Dumb , Dumber And Dumbest …………

Dumb , Dumber And Dumbest …………

Broke, devoid of creativity and ideas , I guess that could best describe the Congress , Senate and Barack Obama’s first two years in office and the performance of his Cabinet overall ! But no this piece isn’t about but that but the continued mediocrity of the Minnesota Vikings and in part that of the New York Knicks . But before I delve further into the sporting topic of the day I’d like to continue on the path of idiocy of the nation’s politics at present . Is anyone of the opinion that both the FAA ( Federal Aviation Administration) and Department of Transportation can be trusted to allay the fears of the public as it concerns air traffic safety when we’re being informed of air traffic controllers falling asleep in the control towers when there are flight departing arriving from the nation’s regional and major international departure airports ? Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says … ‘ the situation can no longer can be tolerated and that there will be much stricter enforcement as well as an adoption of new rules as it relates to working hours of the air traffic controllers on all shifts’ . Am I missing something here ? But in light of the volume of travellers that take to the air each year , that figure is approximately 500 million passengers flown domestically and internationally within US air space I find LaHood’s words of little comfort !

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As many of you may well have been aware several incidents have come to light in the past few weeks where there have been multiple mistakes due to fatigue and human error by air traffic controllers . Consider this also in a recent domestic travel of First Lady Michelle Obama’s flight into Andrews Air Force Base had a near miss with a military cargo transport plane as both were in close proximity of each other . The C 137 was less than three miles from that of the flight carrying the first lady which had to be delayed in its landing while allowing the military cargo transporter to land . Aviation rules call for planes of such size to be no more than no less than 5 miles apart when in flight and close proximity of each other during pre landing rules. This error concerning this incident wasn’t down to the military air traffic controllers but again due to the lax attitude shown by several controllers at a regional airport in Maryland who’d mistakenly allowed both planes into the same air traffic lane and space . Needless to say though there wasn’t a serious mishap the situation could have been much graver . Consider this also what might have been the domestic and international political fallout had the President been on board and Air Force One collided with that military transport plane ? Suffice to say that the country would be in turmoil and we’d be talking about this tragedy and questioning why it happened .

Given the season that the Minnesota Vikings had in 2010 and the ineptitude shown by the team with Brett Favre under the helm is it any wonder why that the team’s season flamed out the way that it did ? Having posted a mediocre 6-10 record within the NFC North any hopes that Brad Childress’ had of making the postseason before his abrupt firing went the way of Favre with a whimper . Childress was succeeded by Leslie Frazier but the team’s improvement as such can be best described as being marginal . With Favre being forced to sit out several games down the latter part of the season it was left to his backup Joe Webb to provide the team with any impetus that there was to be had .

In light of what Leslie Frazier and his coaching staff now has to work with in terms of the quarterbacks available to him on the Vikings’ roster , names such as Webb , Rhett Bomar , Tarvaris Jackson and Patrick Ramsey can either be viewed as journeymen or essentially players that can be relied upon to be good during practice but you simply wouldn’t want on an NFL field during a regular season game unless it was under dire circumstances . That being said if as is being rumored the Vikings front office led by Director of Player George Paton assisted by Rick Spielman are said to be seriously interested in seeing whether or not seasoned NFL veteran Donovan McNabb would indeed be a good fit for this team . Pardon me for saying this but McNabb’s best years are indeed behind him and even when he showed faint glimmers of his skillset at its best , it wasn’t as productive as one would have thought. OK, so he was playing on a Washington Redskins’ team that on a good day couldn’t sniff a out win in the NFL if they were handed a three touchdown lead with less than five minutes left in a game as they’d somehow find a way of fu_king things up , completely ! The fact that the team was coached by Mike Shanahan with his son Kyle as the Redskins’ offensive coordinator may well have a had a great deal to do with it . But in some respects much of the blame had to be laid at the feet of McNabb as well !

From my own perspective I think that Vikings’ owner Zygi Wilf is caught between a rock and a hard place knowing that this team greatly underachieved over the past two seasons , each time when the team was considered amongst the favorites for the Superbowl . Wilf’s will to win is only exceeded by the dire need for the Vikings’ organization to try and lure Minnesota State Legislature to pass a legislative proposal to pay for a new stadium for the organization replacing what Wilf and his co-executives feels is an archaic and out of date facility in the Metrodome (Mall of America Field) in Minneapolis , Minnesota. At an estimated cost of between $600- $800 million the proposed new venue for the team would be paid for largely in part through a bond issue and state funds at the state residents’ expense . Needless to say with the state now facing a budget deficit any such proposal within the legislature is now being placed on the backburner . Albeit that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league hierarchy could assist the Vikings in their endeavor by loaning them part of the costs to aid in the building of such a facility . But as of now the NFL lockout very much takes precedence over any such problems that the Vikings are said to facing on or off the field.

I can’t possibly see what advantage that there would in the Vikings acquiring McNabb as a free agent when they already have four quarterbacks on the team’s depth chart . But it either shows us that the Vikings are in such dire straits and the fact that Leslie Frazier has no implicit faith any of the quartertabcks on the roster. That being said Joe Webb was able to show that under the right set of circumstances that he’s quite capable of <l leading this team. But herein lies the caveat as it relates to the Vikings , as potent an offense as they’re said to have their defense had become porous and indeed an aging one that had showed signs of deterioration throughout much of last season . If the team is show signs of improvement this upcoming season should there be one then there choices will have to reflect bolstering their defensive line and looking via free agency to add any other pieces that they deem suitable to their needs . I certainly don’t believe that adding McNabb to this roster would make them any better given what I’ve seen from this team over the last two seasons !

