The fine art of incompetency and how it has found its way into the world of professional team sports, while ambivalent sports’ fans make light of it all … …

The fine art of incompetency and how it has found its way into the world of professional team sports, while ambivalent sports’ fans make light of it all … …

By Tophatal….

In the aftermath of the Thanksgiving Day trilogy of NFL games played on Thursday afternoon and evening. It cannot have escaped the the view of the fans how incompetent the losing teams were said to be. A sign of the times might one think or purely endemic of a league where the talent level and coaching seems to have been on the decline? This season the NFL has seen its fair share of issues on the filed and also off it, with player misconduct taking place center-stage , with the league hierarchy not showing a great deal of intelligence in such matters without the diatribe and downright pomposity of the NFLPA (Players’ Union) being on show for all to witness. Roger Goodell’s lack of communicative skills and lack of candor supports the thought process he remains in over his head. The same can also be said of the franchise owners around the league and their lack of action in dealing with such matters.

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Game one of the trilogy offered up on Thanksgiving Day might have lead us to believe the fans would be in for a treat , but even having ate way too much turkey , with the Tryptophan yet to take effect, it has to be said the level of play from defeated teams would have led the fans to become sick, suffering with gastrointestinal problems and in some cases, loose stool, leading to bouts of diarrhea. Hell, the shit was piled so high by Chicago Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler , you could have smelled the odor emanating from Ford Field in Detroit , Michigan , as the Detroit Lions and Matt Stafford feasted upon a Bears’ defense lacking in creativity and real competitive zeal. Detroit came away with a rather lopsided victory where the NFL North divisional opponents succumbed with the utmost of ease .

If ever there was time, to be convinced Jay Cutler never had what it took to lead a team with any degree of success, Cutlers’ performance in this game was a clear indication of that fact. The loss dropped the Chicago Bears’ record to 8-4 a mark shared with the Dallas Cowboys (8-4) within the NFC . With only three games left for the teams to jockey themselves within their divisions and conference as they make a push for a berth in the postseason. Chicago’s position now becomes all the more precarious precarious within the division, the conference and their only hope remains, in winning out their remaining games and a wish to see their fellow conference rivals slip up along the way.

Tony Romo’s playoff record has been well-chronicled, ridiculed and debated. Yet , for all of the missteps by the quarterback, his regular season record though impressive, his unwillingness to lead with authority , never-mind the fact he continues to apportion blame elsewhere for his team’s woes and his own incompetence, clearly seen also in the Cowboys’ lopsided loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, who were led by the team’s backup quarterback Mark Sanchez, having one of his performances as a starter over the past two seasons.

Mark Sanchez not only outplayed the more experienced Tony Romo, with any memories of the infamous “butt-fumble” now being pushed back into the past. Nick Foles now sidelined by injury might not be pushed back too quickly into his starting role. Head Chip Kelly will certainly have to think long and hard before coming to a decision about whether or not to reinsert Foles into the lineup , especially with the team’s backup performing so well. As to what this loss meant to the Dallas Cowboys and the fact , it was all the more bitter , the defeat took place at home inside the cavernous Cowboys’ Stadium in Arlington, Texas,. Jerry Jones might not be seething over the defeat of his beloved Cowboys, but you can bet the organization and their fans have to be embarrassed after such a demoralizing and disastrous display.

If you tend to flirt with disaster one way or another it is likely to come back and bite you in the ass . Over the course of this season the San Francisco 49ers (7-5) and the Seattle Seahawks have courted and flirted with the remnants of that premise far too often the course of this year. These two teams met on Thursday in the late evening game and there was a great deal on the line within the NFC West. The Arizona Cardinals now seem to be running away with the divisional lead needing only a victory in Sunday’s game to guarantee themselves a postseason berth. I have no doubt in my mind the Cardinals will come away with an easy road victory over the Atlanta Falcons whose season has not only spiraled out of spiraled of control, but it is now mired in the depths of mediocrity.

Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson have been part of some epic battles during the regular and the postseason . These two young quarterbacks are thought to be among the future of the NFL and two of the young passers to have been drafted over the past three years. Both have been part of the postseason foray and it has been Wilson , who prevailed , as he led the Seattle Seahawks to their lone Superbowl victory in the franchise’s history. Since that success, Russell Wilson has been a model of consistency for Seattle. Kaepernick, while having considerable postseason success, the big win sought, has not come into being.

Seattle’s decisive 19-3 demolition of the San Francisco 49ers was a case in how to negate a team’s offense which has spluttered through this season. The Forty-Niners will now have to win out, if they are to secure a berth in the postseason and even a double-digit win tally of ten wins might now seem improbable, given their performances over their last five games , going 3-2 , which now places them third within their division and the likelihood of scrambling to obtain a berth in the postseason. Not exactly the way GM Trent Baalke, CEO Jed Yorke or Jim Harbaugh and the members of the front office had envisaged seeing the season actually pan out. Thankfully, perhaps the knowledge of knowing their next scheduled game will be against the like-minded and offensively challenged Oakland Raiders (1-10) will offer a reprieve for San Francisco when they meet their opponent on the road in week fourteen. Failure to win there and the team might as well call it quits on their season.

Putting your best foot forward has taken on new meaning in the NFL this season especially within the NFC South. It seems almost unfathomable the winner of the division could end up with as few as seven wins and still make the postseason at the expense of a team within the NFC with a better record. Personally, I would rather not go in depth and describe the seasons of the Atlanta Falcons (4-7), New Orleans Saints (4-7) , Carolina Panthers(3-7) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-9), other than to suggest what you see is exactly what you ought to get . All four teams within the division have given a new meaning to the words, “banality”,” ineptitude” and sheer ” mediocrity “ this season . Unfortunately, with the top three teams still in with a chance of winning the division , the fans of the NFL will still have to witness their ongoing performances over the remainder of the regular season schedule. This is what has been endemic about the NFC South all season long, with their being few positives to point out whatsoever.

No one can deny the league’s handling of the Ray Rice “affair” has been an act of sheer stupidity on the part of Roger Goodell, the league hierarchy and in particular on the part of the Baltimore Ravens’ organization . Team owner Steve Bisciotti’s explanation as to why he and the front office failed to act has been met with a great deal of skepticism and the fact that Goodell’s office have stumbled their way through this whole spectacle with repeated pratfalls , while being economical with the truth leads me to believe another misstep by the NFL over another ordeal of this nature and the same steps will almost certainly be repeated. At no time was there any transparency shown by the league , other than during this arbitration case where the arbitrator a former Federal Court judge Barbara Jones found in favor of Rice with the disgraced Ravens’ running back now given a reprieve and being reinstated back into the NFL. As to whether or not another NFL franchise will re-sign Ray Rice will be dependent upon their needs and if they are willing to be subjected to the likely backlash by a number of women’s groups. Now some might point to the fact Michael Vick was allowed back into the league having paid his debt to society after his wrongdoings. Those said to be deserving of a second chance are given that reprieve and a chance to make amends . Rice may well have been contrite after his heinous actions , but his then fiance , Jenay Parker-Rice did little to serve the best interests of women with her statements her husband had been made a scapegoat by the NFL and society in general.

The NFL has failed miserably in their efforts to deal with a number of social ills and the issue of player misconduct, the incompetence of the union and in large part a great of apathy and ambivalence shown by the fans and how they have viewed the issue of domestic violence and spousal abuse.

An old adage …. ” the more things change the more they are said to remain the same” . Quite clearly, this season within the NBA the Philadelphia 76ers (0-15) are well on the way to proving that very point. There is nothing noble or gallant in seeing a professional sports’ franchise display this type of ineptitude while fans try to shrug it off as being part of the game. This very same franchise spent much of last season performing so deplorably , it all seemed lost on the NBA hierarchy as they sang and heaped praise on their departing commissioner David Stern . Proponents of the former commissioner continue to point to how he assisted with the growth of the NBA. I will put it more succinctly, when you can ride on the coattails of the NBA’s greatest player and perhaps one of the greatest sports’ personalities and professional athletes this country has ever produced. Only an imbecile could have failed in not being able to expand the reach of the NBA domestically and globally, while witnessing and using the exploits of Michael Jordan to market their brand.

