony Parker is currently out of the lineup due to a persistent recurring injury. With the Frenchman being sidelined, it gives the opportunity for Patrick Mills , Danny Green and Manu Ginobli to share the workload, while making up for the loss of the loss of Parker’s productivity , until he is ready to make a full return, to his normal starting duties.

On a four-game win streak and 8-2 in their last ten games , San Antonio appears to be rounding into the right form, as they look to wind down their schedule. . Tim Duncan, the omnipresent force and leader on this team , may well be now looking to the future as all of his career goals have been met. At best , he may well no more than one year of play left within him, as an arduous eighty-two game schedule can take its toll on the human body. Add in the fact, that the seventeen-year veteran of the 1997 NBA Draft , has been one the NBA’s mainstays during that time and it certainly gives credence , that were he to make this his last season in the league , there would be a great deal of applause for one of the great careers in recent NBA history. The accolades and achievements alone , will certainly stand the test of time , for one of the most celebrated and revered players in San Antonio Spurs’ history.

Would it be fair to suggest that during this past Superbowl , Denver Broncos’ quarterback , Peyton Manning might well have had one of the worst days of his already illustrious NFL career ? No one could have foreseen the Broncos being on the wrong side of a rather lopsided and embarrassing 48-3 defeat , suffered at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks. That being said, the preseason meeting between the two teams should have been something of an indicator , even if both combatants fielded their second and third stringers throughout much of that game. Pete Carroll and the Seahawks came away triumphant in Superbowl 48 (SBXLVIIII) , while John Fox , his revered quarterback , Peyton Manning and the team are at a loss for words to explain an inexplicable and humiliating defeat .

Is Manning, now five-time League MVP, too old to be playing in the NFL at this stage of his career? Or more to the point, does he still possess the skill-set that have many speaking of him as the greatest quarterback ever to have played the game ? From my own personal standpoint, I believe at best , the quarterback has maybe no more than one or two years left in him, before he should simply “call it quits ” ! It is one thing to play the game because of your unbridled passing for football, it is another however, when all of your mistakes are magnified and placed under the microscope , with many now beginning to question your ability to play the game at the highest level , as has been the case with Peyton Manning.

Manning’s legacy, now has lost some of its shine , as some are likely to suggest, one Superbowl victory in three attempts , is a ‘ poor return’ , for someone who’s said to be the best passer in the game’s history. Then again, Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly went to four successive Superbowls with the Buffalo Bills and those four defeats , might well be what he is now best remembered for , rather than his career , and the records he attained while playing for the Bills. In the end , it all comes down to one’s opinion , as to what we believe to be great and what apparently is not so great .

What now happens with Peyton Manning, is now entirely in his hands , not John Fox’s , or John Elway’s , who as Head of the Broncos’ Football Operations , knows that with his incumbent quarterback , that is the best hope for the franchise to obtain a third Superbowl victory. The Broncos, may well seek to draft a quarterback in the latter rounds of this upcoming draft , while grooming that player for the future. Under Manning’s tutelage, that passer is likely to learn a great deal about the game, more so, than from any quarterbacks’ coach currently coaching in the NFL.

It seems somewhat ironic, that as I write about this topic, a decision, is made, by the Broncos to sever ties with one the franchise’s best players in its history. If the rumors are to be believed then today, John Elway cut defensive back Champ Bailey , saving themselves several million dollars under the cap , and maneuvering the franchise to either acquire a corner-back via free agency to draft one that specifically meets the team’s needs. The analogy of a “shut-down ” corner-back has been often used to describe players such as Deion Sanders and Nnamdi Asomugha , yet when I look at both of the players in question , the one thing that comes to mind , that neither was ever renowned for , was their alleged ” toughness ” , “willingness ” to ” make ” or take a hit , much less tackle an opposing offensive player. I may well be wrong, in my summation of both, but I seriously doubt it! Bailey for his part , has put together a Hall of Fame caliber worthy career , that places him amongst the upper echelons of the players to have played the position .

Pat Bowlen , owner of the Denver Broncos and John Elway will have a number of decisions to make this off –season in the lead-up to the NFL Draft. The disappointment of the postseason , with the only respite was having won the AFC West ahead of a now resurgent Kansas City Chiefs and the same can be said of the San Diego Chargers . It now makes the upcoming season all the more intense , because a great deal more will be expected of the franchise and their fans in attendance at Sports Authority (Mile High Stadium) Field in Denver , Colorado. The window of opportunity for the franchise to make it a reality , to win “now” , will prove to be all the more difficult , for Peyton Manning and several of his veteran teammates on the Broncos’ roster . The loss of Champ Bailey ,notwithstanding, business decision as it may well have been, , where this now leaves the franchise might well be gauged in some ways by the decisions made last season in preparation for their year . Their draft class proved to very good and their acquisitions were more than adequate, in meeting the needs sought. If that can be replicated this off-season, then there is no reason to believe why the Denver Broncos cannot make a return to the postseason. As to where they then go from there, will obviously be predicated upon the play of their renowned quarterback.

In the NFL much like the NBA and MLB , athletes actually playing past their prime is not actually unheard of . For many it comes down to their love of the game and their wanting to prove their doubters wrong. I believe that in the cases of Derek Jeter , Kobe Bryant , Champ Bailey and Peyton Manning , it has been more to do with their passion for the game more than anything else ! All are undoubtedly great athletes in their own right and with the likely retirement of Champ Bailey , we are now left to savor what else the remaining triumvirate of players will offer the fans .

Boxer Bernard Hopkins , currently seen as the linear champion within the light-heavyweight champion will seek to make another defense of his WBA and IBF titles when he meets Beibut Shumenov (14-9) at the DC Armory in Washington , DC on the 19th April , 2014. You may well think the proposed bout is nothing out of the ordinary , but consider the following , the champion is forty-nine years of age , fast approaching his fiftieth birthday on 15th January , 2015. His less experienced opponent , thirty year old Shumenov , from Kazakhstan , was five years old when Hopkins fought his first professional bout . Since then , Hopkins has won titles at the middleweight division , unifying it as an undisputed champion , moved up to the light-heavyweight division , won , lost and regained the title within the weight category and he now seeks to unify that division , all as he approaches his fiftieth birthday. Say what you will, it is either the “ Elixir of Youth” or “Father Time ” that either makes or breaks athletes who seek to be active at the later stages of their professional lives .

======================================================

=======================================================

What are your thoughts on the merits of this post ? By all means , do take time to offer up a comment on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter.

🙂

Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

————————————————————————-

(1) New York Yankees’ captain Derek Jeter is seen here congratulating teammate Alex Rodriguez after the team’s triumph in Game Six of the 2009 World Series . The Yankees would go on to be triumphant in winning the series with complicit ease in defeating the Philadelphia Phillies , in bringing about the franchise’s twenty-seventh World Series title . Jeter made the announcement prior to the New York Yankees’ Spring Training schedule , that 2014 , his twentieth in Major League Baseball would be his last season as a professional baseball player . AP Photo / Marcus Howe …..

(2) NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 11: Derek Jeter (2 ) (R) and Alex Rodriguez (13) of the New York Yankees look on from the dugout in the ninth inning of a game against the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium on August 11 , 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images ….

(3) Ken Griffey Jr , left is seen here alongside his father Ken Griffey Sr in the dugout of a game played against the Kansas City Royals at the Kingdome in Seattle , Washington , that would prove to be historic . The event would be the first time that a father and son played in a Major League Baseball game where they were suited up on the same team , in this case the Seattle Mariners . Courtesy of MLB.com MLB properties ….

(4) Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach Mike D’Antoni is seen here court-side with Kobe Bryant during a game played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California . The team has struggled this season , with Bryant sidelined due to an injury. Without him , it has brought about a telling perspective as to how much the player is missed when he is not on the court alongside of this teammates to provide the bulk of their offensive productivity . Bryant currently believes that the Lakers stand an outside shot of gaining a playoff berth within the Western Conference as the NBA season winds down with the final games of the schedule due to be played on 16th April, 2014. For Los Angeles that final game will be played against the San Antonio Spurs . Getty Images / Stephen Harper ………..

(5) Lakers’ teammates Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash , who between them have over a combined thirty years of NBA playing experience. The two guards have been limited to the number of games which they have played together this season , for the franchise , leading to their abysmal divisional and conference record . AP Photo / Mark Anderson ….

(6) Brooklyn Nets’ teammates Kevin Garnett (2) and Paul Pierce (34) of the Brooklyn Nets are seen her during a game played at Nets’ spacious home venue the Barclays Center , in Brooklyn , New York . Along with Jason Terry , the three former Boston Celtics’ players were brought in to provide some much-needed experience on a Nets’ roster that was lacking in leadership as well as defensive capabilities . Yet the team’s season has been in different , with a great deal of inconsistency being down by the team as a whole, leading to the belief that a postseason appearance , not beyond the franchise , is likely to be a short run , because of a lack of consistency being shown . GM Billy King has sought to “right the ship” , having traded Jason Terry to the Sacramento Kings , but yet the results still remain indifferent . It is likely that at the end of the season , the decision will be made not to retain either seasoned veteran , of Kevin Garnett or Paul Pierce as the front office seeks to rebuild the roster around the talents of their All Star players , Deron Williams and Brook Lopez in the build-up for the 2014-15 NBA season . With a $110 million payroll , the highest in the NBA this season and with the franchise obligated to pay the “mandatory luxury tax” under the league hierarchy mandate. That sum will be in excess of $72 million and likely to lead to another financial loss for the second consecutive season for the Brooklyn Nets’ franchise . Billionaire team owner , Mikhail Prokhorov is willing to spend money in order to bring the Nets their first NBA title , but at what cost to his own financial acumen ? Getty Images North America / Erica Price ……

(7) San Antonio Spurs’ All Star and power forward Tim Duncan is seen here with head coach Gregg Popovich . Having won four NBA titles together in tandem as head coach and player , the two are seeking to emulate feats achieved by Michael Jordan , along with Phil Jackson and again of Jackson with Kobe Bryant in having won four or more titles together , as a head coach and player tandem. A fifth title eluded the pairing of Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich last season , when the team failed to take a-hold of their NBA Finals ‘ series against the Miami Heat , leading to a decisive game seven loss and leading to the Heat’s third title in the past seven seasons. Getty Images / Harry How ….

(8)Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) talks with head coach John Fox during practice Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, in Florham Park, N.J. The Broncos are scheduled to play the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014 , in East Rutherford, N.J. What should have been a triumphant event for the duo of head coach and quarterback , ended up being a somber occasion after the Broncos’ humiliating loss to the Seahawks . AP Photo/ Garrett Jeffries …..

(9) Defensive back , Champ Bailey of the Denver Broncos speaks to the convened press prior to the Superbowl . The twelve-time Prow Bowl selection was cut by the Broncos after a stellar career with the franchise . Seen as business issue with the team avoiding a $10 million cap hit , Bailey made it clear that he has no intention of retiring and would like resume his NFL career elsewhere this upcoming season . A round pick , seventh overall by the Washington Redskins in the 1999 NFL Draft , the defensive player would prove to be effective in his rookie season with the Redskins . AP Photo/ Vince Gallagher ……

(10) Bernard Hopkins , not due to turn fifty until 15th January ,2015, will be making a defense of his IBF and WBA light-heavyweight world titles on the 19th April against Beibut Shumenov , from Kazakhstan , in what will be Hopkins’ second defense of his IBF belt . This will be the fighter’s thirtieth world title fight at either the middleweight and light-heavyweight division . Bernard Hopkins made twenty consecutive defenses of the middleweight title , unifying the division and become the last undisputed champion in any weight category of professional boxing in the past decade. Ring Magazine / Ronny Mercer @ copyrighted material … ……

===========================================================================

🙂

tophatal ………………. 03/06/2013 —- 10:54 AM

Like Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook : Tophatal’s Blog

—–

MLB news and MLB press releases

MLB transactions

MLB schedule

MLB results 5th March 2014

MLB probable starting pitchers

MLB Standings ( Spring Training preseason)

This week in baseball history

This date in baseball history (6th March) ,

Baseball Hall of Fame eligible players 2015

😉

NBA news and archived stories

NBA standings division and by conference

NBA projected playoff picture

NBA schedule 6th March

NBA results 5th March

NBA Daily leaders 5th March 2014

NBA transactions

This month in NBA history

This date in NBA history

2014 Naismith Hall of Fame eligible candidates 3

🙂

NFL news and news from around the league

NFL free agents

NFL transactions

2014 NFL Draft and NFL Combine News

This date in NFL history

2013 NFL Draft

NFL transactions in March 2013 in the lead-up to the NFL Draft of that year .

Hall of Fame candidates 2014
——————————————————————–

I think she’s missing some type of exercise equipment , but I could , very well be wrong . Nah !

All good things must come to an end , eventually ….

All good things, must come to an end eventually

With NBA season still in its infancy , perhaps /the biggest story to hit the league has been the loss of NBA All Star point guard Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls . In one fail swoop , what appeared to be an innocuous contact with an opposing player led to Rose losing his balance , twisting his knee and tearing his right MCL (meniscus cruciate ligament). The Bulls prior to this unforeseen injury, were thought to be one of the teams within the Eastern Conference , deemed good enough to challenge the defending NBA champions , the Miami Heat . With Rose now out for the remainder of the season , for the second time inside of eighteen months , the player has been lost to the franchise for what appears to be an indeterminate length of time. The ramifications for the Chicago Bulls at this juncture are incalculable and any thought of them being able to mount a serious challenge within the conference , now appears to be doomed for failure.

===========================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

===========================================================

Slideshow .

Bulls’ head coach, Tom Thibodeau will now have to assess, how best to utilize his roster , and somehow replace an invaluable asset such as his point guard , Derrick Rose. Try to imagine the Miami Heat without LeBron James , Oklahoma City Thunder without Kevin Durant , Chris Paul missing from the Los Angeles Clippers’ lineup or the Los Angeles Lakers , without Kobe Bryant , albeit, that at present the Lakers do appear to be competitive within their conference. Such has been the magnitude of the loss, that it has been evident with the team’s first game without Rose, which resulted in an 89-83 loss to the Utah Jazz . Chicago’s next game will be on Wednesday , 27th November against the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills , in Detroit Michigan ,. How the Bulls now acquit themselves in terms of their resilience, will be predicated upon which players on the roster seeks the desire to adopt the role a leader on this team. Be it, Carlos Boozer , Luol Deng or Joakim Noah , someone now has to step up to the plate .

One of the more unlikely situations that now arises comes out of Derick Rose’s loss to the Bulls for the season , has to be how the front office now contemplates the franchise’s long-term future. A year away from the game , and the lengthy recuperation process leaves now leaves GM Gar Forman , owner Jerry Reinsdorf and the entire front office with a number of decisions to mull over. Is it worthwhile competitively playing out the remainder of the season or as some have suggested , would it be best for the organization to seek to rid themselves of a number of the large salaried contracts and impending free agents , thereby freeing up a great deal under the league salary cap and just rebuild , by way of the next NBA Draft and simply adding a veteran presence on the roster ? Clearly, the long-suffering Bulls’ fans would not like to see any of these scenarios being raised , but definitely something has to and must be done . Rose’s own contract has left the organization in almost untenable situation and the league hierarchy simply does not provide for a situation or solution as the predicament that the Chicago Bulls now finds itself in . Granted, the insurance rider carried by the franchise, will allow for any monetary loss by way of the contract , but I cannot help but wonder if this is likely to be the road that the Bulls would like to go down , in simply abandoning the player by buying out his contract at a high premium .

It certainly has been a long time, since anyone spoke about the Portland Trailblazers (13-2) in glowing terms . Yet here we are, and the franchise has gotten off to a tremendous start to the season . A great deal of the credit has to go to the coaching staff , led by head coach Terry Stotts , but also the two leading players on the roster , LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard , whose maturity and growth as a player from his rookie season in 2012 , has been very impressive this season, with his playing a leading role in the Blazers’ progress. Only the San Antonio Spurs (13-1) have a better record than the Trailblazers within the Western Conference , and the Indiana Pacers (13-1) within the East , overall .

It may well the early stages of an arduous NBA schedule , but consider the fact that more prominent teams within the league are currently struggling , who are alleged to have even greater depth to their rosters and also a better coaching staff. To my mind, it is best to adjudge the makeup of a team not just by the talent , but also by the coaching acumen on display. And to date, nothing I have seen exhibited by either the Brooklyn Nets (3-10) or New York Knicks (3-10) has given me the impression that either franchise knows what the hell they are actually doing ! Knicks and Nets’ fans can gesticulate and show their angst , because in reality, they tend to delve far more in the past , having not learned a damn thing to actually realize , what is going on in the present , only too willing to make excuses for the omnipresent mediocrity of the respective franchises in question.

Portland has simply been playing high intensity basketball, showing a great deal of aplomb in transition and a defensive mindset. Coming off the team’s almost willful destruction of the New York Knicks , during which Carmelo Anthony in a post-game tirade, directed a great deal of anger and venom towards his teammates , in stating that they sucked and were an embarrassment to the fans watching such a display. Only further emphasizing and reiterating my earlier remarks about the Eastern Conference based franchise and their continuing woes! New York’s almost $90 million payroll in comparison to their Monday night opponent’s $62.6 million cannot be considered to have been money “ well spent “ . The biggest obstacle now for the Portland Trailblazers, will be to maintain the momentum currently in their possession , as they approach the second half of the regular season . Next up for Portland will be a visit to Phoenix , Arizona , as the guests of the Phoenix Suns in a game to be played at the US Airways Arena , in Phoenix , Arizona ,. The team, will be seeking their twelfth consecutive win and eighth road win in their last nine games . While I believe the Portland Trailblazers to be a very good and well coached team , I am not so sure that during a seven game playoff series , they are capable of defeating notable conference foes such as the Oklahoma City Thunder , San Antonio Spurs , Los Angeles Clippers or the Houston Rockets . Yet, these are only my observations, as to skill-set of the teams in question !