The upcoming NFL Draft set to take commence on the 28th April , 2011 , being staged at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City , New York . And with the Vikings having the twelfth pick in the first round , eleventh pick in the second round (43rd overall) there’s bound to be an abundances of choices and picks that can be made I feel that can be envisaged being made by the Vikings organization ! I certainly don’t believe it prudent either for the team to take a quarterback in the first round no matter how good they’re presumed to be when it’s clear to see that the team’s immediate needs have more to do with its defense than anything else ! But whatever the choices that are to be made by the organization one can only presumed that it will be done in order to bolster their competitive needs and requirements .

So the New York Knicks are said to be relevant once again having made the postseason . And having to face the third seeded Boston Celtics , their task hasn’t now been made any easier with the fact that they now have to overcome a 2-0 deficit against the Celtics . That being said Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire have stepped up to the plate in leading the team into the postseason . But as good as this team is no doubt perceived to be , there remains flaws that coach Mike DAntoni has failed to address or quite possibly he and his coaching staff are actually too ignorant and unwilling to address . And that is the very fact that the Knicks simply cannot play any form of resolute defense . It has been one of the many flaws on this Knicks’ team that has and will ultimately need to their downfall should they not come to the conclusion that this situation needs to be addressed !

Throughout much of the regular season the New York Knicks struggled to make their presence felt . And even having made the playoffs as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference you simply knew that they’d have their work cut out for them no matter which of the top four teams that they would have to face in the playoffs. If anything their 42-40 record reflected greatly where they sat in the pecking order of the Eastern Conference. Albeit that their fans undoubtedly feels that their record doesn’t justify their actually competitiveness as a team within the NBA . I do believe that most Knicks’ fans under the misapprehension that this team is far better than their regular season record reflects .

At this juncture when the series resumes at Madison Square Garden the Knicks will be hard pressed to not only try and derail Doc Rivers’ team but I believe that they would very well bow out of the first round of the playoffs in the most decisive of ways and that’s quite possibly being swept by the Boston Celtics . Game two saw the Celtics eke out a three point victory (96-93 ) even with the advent of with a 42 point offensive output coming from Carmelo Anthony who was ably assisted by Toney Douglas . But as I’ve alluded to earlier in this piece if you’re coach and his staff aren’t prepared to ingrain it into the players that they’ve got to play defense then you’re bound and will be doomed for failure !
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Game three and it’s all to play for and with that raucous home crowd to be found at MSG showing their support for the home team . One would expect for the Knicks to rise to the occasion with the fervent support of their fans . But I do know this , if they continue to allow the Celtics to dictate the pace and rhythm of this game and series then they will end up losing it all too decisively . They have to play defense and negate the perimeter shooting of Ray Allen and Paul Pierce in particular . And needless to say it’d also help if they were able to put a damn body on Rajon Rondo , rather than allowing him to continue to run wild being the architecture of much of the Celtics’ play and offense . I kind of get the impression that these minute details seems to have escaped not only the Knicks’ players but also their dumb and lame assed coaching staff ! .
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Picture gallery for your perusal .

To your mind do you believe that the Minnesota Vikings would be making an immense mistake in acquiring Donovan McNabb as a free agent at this point of his career ? Or do you believe that he can still offer the team something by way of his veteran leadership and in some form still be productive ? Moreover which of the quarterbacks on the Vikings squad is best equipped to lead this team should they not sign McNabb ? And what thoughts if any do you have on the outcome of the playoff series between the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks ? Simply leave a comments as to your thoughts on each of the topics raised within this piece .

Alan aka tophatal ……..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House regarding support for infrastructure development October 11, 2010 in Washington, DC. Obama was joined by members of his administration and members of local governments around the nation including (L-R) former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (far right). Getty Images / Win McNamee ……….

(2) Obama Departs White House For Columbus Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (L) talks with U.S. President Barack Obama as they walk across the South Lawn before departing the White House aboard Marine One June 18, 2010 in Washington, DC. Obama is traveling to Columbus, Ohio, to mark the 10,000 road construction project paid for by the Recovery Act getting underway in downtown Columbus. Chip Smodevilla / Getty Images North America …….

(3) Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) is tackled by Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90), linebacker Bobby Carpenter (59) and defensive tackle Corey Williams (99) during the first quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. The Lions would go on to defeat the Vikings 20-3 AP Photo/Carlos Osorio …….

(4) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre (4) comes out of the tunnel before an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday , Jan. 2, 2011. AP Photo/Rick Osentoski ………

(5) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joe Webb (14) looks downfield during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) ……

(6) Donovan McNabb (5) of the Washington Redskins greets DeSean Jackson (10) of the Philadelphia Eagles prior to their game on October 3, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Jim McIsaac / Getty Images ……..

(7) Head Coach Mike Shanahan (R) of the Washington Redskins talks with his son Kyle Shanahan (L) offensive coordinator for the team during Redskins training camp on August 6, 2010 in Ashburn, Virginia. …

(8) In this photo taken Tuesdauy, April 19, 2011, Boston Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal , far left, whistles from the bench during the first quarter against the New York Knicks in Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Boston. Celtics head coach Doc Rivers announced Wednesday, April 20, that O’Neal will miss his third straight playoff game with a right calf injury when they meet the Knicks on Friday night in Game 3. AP Photo/Elise Amendola ……….

