If You Snooze You Lose …….

If You Snooze You Lose …

So while the NFL becomes a battlefield and we have the President (Donald Trump) chiming with his own thoughts on the issue of patriotism. Let’s pause for thought, he calls players who choose not to stand “sons of bitches” , but clearly won’t appreciate it is within their right not to stand . Bear in mind , neither Donald Trump or his administration thus far, specifically the US Defense Department seems to have a problem paying out millions of dollars annually merely to have the national anthem paid the league’s regular season games. Am I missing something here ? I guess not !!! The league itself has got off to an inauspicious start and as usual idiots were quick to make prognostications without actually looking at the teams in depth.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slide show.

At long last the New York Knicks awoke from their slumber and their first act under the leadership of Scott Perry was to make the decision to trade Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for a bag of Juju beans and pot of gold. I will be exact , Anthony was traded for Enes Kanter , Doug McDermott and a second round unconditional 2018 NBA Draft pick . This trade has Sam Presti coming off looking like damn genius. From my own standpoint, this simply makes the Knicks even more vulnerable while the Thunder becomes a top-five team in the West Conference and a possible contender for the NBA title this upcoming season.

Last season , the New York Knicks were woefully inept in just about every facet of their game and it begs the question, where the hell does this franchise now go from here ? Is Jeff Hornacek as the team’s Head Coach , still able to get the best out of his players and specifically this newly revamped team ? Hornacek is in way above his head and I don’t believe the New York Knicks will be competitive enough this season to win their division much less be considered a playoff contender. This Knicks’ roster is extremely poor , with a lack of scoring after the departure of Carmelo Anthony.

The New York Knicks’ loss becomes the Oklahoma City Thunder’s gain, with the Western Conference becoming a great deal stronger than their Eastern rivals. In all likelihood the reigning champions the Golden State Warriors will be the prohibitive favorites to repeat as champions for the upcoming season . The team’s depth might be even better than last season, with much of its core remaining intact. It will be interesting to see how the Golden State Warriors will fare during their regular season meetings with the Oklahoma City Thunder this season. The first of those meetings will take place on the 22nd November on the road when the two meets for the first time as part of their regular season schedule.

If Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson are to turn around the recent lack of fortune for the Los Angeles Lakers , then these two idiots had better start reading the NBA handbook concerning league conduct , rather than believing they and the franchise are above the league’s rules. It wasn’t by coincidence the NBA hierarchy slapped the Lakers with a rather punitive fine , but I believe Johnson and Pelinka’s actions in trying to lure Paul George to sign with the franchise , when the player had yet to state his declaring status , smacked of sheer conceitedness. George was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder by the Indiana Pacers , much to the chagrin of the Lakers , most notably their executives GM Rob Pelinka and Head of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson.

The Los Angeles Lakers will enter this season with one of their weakest teams in franchise history. While there has been a great deal of ballyhoo concerning Lonzo Ball , the rookie has yet to play a game at the professional level . Summer League asides , it will be interesting to see how Ball will seek to break down some of the best defenses in the league , when playing on a team that is actually devoid of in-depth talent . Luke Walton and his coaching staff are likely to have a problematical season as the Lakers seek to find a groove. I for one don’t see a vast improvement on the twenty-six wins by the franchise last season and they will be lucky if they are able to improve on that figure by a significant margin.

Lonzo Ball and his teammates will begin their regular season schedule with a game against the Los Angeles Clippers , which will be the Lakers’ home opener at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California . With the Clippers also in a state of disarray after the abrupt departure of Chris Paul , it could very well be that the City of Angels’ two NBA franchises will be mired in mediocrity this upcoming season. The relationship between Doc Rivers and Chris Paul might well have reached breaking point and with the lack of defensive prowess on the Clippers last season and their fall from grace in the NBA Playoffs might well have been far too much for the veteran point guard to bear.

Somehow the Los Angeles Clippers will try to prove themselves a better team without Chris Paul than they are a team with him. Paul was the glue that held the team together last season and he provided the Clippers with the leadership they were sorely lacking from seasons past. When Steve Ballmer purchased the Clippers for $2 billion , it was hoped the erasing of Donald Sterling’s ownership would be gone for good , bringing about a new era of sanity within the organization. Instead , it has brought about a great deal of intrinsic complacency, far too much power with Doc Rivers not only being the Head Coach but also Director of Basketball Operations . Lawrence Frank might well be the President of Basketball Operations , but I doubt he has that much say in the personnel decisions made for the organization. Far too many Chiefs and not enough Indians . Hall of Fame player Jerry West has since been added to the mix as a Special Consultant . A similar role which he had in being the architect in the successful resurrection of the Golden State Warriors. Needless to say, if both Rivers , Frank and Michael Winger fail to heed the advice provided by the legendary player then the fortunes of the Clippers will sink further into the abyss.

A great deal is now being asked of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan , to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to glory , but I am not so sure either player has the maturity or temperament to get the job done. In the NBA Playoffs of last season the Clippers gave us a glimpse as to why they remain vulnerable and very much overrated . Defense is not a word in their vocabulary and it never has been with Doc Rivers leading the charge as the Head Coach . When the Clippers begin their regular season schedule , it will be interesting to see how this team fares through their first ten games.

It never ceases to amaze me when I read some of the idiotic comments by fans concerning a number of teams within the NBA ! More often than not, there hasn’t been a great deal of thought put into their assessments never-mind the statements made. Recently I read a comment by an avid sports’ fans , in which the individual stated the “window of opportunity” continues to close for the San Antonio Spurs . Less I am mistaken , with twenty straight Playoff appearances, a feat that has not been matched by any other NBA franchise in league history , then there has to be something wrong with the mindset of the individual. Need we be reminded that along the way , the Spurs have won five NBA titles under Gregg Popovich as the team’s Head Coach ? Popovich’s coaching staff is considered to be one of the best in the league and throughout the years a number of his former assistants have gone on to hold head coaching positions around the league. RC Buford has also groomed a lot of executive talent, who have since moved on to hold similar positions as a general manager within the NBA. I don’t believe there are any other teams around the league with that type of credibility as an organization and then you weigh in the consummate class and professionalism shown by Peter Holt . Nothing else needs to be said at this juncture.

It has been over a decade and a half since the San Antonio Spurs had a sub.500 season in the NBA and not win their division. Things began to change in terms of the franchise’s recent history when the Spurs made future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan their first round draft pick from the 1997 NBA Draft . Duncan’s career with the franchise are what legends are made of and it is a testament to the player’s legacy that he is held in such high esteem by his contemporaries . Having retired from the game at the end of the 2015-16 season , Duncan is a franchise leader in so many statistical categories with the San Antonio Spurs. His five NBA titles in tow with Gregg Popovich are symbolic of his legacy and this franchise.

The team which Tim Duncan left behind has now evolved with Kawhi Leonard seen as its leader, but veterans Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli remain part of its core. Leonard has become one of the league’s elite players , having twice won the NBA Defensive Player of The Year Award , his game has now evolved , with his becoming efficient on both ends of the floor.

As long Gregg Popovich is at the coaching helm of the San Antonio Spurs, then this team can never be written off. Only a fool would continue to underestimate the Spurs at their own expense. Last season San Antonio had the second-best record in the league , with only the Golden State Warriors having a better record while going on to win their second NBA title in the last three years. If the Spurs are to compete within a much more formidable Western Conference this season , then their games against stalwarts such as the Warriors , Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder should go a long way in telling us about the team , in particular Kawhi Leonard’s teammates LaMarcus Aldridge , Patty Mills , Pau Gasol , Danny Green , Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli.

The San Antonio Spurs’ preseason will consist of will consist of just five games , before embarking upon their regular season schedule beginning on the 18th October when they face the Minnesota Timberwolves at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas .

When Tilman Fertitta agreed in principle to buy the Houston Rockets for a reputed $2.2 billion , the sale price got everyone’s notice. The Rockets are not considered a big-market team , but the exploits of James Harden this past season has placed the franchise back into the stratosphere. Outgoing owner Leslie Alexander wasn’t desperate to make the sale , but he felt in order for the Rockets to move forward , now was the right time and Fertitta was the right owner to make it all possible. With Chris Paul having joined Houston in a totally inexplicable trade , the Los Angeles Clippers’ loss will be come the Rockets’ gain , their greatest gain over the past three seasons that is for sure. There is no doubt in my mind the Western Conference will literally take their opponents in the East this season and simply beat the living crap out of them all season-long !!

James Harden scored against everyone almost at will , keeping up a frenetic pace , to such an extent , it had everyone wondering was there anything else he wasn’t capable of doing last season. The Rockets will be a contender this season and there is no doubt in mind they are more than capable of beating the very best that the East will have to offer. As to their contemporaries within the West, that remains to be seen , but this will be a very interesting season for the franchise. Harden and his teammates will begin their regular season in earnest when they face the Golden State Warriors on Opening Night , 17th October in a game being played at Oracle Arena in Oakland , California .

So LeBron James is giving fans in Cleveland assurances that he won’t be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers anytime soon. Personally, I don’t believe it is a long-term commitment from the player , as his relationship with Dan Gilbert has continued to sour , without taking into account the rumored disintegration of his friend ship with former teammate Kyrie Irving . The point guard was traded to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Isiah Thomas . On paper the trade might seem to be equitable, until you take into account Thomas is coming off an injury and off-season surgery. The Cavaliers’ front office failed to use due diligence and threatened to rescind the deal , only to be forced to go ahead with the transaction after some intervention from the league hierarchy and the fact Kyrie Irving made it known he had no wish to remain in Cleveland. The Cavaliers remain the team to beat within the East, but I don’t believe the team in its current guise will have it all their own way within the East over the course of this season !

The Cleveland Cavaliers will have to come out of the starting gates firing on all cylinders , because I believe they will be in for a world of hurt if Isiah Thomas cannot find his footing , because to my mind , Derrick Rose has absolutely nothing left in the tank , whereby he can be productive for the Cavaliers. This much was evident with his play last season for the lackluster New York Knicks. Thankfully, the Cavaliers play in a weak division and a continuously mediocre Eastern Conference. If they qualify as a top four-seed, then the NBA Playoffs within the conference should not prove to be that much of a problem.

Not one , not two , not three , not four , but at least six NBA titles. Well that was the notion of the Miami Heat when they signed LeBron James as a free agent, as the four-time League MVP would join close friends Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh . Heat executive Pat Riley was hailed as a genius and history was quickly made with the franchise. Four consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals , yielded two victories , but then things began to get sour as Riley refused to bolster the roster , much to the chagrin of James. What LeBron failed to understand , while the Miami Heat were winning , the ever-increasing payroll could not keep abreast of the franchise continuing to hemorrhage red ink along its bottom line . It’s still something LeBron James is still not able to fathom in Cleveland with the Cavaliers having lost in excess of $80 million over the last two years.

Dwyane Wade after a nostalgic return to the state of Illinois , where he played last season for the Chicago Bulls , has agreed to a buyout of his contract , then chose to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers. It had been rumored Riley would have been interested in signing Wade , with the seasoned veteran becoming the team’s leader. The fact that this did not take place speaks to the volume of resentment I still believe there is between the player and the Heat executive . Behind the scenes, Pat Riley has often been ruthless and brutal , but in public he tries to come across as a likable character. Machiavelli has nothing on this particular executive . Like a moth to a flame it appears that everyone wants to be with LeBron , while the player himself has always tried to tell us he’s never played on a Super Team .

John Paxson and Gar Forman of the Chicago Bulls now have the unenviable task of trying to persuade the long-starving fans of the Bulls, they are on the right track to rebuilding this franchise. The glory years of the Jordan led teams to six NBA titles are a thing of the past and it appears an imminent return to those halcyon days are nowhere near apparent. Chicago’s best player of last season Jimmy Butler was sent to the Minnesota Timberwolves , with the belief that a fresh start behind a youth-oriented lineup would be the way ahead. A sighting of Dennis Rodman wearing a wedding dress , professing his love for all things magical now seems to reverberating around the city of Chicago . Lamar Odom now has his eyes on becoming a pharmacist , dispensing medical marijuana to those desperately in need and Bulls’ owner , Jerry Reinsdorf is now on the brink of having a nervous breakdown. Guess what ? You snooze , you lose .

—-

Picture gallery. Click on picture to view that frame and also read the accompanying narrative.

Which things are you most looking forward to as the NBA preseason and regular season beckons ? Do you believe the Golden State Warriors can make a successful defense or their NBA title ? Also which NBA Rookie do you believe will have the biggest impact on the league this upcoming season ?

Tophatal ….

Similar subject matter: https://tophatal.wordpress.com/category/NBA

NBA news

NBA preseason schedule

NBA regular season schedule begins 17th October

2017 NBA Draft

NBA transactions

NBA team payrolls (cap)

Top salaried players (2017)

NBA standings (conference)

My balls, my rules in the NBA ….

My ball, my rules in the NBA

The NBA preseason is now upon us and the reigning league champions the Golden State Warriors will begin their quest to make a successful defense of their title with their preseason schedule as Steph Curry and his teammates seek to make it all once again be a reality. For Steve Kerr , his coaching staff as well as the front office led by co-owners , Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , as they have seen a spectacular rise in the value of the franchise, but also a marked increase in the revenues and attendance levels for the team. With the imminent move to a more fan-friendly and more attractive venue for the NBA’s current champions. The signs are, the Warriors’ ascent to the top of the basketball world has been well thought out and the intent of the franchise to have a lasting and long-term impact on the league.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Slideshow.

Steve Kerr and Steph Curry were recipients in the running for two of the top individual regular season awards of last season , with Kerr coming in second for the NBA Coach of The Year Award , while the point guard won the league’s Most Valuable Player Award after a scintillating season. Curry along with Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala will be relishing to get back unto the court and begin the defense of their title. The NBA Draft itself, saw the Warriors simply bolster their roster, with some young talent and these players are likely to get their chance at some point during the season to shine.

Without a doubt, the Golden State Warriors will have to be seen as the presumptive favorites within the Western Conference to make a quick return to the NBA Playoffs alongside perennial playoff bound and five-time champions the San Antonio Spurs. During the off-season, San Antonio without a doubt were the biggest winners in the free agency market , having acquired Texas native LaMarcus Aldridge alongside veteran power forward David West. Departures from last season’s roster were expected and the losses were certainly outweighed by acquisitions made by the franchise , whose general manager R C Buford has stood stall, showing his executive acumen and one of the many reasons why he has to be considered one of the very best general managers in NBA history.

San Antonio will also see the return of veteran players Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker for another year together , with the trio having won over five-hundred regular season games together as a combination as well as four of the franchise’s five championships all under the coaching tutelage of Gregg Popovich . All three players as well the head coach are future bound and likely inductees into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame joining another Spurs’ luminaries already enshrined in basketball’s most hallowed institution, George Gervin and David Robinson , the two most notable Spurs’ inductees were the starting point for the history of one of the NBA’s most respected franchises. However, it has been the astonishing success under coach Gregg Popovich which has been the template seen , which has led San Antonio to its present time.

The NBA during its preseason schedule will be playing second fiddle to the MLB postseason which begins on Tuesday , while the NFL season though in its infancy has begun to take on a life of its own. Away from the basketball court , there have been some less than palatable story-lines which have come into focus. Former League MVP and Chicago Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose finds himself at the center of allegations of sexual assault and battery claim from a female victim. A charge which the player categorically denies and he has been very adamant with his repeated denials of the alleged victim’s claims.

As to how this is viewed by the Bulls’ front office led by GM Gar Forman and Head of Basketball Operations John Paxson . Well, the executives have simply issued what can only be deemed a standard response, with the view , until there has been a legal investigation and legal outcome, the organization will continue to show support for the player.

For Derrick Rose , his failure to make an impact for the Chicago Bulls over the course of last season must come into question given the franchise’s long-term financial commitment to the player , who has missed over 100 games over the past two and a half seasons. This past season, Jimmy Butler stepped up to the plate for the Bulls and though they made the NBA Postseason their foray was somewhat short-lived . Rose for his part was simply a peripheral character in the team’s attempts to make a deep playoff run . The firing of Tom Thibodeau , with his being replaced by Fred Hoiberg as the new head coach of the Chicago Bulls , opens a new chapter for the franchise. It will be interesting to see what Hoiberg and his newly assembled coaching staff brings to the table as the Bulls begin their preseason schedule and then on into the regular season.

Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls will begin their regular season, when they open up with their first game against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in a contest at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois on 27th October, 2015. If the Bulls are to have a chance of prevailing within the Central Division of the Eastern Conference much less against the rest of the league , then it will be predicated upon of the play of Rose and the team over the entire schedule in 2015.

This season there will be a great deal of pressure on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The four-time League MVP had a roster built around a team which had his own personal blessings and specific wishes. The fact that idiot fans , bought into the belief James would be capable of leading the Cavaliers to their first NBA championship solely based on his play was utterly ridiculous. As good as LeBron James over the course of his career in the NBA , certain things were being overlooked by the James’ supporters. A rookie head coach with little NBA or postseason and a team, where the players , other than Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love would be barely thought of as being competitive in comparison to the other lineups around the league.

Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert along with GM David Griffin have a great deal riding on keeping in the good graces of LeBron James and the player’s yearning to bring a title to the franchise. Two appearances in the NBA Finals have ended up in significantly embarrassing series’ defeats each time for James, as a member of the franchise.

What is becoming abundantly clear is the very fact LeBron James remains an impatient individual who seeks not only to be acknowledged by his peers, but also by the NBA analysts and fans as the greatest player of his generation and the greatest player in NBA history. A tall order indeed, when one considers he has fallen short of the accomplishments of his idol , Michael Jordan. While I do not believe it pertinent to make comparisons between players of the past against players of the present. It is clear, James wishes to be seen as the heir apparent to the six-time NBA champion , Finals’ MVP and League MVP . Such comparisons are best made upon the retirement of both subject as it is best then start a meaningful debate over the accomplishments of the subjects in question.

This season might well be the last opportunity for both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to reestablish their legacies with the Miami Heat. The departure of former teammate LeBron James left the franchise in complete disarray. Inasmuch as there was criticism being leveled at James by Heat Executive Alonzo Mourning , what became abundantly clear was the fact the front office became lackadaisical and negligent in failing to bolster an aging roster , believing it best , James as a one-man band could simply lead Miami to another title. With LeBron James’ departure the Miami Heat became a listless team , with neither Bosh or Wade contributing much to the Heat’s mediocre showing and season in 2014 .

During the off-season, Pat Riley and the Heat’s coaching staff led by Erik Spoelstra bolstered the roster through the NBA Draft and free agency . Miami’s rookies will be expected to make solid contributions to the team over the course of the Heat’s eighty-two game schedule. Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson , the two rookies taken in this past draft will get their opportunities this season and I believe Erik Spoelstra expects to see some great play from these two young players. Miami will open up their regular season schedule when they face the Charlotte Hornets on the 28th October ,2015 at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida.

With the recent news that James L Dolan , owner of the New York Knicks has seen fit to relinquish control of the Cablevision , the public company where the Dolan family still has a sizable presence. The questions now being asked are , will the family quite possibly seek to sell their controlling stake in the Madison Square Garden Company which presides over the family’s sports’ interests ? Can the team actually be competitive this upcoming season ? Is it possible for the New York Knicks to be even worst off, than they were last season ? As woeful as the New York Knicks have been this past season under the guidance of Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher as the team sank to new levels of of sheer incompetence while supporters of Jackson are still trying to suggest the former NBA coach has a Master Plan for the resurrection of the Knicks’ fortunes.

To understand the incompetency of the New York Knicks , one simply has to look for an explanation as to the Phil Jackson first round draft pick of Kristaps Porzingis and how Jackson has tried to placate the fans with his thoughts on the matter. There can be no denying the choice had and still has a number of people perplexed and wondering what the hell is going on within the Knicks’ hierarchy and whether or not there is any semblance to be found there at all ?

Porzingis was taken as the fourth overall pick in the first round and is seen as a solid front court player , but in reality , the player is likely to remain a work in progress and not likely to be a major contributor to this team, which is need offensive talent as well as a solid defensive presence. Triangle Offense or not the basketball IQ on this team is way below average and almost a certain obstacle in the way of a franchise where the coaching staff has to be deemed equally incompetent as the players and the front office executives within the organization. The only saving grace for the New York Knicks has been the fact the franchise remains among the profitable of all the teams in the NBA and that remains about it. From my own standpoint, I do not believe the team in its current guise will pose that much of a threat to their divisional opponents or conference rivals this upcoming season.