With Kobe Bryant now being re-signed to a two-year contract extension, paying the guard $48.5 million over the next two season and essentially assuring the franchise’s fans and the player that his career will end with the Los Angeles Lakers . As to what this says about the Lakers’ intent for its long-term future , is simply, that they are seeking a smooth transition from Bryant ,as he hands over the reins of the team to the next marquee free agent that is likely to be acquired by the franchise . Obviously , Dwight Howard was not the right fit , in spite of the rather ridiculous pleading by senior members of the Lakers’ team, as well as many of the Hollywood A List celebrities , who all were willing to ” sell their souls “ , in order for the noted center to remain a Lakers’ player. Clearly, many of these individuals as well as members of the coaching staff led by Mike DAntoni , as well GM Mitch Kupchak and team owner Jim Buss , chose not to see the flaws in Howard’s game well as his demeanor when faced with a great deal of adversity on the court . Never mind the fact, that so-called knowledgeable Los Angeles Lakers’ fans were trying to point out that the player had the game to complement the team. If Mike D`Antoni , who at the time, was unable to figure out what his best starting lineup was meant to be during the 2012 schedule . I would hate to think what the hell, they the fans actually thought that they were able to witness from the team last season !

While Kobe Bryant may well have taken umbrage to the fact , that the Lakers were placed as no better than the twelfth best team in the conference and as a playoff contender . In truth , the team based on its current makeup, might only be two or three places higher better than many of the analysts have the Los Angeles Lakers. A 7-7 record now have the Lakers a half-game behind the eighth placed Denver Nuggets (7-6) , with the team now sitting in the eleventh position amongst the Western Conference based franchises . The revelation for the Lakers this season, with Bryant still sidelined and recuperating from an injury , has been the play of Jodie Meeks , Nick Young and Xavier Henry . With Pau Gasol , leading all players, from an offensive standpoint , the Lakers will seek to find some consistency , while waiting the imminent return of Kobe Bryant.

A recent victory over the Sacramento Kings , during which the Los Angeles Lakers give one of their best performances of this young season , added to the angst., but also delivered some excitement for the fans, though not negating the team’s plight. Even with the return of Kobe Bryant , and the expectations always high , it is difficult to comprehend how anyone can believe that the team will be good enough to not only gain a playoff berth , but also to be likely looked upon as a credible contender for the NBA title . Bryant and Gasol are aging veterans, whose best years, are now behind them . Two-time league MVP , Steve Nash , can no longer be relied upon to give the team anything more than perhaps twenty minutes per game , wherever possible. The “smart money” says that the Lakers will be hard pressed to make the postseason and if they do , it is highly unlikely , that they will be able to take down one of the more highly ranked teams within the conference.

Michael Carter-Williams , Victor Oladipo and Ben McLemore , are certainly justifying the faith shown in them by the teams who acquired these rookies during the 2013 NBA Draft . In light of that fact , their 2012 predecessors are still finding their way, with the exception I believe of Damian Lillard , who is now proving to be a very special player . As to whether or not this season’s rookies, are likely to make their respective franchises an impact this season, remains to be seen . Yet, it is clear, their early season productivity , has given the general managers in question , a great deal of satisfaction and relief, by way of their play. . Decidedly, the Rookie of the Year will come from one of the trio of aforementioned players or possibly from one of the more than fifteen players now viewed as likely contenders based on their productivity .

I mentioned this in an earlier post , because I felt it necessary given the fact that not only has the NBA hierarchy and union (NBPA) become ambivalent as to the use of performance enhancing drugs (PED’S) s , but it would appear that David Stern has a lackadaisical attitude on the whole issue, altogether . He pretty much towed the line of bumbling idiots such as Roger Goodell and Bud Selig , when all three as well as NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman each addressed a congressional committee on the use of steroids within their respective sports . As we know the NFL has yet to adopt a policy voted on and ratified by the NFLPA (Players’ Union) as far back as 2010. Major League Baseball finds itself in the midst of what has now become a farcical arbitration process involving Alex Rodriguez . In the NHL what common sense there is to be actually found , is not being imparted by anyone within the game itself, but from outsiders.

With the recent statement made by Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban that he would like to see the use of performance enhancing drugs within the NBA , strictly to aid a players’ recovery process . I would like to know why Cuban believes that action to be of actual benefit to the game ? While steroidal medicine does have its use within the field of medicine, specifically amongst those suffering from muscular atrophy. Yet, by the widespread rampant misuse within the NFL as well as baseball, it has now become a pandemic . Mark Cuban , much like his arch nemesis Donald Trump , likes to be the center of attention , no matter how ridiculous the statements that he tends to make , which are with ever-increasing regularity . When broached on the subject, as how the league would actually monitor a players’ usage of a PED, Cuban’s response , was that should be a decision, best left to the league itself. And one wonders, why no one takes either Mark Cuban or Donald Trump seriously , on a wide variety of issues ? The Mavericks’ owner is simply buying into the idiocy, that the use of a PED is the fastest way to assist a player suffering with a bad injury, without ever truly acknowledging the dangers its misuse can bring . Also , Cuban failed to acknowledge that there are other alternatives, beyond the use of what is already a banned substance by the NBA , unless a medical waiver has been obtained from the league . Either, this was overlooked by Cuban, or he has some type of asinine , nonsensical point to make. I simply believe it to be the latter at this juncture !

=====================================================

—————————————————————————————-

Picture gallery .

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

😉

:Picture and slideshow details.
============================================================

(1) Chicago Bulls’ head coach Tom Thibodeau , left is seen with point guard Derrick Rose , center and GM Gar Forman . With the player being lost to the franchise for a second consecutive season , the damage done to the moral and psyche of the team , could very well be irreparable . A prognosis of the player’s injury, would suggest that another twelve to fifteen month layoff could be on the cards for league MVP in 2011 . Chicago Sun Times / Joe Cowdrey ……….

(2) Damian Lillard , left , and LaMarcus Aldridge are two of the primary reasons why the Portland Trailblazers currently have the second best record in the Western Conference behind the San Antonio Spurs . AP Photo / Tom Steward …….

(3) From left to right , Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers , in the foreground , head coach Mike D’Antoni , point guard Steve Nash and far right , center Pau Gasol . All three players this season and last have had their share of injury woes . Bryant is currently sidelined by an injury and hopes to make a return to the Lakers starting lineup at some point within the next two or three weeks , dependent on medical clearance from the team’s chief physician . Getty Images / Randall Carter …..

(4) LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 10: Ben McLemore (16) a of the Sacramento Kings shoots against the Los Angeles Lakers in a preseason game played at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on October 10, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

(5) Two egotistical idiots, whose combined net wealth exceeds $ 4.3 billion dollars . Mark Cuban and Donald Trump are two individuals who are said to have a dislike of each other . Yet , there is a common thread between the duo , it remains their outsized egos and penchant for making outrageous statements , without ever having the facts to back up their often ridiculous premise . Gunther Barnes / Telefoto Spa ….
=============================================================

😉

tophatal ……..

🙂

NBA news

NBA results 25th November

NBA schedule 26th November

NBA standings by division

NBA player stats

NBA rookie stats scoring

This date in NBA history

Chicago Bulls’ news

Portland Trailblazers’ news

—————————–

Hot chic pic of the day , Denise Milani montage .

Milani in sexy lingerie

Does Denise Milani make you feel ‘horny ” ?

Shut the fu#k up and let me finish !

Shut the fu#k up and let me finish !

It is something of a distressing time in the world of sports, as the legal ramifications of Aaron Hernandez’s legal menagerie along with his two accomplices, simply reaches all too low levels of what is now seen as a sordid and all too compulsive situation. The NFL has once again been punched in the eye and stomach , though the game is not yet down for the count . Unfortunately, the league hierarchy , team owners and union (NFLPA) simply have not learned a damn thing after this latest incident . So, it would be remiss not to say that there will be another event that will undoubtedly capture the fans and nation`s attention at some point in the future . It will be interesting to see what steps if any will be taken by Roger Goodell and the teams , as things begin to play out . The legal aspects of to this case , are not all that difficult to figure out as it relates to the defendants and how the attorneys for both sides will seek to portray the events leading up to the death of Odin Loyd .

=========================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

=========================================

Slideshow .

Certainly, the statements now being attributed to New England Patriots` owner Robert Kraft do seem rather petulant and infantile; when one considers that, the franchise drafted the now disgraced Hernandez in 2010 . The front office was simply drooling over the talented player, out of the University of Florida . Gators` head coach Urban Meyer, was said to be pleased with the player`s promotion to the NFL ranks . Yet, what it did, was to hide a deep underlying trait of deviant behavior, by several players on the Gators` roster from that season . It was also the willingness of Meyer`s staff and that of AD Jeremy Foley to completely turn a blind eye to the misdeeds of Aaron Hernandez and others over the course of Meyer`s reign , as the coach of the football program.

The fact that Robert Kraft is now seeking to suggest that e and the Patriots` organization were duped by Aaron Hernandez and the player`s agent , simply speaks to the inane stupidity of the NFL , the owners and the front office staffs around the league . At what point were the staff of Bill Belichick and GM Nick Caserio not aware of Aaron Hernandez`s prior entanglements with law enforcement and what sort of in-depth background checks were actually in place and used by this now once reputable franchise ?

As an avid New England Patriots` fan , now watching the inner most revelations , now coming to the fore and placing an even bigger blight on its image as well as that of the NFL. It was one thing to see the idiocy of the management in allowing the team`s most productive player over the past five seasons, when Wes Welker was allowed to leave. Yet, here was Robert Kraft, once again seeking to apportion blame elsewhere, because of the inane stupidity shown by Nick Caserio and the coaching staff.

Tom Brady , the franchise’s best player since 2001, took it upon himself to free up $9 million in cap space in order to allow the Patriots to retain the well-respected wide receiver. Alas, Welker sought to sign with the Denver Broncos and become an additional weapon for Peyton Manning . Now while a great deal was made of the Patriots acquiring Tim Tebow, which if anything, was more of a sign of desperation rather than an act of necessity . And this preposterous belief that Tebow , as a player given his resume` would be of benefit to a franchise such as the Jacksonville Jaguars , purely because of his popularity in the state of Florida, is simply asinine ! Tim Tebow, as a draw anywhere, is like to going to the circus simply out of curiosity . The novelty will soon wear off, as it will, concerning the under-achieving quarterback, even if he has Josh McDaniels as his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks` coach . In all honesty , Tebow could very well ending being one of the biggest busts in NFL history , and that is with due respect to the likes of Heath Shuler , Tim Couch , Vince Young , JaMarcus Russell , Akili Smith and Carson Palmer .

As to the upcoming season for the Patriots from their preseason schedule to their opening day regular season game , it will be interesting to see how this newly guise team will fare . At best , I cannot see the Patriots surpassing season`s 12-4 record/ and then the clarity of their play in the postseason , until what turned to be a disastrous showing against the Baltimore Ravens , where the opposing quarterback, Joe Flacco was simply at his very best . Flacco and his teammates , in that second-half display laid siege on a Patriots` defense that has been the franchise’s weakness over the past four seasons. If the team once again sows its fallibility, concerning its secondary is once again on display in spite of free agent acquisitions and their 2013 draft class could very well be a determining factor as to how things will play out for the New England Patriots.

If ever there was a moment for a college football coach to simply shut up and either tell the truth, rather than come across as a buffoon . Then clearly, Urban Meyer now seeking to distance himself from much of the trouble created during his tenure of the Florida Gators` football program . Meyer, suggested that a great many of the issues and incidents that took place, which saw numerous arrests , allegations of cheating , team rules` violations , and the criminal infractions , were all said to have taken place off campus, or as he denotes beyond the reach and scope of the campus authority . Perhaps, it is me , but Meyer is now taking liberties, in seeking to disparage his former employer . Having succeeded Jim Tressel at Ohio State , a program where Tressel was a conduit some of the most serious program and NCAA violations in recent collegiate athletics . The fact that Buckeyes AD Gene Smith and university President Dr. E Gordon Gee stood steadfastly by the then beleaguered and disgraced coach shows the type aloofness and malevolent corruption that is widespread and rampant across the landscape of college sports . Tressel repeatedly lied to the school’s trustees, as well as to Smith and Gee to the misdeeds of the players under his jurisdiction. .

E Gordon Gee, for his part, has been critical of anyone he deems beneath the Ohio State program . And it has been Gee`s ongoing itinerant and all too embarrassing tirades that could very well see him removed from his post as the school’s top administrator .

Does anyone now truly believe that the NCAA has the wherewithal to clean up almighty mess ? NCAA President Mark Emmert is seemingly powerless to actually do anything noteworthy as collegiate athletics top administrator, while seeking to strengthen the structure of his institution .

Well, the talk of the NBA world, has been the departure of Dwight Howard from the Los Angeles Lakers as an unrestricted free agent to sign with the Houston Rockets . Team owner, Leslie Alexander pulled out all of the stops along with head coach Kevin McHale , GM Daryl Morey and James Harden . The fact that the center made the decision to leave Los Angeles , is more than indication that Howard , did not fit on a team where he simply was not sure of his role under Mike DAntoni , head coach of the Los Angeles` franchise . To further emphasize , what even the most docile of Lakers` fans were simply unwilling to admit , has been the testy relationship between Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant . Anyone who failed to acknowledge that fact , clearly chose to ignore the dichotomy between the two players. Bryant has been often described, as an egotistical, selfish and narcissistic individual who simply cares about no one but himself . That may well be true, but how would you describe Dwight Howard and the perception that fans now view the player under ?

James Harden , will now be joined by Dwight Howard, on a team that this past season , was one of the most explosive offenses in the league . Harden, further emphasized his growth as a player, while it can only be suggested that the player was sorely missed on an Oklahoma City Thunder team that fell short of expectations during the postseason . Kevin Martin , considered a serviceable player, it was clear that his insertion unto the team showed how sorely missed James Harden was said to be. Martin was not able to emulate the scoring prowess shown by the player he replaced, and to my mind, Thunder GM Sam Presti , erred, . when the player was allowed to leave the franchise prior to the start of this past season .

The Houston Rockets are well placed this upcoming season to make a solid run and perhaps be seen as one top contenders within the Western Conference . As to the financial commitment made by the Rockets may to their newest acquisition , it could very well be seen as one of the more ostentatious deals made in the NBA during this off-season.

At this point of the season , baseball will soon be celebrating their mid-season showcase event. The 2013 MLB All Star Game will be held at Citi-Field in Flushing, New York, with a New York crowd looking to celebrate in a big way. The talk seems to be whether or not the Los Angeles Dodgers` …. Yasiel Puig should be on the NL roster . While having an outstanding season , it does seem somewhat ridiculous that fans are calling for Puig`s player`s inclusion after a mere thirty-three games. Impressive stats , being what they are , but when assessing a Dodgers` team that as of Monday night , at two games under .500 with a 43-45 mark , good enough for second place in the NL West . The real issue now facing the team is whether they can win the division and guarantee themselves a postseason berth . It is clear , that after last season`s disappointment , Don Mattingly and his managerial staff may well be on the clock , before a decision is made concerning his future. It will be now, or never , for Mattingly and this high-priced of stars , and how they seek to redeem themselves .

Two years ago, the Milwaukee Brewers` Ryan Braun celebrated winning baseball`s biggest regular season individual honor in winning the NL MVP . Braun , a multiple All Star, and the best player on a Brewers` roster , for a franchise, that views the player as a homegrown hero . Ryan Braun`s name was associated with the stain of steroids , and from what appears to be the utter stupidity shown by the testing facility , in not properly storing the player`s test samples. Braun was able to escape a suspension. An arbitration hearing upheld Ryan Braun`s appeal to have his fifty-game for a first time offense. All along, in pleading his innocence, Braun felt that his actions paved the way the hearing to go his way, and to show that baseball was simply on a witch-hunt, as well over-reaching with their powers . A mere two years later, Braun, Alex Rodriguez , Nelson Cruz and a slew of other players are the focus of another investigation of rampant steroid use within the game. Once again, Bud Selig and his office , comes across looking like bumbling buffoons .

The claims made by the MLB commissioner, that baseball , has the most stringent of testing policy, is proving to be a fallacy . And with the latest admission by Biogenesis proprietor and founder Antony Bosch , that has supplied as many as sixty players with steroids , as well several other performance enhancing substances , does beg the question , what is it that baseball itself , is not doing ? And why is it , that they have failed so miserably to stem the tide of steroid abuse not only at the Major League Level but also at the Minor League Level , where the use of PED`s is even more widespread ?

Braun in the accompaniment of his agent Nev Balelo and an attorney , met with the investigators from MLB to discuss whether or not he ad at any time been supplied steroids or any other prohibitive substances banned by the league hierarchy . The player was said to be uncooperative, refusing to answer the five questions he was initially subjected to . When a further question posed as to his known association with Tony Bosch , Braun was once again unresponsive , and subsequently left the MLB headquarters , again, with his name being under a cloud of suspicion . Of the thirteen players, said to have met with the league`s investigators , eleven , are said to have initially cooperated , in answering some of the questions posed . As to what this may well mean , once the ongoing investigation reaches a finality . One can only speculate as to the course of action that may well be considered and taken , should Bud Selig and the MLB hierarchy members believe it appropriate to suspend these players for any length of time . The suspensions being considered are in the region of between fifty games to one hundred games , but it is rumored that the league would like to send a clear and strong message with a one hundred-game suspension , that would be the starting point for any punishment rendered . Any such penalties, are likely to wreak havoc upon the teams where many of these players are now assisting in their ball-clubs` title hopes . From my own standpoint , Bud Selig has simply dragged his feet with this process , albeit, that the US Justice Department is also investigating Bosch and his now defunct company . That being said , with the already haphazard handling of previous cases by the Justice Department in this specific arena , and that of baseball . My own misgivings, are that we are likely to see new levels of incompetency , beyond anything yet shown by Bud Selig and his minions .