(9) BOSTON, MA – APRIL 19: Ray Allen(20) of the Boston Celtics shoots a three point basket against the New York Knicks in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 19, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Celtics defeated the New York Knicks 96-93 Getty Images /Elsa Martinez ……..

(10) Carmelo Anthony(7) of the New York Knicks tries to shoot over Jermaine O’Neal (7) of the Boston Celtics in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 19, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Celtics defeated the New York Knicks 96-93. Getty Images/ Elsa Martinez ……

(11) Toney Douglas (23) of the New York Knicks tries to pass as Rajon Rondo(9) of the Boston Celtics defends in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 19, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Celtics defeated the New York Knicks 96-93. Elsa Martinez/ Getty Images ………

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NFL News

Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings front office

Minnesota Vikings roster

Minnesota Vikings’ coaching staff

Minnesota Vikings’ 2011 Draft order

Minnesota Vikings 2011 schedule

NBA News

NBA Playoffs 2011

NBA Playoff Picture team draws

Boston Celtics — vs New York Knicks’ playoff series

I’m Not Buying ……….

I’m Not Buying ……….

It’s becoming rather idiotic to see what might be the meltdown of the Orlando Magic and the fact that All Star center Dwight Howard having received his eighteenth technical foul has to sit out a one game mandatory suspension without pay. All this coming from a player who’s meant to be the leader on this team ? Howard has shown his offensive and defensive capabilities but in terms of moral and real vocal leadership it just doesn’t seem to be there . And granted the Magic’s coach Stan Van Gundy has complained to the NBA —- hierarchy that the officials are gunning for Howard each times he steps unto the court . There may well be some veracity to that argument but Howard doesn’t do himself any justice with his candor and irrational behavior when he runs afoul of the officials and the officiating .

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In terms of support from Dwight Howard’s teammates this team is so inconsistent that it’s hard to make an argument as to why they can be viewed with any justification as a favorite for the NBA title much less being viewed as conference favorite . They’ve fallen somewhat down the standings in terms of a playoff berth and now sit behind conference leading Chicago Bulls , Boston Celtics and Miami Heat . And with the Heat and Celtics due to meet this weekend in what will be viewed as a series decider and who will ultimately gain the number two seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Orlando Magic’s season if anything has been uneven and in large part that has been down to the fact their inconsistency and the fact that they simply don’t close out games that they need to win. Whether or not that is the fault of Stan Van Gundy and his coaching staff I’ll let you be the judge of that ! With what appears to be a potential playoff match-up against the Atlanta Hawks another team to my mind that continually underachieves and how it is that Joe Johnson is continually viewed as a marquee player within the NBA is simply beyond me ! If it’s OK to steal money from an organization by simply offering them nothing in return then Johnson may well be the poster child for such a sentiment . Given the value of his current contract with the Hawks I think you’ll understand where I’m coming from as it relates to this argument. The Hawks’ front office may well have impressed with something about Johnson prior to the trade deadline as he was being courted by several teams around the league while he was an unrestricted free agent. Joe Johnson can play but as a leader he’s simply not the player I’d view as a franchise player , if anything I see him as rather the number two scorer for a franchise that it is need of offense . Beyond that there isn’t really much to Joe Johnson’s game.

If the Orlando Magic are to have at least a remote chance of going deep into the playoffs then Dwight Howard will have to really corral his aggressiveness and show that he can undoubtedly lead this team with a great deal of authority . And given the trades made by GM Otis Smith as sought by Van Gundy , as goes Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson then so will the fate of the team as they seek to return to the NBA Finals . Gilbert Arenas in spite of his waywardness while with the Washington Wizards you knew that he had the potential to give you 20 , 30 if not anywhere up 40 plus points in a game when he sets his mind to it . Now with the Magic he’s simply become something of a non-factor and if anything he’s got to improve his productivity along with that of Quentin Richardson and Brandon Bass will be needed to make the Magic more of an all round team and a constant threat.

The Eastern Conference in spite of its ‘star power’ what still resonates with me is that you still have teams that qualify for the postseason with sub .500 records and I’m suppose to think that the quality of play has been heightened by the addition of LeBron James , Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams who are viewed as elite players within the NBA ? Granted , within the conference the play is in large part predicated upon defense . And undoubtedly it has played a factor for many of the teams but in essence I feel that a team has to be well balanced in the aspect of its play. And that is also one of the primary reasons why I cannot see the New York Knicks going deep into the playoffs. No team coached by Mike DAntoni has ever been known for their defensive prowess and the Knicks aren’t about to become the first.

The acquisition of Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire by the Knicks at the behest of team owner James Dolan and GM Donnie Walsh had more to do with the fact that Madison Square Garden was on the way to becoming an elephants graveyard in terms of attendance for Knicks’ home games than it was a place to be seen by the paparazzi . What might be even more troubling is the fact that the Knicks are a moribund 11-15 since the trade acquisition of Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets . And granted the player has come in and showed his offensive prowess for the team but beyond that the Knicks have little to show for it all by way of anything tangible . What that says about the Knicks as an organization clearly will be translated by the success achieved by the team this postseason.