Speaking of another vastly overrated NBA franchise, has anyone ever wondered where elephants usually go to die ? If there was said to be an elephants’ graveyard in the league, then it would have to be the Barclays Center , home to the Brooklyn Nets . From one year to the next this franchise over the past six seasons has been a monumental eyesore . For all the wealth of Russian billionaire tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov as the Nets’ owner . This organization would not be able to spot talent if the coaching staff of the franchise were given the aid of a flashlight , night vision glasses, if they were left in a darkened room and asked to figure it out all by themselves.

GM Billy King has outlived his usefulness and the only sound decision he has made was the jettisoning of Deron Williams , a player whose talents remain vastly overrated as a point guard . He certainly doesn’t excel under pressure and by no means can he be considered a leader much less the equal of several of his peers within the game today.

With Deron Williams having joined the Dallas Mavericks, it remains to be seen how much of an improvement his addition will be to the team and how competitive they’re likely to be over the course of this season. Dirk Nowitzki remains the best player on the current roster by far. If the Mavericks are to succeed as they seek to win a second NBA title , then it will be predicated Nowitzki’s indomitable play and leadership ability , because none the traits in question , are to be seen even vaguely in any of his teammates.

Two teams with something to prove this season, will be the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder. James Harden and Kevin Durant are now viewed as being among the elite players in the NBA and there can be no denying that fact. Both of these superstars are likely to be viewed as early preseason candidates for the League MVP this season. The disappointment of the NBA Playoffs was there for all to see as the Rockets failed to get by the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals last season. Harden and teammate Dwight Howard were simply not enough to get by the best team in the NBA during the playoffs. I certainly believe games between the Rockets and Thunder as seen last season and will prove to be extremely competitive.

Oklahoma City Thunder under their coach Billy Donovan will seek to make this season their big opportunity to advance to an NBA Finals for the second time under the ownership group of Clay Bennett and his partners. GM Sam Presti knows it is in the franchise’s best interests to keep the services of Kevin Durant, knowing the player is likely to weigh up his options as an impending free agent in 2016, the Thunder must know their best chance to have Durant within their organization is to have a successful season ,with the ultimate goal being to win a world championship. Kevin Durant and his teammates will begin that quest this season opening up their schedule with a home game against the San Antonio Spurs on 28th October ,2015.

Picture inset with an accompanying narrative to the images . Simply click unto any image to view.

The NBA hierarchy enters this season looking to avail themselves of the best publicity possible , but I cannot help wonder what the biggest controversy is likely to be once the season gets into full swing .

🙂

Tophatal ……

Editor’s advisory notes

Tophatal’s Blog can also be followed on the following social media platforms : Facebook.com, Twitter.com and Pinterest.com

😦

NBA

NBA news

NBA teams

NBA schedule

NBA standings

NBA important dates

NBA team salary caps

NBA free agents (available) and free agents 2016

NBA transactions

This month in NBA history

On this date (5th October) in NBA history

NBA Playoffs (2015)

NBA standings (divisional)

NBA standings (conference)

—-

“Hi Hater ” ….. Maino , feat’g Plies , TI , Swizz Beatz , Jadakiss , Fabolous & Mya

Brackets,jackets and tip-toeing around the patently obvious …

Brackets,jackets and tip-toeing around the patently obvious …

The seedings have been decided upon for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and quite rightly so. The Kentucky Wildcats having ended the season ranked number one in the nation, as well having an unbeaten season bearing a 34-0 record will enter the tournament as its prohibitive favorite, to win it all . John Calipari and his coaching staff head into the Tournament knowing, the first slip-up made, will essentially put to an end a season where a great deal more was expected.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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

Slideshow.

Players on this Wildcats’ team know a winning season and the NCAA Tournament title will certainly insure great deal of plaudits and the near- certainty of a high draft position in the upcoming NBA Draft this upcoming June . With three consensus first round draft picks among this roster of stars. The names of Karl Anthony Towns , Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson simply stand out, as players likely to be taken in the top-ten picks of the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft. If not, then there is something seriously wrong among the general managers and head coaches within the NBA at this juncture.

The four seeds in the regional tournament of the NCAA Championship are Kentucky, Villanova , Duke and Wisconsin . All four teams are in regional draws which will have their pot-holes along the way . where at least one or two upsets are likely to take place as the tournament progress. Opening salvos will be fired in the when the first four teams take to the court on the 17th and 18th March , 2015, as the NCAA Tournaments gets underway to decide the Men’s national champion.

Mike Krzyzewsk and the Duke Blue Devils will certainly have their work cut out for them in this tournament, as their path is unlikely to be easy. As the top seed in the South Regional phase of the Tournament where their biggest challengers could very well be other than their own complacency a , will be the other seeded challengers in the regional phase , with those topping the list said to be , Gonzaga , Georgetown (Hoyas) and Iowa State. As talented as the this Duke team might be considered to be , I do not believe this will be the year in which Mike Krzyzewski guide the program to their fifth national title , all coming under the coaching acumen of the renowned head coach.

With either Derrick Rose or Joakim Noah missing from the Chicago Bulls’ lineup at some point of the season, it easy to understand the reasons why the team has continued to struggle in the aftermath of having lost their League MVP point guard to another season-ending injury , likely curtailing Rose’s long-term future and the rest of his career. Add in the fact, the ongoing relationship between head coach Tom Thibodeau , GM Gar Forman and Head of Basketball Operations John Paxson , is now said to have reached an all-time low, and one wonders how the franchise can gain anything meaningful out of this all, should they fail to make the playoffs .

(6)

Bulls’ forward Jimmy Butler is seen here with Tom Thibodeau . In the absence of either Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose . It has been left to Butler to provide the bulk of team’s offense over the course of the season. Thibodeau’s relationship with the organization has been tenuous at best often becoming heated between the coach and executives, John Paxson and Gar Forman . Courtesy of USA Today/ ..

Not only has the rancor between the head coach and the front office said to have reached an unacceptable level , but it is believed with Thibodeau unwilling to resign, there is no likelihood Paxson or Forman will make the decision to fire their beleaguered coach and their having to honor the remainder of his contract. With Derrick Rose sidelined, it has been left to his teammate Jimmy Butler to step up to the plate in the absence of his more heralded teammate to lead the team by example.

With the Cleveland Cavaliers now raced to the top of the Central Division of the Eastern Conference , the Bulls are now left having to wonder, what to make of their season , while also seeking to play catch-up within the conference. A nine-point road loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder , a road defeat . Butler and his teammates’ next contest will be againstthe Indiana Pacers whom they host on Wednesday evening at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois ,.

In the contest between the Thunder and the Bulls, point guard Russell Westbrook continued his scintillating displays where he almost posted another triple-double . Easy to now understand why he become a consensus favorite for this season’s League MVP. Consider the fact also, Westbrook has been doing this all in the absence of his teammate , Kevin Durant.

Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks must be now salivating at the thought of Durant’s imminent return and the chance of his teaming up once again with Westbrook, to provide one of the most dominant and productive duos in the NBA. With only fifteen games left to be played in the remainder of the regular season, it will be interesting interesting to see how the teams acquit themselves as the season winds winds down .

All is fair in love and war . Granted, LeBron James has proven himself to be something of a warrior this season, as the Cleveland Cavaliers seek to justify themselves as the best team in the Eastern Conference. Their record suggests otherwise when compared to that of the high-flying Atlanta Hawks , who might just be the surprise team the regular season within the NBA . Hawks’ head coach Mike Budenholzer certainly has to be considered one of the leading favorites for this season’s Coach of The Year Award , as it would a complete travesty , were he not among the top vote-getters for the prestigious accolade.

(7)    Alonzo  Mourning   now a  senior   executive  within   the  Miami  Heat    organization   has   been  extremely  critical  of    former   Heat   player    LeBron  James   after  his   decision  to  leave  the  franchise  and    return  to  the   Cleveland   Cavaliers  .  Mourning ,   failed  to   suggest   why  Heat   failed  to  surround   James     with   players   complementary  to   his    skills    capable  of   actually   of  being   competitive   enough  to  have   won   last    season's   NBA  title  .   Getty   Images/  Paul  Miller

Alonzo Mourning now a senior executive within the Miami Heat organization has been extremely critical of former Heat player LeBron James after his decision to leave the franchise and return to the Cleveland Cavaliers . Mourning , failed to suggest why the Heat failed to surround James with players complementary to his skills capable of actually of being competitive enough to have won last season’s NBA title . Getty Images/ Paul Miller

At present, Atlanta and the Golden State Warriors are the only teams with fifty victories or more to their respective resumes`. A possible Finals’ meeting between the two seems a reality, but I believe it to be unlikely given the competitiveness of the Western Conference. Steph Curry and his Warriors’ teammates are having a terrific season , albeit, many would not have considered this to have been one of the teams to beat at the start of the year, with the transition of easing in a new head coach, and Steve Kerr assuming the reins after his predecessor, Mark Jackson’s idiotic decision to alienate himself by foistering his hypocritical beliefs outside the game , upon his players and then to some extent , denigrating the organization . Joint team-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber had no other choice but to dismiss Jackson, ” freedom of speech” rights or not . There is no longer any space for outright bigotry within the realms of sports , let alone the fact , the former head coach showed a great deal of disrespect for the franchise, with his inflammatory remarks .

(8)

Former Golden State Warriors’ head coach Mark Jackson , foreground and his successor , Steve Kerr. This season the Warriors have not only the best record in the NBA , but the team also happens to be the league’s , most potent offense , leading the NBA in a number of offensive categories . Getty Images

If Mark Jackson wishes to make a point , then let him do so while not representing Warriors and most definitely, if he choosing to express his personal beliefs, it should not be done in such a venal way, with his wantoned disregard of others , his own ethnicity and historically what African Americans have gone through in this country, without then seeking denigrate others, because of their own sexuality. Obviously, Jackson’s own religious beliefs and his comprehension of Biblical teachings, indicates his lack of intelligence and compassion. This has nothing at all to do with “political correctness” having run amok, but more to do with simple bigotry . You don’t cry ” fire ” in a crowded theater , or show downright bigotry of others , without their being severe consequences , and those wishing to excuse such behavior are simply naive or just imbeciles.

In what turned out to be a surprise overtime win over the reigning NBA champions , the San Antonio Spurs . New York Knicks’ head coach Derek Fisher suggested the team should be rewarded for the efforts in this victory. Unfortunately, victories for the Knicks have been few and far between.

If Fisher is of the opinion his players ought to rewarded for those victories , then he sure as hell does not hold these very same players accountable, for the losses amassed over the course of the season. Fisher has shown as a rookie head coach, he still has a great deal to learn , and learning on the job when you have an inadequate group of players , and a front office which remains clueless, it becomes patently obvious to see why this franchise has been a complete mess and the ongoing butt of so many jokes around the NBA. Those subscribing to the fact Phil Jackson remains a basketball genius should really rethink that whole synopsis and realize it has been his ego and complete lack of knowledge in assessing talent which has also led to this debacle. Next up for the Knicks will be a road trip to visit the equally abysmal Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday evening.

(9)

New York Knicks’ head coach Derek Fisher is seen here two of his assistant coaching staff Jim Cleamons and Kurt Rambis , as they discuss a pregame strategy in the lead-up to a game to be played the franchise’s home venue , Madison Square Garden , New York City , New York . On the road as well as at home the franchise has simply been pitiful , having been the first team this season to have lost in excess of fifty games , with a league-leading fifty-three defeats as of 17th March , 2015. AP Photo / Mark Warren .

With both the Knicks and Timberwolves likely to be part of the Lottery Pick for the right to the top pick in the upcoming NBA Draft , it will be interesting to see which of the two teams in question or one of their other fellow banal franchises will be joining them as part of this ongoing facade created by the league to seek in the Draft process.

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


=====================================
Picture gallery . Narrative can be viewed by clicking unto the formatted picture shown.

The NCAA Tournament will likely create a great many thrills and spills, with one or two surprises along the way, in terms of the results. This tournament will ultimately provide us with another D1 collegiate champion in Men’s Basketball. Given the excitement created in last year’s tournament, with the 2015 NCAA championship now underway, let all of the excitement now begin. I may well be wrong , but I do not believe there is now an outright favorite for this year’s NBA title , and granted, there have been two or three teams over the course of this season who have proven themselves worthy favorites or perceived contenders. Yet, a caveat remains , buyer beware, beyond stating the obvious , the only conclusion and sure thing , has been the winner from each conference championship will have an equal chance of being named the NBA champion for the 2014-15 season.

Which programs do you believe will rise to the occasion and become this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Champion ? With NBA regular season now winding down , which teams do you believe have been the biggest disappointment to the league and to the fans ? Also which franchises from the Eastern and Western conferences, will be the Finals’ contestants for this season?

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

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

🙂

Tophatal

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

Tophatal’s Blog on Pinterest.com

——-

NCAA Men’s Basketball

2015 Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament

Opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

——–

NBA

NBA news and archived stories

NBA standings (division) and conference standings

NBA standings (Playoff Picture and with games remaining

NBA results 17th March and schedule 18th March

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

A la-carte menu ? As the world turns, the NBA still meanders

A la-carte menu ? As the world turns, the NBA still meanders

Early in the season , the NBA was in awry as the return to the league of two its most high-profiled and visually recognized faces made impact-ful returns to franchises where initially their names were made. With LeBron James having left the Miami Heat after a postseason of angst and tremendous disappointment with the Heat falling to the San Antonio Spurs in five games , James felt it best to resume his career elsewhere and where better than with the franchise where he got his professional start , having been drafted as the number one overall draft pick in the 2003 NBA Draft?

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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

Slideshow .

Phil Jackson’s return to the New York Knicks was treated with equal regale as the former player and eleven time championship winning head coach was introduced to the convened press fans as the Head of Basketball Operations and SVP with the New York based franchise. While this might well have been somewhat surreal , the reality has been as the season got underway for the Knicks with a new head coach Derek Fisher and coaching staff in tow , the real issues for the team this season has been the fact winning has become something of a rarity on the road or at home.

The four-time or League MVP’s return to the Cleveland Cavaliers was heralded as a coup-de’-gras for team owner Dan Gilbert and fellow executives . The fans in their appreciation , simply went out and began a feeding frenzy , as they purchased LeBron James’ memorabilia and season tickets , single-game home tickets for the team’s games at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland Ohio,.

Now at the midpoint of the season and it would be fair to suggest both the the Cavaliers and Knicks have failed miserably in meeting the expectations of the fans and NBA analysts alike and I believe it is reflected in their conference and divisional standings ! The Cleveland Cavaliers as of the 13th January have gone 1-10 in their last ten games, losers of seven consecutive. Only the New York Knicks have managed to exceed the futility exhibited during that spell .

I certainly believe the woes affecting both the Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks comes down to the fact both teams are in transition having changed their coaching staffs during the off-season , with the hire of David Blatt in Cleveland and Derek Fisher with the Knicks. While Blatt’s experience in Europe goes without question , his NBA experience has been this season’s ” baptism of fire” and the same with his New York counterpart. As to this idiocy , Phil Jackson will provide Fisher with his coaching acumen and insight , well that has failed to take place at any point during this season , as seen with the team’s record and play.

LeBron James led his teammates to their last victory on which came by way of ” downing ” the Charlotte Hornets on the 2nd January , 2015. New York with their recent player upheaval , last gained a win when they defeated the Boston Celtics on the 12th December , 2014. If there is any frustration brewing within the front offices of the Cavaliers and Knicks then it is not being outwardly shown by the respective executives.

Derek Fisher and the Knicks will continue their quest for a meaningful victory when they face what appears to be a rejuvenated Milwaukee Bucks’ team coached by Jason Kidd . LeBron James and his teammates will face a Los Angeles Lakers’ team sorely in search of something meaningful to their season. . Kobe Bryant’s presence has been as competitive as usual but his being sidelined , leaves the Lakers missing real offensive output and no one on the ready to step up and follow the veteran’s lead.

Having a billionaire owner in the NBA hasn’t done the league any harm, by way of the image of the teams or having the owners display their often outrageous behavior . As to the idiots , who have tried to suggest because of the philanthropic deeds of some , it outweighs their pubic comments , my question to those fools , what happened to common courtesy and decency ? Hiding the veils freedom of speech, without facing the fact such behavior has its ramifications, seems to be lost on those , who continually to use this premise as a proxy.

Mikhail Prokhorov , the Russian billionaire and owner of the Brooklyn Nets . For this past fiscal year the Eastern Conference based franchise has seen mounting financial losses and a team not in sync with the ambitions sought by their owner. Hard to see how the Nets can try and justify entering the season with a payroll exceeding $90.4 million and little to show for it by way of respectability within the NBA. Lionel Hollins and his coaching staff have struggled to get this team of overpaid stars playing with any semblance of credibility. A six-game losing streak has not helped the Nets’ credibility or standing in the belief the team is simply good enough to be viewed as a legitimate playoff contender , no matter how mediocre the East Conference just happens to be . Granted , injuries have plagued the Nets this season , but it should not be considered an excuse for a franchise , which in recent years has been known more for trying to outspend their rivals , rather than for their achievements on the court . As if to further emphasize how bad the Nets are , their current six game losing streak places them as the eighth seed 1 1/2 games ahead of the Charlotte Hornets and a game behind the sixth placed Miami Heat. The Brooklyn Nets’ last victory came on the road when they defeated the Orlando Magic , with a two-point road win (100-98) .

There can be no denying whoever comes out of the Western Conference as the representative in the NBA Finals will be battle-tested and ready to take on their Eastern Conference opponent. Year in and year out the teams in the West have been involved in their annual dogfight for the right to the conference representative. Last season the San Antonio Spurs posted a 62-20 record , best in the conference and then played with a great deal of resilience on their way to a fifth NBA title .This season Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich has the team playing with the usual type of consistency one would come to expect of the champions with the coach resting his mainline stars as he sees fit . No fines being meted out by Adam Silver , but then again , what would you expect when his predecessor, David Stern treated the league as if it were his own personal fiefdom and stomping ground , with his imbued idiocy and piousness .

To overlook San Antonio at this point of the season by , waxing on lyrically about teams such as the Golden State Warriors , Portland Trailblazers , Houston Rockets , Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks would be extremely foolish , but it does seem to be the norm at present . Nonetheless, as the season progresses, we will get to see the best of this team and the conference in general .

James Harden has proven to be an extremely productive player for the Rockets this season and even more versatile than anyone might have imagined. Harden has been by far the best player on the Rockets’ roster leaving no one in any doubt who is more pivotal on the team . Dwight Howard is simply an adequate foil for his teammate’s exploits as Kevin McHale guides Houston with the aim of making the playoffs.

Currently, the third seed in the West , with a record of 27-11 the Houston Rockets are comfortably placed to make a solid run during the second half of the season. Next up for McHale and his players will be a game against the Orlando Magic at the Amway Arena in Orlando , Florida on the 14th January , 2015.

Mark Jackson outlived his usefulness in the state of California and in particular, his tenure with the Golden State Warriors . It was one thing to try and force feed your beliefs upon the players, but it is another to then repeatedly ignore the warnings from your employer , concerning your behavior and intent . Jackson’s ideology led to his demise, without delving into the issues of his hypocrisy. Joint team owners , Joe Lacob and Peter Guber wasted no time with the hiring of Steve Kerr to succeed his predecessor and Kerr to for his part, has imparted a great deal of wisdom , player oversight, but above all a keen eye for details as well as coaching acumen , which has been of a great deal of benefit to this young Warriors’ team . Perhaps there’s room for learning for the likes of Derek Fisher and Jason Kidd, from someone with Kerr’s abilities ? The Warriors are riding high with the best winning percentage in the league and on course to break the franchise record for most wins in a season . Led by players Steph Curry , Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes this is not a team solely built around offense , but clearly under the auspices of head coach Steve Kerr, this team will also willingly play defense when called upon to do so.

Golden State’s current seven-game win streak is not their best of the season, but it does point to the fact how consistent the team has become over the course of the NBA schedule . The Warriors’ most recent game , saw the team simply trounce the Utah Jazz by an eleven-point margin and prior to that , clinically dismantled the Cleveland Cavaliers with the utmost of ease . A home game against the Miami Heat on Wednesday evening at the Oracle Arena in Oakland , California will tell us a great deal about the Warriors and their season-long quest to be seen as legitimate contenders within the NBA. I am inclined to believe this Steve Kerr team could make things extremely difficult for their conference rivals over the remainder of the season and into the playoffs !