Stern’s successor Adam Silver is now having preside over the 76ers as this team for the second successive season seeks end their schedule with the worst record in the NBA. The best and the worst have been on show in league over the course of its schedule at this point and it is pretty much a safe bet, no one expected to see the Memphis Grizzlies (14-2) and Toronto Raptors (13-3) possess the two best records in the league , with the Grizzlies leading a very competitive Western Conference.

Brett Brown and his Sixers’ coaching staff have a long way to go before they match the infamy of having worst regular season losing streak(twenty-six games) , but they are making damn sure of taking aim of matching that ignominious feat. Fifteen games and counting with each loss to start this season, has been by an average margin of 15.5 points. That sort of ineptitude is either ingrained or by taught by Brown and his coaching staff to the roster of players. I will use the term ” players ” loosely, because there has been absolutely nothing to suggest that this group can actually play the game of professional basketball competitively .

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Next up for Philadelphia will be a game against the Dallas Mavericks (12-5) at the Wells Fargo Center , in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ,. Sixers’ owner Josh Harris and his fellow executives have shown little propensity in changing the mindset of the organization in spite of claims to the contrary by others within the game. Little has been done by this league to even remote chastise owners who merely seek to make a profit from their franchise while producing a bad product on the court. The NBA has become indicative of that over the years and nothing is likely to be done by Adam Silver or the league hierarchy. If left to idiots to such as Mark Cuban to sell the current brand of the NBA as a solid product , the self-absorbed and publicity seeking entrepreneur would have us eat his crow, while telling us what a great Hors-d’ouevre and appetizer the entree and main course just happen to be.

Sixers’ roster led by the mercurial talents of Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid , Drew Gordon , Luc Mbah a Moute and Tony Wroten are hardly names meant to instill e fear in any opponent , never mind the coaching staff lacking a great deal of experience . Yet somehow , there are fans who believe the team being a work in progress, will become competitive in years to come. This lineup is unlikely to be the same a year from now, much less at the trade deadline this season (19th February). GM Sam Hinkie will likely to strip away pieces from the roster under the pretext once again that he is building for the future . Attendance levels at the Wells Fargo Center are lower now than they were last season when the Sixers were not even remotely competitive. The same can now be said of this season as they continue struggle in the NBA.

Phil Jackson since returning to the New York Knicks (4-13) has seen the team struggle this season. The expectations were said to be high , but it is hard to envisage how a roster team devoid of talent with the exception of Carmelo Anthony could be seen as a worthy challenger to the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors within the Eastern Conference this season . Derek Fisher is still learning on the job in his freshman year as a head coach and it does not instill any confidence, if you are an observer , watching this team from afar.

Fisher’s career as a player is littered with success, but so far in his first coaching stint , he is beginning to see how tough this job is going to be. Coaching many of today’s top stars in the NBA is not unlike dealing with a petulant child. The Knicks’ head coach will likely find this out while also having to deal with Phil Jackson in his position as Head of Basketball Operations for the franchise. The “buck stops here” , but in the case with this particular franchise, it will be deferred and failure by the team this season, will likely lead to Fisher’s firing. New York is not at all forgiving when their professional sports’ franchises are failing and when the finger-pointing begins and it tends to be the head coach taking the fall as the ” fall guy “, when the players themselves are in fact the real reason behind the team’s failure.

In their most recent game on the 28th November the New York Knicks were on the wrong side of a lopsided twenty-seven point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder . . Returning to the Thunder lineup was the team’s point guard Russell Westrbook , but the Thunder’s best player and League MVP , guard , Kevin Durant is still several weeks away from returning the starting lineup. Westbrook led all scorers in their defeat of the New York Knicks, where the leading scorer for the Knicks’ loss was Amare’ Stoudemire in the absence of the injured Carmelo Anthony.

Any thought that Jackson would have Derek Fisher install the “Triangle Offense” and have it, up and running with a great deal of efficiency has been lost in terms of the Knicks’ play this season. This team , as with last season has yet to show any signs of being a great defensive unit. The Knicks’ strengths will continue to be their offense, especially with Carmelo Anthony on court to display his offensive arsenal .

The New York Knicks and Miami Heat will renew one of the NBA’s most heated rivalries . Dwyane Wade and Chis Bosh are the lone survivors of the franchise’s former ” Big Three” , with the departure of LeBron James and his return to the Cavaliers. New York will play host to Wade and his teammates at Madison Square Garden , New York City , New York. The contest will one of the highlights of Sunday’s schedule. Regular and postseason games between these two storied franchises have in many respects represented the animosity which still exists between the two Eastern Conference teams. For Dwyane Wade this will also offer him another opportunity of going up against Carmelo Anthony in another contest, where the two will seek to show off their vast array of offensive skills.

As the NBA is about to enter the third month of the season, it is hard to envisage how a number of these teams with poor records will actually survive while playing a less than competitive brand of basketball .

It would be fair to suggest the MLB postseason provided the fans with an astonishing array of events. The Kansas City Royals and their improbable run to the World Series gave us great drama and theatrics. Now in the aftermath of the series the Royals are now build on that success. Unfortunately, it now appears one of the team’s regular and postseason heroes will not be returning to the ball-club. Billy Butler was traded by the Royals to the Oakland A’s . In what has to be a strange turn of events the team Kansas defeated in the AL wildcard game would be the recipient of Butler’s services with the player garnering a three-year $30 million contract . As to what this now indicates about the AL Pennantwinners and their apparent wish to be seen as long-term contenders for the World Series has now taken a backwards’ step in my opinion ! For years the front office of this organization has systematically traded away players, rather than pay what was deemed to be fair market value .

Now in light of their recent success, it would appear team owner David Glass and GM Dayton Moore seem to be intent on reverting back to ways of old. An almost three-decade wait for a postseason appearance and now this ? It may not be viewed as a slap in the face of the Royals’ fans, but now trading players away, because you haven’t the financial resources to retain some of your stars on your roster does seem crass and impudent.

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Billy Butler is unlikely to be the last player to be let go by the Kansas City Royals during the off-season and as admirable their season was said to be, all of that will now be forgotten, as the team prepares for their Spring Training Schedule schedule and then unto the regular season. Their regular season schedule will begin with a two-game series against the Houston Astros , an AL franchise still looking for some semblance of consistency and success since Jim Crane assumed control of the Astros .

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With the NFL season now entering its final quarter what do you believe has been the biggest disappointment by way of the players or teams ? Meanwhile, in the NBA do you think the league hierarchy will make an attempt to improve the level of play by possibly making rule changes ? Finally, after the unbelievable postseason by the Kansas City Royals do you believe they are capable of keeping the momentum going and competitive in 2015? Your comments are always more than welcome, so by all means chime in with your thoughts as you see fit.

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(1) Matthew Stafford (9) of the Detroit Lions signals to his team in the fourth quarter while playing the Chicago Bears at Ford Field on November 27, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. Getty Images North America / Gegory Shamus

(2) Matthew Stafford (9) of the Detroit Lions looks to throw a first quarter pass against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field on November 27, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. Getty Images / Gregory Shamus …

(3) Ezekiel Ansah(94) of the Detroit Lions sacks Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears in the fourth quarter at Ford Field on November 27, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Detroit Lions won 34-17 . Getty Images /Gregory Shamus …

(4) Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys is hit by Brandon Graham (55) of the Philadelphia Eagles in the second half at AT&T Stadium on November 27, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images Tom Pennington ….