The NBA’s most valuable franchise needed to make a big splash merely to remain relevant within the NBA as a whole . And if anything it had to have been a welcoming sight for NBA Commissioner David Stern to see the organization cap off the move of acquiring both Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire . What awaits the team this postseason remains to be seen but it has become clear for those with any knowledge of the game the New York Knicks had better be able to prove the naysayers wrong if they’re to have any real semblance of success rather than the perception that the trades alone instantly made them a great deal better and a major force and threat in the NBA this postseason and for the foreseeable future .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the overall chances of both the Orlando Magic and New York Knicks’ chances in the playoffs ? And what signs if any are you most looking forward once the postseason starts this postseason ? By all means leave a comment as to your thoughts on the matters raised here in these topics and as usual thanks for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

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Picture and slide show details below
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(1) Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, left, argues a call with referee Bennett Salvatore in the second half of the Magic’s 111-102 win in an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, April 6, 2011. AP Photo/Chuck Burton …………….

(2) Charlotte Bobcats’ Kwame Brown (54) reacts after being charged with a technical foul after an altercation in the second half of the Magic’s 111-102 win in an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, April 6, 2011. Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, center, and Magic’s Ryan Anderson , right, look on. AP Photo / Chuck Burton ………

(3) Toronto Raptors forward Reggie Evans, right, tries to defend as Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard shoots during first-half NBA basketball game action in Toronto on Sunday, April 3, 2011. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn ……………

(4) Orlando Magic’s Gilbert Arenas (1) shoots over Charlotte Bobcats’ D.J. Augustin (14) in the second half of the Magic’s 111-102 win in overtime in an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, April 6, 2011.

(5) Orlando Magic’s Jameer Nelson, left, passes the ball around Charlotte Bobcats’ Dante Cunningham, right, in the second half of the Magic’s 111-102 win in overtime in an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, April 6, 2011. AP Photo/Chuck Burton …….

(6) New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony pulls down a rebound during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game against the New Jersey Nets Friday, April 8, 2011 in Newark, N.J. The Knicks won 116-93 . AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ………….

(7) New York Knicks’ Amar’e Stoudemire wears a boot on his foot as he looks on during a timeout in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the New Jersey Nets Friday, April 8, 2011 in Newark, N.J. The Knicks won 116-93. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ……

(8) New York Knicks’ Bill Walker, left, puts up a shot over New Jersey Nets’ Stephen Graham during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game Friday, April 8, 2011 in Newark, N.J. The Knicks won 116-93. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun …………..

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NBA News

NBA Schedule Sunday 10th April , 2011

NBA Conference Standings by Conference …….. Standings by division

Playoff Picture scenario before today’s scheduled games .

Orlando Magic

Orlando Magic history

Orlando Magic front office ….. General Manager Otis Smith

Orlando Magic roster

Team stats

Magic team splits

Orlando Magic 2010-11 schedule

Head coach Stan Van Gundy

Orlando Magic news

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New York Knicks

New York Knicks News

New York Knicks front office

New York Knicks’ roster

Team Stats

Team Splits

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Chris Brown ………….. ‘ Look At Me Now ‘ ……….. feat’g …. Lil’ Wayne & … Busta Rhymes

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You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks ………….. But Can Someone Teach The Knicks How To Win ?

You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks ………….. But Can Someone Teach The Knicks How To Win ?

With the vast majority of the teams now within the NBA having but a mere 12 games left before the culmination of the regular season a number of the teams in question are looking to make that final push to place themselves within the playoff picture. That may well be all well and good but there are some teams thought to be certainties who are now turning their runs into something of an unmitigated disaster. I’ve simply looked at the New York Knicks since the acquisition of Carmelo Anthony and Lord knows as bad as this team was before the trade they’re simply appear to be getting worse by the very second . This team is now two games under .500 and in their last 10 games they’ve posted an abysmal 3-7 record . How anyone can believe that this Mike D’Antoni coached team can actually do something within the playoffs is beyond me.

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I know the saying is ………..”God don’t like ugly ” but truth be known I think that God would want to bitch slap the Knicks back into last week if not further back that’s for sure ! Anthony as much as he’s said to have contributed to the team and the excitement at Madison Square Gardens I am now beginning to think that GM Donnie Walsh may not have made a blundering mistake but I do believe that he gave up way to much for a play whose game is so one dimensional . Apart from Anthony you now have a player in Amar’e Stoudemire whose early season performances may well have seen him viewed as a viable candidate for the league MVP this season . Unfortunately with the Knicks’ play having fallen off …… literally off side of a cliff I’m not so sure that the NBA writers around the league will still look upon his candidacy as a viable one.

Though I do believe that the New York Knicks will indeed make the playoffs that’s if the remainder of their season doesn’t implode I can’t see them being beyond a 5th or 6th seed within the Eastern Conference . They’ve simply not played consistently enough over their last dozen or more games to be even considered legitimate contenders within their division much less the conference. Ahead of them in the standings within the conference are Chicago Bulls , Boston Celtics , Miami Heat , Orlando Magic , Atlanta Hawks , Philadelphia 76ers with the Knicks , themselves holding down the seventh seed in the standings followed by the eighth seeded Indiana Pacers over whom the Knicks hold a 3 1/2 game lead.

That cushion should afford the New York Knicks to comfortably play themselves back into some semblance of consistency but the team’s inherent problems stems from the fact that defensively they just leave a great deal to be desired , it has and will always be their Achilles’ heel and lead to their inevitable downfall . And it is one of things that I continually find annoying about Mike DAntoni as a coach as he seemingly refuses to address the situation as to his team’s lack of defensive capability. He simply seems to remain under the impression that the team can outscore an opponent at will and that is clearly not the case given their 7-3 record over their last ten games.