There are no do-overs in the NBA and it is something which will not be afforded the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers with their abysmal season , they will not be offered the opportunity of reversing their tide of mediocrity on any level . With their fans pointing to the future and hopes of obtaining marquee free agents in 2016 , 2017 and 2018 , perhaps it hasn’t occurred to their myopic fans , team owner Jim Buss , GM Mitch Kupchak and SVP Jeanie Buss have failed miserably in placing a competitive product on the court over the past two seasons without taking into account their current situation . It begs the question , where is there any common sense to be found within the organization beyond the idiotic pragmatism being imbued by Jeanie Buss , in the wake of the sheer stupidity exhibited by her brother and Kupchak ? If it is her belief the franchise will be competitive three years from now , then surely , she can show a morsel of evidence to support her claims ? To paraphrase Don King ” only in America ” or in this case, only in the mind of a Lakers’ executive would you hear such absurdities .

The Lakers are likely to fix their woes by spending a great deal of money to acquire a a free agent, because they sure as hell haven’t shown the acumen to draft a player of any note over the past eight years . Yet I digress , because what use is it to point out those facts when their fans are simply oblivious to such realities ? Snooze , you lose __________ bit#hes .

.

12-27 is a sold recipe for disaster and a season and it not have been concocted up any worse , even without injury woes of Kobe Bryant . The eighteen-year veteran is now on the decline and nowhere near the competitive force which once made him the most dominant player in the league. Those years are long gone and we rarely now see those moments of brilliance from the future Hall of Fame inductee. As if to further exacerbate the ongoing idiocy to be found within the Lakers’ organization, head coach Byron Scott believes it will be in the franchise’s best interests to rest their veteran guard once the team is out of playoff contention. Perhaps there is a great deal of naivete’ on my part , but at 12-27 , the Lakers’ chances of making the playoffs this season are beyond remote, when you consider the team sits 11 1/2 games out of the eighth and final playoff position within the Western Conference and they not even close to being competitive enough to challenge within the Pacific Division for the divisional title. Byron Scott must believe in divine intervention or he remains the eternal optimist at heart.

Having won just three of their last ten games , hopes of the Los Angeles Lakers being able to pull themselves out a mess of their own making, is something I have no wish to see ! This team was simply assembled from ill-fitting pieces, with no real means of assuring victory on any level , at home or on the road. A three-point home loss to the Miami Heat , shows the Lakers continue to do themselves no favors and simply in the self implosion mode as it relates to their season . One seriously doubts in their next contest they will fare any better when they face LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California on the 15th January ,2015.

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


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

Picture gallery .

As the first-half of the NBA season comes to a close, what do you believe to be the best the league has had to offer their fans and what do think has been the most disappointing aspect of the league this season ?

🙂

Picture and slideshow gallery details .
=======================================

(1) Dennis Schroder (17) of the Atlanta Hawks attempts to control the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on January 13 , 2015 in Philadelphia. Getty Images / Jesse D. Garrabant

(2) LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives the ball past Alex Len of the Phoenix Suns of the NBA game at US Airways Center on January 13, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona . Getty Images / Christian Petersen

(3) Bismack Biyombo of the Charlotte Hornets goes for the tip off against Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs at the Time Warner Cable Arena on January 14, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina . NBAE/ Getty Images/ Brock Williams-Smith

(4) Mason Plumlee of the Brooklyn Nets backs up to the basket against the Memphis Grizzlies as Zach Randolph seeks to make the defensive play in the game at the Barclays Center on January 14, 2015 in Brooklyn. NBAE/Getty Images Jesse D Garrabant

(5) Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans handles the ball against Greg Monroe of the Detroit Pistons on January 14, 2015 at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills. Getty Images / Allen Einstein

(6) Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls handles the ball against John Wall of the Washington Wizards on January 14, 2015 at the United Center in Chicago. . Getty Images / Joe Murphy

(7) Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors handles the ball in a game played against the Miami Heat on January 14, 2015 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. Getty Images / Noah Graham

(8) Cleanthony Early of the New York Knicks shoots the ball against the Charlotte Hornets during the game on January 10 , 2015 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. The Knicks were on the wrong side of a lopsided loss to the Hornets . Getty Images/ Nathaniel S Butler

(9) Jeanie Buss and her brother Jim Buss are co-owners of the Los Angeles Lakers . The team has been through a rough season and seemingly out of contention in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference . The Lakers have also struggled when Kobe Bryant has been out of the lineup and not much has gone right for head coach Byron Scott and his coaching staff over the course of the season . AP Photo / Giles Parrish

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

o_O

Tophatal

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

http://wp.me/poxLH-a24

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

NBA

NBA news

NBA standings (division)

NBA standings (conference)

NBA results 13th January

NBA schedule 14th January

NBA schedule 15th January

NBA players’ stats (leaders)

NBA team stats scoring

NBA team stats defense

NBA transactions

This month in NBA history

On this date in NBA history

Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and their inductees

========

Death, taxes and other certainties in life and sports

Death, taxes and other certainties in life and sports

Well, this past weekend the NFL opened their postseason schedule and once again the league simply did not fail to disappoint. If you consider the result of the Arizona Cardinals going into Carolina to face the Carolina Panthers and the Cardinals’ loss to their NFC rivals an aberration, then consider that to be a real disappointment. All season long , Arizona found ways to win, withtheir offense or a resolute defense.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Slideshow.

On Saturday afternoon , Ryan Lindley as the starting quarterback for the visiting team was being asked to lead to the Cardinals in his first postseason contest to a victory, which would have been Arizona’s first in over five years. Their last coming in the 2009 postseason in a high-scoring contest against the Green Bay Packers .

Both Ryan Lindley and the opposing quarterback Cam Newton had their highs and lows in during the game between the Arizona Cardinals and Green Carolina Panthers. Yet you could not help but feel the Cardinals came into this contest as the prohibitive favorites but there was an even greater possibility they could come away from this contest with the defeat. Bruce Arians may well have placed a great deal of faith in his quarterback , but you simply got the feeling Lindley’s postseason inexperience would lead to his and the Cardinals’ own undoing.

You can either love or hate the Dallas Cowboys. America’s Team and the empathy some might have towards the franchise, can be either one of loathing or under-handed appreciation . I have never really been a great admirer of the Cowboys or the larger than life presence of team owner , Jerry Jones ! Sunday afternoon , Dallas had as their guests Matt Stafford and the Detroit Lions in their wildcard match-up .

The Cowboys were seeking their first playoff win in almost six years and it should serve as a kindly reminder, why this franchise has been so overrated during the time-span in question, when each year inexplicably bumbling buffoons continually decide to make the Dallas Cowboys perennial favorites to win the Superbowl or at least be a contender within the NFC. In a season where the NFC was so mediocre and yes I am taking into account the Philadelphia Eagles managed to notch a double-digit tally by way of wins , but somehow as only Chip Kelly can , his propensity to believe that only offense can win games led to the Eagles’ chance and demise in winning the NFC East. I can only conclude the former Oregon head coach simply doesn’t know how to spell the world defense or comprehend its meaning as determined by their statistical standing in the category and their failure to make the postseason.

Dallas came away with their victory over the Detroit Lions and I can’t help but wonder beyond the errant misjudgement by the officials , I believe the Lions were simply overawed by the occasion . Matt Stafford and his teammates all but had this game sewn up and well within their grasp during the latter stages of the contest but they somehow found a way to screw things up without Ndamokung Suh actually contributing to the loss, with his never-ending stupidity. The Cowboys came away the victors and the Detroit Lions , just like the city, were bankrupt of creativity and ideas when it mattered the most. At least they can take heart in the fact their infamous 2008 season still remains intact when it comes to sheer ineptitude .

Dallas will certainly have to raise the level of their play when they face the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of their game to be played at Lambeau Field in Green Bay Wisconsin, Sunday , 11th January, 2015. Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers will take their show on the road when they face a stern test by taking on the Seattle Seahawks . If that Seahawks’ offense gets going, then the Panthers are likely to be on the wrong end of a lopsided loss .

While some may well have their doubts about the Indianapolis Colts because of the inconsistency shown this season , but you simply cannot deny Andrew Luck’s play for the team has been the main reason why the Colts are now in the postseason for the third consecutive year , and the belief he might just be the best quarterback to have been drafted in the NFL since 2008. Now you may well disagree with the statement in question, but simply take a look at the facts as they stand and then decide for yourself.

Luck and his teammates clinically took apart with the ease of a surgeon performing a routine procedure . The Bengals were never remotely in this game and it begs the question, where do Marvin Lewis and the coaching staff now go from here concerning this team ?

In the day’s other AFC contest, the Baltimore Ravens and Joe Flacco put an end to the quest of Ben Roethlisberger seeking a third Superbowl victory to add to his resume’ . The Pittsburgh Steelers may well have won the AFC North , but they were far from being the best team within the division . Statistics may well tend to create the illusion and perception of competitiveness , but when it came to determination , there was none to be found from anyone on the Steelers’ roster during this game . This is likely to be the game played in a Pittsburgh Steelers’ uniform by their defensive player Troy Polamalu after a distinguished career with the franchise.

With a great deal of bravura the signing of Phil Jackson and his being brought in to head the Basketball Operations of the New York Knicks , was meant to herald in a new chapter for the NBA franchise. The legendary NBA coach has a resume’ unmatched by no other coach in NBA history and the feeling was , if Jackson’s presence alone, was enough to reignite the Knicks, then all would be right with the world . Unfortunately, those behind this idiocy, failed to acknowledge there was not an experienced head coach leading the coaching staff and the very fact, beyond Carmelo Anthony the talent level on the roster was extremely poor if not threadbare . As to the feeling Iman Shumpert was an adequate foil to Anthony’s abilities on the team , well let’s just look the facts this season and how that all bears out . Shumpert’s offense and defense are at best , average and the player is not and never will be a game changer on any level .

I can only surmise the choice of Derek Fisher to coach this team was simply one of vanity by Phil Jackson and the fallacy that the ” Triangle Offense “ would still be be effective in today’s game. Jackson may well have not correctly assessed the basketball acumen and IQ of this roster , because plainly put , this Knicks’ team simply isn’t good enough to comprehend the concept, much less put it into effect with any semblance of success. Fisher’s players have already accomplished a season’s first, by being the first team to accumulate thirty or more losses on the season . This may well have not been part of the Knicks’ plans for the year , but clearly things have now gone terribly awry for the franchise and with the lack foresight from anyone within the front office led by Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills .

To understand how inept the New York Knicks have become , consider the fact they are now on an eleven-game losing streak and they seem incapable of winning at home or on the road . With Carmelo Anthony now sidelined by an injury , the chances of the New York Knicks being competitive, much less putting together a winning streak now seems more remote than ever. The team’s last victory, came in a road win over the Boston Celtics on the 12th December , 2014 with the six-point defeat of their conference rivals .

Sunday night, brought even more incompetence from the New York Knicks as they succumbed to the Milwaukee Bucks in a thirteen-point loss (95-82) at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York . Their task will not be any easier in their next game when they face the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum in Memphis , Tennessee ,.

At 5-31 the Knicks’ projected win total for the season will be 15-67 and it is hard to imagine how this organization can take away anything positive out of such a mediocre display and the ongoing optimism being shown by the fans . With the trade deadline due on the 19th February and you get the feeling some drastic moves are likely to be made as the Knicks look to salvage something out of the season while looking to the future . The only asset on the team is Carmelo Anthony and though there have been rumors the player had been approached by senior executives , requesting his waiving of the no-trade clause in his contract and such a move would suggest they are willing to abandon any future hope rebuilding the franchise with Anthony as the centerpiece for their future livelihood. Having signed a five-year $124 million deal , at the start of this year , one could imagine this would not sit well with the Knicks’ fans were the player traded and their being left with almost nothing in return , even if there were some pieces added to the roster seen as a positive sign . The rationale behind the maneuver would still come as a shock , but this has been a mess of the Knicks’ own making , one presided over by the lackadaisical and nonsensical approach to the franchise taken by owner James Dolan . Profitability seems to have been his only concern with regard to the organization rather than the on-court product. Come full circle , the Knicks seem to be back at square one and no real idea what approach they ought to be taking.

The death of ESPN sports’ anchor Stuart Scott at the age of forty-nine , was a reminder of one’s mortality . Scott’s untimely demise cast a giant shadow over the NBA this past weekend , as his association and love of the game was well-known . He befriended many of the game’s top players and his passing was known to be heartfelt not just within the player fraternity , but also among the league hierarchy , general managers and team owners . Anyone who witnessed his 2014 ESPY Award speech after his accepting the Jim Valvano Award had to be taken aback by his humility , eloquence , challenges he met , while undergoing chemotherapy and other medical treatment, as he and his family sought a cure for the diagnosis of his cancer ailment. Stuart Scott became the gold standard for many of the African-American journalists who would later join the broadcast outlet . Yet, his professionalism , personality and passion stood out, as he covered sports in such an unbridled way , leaving us with a number of catch-phrases , which will live on even after his passing.

[youtube.com=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yl_0ieqSi7Q]

Keifer Sutherland presents Stuart Scott with the Jim Valvano Award at the 2014 ESPY’s . Scott’s full speech is seen here in its entirety.

The Winter Meetings are over within MLB (baseball) and teams won’t yet be making any major preparations concerning Spring Training , but a number of players sidelined due to injuries, still in the process of rehabilitation , while looking to the upcoming season . Trades came and went with a number of surprising moves . Nonetheless , baseball will likely enter this upcoming regular season with team payroll commitments topping $ 3 billion ($3,000,000,000) for the third successive season .

The San Francisco Giants coming off their World Series’ triumph , their third in the past five years ,will have a bulls’ eye as a target on their backs , as each of the league’s twenty-nine other teams will be looking take them down , in particular, anyone of the fifteen from the AL . A tough season ahead awaits the Giants, as baseball’s latest dynasty looks to add to its illustrious history . Bruce Bochy and his managerial staff will be looking to add to their legacy , while the team itself, must know the task ahead will be a difficult one . The NL West is likely to be competitive , with the main challenge coming from what will be a somewhat revamped Los Angeles Dodgers’ team.

Meetings between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants this season will have some added flavor to it all , as Don Mattingly and his staff would like to prove the defending World Series’ champions are not the only ” team in town” or the best in the state of California. Did I hear someone mention the Los Angeles Angels , Oakland A’s and San Diego Padres ought to be added into the mix ? That would be great were it not for the fact recent postseason success seems to be lacking for the teams mentioned.

Baseball’s Hall of Fame for 2015 have been announced , with the new additions as well as the hold-overs from years past are on the ballot for the BBWAA’s approval and final voting . The continued hypocrisy shown by the Baseball Writers Association , their ambivalence and dare I say it lack of transparency with their process indicates to me the continued farce of the institution and all it claims to represent. With their being no clear stance being taken by them concerning players associated with the ‘ steroid era’ which still casts a giant smear and shadow over the game indicates to me , much like baseball’s ambivalent and clueless hierarchy the sport definitely needs to be infused with creative ideas and leadership. You simply have to look at the makeup of the senior-most executives in the game’s upper ranks to realize that fact and their current length of tenure .

Several of the names on this season’s Hall of Fame Ballot are certainly credible , but several are tinged with more than controversy ,concerning their possible association and the use of steroids or other illicit substances . Roger Clemens , Barry Bonds , Gary Sheffield , Sammy Sosa , Curt Schilling and Mark McGwire to name but a few , put into perspective what we are likely to witness over the coming years , if their names are reappointed to the list, having failed to be inducted. Randy Johnson , Pedro Martinez , John Smoltz , Nomar Garciaparra , Carlos Delgado , Aaron Boone and Cliff Floyd lead the list of first-time nominees .

Of the newest nominees , I believe the John Smoltz, Pedro Martinez , Curt Schilling are the most likely to obtain seventy-five per-cent of the votes needed to gain their induction into Cooperstown ! Borderline , are Carlos Delgado , Nomar Garciapparra , with the remaining candidates being considered for induction at some point in the future. Now while many decry the fact Pete Rose has not been inducted into the game’s most prestigious fraternity , let us remember Rose failed to acknowledge his misdeeds , lying repeatedly to anyone willing to listen , stating he did not break one of baseball’s most ” cardinal sins” , betting on the game . OK , one can bring up the Black Sox ‘ scandal’ as one of the game’s most stained chapters , yet those directly involved , paid a price , which can never be forgotten , overlooked or wiped from the pages of baseball’s history. It remains an indelible mark and reminder of one of the game’s most sordid chapters and a reason why, the rules are in place to be obeyed and not to be broken , purely for financial gain.

From my own perspective , while I believe the Hall of Fame to be a noteworthy bastion where the greats of the game are eulogized and immortalized in print ! I am not so sure many of the game’s most recent candidates , are really worthy of the accolade of induction. Here is my issue with these individuals , why were they so silent and was the choice their own or mandated upon them by a union (MLBPA) who to this day ,in many ways were just as complicit in the fraud perpetrated on the fans by the steroid cheats. Less we forget also , Bud Selig’s handling of the affair , culpable or plausible deniability , lack of action from the league hierarchy and baseball’s team owners . If you are still looking for common sense and intelligence within this sport , there is none to be found at all , in spite of opinions to the contrary.

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

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

Picture gallery.

Over the past seventy-two hours which of the most recent sporting events stands out the most ? Just state your reasons why and what outcome you would like to see in the future, concerning the points raised within this article.

o_O

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

(1) Quarterback Cam Newton (1) and fullback Mike Tolbert (35) of the Carolina Panthers celebrate after Tolbert caught a second half touchdown pass against the Arizona Cardinals during their NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Bank of America Stadium on January 3, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers defeated the Cardinals to go on to the divisional round of the postseason where they will face the Seattle Seahawks . Getty Images/ Rob Carr

(2) Cam Newton (1) of the Carolina Panthers runs to congratulate Fozzy Whittaker (43 ) after his 3rd quarter touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during their NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Bank of America Stadium on January 3, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Getty Images / Robb Carr

(3) Cam Newton (1) of the Carolina Panthers and Ryan Lindley (14) of the Arizona Cardinals exchange words after their NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Bank of America Stadium on January 3, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Getty Images North America / Streeter Lecka

(4) Quarterback Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts calls a play at the line against the Cincinnati Bengals in the second half during their AFC Wild Card game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 4, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts annihilated the Bengals in contest which was not remotely competitive. Getty Images / Andy Lyons

(5) Owen Daniels (81) of the Baltimore Ravens tries to avoid a tackle by Troy Polamalu (43) of the Pittsburgh Steelers during their AFC Wild Card game at Heinz Field on January 3, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Getty Images /Jamie Squires

(6) Troy Polamalu (43) of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on from the bench against the Baltimore Ravens during their AFC Wild Card game at Heinz Field on January 3, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers would fall to the Ravens in their postseason clash . Getty Images / Jamie Squires

(7) Tim Hardaway Jr(5) of the New York Knicks shoots against Beno Udrih of the Memphis Grizzlies on January 5, 2015 at the FedExForum in Memphis. The Grizzlies inflicted the Knicks’ with their twelfth consecutive loss and placing them among the bottom rung of teams with a sub.500 record . Getty Images / Joe Murphy

(8) Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks , pictured in this montage with Phil Jackson Head Of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks . There is mounting speculation the organization might seek to trade the player with their season now asunder and no chance of making the NBA Playoffs . AP Photo / Chris Palmer

(9) San Francisco Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy , left , celebrates with the team’s catcher Buster Posey after the Giants’ game seven triumph in the 2014 World Series in the series’ finale played against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffmann Field , in Kansas City , Missouri,. This was the third postseason finale series’ win of the past five seasons for the San Francisco Giants . AP Photo/ Mark Powers .

