Ship Ahoy ………. Look Out For Another Mystery That’s About To Take On A Life Of Its Own

Ship Ahoy ………. Look Out For Another Mystery That’s About To Take On A Life Of Its Own

So here we are and with the ongoing NFL work stoppage now looking as if it’s liable to be a prolonged situation . It no longer comes as a surprise to me that the players are looking to paint the league and the team owners in a poor light. At the same time the league hierarchy isn’t about to make any concessions only seeking to further make this embattled situation more intolerable for the fans . At this juncture it’s pretty safe to say the longer the situation goes on the more suspect that I am the league schedule for the proposed 2011 season won’t commence on time as projected for the 3rd September . Suffice to say that both Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith as the highest ranked executives within the NFL and NFLPA might just be the most despised individuals in professional sports at present.

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Drew Brees in a public statement made the claim that the NFL were circled _____ that their target was indeed the NFLPA like sharks smelling blood after the death of former union executive director Gene Upshaw as they left it would be the right time to seek a change in what was the collective bargaining agreement as it stood at the time. I’m not so sure that I’d disagree with the claims being made by Brees but at the same time I’ve also got to question the confrontational approach of the union as this has all played itself out. From my own standpoint as this idiocy plays itself out and with there now being talk of the NBA quite possibly having their own problems with there also being a lockout there as well I can’t help but wonder when the next shoe will drop. David Stern and his counterpart Billy Hunter are now trying to create the perception that they are capable of acting like mature adults , albeit that the league hierarchy seems to be frustrated at the divergence in the differing views as to what’s best for the league. Union President Derek Fisher and the executive committee has said that the union isn’t prepared to make any concessions without the league itself acceding to the union’s own demands . Given the financial instability of the NBA and the fact that they are projected to lose in excess of $450 million for the fiscal year 2011 .

The NFL is up the creek without a paddle and it appears that the NBA isn’t that far behind as to their stupidity . The NBA’s postseason show case event the NBA Finals are now front and center with the Dallas Mavericks taking on the Miami Heat . A clash of styles and with a quartet of All Stars in Dirk Nowitzki , <a href=”http://nba.com/playerfile/lebron_james/”&gt; LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade . This series has the makings of being a classic if both teams play up to their true potential . But with that being said I can’t help but wonder if the outcome could once again be the same as before when these two teams last met in an NBA Finals in 2006 . The Mavericks would go on to lose that series 4-2 in what turned out to be very much a lopsided finals’ series . The Heat for their part during that series saw Finals MVP Dwyane Wade have a memorable NBA Finals in leading the team to their sole win of a championship. For then coach Pat Riley that would be his fourth NBA title as a coach over the course of his already legendary NBA career.

With Riley now as the team President he now has his protege` Erik Spoelstra coaching this star studded team . The young coach along with his Dallas Mavericks’ counterpart Rick Carlisle are both looking for their first title as a coach. And for Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban and team GM Donnie Walsh they may well now see this as the organization’s chance at redemption. The acquisition of Tyson Chandler has certainly bolstered the mindset of this Mavericks’ team . Certainly throughout this postseason Dirk Nowitzki has been playing like a man on a mission and he’s been ably assisted by a supporting cast that have simply stepped up to the plate .

The Dallas Mavericks for their part made light work of the Oklahoma City Thunder in a thoroughly convincing fashion defeating Scott Brooks’ team —- 4-1 . For many this result may not have come as a surprise but I for one certainly didn’t feel that the Thunder would wilt so easily but then again with this being such an inexperienced team it is understandable that they would succumb under such circumstances.