The one great advantage perhaps that the team has is that in Anthony and Stoudemire they do have two prodigious scorers and with Stoudemire’s rebounding prowess on both ends of the floor it gives them somewhat an evenness and sense of fluidity. But herein lies the caveat to this team it doesn’t help if no one else is prepared to pick up the slack as and when needed. And while the fans seem to be in awe of the Knicks’ alleged relevance once again within the NBA , it could become something of a short-lived renaissance should they not even have a comfortable run in the playoffs. Doubt my word , wait watch and see if it doesn’t all pan out as I envisage it will ?

One of the more surprising stories of the season I feel within the Eastern Conference apart from the Chicago Bulls and the play in particular of Derrick Rose has been the mini resurgence of the Philadelphia 76ers ( 76Eers ) who are now coached Doug Collins . Who knew that there’d be an life after the abrupt retirement of Allen Iverson from the organization ? President & CEO Ed Snider along with GM Rod Thorn , his Exec VP Ed Stefanski and Manager Tony DiLeo seem to have lifted this team out of the rubble after its implosion last season when the team finished with a 27-55 record within the Eastern Conference . This season the Sixers will exceed that mark having already posted their thirty fourth win of season and they now sit at 2 games over .500 with a 37-34 mark within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference .

Much of the team’s improvement this season rests squarely with Doug Collins and is coaching staff where he’s ably assisted by lead assistant Michael Curry . But it has also been the veteran leadership now being shown by Elton Brand in leading this young roster and we’re now beginning to see Andre Iguodala finally flourish and actually show some of that potential that many have felt that he long had. But if anything it has been a collective effort by the team as a whole where they now sit in their present position of being the sixth seed in the East and where there’s a growing confidence amongst the younger players such as Jrue Holiday , Marreese Speights and their rookie first round draft pick Evan Turner who’s showing the promise first on view as a member of Thad Matta’s 2010 Ohio State Buckeyes team .

From my own perspective I can’t see the Sixers going deep into the playoffs should they still retain their seeding up until the culmination of the regular season . A potential first round match-up against the LeBron James led Miami Heat may well have the smell of an upset but unless the Heat come out ice cold then I can’t see the Sixers parlaying that first round series into an outright upset ! And even though I have my own doubts about the Miami Heat I for one can’t see James , or Erik Spoelstra , much less Heat team President Pat Riley letting that scenario rear its ugly head at the AA Arena at the beginning of that series. If that were to happen then the Heat would be booed out of the arena by their very own fans and they’d be ridiculed for such an inept display were they to lose the series.

Now as the regular season winds down it’s going to be interesting to see how the fates pan out for both the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers . One on appearance seems to have over achieved whereas the other seems to be unsure as to its immediate future in terms of its play , goals and expectations. This much is certain failure for the Knicks and they’re still going to be thought of as the NBA’s answer to the New York Mets ……….. just a bunch money laden wannabes ! Both organizations’ only real claim to success has been to boast about their history rather than anything that they’ve achieved in recent years . Can't really put it anymore succinctly than that !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thought if any do you have as to the postseason for either the Knicks and Sixers ? And what expectations do you have as to that of the other prospective teams vying for a playoff spot ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on this and any other topic as it relates to the NBA .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com ……….

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) New York Yankees’ Bernie Williams performs the national anthem before the New York Knicks play the Orlando Magic in an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, March 23, 2011, in New York. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II …..

(2) Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard (12) loses control as he drives past New York Knicks’ Chauncey Billups (4) during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, March 23, 2011, in New York. Howard scored 33 points as the Magic won the game 111-99 . AP Photo/Frank Franklin II ………….

(3) New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony, right, shoots over Orlando Magic’s Quentin Richardson (partially obscured) during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, March 23, 2011, in New York. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II ……….

(4) New York Knicks’ Amare Stoudemire (1) drives past Orlando Magic’s Ryan Anderson (33) during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, March 23, 2011, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II …………

(5) Philadelphia 76ers’ Thaddeus Young, right, reaches for a rebound against Atlanta Hawks’ Josh Smith in the half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 23, 2011, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 105-100 . AP Photo/Matt Slocum ………….

(6) Philadelphia 76ers’ Elton Brand, center, goes up for a rebound between Atlanta Hawks’ Josh Smith, left, and Zaza Pachulia, of Georgia, in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 23, 2011, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 105-100. AP Photo/Matt Slocum …….

(7) Philadelphia 76ers guard Evan Turner, right, drives to the basket against Sacramento Kings center Samuel Dalembert , left, during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Friday March 18, 2011. The 76ers won 102-80 . AP Photo ……………..

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NBA News

New York Knicks roster

Team stats

Team Splits

New York Knicks’ schedule


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Philadelphia 76ers’ roster

Team stats

Team Splits

Philadelphia 76ers’ schedule

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NBA stats Daily Leaders

Stats shown below also show avg’s per game

NBA Leading scorers

NBA Leading rebounder

NBA Leader in assists APG

NBA Leader in Double-Doubles

NBA Leader in Free Throw Pct

NBA Leader in Pts/Reb’s/ Asst’s

NBA Leader in steals

NBA Playoff Picture

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Santana ……………… “Samba Pa Ti”

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Busty English model … Lucy Pinder

Continue reading “You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks ………….. But Can Someone Teach The Knicks How To Win ?”