New York Yankees` third baseman Alex Rodriguez is likely to meet with the league`s investigators prior to mid-season break for the All Star Game . Rodriguez undergoing rehab, has yet to make an appearance this season for the still struggling Yankees . The consensus seems to be , if the player is met with a 100 game suspension , then in all likelihood , his career with the franchise is likely to come to an abrupt end , with the front office , quite possibly seeking to void the remainder of the approximately $104 million still owed to Alex Rodriguez.

Given Rodriguez`s proclivity for being less than truthful. I truly believe that he too, will be uncooperative in this investigation , while still trying to proclaim his innocence in terms of any wrongdoing . As if we needed a reminder as to his first go-around concerning the use of PED`s . This now seems to be a dance that the fans have become accustomed to seeing , while we are not too sure what the outcome may well be . Bud Selig is now seeking to regain a great deal of power lost to the union . Yet my response would be , what the fuck does the MLBPA (union) care to begin with ? I mean, it is not as if they have at any time, sought to be at the forefront of ridding the game of illicit substances , in spite of ambiguous collective bargaining agreement .
,

=============================================


==============================================

Picture gallery .

What thoughts if any, do you have concerning the salient points within this piece? Simply, leave a comment as you see fit , and thanks as always for the continued support of this site .

😉

Picture and slideshow details below .

====================================================

(1) Mike Davies, right, of Norfolk, Mass., wears his New England Patriots Aaron Hernandez football jersey one last time while waiting in an exchange line outside Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, July 6, 2013. Fans may trade an Aaron Hernandez jersey with his name on it they purchased for one of another player on the NFL team. The team released Hernandez after he was arrested for allegedly orchestrating the death of Odin Lloyd. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer …..

(2) Fans wait in a checkout line inside the New England Patriots store at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., after exchanging their Aaron Hernandez football jerseys, Saturday, July 6, 2013. Fans may trade an Aaron Hernandez jersey they purchased for one of another player on the NFL team. The team released Hernandez after he was arrested for allegedly orchestrating the death of Odin Lloyd. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer …

(3) New England Patriots` owner Robert Kraft , left , is seen here with Aaron Hernandez at the team`s training facility in Foxborough , Massachusetts . The player was cut by the franchise after he was arraigned and indicted in the murder of Odin Lloyd. The owner in his first public statement , stated that he felt duped by Aaron Hernandez and was saddened for Lloyd`s family and their loss. Yet when pressed on the issue as why the player was drafted by franchise in 2010 , even after it was noted that the Hernandez had been plagued by off-the field issues concerning alleged criminal behavior. Kraft was not responsive in answering the questions posed . AP Photo / Chris Cameron ….

(4) Ohio State Buckeyes` football coach Urban Meyer is seen here addressing the convened press . Meyer seeking to deflect any negative chatter directed towards his being concerning and is handling of off the field issues of the players while at the University of Florida . The two-time winning national championship coach went as far as to suggest, that the players` behavior were not his responsibility and a great many of the incidents that took place were beyond the scope of the faculty and the athletics department . Getty Images / Paul Ross …

(5) Dwight Howard , left , is seen here with his new teammate James Harden . The two players will provide a formidable front-court for the franchise . Howard signed a four-year $88 million deal with the Houston Rockets . MMI Inc.

(6) Alex Rodriguez . left , and Ryan Braun are two of the central figures in the latest saga of steroids now seemingly raising its head once again within the world baseball . Braun met with the league`s investigators and the player was uncooperative with the investigators and the questions posed. Rodriguez is due to meet with the league officials on Friday , and it is not known how the third baseman is likely to respond . @ copyrighted material …. MLB.com MLB Properties .

————————————————————————————–

tophatal

==================

NFL news

New England Patriots` news

😉

NBA news

Houston Rockets news

😉

MLB news

==================================================

Latina actress Nadine Velazquez

Buzzer beater ………………….

Buzzer beater

With the NBA season now winding down , teams are jockeying position for the divisional as well as conference berths , with thoughts of qualifying for the postseason . The Miami Heat and the New York Knicks could very well be on a collision course for a meeting at some point during the playoffs. The fans and broadcast outlets will undoubted be hoping that these two titans and avowed foes will meet in the Eastern Conference Finals .

============================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

==========================================

Slideshow .

The Eastern Conference is turning out to be quite a competitive staging point this season , but once again it would appear that injuries have played a part in the fates of a number of teams . Stars such as Rajon Rondo , Derrick Rose , Danny Granger , Kevin Love , Dwyane Wade and Amar`e Stoudemire have at some point been sidelined for all or part of the season . And for their respective teams , it has meant them showing their resilience, because of the adversity in question. While we may well choose to overlook this factor , it should be noted that the teams in question have fared well within the conference . With the Heat’s recent twenty-seven consecutive game winning streak coming to an abrupt end , with their assault on the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers’ record of thirty-three consecutive wins , is at least safe for another season. The focus now , has to be now , how does the team rebound from the disappointment of not being able to equal or surpass that feat . The eyes on the prize , has to be the bigger picture of winning the NBA title . As the defending champions , the Miami Heat knew that a target had been placed on their backs. And that might well have been further exacerbated by the fact , that the franchise , has proven to be relentless in acquiring free agent talent , as evidenced by the Heat’s acquisitions . Ray Allen and Chris Anderson to complement the franchise’s ready collection of “ high-profiled stars “ and role players on the team . And it could be maintained that Allen and Anderson are being well compensated , as contributing to the team’s , and being a part of the Miami Heats’ franchise .

Head coach Erik Spoelstra and the front office led by team President Pat Riley and team owner , Micky Arison have seen the value of the franchise rise exponentially , while remaining competitive and extremely profitable. Ever since the Heat’s acquisition of three-time League MVP , Lebron James , the expectations were and have remained high , with the evidence of that paying off with a rise in the franchise’s value and profits . It is prudent to add in the fact, that the Heat have now become the biggest and best show in town , as they have seen a rise in the attendance levels for the team’s home games at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida , since the star’s acquisition by the franchise. .

The Miami Heat for their part , will now seek cement their lead (ten games ) within the Eastern Conference over the second placed New York Knicks (51-26) and within their division . Currently, that lead within the conference is now at a staggering 10.5 games , with five games left in the regular season , it will be interesting to see how things pan out for the teams seeking to be part of the NBA’s postseason foray .

Wednesday will offer the fans ten games on the day’s schedule with the marquee match-up being the game between the Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets . The match-up could add more intrigue in the pecking order of the conference makeup , with both teams vying for the second third places within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference . The Nets are currently the fourth ranked team within the conference , with the Celtics seated as the seventh ranked team , above the eighth ranked Milwaukee Bucks (37-40) . Both teams have had their struggles this season , and this game should go a long way in determining how both teams maintain their composure going into the postseason.

I may well have missed something but for some unknown reason Sacramento city mayor Kevin Johnson , believes it prudent to still chase after pipe-dreams , as he seeks to retain the Sacramento Kings within the state capitol. As you may well be aware, the Kings’ Maloof family have agreed in principle to the sale of the franchise to a consortium led by Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer and venture capital billionaire , Chris Hansen . The duo seek to relocate the team to the city of Seattle and it would appear that the duos bid of $575 million , with Joe and Gavin Maloof still retaining a minority stake in the team. Pending the NBA’s hierarchy and its Board of Governors’ approval , it does appear that the Kings will be relocated .

A last-ditch attempt is being made by Kevin Johnson to have the remain in Sacramento , but his hopes now look to be dashed , as it will be derailed , after Californian real estate mogul , Ron Burkle dropped out of a rival bidding consortium , of which Johnson ,himself, is a member . However, with the departure of Burkle, the most visible and high-profiled member of this syndicate, after some internal frustrations, an d fractured relationships , which the billionaire entrepreneur refuses to address. One might still question why, Johnson would seek to retain a barely profitable enterprise , that remains one of the NBA’s least supported franchises over the last eight seasons. I was once told by a Sacramento native and patron of this site , that the Kings remain a viable franchise , but herein lies the idiocy of that individual’s statement. Yet here are the facts , the Kings remain an uncompetitive , mismanaged franchise, without any leadership on , or off the court . From a financial standpoint, there is little to be desired or to suggest that under GM Geoff Petrie . or the Maloof family, that they would have been able to turn things around , much less where the meager fans in attendance, could hold out any sort of hope that this team could be resurgent once again.

Courtesy of CBS Sports

Ron Burkle drops out of group vying to buy Kings

By Royce Young, NBA Writer

On the surface, it seems like a major blow for Sacramento in its fight to keep the Kings. With 10 days to go before the NBA Board of Governors decides the future of the franchise, billionaire investor Ron Burkle is pulling out.

Why? Because of a conflict of interest. Via the Sacramento Bee:

Facing questions over a conflict of interest, Burkle instead will focus on redeveloping other portions of Downtown Plaza. “He’s so committed to Sacramento,” the mayor said, adding that he spoke with Burkle on Monday. “There’s a host of ancillary development opportunities that Ron will participate in.”

Burkle was going to take the lead in developing the proposed $448 million arena and would have held a small ownership stake in the team. Sacramento officials had said his presence was a huge asset in part because he successfully developed a new arena three years ago for his hockey team, the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Burkle is part-owner of Relativity Sports, which manages some NBA players’ careers.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson insists Burkle’s departure won’t hurt the city’s chances to keep the team, instead claiming other investors were going step in and fill the hole.

“I don’t look at this as a slow-up or a hiccup,” Johnson said, via the Bee. “We won’t miss a beat.”

With Burkle taking a step back, Vivek Ranadive and Mark Mastrov are going to be “lead investors” of the group. The report also says the Jacobs family of San Diego, who founded Qualcomm telecommunications, would take on a more significant ownership role.

The Jacobses didn’t join the Kings effort until late March and have kept a low profile. One of the family’s members, Jeff Jacobs, issued a statement Monday saying “we are thrilled to join Vivek and Mark in their efforts to keep the Kings in California and revitalize Sacramento.”

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has announced a new investor to help fill the role vacated by billionaire Ron Burkle in the city’s bid to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle.
Johnson also said Tuesday that Sacramento developer Mark Friedman has joined the group. Friedman will help build the planned arena downtown.

Burkle still plans on having a part in solidifying the future of the Kings in Sacramento, though, as he plans to work on developing the downtown area around the new arena.

Burkle was the original investor to step up in an effort to match the Seattle group’s bid for the Kings after the Maloofs reportedly sold the team for $525 million. He also stepped up in 2011 while the Maloofs angled for a move to Anaheim and helped shut down that.

“The Maloofs do not like Burkle,” sports-law expert Michael McCann told the Bee. “By removing him from the story … it could end up helping Sacramento.”

================================

The Sacramento Kings, is a franchise in name only , and the sole purpose, has to be placing a public face to this issue , for the residents to witness how inept and incompetent they have been . It simply makes no sense to retain a franchise within a city that itself has its own budgetary crunch , with the mayor now seeking an assist from private enterprise , as well as using public funds in seeking to retain a beleaguered NBA franchise . Yet somehow , this, has been the rallying call of Kevin Johnson . I simply wonder if the residents in the state capitol are fully cognizant of that fact ?

Well, Kobe Bryant may well have reiterated what many of us are coming to grips with , and that is , this may well be the player’s penultimate or final season in the NBA . Now a seventeen-year veteran in the NBA , having entered the league as a draftee of the then Charlotte Hornets in the 1996 NBA Draft as the thirteenth pick overall in the first round . How different might the fortunes of both the Los Angeles Lakers and Bobcats may well have been , had not then Lakers’ GM Jerry West pulled the trigger on a deal that brought Bryant to the Lakers in exchange for some nondescript entities superfluous to that franchise’s needs . Five NBA titles , four All Star MVP awards , two NBA Finals’ MVP awards and a League MVP award , along fourteen All Star Appearances , have pretty much cemented Bryant’s legacy in the NBA and the game’s history. Granted , the one accolade that might escape Kobe Bryant should he choose to retire at the end of this postseason , will be the chance to supplant Kareem Abdul Jabbar as the NBA’s most prolific scorer in terms of career points (38,387). Bryant currently holds the record amongst active players with 31,506 points which presently places him fourth all-time in regular season career points. He also sits third all-time in career postseason points with 5,640 in the postseason , all amassed with the Los Angeles Lakers .

This season for the Lakers , after the initial managerial upheaval , there were still frailties concerning this team , in spite of the additions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash . Head coach, Mike D’Antoni has been entrusted to run this ship , while executives Jim Buss , son of the late owner , Dr. Jerry Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak have presided over the drama and subplots , that have made up the Lakers’ soap opera season . Often critical of his teammates , Bryant has had to temper his angst , in order to produce as only he can , on a roster that really does lack cohesion , in spite of what their recent record might suggest. He remains the leading scorer and the second leading provider of opportunities in terms of assists per game for the team . If the Lakers are to prevail in the postseason , in the aftermath of Bryant’s prediction and guarantee of a playoff berth , then in all honesty every player on this roster will have to raise the level of their play over the remainder of the regular season and into the playoffs , itself. Anything short of that , and it will be all for nothing .

Tuesday night , Mike D’Antoni’s players “downed “ the New Orleans Hornets 104-96 in something of an uncompetitive game during its latter stages , without their being a genuine effort on the part of the away team ,in seeking to derail their more renowned Southern Californian rivals. Next up for the Lakers will be an away game against the Portland Trailblazers (33-44) , led by leading Rookie of the Year Candidate , Damian Lillard who will be ably assisted by teammates , LaMarcus Aldridge , Nicolas Batum , Jared Jeffries , Luke Babbitt , Wesley Matthews and J J Hickson . Blazers’ head coach Terry Stotts , will be looking for a spirited late run from his players , knowing that they have missed out on a playoff berth , with some missteps along the way during their season . With a central core built around Aldridge and Lillard , I believe that the Blazers’ front office , can acquire the players needed to place this franchise amongst the elite within the conference , with a view of making a genuine run of winning an NBA title. GM Neil Olshey certainly has the credentials to make this reality .

Having injured during the 2012 NBA playoffs , the Chicago Bulls’ , Derrick Rose , it was felt would take enough time to recuperate from what was thought at the time to be a serious injury , but not a career threatening catastrophe . Now at almost at the culmination of the Bulls’ regular season schedule , and the point guard and 2011 League MVP , has yet to suit up in a Bulls’ uniform for a game this season . With the player sidelined and unable to give a definitive time or any expectation , as to his return , head coach Tom Thibodeau is now left with the unenviable task of having to choose whether not to include Rose as part of the Bulls’ postseason roster. Rose has stated that his practices have been almost “near perfect” , with his body back to almost being in game shape. However, Derrick Rose’s issues now , might not be physical , but more psychological , as there seems to be a fear of re-injury , as it relates to his torn ACL and MCL. It would be something of a shock , were the young point guard’s career come to an abrupt end , having never fully reached the undoubted that many believe Rose has. From my own perspective , if the player is unable to play , then the coaching staff and front office need not take the risk of having him be a part of the roster as they enter into to the postseason ! That may sound somewhat cynical , but I feel given the investment made in Derrick Rose , he is seen as the heir apparent to Michael Jordan and the face of the franchise’s future . It is prudent if the player returns under his own time-frame , even if the fans and public alike , would like to see his quick return.

The Chicago Bulls were formidable enough to show the fans what they were capable of , when they derailed the Miami Heat’s quest in surpassing the Lakers’ consecutive games’ win streak , when they defeated LeBron James and his teammates’ quest for basketball immortality . A Bulls’ team showing that type of resolve and resilience is quite capable of derailing the hopes of some the Eastern Conference’s more prominent teams . A first round match-up based on the current conference standings, would pit the fifth seeded Bulls, against the fourth seed , Brooklyn Nets . It should come as no surprise that the Chicago Bulls leads the Brooklyn Nets 3-1 in their season series , in their meetings during the 2012-13 season . The Bulls also lead their potential postseason counterparts by an almost similar margin when it comes to their match-ups. Dating back to their first to their first meeting in 1998 at that stage of the NBA calendar , the franchise holds a 3-0 mark over the Brooklyn Nets.

In recent seasons the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love has evolved into one of the best Power forwards / centers in the NBA . Love’s evolution from an awkward angular player into on an offensive and rebounding giant has made him a superstar in the NBA , as well as an Olympian and member of Team USA’s gold medal winning team in London. And Love is handsomely paid for his prowess by the Timberwolves , and he is amongst the highest paid players at his position in the NBA .

Kevin Love has been sidelined with a fractured right hand which has prolonged his stay on the sidelines this season for the Timberwolves . With his being on the bench , although he has suited up for a mere eighteen games , it has been left to Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko , to lead this team from an offensive and defensive standpoint . With Timberwolves’ head coach Rick Adelman and his staff being entrusted to guide this team , it will be interesting to see how the franchise manages to steer their way through the remainder of the season , while looking forward to next season and the presumed imminent return of Kevin Love. Adelman recently became the eighth coach in NBA history to have won 1,000 games over the course his coaching career . The all-time NBA leader is Don Nelson with the figure of 1,335 wins over the course of thirty-three year coaching career in the league . With that in mind consider the fact that amongst active coaches of which Adelman is now the current active wins’ leader . The next coach expected to pass that milestone will be the San Antonio Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich (904 wins). That feat is likely to be accomplished with the franchise at some point during the during the 2014-15 NBA season .

The San Antonio Spurs may not be viewed as one of the glamor teams within the NBA , and while all of the hullabaloo tends to be about the Heat and the Knicks . Consider the fact, that , this will be the fourteenth consecutive season that the franchise has made it to the postseason , while averaging .. 50 wins per season . And yet the hype has been about the New York Knicks and their recent unbeaten run . Let’s get real for once , until this Knicks’ team has achieved something of relevance , simply don’t go overboard , because in reality the franchise has languished for four decades hoping for the “winds of change “ . And no amount regaling by the fans about past and current feats , can hide the years of inconsistency and gross mismanagement . The fans and prognosticators alike , tend to show their apathy , rather addressing both the positives and negatives concerning the Knicks’ franchise .