(10) Barry Bonds , left and Roger Clemens , two players whose names have been routinely linked to the use of steroids within the game of baseball . Bonds a seven-time NL MVP and Clemens , himself a seven-time recipient of the Cy Young Award , are both on this season’s Hall of Fame Ballot List , as they were last season . It remains to be seen whether both will be looked upon favorably by the voters from the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) at the time of voting. AP Photo/ Tom Marsh

(11) Pete Rose the all-time hits’ leader in Major League Baseball is seen here with his fiancee’ Kassie (Kim). The former Cincinnati Reds’ player and manager yearns to be inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame and even after his act of contrition , apologizing for lying to the league hierarchy , he has yet to receive a reprieve , with his lifetime ban being lifted by MLB . UPI Archives @ all rights reserved

(12) From left to right , John Smoltz , Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling . Quite possibly seen as the three leading candidates to be inducted in Baseball’s Hall of Fame . Randy Johnson a former teammate of Schilling , when the two combined to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to their sole Word Series’ triumph, is also considered a contender for the esteemed honor. AP Photo / John Marshall
============================================

🙂

Tophatal

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

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

NFL

NFL news

NFL results wildcard round

NFL player stats week eighteen

NFL team stats week eighteen

This month in NFL history

========

NBA

NBA news and archived stories

Earlier archived stories

NBA standings (division)

NBA standings (conference)

NBA standings Playoff picture

NBA results 4th January

NBA schedule 5th January

NBA player stats season leaders

NBA overall standings

NBA team offense

NBA team defense

NBA transactions

This month in NBA history

===

MLB

MLB news and press releases

San Francisco Giants’ news and press releases

2015 Baseball Hall of Fame nominees

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

The late Stuart Scott , who died at the age of forty-nine , due to complications from cancer.

If you want to know how I feel, walk a mile in my shoes ….

If you want to know how I feel, walk a mile in my shoes ….

The NBA season is now in full swing with the often less than memorable Christmas week schedule of games either being of great interest or simply an eyesore . Ongoing stories have evolved around the worsening crisis befalling the New York Knicks (5-28) and the fact this Derek Fisher coached team simply cannot win anywhere , be it on the road or at home. Truth be told , the Knicks simply suck and they are sucking the life-blood out of their season and the league in general. It is a stunning fact one of the NBA’s most renowned franchises is stuck in a morass of its own making. The “quick fix” many felt Phil Jackson might be able to effect has not been a resounding success for a team simply bereftof talent with the exception of Carmelo Anthony whose decision to re-sign with the team must now come into question , bearing in mind he signed a max-contract with the understanding Jackson as Head of Basketball Operations would seek to improve the roster.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Slideshow .

Essentially, the Knicks’ front office executive has simply shown what I believe to be true and it is the fact, he simply has no idea how to assess talent and is simply a great motivator and coach, when the right pieces are in place. How else can you explain the success of the eleven titles won during his now legendary coaching reign , with players such as Scottie Pippen , Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal as the centerpieces of those championship winning teams ?

New York’s last victory came by way of a win over the Boston Celtics on the 12th December, 2014, whom they beat 101-95 at the TD Banknorth Gardens Center in Boston , Massachusetts, in a game marred by some sloppy play from both teams . Eight successive defeats has a way of indicating the lack of confidence shown by a team , but more indicative, has been the lack of leadership from any of the players, along with Fisher’s coaching staff , led by lead assistant Kurt Rambis. Add to this, the idiocy of some suggesting the assistants are experienced enough to provide Derek Fisher, a rookie head coach in his first season,with the experience needed to bring about some semblance of competitiveness. Well that premise, can be quickly put to rest , along with the belief Fisher’s learning on the job will in the end lead to success. During this run , it has been Carmelo Anthony leading the charge from an offensive standpoint. The Knicks’ continued woes are tied to the fact, they simply do not know how to know how to defend, nor are the players inclined to add the facet to their game.

Alongside Carmelo Anthony on this lightly restructured roster are Amare Stoudemire , Pablo Prigioni , Cole Aldrich , Quincy Acy, Jose Calderon , Samuel Dalembert , Cleanthony Early , Iman Shumpert and JR Smith . Suffice to say, if the rumors circulating are to be believed, with Phil Jackson having asked Carmelo Anthony to consider waiving his no-trade clause, it would suggest the Knicks are quite willing to bail on their season , while looking to build for the future. If that premise were to actually take flight , then it is clear the organization have suddenly come to the realization the team is simply not good enough to compete at the highest levels , much less gain a playoff berth for the NBA’s annual end of the regular season foray.

The New York Knicks’ next scheduled contest will be a road gameon the 31st December , 2014 when they face the Los Angeles Clippers (21-11) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, in what will be the last of the regular season scheduled games of 2014.

It was the move meant to send “shock waves “ across the NBA landscape, but instead LeBron James’ return to Cleveland and the Cleveland Cavaliers (18-12) as the ” Prodigal Son” has fallen well short of expectations . James and the Cavaliers are merely three games above.500, although they sit comfortably, as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference and four games behind the division leading Chicago Bulls (22-9) within the Central Division. Yet , for all of the brouhaha made of LeBron James’ departure from the Miami Heat to make a heralded return to the Cavaliers, the fact remains, the four-time League MVP while impressive on the on the court, his teammates have failed to follow his lead.

The top-pick from the 2003 NBA Draft remains a prodigious talent and now the standard bearer and face of the NBA, alongside Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder . This duo, one would hope will create a rivalry which will be long-lasting and appreciated as much as many of the greatest rivalries the league has offered over the course of its history. For the moment however, questions are being asked as to why , LeBron James , Kyrie Irving , Kevin Love and the supporting cast have not been more dominant within the NBA. In their last eight games the Cavaliers 5-3, something of a reflection of the team as a whole and the inconsistency witnessed over the course of the season .

As if to emphasize the issues the Cavaliers continue to face, consider the fact they are coming off a twenty-three point home loss to lowly Detroit Pistons . If that contest was not indicative of why Cleveland cannot be currently considered one of the top teams in the NBA, then someone needs to explain to me why there has been such a hype over this franchise merely because of LeBron’s return to this organization ! From the get-go , there was this rather idiotic rationale James would single-handed, make this team an omnipresent force, but seemingly , everyone who ran with this idiocy, failed to recognize the fact, rookie head coach David Blatt was a novice to the NBA and its coaching style . Blatt , his coaching staff and the team will get the chance to reassert their presence in the Eastern Conference, while also seeking to take the lead (1-1) in their season series against the Atlanta Hawks. With the Hawks having built a solid foundation around a core of Elton Brand , Jeff Teague , Paul Millsap , Al Horford , DeMarre Caroll, Mike Muscala , Kyle Korver and John Jenkins . Tonight’s contest between these two Eastern Conference teams could go a long way in telling us the directions the these franchises may well be heading in .

I certainly believe last season’s NBA Playoffs told us a great deal about the Indiana Pacers . As the number one seeds in the Eastern Conference as the playoffs began, it was felt Frank Vogel and his coaching staff had assembled a team make things tough for the Miami Heat during their postseason foray. Instead, the Pacers capitulated under little duress , albeit, the Pacers capitulated under little duress , albeit, the Pacers played a great deal of the Eastern Conference Finals’ series lacking the offensive firepower to match Miami during the best of seven-game series conference finals’ contest.

Coming into this season the Indiana Pacers remain a flawed team without a backbone and showing very little resilience. In their last five games the Pacers have managed to gain some semblance of consistency winning three of those contests, with their last victory coming in a twenty-five point demolition of the Brooklyn Nets on the 27th December , only to follow up that win with a loss to the Chicago Bulls in what can only be seen as the ongoing weakness of the Pacers as a team. A record of 11-21 is a clear indicator as to where this Frank Vogel coached team should expect to be , with the best player on the roster this season , none other than George Hill, being ably abetted by Roy Hibbert, David West, Rodney Stuckey, Luis Scola , Ian Mahinmi and CJ Watson. Indiana will renew their regular season rivalry when they meet the Miami Heat on Wednesday evening in a highly anticipated game at the Conseco Life Field House Center , Indianapolis , Indiana ,.

Having been the NBA’s youngest League MVP, it is hard to define the career of Derrick Rose. Certainly , on his best days , he can be considered one one of the league’s elite point guards,a facilitator , prolific scorer , stout defensive player and clearly an all-round asset to a team . Yet. for all of those very traits, the question remains, can Rose stay healthy enough to play an entire season, staying injury-free, to aid the Chicago Bulls winning their first NBA title since the era of Michael Jordan being with the franchise ? Tom Thibodeau coaches a tremendous Bulls’ lineup led by Rose , but with the talented shooting guard and small-forward Jimmy Butler coming into his own this season , it would appear the Bulls might now be as talented and with even greater depth than in recent years.

If there remains any doubts about the Chicago Bulls at this juncture, consider where they now stand and then take into account how effective they have been been with the ascent of Jimmy Butler. Derrick Rose and his teammates might be in for a stern test when they face the Brooklyn Nets at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois , on Wednesday night. The Nets are in need of win , while the Bulls simply want to distance themselves from their nearest rivals within their division.

A great offense can undoubtedly aid a team’s effort to come into its own during a season. Nowhere has it been more evident than with the Golden State Warriors (24-5) and Portland Trailblazers (25-7) who continue to blow their opponents away with almost effortless ease . Leading the charge for both teams are Steph Curry and Damian Lillard . These two extraordinary point guards are providing the league with some exhilarating play and perhaps some of the richest evidence to suggest, that in the last five years this has the been richest era of the game, where these positional players have been so dominant and prominent.

Steve Kerr’s easy transition in succeeding Mark Jackson as head coach of the Golden State Warriors has made his task simple and his merely instructing his players to play with gusto has brought them to the point where they are now at, atop of division and the upper echelons of the Western Conference. Trailblazers’ head coach Terry Stotts has simply shown his coaching acumen , while GM Neil Olshey has merely put together a competitive roster ready to play for a well-respected head coach and his coaching staff .

The Warriors’ most game had them playing the woefully inept Philadelphia 76ers (4-26) , a franchise I now believe should be demoted to the NBA’s D League , simply as a matter of common decency and to stop the promulgation of mediocrity exhibited by the Sixers throughout this entire season. The fact this contest ended in a 3 forty-point blowout loss (126-86) for Philadelphia should come as no surprise, but it ought to be for the NBA hierarchy who still try to brand and sell their on-court product, as riveting and of great appeal to the fans . A blind and deaf mute, is likely to find more excitement in their own solitude, than fans of the Sixers, who continue to watch this team while trying to extol the franchise’s virtues of being a worthy diversion within the NBA. It has been these type of issues the hierarchy has refused to address, along with instances of gross misconduct by team owners , until there is known to be public outrage for such antics, but what else would you expect of sports’ entity ran by a bunch of Neanderthal Caucasian middle-aged males, who are from a bygone age .

Stotts and the Traiblazers would likely make for a formidable contender in the NBA Playoffs if they can maintain their current pace. A projected win total of fifty-six or fifty-eight victories could see them land the top seed within the Western Conference , but that would all be based upon supposition and barring any serious injuries to front-line players on the roster. A well-deserved overtime victory over the Toronto Raptors , one of the surprising stories and teams within the Eastern Conference this season is a telling sign as to how well Portland just happen to be doing at present. The Portland Trailblazers’ first game of 2015 will be on the 3rd January when they play the Atlanta Hawks . A fitting way for Portland to begin the New Year than seeking to take down an Eastern Conference foe and further emphasize the fact the East is weak , while the West is extremely competitive among their top-ten teams.

For all of the continued bellyaching by fans of the Los Angeles Lakers , it is always good to know, we are always only moments away from annually seeing the petulant and self-absorbed behavior of Kobe Bryant. I understand his need to win and to be viewed in the eyes of the fans and public alike, that he is indeed this generation’s answer to Michael Jordan . Bryant may well have surpassed the Bulls’ and NBA icon for third all-time on the career points’ list , but that is all all he is likely to achieve in comparison to Jordan. He will not win a sixth NBA ring or title , most definitely not with the Los Angeles Lakers and their current lineup, coached by none other than Byron Scott and his clueless coaching staff !

Double-digit wins, ten (10-22) in total, have been all the Los Angeles Lakers can muster, just over one-third of the way through the NBA’s eighty two game schedule. Begs the question, if the Lakers were supplanted into the WNBA , would they fare any better ? The fact the Lakers have been unable show any type type of consistency putting together only three back-to-back wins should tell you all you need to know about this team and why they are currently one of the major laughing stocks around the NBA and among the game’s fans. Never kick a dog when it’s down, flea-bitten or not, as there is a likelihood for them to jump right up and take a bite out of your @ss. Something this current Lakers’ lineup is incapable of doing . Continuously over much of the season, Byron Scott’s players have sought to play beneath the level of their opponents, rather than above them . I do not believe I can put it anymore succinctly than that !

An eight-point victory victory over the Denver Nuggets , closed out 2014 for the Los Angeles Lakers but their task will not be any easier when they open up 2015 with a game against the Memphis Grizzlies . I believe Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol are prepared to provide an outcome the Lakers players and their fans will not be entirely happy with ! Kobe Bryant may well seek to return to the Lakers next season for an eighteenth year in this league, but at what cost to the organization ? A franchise where GM Mitch Kupchak remains at a loss at this stage of his professional career knowing how to assemble a competitive team, while team owner Jim Buss continues to look bemused , non-cognizant of his actual surroundings and what is happening to the organization he presides over .

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


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

Picture gallery .

Based upon the evidenced witnessed within the NBA , what do you believe has been the biggest surprise in the infancy of the league schedule and which players , team or teams have proven to be the biggest disappointments ? Your comments are more than welcome , so take a stab at making your thoughts known .

🙂

Picture and slideshow details below.

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

(1) John Wall(2) and Rasual Butler (8) of the Washington Wizards guard Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks in the second half of their game at Madison Square Garden on December 25 , 2014 in New York City. Getty Images / Jeff Zelevansky …

(2) Rasual Butler (8) of the Washington Wizards shoots over Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks in the first half of their game at Madison Square Garden on December 25, 2014 in New York City. Getty Images/ Jeff Zelevansky

(3) NEW YORK, USA – MARCH 18TH : New York Knicks introduce Phil Jackson as the new Knicks’ President at a press conference at Madison Square Garden. Also pictured are , far left , team owner James Dolan and GM Steve Mills . Jackson and Mills have seen the team struggle this season and there now seems to be growing speculation the front office will seek to trade their prized and only valuable asset , Carmelo Anthony , with the player being asked to waive his no-trade clause . Anthony is not due to become a free agent until 2019 , having signed contract with the New York Knicks prior to the beginning this regular season. AP Photo by Anthony J. Causi ….

(4) Paul Millsap (4) of the Atlanta Hawks defends against Kevin Love (0) of the Cleveland Cavaliers at Philips Arena on December 30 , 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin C Cox/ Getty Images …..

(5) LeBron James (23) and Kevin Love (0) of the Cleveland Cavaliers react after a play in the second half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Quicken Loans Arena on December 23, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio . Getty Images / Mike Lawrie …

(6) Jimmy Butler , left , defended by Alan Anderson , was held to eight points during the Nets’ 96-82 blowout win over the Bulls Tuesday night in Chicago at the United Center . AP Photo / Holly Anderson …

(7) Deron Williams (8) of the Brooklyn Nets moves against Derrick Rose (1) of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on January 23 , 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Johnathan Daniel /Getty Images …

(8) (L-R) Damian Lillard (0) , Wesley Matthews , Nicolas Batum and Meyers Leonard of the Portland Trail Blazers wait on the court as a play is reviewed during their game against the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center on December 22 , 2014 in Houston, Texas. Getty Images North America/ Scott Halleran …

(9) Byron Scott of the Los Angeles Lakers speaks with Kobe Bryant (24) during a time out in the fourth quarter of the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 14, 2014 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Lakers defeated the Timberwolves 100-94 . Getty Images/ Hannah Foslien ….

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

😀

Tophatal

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

Basketball related pieces within this site
================================

NBA

NBA news

NBA standings (division)

NBA standings (conference)

NBA results 29th December

NBA results 28th December

NBA schedule 30th December

NBA schedu31st December

NBA schedule 1st January , 2015
—-

NBA player stats

NBA team stats offense

NBA team stats defense

🙂

At this point last season divisional and conference standings in the NBA

🙂

This month in NBA history

=======

From  left to  right ,  Kevin  Durant  ,  LeBron    James  and   Anthony  Davis .
From left to right , Kevin Durant , LeBron James and Anthony Davis .

News, views and a whole lot of crap from the world of sports …


News, views and a whole lot of crap from the world of sports …

Well once again as we approach a festive period , in this case, Christmas and all of the alleged joy it is meant to bring .Sports’ fans are left to ponder what is happening within the realms of professional sports. The NFL remains a complete farce and once again we had a Thursday Night Game which failed to live up to expectations. The Arizona Cardinals (11-3) found a way to eke out a victory over the rather inept St Louis Rams. Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians , believes incumbent starting quarterback Drew Stanton has what it takes to lead the team all the way to the Superbowl . Based on the events of the last night’s contest , I believe the head coach is delusional and definitely jumping ahead of himself !

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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

Slideshow.

For the present Arizona has the best record in the NFC and will be looking for home field advantage throughout the postseason. The NFC West, where Arizona has a comfortable lead over their closest rivals , is now a division, which is theirs to lose . As to the continued idiocy and buffoonery by some, who believe the San Francisco 49ers (7-6) were good enough to gain double-digit wins for the season , well their year has been completely turned upside down with the head coach Jim Harbaugh no longer being seen in a favorable light by the front office led by CEO Jed Yorke and GM Trent Baalke. Whether not Harbaugh returns next season is now open to a great deal of debate and conjecture. The Niners have a divisional clash on Sunday afternoon against the defending Superbowl champions the Seattle Seahawks and that contest will certainly be a ” make or break game ” for the team.

Colin Kaepernick will certainly have to now prove his worth beyond his audacious contract , one which he now has to live up to in more ways than one.

With the Cleveland Browns (7-6) still in the thick of things within the AFC North and fighting for their very lives, looking to make the postseason for the first time in almost twelve years , it remains to be seen whether or not this team can make that premise a reality. Head coach Mike Pettine has decided to sit starting quarterback Brian Hoyer in favor the team’s draftee Johnny Manziel and so the era begins for a player, many believe lacks the maturity to play in the NFL. The Browns’ coaching staff may well live to regret this decision, should the team fall at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals (8-4-1) when these two AFC North teams meet in a decisive and pivotal division game on Sunday afternoon. Manziel will get the chance to show what he is made of and perhaps persuade his doubters and actually prove to them , he is the future of this franchise.

The NBA season continues with a number of teams already in complete disarray. The Toronto Raptors (16-6) and Golden State Warriors (20-2) are the respective conference leaders within the league as we reach the first quarter of the NBA’s eighty-two game schedule. Undeniably , there is still a long way to go before the season reaches its climax , but already we are beginning to see the frustration among the fans as well as a number of players , because of the continued poor play of the teams. Needless to say , teams such as the New York Knicks (4-20) , Philadelphia 76ers (3-19), Detroit Pistons (3-19) , Charlotte Hornets (6-15) , Minnesota Timberwolves (5-16) and Los Angeles Lakers (6-16) are no longer having to prove why they are so inept . Just take my word for it they are and will remain so over the course of the season based on their current play. Neither of the teams mentioned, have shown any signs of real competitiveness and clearly that has been shown in the results seen this season.

For all of the praised heaped upon Phil Jackson as a head coach , it has to be said, the expectations and his being able to work a miracle by turning around the misfortunes of the New York Knicks have been way beyond his control. The team is in complete disarray , with no signs of life now being shown. The situation will not be helped with Carmelo Anthony being sidelined due to an injury and as the team’s best player and offensive threat , it becomes easy to understand how dire the situation has become for the franchise. Jackson was brought in to head up the Knicks’ operations and now as the Head of Basketball Operations as well as holding a position as a Senior Vice President, the former head coach is witnessing the fact , the job of an executive is not as easy as first thought. Add in the culture of the New York Knicks’ fans and fan-base who have been starved of success for years and weight of expectation from the perceived savior, may well be now in doubt.

The indignity now being suffered by the New York Knicks apart from their dire record and the fact they are on a ten-game losing streak adds to the ineptitude witnessed from this team. Their last victory came in defeating the lowly and even less effective Philadelphia 76ers in a 91-83 win , which took place on the 22nd November , 2014. Hard to say where there are meant to be any positives to be found concerning the Knicks without delving further into the fact, they have a rookie coach , Derek Fisher and a coaching staff who are clearly out of their depth . The team’s next game will be on the road when they face the Boston Celtics (7-13) at the TD Banknorth Gardens , in Boston , Massachusetts on Friday evening .