The Miami Heat are heavily favored to win this series match-up and with their dynamic trio all playing at a </ahigh caliber this postseason showcase event could either be suspenseful or an unmitigated disaster with the Heat simply walking over the Dallas Mavericks with a great deal of ease. I’d certainly like to think that Mavericks will abate all our fears and make this a memorable NBA Finals ! I’ve no doubt that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade would like disprove that although the Mavericks may well have won their regular season series 2-0 the postseason becomes a completely different environment altogether. There’s a great deal more on the line and as such NBA immortality and a legacy to play for as well as an NBA title. That should be enough an incentive for both teams to showcase their undoubted talent and supply the discerning NBA fan with the best possible extravaganza that they can witness . With a worldwide audience approaching 500 million hoping to witness the event ABC as the host broadcast network will be looking to magnify the brand of the NBA as well as their own broadcast talents. And I am sure that David Stern will be hoping that the emerging markets will like what they see. The NBA brand has reached its maturation and saturation point within North America and the league hierarchy now has to look elsewhere to see how best to make the game still a viable and profitable concern. God knows with the mismanagement of the league and the financial mismanagement amongst the teams by their owners and the respective general managers and you can well understand why the league wants a thoroughly entertaining series . Anything that can showcase the league as a entertaining concern would undoubtedly make the NBA a lure for the fan.

As a bye note can someone explain to me how it is that all of a sudden idiocy rears its ugly head with the regard to the comparisons and contrasts with regard to the careers of LeBron James and Michael Jordan . Now looking to add their own thoughts on the matter happens to be none other than Jordan’s former teammate and fellow Hall of Fame inductee Scottie Pippen . The former Bulls’ player stated in a radio interview with hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic on their morning radio show “Mike & Mike” would state that Jordan being the game’s greatest scorer but James to his mind can be considered to be the game’s greatest player. Perhaps his statement can be misconstrued but in reality the idiocy of that statement at this juncture simply doesn’t make that much sense . James has yet to win a title and when I last looked two consecutive league MVP awards simply means nothing albeit that there’s a a couple of scoring titles to be added to that resume`. LeBron James needs to win NBA multiple titles before the contrasts and comparison can actually be made . Scottie needs to take a chill pill , quieten down before he alienates himself not only within the city of Chicago but also with his former teammates . If there’s one thing I know…… you simply don’t bite the fu#king hand that feeds you and for Scottie Pippen the hand that fed him was indeed Michael Jeffrey Jordan ! Enough said on the matter I do believe !

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Simply chime in with a comment on your thoughts as to the points raised within this piece and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………………….

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 03: New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees makes his way into the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building for the NFL negotiations on March 3, 2011 in Washington, DC. Photo by Rod Lamkey/Getty Images ……….

(2) Drew Brees has organized workouts for his teammates while trying to organize labor negotiating efforts with NFL owners.
Jonathan Bachman/Cal Sport Media ……

(3) Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, right, watches fellow teammate Jason Terry, left, during practice on Sunday, May 29, 2011, in Dallas. AP Photo/Mike Fuentes ……

(4) Miami Heat basketball players LeBron James (left) and Dwyane Wade talk to the media after a practice session in Miami, Sunday, May 29, 2011. The Heat will play the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the NBA basketball finals on Tuesday . AP Photo/J Pat Carter ………

(5) Jordan and Pippen in a moment of triumph , one of many that the duo had over the course of their career with the Chicago Bulls. Also pictured is Steve Kerr a multiple title winner himself.

(6) A young LeBron James (left) gets the chance to meet his idol Michael Jordan . courtesy of je520wordpress.com ……

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ABCDEFG ……………

ABCDEFG ………………..

Ah the rather self absorbed Jason Whitlock once again espousing views that simply at times has no rhyme or reason. Whitlock in his latest masterpiece has written that the NBA’s ” most dynamic duo “ of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat are now a better duo than Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were at their best with the Chicago Bulls . For a duo that has yet to win anything of relevance within the NBA I get the impression that Whitlock’s love the duo might well be bordering on being homo-erotic rather than based on anything tangible. Never let it be said that his idiocy also has no boundaries when it comes to Whitlock and his ideas .

