All Hail The King ……… Long Live The King …

All Hail The King ……… Long Live The King ….

By tophatal ……….

Well, with an emphatic victory in game five , of the 2012 NBA Finals , the Miami Heat were able to secure their second NBA title in six years . The team’s defeat of the Oklahoma City Thunder was as clinical, a display by the players , as they have exhibited over the course of this season. For Pat Riley and team owner Micky Arison this has to be seen as vindication for the maneuver engineered prior to the 2010-11 season , that brought LeBron James and Chris Bosh to Miami , to further their respective careers .

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After a series of exhilarating displays in each of the five games of the Finals , there was no doubt that LeBron James would be deemed the winner of the NBA Finals’ MVP award . In doing so , the player joined a select band of players to have won both the regular season MVP as well as the Finals’ MVP award in the same season . Add to that crowning achievement was the very fact that the All Star guard may well have now solidified his position as the best player in the NBA by an increasingly wide margin . The Finals in some circles , were anointed as a “budding rivalry “ between LeBron James and Kevin Durant as being on par with that of those epic battles in the NBA between Larry Bird and Magic Johnson , at the height of the duo’s of Hall of Fame careers with the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers . From my own standpoint , I feel it , far too early to categorize this new rivalry as being on par with that of their renowned predecessors !

Granted , James is now nine years into a career, which has seen him reach unprecedented levels within the game . Durant for his part , at the tender age of 22, has already been a three-time league-scoring champion and will undoubtedly win a great deal more scoring titles over the course of his own indomitable career. It seems fitting that the NBA now has these two great players as well as a litany of other stars to grace the game . There might be no one dominant team that harkens back to the Chicago Bulls and the Jordan years , or for that matter the years when the Lakers and Celtics reigned as they sought supremacy within the league . Are we now back at a point where as such we can relive those moments but now in the guise of the Heat and Thunder ? Well , it remains to be seen , and it will be intriguing to see how both of these teams acquit themselves in the immediate and long-term future.

In the world of sports it tends to be about the immediacy of “here and now “ : rather than what can be achieved over a period of time . Is it really that the fans desire their teams to win now , and not think about the future , and a body of work , upon which the teams and players ought to be judged ? Care to add your thoughts to that premise ?

Now for the Miami Heat’s young coach Erik Spoelstra , this has to be the most gratifying moment of his young coaching career . There were many who felt in the aftermath of last season’s Finals and the franchise’s failure in defeating the Dallas Mavericks . A great deal of speculation had arisen , as to whether or not he should be replaced with a more experienced and high-profiled head coach . GM & team President Pat Riley had implicit faith in his young protégé and that faith has reaped dividends with LeBron James , Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh buying into Spoelstra’s game plan over the course of the season . In addition, with Erik Spoelstra now having recorded his first NBA title as a head coach , there can be no doubt that he would like to add to that tally . The team’s trio of All Stars , Bosh , James and Wade , in terms of their own legacies would also like to add to this initial feat as a unit . The first title of any sort is said to be the hardest to obtain but thereafter , things are mean t to be a great deal easier . Well the Miami Heat have just got underway as they seek to add multiple titles to their agenda and that of the franchise’s history . Most certainly , the Heat’s trios of players have a long way to go before they can be mentioned in the same breath as Bird , McHale and Parish . Or for that matter , where they can be even thought of as being as great as the “Showtime Lakers “ where Magic , Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy held sway over the entire league . That is obviously the dominance that is now sought by the Heat’s current crop of bona-fide stars . Whether or not they can achieve that status will be questioned when one bears in mind the stages at where LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade’s careers is said to be at . At best , the trio collectively may well have only another five or six years together to meet their goals of winning multiple titles . And by multiple titles based upon James’ preemptive statements that would be to reel off at least four in that timeframe . .

Numerous questions have arisen as to the reasons why the Oklahoma City Thunder came up so distantly short in this series . Kevin Durant , Russell Westbrook and James Harden , it was felt , as a trio they would be able to compete against their opponents in the Finals . Young at their core , Scott Brooks’ players tried their utmost to make the NBA Finals a truly competitive matchup , and in part they were able to achieve that . It his however , in stark contrast to what we witnessed from the Thunder as they completely corralled and clinically dispatched the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals . However , the real issue with Durant and his teammates was the very fact that they simply could not retain a lead long enough , in order to distant themselves from the Miami Heat , in any of the game five games played , with the exception of the team’s game one victory . If there was said to be a flaw to the Thunder then that would certainly have to be it and the repeated chances that they let slip from within their grasp. This may well be all too painful a lesson to learn but it will undoubtedly serve this franchise well in the future . Through adversity comes determination and strength , and those are the traits that will make the team a formidable presence not just within the Western Conference but throughout the entire NBA .