To now understand how dire things have become for the New York Knicks , consider the fact at the start of the season the franchise did their utmost in getting Carmelo Anthony to re-sign with the team with the player signing a five-year $124 million deal , tying him to the Knicks for the next years. Now comes word, the front office is said to be contemplating trading the NBA All Star and former scoring champion , but the premise would be based on Anthony waiving his no-trade clause. Anthony is not due to become a free agent until 2019 and his $ 22.5 million salary is not necessarily cap-friendly to a team wishing to acquire the player much less obligate themselves to the remaining four years on his current deal. Undoubtedly, Anthony would be a desired player by a franchise looking for offensive firepower , but it is my belief the forward’s desire would have wish to be traded to a credible contender. The New York Knicks for their part are obviously seeking pieces which would complement their roster while looking to the future , whatever that may well be. Though this current situation is by no means the fault of Phil Jackson, it is my belief his arrogance and sheer complacency in not seeking improve the roster during the off-season, has led to this current debacle. For years this franchise has stumbled with their repeated pratfalls and lack of sheer insight as to what what was needed to improve their plight , without delving into the fact team owner James Dolan remained negligent in his responsibilities as the senior executive within the Knicks’ hierarchy. Come full circle and the New York Knicks are now heading aimlessly nowhere and an organization without a clue as what to do next .

It becomes asinine when fans try compare the careers of players from one generation to the next , before one of the athletes in question has actually retired .Yet like the ever anal retentive idots within the sports’ world, there will always be the fan or pundit seeking make an argument as to the merits in such a case . With Los Angeles Lakers’ guard Kobe Bryant recently passing the plateau of 30,000 career points , the lead among active players and placing him among the top-ten all-time scorers in NBA history. Now as Bryant inches closer to the career points’ total of the player the greatest in the game’s history , the comparisons are now being made between Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan . The former Chicago Bulls’ great, his career being well-chronicled , as been littered with accolades at every level of the game and it should be noted Jordan won an NCAA title at the collegiate level , whereas, Bryant made the jump straight from high school directly to the professional ranks of the NBA, forgoing a college career. Both players have won multiple NBA titles , Jordan’s six to Bryant’s five. Each has been a recipient of the Finals’ MVP Award and League MVP Award. Yet, the comparison should end there , because Bryant has become an anathema and petulant child, now resorting to chastising his teammates and the Lakers’ organization , publicly . Something, Jordan chose not to do publicly , and it was only with the advent of the breakup of the championship winning team in the Bulls’ last triumph under the auspices of general manger Jerry Krause , where the player was critical of the Bulls’ organization. specifically of Krause and his wish to breakup the winning team from that season. The similarities can end there , in-as far as the players may well have been critical of their respective hierarchies .

Kobe Bryant now finds himself in something of a dilemma as he plays on an uncompetitive team short on talent and coaching prowess being brought to the table by Byron Scott and his coaching staff. One could go as far as to suggest, Scott might be doing an even worst job than his two previous predecessors, Mike D’Antoni and Mike Brown , two former Lakers’ coaches who simply struggled to lead the franchise to any type of meaningful success during their respective tenures. Steve Nash remains unavailable to the team and Jeremy Lin , has proven to be about as useful as a dish-cloth being used to mop up an oil spill in the middle of an ocean. Beyond Lin, Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill , there is very little to suggest the Lakers can survive the long haul of an eighty-two game schedule , let alone remain being competitive.

With a 6-16 record the Lakers find themselves at the bottom of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference 13 1/2 games behind the division leading Golden State Warriors . To put it mildly , the Lakers are no longer the best NBA franchise in the state of California , a mantel they have held for a number of years , in particular in recently history , up until the 2012-13 season .

The Los Angeles Lakers are equally abysmal at home as they are on the road , further enforcing the fact they cannot win anywhere , let alone provide an opponent with some meaningful competition . Coming off a 98-95 victory over the Sacramento Kings their next opponent will be defending NBA champions the San Antonio Spurs in a game to be played at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. The resilience shown by Los Angeles could go a long way in defining the remainder of their season and whether not drastic changes are likely to be made at the trade deadline by GM Mitch Kupchak .

You have to admire rapper, entrepreneur , budding media mogul and now owner of an upstart sports’ management empire , seeking to challenge the likes of CAA , Top Rank , IMG , Golden Boy Promotions Inc as the next big thing in sports’ management and promotions. Jay-z , having accomplished a great deal as a musical artist , has now set his sights on becoming not only a boxing promoter , but also the manager of a stable of fighters. His fledgling agency RocNationSpotrts under the umbrella of parent company RocNation has entered the field of boxing promotions and management. Having been granted a license by the New York State Athletic Commission , his company will now seek to sign up and coming fighters to his stable of established sports’ personalities and athletes. Nevermind his coterie of renowned musical talent within the RocNation empire. Anything, which furthers the profile of boxing and can drag it out of the depths of mediocrity has to be seen as a welcomed thing , but given the lack and dirth of talent , I am not so sure, Jay-z will be as successful in this endeavor as he has been with his other commercial enterprises . Far be it for me to suggest , with the likes of Victor Cruz , Geno Smith , CC Sabathia , ,James Young said to be having indifferent seasons within their respective sports. It has to be said, an upswing of sorts , is needed for the agency. The biggest high-profiled athletes within the agency remain , Robinson Cano, Kevin Durant , Ndamukong Suh and Dez Bryant .

Boxing needs a dose of fresh air and creativity, because the likes of Don King and Bob Arum have been about as beneficial for the sport as the US Congress can be likened to have been of benefit to the country over the past six years. Inactivity, continued partisan bickering and infantile behavior, have become synonymous on Capitol Hill , just as much as it can now be witnessed within the sport of boxing. Needless to say, there are those who might think otherwise , perhaps due to their ongoing stupidity and complete lack of intelligence.

MLB’s Winter Meetings are not yet in full swing , but there has been abundance of trade activity since the postseason came to an end. A newly crowned World Series’ champion in the San Francisco Giants , and the witnessing of the largest individual contract being signed in professional sports’ team history, when Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins signed an outrageous $325 million deal , far dwarfing the next biggest contract in baseball. Needless to say, there are those , now questioning the wherewithal within an organization , which has been just as quick to jettison high-salaried players , as it has been to feign poverty , while team owner and billionaire art dealer Jeffrey Loria continues to pull the wool over the eyes of the Marlins’ fans as well as the league hierarchy , whom it appears have willingly let Loria get away with his unscrupulous behavior. Yet, baseball remains a law unto itself , with their being very little financial prudency being shown by the teams let alone with some of the most senior leaders within the league’s management .

Can anyone actually justify the $25 million salary paid to outgoing commissioner, Bud Selig , this past season or the fact , his successor Rob Manfred is likely to be paid in excess of that sum in 2015 ? All of this, coming at a time when a number of teams can barely survive on their gate revenues and still turn a profit even with endorsement deals from major corporate sponsors and that is without taking into account the ever growing payrolls around the league .

The Miami Marlins were far from convincing last season within an NL East division, which was sub-par and mediocre . One only has to understand that fact , in seeing how easily the the division’s winner , the Washington Nationals were brushed aside with the utmost ease during the postseason. Miami for its part, will continue to make good on its promise, to bolster their roster for the upcoming season with a number of deals, as they seek to make themselves competitive , in face of the alleged stiff competition within their division , the NL and the league. This might be just as good as it gets for the franchise, before they are back to ways of old , and the jettisoning of high salaried players.

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

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

During 2014, which major sporting event has provided you with the greatest pleasure and which to your mind has been the most disappointing ? Chime in with a comments as you see fit on this and anything else you believe of merit concerning the subject matter.

🙂

Picture and slideshow gallery details below.
==================================================
(1) St. Louis Rams’ Kenny Britt (81) sits on the field following an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 in St. Louis. Arizona won 12-6 . AP Photo/Tom Gannam ..

(2) St. Louis Rams quarterback Shaun Hill (14) reacts after the Rams turned the football over on late downs late in the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 in St. Louis. Arizona won 12-6 . AP Photo/Tom Gannam …

(3)St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher left, talk with Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians following an NFL football game Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 in St. Louis. Arizona won 12-6 . AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

(4) San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) scrambles from Oakland Raiders linebacker Miles Burris (56) during the second quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. San Francisco would go on to lose the game 24-13 . to the Raiders. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez ..

(5) Johnny Manziel will be making his first professional start in a regular season game when the Cleveland Browns take on the Cincinnati Bengals in an all AFC North clash on Sunday afternoon , the 14th December during week fifteen of the NFL regular season schedule. AP Photo/ Reece Carr …

(6) New York Knicks Carmelo Anthony reacts after a foul in the third quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 4, 2011. The Cavaliers defeated the Knicks 119-115 . There now seems to be mounting speculation the Knicks might be willing trade the player with their season now spiraling out of control , but it would take Anthony to waive his no-trade clause to facilitate such a deal, likely to involve multiple teams and several players. UPI/John Angelillo

(7) Michael Jordan, left and Kobe Bryant whose careers are not intertwined by a great many meetings on the court , but clearly Bryant’s game was modeled on Jordan’s iconic stature . UPI / Roger Powell ……

(8) Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins having signed the most lucrative deal in baseball history hopes lead the franchise to greater glory this upcoming season . The organization has also signed their NL Rookie of the Year , pitcher , Jose Fernandez (16) to a long-term deal , using both players as marketing chips to lure fans back to Marlins Ballpark , in Miami , Florida . A venue, which in recent seasons has been sparsely attended . Miami Herald / Octavo Figueroa …

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

Tophatal

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

or follow on SportsBlog.com Tophatal’s Blog

=========

NFL news

NFL week fifteen schedule

NFL team injuries

NFL standings (division)

NFL standings (conference)

NFL projected playoff picture

🙂

NBA news and archived stories

NBA standings (division)

NBA standings (conference)

NBA results 11th December

NBA schedule 12th December

NBA schedule 13th December and 14th December

NBA transactions

NBA free agents

🙂

Boxing news

😀

MLB news

MLB standings (divisional – final) and wildcard standings

MLB transactions

MLB free agents

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


You can’t squeeze those to make lemonade, but you can get a whole lot of milk and a great deal of pleasure from giving her an assist .

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

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

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

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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

Slideshow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

😉

Tophatal 2014-12-07

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

o_O

========

NBA news and the season’s important dates

NBA schedule 5th December

NBA schedule 6th December

NBA schedule 7th December

NBA results 4th December

NBA standings (division)

NBA standings (conference)

NBA free agents

NBA team cap hits (2014)

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

NBA player stats

NBA teams’ offense

NBA teams’ defense

History of NBA champions chronologically

😀

This month in NBA history

On this date in the NBA

——————–

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

Act like you’ve got a pair , …balls that is

Act like you’ve got a pair , balls that is ……..
Strangely enough, hearing a sports’ fans continue to opine on the ills within the game, be it baseball, football, basketball or hockey. My take on it all, if your teams suck , don’t just look at the players , but also the coaches and owners in particular . How they act , will trend to give you a clear idea as to whether or not they know how to handle real adversity. The NBA season remains in its infancy , but we already witnessing several teams struggling to step away from their own ineptitude . There were high hopes for the New York Knicks after Phil Jackson was brought in , to lead their Basketball Operations where GM Steve Mills would be ultimately answerable to Jackson within the Knicks’ hierarchal organization . Owner James Dolan remains the one constant within the organization , whose decision-making continues to come into question. Granted , the franchise remains popular among its fan-base , profitable and still the most valuable team in the NBA.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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

Slideshow .

Nine games into the regular season and the New York Knicks are 2-7 , just above the win-less Philadelphia 76ers(0-7) within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference . For rookie head coach Derek Fisher it would be fair to suggest having seen his team get off to such a sluggish start should be cause for concern. The players themselves have been lackluster with only forward Carmelo Anthony actually showing signs of life .

In their two most recent games the New York Knicks suffered a six-point home loss to the Atlanta Hawks , then followed that up again with another defeat , where their guests, the Orlando Magic inflicted more pain upon what has become a troubling start to the Knicks’ season. Fans of the New Yorks, all too often, tend to point to the positives about their team , one , mainly from an offensive standpoint they can put up points on just about anyone , what they fail to indicate has been the very fact the team simply has no idea how to defend leading their ever increasing issues , which have yet to be addressed by Derek Fisher and his coaching staff

New York came into the season with one of the highest payrolls in the NBA , but nonetheless , Phil Jackson and Steve Mills felt they could live with just as long as the players lived up to expectations . Hard to believe this current roster is no better than the lineup from last season that failed to make the NBA Playoffs . As good as the New York Knicks believe themselves to be , this is not a team currently showing it can compete with the best that the NBA has to offer. Next up for Derek Fisher’s team will be a home game against the Utah Jazz , a contest which will likely tell us a great deal about the mindset of the host.

For two straight years the Chicago Bulls (6-2) have been heavily reliant on Derrick Rose being around for the long haul . In 2012 and again in 2013 , the Bulls’ point guard was felled by an injury . Come full circle and here we are , already wondering about the fitness of Rose after another injury scare. I doubt Tom Thiboadeau wants to head into the next three to six weeks of the Bulls’ schedule without their most prized asset .

In their two defeats the margin of victory for the Bulls’ opponents have been less than seven points in each case. This points to the fact Chicago remains a resilient defensive force , one of the best in conference as well as the entire NBA .

The departures of Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer , two of the Bulls’ best scoring options from last season may well prove to hinder the team’s chances this season, but there is every reason to believe with the addistion of Paul Gasol and the ever-improving play of Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson , Joakim Noah , Mike Dunleavy and Aaron Brooks , there is every reason to believe the Chicago Bulls can make a long and spirited run during the NBA Playoffs for this season . Chicago’s next scheduled game will be a match-up with the surprise of the team of the early part of the basketball season, the conference leading Toronto Raptors.

There will come a time when a price has to be paid for the alleged belief the NBA and its idiocy of a soft salary cap has been of benefit to the game. Not unlike the idiocy within baseball (MLB) , where Bud Selig and his successor Rob Manfred are still mired with their own hierarchical ineptitude . It begs the question, which idiotic fans of professional basketball actually has a clue as to what happened with regard to the economic vagaries of the NBA . Last season the Philadelphia Sixers’ willingly ” tanked “ the final quarter of their schedule , all with the hope gaining a lottery pick from the NBA Draft . Sixers’ owner Joshua Harris has given cart-blanche to ruin the franchise while fans think nothing of the destruction now taking place . Win-less and off to an 0-7 start , there seems to be clear evidence that this team cannot win a game no , matter who the opponent just happens to be .

Sixers’ head coach Brett Brown and his coaching staff have been far from inspiration for this team . Nerlens Noel , Luc MBah a Moute , Jason Richardson , Tony Wroten and Michael Carter-Williams are simply not enough to lure anyone to see the Sixers play . It is pretty much safe to say this season beyond being viewed as an eyesore is far from being desirable for the NBA . Yet , there you have it , with the league hierarchy unwilling to intervene when an organization shows an obvious unwillingness to compete . As to suggesting who the best player on the Sixers’ roster might be , well given what you might see as desirable , I would leave that choice in your hands ! Michael Carter-Williams having been a Rookie of the Year might just be the lone asset on this team .

Two consecutive losses for a combined eighty-five points defines mediocrity in the NBA. Philadelphia’s next game will be on the road when they face the Houston Rockets led by e James Harden and .Dwight Howard . The contest will be a decidedly lopsided affair favoring the home team.. Make no bones about it , the NBA remains a brand is in need of some real coaching talent beyond Gregg Popovich , Erik Spoelstra, Rick Carlisle and Doc Rivers .

Denver Nuggets’ (1-6) head coach Brian Shaw was overlooked when he sought to succeed Phil Jackson as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers . The Nuggets’ record this season reflects how bad this team just happen to be . In the Nuggets’ most recent game the team gave up eighty-four points in the first half of a contest against the Portland Trailblazers . Blazers’ players Damian Lillard , LaMarcus Aldridge and their teammates had a field-day in wiping the court with the Nuggets in their twenty-three point victory over their divisional rivals .

Beyond Kenneth Faried , Ty Lawson and JJ Hickson , there is absolutely nothing to suggest the Nuggets are capable of competing in the NBA . Team owner Stanley Kroenke and GM Tim Connelly have not shown the acumen to suggest they have the best interests of the fans let alone the league , but yet consumers are asked to tolerate this type of ineptitude not just from the Denver Nuggets, but with several teams around the league . Some fans are willing to show their apathy and ignorance by simply pointing to teams who are winning and not the dire consequences which . take place when the franchises are far from being competitive .

When the Nuggets face the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse , in Indianapolis , Indiana the meeting between these two teams should prove to be an caution as to the meaning of ineptitude based on the play of the two clubs this season.

Adam Silver the successor to David Stern as NBA Commissioner, seeks to spread his global brand and professional basketball remains the most popular sports’ brand North America has exported around the globe , far exceeding the reach of MLB , NFL and NHL . Silver has been engaging, while offering little to suggest he is the right person to be leading the NBA. As an executive he has been quick to point out that he believes the federal government should legalize gambling on all professional sports nationwide with their being tight restrictions , due diligence and oversight for the proposed statute. Given the lobbying presence of the hierarchy (NBA) up on Capitol Hill , is anyone actually surprised by Silver’s comments on the issue ? Sorry , but the commissioner is now creating a conflict of interest for his sport because , there are likely to be serious ramifications and misgivings should there be the slightest slightest impropriety within the game by a player coach or executive seeking to decide the outcome of a game by giving a less than forthright effort.

Granted, given the lax play at this point of the season , might I suggest , things might well have gotten off to the start neither Silver the league and the world of sports? College sports specifically football and basketball are aware of the problems encompassing their respective sports and it would be fair to suggest the monitoring by the NCAA under the leadership of Mark Emmert has been less than adequate. Yet , these are some of the issues likely to be faced by the NBA and Adam Silver , has not suggested if the league will seek to monitor the wagering , lines offered on the games and the final results. All well and good in the commissioner’s eyes , but once Pandora’s Box has been opened , the chances of it being closed will be remote .

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


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

Picture gallery .

At this point last season the NBA was still in its infancy but then too., there were signs the league would be in for long and arduous year of rather mediocre play . What if anything has been the most disappointing aspect of the league this year ? By all means simply leave a comment as you see fit on on this and anything else you believe relevant to this article.

o_O

Picture and slideshow details below.

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

(1) New York Knicks’ front office executives from left to right owner James Dolan, Phil Jackson SVP & Head of Basketball Operations and GM Steve Mills . The team is off to a bad start and hindering their chances within the division and Eastern Conference. Derek Fisher and his coaching staff struggled to find any form of consistency from the playing staff this season . AP Photo / Barry Gill …

(2) Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls has been limited in his play this season through eight games , having only appeared in four contests for the team at this point of the season. Head coach Tom Thibodeau may well seek lessen the minutes for the point guard over the next month as he seeks to regain full fitness . Bulls’ general John Paxson may add his input advising Thibodeau because of the franchise’s immediate and long-term investment in the player . Getty Images/NBAE/ Clark Jones …

(3) Head coach Brett Brown center is seen here with members of the Philadelphia 76ers’ coaching staff and players . The teams remain win-less and struggling to make leeway this season. Team owner Josh Harris has shown few signs that he seeks for the Sixers to be competitive over the course of this season, much to the dismay of their fans and several former players including Allen Iverson , who has been critical of the organization. AP Photo / Marcus Shaw ….

(4) Denver Nuggets’ head coach Brian Shaw and the team’s point guard Ty Lawson are seen here on the sidelines during a game . The Nuggets are far from being competitive this season and the fans are now voicing their displeasure with the team and play of the Nuggets. AP Photo / Bob Foster ..

(5) Josh Kroenke left , is seen here alongside his father Stanley Kroenke of the Denver Nuggets . The two are senior executives within organization . The elder Kroenke is also the owner the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche as well as Premierleague soccer team Arsenal . Getty Images / Tim Johnson …

(6) (6) Adam Silver commissioner of the NBA has issued the statement he would like to see legalized wagering for all professional sports, as well as at the collegiate level . Silver believes it would be of great benefit to the NBA but in his comments he made has stated little of how he believes the federal government can mandate a statute covering legalized gaming . The NBA has offered very little , by way their team owners, general managers or the players, . leading many to believe this whole scenario was not thoroughly well thought out . Clearly, Silver since being elected commissioner of the NBA , has sought to stamp his authority , identity on the league and creating the type of dialog that places him front and center of what is likely be a controversial debate . Getty Images / Harry How …

(7) Allen Iverson whose retirement from the NBA after a distinguished career winning a League MVP Award and multiple All Star appearances and litany of franchise records for the Sixers . Iverson has been extremely critical of his former team , management and the front office staff concerning their lack of competitive spirit. AP Photo / Matthew Miller … ….