While the Eastern Conference has been granted with the presence, privilege and confidence of knowing that they have the reigning NBA champions within their midst . It must be said that this season, the occupants within the rival conference , the West , will try to do their damnedest to make sure that their Finals’ representative will be the best that the Western Conference has to offer . With the conference now locked with a two-way tie atop with the Oklahoma City Thunder (57-21) and San Antonio Spurs now sharing the best record in the conference, as well as within the NBA as a whole . It certainly will be interesting, to see how things play out, over the four games remaining over the course of the NBA schedule. Though the brackets have yet to be locked into place, as to who the first round match-ups will be , the prevailing thought appears to be, the way things are situated at present , will be as such, be representative of the first round series we are likely to see . With the Thunder holding the tie-break in their series this season against the Spurs , the chance for San Antonio to end up with the best record within the conference will mean the team having close out their schedule with at least three wins , with the hope that Kevin Durant and the Thunder drop at least one of their four remaining games on their schedule .

===============================================

By clicking on an individual frame you can that picture in a newly formatted size .

==================================================

Picture gallery .

As the regular season winds down what if anything to your mind has been the most memorable moment or team this season by way of expected or unexpected success ? And to your mind which player or players have impressed you the most , with regard to their attitude, and overall play ? Chime in, with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter .

Picture and slideshow details below .
===========================================

(1) Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade , left, sits on the bench with forward LeBron James during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Tuesday, April 9, 2013 in Miami. Wade was ruled out of Tuesday’s home game against the Bucks, the fifth straight contest that the All-Star guard will miss while tending to a sprained ankle and bruised knee. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …

(2) WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 10: Shane Battier (31) of the Miami Heat and Ray Allen (34) of the Miami Heat celebrate a victory over the Washington Wizards on April 10, 2013 at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images …

(3) Boston Celtics power forward Brandon Bass (30) dunks over Brooklyn Nets’ center Brook Lopez (11) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, April 10, 2013. AP Photo/Elise Amendola …

(4) BOSTON, MA – APRIL 3: Rajon Rondo (9) of the Boston Celtics practices shooting prior to a game against the Detroit Pistons on April 3, 2013 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Rondo, who is out for the remainder of the season, underwent ACL surgery in February. The point out with a torn ACL , now looks to recuperate during the off-season , with the hope of making a comeback for the 2013-14 season . Back up point guard , Jason Terry will be asked assume the role successfully filled by Rondo for much of his career with the Celtics . However , also on the roster , Celtics’ head coach Doc Rivers does also have the privilege of the use of using Avery Bradley , Jordan Crawford , Courtney Lee and Terrence Williams . Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images …..

(5) City of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson , center , is seen here speaking to the convened , press after a hastily arranged meeting, to explain the last-minute withdrawal of billionaire real estate mogul , Ron Burkle . The billionaire investor, an avid sports’ fan is happens to be the nemesis of the Maloof Family , owners of the Sacramento Kings, the franchise which Johnson hopes to retain within the California state capitol. However, it is also being rumored that Ron Burkle also has a conflict of interest in such a proposal , as he is also involved in a consortium seeking to develop the downtown Los Angeles city area , with a view to building $3.5 billion commercial and retail project that will also house a football stadium , with a view to either luring a relocated and existing NFL franchise or with the hope adding a new Los Angelean NFL team to the NFL’s thirty existing teams . AP Photo / Keith Marshall ………….

(6) Famed real estate mogul , entrepreneur and political Democratic power broker Ron Burkle . The businessman for what are said to be , personal and professional reasons, has dropped out of a consortium that sought to lodge a rival bid , in pursuant of the proposed bid made by rival suitors Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer , who as a duo have agreed in principle to buy and relocate the Sacramento Kings and move that franchise to Seattle , Washington , state . In what will undoubtedly be seen as a last-ditch effort by the Sacramento city mayor , Hansen and Ballmer’s bid , now only seeks the NBA hierarchy and Board of Governors’ final seal of approval. NBA Commissioner , David Stern has not commented publicly on the efforts of Kevin Johnson and his attempt to retain the Kings’ franchise in Sacramento . AP Photo / Tim Marshall …

(7) Timberwolves’ head coach Rick Adelman , is seen on the sidelines talking to his star center and forward, Kevin Love . The two have a very respectful relationship , that has seen Love’s career blossom over the past few seasons . However , with the player being lost to the team for much of this season , the Minnesota Timberwolves have labored after a promising start to the year . It is hoped that Love will make a fully recovery from his wrist injury to be a part of the franchise’s off-season workouts . Getty Images North America / Christian Hernandez ……….

(8) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant , left, drives on Portland Trail Blazers guard Will Barton during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, April 10, 2013. Bryant scored a season high 47 points , leading all scorers in the game against the Trailblazers . AP Photo/Don Ryan ….

==============================================

NBA related stories : Raptors’ Valanciunas injures neck against Bulls

Chandler out, Martin back for Knicks

Wade (ankle, knee) to sit out fifth game in row

Love, to have arthroscopic knee surgery

😉

NBA pieces within this site link provided ………….

😦

By Tophatal …. 04/10/2013

========================

NBA news & archived news

NBA standings by division

NBA standings by conference

NBA standings alphabetical team order

NBA results 9th April

NBA results 10th April

NBA schedule 11th April

NBA statistics (players)

NBA Kia Performance awards summary

NBA Rookie news

NBA team statistics offense

NBA team statistics defense

NBA history

On this day in NBA history (10th April)

On this date in NBA history 11th April

Brooklyn Nets’ news

Miami Heat news

New York Knicks news

Sacramento Kings news

San Antonio Spurs news

——————————————————————–

Jenny Farley ….. aka ” J-Woww ” . And wow , her “melons ” are ripe for sucking , and are worth looking at !

=====================================

Wu Tang Clan ____________ “Triumph”

😉

This isn’t a Buss thing, as it’s about winning …. something that the Lakers aren’t accustomed to at present

This isn’t a Buss thing, as it’s about winning …. something that the Lakers aren’t accustomed to at present

By Tophatal

It is extremely difficult to focus on a starting point , let alone a finishing point , as it relates to the travails of the Los Angeles Lakers this season . The franchise’s woes, have been well chronicled in the print and television media, and with the team’s best player , Kobe Bryant , now voicing his displeasure, as to the recent lackluster efforts of his teammates , you simply know that it will be only a matter of time before Bryant rails against the management and senior executives within the organization. Mike DAntoni was brought in to replace the abruptly fired Mike Brown , after GM Mitch Kupchak and Senior Vice President , Jim Buss, son of the team’s owner , Dr Jerry Buss felt that an immediate change was needed .

======================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

=======================================================================

Slideshow.

If five games into the season (1-4) , the is way, in which the NBA’s front office executives can attest to judging the playing form of their teams , then quietly possible several other of Mike Brown’s peers should have met the same fate , even if those might well have had a slightly superior record at the time . Yeah , but look , this is the Los Angeles Lakers we are discussing and anything remotely concerning common sense being shown , was thrown out the window , after the retirement of Phil Jackson , with both Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak , seeking to not offer the then vacant head coaching position to Jackson’s most trusted of his subordinates, Brian Shaw . This was even done, at the behest of Kobe Bryant, who voiced his wish both privately and publicly , for Brian Shaw to succeed Phil Jackson. Somehow , this all fell on deaf ears , as it relates to the aforementioned front office executives of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Entering into Tuesday, 22nd January , the Lakers bore a record of 17-24, within the Pacific Division of the Western Conference , wherein the team sits third place within their division , 14 ½ games behind the division leading Los Angeles Clippers (32-10) and 8 ½ games behind the second placed , and some might say the now surprisingly resilient , Golden State Warriors (25-15) , who are coached by former NBA point guard, Mark Jackson . Upon reflection , it was only a matter of time before the Lakers’ season simply resembled a train wreck , with the debris simply spread all over the place , with players simply out of gas , or feigning injury or as we are now being led to believe a number of the team’s acquisitions came into camp out of shape or with slight niggling injuries . The idiocy of this all, was that the print and television media were prepared to anoint this team as the best in the conference even before the season had tipped off . The Lakers are 2-8 in their last ten games albeit, that they are currently on three game losing streak , which does not augur well , for the franchise’s hope for a postseason berth , as they currently reside in twelfth place of the Western Conference’s fifteen teams .

The acquisitions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash , were meant to bolster the front court of this Lakers’ offense , complementing the skill-set of Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant . Gasol is now lost to the team for what is said to be an indeterminate period , and the play of Howard has been remarkably inconsistent , since starting for the Los Angeles Lakers . Another of the more troubling features of the team has been the lack defensive prowess from the players on the team , and it remains all the more asinine with claims of Mike DAntoni , that there is room for growth and toughness from his players . He and his coaching staff have “ clearly missed the boat” , as to how poor this team has been playing , and the sheer lack of determination from this entire roster . D’Antoni coached teams, have never been known for their proficiency as a defensive stalwart , and this asinine notion from the likes of current NBA analysts, Skip Bay less and Jon Barry , that the team can turn things around , as the season has now reached it’s midway point has become a cause for ridicule . I guess that both, Jon Barry and Skip Bayless are like to remain apologists for the Lakers , even when omnipresent signs of disaster are within their midst ?

Coming off a twelve-point loss to the Chicago Bulls at the United Center , in Chicago , Illinois ,. It has to be said , that seeing the team go down in an 95-83 defeat , where the effort from the Lakers’ players , was simply odious and thought-provoking. There is an increasing awareness and concern that if Mike DAntoni is not able to get this team with some semblance of cohesion and authority , then the now beleaguered coach could become the third coaching the fourth coaching casualty of the season , following Avery Johnson’s firing by the Brooklyn Nets , Mike Brown , with the Lakers , and Alvin Gentry with the Phoenix Suns . It is becoming all too clear that the hiring of the Lakers’ incumbent head coach could very well be joining his contemporaries on the tracks. Would it be too much to ask for either Jim Buss and Mitch Kolchak to now come forward and simply admit to the fact they erred in their decision to hire Mike DAntoni.

The Lakers’ draft classes in recent years have been non too impressive, and at the heart of the present roster Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol , Metta World Peace , Steve Nash and Dwight Howard , were all players acquired in a trade through free agency or in the case of Bryant , whose acquisition came by way of a trade during the 1996 NBA Draft in obtaining Kobe Bryant’s rights from the Charlotte Bobcats. The 2012 NBA Draft , saw the franchise draft , Robert Sacre , and from 2011 , Darius Morris , Andrew Goudeock and Ater Mojak . On paper alone , is there anyone who was of the belief that this team would be able to compete with any of the top teams within the conference , much less the rest of the NBA ? What the hell, are these, idiot analysts and fans actually looking at , by way of a comparison ? And should it come to a seven game series playoffs’ match-up, who amongst you, is of the belief that the Lakers , can take down the Oklahoma City Thunder , San Antonio Spurs , Los Angeles Clippers or the Memphis Grizzlies , in a seven game series during the postseason, never mind , an ultimate Finals’ meeting with the Miami Heat ?

The Lakers’ next game will be a scheduled match-up against conference rivals the Memphis Grizzlies at the Fedex Forum , in Memphis , Tennessee. The Grizzlies, who are coached by Lionel Hollins , with a team of high-caliber players , Rudy Gay , Zach Randolph , Tony Allen and Marc Gasol leading the charge for the for the franchise. And with the recent change of ownership from Michael Heisley to Memphis Basketball LLC , ownership group led by managing partner & Chairman Robert Pera and Vice-Chairman Steve Kaplan, a new era in the franchise ‘s history is now underway. Kobe Bryant and his teammates will undoubtedly be in for a stern test in tonight’s game , where another loss would hinder any progress that Mike D’Antoni and his coaching staff believes his team has. At this juncture , I would preface things by saying, I have never been convinced that D’Antoni was that great a coach to begin with , even during his reign with the Phoenix Suns , or that he was the right candidate to succeed Mike Brown !

Though, it is a growing trend amongst many of the big market franchises in all realms of professional sports , teams are beginning to exact their financial muscle , either by starting their own regional sports’ programming outlet or have a commercial tie-in with a major broadcast or cable outlet. The Los Angeles Lakers are not averse to seeking out a partner, who would be in a position to aid the franchise to maximize their exposure beyond the locale and beyond the nation , but towards a global market. Jim Buss and his sister , EVP, Jeanie Buss in conjunction with their father , team owner, Jerry Buss, have negotiated such a deal that will see the Lakers’ net an estimated $ 4 billion ($4,000,000,000) over the next two decades in a regional broadcast deal that is so financially beneficial for the organization, that , it leaves all other deals within the NBA , seemingly , trailing in the wind . Not even the mighty New York Knicks with the financial backing of parent company MSG Inc. , or team owner, James Dolan’s , patriarchy of familial holdings in Cablevision Inc could ever seek to usurp a deal of this magnitude . It now begs the question , will this be the way that the small market teams around the NBA not only seek to raise their profile but also their profitability ?

Courtesy of Forbes Inc.

Time Warner Cable Launches Two Regional Sports Networks, Lakers Reap $4 Billion

By Maury Brown , Forbes Contributor

In a continuation of the massive growth of sports programming options, the Southern California area will see the launch of not one, but two new regional sports networks through Time Warner Cable beginning today. Time Warner Cable will launch Time Warner Cable SportsNet, as well as the first-ever all Spanish language RSN, Time Warner Cable Deportes. The networks will be the new exclusive local homes of the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Galaxy and Los Angeles Sparks, as well as cover Mountain West football and basketball, in addition to soccer and boxing programming on Time Warner Cable Deportes.
The launch of the two RSNs highlights the explosion in media rights for sports over the last several years. The reported 20-year, $4 billion deal is wide-ranging and covers the rights to distribute all locally available pre-season, regular season, and post-season Lakers games, beginning with the 2012-2013 season. All Lakers games will be produced in high-definition in English & Spanish.

On-air talent for the TWC SportsNet includes former Laker great and Hall of Famer James Worthy, Chris McGee who was the Lakers’ sideline reporter at FOX SportsNet, as well as Dave Miller and Mike Trudell. That team joins Stu Lantz and Bill Macdonald who will call all Lakers games on Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Andy Adler, who joined the network in May, will serve as a studio anchor. On TWC Deportes, on-air personalities will include Ricardo Celis, Martin “El Pulpo” Zúñiga, Elmur Souza, Enrique Gutierrez and Hipolito Gamboa. Time Warner Cable Deportes will broadcast all local Lakers and Galaxy games entirely in Spanish.
Outside of basketball, TWC SportsNet will are 12 live Mountain West Conference football games and more than 24 Mountain West basketball games, making Time Warner Cable SportsNet the exclusive regional home for Aztecs, Rebels and Bulldogs.

The launch of the two regional sports networks sits against the backdrop of either new RSNs in the Southern California area cropping up, or lucrative rights extensions for the sports teams that are inking them. In mid-August, Time Warner Cable added the PAC-12 Network to their channel listing. According to the SportsBusiness Journal, PAC-12 Network has been seeking 80-cents per subscriber, which ranks higher than CNN, USA and FX. And, TWC could be positioning to land the Los Angeles Dodgers to a new deal, as well that could hit between $4-$5 billion over 20-years. Already, TWC prime competitor FOX Sports has reached a $3 billion, 20-year agreement with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
=======================================
Click on link to read in full .
======================================

Over the ensuing months leading up up to the NBA playoffs, which begin on the 20th April ,2013, there is no doubt that Kobe Bryant and his teammates will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed . However, I am of the opinion that Mitch Kupchak will seek to shake things up in terms of the makeup of the team’s roster , if things for the franchise are still in a quandary. The trade deadline this season falls on 21st February , which is barely a month away, so it is now incumbent upon the head coach , Mike D’Antoni and the general manager to have some intent, as to the direction that the franchise , is said to be heading . In terms of trade bait , the only viable options on the roster are, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace. Beyond that, there are no enticing pieces on the team , beyond its three preeminent stars , Bryant , Dwight Howard and Steve Nash.

After years of seemingly being in the wilderness , this season has seen a remarkable turn of events , as it relates to the Golden State Warriors (25-15) . Head coach , Mark Jackson , has this team playing an up-tempo form of basketball , that plays into the strengths of his core players , and when in transition , the Warriors just seem to be just as comfortable. The Warriors will get a further chance to assess their progress tonight, when they play hosts the Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder . In what is sure to be a high-scoring game , given the previous meeting between these two teams earlier this season, when there was a prolific output from the players on both rosters.

Leading the way for the Warriors this season , are Seth Curry and David Lee , but that would be to downplay the efforts of the duo’s teammates . And the fact that the Warriors have played themselves into a playoff berth at this point of the season , can only point to the optimism being shown not only by the coaching staff , but also by the front office led by managing partner , Joe Lacob , and indeed the franchise’s long-suffering fans. . There is a great deal that the franchise can indeed can perhaps feel contented with for the moment , they obviously have been playing in the background of gigantic shadow cast by the Los Angeles Lakers , and as of late, with the ascent of the Los Angeles Clippers , the Warriors can no longer be seen as one of the more inept franchises in NBA history. If they can simply maintain their present consistency of the remainder of their schedule , then there is every reason to believe that the franchise could very well make the postseason for the first time since the 2007 NBA Playoffs, which culminated their conference semi-finals’ loss to the Utah Jazz , after a sensational season by the franchise’s standards .

Currently, holding down the fifth spot in the Western Conference . With standings as they are currently , a first round match-up would elicit a series against the Memphis Grizzlies , the fourth seed. Again , this would be predicated upon the teams in question maintaining their consistency . So at this juncture as the remainder of the regular season schedule plays itself out .

==========================================================================


==========================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal.

In light of the ongoing issues with the Los Angeles Lakers , do you believe that the team can muster up enough wins , enabling the franchise to make the postseason ? If they fail to guarantees themselves a playoff berth , are you of the opinion that Mike D’Antoni well be retained by the front office for next season ? Chime in on this , and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter and the NBA as a whole .

