Failure is not an option
This weekend within the sports’ world, we witnessed the demise of the Los Angeles Clippers as they fell to the Houston Rockets in a thrilling game seven spectacle between these two teams in the Western Conference Semi-Finals . With the Rockets prevailing with a home victory, where they will now face the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. For the Clippers this was an emotional wrought loss , with the Los Angeles’ point guard Chris Paul not only having an exceptional regular season but also an exemplary postseason . Unfortunately , Paul’s heroics, were not enough for the team to prevail in their series against the Rockets.
Doc Rivers and his coaching staff cannot be entirely happy with what he witnessed from his players who squandered repeated chances to seal the series with a win in game seven. As to what this might suggest about this Clippers’ team and their failure , might well be also a pointer to the failings of the players adapt and show a defensive resolve beyond the complacency witnessed in game seven.
Los Angeles Clippers’ owner, Steve Ballmer , having spent $2.1 billion purchasing the franchise , has to be wondering what it is likely to take in order for the team to get over the obstacle and win their very first NBA title . Having bowed out of the NBA Playoffs, questions will likely be asked and will have to be answered concerning the makeup of this roster.
Shirts are displayed on seats prior to Game Seven of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Clippers at the Toyota Center for the 2015 NBA Playoffs on May 17, 2015 in Houston, Texas. ” Clutch “ just wasn’t apt on the day for the Los Angeles Clippers . Getty Images/ Scott Halleran
Blake Griffin and Chris Paul will remain the focal point of the team, but clearly Doc Rivers in his dual capacity as head coach and general manager , will have to assess this team and the likely changes needed if the Clippers are to excel during the postseason. The disappointment of not having advanced further in the NBA Playoffs might well have come as a surprise to many . Both teams shared similar regular season record of 56-26 , with the Houston Rockets ending up with a higher seeding , having won their division and with a better conference record overall. Yet, there the similarities end, with both teams being equally adept on defense as well as offense.
What counted the most during this series , came down to consistency and the willingness to adapt. Kevin McHale and his coaching staff outwitted their counterparts throughout much of this series and it will be interesting to see what sort of strategy , he puts into place when the Houston Rockets face the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals . Game one of that series begins on 19th May at the Oracle Arena , in Oakland California ,.
Impending free agents for the Los Angeles Clippers are DeAndre Jordan , Glen Davis , Dahntay Jones , Austin Rivers and veteran swing-man Hedo Turkoglu. I firmly believe next season the only player likely to be re-signed will be will be DeAndre Jordan , because of the player’s offensive prowess as a rebounder and shot-blocker . However, there is the thinking Doc Rivers has to bolster this roster with more of a physical presence on defensive as well obtaining a fourth scoring option behind Blake Griffin , Chris Paul and Jordan. Doc Rivers will be under great deal of pressure to succeed , especially with the ambitions of Steve Ballmer being well-publicized and his wish for the franchise to be seen as best NBA organization in the state of California , after years of being in the shadow of the Los Angeles Lakers. From my own standpoint this has been a disastrous season for all of the California based franchises !
The Chicago Bulls bowed out of the NBA Playoffs , knowing very well they had Cleveland Cavaliers on the ropes , but lacked the killer instinct to get the job done . It is hard to explain how a team with their being given so many opportunities to win their series against the Cavaliers could have failed so abysmally. In the aftermath of this Eastern Conference Semifinals series loss , it looks as if the Chicago Bulls will cut ties with head coach Tom Thibodeau .
Coach Tom Thibodeau of the Chicago Bulls talks to referee Marc Davis in the first quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at United Center on May 14, 2015 in Chicago.
Bulls’ GM Gar Forman and Head of Basketball Operations John Paxson might well have been at odds with their head coach but he cannot be solely to blame for the series’ loss to the the Cleveland Cavaliers. The contests between these two teams , though they stretched to six games , could have ended up with the Bulls having won the series in five games , had they taken the opportunities afforded them. Instead they allowed LeBron James to show why the four-time League MVP remains the most potent offensive player in the NBA this season and since he entered the league in 2003 .
James and the Cavaliers will meet the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals , with the added pressure being placed firmly on the shoulders of the visiting team when the series tips off on the 20th May ,2015 at the Philips Arena , in Atlanta , Georgia,.
For all of the niceties to explain the Chicago Bulls’ regular season and the very fact they were able garner a third seed within Eastern Conference having lost point guard Derrick Rose for much of their regular season schedule. One has to wonder how good the Bulls might have been were it not Rose’s injury. An injury I believe now casts serious doubts as to his long-term future in the NBA ! Derrick Rose has become frail , injury prone and a mere shadow of the player who won the League MVP Award in 2011 .