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

🙂

tophatal 11/13/2014

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

Related article : https://tophatal.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/whining-gets-you-nowhere-when-you-want-to-feel-good-about-your-team-especially-when-you-realize-theyre-on-the-decline/

😎

o_O

NBA news

NBA standings (division)

NBA standings (conference)

NBA results 12th November

NBA schedule 13th November

One year ago today : NBA divisional standings and conference standings

This month in NBA history

On this date in NBA history

Long walk of shame or it just happened to be that way …


Long walk of shame or it just happened to be that way

Another NFL weekend has almost come to a close, with only the Monday Night Football game still to be played. Nevertheless, there were some rather surprising results along the way and others , which seemed to be foregone conclusion even prior to their start. If there was said to be a major surprise in terms of the results witnessed, then the San Diego Chargers’ embarrassing and lopsided 37-0 loss to the Miami Dolphins(5-3) proved to be the most surprising of them all. Philip Rivers’ season to date has been one of the most impressive of the NFL starting quarterbacks, going into week nine.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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

Slideshow.

Rivers and his teammates may well look back on the defeat and see it was a way to jar them out their complacency, yet at the same time, I cannot help but wonder if head coach Mike McCoy and his coaching staff had his team prepared for this contest . Whatever this result might suggest, the Chargers and their fans cannot be entirely happy with the performances on the day. With a bye week in week ten , McCoy and his staff will no doubt assess the team injuries as well as the psyche of his players before they head into week eleven where they will face divisional rivals the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium, in San Diego, California. Tony Sparano and the Raiders are still seeking their first win of the season and their 0-8 record now seems a precursor of things s to come , bringing back memories of the Detroit Lions’ win-less season in 2008, where the team was simply abysmal all year long .

Oakland for its part , put up a spirited attempt to defeat the Seattle Seahawks this past Sunday in their game played at Century Link Field in Seattle , Washington. Sparano for the moment remains the interim head coach, but sooner or later,GM Reggie McKenzie and team owner Mark Davis will have to make the decision as to whether or not the head coach is the right man to lead this team for the remainder of the season. The longer this prolonged agony continues , the less likely the Raiders are going to see any semblance of success , much less be reinvigorated with some new-found confidence.

After their victory over the San Diego Chargers I have no doubt head coach Joe Philbinand his staff might feel this was the team’s best performance of the season so far. Though there are still eight games left to the regular season, the AFC East division remains something of a tightly contested race. The New England Patriots after their lambasting of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, New England seem to be in the driver’s seat, leading the division with a 7-2 record, where their two-game lead over the Buffalo Bills(5-3) and Dolphins might well be enough for them to take the division with some ease. Given the way the Patriots dealt with Manning and the Broncos , the momentum for Tom Brady and his teammates has now swung their way.

With only the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets (1-8) having more consecutive losses over their last eight games, it is easy to understand why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8) have struggled this season . Four consecutive defeats with the latest coming at the hands of the Cleveland Browns (5-3) has to be perplexing for the Buccaneers’ fans just as much as it has to for Lovie Smith and his coaching staff. Not one player on this Buccaneers’ roster can actually justify their salary , yet alone their contract , but somehow Smith suggests he has continued faith in his players , most notably , quarterback Mike Glennon. To try and put into words how abysmal Tampa has been can easily be summed up by sniffing the odor of a canine’s fecal matter or urine and then making a comparison with the Buccaneers’ performances this season. It’s safe to say, shit and urine definitely do stink , but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are now in a ” class of their own” , when it comes to stinking up the joint .

Lovie Smith and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play host to the equally forlorn Atlanta Falcons (2-6) in a divisional race, where mediocritywithin the NFC South seems to be the norm for this season . All four teams are no better than a .500 record with the New Orleans Saints leading the way with a 4-4 mark. For Saints’ head coach Sean Payton , he knows his team has been uncharacteristic in terms of their overall play . New Orleans’ 28-10 victory over the equally lamentable Carolina Panthers and you get to understand why the NFC South has become an instantaneous joke this season.

To carry on with the comical side of the NFL this season , at what point will the New York Jets’ front office figure out that Rex Ryan , Geno Smith and Michael Vick have a great deal in common ? GM John Idzik and Ryan have formulated a recipe for disaster this season and I doubt that Julia Childs in her kitchen at the peak of her culinary guile could or would have served up such a meal for a dinner guest , let alone what the Jets have served up for their fans this season ! If Geno Smith is said to be a work in progress , then the Jets’ front office should be negotiating with the quarterback’s agents at RocNation Sports for a return of at least 90% of their money back in terms of the player’s contract.

Drafted in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft , Smith is in the process of making Mark Sanchez’s final season with the Jets seem like a masterpiece painted by none other than Pablo Picasso . In reality though, even Picasso at his very worst, with his artistic ingenuity never made his admirers simply want to throw rocks at his work. Sanchez now commonly known for the “butt-fumble fiasco and legacy can take delight, that his successor has become a complete laughing stock around the NFL, with the print and television media and in the tri-state area now continually criticizing Geno Smith for his poor play. Decision making asides , there is now no upside to Smith as a player , let alone the fans seeing Michael Vick on the field as his immediate backup as a starting quarterback. As if to emphasize this point further , I need only point to the Jets’ 24-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs .

The clock is now ticking on Rex Ryan’s tenure with the New York Jets and as their season meanders on, there seems to be no signs the coach and his staff can actually point to any signs of progress, let alone their being confidence among the members of the roster. Dire consequences await should the New York Jets fall to the Pittsburgh Steelers in week ten, when they play host to one of the AFC North’s leading divisional contenders.

A 13-10 loss by the San Francisco 49ers to the St Louis Rams might not yet have created a scene of panic, but given the fact the Rams have not been truly competitive all season long, suggests to me , the Forty Niners were complacent and are extremely overrated this season. The team have begun to rest on their laurels , and Colin Kaepernick seems to be more concerned over his tattooed adorned arms , than he is with the team’s cumbersome play and their nondescript record in the NFC West. Needless to say, the idiocy of the Niners still being capable of winning ten games, seems further adrift than ever before. Should the Forty Niners fail in their quest for the divisional title and a postseason berth , the accusing fingers will certainly be pointed at not only the players , but certainly at head coach Jim Harbaugh .

We’re number one . Oops ! Sorry , we were number one and now the repercussions of the College Football season are now being felt , as the top contenders start to make their push to be part of the final-four playoff format which will be used to determine the next national champion at the FBS Level (D1).

We’re number one . Oops ! Sorry , we were number one and now the repercussions of the College Football season are now being felt , as the top contenders start to make their push to be part of the final-four playoff format which will be used to determine the next national champion at the FBS Level (D1). While Misssissippi State (Bulldogs) 8-0 still hangs unto the top spot , the belief appears to be they will not be around for the final round and seen as the last man standing. The Bulldogs took care of Arkansas in a competitive match-up that could have gone the Razorbacks’ way, , had they taken advantage of the opportunities offered at the time.

For Mississippi State , if they can simply win out then , they will be part of the inaugural playoff format. Granted, with the rapid rise up the rankings of Oregon , Auburn , TCU (Horned Frogs) and Nick Saban’s rampant Alabama (Crimson Tide) laying swath to their opponents , there is a suggestion the SEC’s presence in the final standings will be overwhelming. One program not part of the discussion is the rapidly falling esteem of the Florida Gators , where Wil Muschamp’s tenure appears to be at end with AD Jeremy Foley intent on prolonging the agony of every Gators’ fan nationwide . Alumni of the program are at the point, where they are calls for an effigy to be hung from the rafters of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida , and home to some of Florida’s greatest triumphs.

To understand the Gators’ plight this season , has been very much a chance to witness what it is like to self implode , while those around you remain calm. Two consecutive losses , before a beat-down of the Georgia Bulldogs and still the victory has not been enough to quell the calls for Wil Muschamp’s dismissal .

Florida’s next scheduled game will pit them against conference rivals Vanderbilt in a contest which could a long way in either resurrecting some respectability to their season or simply prolong the agony.

Kevin Durant , ” out” , Julius Randle and Steve Nash , both on the Los Angeles Lakers’ roster out, have their fans witnessing an impromptu and below par start to the NBA season. The Oklahoma City Thunder will be without their League MVP for two months of their starting schedule , but Scott Brooks as optimistic as ever is hoping the player can make an earlier return to the team’s starting lineup . The fact Sebastian Telfair now finds himself on the Thunder’s roster after a less than solid career in the NBA , has me wondering what GM Sam Presti hopes to get out of the veteran guard .

Still early stages in the season . but already , you have to wonder what to make of the Los Angeles Lakers and their poor start to their schedule . Win-less , with Byron Scott now unsure as to what his best starting lineup ought to be . An 0-4 start for the Los Angeles Lakers and the excuses have begun from the lame Lakers’ fans, who are unwilling to admit the roster has no real depth or talent beyond Kobe Bryant. If anyone thinks an aging Carlos Boozer can add to or make this roster more productive, /then clearly , they, Mitch Kupchak , Jim Buss and their forlorn fans are sadly mistaken. . Defensively, the Lakers are an unmitigated disaster and a complete mess, with their being no real sign the coaching staff or the players know when and where their first win of the season is likely to happen . Giving up on 115 points per game and you can easily understand why the Lakers are simply limping and whimpering their way to perhaps another miserable season.

Kobe Bryant will lead his teammates in their next game on Tuesday night when they face the Phoenix Suns at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California. If the contests between these two teams are anything to go by , then we are likely to see either A a high scoring contest , with their being no emphasis on defense or just a game , error prone in just about every facet imaginable. I am not so sure the Los Angeles Lakers are capable of winning their division (Pacific Division) much less able to garner a playoff berth . A year ago today , I doubt the Los Angeles Lakers would have envisaged a season where they would fall from grace even with the franchise having suffered injuries to several players on the roster throughout much of last season.

DeMarcus Cousins remains the troubled player at the professional level, just as much as he was a wayward, but mercurial and talented player at the collegiate level , with the Kentucky Wildcats where he played for one year with the program . Drafted by the Sacramento Kings, Cousins is now seen as the face of the franchiseand its immediate and long-term future. Now with the Kings seeking to make this season a competitive year for the coaching staff of Michael Malone. If the Kings are to succeed and at this stage of the season, where they appear to be the surprise team within the NBA , playing with a great deal of tenacity. Cousins and teammate Rudy Gay will have to be at the forefront of anything being sought by way of success for the Sacramento Kings.

Currently , with a 2-1 mark seated second in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference. A surprising 98-92 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers might not have made everyone sit up and take note, until you realize the Clippers were one of the more consistent performers last season having made the NBA Playoffs . The Sacramento Kings were on the outside looking in, as Chris Paul , Blake Griffin and the rest of the Clippers fell short of their goal of winning an NBA title.

A Monday night contest between the Sacramento Kings and Denver Nuggets earned the visiting team a five-point 110-105 victory at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.

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


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

Picture gallery.

The news in the sports’ world isn’t always refreshing, where the main agenda tends to be more about the unsavory sides to sports’ journalism even when the body of the story isn’t sports’ related. Baseball brought us a stirring World Series finale with the success of the San Francisco Giants . In the NFL the schedule has just moved beyond on its halfway point , with several teams now out of the divisional and conference races. No denying, the walk of shame will be an embarrassing one , no matter how it’s spun. The NBA is now seeking to take the gloss off its NFL counterpart and the press following now being garnered as the season is still in its infancy. No doubt the Lakers’ storyline will be one that is closely followed. Flawed or not , not everyone will be satisfied with formula being initiated. Your thoughts on the manner in which teams or athletes have been performing and where you see them at the end of their respective seasons? College Football in its inaugural year, where the new playoff format comes into being .

😎

Picture and slideshow gallery details below.

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

(1) Quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) of the Miami Dolphins throws during pregame workouts before his team met the San Diego Chargers at Sun Life Stadium on November 2, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Getty Images / Chris Trotman …

(2) Running back Lamar Miller (26) of the Miami Dolphins scores a second quarter touchdown against the San Diego Chargers during a game at Sun Life Stadium on November 2, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Upended on the play is tackle Ja’Wuan James(70) of the Dolphins. Getty Images/ Chris Trotman

(3) Running back Marshawn Lynch (24) of the Seattle Seahawks runs with the ball during the third quarter of the game against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field on November 2, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images /Steve Dykes …

(4) Running back Marshawn Lynch (24) of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates with his teammates after scoring a touchdown during the first quarter of the game against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field on November 2, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images / Steve Dykes …

(5) Tyler Murphy (3) of the Florida Gators dives over Sheldon Dawson (2) of the Georgia Bulldogs for a touchdown during the game at EverBank Field on November 2, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. Getty Images /Sam Greenwood …

(6) Head coach Mike Richt of the Georgia Bulldogs (L) speaks with head coach Wil Muschamp of the Florida Gators before the game at EverBank Field on November 2, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. Getty Images / Sam Greenwood ….

(7) Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (0) celebrates during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Phoenix Suns at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. Oklahoma City won 103-96 . Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman ..

(8) Teammates Julius Randle left and Kobe Bryant are seen here during the official team photo taken at the Los Angeles Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo , California ,. Randle drafted in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft . AP Photo / Mason Porter …

(9) Sacramento Kings’ center DeMarcus Cousins (15) is seen here looking to make an offensive play as he is being defended by the Los Angeles’ Clipper DeAndre Jordan during a game between the two teams on the 2nd November , 2014. Cousins has been one of the primary reasons Kings are off to a great start this season , albeit , that the NBA schedule is still in its infancy . AP Photo / Mark Dennis … ….

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

😀

tophatal 2014/11/03

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

o_O

NFL news

NFL standings (division)

NFL standings (conference)

NFL week nine results

NFL players’ stats

NFL teams stats

NFL schedule week ten

This date in NFL history

On this day in NFL history

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

NCAA Football News

NCAA Football results

NCAA Football conference standings

NCAA Football rankings (FBS)

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

NBA news

NBA standings (division)

NBA standings (conference)

NBA results 2nd November

NBA daily leaders 2nd November

NBA schedule 3rd November

This month in NBA history

On this date in NBA history

It is what it is …………

It is what it is …………

Well the sports’ environment at present has taken a back seat to the NCAA Tournament , with the event itself , having provided the fans with a number of stunning upsets , while there have been some that were not totally unexpected . With the number one ranked Florida Gators having now made their way to the ‘Sweet Sixteen ‘ , the road in some respects does now seem all but clear , for Billy Donovan and his team to capture the program’s third national title in the past eight seasons . Were the Gators’ head coach able to manage that feat , it would certainly make him the school’s most successful coach in terms of national titles won , beating out the likes of Urban Meyer and Steve Spurrier .

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Slideshow .

From my own perspective , I believe Donovan the equal of both of the aforementioned coaches , albeit that, Meyer and Spurrier left Florida to further their careers , elsewhere . In the case of Urban Meyer, his departure and subsequent criticism of his former employers and the program he coached to two BCS titles , may well have more to do with his egotistical character and the level of criticism aimed at him , with the failure of Tim Tebow to become a resounding success in the NFL . A great deal of that criticism is more than justified , when you simply bear in mind that Tebow’s collegiate career while stellar , at the next level of his evolution , his game simply did not materialize into anything more than that of a moderately average quarterback , who could barely read defensive tendencies , much less make a pass attempt in excess of fifteen yards or more , without their being a tendency of an interception or the pass simply falling short of its target , but there were , the vast majority of less than intelligent Gators’ fans, still singing Tim Tebow’s praises as a player. With his career now coming to an abrupt end , he has now been hired by cable sports’ programming network ESPN to provide fans with his insight into the Collegiate Football and the games , where he will be covering . One can only wish Tebow, all the success possible in his new endeavor , in the hope that he is likely to be more successful in his new vocation.

With a number of programs now having fallen by the wayside, in this particular NCAA Tournament, by contrast , at this point last season , things in some respects were somewhat similar. Florida for its part, have more than justified that national number one ranking , and proof of that , come by way of their regular season schedule and their run through the SEC (Southeast Conference) ,where the team went undefeated , a first for conference play, within the Southeastern Conference. Leading the way for Florida, in terms of the team’s play , have been Casey Prather , Patric Young , Michael Frazier and Scottie Wilbekin , but it has truly been a collective team effort , along with that of Billy Donovan and the coaching acumen shown by his coaching staff , which has taken them this far and proven their season-long dominance this year.

Through their first two games of this tournament, Florida has not truly been tested , with their first round contest against Albany NY being nothing more than a cakewalk , with their 67-55 defeat of that team , before facing an even less sterner test in taking down the Pittsburgh (Panthers) with another somewhat lopsided victory 61-45 . The Gators’ path to the ‘Elite Eight’ in the NCAA Tournament, will see them having to overcome the UCLA Bruins , in what is likely to be the best game scheduled during the ‘Sweet Sixteen’ .

Of the games , still to be played in the round of the Sweet Sixteen , beyond the featured contest, which I believe to be the best at this stage of the tournament. There are games between Iowa State versus Connecticut , Tennessee and Michigan , Louisville (Cardinals) and Kentucky , Baylor and Wisconsin , Arizona and San Diego State , finally Dayton versus Stanford . All great match-ups befitting a tournament, that now lures shall we say, degenerate gamblers into wagering billions of dollars, into the most lucrative sports’ event, for the gaming industry in North America .

Rick Pitino , as the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals, when he faces off against an old foe and nemesis in John Calipari , in a contest , of well-versed coaches , that will be a match of wits . What might also make this match-up also intriguing, with both coaches, having reached the pinnacle of collegiate coaching in winning a national title. Pitino, will now seek to take down a program , where, he was once a head coach and a well-respected one at that.

There are few coaches as well-respected as Tom Izzo within Collegiate Basketball and while one can be critical of the game at this level . It has to be said, that with the continued controversy of tainted programs , abuses of privileges and the ongoing issues of recruitment violations . Rarely, has Izzo’s tenure at Michigan St (Spartans) raised any suspicion of the program being mired, in any major impropriety. However, that is not to suggest, that Spartans athletics’ program has been pristine and above-board. Collegiate Athletics has become embroiled and awash, with far too much money , that the temptation to do something amiss, has become even more tempting than ever before. At the same time, the continued incompetency of the NCAA does not cover the distrust that the public has not only the entire landscape of college sports but also the hierarchical structure of the that particular body , under its current President , Mark Emmert , who came to the position, carrying a great deal of baggage of his own, concerning a number of improprieties and a lack communicative and administrative skills .

Izzo and the Spartans, while seeking to make their way to the Elite Eight, are not likely to have an easy time when they face the Virginia (Cavaliers) . Cavaliers’ head coach, Tony Bennett will undoubtedly want to pull off the upset , in taking the program this deep into the quarter-finals of the tournament for the very first time ever. The outcome of this contest, between Michigan and Tennessee , will definitely be predicated upon the offensive prowess shown by both teams and the coaching acumen of the respective staffs.

This NCAA Tournament has certainly lived up to expectations so far and the contests have provided the fans with a great deal more than most would have expected .

The big news within the NBA over the past eight days , has been the New York Knicks’ acquisition of Phil Jackson to head up the franchise’s Basketball Operations and being entirely responsible for all player personnel decisions. Jackson , himself, has been quick to point out, that the level of the play by the current roster has bordered on being inadequate and lacking the basic fundamentals , that the team itself , simply looks like a group of individuals at play on a high school playground. Subsequent to that statement by the Knicks’ front office executive , the players have responded in kind rolling off eight victories in their last ten games , perhaps reminding Jackson that they are capable of playing as a cohesive unit. As to what this might suggest as to the coaching strategies of Mike Woodson and his coaching staff , may well spell doom and his departure from the franchise at the end of this season. Woodson, might not be a proponent of the “Triangle Offense” and Phil Jackson has suggested that the scheme need not be adhered to, by the team, but , what he would like to see, is a great deal more resilience and tenacity from the players.

The New York Knicks’ continued malaise over the past seven seasons at least , has been brought on by the negligence of team owner , James Dolan and the litany of general managers heading up the front office during that time-span. Anyone who would try to suggest that under Isiah Thomas’ tenure , or that of Dave Checketts , Ernie Grunfeld , Scott Layden and in some respects Donnie Walsh , have in some way brought about some semblance of competitiveness to the franchise, need only look at the Knicks’ overall record from 1999 to 2013 and the number of playoff appearances made . In large part, the organization has spent more time acquiring nondescript talent and simply overpaying for the players assembled to represent the team during that time. It is certainly something, that will clearly have to be addressed by Phil Jackson and the staff that he will likely assemble to assist him in that stead, as he seeks to build a roster that will be viewed as a perennial contender, rather than being seen as an also-ran.