You Had Me At Hello ………. !

You Had Me At Hello !

In the Cameron Crowe directed and written movie ” Jerry Macguire” there’s a scene in the movie where Tom Cruise’s character Jerry Maguire ____ his wife in the film played by Oscar winner Renee Zellwegger says the words “you had me hello ” . Well here’s a case in point as I survey the world of sports and the news forthcoming within that arena . The NFL is still looking as if their problems now will be litigated within the US Federal Court system and in which an upcoming case will be heard in Minneapolis , Minnesota. What both the NFLPA ( union) and the NFL continue to show is that neither side is apparent in actually resolving this matter in which an amicable resolution is reached , albeit that owners Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft have stated that’s what they seek with the union led by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and its executive committee . Pardon me for saying this , but common sense went out the window concerning these deliberations the moment that the union sought to decertify in order that players could challenge the NFL’s antitrust exemption status and its legality within the judicial system.

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Slide show for your perusal .

What might be further illuminating and shows that intelligence on the part of the players is merely a preconception , is the fact that they state they’re now prepared to negotiate directly with the owners rather than NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell . Less I’m mistaken wasn’t the action to instigate the lockout done at the behest of the owners and was enacted by Goodell as the NFL’s highest ranking official within the league’s hierarchy ? Well folks , there’s more to come from this soap opera’s saga and the outcome that most sorely await.

Can someone explain to me why it is that everyone is so sold on the New York Knicks even after the team’s acquisition of Carmelo Anthony instigated by GM Donnie Walsh and team owner James Dolan ? The problem is that in spite of Anthony’s acquisition along with that of Chauncey Billups the New Yorks Knicks have been a rather pedestrian 7-8 whereas the Denver Nuggets in exchange are an impressive 9-6 after Anthony’s departure under coach George Karl as the Nuggets try to make a play for a playoff spot in the Western Conference . Something that many may well have felt beyond the Nuggets after this trade was made by GM Masai Ujiri .

I’m not thoroughly convinced that this Knicks’ team even with the addition of Anthony and Billups are still good enough even with perennial All Star Amar’e Stoudemire leading this team and that’s with the advent of Mike D’Antoni’s coaching philosophy or lack of it thereof. Please don’t try and convince me that the Knicks are legit , when they can’t even play with any semblance of consistency be it on the road or at home . People were so in awe of this trade that they seem to have forgotten that neither Anthony or D’Antoni’s teams have never been known for their defensive capabilities and that clearly has been the case once again with the New York Knicks under D’Antoni’s tutelage. Madison Square Gardens may well play host to its litany New York celebrities such as Spike Lee and Chris Rock who may well be in awe of this team’s aspirations over the course of the season but the Knicks are going to in for a big surprise should they make the postseason and are still playing at the fame level inconsistency we’ve seen from the team .

Now as many of you know I’m an avowed boxing fan but as of late I’ve become disenchanted with the sport and just about anything that’s associated with the sport be it from a world title fight or the latest news involving Floyd Mayweather , Manny Pacquaio , two of the sport’s biggest stars. I’d recently written a piece that dealt with the fortieth anniversary of the fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier . To my mind that first fight and the duo which followed after-wards to make up the trilogy of fights which has made up the greatest series of boxing matches ever to have been staged at any weight category over the sport’s history ! Well this past weekend were led to believe that once again the heavyweight division was once again relevant as Vitali Klitschko would be defending his WBC title against the mandatory number one challenger Odlanier Solis in what was meant to be a bout that the fans would long to see.

The fight itself lived up to the expectations one would come to expect when you have an over hyped challenger and a title holder whose record has been based on meeting opponents either well past their prime or who essentially have been asked to step by now what I largely believe are unscrupulous promoters who don’t necessarily are what the fans think just as long as they’re making money from these staged promotions . Solis a Cuban emigre essentially gave up after one round having been knocked out Klitschko with effortless ease. Solis’ record of having been undefeated merely showed me that the heavyweight division is genuinely devoid of any real talent in spite of what the boxing journalists out there are trying to sell the public. Beyond a disinterested Manny Pacquiao who now merely is fighting for the money and a way of satisfying the ego of his promoter Bob Arum , boxing has now become mundane and about as interesting as watching paint dry or a political debate between two intellectually challenged candidates. Does anyone remember the Vice Presidential debates between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin ? Need I say anymore on the matter ?

A number of my friends know that I’m a former military member who served in the Royal Marines for a 8 1/2 year period serving in various parts of Europe and North Africa . During that time I’d seen active service having been stationed in Northern Ireland , Ethiopia , Eritrea and further afield. And I have to admit those experiences have molded me into the person I am along with my upbringing and post military experience has given me a great deal more insight than I could ever have hoped for . I’ve long maintained that without the experience of having traveled or an education then your life can be something of a void . Luckily enough having brought up by a single mother and being the eldest of the three my mother drummed it into us that education is of the utmost if we’re to strive . Having graduated from high school my initial thought wasn’t to enter college as I’d no real idea as to what I wanted in terms of a vocation. So being rather capricious I entered the military much to the dismay of my mother , and my younger brother and sister. That being said after my stint in the military I was lucky enough to be hired by a bank working within corporate finance and my employer at the time paid for my education having enrolled at UCL and then LSE where I was able to obtain an MBA and degrees in International Finance and Economics .