(5) Quarterback Tony Romo(9) of the Dallas Cowboys talks with quarterback Mark Sanchez (3) of the Philadelphia Eagles after the Eagles beat the Cowboys 33-10 at AT&T Stadium on November 27, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images /Tom Pennington …

(6) Richard Sherman (25) of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates an interception in the fourth quarter on a ball intended for Steve Johnson (13) of the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium on November 27, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. . Getty Images / Thearon Henderson …

(7) Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers is seen here with his NFC West counterpart and fellow quarterback Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks . These two young stars of the NFL have been very prodigious since entering the NFL. The duels between the two , have proven to be very exhilarating for the players, the fans and their respective teams. AP Photo / Matt Hammond …

(8) Former Baltimore Ravens’ running back Rice is seen here leaving the arbitration hearing on the 5th November in New York City , New York , along with his wife Jenay Parker-Rice . The player has been reinstated , after former Federal Court Judge Barbara Jones found that Rice had not lied in his statements to the NFL league hierarchy , who claim Rice’s statements were misleading not totally honest . The player who now is an unrestricted free agent can only wait for a team to now offer him a roster spot and possible contract . Yet it seems unlikely for the present given the adverse publicity his case has received and the gravity of the original incident of domestic violence. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s position seems all the more tenuous not only by this outcome but by the league’s failure to act with transparency and in a timely manner . AP Photo / Paul Monroe …

(9) From left to right , Philadelphia 76ers’ players Michael Carter-Williams , Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel . The team is off to horrendous start to the season , with a sixteen-game losing streak and with their being no apparent sight as to where the Sixers’ first win of the season is liable to come from. Losing by an average margin of almost 16 points per game , from a defensive standpoint Philadelphia is simply devoid of talent in various aspects of their game. AP Photo /Emily Carpenter ..

(10) Kansas City Royals’ Mike Moustakas (8) is congratulated by teammate Billy Butler (16) after hitting a two-run home run off Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco during the sixth inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, April 18, 2014. AP Photo/Orlin Wagner

(11) Owner Jim Crane (center) of the Houston Astros talks with former owner Drayton McLane Jr (left) and owner David Glass of Kansas City Royals before a game between the Astros and Royals at Kauffman Stadium on June 7, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images / Ed Zurga ….

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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.

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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 .

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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.

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Picture and slideshow details below.

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(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 … ….

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tophatal 11/13/2014

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The grass is not always greener on the other side …..

The grass is not always greener on the other side …..

If there is one thing I know, then it is when someone is blowing smoke to create the perception that everything is OK , more to the point, blowing it up my ass ! Clearly , that has been the point concerning the antics of the Philadelphia 76ers and the ownership group led by venture capitalist Joshua Harris , who also just happens to be the owner of the NHL’s , New Jersey Devils . As many of you might now be aware, the Sixers’ equaled a league record , in reeling off twenty-six consecutive losses , which just happens to be franchise and league record. An ignominious feat for a once proud franchise , that produced such great players as Wilt Chamberlain , Julius Erving , Charles Barkley and Allen Iverson .

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Inasmuch , as with each season , the common thought is that all of the NBA’s teams are in with an equal chance of making the postseason , in reality, with only eight berths up grabs within each conference, the chance of being amongst those contenders is not assured as some might think. The level of competition also , in particular within the Eastern Conference , where the Philadelphia 76ers are domiciled, , has been a boon to the game of basketball , that is in a dire state of disrepair.

Coming into the season, the Sixers had a threadbare team with very little experience on the roster , beyond that of Thaddeus Young , James Anderson , Byron Mullens and Jason Richardson . Then throw in the fact that head coach Brett Brown is a rookie coach , along with a very inexperienced roster of coaching assistants and you simply have a natural recipe for a ready-made disaster.

Joshua Harris , who made his considerable wealth as venture capitalist , founding the firm , Apollo Global Management , where risks are taken , with start-up companies or the way he seeks to buyout under-performing companies and then either seeks to turn them around , break or split them up , selling off discarded pieces , or where possible , seeking to use such deals to enable a tax write-off and an inevitable gain for the company. If, this is Harris’ intent, with regard to the Sixers’ franchise without making the die-hard fans aware of his intent. Then, he is certainly going about the right way in alienating those loyal fans , as well as, creating an atmosphere and discontent amongst the fan base and thereby bringing about a great deal of unrest . .

It is certainly hard to envisage, how anyone can take any positives out of a season, where a team with a 16-57 record within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference , can be seen as a competitive franchise. There has been absolutely no leadership from the seasoned veterans on the roster and even with the somewhat refreshing play of Michael Carter-Williams and to a lesser extent Nerlens Noel , there are no signs that the Sixers will be viewed as competitive force. Rookie head coach, Brett Brown , was thrown in at the deep end along with an equally inexperienced coaching staff , that was meant to assist with regard to this season. I may well be mistaken, but there also seems to be a great deal of stupidity amongst some fans, who see the travails of the 76ers as a way to aid them in the future , especially as far as attaining a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. Granted , with the NCAA Tournament still ongoing , but with a number of players now declaring their eligibility , the varying consensus would appear to be that beyond Jabari Parker , Andrew Wiggins , Shabazz Napier , Doug McDermott and should he declare his eligibility , Scottie Wilbekin of the Florida Gators , whom, if he leads the program to their third national title in the last ten years , he is likely to be the most sought after player in this draft.

Sixers‚Äô GM Stan Hinkie has not seen fit to give any type of explanation, as to his decisions as it relates to the player personnel moves , since he assumed his position , but given his relative inexperience , I cannot see how anyone can believe, that because he is prepared to gamble on a sense and premise, that the team is likely to get blue-chip player from this lottery , it well set the franchise on the right path. Someone should remind him, the coaching staff over this past season, has shown little , if any type of coaching ingenuity and for that, a great deal of the blame has to be placed upon the general manager‚Äôs na√Įve and conceited shoulders.

Coming off a moral boosting twenty-five points win over the equally abysmal Detroit Pistons at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , on Saturday night, the Sixers’ next scheduled contest will be on Monday night , when they are the guests of the Atlanta Hawks at the Philips Arena in Atlanta , Georgia,. With a mere nine games left on their schedule, we should be able to tell a great deal about the mindset of the Philadelphia 76ers and not this idiocy of them being deemed a team, much less a credible NBA franchise. Nothing, about the way that they have conducted themselves would indicate that, and the lack of candor from the front office , is a clear indication of the continued disdain shown for the fans over the course of the season. Doubt my words, then look for any for an indication by or from either Joshua Harris or Stan Hinkie, as to their motives and then ask yourself why it is , that they have remained silent, while subjecting the fans to a monstrosity of a totally and noncommittal season from the playing staff and organization as a whole ?

I have always found it fascinating to listen to the idiocy of some , who try to give an explanation about their local teams , when they in actuality, have no damn idea, what they are said to be talking about . Case in point, here in the local Tampa Bay area sports’ market , the MLB franchise is a profitable one , but in large part that would not be the case , unless they were not propped up by the aid given, by way of the MLB tax revenue sharing scheme , but yet for some reason, the clueless fans and the local print and television media tend to spin the myth, that through the ingenuity shown by the franchise’s front office , that has been the case for a considerable period of time. Tends to be the way, when those seeking to proffer up the knowledge would rather not spend the time to use any due diligence in coming up with the correct information concerning the Tampa Bay Rays’ financial means and stability.

This season for the Rays will be , make or break, because one more season of missed opportunities and in all likelihood , GM Andrew Friedman will have to gut the roster once again , as a face-saving exercise. It becomes the same old story , season in and season out , concerning the Rays and there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel at all , and that also pertains to the ongoing saga of the franchise’s stadium issue. This may well be the last year in which Bud Selig remains the MLB Commissioner and the idiotic article written by USA Today‚Äôs …. Christine Brennan , praising the league‚Äôs highest-ranking executive , paints a picture of someone, who at every turn, has been able to handle any problem , that the league has faced with a great deal of intellect and ingenuity . Now, I was not expecting a hatchet job to be done on the commissioner , but at the same time , the article on Selig, was simply not objective enough , nor did it seek to show his flaws or the numerous miscues, that he has made during his tenure . Unfortunately, this is now the price one has to pay, if you take the print media seriously , as they still believe themselves to be paragons of virtue , while seeking out the truth. To my mind , that is simply a crock of bull#hit , with this article by Brennan having as much merit to it , as a piece of plagiarism written by the infamous Jayson Blair !