A playoff berth is now beyond the New York Knicks’ reach for this season, but in large part several players on the roster will be playing for their long-term future and livelihood with the franchise , in light of Jackson’s wish to revamp this roster. The team (29-41) at present , is lying in ninth place , within the Eastern Conference and three games out from that final berth , which is currently held by the Atlanta Hawks(31-37) as of 23rd March , 2014.

As if to further emphasize the numerous reasons why the Knicks have been woefully inept , consider the fact that at home, they are amongst the worst teams in the entire NBA , never mind the fact that they are simply unable to close out games, but yet the asinine analysis provided by on air commentators would have you believe to the contrary. Sunday’s six-point loss (106-100) at home at Madison Square Gardens in New York City, New York, to the Cleveland Cavaliers , is a damning indictment of not only the poor play of the New York Knicks , but also how damn awful , the Eastern Conference just happens to be overall , in terms of the poor play.

Inconsistency has now become the norm for the New York Knicks , while the air-headed print and television media within the New York market tend to be enraptured by Phil Jackson’s arrival , what they seem to be forgetting is actually how bad this team just happens to be and that is even with Carmelo Anthony having to carry his teammates on his shoulders for the majority of the season. One can choose to spin the tale of the New York Knicks for this season and then suggest that next year all of the events of 2013 , will be forgotten, because Phil Jackson , by then, will have begun to work miracles. Let’s get something clear, Phil can only work with the tools given him and what he has been provided with at this juncture , are a bag of nuts , bolts, and rusty tools, in seeking to get the job done . As to what transpires, in the coming months of this off-season, remains to be seen. It will be interesting to see whether or not, Jackson can indeed revamp an impoverished franchise, with them regaining some semblance of respectability.

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

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

Picture gallery .

The events of the NCAA Tournament, as they have unfolded, which result has been of the greatest surprise to you ? Which program do you now believe to be in the driver’s seat, with the easiest task of making it to the Final Four and then going on to win the Men’s NCAA title outright ? With Phil Jackson’s introduction as the new Head of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks , do you believe his task will be an easy one to turn things around for the franchise and how much time in your estimation, will it take for him to make the Knicks relevant and competitive ? Simply take time to leave a comment, as you see fit and thank you for the ongoing support of this site, as it is greatly appreciated !

🙂

Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

—————————————————————-

Florida guard Scottie Wilbekin, bottom, gets past Pittsburgh forward Lamar Patterson for a shot during the second half in a third-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, March 22, 2014. Florida won 61-45 . AP Photo/John Raoux ….

(2) Florida coach Billy Donovan gestures during the second half in a third-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament against Pittsburgh, Saturday, March 22, 2014, in Orlando, Fla. AP Photo/John Raoux…

(3) Florida guard Scottie Wilbekin (5) and center Patric Young (4) talk on the court during the second half in a second-round game against Albany in the NCAA college basketball tournament against Albany, Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Orlando, Fla. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack ….

(4) Louisville coach Rick Pitino , right, yells at guard Russ Smith (2) during the second half in a third-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament against Saint Louis , Saturday, March 22, 2014, in Orlando, Fla. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack ….

(5) Kentucky head coach John Calipari works from the sideline against Wichita State during the first half of a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament Sunday, March 23, 2014, in St. Louis. A highly rated Wichita State team that seemingly could not match the intensity shown by the Wildcats during this contest, which ended in disappointment for the Shockers. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ……..

(6) Kentucky guard Aaron Harrison (2) passes the ball as Wichita State guard Fred VanVleet (23) defends during the first half of a third-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament Sunday, March 23, 2014, in St. Louis. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …..

(7) Tony Bennett head coach of the Virginia Cavaliers . Bennett’s team face the MSU Spartans on Friday , with the victor guaranteed a berth in the Elite Eight as the prize . AP Photo / Rafael Gomez …..

(8) Michigan State’s Tom Izzo whose long and proud coaching resume’ indicates an impressive track record . Getty Images / Keith Turner …..

(9) NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 23: Jarrett Jack (1) of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots against the New York Knicks during a game at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images …
…….

(10) New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony talks with New York Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson during the second half of the NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden, Sunday, March 23, 2014, in New York. The Cavaliers defeated the Knicks 106-100 . .AP Photo /Adrian Miller …..

(11) New York Knicks’ executive Phil Jackson is seen here, inlaid, team head coach Mike Woodson’s ,whose tenure with the Knicks’ franchise now seems more perilous than ever , with the team not completely responding to his coach style, in spite of a recent impressive run of eight consecutive victories . Yet, the team’s home record remains one of the worst in the entire NBA and one of the numerous reasons why they have fallen out of contention within the Eastern Conference this season. It seems highly unlikely that Woodson will be returning to coach the team next season , with their being no guarantee whatsoever, from the front office , even if there have been some reassuring words coming from unconfirmed sources within the hierarchical structure of the franchise. AP Photo / Lou Mason …..

—————————————————————-
🙂

College Basketball & NBA related pieces :

The running of the Bulls

It’s that time of the year again , and things are said be right with the world ….

You can talk a good game but can you play one ?

Stick to what you know and not what you’re told is the truth

Full steam ahead

——-

🙂

tophatal ….

Follow Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com : Tophatal’s Blog

———–

NCAA Men’s Basketball & news

NCAA Men’s Basketball (bracket)

NCAA Men’s Basketball schedule

NCAA Men’s Basketball champions

🙂

NBA news

NBA results 23rd March 2014

NBA standings (division) and by conference

NBA playoff picture (indicates game remaining)

This month in NBA history

The running of the Bulls ……….

The running of the Bulls …..

As a youngster growing up in the UK , I caused my Mom a great deal of angst, as she had to raise three kids as a single mother . From my mid-teens, until I made the decision to join the military, I traveled extensively throughout Western Europe, and along the way, becoming fluent in French, albeit that my great grandparents are of Haitian descent , also speaking German and a little Italian . Of all my travels, some of the best experiences I had, were my times spent in France , Spain and Italy . Although, there was a memorable experience on the island of Cyprus, that included a moment of intimacy with a young female in the town of Limassol. Let’s just say, she knew how to “rock the mic’ “ . In the country of Spain, one the of the great experiences to be had , is the “ Running of the Bulls” in the city of Pamplona and if you are brave enough , then it is something that should be experienced , but I can tell you this , it is not for the faint of heart .

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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

Slideshow .

In the NBA this season , many may well have written off the Chicago Bulls and their season , after the team’s point guard Derrick Rose went down with a another knee injury, once again incapacitating him for the season . Bad luck or simply karma, call it what you will. Suffice to say, Rose’s career is now sitting on a precipice and the dangers signs are suggesting , that it could very well be over before he has been able to make a real impact on the NBA. Rose is one of the youngest players ever to have won the NBA League MVP , all at the tender age of twenty-two , having entered the NBA as a first round draft pick of the Chicago Bulls in the 2008 NBA Draft .

With the loss of Rose, in many circles , it was thought that the case would, the Bulls would “tank” the season and simply look towards the upcoming draft to supplement the roster and by way of free agency , and also to jettison high salary capped players in order to make the team cap-friendly and a viable destination for any potential marquee free agent, looking for a fresh opportunity, as well as being viewed as being on a championship-caliber team. I felt at the time, that two of the Bulls’ lead front office executives , GM Gar Forman and Head of Basketball Operations John Paxson made a major monumental blunder in trading away Luol Deng , who at this point had been the Bulls’ best player all season long and who had also shown himself to be a great on-court leader. Yet, somehow what should well have spelt disaster for the Bulls and their season, has now turned out to be something of an opportunity as this Tom Thibodeau coached team , now seems revitalized and induced with sheer optimism , as they seek to play themselves into contention for a divisional crown and a high seeding within the Eastern Conference .

Coming off a very convincing victory over the highly touted defending champions the Miami Heat , you kind of get the feeling that this NBA season might not end up being as uninteresting within the Eastern Conference, as some might have thought it would be , as it appeared that the Heat and Indiana Pacers would have the conference to themselves , with the victor having the “spoils of war” . All of a sudden, with the wheels discombobulating off the vehicles of the Heat and Pacers, there very well could be a great deal to play for, before the regular season ends its schedule.

Tom Thibodeau has proven himself to be one of the better coaches in the NBA and given what he has to work with this season, with the loss of Derrick Rose and the departure of Luol Deng, in making the Bulls still competitive, to my mind he is a worthy candidate to be named the NBA Coach of the Year , as I do not believe that there are any other viable candidates based solely on achievement alone for this season ! ! At 35-29 the Bulls’ mark stands as the fourth best within the Eastern Conference behind the surprisingly resilient Toronto Raptors (35-27) the second placed Miami Heat (44-17) and the Indiana Pacers(47-17) who are a slim three games ahead of their closest rivals the Heat.

While I do not expect there to be a complete falloff in terms of the top two contenders within the Eastern Conference ! I do believe the momentum, now being shown by the Chicago Bulls adds a little more intrigue to the conference, rather than elements there, become something of a foregone conclusion . For Miami, that seven-point loss to the Bulls proved to be a wake-up call, as they rebounded to defeat the Washington Wizards on their home-court with 99-90 victory , with LeBron James leading the way for the Heat with twenty-three points , leading all scorers in the contest. James is seeking to prove to the naysayers that he is not yet ready to relinquish his League MVP crown to anyone as of yet , even if the cries are that Kevin Durant while leading the Oklahoma Thunder to the best record in the NBA is now having a better year from a statistical standpoint . From my own perspective , I believe that Durant apart from having a better season , he is proving , that in allowing his teammates to become involved in many of the team’s victories this season , it is simply not just about him alone . A case can be made that for the Heat , without James , their record would be considerably more troubling . The two players have this season , have stood head and shoulders above their rivals and that includes players such as Blake Griffin and Carmelo Anthony , who have each had their own individual moments this season .

As the season continues to spiral out of control for the Los Angeles Lakers , there have been very few positives for the franchise over the course of the year. Kobe Bryant still remains sidelined with an injury. Meanwhile, head coach Mike D’Antoni still guides this team with reckless abandonment, having not taught any of the younger group of players a thing with regard to playing defense . Doubt my word, then simply look at the team’s stats and where they lie within the conference and league as a whole. Then you can easily understand the reasons why, the Lakers have been in trouble all season long, in spite of the absence of Bryant. Although their surprising defeat of the Oklahoma City Thunder might well have been the team’s biggest victory of the season , beyond that success there have been very few positives to report.

Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak and team owner Jim Buss , have made several mistakes in the past eighteen months that have come home to roost , by way of a lack of a real scorer on the roster beyond Bryant. An aging Pau Gasol is unable to carry the burden of the team’s offense and one or two individualistic moments from the likes of Nick Young or Jodie Meeks cannot and will not hide the fact that the lineup is simply devoid of depth and real underlying talent. Now the franchise is simply pinning their hopes on the free agency market of 2015 and the likelihood, that there will be a dearth of highly sought after players, hitting the market all at the same time. If as anticipated, the likes of Carmelo Anthony and others do make it known of their intent , then Kupchak is likely to be given the go-ahead to pursue anyone of a number of those highly sought after players with a view to bolstering the roster. From my own standpoint , with next season likely to be Kobe Bryant’s last in the NBA , it will provide the player and the franchise the last opportunity of their winning an NBA title, before his likely retirement. Having signed a two-year $48.5 million contract this past season , the deal itself might well have been seen as outrageous, it does lead many to believe that at this juncture , there is a great deal of desperation within the front office of the organization with Jim Buss being under a great deal of pressure to succeed , while following in the footsteps of his late father , Dr Jerry Buss, the erstwhile late owner of the franchise.

The Los Angeles Lakers will now face another stern test, as the now have a rematch with the Thunder for the second time in the past four days , when they are the guests of their opponents at the Chesapeake Energy Center , Oklahoma City , Oklahoma on Thursday , 13th March, 2014 .

The Western Conference continues to remain as competitive as ever, far more so, than that of the Eastern Conference. While the feeling remains, that the combatants in the West, are likely to be in for an arduous battle, as the playoffs begin , whereas, the East will be as predictable as ever, with the top two teams in the conference, likely to meet, in the Eastern Conference Finals.

It would be fair to suggest that this season has been a profound disappointment for anyone who happens to be a fan of the New York Knicks. The team has under-achieved, with head coach, Mike Woodson being unable to get any semblance of consistency from his players. With a record of 25-40 the team currently lays 3 ½ games out of eighth place for the final playoff berth within the East. The Atlanta Hawks (27-35) , holding down that final spot, have to be fearful of the Knicks finding any sort of momentum enabling a playoff push and erasing that deficit. . For all of the heroics of Carmelo Anthony this season , it is hard to envisage the Knicks finding that sort of resilience at this stage , when in the earlier part of their schedule they have simply not been able to exhibit any type of consistency whatsoever.

James Dolan, owner of the New York Knicks has been very reticent to answer any questions concerning the franchise’s woes. However, in light of his agreement in principle to hire Phil Jackson , former player with the franchise and the most successful coach in NBA history , to now head up the front office as Head of Basketball Operations . It now begs the question , how much power will now be placed in the hands of the former head coach and what will be the long-term futures of both GM Steve Mills and that the current Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson ? With neither being hires of Jackson, one could speculate that both will be allowed to remain with the franchise until the end of the season , before he makes a decision as to whether or not both Mills and Woodson will remain with the organization in their current capacities .

I believe that this hire of Phil Jackson was done in large part, to impress upon Carmelo Anthony , that the franchise now means to do whatever it takes to retain his services , while seeking to build a competitive team to complement his skill-set . The player, himself has not been abundantly clear, as to what his intentions will be concerning his long-term future with the franchise . Yet, if the indications are too believed, then he is likely to opt out of the final year of his contract and test the free agency market. The New York Knicks however, remain with the upper-hand, knowing that they will be able to offer Anthony a long-term deal, paying the player a far bigger contract than any likely suitor will be able to offer as mandated by the league. Yet , for Carmelo Anthony , at this stage of his ten-year career in the NBA , I do not believe it comes down to money , but more so the opportunity to play for a legitimate contender for the NBA title , rather than a franchise that in recent seasons , has simply been an afterthought in the minds of the vast majority of fans of the NBA , with the exception of those who just happen to be fans of the New York Knicks’ franchise.

With their recent lopsided victory over a dour Philadelphia 76rs’ team, the Knicks’ next contest will pit them against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night at the TD Banknorth Gardens in Boston , Massachusetts , against Brad Stevens’ young and inexperienced roster . If New York Knicks are seeking to make a serious run at a playoff berth at this juncture , then this will be a game that they simply cannot afford to lose. As to what the rest of the season now holds for the franchise, remains to be seen , and that of the intent of Phil Jackson , also .

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


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

Picture gallery .

As the NBA season winds down , what are you expecting to see from the teams vying for a playoff berth ? Also, do you believe the hiring of Phil Jackson to head up franchise’s basketball operations will be in their best interests or do you believe that it will add a great deal of uncertainty around the organization?

🙂

Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

————————————————————————

(1) The Running of the Bulls in Pamplona , Spain honoring St Fermin. A seven-day event, that takes place during the month of July . It has become a worldwide event , which has also its detractors , especially amongst animal rights’ group around the globe. REUTERS/UPI …

(2) Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls is seen here centering the arena at the United Center , in Chicago , Illinois, prior to the game before the Chicago Bulls played the San Antonio Spurs at their home venue . Chicago would end up losing the game 104-96 . AP Photo / Keith Kirkpatrick ……….

(3) Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs looks to make the pass during an offensive play during the game against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night , 11th March , during the contest played at the United Center . Also in picture are Jimmy Butler of the Bulls , Kawhi Leonard (21) of the Spurs and defending Duncan , Joakim Noah . AP Photo Keith Kirkpatrick …

(4) Tom Thibodeau converses with Derrick Rose (1) of the Chicago Bulls during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks at Phillips Arena on May 6, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. This season Rose has been lost to Bulls for their entire schedule but amazingly enough the team now seems likely to make the postseason without their All Star point guard . Getty Images North America / Kevin C. Cox …..

(5) Chicago Bulls GM Gar Forman , seen here in the foreground, alongside the franchise’s Head of Basketball Operations , former Bulls’ player John Paxson . Forman and Paxson have worked studiously over the past four years in acquiring the talent and then with the hiring of Tom Thibodeau to make franchise a championship contender . Team owner , Jerry Reinsdorf has continued to heap praises upon the franchise’s two lead front office executives . Chicago Sun Times / Eric Moffitt ………

(6) A lost and forlorn season for Los Angeles Lakers’ guard Kobe Bryant , who , having been declared done for the year , will now watch from the sidelines as the team embattled the rest of the season , seeking something positive out of it all . In recent months Bryant has been critical of the front office questioning the ambition of Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak and their wanting to make the roster competitive . With no chance of making the playoffs , this could end up being one of the franchise’s worst seasons in recent years in terms their year-end record. Another vocal critic of the Los Angeles Lakers’ has been former player and Hall of Fame great Magic Johnson , currently a senior managing partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ ownership group. UPI/ Anthony Hughes …..

(7) NEW YORK, NY – April 5: Phil Jackson , a member of the 1973 Championship New York Knicks team during a press conference before a game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the New York Knicks on April 5, 2013 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Jackson has agreed in principle to head up the Knicks’ front office operations and will be an EVP & Head of Basketball Operations . GM Steve Mills will have Jackson as his immediate superior , with new executive reporting directly to owner James Dolan , concerning all matters with regard to the player personnel . It is unclear what sort of impression this will make on the pending status of Knicks’ star Carmelo Anthony , who can opt out of his existing contract at the end of this season. Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images ………

(8) New York Knicks’ center . Tyson Chandler (6) is seen here alongside teammate Carmelo Anthony (7) during a game . Both are said to be tired of the team’s losing and the apparent lack of direction coming from the front office and that of the coaching of Mike Woodson. With their season floundering both players are now said to be discussing their futures with the Knicks and it is likely , one , if not both players may well seek to leave the organization . Getty Images/ Martin Stewart ……. …….

————————————————————————–

🙂

🙂

tophatal ……………….

——————

NBA news and archived news

NBA standings (divisional) and by conference

NBA Playoff picture (projected)

NBA schedule 12th March

This month in NBA history

12th March

NBA milestones points

Gladiators in the arena would state we who are about to die, salute you. Today’s NBA has no gladiators , merely characters and a little scripted drama thrown in for good measure

Gladiators in the arena would state we who are about to die, salute you . Today’s NBA has no gladiators , merely characters and a little scripted drama thrown in for good measure

Midpoint of the NBA season and the and the . news seems to be the season high score individually by Carmelo Anthony , as he broke the New York Knicks’ franchise scoring record for a contest , with sixty-two points against the Charlotte Bobcats at Madison Square Garden this past week. Now, the holder of that record, is a Knicks’ all-time great, in Bernard King . While Anthony’s achievement in that game should be applauded , let us not forget that although the Bobcats are holding the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference with an odious record of (19-27 [0.413]) . If that mark is not a damning indictment how bad the conference has become along with the league in general . Then, can someone please explain to me, what is ?

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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

Slideshow .

Perhaps, the irony of all ironies , coming out of this contest, might well have been the fact that the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats happens to be none other than Michael Jordan , someone who during his playing career , was known for some rather spectacular single game achievements , beyond the numerous other accolades , that highlighted perhaps the greatest career in NBA history . Fans and analysts may well have been drooling at Carmelo Anthony’s display , with his teammates at the time ,simply reveling in that prolific output . Unfortunately, currently for the New York Knicks’ fans there has not been a great deal for them to either revel in or simply suggest that this team has finally turned a corner . Their season so far, has been strewn with inconsistent performances , lackluster displays by a number of players , beyond the perfunctory excuses of players being sidelined due to injury . Take into account that Mike Woodson and his coaching staff have shown about as much acumen for their roles, as the US Congress, has in trying to abate the ongoing economic crisis still submerging and threatening the nation.

With all of the awe and fervor being thrown about, concerning the accomplishment of Carmelo Anthony, consider the fact that the sixty-two point outburst, albeit, a career high , it still ranks behind the eighty-one point explosion by Kobe Bryant against the Toronto Raptors in a game dating back to January 2006 , and the seventy-one points scored by Hall of Fame center David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs in a contest against the Los Angeles Clippers . Need we be reminded that the all-time single game scoring record belongs to the late Wilt Chamberlain , and that one hundred point explosion that had so many career and NBA highs interspersed within the contest between the Philadelphia Warriors and New York Knicks in a game that took place on March 2nd , 1962.