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This season the Heat have been efficient not necessarily spectacular in making their way to the Eastern Conference semi finals where they’ll meet the Derrick Rose led Chicago Bulls . Kind of ironic don’t you think that in the midst of subject on the Bulls Whitlock as such would take a mocking jibe at perhaps that franchise’s best duo in its history ? Jordan , Pippen and their cast of supporting players won six NBA titles within an eight year span and during the season they won a record <a 72 games that season as well as winning the NBA championship . If the Miami Heat indeed are to prove their worth then this team will not only have to vindicate themselves by winning this season’s title but do so in a convincing fashion .

Whitlock for his part has done little to state succinctly his reasons behind this thought process , other than to suggest that the two Heat players are athletic , dynamic and entertaining . But my question to Jason Whitlock since when have those facets won anything in the NBA ? As impressive as the Heat have been in dispatching the Boston Celtics in their conference quarter final series this is still somewhat a flawed team . The Heat’s ‘Big Three’ of Chris Bosh , James and Wade have been placed under the microscope , dissected , analyzed and criticized to the nth degree . In the midst of this all team President Pat Riley has hit back at those critical of the organization’s moves that brought both Bosh and James to the Heat in the offseason. Erik Spoelstra as coach of the Miami Heat knows that a great deal is now expected of him in leading this team to what many now feels is their destiny. As one of the quintet of coaches left in the latter stages of these playoffs , Spoelstera, Scott Brooks , Tom Thibodeau , Lionel Hollins and Rick Carlisle are now aspiring to be first time winners of an NBA title as a coach. And given the fact that with the impending retirement of Phil Jackson there are only two other coaches in the NBA to have won an NBA title. That duo would be Gregg Popovich and Doc Rivers and then beyond that the cupboard as they say …..” becomes bare ” .

The substantive issues raised by Whitlock goes a long way in showing how much I believe that the NBA has changed as a league over the past decade and a half ! Players during this decade, if anything aren’t necessarily as skilled as their predecessors . More is made about hype over substance concerning today’s players and the image that’s portrayed , albeit that the league now more so than ever is very much consumer driven. That could very well be the premise behind Whitlock’s perspective on making these comparisons or the very fact that he genuinely believes that James and Wade are that much better than Jordan and Pippen. Granted , Jordan had yet to win a title at the stage where both James and Wade now find their careers . But bear this in mind , Jordan led by example and that’s something that is clearly missing from LeBron James’ resume’ as a player. Indecision or not , the way he bolted from the Cleveland Cavaliers left a bitter taste in the mouths of the fans and in particular within the front office of that organization . It left Dan Gilbert an angry owner whose behavior in the aftermath of what he felt was a genuine betrayal by the player. If anything that situation was handled badly by both parties as James came off as being immature and petulant . Whereas, Gilbert simply acted out as enraged, owner who’d lost the team’s biggest asset in an unsolicited takeover bid that simply broke up the company merely leaving him with the remnants of a shell company. Incumbent coach Byron Scott has his work cut out for him in turning this team around and it will take a great deal of work by him and his immediate coaching staff .

To my mind Jordan and Pippen have epitomized what a duo and a team are about and although Jason Whitlock chose the duo to make this comparison it has me wondering how it is he came to this judgment ! This journalist’s work over the years has raised eyebrows as to the volatility and emotions he chooses to put on display with regard to the themes he chooses to address . He has been vilified by many and has the respect of others but in large part he’s either someone that you either love or hate as a journalist.

If one remembers the idiocy of the displays after James and Bosh’s arrival the trio talked of themselves winning ………. not one , not two but five or six championships . As of yet the Miami Heat with this trio in lock have yet to win anything of merit but it has been Whitlock’s idiocy and his piece that makes his subjective article to an extent all the more ridiculous in its premise and what he’s trying to substantiate as a case in making his argument . But in this day and age where journalism no longer has any real integrity to it , rather it being about the journalists simply wanting have you bear witness as to what they believe to be right rather than allowing the readers to make a judgment for themselves with the facts being laid out there for them all to see. Inasmuch as there are somewhat controversial journalists out there such Jason Whitlock , it has to be said without his smorgasboard of morsels to offer the public I seriously doubt that anyone would take the genre of sports journalism with any degree of sincerity !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on this piece and in particular Jason Whitlock’s comparisons between the duos of James and Wade , Jordan and Pippen ? Simply chime in with a comment on your thoughts concerning the topics raised within this piece .