😉

Picture and slide show details below .
===============================================================

(1)FILE – In this April 26, 2012 file photo, the Maloof brothers, Phil, left, George, center and Gavin , co-owners of the Sacramento Kings, watch their team against the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif. The only thing stopping the Kings from a sale and move to Seattle is approval by NBA owners.The Maloof family has agreed to sell the Kings to a Seattle group led by investor Chris Hansen and Microsoft, Chairman , Steve Ballmer , the league confirmed in a statement Monday morning, Jan. 21, 2013.. The deal is still pending a vote by the NBA Board of Governors. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli …

(2) Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich (12) pressures Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Chicago. The Bulls won 95-83 . AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast …

(3) Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant walks off the court during a break in the action during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Chicago. The Bulls won 95-83 . AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast …

(4) Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni looks up at the scoreboard during a break in the action in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls  on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Chicago. The Bulls won 95-83. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast …

(5) From left to right , Lakers GM , Mitch Kupchak, SVP, Jim Buss , and team owner Dr Jerry Buss . With the team have reached a crisis point in their season having eight of their last ten games , it would appear that changes are in the offing for franchise amongst the player personnel , and if the rumors are to be believed , then head coach Mike DAntoni will be assessed on the team’s success between now and until the end of the season, which will be incumbent upon the Los Angeles Lakers making the playoffs. Currently laying as the twelfth seed in the Western Conference , the team is currently 3 1/2 games out of the eighth spot , held by the Houston Rockets (22-21) and are 15 1/2 games behind the conference leading Oklahoma City Thunder (33-9) . AP Photo /Martin Hill …

(6) Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (30) reaches for the ball held by Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. Golden State won 106-99 . Curry would go on to score 28 points in the Warriors’ surprisingly easy victory over their divisional rivals . AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez …

(7) Golden State Warriors’   David Lee , center, tries to keep a loose ball from Los Angeles Clippers’ <u> Lamar Odom </u> , left, and  <u> Eric Bledsoe</u>  during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Jan. 21, 2013.   AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez  ..  ….

(8) Head Coach  Mark Jackson   of the Golden State Warriors speaks as (L-R)   David Stern  ,   Rick Welts ,    Peter Guber ,    Joe Lacob  , Mayor   Edwin M. Lee  ,   Ahmad Rashad Jerry West   , and Lieutenant Governor of California Gavin Newsom     looks on at a press conference with the Golden State Warriors announcing plans to build a new sport and entertainment arena on the waterfront in San Francisco in time for the 2017-18 NBA Season on May 22, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  Getty  Images  North  America  / Thearon  W  Henderson  …..

===============================================================

😉

NBA related pieces within this site : Tophatal’s Blog /NBA

😉

—————————————————————

NBA news & archived stories

NBA calendar key dates

NBA transactions

NBA standings by division

NBA standings by conference

NBA schedule 23rd January 2013 & results for 22nd February and 21st January

NBA statistics Team & player stats

NBA free agents (2012-13)

😉

Los Angeles Lakers’ news & team history

Los Angeles Lakers overview & profile —- Lakers’ market capitalization /value & profitability

Los Angeles Lakers’ roster & team stats

Los Angeles Lakers’ schedule

Mike D’Antoni head coach’s bio & coaching staff

Los Angeles Lakers’ payroll ($100,190,168) & cap-hit

Los Angeles Lakers’ free agents

===================

Golden State Warriors & —— team market capitalization/value & profitability

Golden State Warriors news

Golden State Warriors roster & team stats

Mark Jackson & coaching staff bios

Golden State Warriors’ team payroll & cap-hit

=======================

NBA team salaries & NBA “soft salary cap ” $58.044 million

NBA team valuations’ list

=======================================================================

Mos Def —– “Ms Fat Booty “

==========================================================

Sean Paul — feat’g Sasha …… ” I’m Still In Love “

And The Oscar For Best Drama , Best (Lead) Actor & Best Supporting Actor Goes To ……

And The Oscar For Best Drama, Best (Lead) Actor & Best Supporting Actor Goes To ……

By tophatal ……….

It’s beginning to get mightily disturbing in Lakers’ Nation with Kobe Bryant now voicing his disapproval about the lack of movement in terms of the personnel decisions now being made by Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss , son of team owner Dr Jerry Buss . Far be it for me to suggest but the rush to judgment in the hiring of Mike Brown doesn’t appear to have been a decision that sat well with Bryant and a number of his teammates . Then add in the fact that former Sixth Man of the Year Lamar Odom was traded to the Dallas Mavericks . And the deal itself was handled so haphazardly it now begs the question who the hell just happens to be now making the decisions within the front office of the organization ? I mean it’s not as if Kupchak is said to have sought the player’s input as to who should succeed Phil Jackson , after the famed coach formally announced his retirement from the Lakers and professional basketball altogether . Jackson rides off into the sunset with his legacy firmly set and without a doubt the most successful coach in North American professional sports’ history .

===============================================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

==============================================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

Mike Brown for his part knew that the job would mark a turning point in his career after his successful tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers . A part of this whole drama as it plays itself might just be down to the fact that the Los Angeles Clippers instead of the Los Angeles Lakers , are now are the “biggest show “ in La-La Land by far. And for the first time in recent history it would appear to be the Clippers , themselves , who are actually the biggest draw at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California , the venue shared by both franchises as their home-court arena . Also playing a part in the discontent amongst Bryant and the Lakers’ players , was the mere fact that with David Stern pulling the plug on what was meant to be a multi-player blockbuster trade that would have brought Chris Paul to the Lakers from the New Orleans Hornets . It simply placed the franchise in a predicament from which they simply were unable to extricate themselves from .

Courtesy of the LA Times

Who ultimately will win between Kobe Bryant and Mitch Kupchak?

Kobe Bryant lashed out at Lakers management after Sunday’s loss to Phoenix, saying that the constant trade rumors involving Pau Gasol since before the season started are taking their toll on the team.

Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss who will come out on top in this latest perceived battle between the Lakers star and General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Check back throughout the day for more responses and join the discussion with a comment of your own.

Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times

It’s no contest, really. Did Mitch Kupchak listen when Kobe Bryant wanted out of Los Angeles a few summers back? Did Kupchak hear that Bryant wanted Jason Kidd and subsequently ship out Andrew Bynum? Did Kupchak call the Dallas Mavericks and request that they send back Lamar Odom upon learning that Bryant was upset with the deal?

Bryant whines and Kupchak wins in the battle between superstar player and his GM. And that’s the way it should be, unless the Lakers want to give Bryant a dual role of making the baskets and calling the shots. He’s having enough trouble with the former task as it is.

Ultimately, Kupchak will decide whether he can improve the Lakers by dealing Pau Gasol before the March 15 trade deadline and Bryant will be left telling us how he feels about the move but powerless to do anything about it.

K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune

Forgive Mitch Kupchak if he yawns. Of course, yawning can cause one to close his or her eyes, and the Lakers’ general manager certainly isn’t going to blink during this latest installment of “Days of Our Kobe ” .

Look, Kobe and Kupchak are far more similar than different, wired to win at all costs. Kupchak may do so in a far more behind-the-scenes, and less expletive-filled, manner. But both bleed purple and gold and victories. So Kupchak, as usual, will win in this latest mini-personnel pull. Remember when Kobe demanded to be traded in the summer of 2007? That was how many NBA Finals appearances ago?

The Lakers no longer are among the NBA’s elite. But no matter what Kobe demands regarding resolution for Pau Gasol, expect Kupchak to make the best move to try to put the Lakers back in position to be elite again. That’s what Kupchak’s impressive track record has proven through the various chatter of Kobe, Shaq, even World Peace.

===============================================================================================

Click on link to read this article in full .

===============================================================================================

With Paul now linking up with Blake Griffin and providing an offensive one-two punch that seems to be working for Vinny Del-Negro and his players . While the Clippers’ star is on the rise the Lakers’ seems to be on the decline with the inconsistent play coming from a number of players on this team . Never mind the fact that the point guard play from Steve Blake and Derek Fisher has been anything but productive .

Now as productive as Bryant has been he simply cannot do it all by himself and that is giving due credit to Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum when that particular duo sees fit to string together consecutive games where their productivity enhances the play of the team . So far it has been one of highs and lows for the center and power forward over the course of this season .

I can understand that the hierarchy within the Los Angeles Lakers wanted to move on in the aftermath of Phil Jackson’s retirement but to my mind Buss and Kupchak erred in having Mike Brown succeed Phil Jackson , as I felt that they had a ready-made replacement in Brian Shaw , who at the time was Jackson’s assistant on his coaching staff. Shaw , himself a former Lakers’ player had success with the franchise during his professional career before stepping down and becoming an assistant to his mentor.

Sunday , the Los Angeles Lakers were the guests of the Phoenix Suns in a game that has in many ways mirrored the inconsistency of the team this season. Suns’ coach Alvin Gentry had his players playing at a high level and with seasoned veterans such as Steve Nash and Grant Hill simply defying age as they made the younger players on the Lakers’ roster seem like novices . It’s crazy but not so long ago but I felt that the Suns were down and out and but a trade away from imploding altogether . Instead it would appear that Gentry has the players believing in themselves and the message that he is imploring them with may well be finally sinking in. And although of late their they’re on a losing streak a number of those games have hard-fought battles that could have gone either way .

In 2010 the claims were being made that the Lakers had the most well-balanced team in the league with its bench being the very best in the NBA . Well as we all know that was sheer bunkum , with that team simply being outplayed when it mattered most , during the postseason . This season it’s hard to see how a roster where the bench players are Luke Walton , Matt Barnes , Josh McRoberts , Troy Murphy , Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris . Not exactly the names that would tend to send shivers down an opponent’s spine , you’d think .

Monday night the Lakers play hosts to the Portland Trailblazers (17-15) in a game that will tell us a great deal about the directions that both teams are said to be heading in. The Northwest Division has the high-flying the Oklahoma City Thunder leading the division and conference and now are clearly bound to be the #1 seed for the Western Conference given the playoff picture at present.

Mike Brown needs to get his players focussed but more so, he needs to his players buying into a strategy that has them playing with a great deal of resolve . As for Mitch Kupchak , he now knows that something now has to be done in terms of bolstering the roster . A competent and productive point guard is needed if they are to have any chance of going deep into the NBA postseason . And while there are wild speculations that Boston Celtics’ GM Danny Ainge may well seek to shop Rajon Rondo given the fact that the Celtics’ …. season now appears to be spiraling out of control . Were such a trade to take place with the point guard joining the Lakers , perhaps in exchange for a starter and a bench player , then one would have to view Rondo’s addition as an added advantage . This is a dilemma that I for one don’t believe that the Celtics’ front office might have contemplated but senior managing partner Wyc Grousbeck now may well have to consider and do what’s best for the franchise . From my own standpoint , to trade Rondo would be a boon to the franchise , albeit that the front office may well feel that is in their best interests to do so. But with an aging core of Allen , Garnett and Pierce , I feel that Doc Rivers and Ainge should have set about rebuilding this roster with a view to the future at least two years ago !

As the 2012 All Star Weekend approaches there are bound to a number of transactions being worked out by the general managers , coaches and owners as they seek how best to bolster their standings with a view to gaining a playoff berth . The moves that are liable to be made may well give us a much clearer indication as to the ambitions of a number of teams around the league . We will most certainly see the contenders simply looking to separate themselves from the so-called “pretenders” within the NBA in terms of the overall play this season .

Coming into this season I felt that the Los Angeles Lakers would be challenging within the Eastern Conference but in reality I knew that this team had its frailties ! A new coach , brought in to succeed a legend creates a handicap right from the outset and the fact that the choice in terms of that coach’s successor wasn’t one that was welcomed by everyone with open arms would suggest that sooner or later a great deal of turmoil would erupt and come to the fore . That has clearly been the case with the extraordinary outburst from Kobe Bryant that was essentially an expletive filled volley aimed squarely at the Lakers’ management and coaching staff . If that wasn’t enough of performance given the player’s own exploits on the court this season . Then I for one don’t know what is ! Someone is going to be , and should be held accountable for the unyielding drama that is now taking place in LA and specifically within the inner sanctum of the Los Angeles Lakers ! Any ideas as to where the finger-pointing should begin and be directed towards ? Chime in with your thoughts . The Lakers’ cause also , hasn’t been helped by the Clippers’ success this season and the very fact that they’re now the talk of the town in ” Tinseltown” , where a court-side seat and night out at an NBA game usually meant watching the Los Angeles Lakers . Not so much now , but when you now have the Los Clippers holding away amongst the fans in the City of Angels , it begs the question who deserves the nod for the Best Drama , Best (Lead) Actor and Best Supporting Actor ? This is one particular weekend , wherein , the Oscars could well be upstaged by the drama now unfolding within the Los Angeles Lakers’ franchise .

================================================================================================

==============================================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

Where do you believe that the fault may well ultimately lay with regard to the drama now unfolding concerning the Los Angeles Lakers ? And do you believe that the team in its present guise is capable of winning another NBA title ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on this and other topic you believe to be relevant as it regards the NBA . And as usual thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

;)……… 🙂

http://facebook.com/tophatal

http://twitter.com/tophatal

😉

Picture and slide show details below .
===========================================================================================================

(1) LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 17: Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers is presented with the Western Conference Player of the Week award from General Manager Mitch Kupchak before a game against the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center on February 17, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. NBAE Getty Images / Evan Gole ……

(2) Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum , right, is guarded by Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge during the second half on an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 103-92 . AP Photo/Bret Hartman ……..

(3) Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher, right, works his way around Portland Trail Blazers forward Gerald Wallace during the second half on an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 103-92 . AP Photo/Bret Hartman …….

(4) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant , left, and Lakers forward Pau Gasol share a laugh after defeating the Portland Trail Blazers during an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Bret Hartman ……

(5) Mike Brown of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to play against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on February 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 103-92 . Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …..

(6) LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 20: Wesley Matthews (2) of the Portland Trail Blazers has his shot blocked by Andrew Goudelock (0) of the Los Angeles Lakers forcing a jump ball during the second half at Staples Center on February 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 103-92. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ….

(7) Raymond Felton (5) of the Portland Trail Blazers loses the ball as he falls in front of Steve Blake (5) and Troy Murphy (14) of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center on February 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …..

(8) Jim Buss, son of owner Jerry Buss is seen here with his father at a Lakers game last season . The son , along with his sister Jeanie Buss are senior executives within Los Angeles Lakers organization . It was at the recommendation of Jim Buss in consultation with GM Mitch Kupchak that Mike Brown was hired to succeed Phil Jackson , with final approval coming from Jerry Buss . AP Photo/ Chris Dickson …..

========================================================================================================

🙂

============================================================================================

NBA news

Los Angeles Lakers news

Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers’ roster

Los Angeles Lakers’ team payroll

Los Angeles Lakers’ free agents

Los Angeles Lakers’ stats

Los Angeles Lakers’ team splits

Los Angeles Lakers’ schedule

===========================================================================================

Don’t spill any of the goodies on my account baby !

And So It Begins ……….. The NBA Playoffs Are Here …….

And So It Begins ……….. The NBA Playoffs Are Here …….

The NBA postseason is almost upon us and the first round of games beginning this upcoming Saturday the 16th April . But on a side note it cannot have escaped the latest incident whereby NBA Commissioner David Stern had to impose a severe $100,000 fine on the Los Angeles Lakers’ guard Kobe Bryant for using a derogatory homophobic term towards a referee during the Lakers’ game against the San Antonio Spurs . I’ve always felt that far too many of today’s athletes are nothing more than a bunch of entitled primadona self absorbed idiots who think themselves above the law and above the rules that govern their game ! Bryant seems to be no different and his less than contrite apology speaks volumes as to the player’s immaturity at this juncture .

=====================================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

====================================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

The Lakers’ season has now become all the more tenuous when it was announced that their center Andrew Bynum has a recurring knee injury that could very well sideline him for initial part of the first round of these playoffs. A match-up against the New Orleand Hornets has all the semblance of a potential upset if the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t fully prepared for their task against the Chris Paul and David West led Hornets . This will be a match-up of styles and though many feel that the Lakers are the more athletic of the two teams I personally believe that the Lakers’ Achilles’ heel is that their bench lacks real depth ! The likes of Joe Smith and Theo Ratliff on paper may well look impressive but in actuality , do they actually strike fear into anyone much less you as a fan ? Admittedly , the Lakers may well this season’s potential Sixth Man of the Year in Lamar Odom but beyond that the roster in terms of its bench has nothing . The team’s greatest strength is that of their duo Pau Gasol and Bryant himself who leads the team in scoring .

Courtesy of NBA.com

NBA fines Kobe $100,000 for apparent slur toward ref

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The NBA fined Kobe Bryant $100,000 on Wednesday for using a derogatory gay term in frustration over a referee’s call.

NBA Commissioner David Stern issued a swift disciplinary ruling after the Los Angeles Lakers’ five-time NBA champion guard cursed and used the homophobic slur when referee Bennie Adams called a technical foul on him Tuesday night in the third quarter of a victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

“Kobe Bryant’s comment during last night’s game was offensive and inexcusable,” Stern said. “While I’m fully aware that basketball is an emotional game, such a distasteful term should never be tolerated. … Kobe and everyone associated with the NBA know that insensitive or derogatory comments are not acceptable and have no place in our game or society.”

Stern’s action drew praise from gay-rights organizations that had demanded a fuller apology from Bryant and condemnation of his words by the Lakers. Bryant, the sixth-leading scorer in NBA history, issued a statement earlier Wednesday saying his words came strictly out of anger and shouldn’t be taken literally.

“We applaud Commissioner Stern and the NBA for not only fining Bryant but for recognizing that slurs and derogatory comments have no place on the basketball court or in society at large,” Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said. “We hope such swift and decisive action will send a strong and universal message that this kind of hateful outburst is simply inexcusable no matter what the context.”