The future for the Thunder appear s to be plentiful for the organization and the very fact that they have to be seen as by far the best team within their conference . Kobe Bryant is now in the declining years of a wonderful career with the Los Angeles Lakers and there seems to be no willing successor on the current roster wanting to take over the leadership responsibilities for that team. At the same time , I for one , believe that with head coach Mike Brown has the unenviable task of having to succeed his predecessor and the franchise’s most successful head coach , Phil Jackson , That is a truly daunting task in of-itself , to say the very least .

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With the NBA postseason having reached a successful and thrilling culmination it will be interesting to see how the off-season now plays itself out . All that now awaits the most ardent NBA fans is that of the upcoming NBA Draft and the decisions that will be made by the head coaches , front office executives and team owners . What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the NBA postseason and where would you rank the performances of the LeBron James during the NBA Finals ? Do take time to leave a comment as you see fit .

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra celebrates after Game 5 of the NBA finals basketball series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Thursday, June 21, 2012, in Miami. The Heat won 121-106 to become the 2012 NBA Champions. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …

(2) The Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh celebrates in the locker room after Game 5 of the NBA finals basketball series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Friday, June 22, 2012, in Miami. The Heat won 121-106 to become the 2012 NBA Champions. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee ….

(3) The Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade holds the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy and LeBron James holds his most valuable player trophy after Game 5 of the NBA finals basketball series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Friday, June 22, 2012, in Miami. The Heat won 121-106 to become the 2012 NBA Champions. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …

(4) Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) and Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) pause between plays during the first half at Game 5 of the NBA finals basketball series, Thursday, June 21, 2012, in Miami. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …..

(5) Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) and shooting guard Dwyane Wade react in the final moments during the second half at Game 5 of the NBA finals basketball series, Thursday, June 21, 2012, in Miami. The Heat won 121-106 to become the 2012 NBA Champions. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky ….

(6) Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Derek Fisher (37) talks to small forward Kevin Durant (35) between plays against the Miami Heat during the second half at Game 5 of the NBA finals basketball series, Thursday, June 21, 2012, in Miami. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky ….

(7) Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) and shooting guard Dwyane Wade react in the final moments during the second half at Game 5 of the NBA finals basketball series, Thursday, June 21, 2012, in Miami. The Heat won 121-106 to become the 2012 NBA Champions. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …..

(8) Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) shoots over Oklahoma City Thunder shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha (2) of Switzerland during the first half at Game 5 of the NBA finals basketball series, Thursday, June 21, 2012, in Miami. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee ….

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Wyclef Jean ….. feat’g Claudette Ortiz …………. “Two Wrongs ” …Big ups to my Haitian massive ! Ca qua fait ?

The Wheels On The Bus Go Round & amp; Round , Round & Round ….

The Wheels On The Bus Go Round & Round ______________ Round & Round ….

By tophatal …… . 06/20/2012 12:33 AM (EST)

As I watch the NBA Finals (2012) unfold I am not so sure now what to take out of the events I have witnessed . Are the Miami Heat that good ? Alternatively, is it simply that the Oklahoma City Thunder were that bad and overmatched ? Based upon the evidence provided in last night’s game , it now looks as if it is a mixture of both , as Scott Brooks …. team has no answer for the prowess shown by LeBron James .

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Russell Westbrook for his part , tried in vain to assist in the best way that he could by scoring a postseason career career-high 43 points , 5 assists and 7 rebounds . A solid but not overpowering 28 points from Kevin Durant , simply was not enough to provide the Thunder with the momentum they sought to square this series and tie it , at two games apiece (2-2) . Durant and Westbrook , were the only Oklahoma City Thunder players to get into double-figures in terms of scoring . That may well have been indicative of what went wrong for this team last night and over the course of this series . It seems somewhat strange , when one considers the Western Conference Finals and the players’ efforts against the San Antonio Spurs and their 4-2 series’ victory of that renowned franchise .