The Glazer family, it can be said, in owning two professional sports’ franchises, may well have had one of their worst years on record , One of the franchises owned , the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , simply stunk up the joint within the NFL and once again their less than intelligent fans , were making excuses as to the woes of the team , when it was simply clear for all to see that head coach Greg Schiano lacked even less discipline than his entire playing roster. So much so , that at varying points during the Buccaneers’ season , you had to wonder which of the two entities were said to be the more incompetent. Was it the players on the field of play or Schiano and his entire coaching staff ?

A 4-12 season, has a way of bringing an organization back down to earth and giving you a clear indication of who and what they are and that was clearly the case with the Buccaneers . The franchise entered the off-season , dismissing Greg Schiano and not extending the contract of GM Mark Dominik . Replacing the former head coach is a face well-known to Buccaneers’ fans with Lovie Smith now succeeding his predecessor and Jason Licht brought in to head the front office as the new general manager. Smith and Licht, have been quick to start their era with some bold moves with regard to players they thought to be superfluous to the team’s needs, as they seek to get under salary cap and in preparing for the upcoming NFL Draft . Where the Buccaneers now go from here, will come down to the decisions made by the new head coach and that of the general manager, with Glazer family finally being aware and in tow with what is actually going on around them, not that they were over the course of the entire NFL season .

Joel Glazer , alongside siblings Avram , Edward and Bryan Glazer , have been entrusted by patriarch Malcolm Glazer to exercise due diligence in the running of English Premiership League (EPL) soccer team Manchester United and to ensure that the continued success of the soccer club is ongoing . With the stepping down of soccer’s most successful manager in Alex Ferguson , who as manager of the soccer club won just about every domestic trophy possible in English domestic soccer, as well as most prized trophy in club soccer, the UEFA Champions League Trophy . Ferguson’s successor, David Moyes , was thought to be the person best suited to succeed the most successful manager in English soccer history.

One of the issues that was never addressed and should have been by the board of directors of Manchester United, was to have allowed Ferguson some latitude , but not be totally reliant upon his counsel as to who his successor should have been . Unfortunately, with success comes power and Alex Ferguson was able to wield a great deal of it , even after having stepped down as the manager . At the same time , fearful of the fact, that fans still remained entirely unhappy in the way the family was able to purchase the club for almost $2 billion, without having to use any of their own money, but instead , using the club as collateral , they leveraged team and its assets, therein increasing its debt, while being given access to some $300 million in liquid assets (cash) , which was never used at the time, to bolster the team’s roster. Such were the vagaries of the takeover in which the existing shareholders walked away entirely happy cash-rich and several major financial institutions were now left to ponder , the next move of the Glazer family, as the owners of soccer’s most famous club in the world . They held the debt, but the club had now become Joel and Avram Glazer’s own personal bauble to do with as they pleased , within certain parameters off-course .

Nine years after the team’s purchase by the Glazer family in 2005 , and here we are , now in 2014 and all of the success attained in between then and now , will be for nothing, in terms of a domestic league title . The team fell by the wayside in the FA Cup , fell apart in the League Cup (Carling) and they are languishing , completely out of contention for the Premiership title , which guarantees qualification for next season’s UEFA Champions League and the lucrative cash windfall that comes out of that particular European club competition .

The only saving grace for David Moyes at present, just happens to be the fact that he has led the team to the quarter-finals of this season’s UEFA Champions League competition where the team has been drawn against Bayern Munich of Germany, and where the first-leg of the two game aggregate contest, will be on the 1st April , 2014 being played at Old Trafford in Manchester, England , Anything short of a victory and the ire of the fans will continue, as there are already calls for Moyes’ dismissal, after his failure in each of the domestic competitions in England. With those mountings calls of discontent from the game’s most passionate fans , have come for the call for the Glazer family to actually sell the team , rather than their continued incompetence at various levels within the organization, from the boardroom on down. From the very beginning , it was very clear, that when the team was bought, Malcolm Glazer was truly out of his depth and the alleged acumen that his sons are said to have, in running a commercial concern , was not evident when it came to running this particular soccer team.

All of the familial incompetency had already been on show, as it related their continued idiocy, when it came to the Buccaneers and it was simply transferred across the Atlantic , where it was continued., , concerning how they sought to change the inner workings of Manchester United which was already successful, even profitable , and valuable concern . Leveraging the club and placing it with so much debt and then having to twice renegotiate with the financiers , again shows that Joel Glazer’s business acumen is not as astute as was first being claimed by a multitude of individuals within the Bay area and within the NFL fraternity. United has managed to lessen its debt obligation , but it may well be in for something of a scramble , if it is not able to fully meet the criteria set by UEFA for the 2015 season, wherein, teams qualifying their sanctioned competitions cannot carry debt totaling more thirty per-cent of their book value. Get the feeling the Glazers are not as smart, as some claim them to be?

In recent weeks there have rumors, highlighting even more discontent concerning malaise within the Manchester United organization , with evidence that former player David Beckham and several of his teammates from the 1992 side will lead a consortium backed by a wealthy Arab family providing the financing for the takeover of United , with Beckham , Ryan Giggs , Gary and Phil Neville fronting the consortium, with each of the players holding a stake in the team.

David Beckham , however, in partnership with business partner and manager, Simon Fuller and billionaire Mauricio Claure are busy in trying to get an MLS franchise off the ground in Miami in time for the 2017 season , but first, an agreement must be hammered out with regard to the building of a 40,000 seat venue in the downtown Miami area, with negotiations set to begin with the city of Miami. The blight that has already hit the city economically and they have yet to learn anything from their stupidity, in acquiescing to the whims of Bud Selig and Miami Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria in building the Miami Marlins’ Ballpark that has yet to be filled to capacity for a ball-game ever since its opening during the 2012 MLB season . Beckham and his partners, may well fare a great deal better, than Loria , given the demographics within the greater Miami area and the passion for soccer. On the flip side of the coin, baseball struggles to attract fans within the state of Florida, amongst the two professional Major League franchises and barely have decent attendances for their home games during the regular season. Spring Training is one thing, but during the regular season, one would expect a great deal more out of the fans of the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays, rather than the continued excuses.

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Picture gallery .

Are you of the belief, that the actions of Philadelphia 76ers’ owner Joshua Harris can be justified even when there is no actual guarantee of future success based on his apparent intent ? Also given the lack of success by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since 2003 , where do you believe that the blame lies for their failure, subsequent to that Superbowl triumph ? Out of their depth or not, should the Glazers now look for a buyer of their soccer team , where in all likelihood they would be able to sell Manchester United and make a tidy profit after sundry expenses ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always, for your continued support of this site , as it is greatly appreciated !

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(1) PHILADELPHIA – MAY 14 : Managing Owner Josh Harris ,left, of the Philadelphia 76ers introduces Sam Hinkie as President of Basketball Operations and General Manager during a press conference on May 14, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Copyright 2013 NBAE — Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images …

(2) An emotional Allen Iverson addresses the crowd at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , on the night that his number three jersey was retired by the franchise . Iverson began his career with the franchise having been drafted out of Georgetown University by the 76ers as the number one overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft . AP Photo / Denny Rogers …..

(3) Sixers’ teammates Nerlens Noel, left , seen here with Michael Carter-Williams , are seen as two of the main pieces that GM Sam Hinkie would like to build a team around . Both players have been moderately successful on what has been a thoroughly disappointing season , for the franchise which sees them languishing at the bottom of their division , as well having the ignominy of equaling a league record for mediocrity having lost twenty-six consecutive games during their regular season schedule. For rookie head coach , Brett Brown and his staff , it truly has been a difficult year, with very little progress being made on-court. USA Today/ Eric Hartline …..