The Bulls’ front office should they seek to fire Tom Thibodeau , then among the likely front-runners to replace him will be Scott Brooks’ whose firing by the Oklahoma City Thunder still makes no sense . In all but one of his seasons with the franchise , was Brooks unable to lead them to the NBA Playoffs. Sam Presti and the Thunder ownership may well have felt that Brooks was to blame for their woeful season , but you simply cannot expect the team to play at a high level with the loss of Kevin Durant , even if Russell Westbrook lit up the scoreboard as if it were a fireworks’ display on the 4th July. Beyond Westbrook and the absentee of Durant , the Thunder had little by way of a productive offense . For the moment we will just have to wait and see if the Bulls take the steps to fire Tom Thibodeau as the front office has yet to issue a statement concerning the beleaguered head coach.
Two years on from having a disastrous season , with a last place finish in NL East and one of the worst records in baseball during 2012. The Miami Marlins fired then manager Ozzie Guillen and history seems to have again repeated itself , but were are merely six weeks into the season and the Marlins’ front office made Mike Redmond the first managerial casualty , of this still young MLB season.
During the off-season the ball-club made the news with their signing of Giancarlo Stanton to the biggest contract in baseball history , with Stanton signing along the dotted line for the now ludicrous sum of $325 million payable over thirteen years . Averaging $25 million a year , the contract made the player one highest paid athletes in the game as well as one of the highest paid in all of professional sports . One seriously , doubts the figure is likely upset Floyd Mayweather and the reputed $175 million he is said to have earned from his recent title fight against an aging and ‘overrated’ Manny Pacquiao . As to the fight being labeled the “Fight of The Century” , it was not evenly remotely close to being the Fight of The Decade , but such was the hyperbole surrounding the bout that the vast majority of boxing fans have to be disenchanted with a sport, which now has about as much relevance as piece of dried up fecal matter.
Marlins’ owner , Jeffrey Loria , having duped the city of Miami , while being ably aided by former Commissioner Bud Selig , still continues to fleece the fans of the team as well as the game in general . Currently playing sub. 500 baseball , lying in third place in the NL East , it is easy to understand why this team has been an absolute failure this season. And the fact they came within an inning of being no-hit by the Atlanta Braves after an astonishing display by Braves’ pitcher Shelby Miller , only further emphasizes how mediocre the Miami Marlins just happen to be .
The 6-0 drubbing suffered at the hands of the Braves makes the still downward spiral of the Marlins all the more pitiful and self-induced . Starting on Monday the team will begin a four-game home series against the Arizona Diamondbacks to be played at Marlins Ballpark in Miami, Florida , in what is sure to be a less than salutary crowd , likely to be under capacity for the 37,000 seat venue. On the mound for the Diamondbacks will be Rubby De La Rosa a as he faces off against veteran pitcher Dan Haren .
Miami Marlins’ Head of Baseball Operations Michael Hill has yet to name a successor to Mike Redmond. Yet is widely believed Hill will seek to promote from within and all signs seem to be pointing towards the person likely to succeed Redmond , will be Dan Jennings . As to what it suggests about the ball-club, whether it is an act of desperation or a stop-gap measure, can be speculated upon lightheartedly. From my own standpoint , I simply look upon the Marlins and the game of baseball itself, as simply being out touch with reality ! The game’s hierarchy is littered with buffoons , the general managers are simply idiots , and the players have always been self-absorbed and without any real credibility . Issues which continue to plague the game of baseball, are often either glossed over or a Band-Aid is being used to hide the ever festering wounds or scar tissue.
If someone were to tell you the Oakland Athletics at one fourth of the way through the season, would have the worst record in the game as of the 17th May , I doubt anyone would believe it to be true . Yet he we are and the A’s are firmly rooted to the bottom of the AL West . Granted , they have won seven of their last ten games , but even with that sort recent play , it cannot hide the fact there is something wrong, with the lack of urgency being shown by the team in what I view to be the most competitive division in all of baseball ! One could cite injuries as being a contributing factor behind the malaise , but one of the great strengths about the A’s has always been the depth of their roster and players stepping up to the plate and contributing.
While I don’t believe the A’s will flounder , there is the possibility , if they are unable to right this ship then GM Billy Beane will have to reassess this team and managerial staff at some point during the season.
The A’s will have their feet firmly planted on the ground when they face the Houston Astros at the Minute Maid Park in Houston , Texas , on Monday evening. Opposing pitchers will be Drew Pomeranz of the A’s against Lance McCullers of the Astros.