The issues now facing the Thunder , as they face elimination , and the loss of the series , steering in the face , a 3-1 deficit . It is that history is completely against them . as no team has ever been able to overcome a 3-1 disadvantage in the NBA Finals , ever since the game adopted a the two , three , two playoff format for the Finals . Given the intent of Heat head coach, Erik Spoelstra and his team to make quick work of their Western Conference opponents . Scott Brooks , head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder now faces a real dilemma . Does he now , go for an all-out attack while seeking to cut the series’ deficit his team faces ? Or does he sit back and play a game of cat-and-mouse with the Heat , while looking to take advantage by any possible complacency shown by his opponent ? I am now , firmly of the belief , that upon the resumption of the series , game five will prove to be the “anointing “ of the Miami Heat , as franchise wins their second title in six years , after their triumph over the Dallas Mavericks in 2006 .

LeBron James for his part , will join a select group of players to have won both the regular season MVP award , as well as the Finals MVP in the same season . Vindication for James and now perhaps for the player , his own redemption after his failure in last season’s NBA Finals . So much had been promised by the Miami Heat but he and his then teammates came up short , with their being upended by the Dallas Mavericks .

Miami Heat executives Pat Riley and Micky Arison will become the “toast of the town” on South Beach and throughout the entire city of Miami. It has been their ingenuity and the faith shown in a young coach , Erik Spoelstra , which has brought this franchise to the cusp as being champions of the NBA . Two years ago with a great deal of showmanship , orchestrated celebration LeBron James and Chris Bosh were introduced to the adoring Heat fan-base . With h a great deal of adulation , the fans and NBA writers as a whole were expecting big things from the trio . One year wiser, and a great deal more maturity being shown , it is now finally time to say ….. the Big Three have arrived “ .

There is no denying that the Oklahoma City Thunder had a spectacular season , as can be borne out by the team’s play and the ease with which they won the Northwest Division within the Western Conference . From my own perspective , I believe the events of this postseason for the Thunder will provide to be a valuable learning experience for not only the players but the entire organization , from the ownership group on down , to the front office executives , led by GM Sam Presti . The general manager along with Scott Brooks and the coaching staff have built a solid player personnel roster through smart and incisive moves . This bodes well for the franchise’s long-term future and without a doubt , they can now be looked upon as the best team within the Western Conference . That is with due deference to the likes of the San Antonio Spurs , Los Angeles Lakers , Memphis Grizzlies , Los Angeles Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks , in light of their respective records .

If nothing else , the joyous ride that the Oklahoma City Thunder fans have had in the last few seasons has brought a great deal of joy to the locale . And with a core group of players built around Kevin Durant , Russell Westbrook , James Harden and Thabo Sefalosha , I firmly believe that in this franchise’s imminent future , an NBA title awaits and will be theirs for the taking !

The current NBA Finals by all accounts have been the most ardently watched series since 2002 and that bodes well for the NBA hierarchy led by David Stern . As to what this might say , and appears to be a “ budding rivalry “ between Kevin Durant and LeBron , that is now being viewed along the lines of the “Bird “ & “ Magic” era and their epic regular and postseason confrontations . Well , that remains to be seen but as a passionate NBA fan , I am beginning to be thoroughly immersed in the game once again , for all of the right reasons !

On a side-note , I believe that we can attest to the fact the Charlotte Bobcats had a horrendous season ! If nothing else , they (team) simply brought a level of mediocrity to the game , that has not been seen in years . For the representatives within the front office of the organization and they are the ones who should in large part bear the brunt of the blame . The roster was assembled with ill-fitting pieces and no veteran leadership presence being shown . It seems unfortunate , that twice over the course of his career as an NBA executive , Michael Jordan is being ridiculed for his complete lack of judgment and awareness . In 2001 , and Jordan introduced the world to Kwame Brown . That is a moment in NBA history that cannot be undone !
With the departure of Paul Silas as the head coach of the Bobcats’ franchise , Jordan and his fellow front office executives sought an immediate successor to the respected coach . Jerry Sloan was given the courtesy of an interview and it was rumored that both Stan Van Gundy and Mike D’Antoni would be also subject to interviews , were they said to be interested in the vacant post . Former Lakers’ assistant head coach Brian Shaw flatly turned down the opportunity to coach the Charlotte Bobcats , while obviously gauging interest of team owners who see the former player , as a viable coaching candidate for their franchise . It now appears that the front office executives of the Bobcats have found their man , with the hiring of St Johns’ assistant coach Mike Dunlap . Far be it for me to suggest but the last Jordan hired a coach from the collegiate ranks , that hire was none other than Leonard Hamilton . His tenure as the Washington Wizard’ Bobcats’ head coach was short-lived , and considered less than a success . while Michael Jordan served as the de-facto GM & Head of Basketball Operations under then team owner Abe Pollin .