(4) Avram, Bryan and Joel Glazer, pictured at Old Trafford in 2008, say they are not interested in selling Manchester United. However, if the rumors are to be believed the family are prepared to relinquish their ties to Manchester United if the right offer is made , that figure is thought to be in excess of $ 3.75 billion . Photograph: Mike Egerton/Empics Sport/PA …

(5) Newly installed Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach Lovie Smith ,left is seen here with GM Jason Licht after the two were introduced to the convened press , with both replacing dismissed former employees Greg Schiano, Smith’s predecessor and Mark Dominik , who prior had been the Buccaneers’ former general manager. After a 4-12 season , Smith will seek to resurrect the fortunes of the NFC South based franchise , which has not made the postseason since 2007. During the off-season both the head coach and general manager have already began to make moves with the discarding of Darrelle Revis who has since been signed by the New England Patriots . It has but one of several moves engineered to make the team more cap friendly as they also prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft . AP Photo / Mike Patterson ….

(6) Former managerial adversaries , but now both on the same side. Seen here are Sir Alex Ferguson , left, himself the most successful manager in British soccer history , having won major trophies with SPL team Aberdeen before becoming the manager of Manchester United and leading the club to the most successful era in their history , winning in excess of thirty major trophies . Ferguson stepped down from his position , but not before his own personal recommendation to the Board of Directors that his successor should be David Moyes , pictured here . An indifferent season for Manchester United sees them languishing currently in seventh place in the English Premiership League (EPL) some seventeen points behind league leaders Liverpool FC (71 pts) with only six games remaining to their regular season schedule . The lone trophy that the team is now contention for , remains the UEFA Champions League , where they meet Bayern Munich of the Bundesliga in the first leg of a two-leg quarter-final , where the winner advances to the semi-finals of the most important European club competition . Getty Images Europe/ Arthur James ….

(7) Bolivian billionaire , Marcelo Claure and founder & CEO of Brightstar is seen here with soccer star David Beckham at a Miami Heat game at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida ., The two have partnered up entertainment mogul Simon Fuller , creator of American Idol and CEO of XIX Entertainment the holding company for Fuller’s business properties . The trio bid an astonishingly low asking price of $50 million for the MLS Miami franchise which is due to become operational during the 2017 season . Don Garber , MLS Chairman , who was pressed on the issue as to why the rights’ fee for the franchise, was so considerably low , when the New York franchisee was asked to pay in excess of $125 million , stated that as part of Beckham’s original contract, when he joined the MLS as a player with the Los (LA) Angeles Galaxy , wherein, a codicil was added to his contract giving him the right to operate a franchise with a predetermined fee . The consortium is now in discussion with the city of Miami with regard to the building of a 40,000 seat venue in the downtown Miami area but there also signs that the consortium would be open to site close to the Port of Miami close to the current home of Miami Heat , NBA franchise . Miami Herald / Jose Garcia ………

(8) Former teammates and close friends , David Beckham is seen here with Ryan Giggs. The duo tasted unprecedented success as players with Manchester United having won every domestic trophy together as players and then triumphed also when club won the UEFA Champions League Trophy for the first time since it was one for the first time under the late Sir Matt Busby as the Champions League precursor (European Cup) in 1968. The two are rumored to be part of a consortium made of up several members of the 1992 Manchester United team that are said to be interested in purchasing the soccer club , in which they would be backed by wealthy Arab family , whose name has yet to be disclosed . Weary of his name being attached this deal , David Beckham has neither confirmed or denied that such a proposal , as having been discussed . Yet , unconfirmed sources , have stated that Giggs and his friend, have repeatedly discussed the situation in the past several months , with now a number of teammates coming on-board , to be part of such a deal . At the same time, a number of major English newspapers are now headlining many of their back page,s with the assertion that beleaguered manager David Moyes is likely to be fired at the end of the season campaign, based on his failure during the domestic season , notwithstanding the fact of his guiding United to the quarter-final stages of the UEFA Champions League. Speculation has continued to rise that, Ryan Giggs would be the suitable successor to Moyes , having played his entire twenty-year career with the team, where he is well-respected by current teammates and beloved by the fans at Old Trafford , home ground of the Premiership’s most widely respected team. Guardian UK / Ian Ogletree ………..

(9) Simon Fuller , left, is seen here with close friend , business partner David Beckham and his wife Victoria ‘Posh Spice’ Beckham , singer and fashion designer . Fuller also happens to be the manager of both celebrities , advising them on a wide variety of issues , as it relates to their respective images and ongoing careers. Getty Images / Alicia Markham …

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Winners Are Often Made But The Again They Can Be Born

Winners Are Often Made But Then Again They Can
Be Born

All of a sudden it appears that Joe Maddon and his coaching staff has a winning team on his hands with the Tampa Bays Rays having won five straight games and now making their presence felt in the AL East . Now I’m not about to pronounce the Rays as the surprise team of the season as of yet because we’re but a few weeks into an arduous 162 game regular season schedule , where as we know anything can happen.

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Slide show for your perusal .

As some of you may know I’m fan without a team to support having abandoned the Florida Marlins at the end of last season . I felt I could no longer support an organization where the team owner Jeffrey Loria was simply more about himself , his needs and wants rather than what was in the best interests of the team and the fans in general . It goes without saying that Loria like many of his peers within the game are of the same mindset and that is especially applicable to the owners amongst the small market teams around MLB . They’ll do whatever it takes to make money even if it’s to be done illegally !

The Rays this season having lost Manny Ramirez with his abrupt retirement rather than face the league mandated 100 game suspension after a second failed consecutive drug test thereby breaking the league’s steroid policy , essentially showed himself to be nothing more than a coward ! The heroes of the moment for the Tampa Bay Rays has to be Johnny Damon and Sam Fulds who has proven to be just the impetus needed to turn things around for the team and now make themselves the talk of the town at present as it regards their play. That being said it would be naive to even suggest or think that because of the team’s play they’re ready to contend within their division once again and make a successful defense of their AL East divisional title . Stranger things are known to have happened but then again who know as it concerns the vagaries of this team ?

I’m sorry but anyone of the belief that the New York Mets with their payroll of over bloated stars can contend within the NL East much less the rest of baseball has to be either delirious or still on some form of prescriptive medication . This team much less the organization has no idea what it takes to win much how to go about it with any degree of certainty or authority. I know that manager Terry Collins , his coaching staff will have the assist wherewithal of GM’s Sandy Alderson and assistant general manager J P Ricciardi providing their input as it relates to the personnel decisions but simply put the Mets’ window of opportunity to even be viewed as contenders much less win a World Series title has long gone !

The New York Mets has become a comical caricature of all that is wrong with the game of baseball ! Team President Saul Katz , team owner , senior general partner Fred Wilpon have plunged the team into an abyss of mediocrity and now it also appears the team’s immediate future could very well be at stake . Both Katz and Wilpon as well as the organization has been named as defendants in a civil suit that looks to reclaim $500 million that Wilpon and Katz were in receipt of as part of the Bernard Madoff Ponzi Scheme. Both defendants claim that they were unaware that the sums they’d been in receipt of was from fraudulent means . But yet somehow both Katz and Wilpon divested much of the $ 500 million into various entities including a company that both had co- founded —– Sterling Equities . What now awaits both defendants as well as the team remains to be seen .

Well the NBA postseaon has begun and we’ve already seen that what the expectations are meant to be about . Those doubters of the Chicago Bulls after their unexpected 60 plus win season shows why it is that you simply don’t gloss over the achievements of this team and its coach Tom Thibodeau . I’ve read it where some have said because of the inexperience of this team they could very well struggle throughout these the playoffs and that because Tom Thibodeau doesn’t have much of a coaching pedigree it could prove to be an impediment for this team. I simply wish when people make such asinine claims that they simply did a little research than simply speaking out their rear end ! Thibodeau has been the assistant coach on two NBA title winning organizations that collectively have won 5 titles in the last decade and a half . A fact that simply has been overlooked by individuals who’ve chosen not to look at the coach’s resume’ . Being an assistant to such noted coaches as Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich may seem slight but consider this , Thibodeau was the architect of the defensive strategies that has molded the face we see of both the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs .

Game one of the Bulls’ opening round series against Doug Collins’ Philadelphia 76ers . The United Center was packed to the rafters to see the Chicago Bulls play their first postseason game and series at the venue since the heyday of Jordan , Pippen and Phil Jackson . And though I didn’t think that series would be a cakewalk for the Bulls I knew that game one would be a stern test for the team and in particular the leadership qualities of Derrick Rose a potential league MVP candidate . And if anyone is in any doubt why Rose shouldn’t be the league MVP then yesterday’s play in which he blocked Darren Collison’s shot , then in transition dribbled the ball upcourt and then carved his way through the Sixers’ defense for the layup score . Need I anymore on the matter ?

For the better part of three quarters the Sixers had the Bulls on the rack but somehow you simply knew that this team wasn’t about to disappoint their fans and in particular a national tv audience watching. Rose for his part has led this team with authority throughout the season and in doing so we’ve seen both the maturation of Luol Deng , Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah as players . And with the team having acquired Carlos Boozer in the offseason as a free agent we saw the Chicago Bulls rise to the occasion surprising many of their contemporaries within the Eastern Conference .

The Bulls eked out a comfortable victory and will look to resume the series and increase their lead have a 2-0 margin before the resumption of the series in Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center ( formerly the Comcast/ Spectrum Arena) . If anything Doug Collins would like nothing more than to even this series at one game apiece before his team’s return its home venue. I know that the Sixers’ coach had to have been disappointed to see his team give up a lead and then see it completely erased with less than 3 and a half minutes to go in the game . From being on the cusp of a surprise upset win the Bulls simply placed a dagger in the hearts of their first round opponents . That’s the way a game ought to be closed out , with complete authority and the mind of a cold boodied assassin !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As a sport’s fan how do you define winning and what it means to you as a fan and no I’m not talking about the ‘term’ now being coined by actor Charlie Sheen ! If anything over this sport’s weekend what result if anything either came as a surprise or met with your expectation ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the topics raised within this piece . .

Alan aka tophatal ………………………………………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com ……..

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(1) Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon looks on from the dugout during the ninth inning of a Major League Baseball game against the Minnesota Twins Sunday, April 17, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rays would go on to lose 4-2 to the Twins . AP Photo/Brian Blanco ……

(2) ST. PETERSBURG, FL – APRIL 17: of the Tampa Bay Rays of the Minnesota Twins during the game at Tropicana Field on April 17, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ………..

(3) New York Mets’ Josh Thole is caught stealing second base as Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla, left, makes the tag for an out in the fifth inning of a major league baseball game Sunday, April 17, 2011 in Atlanta. The Mets won 3-2 . AP Photo/David Goldman …..

(4) New York Mets’ Josh Thole, left, beats the tag of Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann to score on an Ike Davis single in the first inning of a major league baseball game Sunday, April 17, 2011 in Atlanta. AP Photo/David Goldman ………….

(5) Fred Wilpon, General Manager Sandy Alderson, New York Mets new manager Terry Collins, Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz pose for pictures during a press conference at Citi Field on November 23, 2010 in New York, New York. Getty Images North America / Chris McGrath ……….

(6) Carlos Boozer (5) of the Chicago Bulls and Tyler Hansbrough (50) of the Indiana Pacers battle for position on a free-throw in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on April 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Pacers 104-99 . Johnathan Daniels /Getty Images …….

(7) Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls of the Indiana Pacers in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on April 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Pacers 104-99. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images . ……..

(8) CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 16: Joakim Noah (13) of the Chicago Bulls celebrates two blocked shots in the final seconds against the Indiana Pacers in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on April 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Pacers 104-99. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……..

(9) Derrick Rose(1) of the Chicago Bulls leaps to pass the ball around Paul George (24) of the Indiana Pacers in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at the United Center on April 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Pacers 104-99. Johnathan Daniel / Getty Images ……

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

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

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

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Slide show for your perusal .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com ……….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NBA News

New York Knicks roster

Team stats

Team Splits

New York Knicks’ schedule


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Philadelphia 76ers’ roster

Team stats

Team Splits

Philadelphia 76ers’ schedule

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NBA stats Daily Leaders

Stats shown below also show avg’s per game

NBA Leading scorers

NBA Leading rebounder

NBA Leader in assists APG

NBA Leader in Double-Doubles

NBA Leader in Free Throw Pct

NBA Leader in Pts/Reb’s/ Asst’s

NBA Leader in steals

NBA Playoff Picture

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Santana ……………… “Samba Pa Ti”

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Busty English model … Lucy Pinder

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

They Say You Can Never Go Back Home …… Well AI Is Back Where It All Started

Well, for the NBA’s, Allen Iverson, there seems to be ‘no place like home’. Much like with Dorothy, in the Wizard of Oz, Iverson is making his own personal journey in the form of his return to the Philadelphia 76ers. As to what this bodes for the rest of the season for the franchise and the player. One can only speculate. But it’s clear to see that this was a last ditch effort by the player to find a place to play out what may very well be his last days in the NBA.

Well, for the NBA’s, Allen Iverson, there seems to be ‘no place like home’. Much like with Dorothy, in the Wizard of Oz, Iverson is making his own personal journey in the form of his return to the Philadelphia 76ers. As to what this bodes for the rest of the season for the franchise and the player. One can only speculate. But it’s clear to see that this was a last ditch effort by the player to find a place to play out what may very well be his last days in the NBA.

Iverson makes his views known on ‘practice’ ? Yes we’s talkin’ ’bout practice !

The ‘prodigal son’ has returned and it appears that all might well have been forgiven. The player’s woes of late have been well chronicled , from his inability to play as a teammate with the Denver Nuggets. An experiment that I might add, was doomed before it even started ! His brief tenure with the Detroit Pistons and the very fact that he and the organization could not see ‘eye to eye’. And then there was the sideshow there in Memphis, with the Memphis Grizzlies. One minute he’s being viewed as perhaps the franchise’s savior , the next he makes himself feel about as welcomed as a child molester would be on the first day of his incarceration in prison. Suffice to say, that the Grizzlies’ front office were at a loss with regard to Iverson’s demeanor. The team’s coach, Lionel Hollins, the general manager,Chris Wallace, and the team owner, Michael Heisley , went out of their way to welcome him with opens arms , when they signed him as a free agent. In the blink of an eye , Iverson ‘wanted out’ of Memphis and just about anything to do with the team.

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

Final Answer: Iverson back with 76ers

By Dan Gelston, AP Sports Writer

PHILADELPHIA (AP)‚ÄĒAllen Iverson‚Äôs first stint with the Philadelphia 76ers ended with the team yanking his nameplate off his locker and editing him out of video highlights before he was even traded.

The Sixers might want to find him a new locker and cue up some clips. Philly fans, pull out that No. 3 jersey from the closet. A.I. is a Sixer again.

In a move that appeared farfetched after their acrimonious split in 2006, the 76ers reunited with the briefly retired Iverson on Wednesday in a move designed to spike sagging attendance and fill in for the injured Lou Williams.

Coach Eddie Jordan said Iverson will likely start and stay the entire season.

‚ÄúI told him I would like for him to start, and that‚Äôs where it sort of ended,‚ÄĚ Jordan said. ‚ÄúAnd he was really like a kid at Christmas.‚ÄĚ

Iverson will make his debut Monday night at home against Denver‚ÄĒone of three teams he‚Äôs called home since leaving Philly. The 10-time All-Star-turned-journeyman is determined to prove he still has something to offer in that No. 3 jersey.

He antagonized his coaches and opponents his first time around. Perhaps humbled, he signed after being reduced to a bench player in Denver and Memphis and forced to accept the veteran’s minimum salary to return to his NBA roots.