Bryant’s words and actions were captured by TNT’s cameras during the network’s national broadcast of the Lakers’ regular-season home finale.

================================================================

Click on the link shown to view this article in its entirety .

===============================================================

A patron (JW aka Dubs) of my site had posed the question to me who amongst the teams in the Western Conference would simply be good enough to derail the hopes of the Lakers in the off-season ? My response to him ___ was , that should the Lakers and Spurs meet in the conference finals it would not be beyond the realms of possibility to see the Lakers succumb to Gregg Popovich coached Spurs . The equalizing factor may well be the two head coaches in Phil Jackson and Popovich who between them have won nine of the last fifteen NBA titles since 1996 . If that’s not accounting for the dominance of these two coaches and their respective teams , someone needs to explain to me what is.

The seedings within the Western Conference has worked itself out coming into the last week of the regular season schedule with the San Antonio Spurs sewing up the number one seed followed by the Lakers , Dallas Mavericks , Oklahoma City Thunder , Denver Nuggets , Portland Trailblazers , New Orleans Hornets and finally the Memphis Grizzlies .

The Eastern Conference played itself out with the Chicago Bulls taking the number one overall seed much to the surprise of many who may well have felt that Tom Thibodeau’s young team led by MVP candidate Derrick Rose weren’t yet ready to be viewed amongst the elite teams within the conference. Instead we had the inconsistency shown by the Celtics , Heat and Magic all thought to be potential leading candidates for the conference’s number one seed. But the inconsistency shown by those trio of teams over the course of the season opened the door for the Chicago Bulls their successful regular season.

Rose for his part ably abetted by Luol Deng , Joakim Noah , Taj Gibson and Carlos Boozer have all played their part resurrecting the fortunes of the ball-club from those lofty days when Phil Jackson was the coach and Michael Jordan was leading the organization to their numerous triumphs . The question now being asked by the faithful Bulls’ fans who’ve attended the home games at the United Center is whether or not this team is actually capable of winning this season’s NBA title. This postseason may well go a long way in answering those questions and a great deal more not only about the Chicago Bulls also as to the aspirations of several other teams within the Eastern Conference. Undoubtedly the coaching acumen of Tom Thibodeau as coach of the Bulls has to be admired and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him being rewarded with the NBA’s Coach of the Year Award as he’d be thoroughly deserving of the award !

It goes without saying that while the Miami Heat were obviously viewed as the prohibitive favorites within the Eastern Conference merely because of the Pat Riley off-season engineered moves amongst the free agents on the market _____ many felt that the Heat would walk away with the conference. You even had the asinine notion being raised by none other than former coach Jeff Van Gundy and former Knicks’ point guard Mark Jackson that this incarnation of the Miami Heat would be able to challenge the Bulls’ single season record of 72 wins . In essence both Jackson and Van Gundy were enamored with style over substance rather than what was tangible and in front of their very eyes. And hence ,it’s one of the primary reasons why I tend not to take anything that they have to say about the NBA with any sense of intelligence. Because it’s as if duo had a man crush on LeBron James and this team rather than looking at their body of work over the course of the season . Gullible and unintelligent would simply sum up their knowledge and the asinine prognostications that they’ve made about this team and what they thought was actually possible.

Now while I believe that the Heat stands as good a chance as any of the deemed favorites within the Eastern Conference , I firmly believe that if they’re to prevail then the play of their main trio of James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade will have to be at a heightened level with the role players on this roster also stepping up their game . If they’re able to do that then it’s my belief that they can prevail within the conference but given the relative postseason inexperience of the team’s coach Erik Spoelstra it could well be that in part that they will struggle along the way as the team’s postseason efforts evolve. My firm opinion is that the top four seeds within the Eastern Conference will be the conference semi finalists and that the match-ups there will go along way in suggesting who we are likely to see in the conference finals .

If there is to be a surprise to be had in the first round of this season’s playoffs I do believe that it could come at the hands if the New York Knicks pushing the Boston Celtics for all their worth. And though this Knicks’ team leaves a great deal to be desired in terms of their defensive efforts there’s no denying that offensively they can stand toe to toe with just about any high scoring team left in these playoffs. GM Donnie Walsh in acquring Amar’e Stoudemire , Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups made sure that the team was at least capable of competing but there’s little to suggest that there’s now that consistency sought to actually make that one big push in the postseason. But herein lies the caveat once the postseason comes around everything indeed appears to be on a level playing home field advantage or not , and I do believe that both Anthony and Stoudemire wish to prove the team’s doubters wrong.

The Boston Celtics with a mix of some youth and veteran experience seem to relish the postseason and in Doc Rivers they have a coach who knows how to coax the best out of his players. But as I’ve repeatedly said to a number of patrons who’ve proffered an opinion on the team , it’s my belief that GM Danny Ainge made a profound mistake trading both Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson and getting very little in return. The duo of Perkins and Robinson were two of the unsung heroes on this roster . Unfortunately, they have an aging pair of seemingly unproductive players in Jermaine O’Neal and Shaquille O’Neal whom I believe will offer very little beyond their experience in the league. I know Shaq has five rings to his name but in reality after his decade and a half in the NBA, he’s no longer the once potent offsensive player he once was. And to my mind Jermaine O’Neal is literally robbing the Celtics blind while offering little in return !

Now while I’m really looking forward to the postseason it goes without saying that what I truly do hope to see are some very competitive series that are adjudicated by the officials with a great deal of impartiality and sound judgment rather than the usual quantity of blown calls and rather insidious wish of theirs to place themselves in the midst of a series, as if they’re indeed part of an ensemble cast. I’ve always felt that a great game is one where you see very little of the officials and more of the players exhibiting their skills and athleticism ! More often than not once the NBA postseason comes around you tend to see little of the latter and more of the referees interjecting themselves into a game or series for all of the wrong reasons that in the end tends to create more controversy than there really needs to be.

===================================================================================

================================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on this upcoming postseason and what if any are you really looking forward to seeing in terms of the teams playing ? Simply chime in with a comment on your thoughts on the NBA postseason . As a bye note are you also in agreement with the fine imposed on Kobe Bryant after his display , pointed and heated comments at a referee during the Lakers’ game against the Spurs ? Once again do leave a comment concerning that incident also.

Alan aka tophatal …………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

Picture and slide show details below .
————————————————————————————————————–

(1) Sacramento Kings fan Ralph Miller IV, 9, holds a sign conveying his sentiments during the Sacramento Kings NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, April 13, 2011. The Maloof family, majority owners of the Kings, are expected to go to New York later this week to ask the NBA permission to move the team to Anaheim. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli ………………

(2) (L-R) Tiago Splitter(22), George Hill (3) , Chris Quinn (11) , Steve Novak(23) , and Gary Neal(14) of the San Antonio Spurs look on against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on April 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California . NBAE/Getty Images/ Andrew D Bernstein ….

(3) Andrew Bynum (17) of the Los Angeles Lakers grimaces after an injury against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on April 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images / Harry How ……….

(4) 12: Kobe Bryant(24) of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots as he is defended by Tiago Splitter(22) and Richard Jefferson(24) of the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on April 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California . Getty Images/ Harry How …….

(5) CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 13: of the Chicago Bulls of the New Jersey Nets at the United Center on April 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Nets 97-92 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……

(6) Carlos Boozer(5) of the Chicago Bulls is called for charging as he hits Dan Gadzuric(50) of the New Jersey Nets at the United Center on April 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois . Getty Images/ Johnathan Daniels ……..

(7) ‘The Three Stooges’ Jeff Van Gundy, right, appears comfortable with his broadcast partners Mark Jackson, left, and Mike Breen. Breen says of Van Gundy, “He’s even smiling sometimes.” . I’m not so sure that the trio mightn’t be the worse on air analysts covering the NBA either on broadcast or cable network today ! What they believe they provide in , insight , is simply dulled by their ineptitude and stupidity with the belief that they’re also funny ! Courtesy of ESPN / Scott Clarke …….

————————————————————————————————————-

😛

NBA News

NBA Officials …… (Referees)

NBA Hierarchy

NBA Team Statistics (Team by Team Stats)

NBA Standings Season Finale (Conference)

Standings by Division

NBA Team Statistics Defense

NBA Team Statistics Offense

NBA Playoff Matchups

Eastern Conference

(1) Chicago Bulls …. vs …. (8) Indiana Pacers

(2) Miami Heat …. vs ….. (7) Philadelphia 76ers

(3) Boston Celtics ……vs …… (6) New York Knicks

(4) Orlando Magic ….. vs ….. (5) Atlanta Hawks

Western Conference

(1) San Antonio Spurs ….. vs …… (8) Memphis Grizzlies

(2) Los Angeles Lakers ….. vs ….. (7) New Orleans Hornets

(3) Dallas Mavericks ….. vs ….. (6) Portland Trailblazers

(4) Oklahoma City Thunder ….. vs ….. (5) Denver Nuggets

—————————————————————————————————

————————————————————————————————-

Please do take the time to participate in the following polls as listed above .

============================================================================

N. W.A ………………. “Express Yourself”

===========================================================================.

The Weekend In Sports And Other Select Observations …………

The Weekend In Sports ……… And Others Select Observations ………

Well the NBA season is all but over with merely two games left to played on the schedule for most teams . The Los Angeles Lakers are limping into the postseason as reigning champions having lost 5 straight and in reality this is a team that is in complete disarray . Anyone who believes different simply ought to look at the box-score in their lopsided ( 120-106 ) loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder .

===============================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

===============================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

If the Lakers are to fare well in the postseason then the team will have to be on the same page of their coach Phil Jackson and his coaching staff led by Jim Cleamons and Brian Shaw . I know that the team’s perennial All Star Kobe Bryant has come out openly and stated that he’d like to see Shaw succeed Jackson as coach of the team should he indeed retire at the culmination of the postseason. But I’m not so sure that that’d still be the case should the Lakers bow out early in the postseason , which given their performance against the Thunder is a distinct possibility . But then again it’s remiss to merely to take one game as a gauge for a team’s overall strengths and weakness. But as I mentioned earlier the Lakers have lost straight games and at no time were you under the impression that they were ever in with a chance of winning anyone of those games. But for the play of Kobe Bryant , Paul Gasol and Lamar Odom coming off the bench I’d say that one could describe the Lakers season as something of a failure when adjudged by their own lofty standards.

With that being said I’m not yet prepared to count the Los Angeles Lakers as being down and out , not while they’ve still Phil Jackson in their corner as coach ! Should he and the Lakers make a successful defense of their title then to my mind this would be his most impressive victory over the course of his storied career. I mean who else within the annals of the game has achieved his success while at the same having been denigrated by many because he was only able to coach superstars as we’ve so often been told ? These last two Finals triumphs are a testament that he can not only coach a team that plays a team but and are also willing to defer as and when needed . If the Lakers can regain their resolve then I would still favor them to come out of the Western Conference and that is with due respect to my beloved San Antonio Spurs the team with the best record in the conference and the NBA as a whole .

Sunday’s results if anything painted a clear picture as to where a number of teams now stand . Suffice to say teams seated on the bottom rung of the conference ladders , such as the Cleveland Cavaliers , Minnesota Timberwolves , Sacramento Kings , Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors can now begin to mull over their draft decision as to whether or not they ought to take Kemba Walker as the consensus overall number one pick in the upcoming NBA Draft . But oh wait we have to wait for Commissioner David Stern pick that little ball out of that revolving drum to assure us who’ll have the privilege of having that first pick.

I’ve got to admit I’ve read some idiocy in my time going around this medium but never have I read something without so much insight than a contributor’s claim that Rory McIlroy is a wasted talent merely because his final round in The Masters imploded . I suppose when you’re still young naive and have about insight on the world of golf and you do little research before writing a piece you’re entitled to come up with such absurd notions ? But then again I for one simply don’t succumb to such a notion because I feel if you’re going to make any sort of a claim then you ought to have the disposition to show both sides of the argument . If that’s the case then this particular observer has about knowledge of the game as Hall of Famer Johnny Miller whose own absurd notion that the Europeans simply aren’t capable of winning a Grand Slam title . Has Miller not simply noticed the most recent results in the Grand Slam Majors over the course of the last eighteen months , much less the fact that the US had its ass handed it by the Europeans in the Ryder Cup in 2010 ?

This tournament was as such merely heightened by the fact there was a Tiger Woods’ sighting and that he made a spirited attempt at winning the tournament which in the end would be in vain. However, the former world number one ranked golfer would end up tying for third in the first Major of the season . The eventual winner would Charl Schwartzel a staple on the European Tour and who after this win will rise up the world rankings from his present position of #11 to inside the top ten perhaps as high as number 5 . As to the contributor who should remain nameless I can only hope that he aspires to be productive in his chosen career because with regard to even have minuscule knowledge of the sport of golf even with the amount of information that there is to be gleaned this individual has merely shown that he’s completely out of his depth .

OK so what else can be said after the abrupt retirement of Manny Ramirez from the Tampa Rays’ organization ? Having tested positive for a second consecutive time for a banned substance and knowing that he’d have to face a mandatory 100 game suspension the slugger chose to retire instead. What to my mind is even more asinine is the very fact that a spokesman for the Rays’ front office states that they were completely taken aback by this and the fact that the player tested positive for a banned substance, albeit that this took place during the Rays’ Spring Training Schedule . Am I missing something here but is the coaching staff as well as the Rays’ ownership group led by senior managing partner Stuart Sternberg and GM Andrew Friedman that dumb , stupid and naive ? Never mind the fact that the league hierarchy had to have made the Rays’ front office fully aware of the test results prior to it being made public .

In the wake of this all Ramirez says he’s happy with his legacy . I’d say he’s happy alright because he’ll simply be looked at as a cheat , albeit , that his career as such would suggest otherwise having won two World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox . In the aftermath of this all the Tampa Bay Rays are left to pick up the pieces as one part of their experiment has come to a quick and unsatisfactory end . I’ve got to feel sorry for some of those Rays’ fans who’d hoped that the Rays would prove to be competitive and wherein Tropicana Field would be an enjoyable place to be. There’s now more of a chance to see a UFO sighting at the Rays’ home venue than this team seeking to be competitive at this juncture .

Unfortunately for the Rays their season started off inauspiciously having lost their first two series before eking out a much needed win (9-7) against the Chicago White Sox . The team however finds itself languishing at the bottom of the always ultra competitive AL East
and that 1-8 record simply doesn’t look at all look that enviable even if we’ve yet to exit the first month of the regular season . And the team’s efforts won’t at all be now helped with their best player Evan Longoria now being on the disabled list (DL) for what we’re told could be as long as three weeks with a strained right oblique muscle .

Can things now get much worse for the Rays ? Yes it can as they now have to face the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in a three game series where I fully expect the Red Sox’s offense will be looking to tee off on the Rays’ somewhat average pitching rotation . At the same time the Red Sox’s own pitching staff has been very susceptible this season . So it could be that the fans in attendance over the course of the next three days are liable to be thoroughly entertained .

So Football Spring Football has started and teams at the D1 level will be looking to get themselves ready for the upcoming season. From my own perspective given what took place over last season and the never ending controversy of teams , players and coaches contravening rules , I merely look at this upcoming season of one that’s about to be littered with controversy once again. I mean it’s not as if the NCAA in its sanctified much less than exalted position can do a damn thing to begin with ! I mean where have they been in the aftermath of the latest allegations concerning Auburn and the fact that several players on their teams from 2004-07 were recruited , induced through monetary gain, through having sex on campus with female co-eds as well as strippers ? And who can forget the debacle of Ohio State and in particular the actions of Buckeys’ football coach Jim Tressel ? Needless to say that Buckeye and Tigers’ fans will try and reassure us that this is merely regrettable and that they’re not the only ones doing this . And while I’m inclined to agree at the same time I’ll state this ………… it’s against the fu_king rules so why go down that route to begin with ?

In the SEC (Southeastern Conference) where they can boast national champions consecutively for the last six years . One can simply understand the reason why the SEC is deemed to be the powerhouse it is at the collegiate level in terms of BCS national title aspirations.

I read with a great deal of interest where South Carolina Gamecocks’ quarterback Stephen Garcia has one again ran afoul of his coaching staff as well as the school as a whole . To understand the problems of Garcia you simply have to know this , he simply attracts trouble like flies tend to hover around fecal matter because of the aroma and because they can feast off whatever there tends to be in the vicinity. With Garcia it’s no different !

The fact that he’s merely been suspended indefinitely , at first that wasn’t the case , though it has to be said at it still creates the impression that Steve Spurrier still believes that the player has something to offer the team . Whatever it is , I wouldn’t consider it to be his football talent or acumen in spite of how impressive his stats may well be. Why have a malcontent and disruptive influence on the team which usually in the long run leads to even more problems ? As has been the case here with Stephen Garcia , his never ending transgression of team rules and having ran afoul of the law enforcement on repeated occasions .

Courtesy of USA Today

Another suspension for South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia

By Erick Smith , USA Today

The future of South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia is in doubt after the rising senior was suspended from the team indefinitely.

It’s the fifth time in Garcia’s career he has been suspended and the second time this spring. The school did not specify the reason for the decision. The Gamecocks play their annual spring game on Saturday.

“We have expectations for our student-athletes and we make them aware that there are consequences for their actions,” athletic director Eric Hyman said in a statement released by the school. “Stephen has exhibited behavior that is unacceptable for one of our student-athletes.”

The loss of Garcia, who threw for 3,059 yards and 20 touchdowns in 14 starts, would be a blow to South Carolina, which won the SEC East for the first time in 2010. He was expected to lead an offense that also features running back Marcus Lattimore and wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey.

That responsibility would likely fall to rising sophomore Connor Shaw, who was Garcia’s backup last fall.

=====================================================================

Click on link shown to read this article in its entirety .