With the A’s seeking to get into thick of things within the AL West, one of the none too surprising story-lines of this MLB season, was the return of Josh Hamilton back to the Texas Rangers after Los Angeles Angels’ owner Arte Moreno made the decision he no longer wanted the former AL MVP on the Angels’ team . With very good reason considering Hamilton had once again faltered with his sobriety and then sought to blame Moreno and the organization for not standing by him in support. Pardon me for saying this , but this once again indicates the insipid stupidity to be found within professional sports where athletes feel they should be coddled like a child rather than being treated like an adult ,
For the idiots who also feel Hamilton’s addiction is simply a mental illness then they ought to see what a true malady is actually about. Being a self professed alcoholic and drug abuser , with a weak will even after being given support structure and then repeatedly seeking to lie about your having not abused a substance simply indicates to me , Hamilton has no respect for the game of baseball , much less the for his employer or the fans. His lack of contrition but also seeking to apportion blame elsewhere smacks of narcissism and a great deal of maturity.
Furthermore , with the idiocy MLB’s arbitrary process , I have to ask why it was the player’s suspension was quashed when he freely admitted while in rehab, he used not only alcohol but also cocaine? MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is clearly less enlightened than his predecessor Bud Selig. Which begs the question , are we likely to see the same sort of idiocy from this particular league executive , as exhibited by Selig, himself ?
For Josh Hamilton, his two unproductive years with the Angels were a complete waste of time , other than the fact he was able to sign a lucrative contract with the organization . With the remainder of the deal still to be honored by his former team , it is easy to understand why Hamilton from a financial standpoint remains unperturbed . And for Texas Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels , it is one less club problem for him to worry about , unless Josh Hamilton should seek to get back to his favorite off the field pastime.
At 16-22 , currently lying fourth in the AL West , f 8 ½ games behind the division leading Houston Astros (25-14). It could be said the Texas Rangers will have a lot of catching up to do, with their being no margin for a error at all for the divisional race. A second place finish certainly won’t guarantee a wild-card berth for the divisional round of the MLB postseason and for manager Jeff Banister in his rookie season , this might be the toughest task he’s faced of his managerial career to date. Texas will resume their schedule with a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park , in Boston ,Massachusetts. The first of those contests will be on Tuesday , 19th May, and it is uncertain as to whether or not Hamilton will make his debut for the team , with his still being on the DL (disabled list). The projected earliest return for the player, will likely take place by mid-June , as he looks to recover from shoulder surgery , which took place in February .
The issues of Josh Hamilton have been well chronicled as too have the woes of Alex Rodriguez. A player who like Hamilton has sought to blame everyone but himself for his decision making and repeated bad choices. After one-year league mandated suspension , Rodriguez has returned to the fold for theNew York Yankees , a team in need of productivity and defensive prowess . At this stage of his career , Alex Rodriguez might still be able to provide the Yankees with both. They sit atop the AL East with a slender lead over the Tampa Bay Rays , in a division which I believe has now lost a great deal of its shine and appeal . Granted , the Boston Red Sox and Yankees are still two of the most widely supported teams in all of baseball with their attendance levels being among the highest in the game. Yet , it pales into insignificance when you look at the play of the teams within the division with only New York and the Tampa Bay Rays with a winning record (above .500) within the division.
Rodriguez, in terms of all-round offensive productivity, has been by far the most effective player on the Yankees’ roster. However, the fact remains, it is their pitching which remains their Achilles’ Heel and with CC Sabathia no longer a pitcher able to give the team a solid seven innings a game , it is hard to see how the ball club will be able to get by , even with the depth of the pitching rotation being average at best .
As Alex Rodriguez inches towards some of baseball’s most hallowed and revered records . I cannot help but wonder if the league hierarchy and the Yankees’ organization would not be better off without the veteran , rather than having to be reminded of the shame and their own stupidity of allowing him within their midst ! The ties to his steroid use are not tenuous and Alex Rodriguez’s repeated acts of contrition have become laughable, but he’s still being rewarded for his accomplishments and yet, baseball remains no better off than it was before. MLB lacks authoritative leadership and the owners are simply nothing more than a bunch of greedy miscreants , whose sole purpose has been to make money at the expense of the fans and the integrity of the game. Not that there was ever integrity within baseball to begin with , given its less than reputable history.
Alex Rodriguez , left , of the New York Yankees and Josh Hamilton , now of the Texas Rangers are two former AL MVP winners looking to make an impact on this season for their respective teams. Hamilton has yet to play a game for the Rangers , whereas Rodriguez has been the most productive offensive player on the Yankees’ roster this season , leading the team in several offensive categories. AP Photo / Adrian White
On Tuesday ,19th May , Nathan Evoldi will be on the mound when the Yankees take on the Washington Nationals at Nationals’ Ballpark in the nation’s capital. It will be interesting to see how productive Alex Rodriguez will be against the NL East based franchise as the New York Yankees seek to increase their lead over their divisional rivals.
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With the NBA Conference Finals now underway , which two teams do you believe will meet in the NBA Finals ? Baseball’s season is still in infancy, but are you at all surprised by the Miami Marlins’ firing of Mike Redmond and do you believe his firing will be one of several this season or simply a ball-club just dissatisfied with their season so far ? Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter.
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