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For the time being , it’s hard trying to figure out what to make of this all. But with the apparent injury to the team’s point guard, Lou Williams and his impending loss for an indeterminate period of time. Coach,Eddie Jordan and the front office staff felt it an urgency, to bring the player in and gauge his interest in rejoining the team. Ed Stefanski, as the team President , General Manager and owner of the franchise, felt it to be a good idea. Albeit , that he indeed had some reservations as to how the fans may well have felt about the player returning to the franchise. But the advantages he felt far outweighed the negative aspect of it all.

In this April 12, 2006, file photo Philadelphia 76ers' Allen Iverson reacts during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball against the New Jersey Nets, in East Rutherford, N.J.  Philadelphia 76ers president Ed Stefanski announced Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009, on the team's Web site that Iverson will rejoining the 76ers. picture appears courtesy  of  AP/Photo/Bill Kostroun  ......
In this April 12, 2006, file photo Philadelphia 76ers' Allen Iverson reacts during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball against the New Jersey Nets, in East Rutherford, N.J. Philadelphia 76ers president Ed Stefanski announced Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009, on the team's Web site that Iverson will rejoining the 76ers. picture appears courtesy of AP/Photo/Bill Kostroun ......

With Iverson, having been formally signed by the team, they expect to make him to make his first appearance in the Sixers’ uniform on Monday. Then the team will formally reintroduce him as player back on their roster. And with the team’s record now at (5-13) within the Atlantic Division. The team now is looking up at the likes of the Boston Celtics (14-4), Toronto Raptors (7-12), beneath them the New York Knicks (4-14) and the woefully inept New Jersey Nets (0-17). The division itself , though not devoid of talent , might just be one of the weakest in all of the NBA, in terms of a real top flight team. Other than the Celtics and the somewhat inconsistent Raptors, there’s nothing there, that one would say is an entirely competitive team to watch. The Knicks remain an enigma wrapped up in a conundrum , even with Mike D’Antoni in tow as their coach. The Nets are proving that their problems are way beyond solving ,as of now. Much like the Middle East ‘peace process’ is at present, now. There’s no road map there to guide them. And by all accounts even with the aid of a compass and a map, Nets’ interim coach, Kiki Vanderweghe, will be hard pressed to lift this team off the scrap heap. Such are the vagaries of what we’re now seeing within the division.

If Iverson is to come and assist this team in being or providing some semblance of being competitive. Then , he’ll have to show that as the elder statesman on the roster, he’s prepared to show leadership skills and a great deal more maturity than he’s been showing as of late. Despite his fourteen years in the NBA, there’s still that ‘thug mentality’ and immaturity that’s still being shown by the player. The ‘baggage’ that he still continues to carry with him , despite his undoubted talents as a player will continue either drag him down, or that of an organization.

There’s no denying that Allen Iverson has the ‘heart of a lion’ and his willingness to compete is unlike any other. But what may well detract from his a player is his unwillingness to admit that he cannot do it all by himself and being prepared to put his trust in others and in particular those around him in the guise of his teammates. He’ll defer to others but only after he , himself feels that they’ll be prepared to reciprocate in a similar manner. And for the team at present , one has to look at the likes of Samuel Dalembert, Elton Brand, Marcus Speights,Andre Iguodala , Rodney Carney, Jason Kapono and Thaddeus Young, can get along with a player of Iverson’s demeanor. Far be it for me to suggest otherwise but at the first hint of dissent from Iverson. The last thing that the Sixers’ organization could withstand , would be to follow suit in that of their erstwhile predecessors, who had to deal with Iverson at his worst. No one man can be an island but Iverson gives you the very best impression of being Robinson Crusoe at times without his ‘man Friday’. If it’s not about him than mightn’t be about anyone else to begin with.

Who can fail to forget his classic rant about practice ? If that’s not an indication as to what Iverson has been about over a large part of his career. Then, the world of the NBA may well have been asleep when he was on his very best behavior. It’s always good to have someone back in your home because they made you feel at peace, and it was gladly reciprocated by that individual. For Allen Iverson, it’s not so much thought of ‘returning home’ but the fact he felt the need to be loved and wanted by someone. No matter who they may well have been. Luckily enough for the player, the entity who’s now showing him ‘the love’ , is in fact the first port of call at the start of his professional career. The organization may well feel that they owe Iverson, something. But in reality , it really is the other way around. Allen Iverson owes the Philadelphia 76ers ‘a debt of gratitude’ for taking him at the start of his career and now for welcoming back with open arms , as his career now winds down formally to its inevitable close.

NB: Philadelphia 76ers roster

NUM PLAYER POS HT WT DOB FROM YRS
42 Elton Brand F 6-9 254 03/11/1979 Duke 10
7 Primoz Brezec C 7-1 255 10/02/1979 Postojna, Slovenia 7
25 Rodney Carney G-F 6-7 205 04/05/1984 Memphis 3
1 Samuel Dalembert C 6-11 250 05/10/1981 Seton Hall 7
33 Willie Green G 6-3 201 07/28/1981 Detroit Mercy 6
11 Jrue Holiday G 6-4 180 06/12/1990 UCLA R
9 Andre Iguodala G-F 6-6 207 01/28/1984 Arizona 5
12 Royal Ivey G 6-4 215 12/20/1981 Texas 5
72 Jason Kapono F 6-8 215 02/04/1981 UCLA 6
14 Jason Smith F-C 7-0 240 03/02/1986 Colorado State 1
16 Marreese Speights F-C 6-10 245 08/04/1987 Florida 1
23 Louis Williams G 6-1 175 10/27/1986 South Gwinnett HS (Snellville, GA) 4
21 Thaddeus Young F 6-8 220 06/21/1988 Georgia Tech 2

HEAD COACH
Eddie Jordan (College – Rutgers)

ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH
Mike O’Koren (College – North Carolina)

ASSISTANT COACHES
Randy Ayers (College – Miami (OH))
Jim Lynam (College – Saint Joseph’s)
Aaron McKie (College – Temple)

ATHLETIC TRAINER
Kevin N. Johnson (College – Indiana State)

ASSISTANT TRAINER
Scott Faust (College – Alabama-Huntsville)

Lindsay Lohan Says Leave The Magic Alone They Were In Their Happy Place , People Just Don’t Seem To Understand Them Or Me …!

Lindsay Lohan  Says Leave   The  Magic  Alone  They  Were  In  Their  Happy Place  ,  People  Just  Seem To  Understand  Them  Or  Me …….

It  says much  as  to  the  capabilities  of  a   team   if they  can  continue to  overcome  adversity  ,  compete and   do  all of  the  prerequisite things that   it    takes to win.   Having  watched  the Orlando  Magicdefend  their   home-court    in the  first  game   of the  playoffs   against  the  Philadelphia   76ers.  I’m  not  so  sure  that  this   team  has  what  it  takes  to   challenge  the  likes  of    the  Cleveland  Cavaliers  in  the  Eastern  Conference  for   supremacy  there .    Much  less   having   the   presence  of mind  to   challenge    many  of the   teams   within  the  Western  Conference  altogether.

Rafer Alston  point   guard for  the  Magic  goes  up  for  the  layup  against  the 76ers.
Rafer Alston of the Orlando Magic goes for the layup against the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers would go on to defeat the Magic 100-98 at the Amway Arena in Orlando, Fl. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Fernando Medina ..............

<I’ve   heard  it being  said that  the  Magic    have  finally  arrived  and   that  they    ought  to be  considered   being  amongst  the  elite    teams  of the  NBA.   For  me    ,  I view  an  elite   team  within   a  league ,  a  team  that has  a  body  of  work behind  it  and   one   who’s   always  considered  a  perennial  contender.   The   Orlando   Magic  has yet  to  show me    that  they’re  either  of  the  above.    What  they  are   however is  a  very  good    regular   season    team.     But  whose  ambitions  of   being   considered   a  contender   is  somewhat   short  of the  bar  that  they’ve   set    for  themselves. 