Now in light of ESPN’s most recent series of their 30 For 30 series of documentaries to commemorate the outlet’s thirtieth anniversary as a sports programming content provider . Their most recent edition was on Michigan’s Fab Five which was that hyped team led by Juwan Howard , Jalen Rose and Chris Webber which went to two straight Final Fours in the NCAA Tournament .

This specific episode though commissioned by the cable outlet provider was in fact produced by Rose’s own production company (Three Tier Entertainment) in conjunction with ESPN and the episode was one of the better made documentaries made shown by ESPN. In the aftermath of the episode’s showing Rose who is also an NBA analyst on TNT’s NBA show has been particularly vocal in the fact that he hates the Duke Blue Devils and the very fact that he’s felt that African Americans who’ve played for Mike Krzyzwewski have been Uncle Tom’s . Much of Rose’s anger in making that statement comes from the fact that he wasn’t recruited by by Duke when he became eligible as a college player. I can understand Rose’s statement but I do believe that the issues raised shows his ignorance and immaturity as a human being ! . Not only that given the fact that even if he’d come from a single parent home it doesn’t change the wholesale environment if what any recruit has to go through once given the chance as a student athlete at any educational establishment . The criteria that has to be met doesn’t necessarily change because of one’s socio-economic standing or ethnictiy , as Rose clearly believes that it does .

In the aftermath of this all , perhaps Duke’s greatest player Grant Hill took umbrage at the statements made by Rose and wrote a concise and illuminating op-ed piece in the Washington Post challenging Rose’s statements and preconceived ideas. If it’s not bad enough that in this day and age young African American males and female have very few role models to which they can look up to, we now have an idiot like Rose now looking to drag down African American males within his own race who just happen to role models that many of today’s youth can look up to , regardless of ethnicity and their sexual identity. What might be even more telling is that Rose hasn’t yet issued any type of formal apology or any further statement having made that original remark. It may well have been done as an effort to further publicize the Fab Five episode but if anything to my mind whatever damage done be it slight in some peoples eyes may well be something that can’t be recanted and looked at as merely a player feeling aggrieved over an issue. The fact of the matter is as great as Rose’s college career may well have been his professional career paled into insignificance where there was nothing exceptional that actually stood out !

Rose may well look back on the statement with some regret but for the moment it looks as if he’s prepared ride it for all that it’s worth while it provides the actual episode that little extra publicity it might not actually get from ESPN from any additional advertising on the cable network.

It’s extremely rare where you get a young athlete that simply takes a sport by storm and where now the expectations become so high after that individual does something that no one literally thought possible. At UFC 128 — Jon Jones the light heavyweight challenger for Mauricio Rua’s UFC title belt made such an emphatic statement that has sent a seismic shock wave across the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). In the space of three brutal and clinically decisive rounds Jones literally beat the formidable Rua and in doing so took the title holder’s belt with discriminate ease. What was scheduled to be a five round title fight where many felt that Jones would be tested by the vastly more experienced Rua simply didn’t come into being. If anything it was the young 23 year old fighter who took the fight to the champion , had him bloodied , bewildered and disheartened long before the fight came to an unlikely ending with a TKO in the third round of the five round title fight.

Now Jones will have to deal with other title aspirants within the division such as former title holders Rashad Evans , Lyoto Machida and the always dangerous and perennial title contender Ryan Bader .The speed and impressive way at which Jones (13-1) has moved up the ranks of the sport and in particular the light heavyweight division with so little allout experience in the UFC ranks speaks to how he has applied himself and the skills that he brings into the genre as a former All American collegiate wrestler. His jujitsu has improved greatly and it only adds to his all round weaponry within MMA . A prospective rematch with Rua seems unlikely given the nature of Jones’ victory over the Brazilian . And now what may well await him is a big money defense of his title against Evans the number one mandated contender for the title . Jones replaced Rashard Evans he’d suffered an injury in his preparations to fight Rua at UFC 128 , his replacement was Jones who took the fight on short notice although he’d been in training for an upcoming fight , seen as an eliminator for the light heavyweight title. Now with that belt now his own the newly anointed champion can now pick and choose his challengers while along the way gaining further notoriety , fame and wealth.

On the opposite side of the MMA genre we have the woefully inept and mediocre situation now arising within the sport of boxing . I’m sorry but I can no longer see the relevancy of the sport when the fights that the fans desire to see aren’t going to take place ! Over this past weekend Vitali Klitschko (42-2-0 ,39KO’s) defended his WBC heavyweight title against what we’re led to believe was a credible mandated number one contender by the WBC in Odlanier Solis . Well the fact that this bout took place in Cologne , Germany gives you all the credcence you need to know why the heavyweight division is no longer taken seriously . The boxing scene and in particular the the division no longer resonates with anyone within North America and the very fact that the division is now dominated by a group of lackluster and character devoid aspirants of fighters chasing greatness makes this all the comedic . There hasn’t been an undisputed champion within the heavyweight ranks for almost 7 years and it’s unlikely that there’ll be one anytime soon.