Dunlap has served under Steve Lavin as part of the head coach’s staff , while the program has had some semblance of success . Lavin has high praise for his assistant and believes he will be a success within the professional ranks of the NBA . I certainly hope so for Mike Dunlap’s sake because I would hate for his career to stall in the NBA , while Bobcats’ owner Michael Jordan sits on the sidelines and watches the franchise being engulfed in flames. In essence this is what we have all been a witness to , ever since Jordan bought out former partner and majority stakeholder Robert L Johnson , five years ago . Since then , the Charlotte Bobcats have amassed a series of NBA lows . Prior to the start of the NBA Finals , it was felt that the franchise would be in with a chance of gaining the top pick in the Draft Lottery . Instead , that privilege will go to the New Orleans Hornets , with the Bobcats taking the second pick overall in the upcoming 2012 NBA Draft . The Kentucky Wildcats’ ….. Anthony Davis is deemed to the consensus #1 pick , with their being no distinct knowledge as to who will follow suit afterwards .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What to you as a fan , has been the most satisfying part of the 2012 NBA Finals ? And do you believe that the hiring of Mike Dunlap by the Charlotte Bobcats will serve the franchise well ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support , as it has always been greatly appreciated !

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Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra answers a question during a basketball news conference, Wednesday, June 20, 2012, in Miami. The Heat host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday in Game 5 of the NBA finals. AP Photo/Alan Diaz ….

(2) Miami Heat small forward LeBron James reacts during practice, Wednesday, June 20, 2012, in Miami. The Heat play Game 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday. AP Photo/Alan Diaz ….

(3) Miami Heat power forward Chris Bosh, left, and shooting guard Mike Miller joke during practice, Wednesday, June 20, 2012, in Miami. The Heat play Game 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday. AP Photo/Alan Diaz …

(4) MIAMI, FL – JUNE 19: Lebron James 6 hugs Mario Chalmers (15) of the Miami Heat after defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder during Game Four of the 2012 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 19, 2012 in Miami, Florida. The Heat won 104-98 . Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images …

(5) Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook answers a question during a news conference, Wednesday, June 20, 2012, in Miami. The Thunder are scheduled to play Game 5 against the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals on Thursday. AP Photo/Alan Diaz ..

(6) MIAMI, FL – JUNE 19: Serge Ibaka (9) of the Oklahoma City Thunder attempts to block a shot by Mario Chalmers (15) of the Miami Heat in Game Four of the 2012 NBA Finals on June 19, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Larry W. Smith-Pool/Getty Images …

(7) Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, left, and small forward Kevin Durant listen to a question during a news conference after Game 4 of the NBA finals basketball series against the Miami Heat, Wednesday, June 20, 2012, in Miami. The Heat won 104-98 . AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …

(8) Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks answers a question during a news conference after Game 4 of the NBA finals basketball series against the Miami Heat, Tuesday, June 19, 2012, in Miami. The Miami Heat won 104-98. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …

(9) Charlotte Bobcats head coach Mike Dunlap, right, greets his agent Bret Just , left, as his wife Mollie Busterud-Dunlap, second from left, looks on during a news conference after being named to lead the NBA basketball team in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, June 20, 2012. AP Photo/Chuck Burton …

(10) Charlotte Bobcats head coach Mike Dunlap , center, poses with Rod Higgins , left, president of basketball operations and Rich Cho , right, general manager, during news conference after being named to lead the NBA basketball team in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, June 20, 2012. AP Photo/Chuck Burton …

(11) CHARLOTTE, NC – MARCH 13: Michael Jordan of the Charlotte Bobcats and Fred Whitfield answers questions about the team on March 13, 2007 at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina. The former NBA great and owner of the franchise gave Mike Dunlap’s hiring his seal of approval . Mike Dunlap becomes only the fifth head coach in the franchise’s history Copyright 2007 NBAE Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images …..

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