Andre' Iguodala  of  the  76ers attemmpts the  jump  shot over the  outstretched  arms  of the  Magic's  Dwight  Howard.   Iguodala would  go  on to  score  20 pts  for  the  76ers  in their triumph  over the Orlando Magic.  They  now hold  1-0  in the best  of  seven  game series.
Andre' Iguodala of the 76ers attempts the jump shot over the outstretched arms of the Magic's Dwight Howard. The 76ers would go on to triumph over the Magic (100-98) to take 1-0 lead in the best of seven games in the first round of the playoffs. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Fernando Medina ...........

The  Orlando  Magic coming  off  a  59  game  win  season,  there  are   those   around   the league and   within   the  pundits’  broadcast   forum. Who   view  this   team  as  one  those  who  can  live   up  to  the  potential   of  being  a   serious challenger to the  likes  of  the  Cavaliers  and Boston  Celtics   for     dominance  and  supremacy within  the  Eastern Conference.  All   three  teams   have    distinctively    different   pedigrees.     The  Celtics  have   their   triumvirate  of  Kevin Garnett ,Allen   and  Pierce.  Though  it  can  be   said   that  with   the  loss  of   Garnett    their   chances  of     making  it to the   conference   finals   have   diminished   somewhat. 

Coach  Stan  Van Gundy of the  Magic   signals  to  his players   that  he'd  like to  see  more  effort  shown  oncourt   by  his players.
Coach Stan Van Gundy of the Magic signals to his players that he'd like see more effort oncourt from his players. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Fernando Medina .............

The Cavaliers   for their   part    have  LeBron   James who  at  this   present   time  may well   be   considered  to  be   the  most   gifted player in  the  league.  OK  I   know that  there are   naysayers   out   there  who  may  well   feel   that the    accolade  isn’t  befitting  a  player  who’s  yet  to   win  anything  of  merit  within  the  league.  But  at the  same  one   cannot   overlook   his  presence   on  a  team  that   has   garnered   66  wins  this   season   and   has  looked   unbeatable   on  their   home-court.   Take   LeBron  off  this   team  and  they   may   well   struggle  to   attain   25 to  30   wins  at   best.  But  it  cannot  and   should   not   detract   from  what  they’ve   achieved  as  a  team  this  season.

76ers' point   guard   Andre  Miller   celebrates  his  team's  victory  over  the  Orlando  Magic.  The 76ers  stole  a victory  on the  Magic's  homecourt at  the  Amway  Arena in  Orlando , Florida.
76ers' point guard Andre Miller celebrates the team's win over the Orlando Magic at Amway Arena ,Orlando , Fl. The win by the team was a resolute allround effort. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty imnages / Fernando Medina ..................

Rashard Lewis  of  the  Orlando  Magic   with the one  handed   dunk .
Rashard Lewis of the Orlando Magic with the one handed dunk during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Amway Arena in Orlando , Florida. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Fernando Medina ...............

Orlando¬†¬†¬† for¬† its¬†¬† part¬†¬† possesses¬†¬† without¬†¬† doubt¬†¬† the¬†¬† best¬†¬† big¬† man¬†¬† in the¬†¬† game¬†¬† in¬† the¬† guise¬† of¬†¬†¬†¬† Dwight¬† Howard.¬† Who if anything¬† this¬† year¬†¬† has¬† finally¬†¬† arrived¬† and¬† ought¬† to be¬† considered¬† as¬†¬† on the¬†¬† bright¬†¬† stars¬†¬† of¬† the¬† league.¬† His presence¬† and¬†¬† determination¬†¬† on¬† the¬† team¬† if¬† anything¬†¬† has¬†¬† provided a¬†¬† backbone¬† and¬† leadership¬† to it.¬†¬† However¬† wherever¬†¬† he¬†¬† leads¬†¬† it sometimes¬† appears¬† that¬†¬† his¬†¬† teammates¬† aren‚Äôt¬† always¬† too¬† willing¬†¬† to¬†¬†¬† follow.¬†¬†¬† It may¬† well¬†¬† come¬†¬† down to¬† the¬† fact that¬† on¬†¬† their ¬†¬† roster ¬† there¬†¬† doesn‚Äôt appear¬† to¬† be¬†¬† that¬† many¬† players¬†¬† with¬†¬†¬† playoff¬† experience¬†¬†¬† other¬†¬† than¬†¬† being¬†¬† seasoned¬†¬† veterans.¬†¬†¬† They‚Äôve¬† a¬†¬†¬† young¬†¬† staff¬† of¬†¬†¬† talented¬†¬† players¬† with¬† the¬† likes¬† of¬†¬† Mikael¬† Pietrus href=”http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/4139″&gt;J. J Redick ,¬†¬† Marcin¬† Gortat¬† and¬† Courtney¬† Lee slowly¬†¬† coming¬† to¬† the¬†¬† fore.¬†¬† But¬†¬† that¬†¬†¬† in¬† ofitself¬†¬† cannot¬†¬† hide¬† the¬†¬† fact¬†¬† for¬† the¬† team‚Äôs¬†¬† poor¬†¬† showing¬†¬† against¬† Philadelphia¬†¬†¬† this¬†¬† past¬† Sunday.

Theo  Ratliff  of the 76ers makes  the   dunk  over the   defensive  presence  of the  Magic's  Hedo  Turkoglu  and  Tony Battie .
Theo Ratliff of the 76ers makes the dunk over the defensive presence of the Magic's Hedo Turkoglu and Tony Battie. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Fernando Medina ...............

How   else   can  one   explain  their    poor  play    down   the   closing   stretch  of  the  game   where  they   allowed  the  Sixers to  erase  an   eighteen  point   deficit   and  come   back  to  win  the  game altogether  ?  It’s  one   thing  to   state  that   they   didn’t  apply  themselves to  the  task  at hand.   But  when   they  make   a  player of  Andre  Iguodala   of  the  76ers  appear  to  the    reincarnation  as  to  the   second   coming  of  Michael  Jordan  .  One  has to    question  the   resolve  of  this   team.    Not only  did  Iguodala   have   a   tremendous    game   but  he  was  allowed  so  much   freedom   up and  down the  court.  That  one   had  to   wonder  if  the  Magic   themselves  were   just  there  to  make  up   the   numbers   as   far  as  their  presence  was  concerned.  

Defensively   this   team  was  about    resolute   in  its  execution  as  the    Treasury  Department  has  been  in their    doling   out   of   taxpayers   money  to  a   sundry   of  financial  and    industrial concerns.    A   lot  of  thought   may   well  have   gone   on   as to  the  premise   behind the   maneuvers.  But   in  terms   of  its   execution    ,  it  was   about   as  adept  as   having  a   baby   try  and   walk   for  the   first  time  without  any   support  being  given.   You  just  knew   that   something     bad    had  to  happen.    And so  it   did  as  many  of  who   viewed  this    debacle  on  television   can   only  wonder  what   it   was  the   Magic  was trying  to  achieve.   Needless  to  say   that  their   fans and  coach,  Stan  Van  Gundy   can’t   have been    pleased  with  what  they’d   witnessed. 

 

Iguodala makes  the  reverse  dunk  during  the  playoff  game against the  Orlando  Magic.
Iguodala makes the reverse dunk in the playoff game against the Orlando Magic. Iguodala would be the main offensive presence and instigator behind the team's victory over the Orlando Magic. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Fernando Medina ................

While   one    can    apportion    blame   on the  Magic’s   players  ,  a certain   amount  of  that  blame  also   ought  to  rest    squarely   on the  shoulders   of  Van  Gundy  and  his   coaching   staff.   Rarely   can  a  coach   and   his   staff   performed  so    badly.   And  for  someone   of  Van   Gundy’s  stature   who’s   often   thought   of  as  being  one  of  the  more  astute   coaching   minds   around  the  NBA.   It   has  to be   said  that he  was  completely    outcoached    by his   opposite  number   in  Tony DiLeo.  

 

¬† Continue reading “Lindsay Lohan Says Leave The Magic Alone They Were In Their Happy Place , People Just Don’t Seem To Understand Them Or Me …!”