Now, while I do believe that the New York Knicks could quite possibly play themselves into contention for a postseason berth . I simply cannot see this team in its present guise being a nuisance to the likes of the Indiana Pacers or Miami Heat , undoubtedly , the two best teams within the conference by far . New York on Sunday afternoon, will play host to another laboring franchise , in the Los Angeles Lakers and their woes over the course of this season. The once mighty Lakers might not be the best NBA franchise in the entire state of California , given the present fortunes of late of the Los Angeles Clippers , Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings . There was a time when a contest between the Lakers and Knicks actually meant something within the NBA, but those times now appear to be long gone and it simply does not bode well for this league when there does not seem to be a major team rivalry within the NBA at present or even on the horizon. The league has now become all about individualistic achievements , rather than that a collective team achievement and success , in spite of what the on air analysts and members of the NBA hierarchy would like to have us believe .

In a match-up of last season’s NBA Finals , the San Antonio Spurs were the guests </a. of the Miami Heat on Sunday afternoon, where LeBron James and his teammates were looking to reestablish their dominance over the Finals’ foes, as well as send a sobering reminder why they are the reigning two-time NBA champions. A third consecutive win of the championship would certainly legitimize the franchise’s claims of being a dynasty, but over the course of this season the team has shown some worrying signs of complacency as well as what appears to be a lack of depth at certain positions. Take into account also, that Dwyane Wade has become a virtual invalid , is day-to-day in terms of a game-time appearance and only one-third of Miami’s “Big Three ” are now said to be playing at a high level, while still being productive . Granted, momentary glimpses of Chris Bosh might send shock waves around the league , but I find it somewhat comical to hear many say that he is a vital asset to the franchise. For the monetary outlay being made to Bosh , his productivity for the team should be a great deal more than it is .

I am sure that Miami Heat President Pat Riley along with Erik Spoelstra and the coaching staff are likely to continue to gauge the progress of the team before coming to a decision as to whether or not an acquisition or a trade needs to be made. Somehow, you get the feeling, that Riley is likely to pull the trigger , but not at the expense of taking breaking up his trio of All Stars. Wade and Bosh and Ray Allen , have now become the complementary foil to the still growing repertoire of LeBron James’ game.

The Western Conference now seems to have found calmer waters and the now surging Oklahoma City Thunder now appear to be the best team within the conference . With due respect to the always formidable San Antonio Spurs and the still surprising resilience being shown by Terry Stotts and the Portland Trailblazers . Perhaps, the second half of this NBA season , might be better spent, surveying the likely carnage that will be wreaked by the top teams in the West , rather than glaring at the ongoing futility that still exists in the East and has done for the past two years , at least .

Kevin Durant this season has been on a tear, while staking a really legitimate claim , that he is having a better all-round season than LeBron James . Durant along with teammate Russell Westbrook , while the point guard is on-court , remain the league’s best offensive duo averaging well over 28,5 points per game each as a duo. With that type of offensive output backed up by the play of Serge Ibaka , it is understandable to see the reason why many now feel that this team is likely to be the Western Conference Finals’ representative in this year’s NBA Finals . As an avid San Antonio Spurs’ fan, nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see both of these teams facing off in the aforementioned conference finals , and then letting the chips fall where they may ! A twelve-point victory over the Philadelphia 76ers’ has given the Thunder the best record in the NBA, with a current mark of 35-10 as of Saturday afternoon . That win simply an exclamation mark and stamp on the first half of the season , albeit , with a game on Monday night at home to the Atlanta Hawks , within the confines of the Chesapeake Energy Arena , should provide the Oklahoma City Thunder and their fans a great send off for the players likely to be a part of the Western Conference’s All Star roster , where Durant leads all players in the voting count within the West.

Of the teams in the Western Conference, vying to take that next step into the upper echelons of the conference are the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors. Two teams made up of prodigious young talent , but with a great deal of coaching acumen being exhibited in two of the game’s great point guards , now having made great strides within the coaching fraternity , with Doc Rivers of the Clippers and Mark Jackson with the Warriors . Both are likely to be part of the playoff picture as they each seek to position themselves within their respective divisions and the conference as a whole.

In the regular season meetings , between the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors, the two contestants have split their first two contests, with the margin of victory in each game , being no more than ten points on each occasion . The next scheduled meeting between the two will take place on the 30th January at the Oracle Arena , in Oakland , California ,. It will be interesting to see whether or not Doc Rivers will have the services of point guard Chris Paul , a player who is of pivotal and vital importance to the team , if they are to succeed this postseason. For Warriors’ owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , to have the franchise back to the point, where the team is gaining respect , while being given the added publicity , all stemming from the consistency of the players , but also combining that with the play of Steph Curry and his maturity , since entering the league as a first round draft pick in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors.

Curry, along with teammates , Harrison Barnes , David Lee , Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala are providing the fans with reason to believe that the team is capable of pulling off a major surprise during the playoffs. Certainly, a case could be made that were it not for the lack of experience , then last season during the NBA Playoffs the Warriors would have pulled off the biggest upset in the franchise’s recent history, had they got past the San Antonio Spurs in their conference semi-finals’ contest . A fifteen-point victory over the Portland Trailblazers on Sunday , further emphasized the strides made by the Warriors, as they seek to make themselves be viewed as a force to be reckoned with within the Western Conference.

Living in the shadows of the Los Angeles Lakers cannot be an easy thing, if you happen to be a Los Angeles Clippers’ fan or a member of the player personnel of the franchise. Having to share the same home venue is one thing , and then meeting in home and away games , does tend to provide something of a novelty. Be that, as it may, for the past two seasons , it has been the Clippers with the bragging rights , as the Lakers have floundered , providing the entire NBA with enough drama to be viewed as something of an ode to being self-absorbed and conceitedness .

From the ongoing petulance of Kobe Bryant, to the incessant stupidity of Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss , for the Los Angeles Lakers , this season as well as last season is something I believe that the entire organization would rather forget ! While, they continue to flounder , it has been the Clippers providing the noteworthy headlines in terms of basketball success for the City of Angels. Some might beg to differ, with Pau Gasol and Nick Young providing the Lakers’ fans of something of a momentary respite , but clearly Mike D’Antoni still has his issues in trying to get this team playing with a great deal of resolve . With Bryant still ailing from a persistent injury, it has hard to conceive how the Lakers’ most revered active performer, actually believed that this team in its current guise was capable of making the postseason. It has to rile and rattle the angst of every fan of the franchise, that the Los Angeles Lakers are now being belittled as less than average . In truth, this is exactly what the Lakers now just happen to be, with their record simply bearing this out.

As Kevin Love continues to put up impressive numbers for the Minnesota Timberwolves , it is becoming extremely difficult to see how he can remain with an organization that has done very little to assist in lifting the burden off his shoulders , while seeking to make the team competitive. While Flip Saunders , a former head coach with the franchise has been brought in as a special consultant and to aid GM Milt Newton and the coaching staff of Rick Adelman with regard to player personnel decisions. With Love having signed a four-year $61 million deal to remain with the Timberwolves in 2012 and not due to become an unrestricted free agent until 2016 . It could be argued , that the power forward has been ill-served by that deal , given the lack of support overall that has been provided by the Timberwolves to fulfill his own personal ambitions well as those of the franchise as a whole.

From my own standpoint , I believe that Glen Taylor , owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves , has been one of the most incompetent owners not only within the NBA , but perhaps amongst the very worst in all of the four major professional team sports. Years of mismanagement and simply idiotic personnel moves , have seen this franchise , simply mired in mediocrity . The franchise’s last postseason appearance came almost a decade ago, during the 2003-2004 NBA season , in which the team was led by Kevin Garnett . Minnesota would make it to the Western Conference Finals that season, eventually losing to the Los Angeles Lakers, with a 4-2 series’ loss . In the ensuing decade, there have been very few highlights for the franchise, beyond the exploits of Kevin Love.

With a record of . 21-22 , good enough for eleventh seed within the Western Conference , the Timberwolves are 3 ½ games out of the eighth spot, currently held by the Dallas Mavericks(26-20). A game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois awaits Minnesota , and it will be interesting to see whether not they can make some inroads into the lead of the Mavericks, while seeking to chase down a playoff berth. It may well be, that the organization could seek to abandon that chase , with their being mounting speculation that the All Star power forward of the Timberwolves, has become decidedly unhappy with the current direction of the franchise. A trade might well be the only objective that can be sought, where Kevin Love can feel satisfied , and at the same time the front office can obtain an equitable exchange for the player, that would be financially advantageous for the Timberwolves. Far be it for me to suggest , but I believe it would be preferable to allow Kevin Love to play on a championship contender , rather than remain on a team that seems to be aimlessly heading nowhere are at this juncture !

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

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

Picture gallery .

As the NBA schedule, meanders towards the NBA All Star Break , what if anything do you believe has been a positive for the league during the first half of the season ? Also , with David Stern due to step down in his role as NBA commissioner , do you believe that the leadership under his successor Adam Silver will be of benefit to the league as a whole ? Your thoughts on this and anything else, you believe pertinent to this topic.

🙂

Picture and slideshow details below.
——————————————————

(1) Carmelo Anthony (7) is all smiles , having just hit a three-pointer during the game against the Charlotte Bobcats . Anthony would go on to score a career high sixty-two points for the New York Knicks during the contest , which was also a franchise record. That mark was previously held by former Knicks’ great Bernard King . The Knicks would go on to defeat the Bobcats 125-96 . AP Photo / Bill Kostroun ……

(2) The Bobcats’ Anthony Tolliver (43) tries to make the defensive play as Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks looks to make the lay-up play during the game between the New York Knicks and Charlotte Bobcats, played at Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York , on Friday , 24th January , 2014 . AP Photo / Bill Kostroun …..

(3) LOS ANGELES – 1984: Bernard King (30) of the New York Knicks calls for the ball on the wing against the Los Angeles Clippers during an NBA game in 1984 at the LA Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California. Copyright 1984 NBAE Photo by Ron Koch/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(4) Kobe Bryant of the Los Angles Lakers and Jalen Rose of the Toronto Raptors are seen here during a game between the two teams. Bryant would go on to score a career high 81 points during the contest played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, on the 22nd January, 2006. Getty Images / Marty Webb ….

(5) Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat looks to strip the ball away from Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs . Bosh’s teammate, LeBron James (6) looks on, hoping that the defensive play is a successful one during the contest played at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida this past weekend . Miami would go on to defeat San Antonio 113-101 . AP Photo / Pat Carter …..

(6) Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder . Durant and Westbrook are the NBA’s leading offensive duo and one of the primary reasons why the team now has the best record in the Western Conference as well as the NBA as a whole . Getty Images / Richard Hart …..

(7) LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trailblazers looks to drive the lane as Kevin Love (42) of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks to make a decisive defensive stop during the game between the two Western Conference opponents played at the Moda Center in Portland , Oregon on Saturday , 25th January , 2013. AP Photo / Don Ryan ….

——————————————————–

🙂

tophatal ………….. 01/26/2014

🙂

NBA news and archived stories

NBA transactions

NBA standings (division) and by conference

NBA schedule 26th January

NBA team stats offense

NBA team stats defense

NBA players’ stats scoring

NBA players’ stats field goal percentage

NBA players’ stats rebounds and assists

2014 NBA All Star Game & weekend

This month in NBA history

On this date 26th January in NBA history

———————-

Saving the best , for last and then some .

Yes I can give you one of those as a treat

From the sublime to the ridiculous ………..

From the sublime to the ridiculous ……….

If there is one thing we know about both the NFL and NBA , it is that “defense wins championships”. Being able to do so on a consistent basis , best aids a team in achieving that ultimate of goal of winning a title , be it in any team sport. As the NBA season still remains in its infancy , barely a month into the season which began on the 29th October , with a number of games on the opening night . Over the weekend schedule within the league, there were a slew of very interesting games, of which a contest between the defending Western Conference champions , in the San Antonio Spurs against the New York Knicks , a team filled high-priced stars , that has simply under-achieved over the past two seasons . It should be noted that last season , a great deal more was expected of this Mike Woodson coached team . This season , the pretext already being suggested will be that the Knicks along with the Brooklyn Nets are likely to be the biggest threat to the Miami Heat the defending NBA champions , as they set on the defense of their title and in seeking to create their own piece of history in winning three consecutive NBA titles .

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

—————————————————————————————————————

Slideshow .

New York Knicks’ owner James Dolan’s desire is to bring a title back to the media capital of the world. With the team , housed in perhaps the most famous sports’ venue in the world, Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York, it seems only fitting that his wish ought to be granted. That being said, when your team has been assembled from ill-fitting parts , you can only expect there to be a number of hiccups along the way both on and off the field of play. In recent years, we had the tenure of Isiah Thomas as head coach and then in an executive position of the venerable franchise . Missed opportunities , overspending on mediocre talent and to date , it would appear that not a single lesson has been learned by anyone within the front office of the organization . Yet continually , the Knicks’ fans and mass media within the New York City metropolitan area continue to hype the franchise , as if they have been an omnipresent force within the NBA over the past decade or more .

,

As I indicated earlier, the New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs met in a game over the weekend . In front of a national television audience, as well as a global audience of millions via the NBA Network and their international broadcast partners and those in attendance at Madison Square Garden. New York and San Antonio would put on a colorful display of attacking basketball. Unfortunately, for the Knicks’ fans , what they were also allowed to witness, was a team without the slightest propensity to play an iota of defense, as New York fell to the Spurs in a thirty-one point blowout loss to their opponents, 120-89 on Sunday afternoon.

If the New York Knicks are to have any hope of being within a remote chance of even challenging within the Eastern Conference and the Miami Heat, in particular . Then this team will have to a great deal more than have Carmelo Anthony be the lone threat offensively , and with their being no one of note actually being prepared to assume the load defensively to aid the ball-club. Anthony, is the only player on the roster averaging twenty points or more per game this season . With a record of 2-4 , the New York Knicks find themselves at the bottom of the Atlantic Division , a division that is currently led by the Philadelphia 76ers (4-3) . From a conference standpoint, the team now stands at the bottom of the Eastern Conference , bearing the same record as the Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards (2-4) . From a league wide standpoint , only the Denver Nuggets (1-4) , Sacramento Kings (1-5) and win-less Utah Jazz (0-7) , possess a worse record .

Clearly , all is not right with the New York Knicks, and with players such as JR Smith , Andrea Bargnani , Raymond Felton , Metta World Peace , Amare Stoudemire , Tyson Chandler and Iman Shumpert barely contributing anything of note during the Knicks’ two victories this season . It is extremely difficult to see how anyone can actually take this team seriously based on their current play. GM Steve Mills who was recently promoted to his current position may feel the need to make some drastic changes to the makeup of this roster at the trade deadline or try to engineer a buyout of the remainder of his contract . His biggest wish may well be to move the bloated salary of Amare’ Stoudemire off the books and as far away from the franchise as is humanly possible, as it has been years since he has contributed anything of note to this Knicks’ franchise. New York’s next game will be on Wednesday , when they are the guests of the Atlanta Hawks at the Philips Arena , in Atlanta, Georgia ,.

If the New York Knicks are said to be having an indifferent season , alongside their fellow in city and conference rivals , the Brooklyn Nets . Of which the best thing I can say , is if the front office led by Billy King feels that an aging roster , and rookie head coach in Jason Kidd , whose playing career is unquestioned , but his coaching acumen is already in doubt , is the best way to proceed forward. Then clearly, the mindset of the organization is misplaced along with an outrageously bloated team payroll of $102.6 million . Bear in mind, also, the organization will be obligated to pay the luxury tax of $63.5 million for this season alone , having exceeded the league’s soft salary cap of $58.455 million.

While, I believe that Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce and Jason Terry can contribute to the Nets’ ambitions this season. From an observer’s standpoint, I just cannot see the team going deep into the playoffs, because simply put , the minutes needed from the entire roster to mount a serious challenge to the obvious contenders within the Eastern Conference will not be forthcoming . Kidd’s coaching inexperience is already evidence of that and it is plain to see , that there has been little productive advice being proffered up by anyone on his coaching staff . The defense of the Nets, also seems to be a work in progress , with the losses inexplicably coming in the most inopportune of ways. A barely functional Deron Williams has yet to have a real breakout game this season and it has been left to Brook Lopez to provide the greater part of the Nets’ offensive productivity this early in the season. While Williams is coming off , off-season surgery , without his productivity , it is unlikely that the Brooklyn Nets will be able to compete at a higher degree of efficiency and competitiveness , in spite of Jason Terry’s presence on the roster as the best alternative at the point guard position . As Deron Williams goes , then so do the Brooklyn Nets. So, it will be of the utmost urgency, that his game is back at a peak level .

Coming off a narrow five-point loss to the Indiana Pacers’ , the Nets will now look to gain some momentum from that defeat , when they meet the Sacramento Kings at the Sleep Train Arena , in Sacramento, California , on Wednesday evening . At this juncture just about any positive traction that can be gained must be seen as an added plus, even if it can’t be viewed as a moral victory .

Should the Miami Heat fans be worried at this juncture that the team has a 4-3 record , though they do lead the Southeast Division by a mere game over the Atlanta Hawks ? Coming off a 66-16 record in 2012 , given the Heat’s currently play , they would be projected to finish with a win total of 48-34. While I do not believe yet to be a cause for concern , I do think that the players might still be reveling in last season’s triumph over the San Antonio Spurs and for the moment are content to be judged on the credentials of being the two-time defending NBA champions ! The three defeats as early as they have come this season , I would have thought that would have shaken Miami of its complacency and simply galvanized the team into playing a great deal better than they have been . There can be no excuses made for a franchise seeking to make NBA history , alongside perhaps the best player to have graced the NBA since his entry into the league as the first overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers . That year, was a draft resplendent with talent not since seen , in subsequent years, by a very wide margin. . LeBron James’ legacy we know, has been written and cemented in stone , but the player I now believe wants to be viewed as the ” best ever” ! Will he be able to accomplish that ? Well, only time will tell, and also dictate the fate of the player and this team.

Saturday’s loss by the Miami Heat to the Boston Celtics , by a one-point margin 111-110 , emphasized what I now have always felt, was a weakness with the Heat. They have never been considered a “physical” or a “very good rebounding “ team. What we are uniquely aware of concerning Miami, is that they are quite capable shifting gears, as and when they believe there is a reason to do so . Were it not for the inexperience in the Indiana Pacers’ roster last season in the Eastern Conference Finals , it remains my firm belief that the outcome of the series would have been entirely different ! The physicality and play of Roy Hibbert , David West , George Hill , Lance Stephenson and Tyler Hansborough ….. exposed the flaws of the Miami Heat , who are and will always remain something of a finesse team , while LeBron James , Dwyane Wade , Chris Bosh , Ray Allen remain the fulcrum and pivotal to the play of the team overall. Beyond that, you can simply draw your own conclusions .

Hoping to push their record to 5-3 , the Heat will play host to the Milwaukee Bucks at the American Airlines Arena , in Miami , Florida on Tuesday evening . For the Bucks , they will certainly be hoping that they can make the proposed contest a little less lopsided than they have been in the past , with Erik Spoelstra’s players having the better of their visitors in their most recent match-ups .

In spite of the lofty expectations each season of the self-absorbed Los Angeles Lakers’ (3-5) fans and the glitterati of A List Hollywood celebrities who make it their place to be seen at the Staples Center when the venerable Lakers are on the court . I am not so sure that this will be the season, that is likely to be an advantageous a turning point for the franchise in terms of its history . Kobe Bryant’s career is on the wane and no matter how one tries to spin it , this is not a very good Los Angeles Lakers’ team , in terms of its makeup. Beyond Pau Gasol , an aging Steve Nash , Steve Blake and Nick Young and Bryant , himself . There is absolutely nothing to suggest that the Lakers are capable of hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy this season , much less be considered to good enough gain a playoff berth within the Western Conference . Kobe Bryant may well have felt chided, that the Lakers were favored to finish no better than twelfth within the conference at the end of this season. Yet in reality, those assessing the team , were doing so, in its merits and how they what they believe are the strengths and weaknesses of the roster outright . With Bryant still sidelined as he seeks to recuperate from injury, there is no doubt without him , the Lakers are a shell of themselves both from an offensive and defensive standpoint.

The departure of Dwight Howard should not be seen as that great of a loss for the Los Angeles Lakers. The center simply could not adjust to being in the spotlight , much less be asked to lead or be seen as the future leader of the franchise upon Bryant’s departure from the Lakers, upon his undoubted retirement. Howard simply took less money , to play ‘second fiddle ̵