Solis came into this fight with a record (17-0 , 12 KO’s) that if anything that on paper seemed impressive but as they say what you see on paper doesn’t actually represent anything in terms of a legitimate resume’ . This fight was over before the initial bell rang for the opening round and for the fans in attendance at the Lanxess Arena , Cologne had to have been disappointed in seeing the challenger barely last three minutes into the first round having been knocked flat on his backside from a punch that on appearance didn’t seem to be all that devastating much less having any real power. But this is now what the sport of boxing has now become by way of many of the fights now being staged for the apparent appetites of the fight fans out there. I’m sorry but seeing an overweight bloated specimen being knocked flat on their ass much less lying prostrate on their back isn’t what I for one find anywhere near entertaining ! And that’s in spite of fans and boxing writers now talking as if Vitali Klitschko and his brother Wladimir are now the faces of boxing as far as the heavyweight division is concerned . The two have refused to face each other in order unify the titles within the division and create an undisputed champion within the heavyweight ranks. And fight are suppose to take either seriously within the world of boxing ?

Now one can understand why the sport of boxing and in particular the division can’t be taken seriously as a legitimate concern . I can only surmise that’s why both Don King and Bob Arum as the sport’s pre-eminent promoters aren’t overly concerned with the division or promoting any of the top ranked contenders within the division who just happen to be Europeans ! In doing so they know for a fact that they’d be facing a losing endeavor in trying to gain anyone’s interest in a proposed bout on this side of the Atlantic which is and has always been the epicenter of the fight game.

I personally have lost all faith in the legitimacy in the sport of boxing as it has become devoid of talent , character and most certainly promoters who actually wish to give the fight fans what they want and that’s competitive and entertaining fights . That’s not really too much to ask at this juncture is it ?

Well it goes without saying the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is in full swing and there have already been one or two upsets that most hadn’t envisaged. Suffice to say if your brackets have already imploded because of an errant pick on your part take heart in the fact that you’re probably amongst millions who’ve seen their situation ripped asunder because of that pick . I for one am looking forward to the rest of the tournament as we’re now down to the ” Sweet 16 ” as from hereon in it’s now going to be about the contenders being separated from the pretenders .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the weekend’s sporting events what if anything has been your own most enjoyable moment ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the issues raised within this piece and any sporting topic you wish .

Alan aka tophatal …………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

Picture and slide show details below
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(1) FILE – In this file photo taken Feb. 1, 2010, then Houston Texans guard Chester Pitts makes a point to members of the House Judiciary Committee during a forum in Houston. Football labor negotiations with the NFL involving a federal mediator broke off March 11, 2011, without an agreement. NFL players have been warned for years about the need to save and the importance of budgeting their money in case of a work stoppage. Well, the lockout is here. All the players have taken a bit of a financial hit already because of the lockout: NFL teams no longer are paying for their health insurance. AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, ……..

(2) NEW ORLEANS, LA – MARCH 21: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones attends the NFL Annual Meetings at the Roosevelt Hotel on March 21, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Despite a NFL owners imposed lockout in effect since March 12 the league is conducting its annual owners meeting in New Orleans. Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images …….

(3) Three of the in famous Fab 5 of Michigan’s basketball team of the early nineties that had the five freshmen reach two consecutive NCAA Final Fours . From left to right Juwan Howard , Jalen Rose (center) and Chris Webber . AP /Reuters/ Chris Hill ……………

(4) New York Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni argues a call with referee Ken Mauer (41) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 20, 2011, in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Bucks won 100-95 . AP Photo/Morry Gash ……….

(5) Milwaukee Bucks’ Andrew Bogut , right, has some words with New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 20, 2011, in Milwaukee. The Bucks won 100-95. AP Photo/Morry Gash ………..

(6) Pictured a badly beaten Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is somewhat dismayed after his loss to Jon “Bones” Jones. In losing to Jones at UFC 128 Rua lost his light heavyweight title in his very first defense to his younger opponent. MMA Fight Weeky .

(7) Jones (right) took the fight to Rua from the opening round here he’s seen unleashing a kick to the champion during their UFC light heavyweight title fight at UFC 128. Both fighters have been suspended by the UFC pending the outcome of their post-fight medical medical results . MMA Weekly.com Ken Pishna …

(8) Jones delivers a frontal kick to Rua’s midrift that he was able to avoid but only partially. Jones would use his athleticism and quickness to defeat the Brazlian jujitsu expert with considerable ease. MMA Weekly.com Ken Pishna ………..

(9) Ukrainian heavyweight titleholder Vitali Klitschko celebrates with the winner’s belt after defeating Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis after their WBC heavyweight world championship boxing match in the western German city of Cologne on March 19, 2011. World heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko won the fight and defended his WBC heavyweight title with a shock first-round knock-out of Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis. Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images ………

(10) World boxing champion Vitali Klitschko of the Ukraine, right, watches challenger Odlanier Solis of Cuba go ing down during the first round of the WBC heavyweight title bout at the arena in Cologne, Germany, Saturday, March 19, 2011. Solis lost in in the first round with an injured knee. Klitschko’s win was declared k.o. by the referee. AP Photo/Martin Meissner ………..

(11) Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis gets help as he leaves the ring after he lost the fight with Ukrainian heavyweight titleholder Vitali Klitschko in their WBC heavyweight world championship boxing match in the western German city of Cologne on March 19, 2011. World heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko won the fight and defended his WBC heavyweight title with a shock first-round knock-out of Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ

(12) Ben Hansbrough (23) of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish reacts on the bench in the second half during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the United Center on March 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Florida State won 71-57 in regulation. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……..

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NCAA Men’s basketball results

Sweet 16 draw

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Continue reading “You Had Me At Hello ………. !”