======================================================================

And with regard to the Gamecocks competing this upcoming season within the SEC I’m liable to think that they’ll struggle but at the same time eke out the wins they’re expected over the course of their regular season schedule . In place of Garcia , Spurrier will have at his disposal qb’s Dylan Thompson , Andrew Clifford , Connor Shaw and Seth Strickland . I’ve no doubt that the coach and his coaching staff will assess the strengths and weaknesses of each of the likely candidates before coming to a decision as to who’ll be the like starter in the Gamecocks’ first game of the season against East Carolina on the 3rd September , 2011. Garcia on the other hand will now have time reassess his future and determine whether or not it lies within being a student athlete or simply a thug , because of now he’s simply been a disappointment to those around him who expected a great deal more of him as a player as well a leader and human being .

=================================================================================

==================================================================================

Picture galley for your perusal .

What sporting events or news if any over the past weekend piqued your interest and what if anything are you hoping to see during the NBA playoffs and the month of April as it relates to the baseball season ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the matter .

Alan aka tophatal ……………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

Picture and slide show details below .
—————————————————————————————–

(1) Andrew Bynum (17) of the Los Angeles Lakers defends James Harden (13)3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first half at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106 Getty Images / Jeff Gross …….

(2) Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks draws up a play for his team during a timeout in the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106 . Getty Images/ Jeff Gross ……

(3) Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers argues a foul call in the second half against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106. Jeff Gross / Getty Images …..

(4) Kevin Durant (35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder rebounds a ball over Kobe Bryant(24) of the Los Angeles Lakers in the first half at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106. Jeff Gross / Getty Images ………

(5) Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeff Niemann , right, adjusts his cap as he listens to catcher Kelly Shoppach during the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in Chicago, Sunday, April 10, 2011. AP Photo /Nam Y Yuh ……

(6) Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) tags out Chicago White Sox’s Juan Pierre during the second inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Sunday, April 10, 2011. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ……

(7) The Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon shakes hands with Manny Ramirez (24) of the Tampa Bay Rays as Johnny Damon (22) of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on during a press conference at Tropicana Field on February 1, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Ramirez announced his retirement over the weekend rather than face a league mandated 100 game suspension having tested positive for a illicit banned substance for the second consecutive time over the course of his career. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……….

(8) Charl Schwartzel of South Africa celebrates his two-stroke victory with his wife Rosalind behind the 18th green during the final round of the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia. AFP Photo/Getty Images/ Robyn Beck …..

(9) Last year’s champion Phil Mickelson (left) puts the Green Jacket on Charl Schwartzel from South Africa after Schwartzel wins the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia.
AFP Photo/ Getty Images /Robyn Beck …….

(10) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks off the 18th hole green after finishing the final round with a final score of four under par at the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK

(11) South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw (14) looks for receivers during South Carolina’s Garnet and Black spring NCAA college football game Saturday, April 9, 2011, in Columbia, S.C. AP Photo/The State, Tracy Glantz ………..

(12) In this Dec. 29, 2010, file photo, South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia throws a pass during practice for the Chick-fil-A Bowl NCAA college football game against Florida State in Atlanta. Garcia has been indefinitely suspended from the football program. Athletic Director Eric Hyman announced the suspension Wednesday, (6th April) but did not give a reason. AP Photo/David Goldman …….

(13) Head coach Steve Spurrier of the South Carolina Gamecocks walks to congratulate quarterback Stephen Garcia (5) for his passing touchdown against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama. Getty Images North America / Kevin Cox …….

(14) Coach Steve Spurrier of the South Carolina Gamecocks lines up with players after play against the Alabama Crimson Tide October 9, 2010 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. Getty Images/ Al Messerschmidt …….

————————————————————–

😛

————————————————————————————————————-

R Kelly ………………… “Ignition”

————————————————————————————————————–

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.

===============================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

==============================================================
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.

============================================================================================

By clicking on an individual frame you can see that picture in its original formatted size.

=============================================================================================

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 .

——————————————————————————————

(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 …………..

——————————————————————————————

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

==============================================================================

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

Oh my !
==============================================================================

Nelly Furtado ………………….. “Say It Right”
==============================================================================

Have You Had Your Dose Of The NBA Today ?

Have You Had Your Dose Of The NBA Today ?

Well it’s back to the hum drum return of an NBA schedule that will play its part in now separating the contenders from the pretenders amongst the stalwarts of the league. And I’ve no doubt at present we’ll see one or two surprises as the season now enters its post midseason point. The San Antonio Spurs still remain the team with the best record in the league but they’re closely followed by what seems to be a resurgent Dallas Mavericks team led by their All Star —– Dirk Nowitzki .

=============================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

============================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

Now while the talk has been about the multiple team , multiple player trade that sent both Carmelo Anthony , Chauncey Billups and several other players to the New York Knicks in exchange for Raymond Felton and what GM Donnie Walsh and coach Mike D’Antoni feels are players obsolete to the team’s needs in the opposite direction to the Denver Nuggets I can’t help but wonder what happens should the Knicks not go deep into the playoffs ? And as much as the Knicks’ fans are in awe of this deal , on the face of it , it merely adds some luster to a team and fanbase that has been in need of it for over a decade . I mean as heralded the legacy has been for Madison Square Gardens you’ve got the readily admit the place has resembled a graveyard in terms of recent success when it comes to the New York Knicks. The days with which the Knicks under Pat Riley were thought of as a constant omnipresent threat in the Eastern Conference seems an eternity ago.

Courtesy of NBA.com news

From West to East, the balance of NBA power starts to shift …..

Dallas-Tx,. Tyson Chandler wasn’t speaking on behalf of the just Dallas when asked about the balance of power relocating from the Western Conference to the East. He might as well have been a spokesman for anyone with designs of winning the West after Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups and Deron Williams split for Greater Gotham.

“I wish we could get Kobe and Duncan and Ginobili and all those guys over there, too,” he quipped, “but I guess then it wouldn’t be any fun.”

No doubt there has been a seismic shift in the makeup of the two conferences. The West, for the past decade, has been considered the superior collection of teams from top to bottom. Twice in the previous three years, all eight of the West playoff teams won at least 50 games.

Not gonna happen this season.

And while the East may struggle to field more than six playoff squads with winning records, the so-called Least only figures to get more Beast in the years to come. The days of Western dominance are over, according to a certain All-Star known to wear a cape.

==========================================================
Click on the link shown to read the article in its entirety.
==========================================================

Don’t get me wrong I’ve no doubt that the Knicks will do well with their new revamped team but here’s the caveat , in acquiring Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups while they gain a great deal of offense the team now loses to an extent a great degree of defensive capability. But then again a Mike D’Antoni coached team has never been known for its defense and therein now lies the dilemma facing the Knicks over the remainder of the season . As good as this team now becomes unless Amar’e Stoudemire and Anthony are on the same page in conjunction with the coach then this costly experiment will all be for nought ! And this experiment is proving to be costly as the Knicks are now committed to a $65 million commitment for the next three seasons. For some of the Knicks’ most vociferous fans in terms personalities Spike Lee and ESPN radio sport’s show host Stephen A Smith this now becomes their personal Utopia and future aspirations as it relates to the Knicks.

The trade deadline itself wasn’t without other deals that took place but in reality the real talk was in essence WWCAD ……………..”what will Carmelo Anthony do” ? Well for the Denver Nuggets under coach George Karl their future may well seem bright and the coach himself feels that his team can make a run at a Western Conference playoff berth. It may well be that a sub .500 record or slightly above that may well garner the team a playoff spot. For Nuggets’ GM Masai Ujiri this maneuver may well the deal that breathes life into the Nuggets or casts a shadow organization for the immediate and long term future. It seems along way from a postseason where the team made the playoffs before succumbing to the Utah Jazz in a rather lopsided series .

Of the teams that I’ve followed within the NBA this season the Oklahoma City Thunder to my mind are a team to be feared and coach Scott Brooks does seem to have this team playing at a high level . Potential league MVP candidate Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook provide one of the “most potent one two punch ” in the NBA . And if things do pan out as I believe that they will concerning this team I do believe that they will be one of the teams to be feared come playoff time !

From the sublime to the ridiculous as the Cleveland Cavaliers continue their slide into an abyss of ineptitude . I’m not saying that coach Byron Scott has suddenly found himself in quicksand or in a riverbed filled with piranhas but given the state of things there in Cleveland at the Quicken Loans Arena I’d have said that either of those two scenarios might’ve been preferable . This team now seems to have found enumerable ways to lose —- games with ghastly consequences not only for the team but for the entire organization from a competitive and financial standpoint . Dan Gilbert may well be ruing the day that he sought to remain in control of this team rather than sell it outright to a Chinese investor .

Not to be outdone when it comes to showing ineptitude this season we have the continuing woes of the Washington Wizards , Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves proving to us that you can’t teach can’t teach an old dog new tricks . Losing with increasing regularity has become ingrained into these teams and when that happens the fans do tend to depart in droves from the those teams’ respective home venues. I’ve read where fans of some of these complaining that no one comes to watch them play . Well , would you be willing to shell out your hard earned cash to watch three teams who have a combined 36 wins and 130 losses between them ?

The reigning NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t dive into the trade market looking to bolster their roster but you can bet that Phil Jackson has bent the ears somewhat of the players whom he feels have been underachieving . It has been left as usual to the likes of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol to lead the charge offensively but there continues to be disappointment as to overall erratic and inconsistent play of the team. Arguably , Lamar Odom , Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum have played nowhere near their perceived potential when measured by their contributions to the team last season .

There’s now a growing belief that the Los Angeles are now ripe for the taking as it now seems that the team is now more susceptible than ever before in losing the grip on the defense of their NBA title. The two time defending champions are a pale comparison at present of the team that took control of last season’s finals when it looked as if the Boston Celtics to have the championship all sewn up. Instead we saw this Doc Rivers’ coached team flounder like a capsized vessel with the passengers on board being without the assist of a life jacket ! I do firmly believe that both of these teams will make the postseason and should they meet once again in the NBA Finals it will be fascinating to see whether or not this current Celtics’ embodiment of a team can usurp their Western Conference foe.

Now it goes without saying that while the season progresses our thoughts can’t be far away from the current situation evolving the ongoing collective bargaining negotiations between the league’s hierarchy and the NPBA (union). Union President Derek Fisher and Executive Director Billy Hunter have stressed the fact they wish to come to an amicable resolution during this process. And it has to be said that David Stern wants no part of the madness now taking place between the NFL and NLFPA (union) . That whole slew of cow dung now being mediated by a federally appointed mediator can only suggest that these two groups of mindless idiots are so out of touch with reality that it simply doesn’t bear thinking about. And I can only hope that their NBA counterparts show some insight and wisdom and actually do what’s right rather than thinking solely about greed and their pockets ! If not , then both of these sports could very well lose whatever goodwill is left to be had from the fans .

========================================================================

By clicking on an individual frame you can that picture in its original formatted
size.
===========================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the most recent incidents that’ve have taken place within the NBA over the past few days ? And how as such do you see the remainder of the season panning out ? By all means leave a comment as to your take on it all and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated .

Picture and slide show details below as a guide .

——————————————————————————————————

(1) Amar’e Stoudemire is joined by new teammates Carmelo Anthony (left) and Chauncey Billups (right) in an official picture to introduce the duo to the convened press at Madison Square Gardens , New York City, New York. The duo were part of a multi-player , mutli-team trade that brought them from the Denver Nuggets with several players from the Knicks heading in the opposite direction to the Western Conference team and elsewhere. Getty Images / Chris Trotman …………..

(2) Cleveland Cavaliers general ganager Chris Grant announces a trade which will send Cavaliers’ Mo Williams and Jamario Moon to the Los Angeles Clippers for Baron Davis and a first round draft pick in the 2011 NBA Draft , at a news conference at the Cavaliers training center in Independence, Ohio on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011. AP Photo/Amy Sancetta ……

(3) Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks drives against Carlos Delfino (10) of the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2011 in New York City. The Knicks defeated the Bucks 114-108 . Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ……….

(4) Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks shoots the ball over Andrew Bogut (6) of the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2011 in New York City. The Knicks defeated the Bucks 114-108. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images …….

(5) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, right, celebrates with teammate Ron Artest after Bryant scored two free throws to ice the game in overtime during their NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Feb.23, 2011. Bryant scored 37 points and Artest scored 24 as they beat the Blazers 106-101 . AP Photo/Don Ryan ……..

(6) Kevin Durant (35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder shoots against Tim Duncan (21) and Manu Ginobili (20) of the San Antonio Spurs on February 23, 2011 at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. The Spurs would end up defeating the Thunder 109-105 . Photos by D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty Images ………..

(7) In this Jan. 26, 2011, file photo shows Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams , center, attempting to score over Spurs guard Tony Parker of France, left, and Spurs forward DeJuan Blair , right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Salt Lake City. A person with knowledge of the trade says the New Jersey Nets have agreed to acquire All-Star point guard Deron Williams from the Jazz in a three-team deal. The Nets are sending rookie Derrick Favors and point guard Devin Harris to the Jazz as part of the package in a deal that also includes the Golden State Warriors . AP Photo/Colin E Braley ……..

—————————————————————————————————–

NB NBA News & views

NBA Schedule

NBA Trade transactions

Wednesday night schedule

Thursday night schedule

Friday night schedule

Saturday’s schedule

Sunday’s schedule

Milwaukee Bucks @ New York Knicks

😛

Alan aka tophatal ………………………

🙂

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

———————————————————————————————————-

============================================================================

Guy ……………………… “Let’s Chill”

“Groove Me”Feel Me”
==============================================================================

If at all interested take time to participate in the poll ?

There’s No Fool Like An Old Fool ………. And There’s Now One Born Every Minute ……

There’s No Fool Like An Old Fool ………. And There’s Now One Born Every Minute ……

Well it now appears as the Los Angeles Lakers’ —- season has been somewhat derailed by their uneven play there’s rumblings in ‘ La-La Land’ that the Lakers are prepared to trigger a deal that would bring the Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony to the Lakers in exchange for Andrew Bynum and either Lamar Odom or Ron Artest that would bring the prized All Star to the “City of Angels” . There are already preliminary talks that have taken place as was being reported by ESPN’s —- Chris Broussard the station’s widely respected NBA analyst.

================================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

================================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

As we all know the New York Knicks and in particular GM Donnie Walsh , owner James Dolan and coach Mike DAntoni have expressed a desire to bring the Anthony to his native New York. The player himself has made it his desire to go to New York but herein lies the problem the Knicks aren’t any closer to being a contender in their present guise . And if anything the Knicks and the pieces that they would have on offer to the Nuggets would not be in any way as desirable as Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak would be able to offer the Denver Nuggets. Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri has to do what’s best for the organization and clearly he’s now caught between a rock and hard place.

Courtesy of ESPN Los Angeles

Andrew Bynum dismisses trade talk

By Dave McMenamin

All The Pros and Cons of Melo in LA ….

Boston — The basketball world might have been set aflame overnight considering a scenario where the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers would acquire four-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets for center Andrew Bynum, but you wouldn’t know it from looking in on Lakers practice Wednesday.

As the team made its way off the practice court at Emerson College, Bynum joked with Lamar Odom, and Kobe Bryant bristled when asked if he had to comfort Bynum.

“If he can’t deal with that, forget about a Game 7,” Bryant said of the trade talk that was first reported by ESPN the Magazine’s Chris Broussard on Tuesday. “I don’t need to talk to him about that. He’s a big boy, he can handle himself.”

Coach Phil Jackson barely batted an eyelash as he was approached by a throng of media that included reporters from national news outlets.

“I haven’t given it a second thought,” Jackson said. “I haven’t really entertained it.”

If Jackson hasn’t given it a second thought, then what was his first thought about the Lakers moving their 7-foot, 285-pound big man to pick up a wing player in Anthony?

“My first thought was, ‘Why are these people interrupting my life with these kind of rumors?’ ” Jackson said.

Bynum said his agent, David Lee , called him at 4 p.m. Tuesday to tell him about the report. It was a familiar refrain for Bynum, whose name has popped up in rumors linked to a laundry list of players — Jason Kidd , Jermaine O’Neal , Kevin Garnett , Chris Paul and Pau Gasol among them — in his six-year career.

“It’s just another rumor as far as I’m concerned,” a nonchalant Bynum said Wednesday. “I was caught up in [Chris] Bosh and Pau [trade speculation], so it’s nothing new to me. I’m just going to keep playing basketball.

==============================================

Click on the link shown to read this article in its
entirety.

===============================================

The NBA trade deadline is on the 24th February and there’s bound to be a flurry of trades around the league as a number of teams will look to bolster their rosters in order to make a playoff push. And it goes without saying that Carmelo Anthony is the most prized asset of the lucrative restricted and unrestricted free agents that are about to come on the market.

Los Angeles Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson clearly sees that there’s a flaw in his team and the way in which they’ve been playing recently . Statistically the load being carried on this team is being done predominantly as always by Kobe Bryant , who at times is being ably assisted by Pau Gasol when he’s completely free of injury. And it has been clear for all to see that this Lakers’ team has systematically limped along the way to their current position in the standings. The team’s 35-16 mark places places them third in the Western Conference Standings behind the conference leading San Antonio Spurs (42-8) and the Dallas Mavericks .

Now it’d be a surprise to many to see the Spurs be so dominant in the NBA this season but those who’d taken note of the Spurs’ team would have realized that this has been a collective effort , and not totally reliant on the team’s triumvirate of stars Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker . And one ought to take into account also that in Gregg Popovich the Spurs might possess the best coach in the NBA outside of the Lakers ‘ Phil Jackson .

Should the Lakers pull off this deal then clearly it would place them amongst the mainstay within the conference and even though they are the reigning NBA champions . This team was meant was built with the intent of making a successful defense and based upon the changes made by Jackson and Kupchak over the last season it’s very clear that the Lakers have fallen short of those desires . Ron Artest has been increasingly inconsistent and it’s clear that the likes of Odom , Bynum , Shannon Brown , Steve Blake and the Lakers’ bench haven’t met the expectations of the coaching staff or the fans in attendance at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. aren’t gense

Carmelo Anthony for his part gets to play on a team alongside a perennial All Star in Kobe Bryant and that can’t at all be bad for a player whose desire to win an NBA title at this stage of his career the desire is to win. The Nuggets aren’t any closer to doing that and their window of opportunity has already come to a close . They’re still a very good regular season team and that is in spite of last season’s playoff performances and the heroics by the team. Unfortunately with the illness of coach George Karl even with the experience shown by Adrian Dantley as he took over from Karl while he underwent chemotherapy and then the long drawn out process of recuperation . The problems for Nuggets stem from the fact that they contend in the always competitive and cuthroat atmosphere of the Western Conference .

=================================================================================

By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original
formatted size.

==================================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal.

A chance to see Carmel Anthony in the Lakers’ purple and gold could be the biggest thing to hit LA since the arrival of Shaquille O’Neal and from there the team’s unprecedented success of a trio of NBA titles under Phil Jackson . At this juncture when there’s more entertainment to be had from watching the Lakers’ co-resident at the Staples Center , the Los Angeles Clippers then you simply know that things aren’t all right with this Lakers’ team. It’s now gotten to the stage where Blake Griffin is now getting collectively more exposure on both ABC/ESPN and TNT than the reigning NBA champions. And when that happens then clearly one could surmise that all isn’t right in the basketball world and the fact that basketball gods are now said to be smiling.

The New York Knicks could well be on the outside looking in as the ones left out. The fans at Madison Square Gardens aren’t entirely happy that as of late that their team has suddenly been slipping and their recent displays can be best described as being erratic. With the excellent play of Amar’e Stoudemire , Landry Fields , Raymond Felton it has been the Knicks’ bench that has continued to let them down in the most untimely of situation when they’ve had games within their grasp. There’s no denying that the addition of Carmelo Anthony would be a tremendous boost to the organization from a number of standpoints not the least from a financial standpoint of the league’s most valuable NBA franchise. The most recent estimates have the Knicks valued at approximately $655 million with the league average being $370 million .

The cat and mouse games will now begin as quite possibly Donnie Walsh and James Dolan may well look to make a last ditch attempt to bring Carmelo to New York. You have the glamor of Hollywood being thrown up against the 24 hour none stop mayhem that we know to be the “The Big Apple” and it will all come down to which organization can use its wiles to lure the Nuggets’ player to be a part of their immediate and long term future. As of now either these two organizations could start to play a very interesting game of chicken with the loser quite possibly end up looking the fool. And as of now there’s no clear indicator as to who that might be.

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the potential trade of Carmelo Anthony to the Los Angeles Lakers rather than quite possibly ending up with the New York Knicks ? Chime on in with a comment as to your thoughts on this topic or any other as it relates to the NBA. Thanks as always for the continued support !

———————————————————————————-
Picture and slide show details below

(1) Denver , Co,. : Carmelo Anthony (15) of the Denver Nuggets looks on during a break in the action against the New York Knicks at the Pepsi Center on November 16, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. According to reports, the Denver Nuggets are in preliminary talks with the Los Angeles Lakers for a trade that would send Anthony to the Lakers for a package built around Andrew Bynum . Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images …….

(2) Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom goes to the hoop in the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Feb. 7, 2011, against the Memphis Grizzlies in Memphis, Tenn. Odom scored 15 points and had 11 rebounds to lead the Lakers to a 93-84 win. AP Photo/Alan Spearman ……….

(3) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) handles the ball away from the Memphis Grizzlies defenders in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 7, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. AP Photo/Alan Spearman ……….

(4) Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) defends Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol, left, of Spain, in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 7, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. AP Photo/Alan Spearman …………………..

(5) Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl hangs his head during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Monday, Feb. 7, 2011, in Denver. AP Photo/Jack Dempsey ………

(6) New York Knicks owner James Dolan (right) listens as newly hired president of basketball operations Donnie Walsh speaks during a news conference in New York, April 2, 2008. The organization are still said to be pursuing all venues possible to bring Carmelo Anthony to Madison Square Gardens home to the New York Knicks. But with the now rising interest of the Los Angeles Lakers the team will be matched in a battle of wits with the West Coast rival. Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

(7) ESPN’s NBA analyst Chris Broussard who first broke the story of the Lakers’ interest and pursuit of the Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony. The two teams have met privately to discuss a possible deal looking to finalize it before the NBA’s trade deadline of the 24th February . AP Photo / Steve Pearson ……….

(8) Nuggets’ GM Masai Ujiri formerly a mid-level executive with the Toronto Raptors . Ujiri who reports directly to owner Stanley Kroenke and his son Josh Kroenke the President & COO of the Nuggets organization . It will be on their say so whether or not the player will be traded to either the Los Angeles Lakers or New York Knicks . AP Photo / Richard Todd ………..

(9) Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson (left ) left is seen here with the team’s GM Mitch Kupchak on a private jet discussing team business . The two obviously not happy with the current state of affairs concerning the team are said to be eagerly in pursuit of the Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony in a trade that might possibly have the team’s center Andrew Bynum heading out of Los Angeles to Denver. NBAE/ Getty Images/ Andrew D Bernstein ……..

——————————————————————————————–

🙂

Alan aka tophatal ………………

NBA News …….

NBA Standings ………………. Divisional

NBA scores

Tuesday’s schedule

Wednesday’s schedule

Thursday’s schedule

Friday’s schedule

Denver Nuggets’ news

Denver Nuggets roster

Nuggets’ team stats

Los Angelels news

Los Angeles Lakers roster

Lakers’ team stats

————————————————————–

Sasha

Eye candy …………. Sasha Delvalle

Nadia Dawn
————————————————————–

Jay Z & Alicia Keys ……….”Empire State of Mind”

————————————————————-

Tony – Toni – Tone …………”It Never Rains” (In Southern California)
==============================================

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.

======================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

======================================================================

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.

===============================================================

======================================================================

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 …………………………………

====================================================================

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

====================================================================

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’ !

====================================================================

Sex Shouldn’t Be Less Important Than Sports …………. Confessions of A Sports Junkie And Couch Potato


Sex Shouldn’t Be Less Important Than Sports …………. Confessions of A Sports Junkie And Couch Potato


Well the NBA Finals for this season has reached its last hurdle and at the end of tonight’s game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. We will either be crowning a new NBA champion or the the Los Angeles Lakers will have successfully defended their title in defeating Boston Celtics . Momentum is with the Lakers and in all likelihood should they prevail then Kobe Bryant will have won his second successive finals’ MVP award . This much we do know however, as good as these finals have been in terms of the Nielsens’ ratings . The series itself, can’t exactly be described as having been exciting and especially not in the mould of the old Celtics , Lakers finals’ series of old that you watching Bird and Magic go at each other with it all on the line .

================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

===============================================================


Slide show for your perusal .

The series is now tied at (3-3) three games apiece and both coaches Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers will be looking to add to their own legacies as well as that of their respective teams . And the feeling now being purveyed around the league is that this just might be the last hurrah for Jackson after an astonishing coaching career. Rivers has widely expressed the fact that he’d like to take a year’s Sabbatical away from the game to be with his family , given the undue pressures of the game . And in many respects that is more than understandable.



What we do know concerning both of these coaches each different in so many ways . It is that they both have a healthy respect for the game and that their players have a healthy respect and an unbounded loyalty to both Jackson and Rivers. Both men are also respected by their peers around the league and no doubt by the vast majority of NBA fans.


At this juncture I’m sure that it’s safe to say that there’s bound to be a bi-coastal bias as well as that “East Coast” “West Coast” supremacy thing in terms of who we’d like to see win this series. Well thankfully , this isn’t wrapped around the inane stupidity shown between the rival coasts when it comes to rap music. But then again I’m sure that there are a few Celtics and Lakers’ fans who’d like to bust “a cap” in each others’ ass ! And given the degree of animosity that there’s said to be between the two sets of fans. I’m wondering why it is that we’ve never seen any violence between the two groups ?


If tonight’s game is expected to go as I deem it might , then I do feel that the Celtics will come gunning right out of the gates expecting to take the Lakers off-guard ! If they are able to do that solidly throughout four thoroughly competitive quarters. Then I would expect the Celtics to prevail ! If not then look for Kobe Bryant to put on an offensive display like only he can in the game today. Don’t get me wrong I do feel that Bryant is the best all-round player in the game today ! And though LeBron James has been anointed by the NBA writers as the league’s MVP . It’s not even close between the two when it comes to showing leadership qualities and that zeal to win. LeBron plays to his public whereas, Bryant is a cold blooded assassin ! His mantra is , fu_k you get out of my way or I’ll run your ass over. LeBron hasn’t even learned how to spell those words as of yet. Plus he’s still probably psychologically damaged from knowing that his mother has been having sex with one of his teammates.


At the culmination of tonight’s series a lot questions will be answered about both of these teams and the ultimate directions that they’re said to be going in. A triumph for the Lakers and another storied chapter will have been written concerning one of the teams most beloved franchises. A triumph for the Celtics and in all probability comparisons will have begun to be made about Kevin Garnett , Ray Allen and Paul Pierce to Bird , McHale and Parish . The latter triumvirate who had unparalleled in winning multiple championships for the Boston Celtics.


It’s the height of summer and thankfully the chatter concerning Brett Favre continues to be light. However, the NSA in conjunction ESPN have been monitoring the player’s every move. If he so much as takes a sh_t outside his abode then you can expect the cable outlet to report it. What would the life of Mark Schlereth and Chris Mortensen be like without them regaling us with the latest snippet there is on the player , bowel movements included ? Chris Mortensen reports that Brett Favre was seen leaving an I-Hop where he was seen having the lunch special before leaving for the men’s room and then returning to finish his meal. Upon inspection of the cubicle used Mortensen was able to ascertain that his fecal matter stank and that his urine was indeed yellow. These things and more will be brought to you courtesy of ESPN and Mortensen. They go after these type of stories with a real zeal and fervor. After all that is what good journalism is meant to be about isn’t it ? Well in the eyes of ESPN this is purportedly good journalism. Only marginally better than that of the other noted news gathering agencies CNN and Fox News . But that’s a story for another day .


And that same zeal is now being used to report Tiger Woods’ every move this week, as he embarks upon trying to win his fourth US Open (17th_20th June) which this week is being held at Pebble Golf & CC in Pebble Beach , California. Woods’ sternest and staunchest test will come in the guise of his closest competitor in the world rankings ,__ Phil Mickelson . And having won The Masters at Augusta National , Mickelson will be looking to win his second major of the season . In doing so he’d edge closer if not supplant Woods at the top of the world rankings. And given Woods’ poor play this season there’s every reason to believe that the player will struggle to recapture the form that vaulted him the top of world golf rankings. Woods’ off the course problems have provided more news for the sports pages and news in general than anything that he’s strived to achieve on a golf course this season. And when you know that something like that is happening to a player Woods’ stature then you can be sure that there is indeed something seriously wrong.



As to whether Woods can pull himself out of this rut, wherein not only are the fans now questioning his abilities as to his return to form. But some are even wondering whether or not we’ll ever see him win another major tournament not only for this year but also as a way to ease the stress and burden which he now finds himself. Many of you are already aware as to what brought about Tiger Woods’ amazing fall from grace. Now the player is trying to reinvent himself and repair that tattered image. One way of actually getting many of the fans back on his side would be to have a very good showing at Pebble Beach and quite possibly winning the tournament. But his struggles mirror that of his unwillingness to be held accountable for his actions and speak openly as to his underlying issues. And until he’s that open then his struggles will continue manifest itself with continually poor play on the course and in the tournaments entered. Sunday’s culmination of the event shoul be enough to tell us a great deal about what’s now still happening with Tiger Woods.


As an expat Brit now residing here in Central Florida , I’ve got to admit that I’ve looked forward to and relished the start of the World Cup in South Africa. As an avid fan of the sport and a staunch supporter of England . I was expecting a great deal more than I’ve now witnessed from the team in their opening game in Group C against the USA . Suffice to say that this may well be the poorest team ever sent to represent the nation at the World Cup. Coach Fabio Capello looks as if he’d assembled the team by using a pin and merely sticking the said instrument down a list of names offered to him by a blind man !


About the only thing that one can say about the team’s performance in eking out a 1-1 tie against the USA , was that the performance was about an inept a showing as one would expect from a team that played without any pride or passion. A loss or another poor showing and this team might as well pack their bags and take the first flight home back to the UK. And it certainly hasn’t helped their situation in knowing that Slovenia the sole winners within the group were able to defeat Algeria in their first opening match 1-0 . Goals, a victory , productivity and team cohesion are certainly things that the England team is finding it hard to come by. And most certainly a lack of leadership from an authoritative figure on the team.


And where we to ask Capello who in fact is meant to be the leader on this team I seriously doubt that he could point to one player and unequivocally say that this player was in fact the the leader on the team. One would be hard pressed to believe him and anything he’d be saying. He knows that the press and fans alike are extremely unhappy with the team’s play. And it hasn’t helped that he’s stuck steadfastly by the poor performance of goalkeeper Robert Green after his inexplicable “gaffe” in the game against the USA. What’s even more asinine is to read the explanation of bloggers who are supporters of England writing within this forum , explain this all away as an unfortunate mistake by the keeper in letting Clint Dempsey’s shot completely evade him. Let’s put it this way, the velocity of the shot from Dempsey was so innocuous that a child on a tricycle could’ve sped past it !


Now with the impending Group C games set to resume as of the 18th June with England meeting Algeria and the USA meeting Slovenia . The outcome of both games could have a bearing as to which of the two teams could quite possibly face elimination in the first round of the World Cup. So high have the stakes now become for both England and the USA that it simply doesn’t bear thinking about should either team be eliminated at such an an early juncture when so much more had been expected.

======================================================================

=======================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal.


Well these were the mere scribblings of an avid sport’s fan who loves his sports passionately but most certainly loves sex a great deal more. Couch potato or not when duty call this one hombre` who drops the remote and answers the call of the carnal pleasures most avidly and passionately. So what’s your excuse then ? Chime on in with a comment as usual . And as of now I’m chiming out . Boom shack-a-lacka homies !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………………………..


Dre Dre ….. feat’g Snoop Dogg …………….Ain’t Nuthin’ But G Thang

Classics And Then There Are Classics …………..

Classics And Then There Are Classics …………

Well with the NBA Conference Finals culminating in “two rather lopsided series” that ended with both the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers prevailing 4-2 over the respective conference opponents. We’ll now have the two most storied franchises in the NBA tussling out for the Larry O’Brien trophy and quite possibly supremacy of the NBA.

This match-up now gives us the chance to see if the Lakers can avenge their series defeat from the 2008 NBA Finals when the Celtics prevailed over the Lakers. In Doc Rivers and Phil Jackson we are seeing two of the most successful coaches in the NBA in recent years. Jackson will be seeking his 11th NBA title as a coach and his twelfth overall. Rivers will be seeking his second NBA title in the last two years . And with these two former players matching wits and squaring off against each other. This series could very well be one of the more intriguing and interesting finals series of recent times.


=============================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

=============================================================================

Slide-show for your perusal . Use the directional indicator arrows to start the slide-show.

Kevin Garnett , Ray Allen , Paul Pierce , Rasheed Wallace and Kobe Bryant are all potential future “Hall of Fame” candidates. And their legacies though etched already with regard to the game. The outcome of this series could very well be the define how that legacy will become a fact. Either way in all like this quintet of players will one day make their way into the Naismith Hall of Fame .

In all likelihood the Lakers will be looked at as the presumptive favorites once the series gets underway. But it’d take a foolish person to underestimate the resolve of this Boston Celtics’ team . Anyone who witnessed their dismantling of the Orlando Magic in the Easter Conference Finals will know full well that Doc Rivers’ team has if anything shown everyone that rumors of the being old and uncreative as merely just that . The Celtics have proven that they can outplay a team who was thought of as being more athletic and offensive minded. What has made their appearance all the finals more surprising , was seeing the team steadfastly defending with such zeal. The Celtics made sure that the Magic were never able to gain any traction against the Doc Rivers’ coached team. Much of this came down to stoutness of the Celtics’ defense and the presence shown in the leadership qualities shown by Celtics’ Rajon Rondo . And the Celtics’ point guard may well the best performer in these playoffs.

The Los Angeles Lakers make a successful return to the finals looking to defend their title and further add to the franchise’s and Phil Jackson’s legacy. And though there has been wide speculation that this might be Jackson’s last season with the organization . It’s clear to see that Jackson has no intention of going out from the game without a bang and big send off . As a coach Jackson has made his presence felt within the game. And the coach’s presence has been made and felt across the game and the entire “NBA fraternity”.

As Jackson looks to add his name to the annals of NBA history . Lakers’ players such as Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher will be looking to add their names to that legacy as well . Though there have been a number of players that’ve won multiple NBA titles . There are but a handful of players who’ve won five NBA titles with the same team. Normally the case has been where those players amass that many titles with just one team. That has been the case with the all-time greats such as Pippen , Russell , Jordan , Johnson and quite possibly the names of Bryant and Fisher will be added to that illustrious list. But that last scenario is one that will be played out in this upcoming series . Ultimately, whomever the victors are, will be will be played out in front of a world wide audience of tens of millions of viewers. The global visibility of the game and its popularity grows greater each year as the names such as Bryant , LeBron James , Dywane Wade become more widely popular and recognized. The game at present has never been as popular as it is now.

And for those of us who are supporters of both teams playing out our allegiances . It is going to be a great deal of fun watching this series play out between the NBA’s two most storied franchises. The rivalry between “these two teams” would rival that of say Ali vs. Frazier, McEnroe vs. Borg , Federer vs. Nadal and the Chicago Bulls versus the rest of the NBA at the height of their unprecedented success. A Boston Celtics vs Los Angeles Lakers finals’ match-up tends to bring out the best that the two teams has to offer as well as serving up the crème-de-la crème of the NBA . Doubt that, then consider this, how enthralled or interested would you have been, were the proposed finals were that of a series of seven games between the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns ? Would you still be showing the same anticipated eagerness ?

============================================================================