Alan aka tophatal ………. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details

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(1) Jason Whitlock noted sport’s columnist and journalist . AP Photo / Eric Clarke ……

(2) Jordan (23) and Pippen seen here in one of the Bulls’ many NBA Finals triumphs . In the background is former Bulls and now NBA tv analyst Steve Kerr . AFP/Reuters Inc/ Gustav Nillson ………..

(3) Chris Bosh , Dywane Wade and LeBron Wade seen here just after their formal introduction to the Miami Heat fans this past offseason at the AA Arena ,in Miami , Florida . AP Photo / John Raoux …..

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Skip Bayless Says He’ll Get A Life Once LeBron James Wins An NBA Title

I don’t know which is worse – on air tv personalities covering sports by way of being so called sports journalists, politicians , lawyers or perhaps your local unwashed pan handler on the streets ? To my mind it may well be far too close a call between the aforementioned pan handler and a sports journalist. Especially the type we tend to see pop up on television , merely because the program director of the station thinks that they might have something interesting to say. Well, that appears to be the case with noted writer and sport’s journalist Skip Bayless of ESPN .

Bayless and the Cincinnati Bengals’ Chad Ocho Cinco discuss the player’s talent within the NFL on the ESPN program ‘ 1st And 10’ . Certainly a conversation between self absorbed individuals who’d rather listen to their own voice ,rather than what the other has to say.

Now don’t get me wrong, ESPN are entirely able to do as they please , with regard to their on air talent and how they proceed to use them in subjecting the viewer to a specific sport’s format for a television program. I mean, after-all, isn’t that why we watch some of their programming ? To be informed and to be entertained ? However, there has to be a point where the hype and insults have to stop and we’re given something more informative. Rather than the constant barb we tend to get from talk radio and that of the political diatribe served up there. And that’s continually served up for the public’s daily consumption. How did it ever get this bad or god-damn awful to begin with ? It’s not as if they , themselves provide any real political insight to begin with ? And the same can be sometimes said for the squawk boxes at ESPN and also at Fox , with regard to their coverage of sports on an undue basis ! In reality though, all of the major broadcast networks are in the same proverbial boat with regard to this particular subject.

Jarret Jack  of the  Toronto  Raptors   goes  up for the  layup while under  the  defensive  presence  of the  Cavaliers'   Shaquille  O'Neal  in  a  game  played  at  the  Air Canada Arena  in  Toronto , Canada.    picture  appears  courtesy  of  nbae/getty images/   Ron  Turenne  ................

Jarret Jack (1) of the Toronto Raptors goes for the layup while under the defensive presence of the Cavaliers’ Shaquille O’Neal (33) in a game played at the Air Canada Arena in Toronto , Canada. The Raptors would go on to defeat the Cavaliers 101-91 , despite the fact of a triple double by LeBron James during the game. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Ron Turenne ……

Skip Bayless , he of the coiffed hair-do, seems to think that whatever he says tends to be gospel. Whether or not he’s just being conceited , I’ll leave that up for you to decide ! And he plays his part with a great deal of aplomb. Never let it be said he doesn’t know how to play up to the camera and always show his best side, as the case maybe. Of late Bayless to whine and wax on lyrically as to how over-rated LeBron James of the NBA really is. What Bayless tends to all too often forget is , ” …… one man doesn’t a team make ” ! I’m now beginning to wonder whether or not Bayless was ever a college athlete or merely just a geek ? But then again, I may well be wrong as he could have been neither. And his main focus of this, is because James has yet to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA title .

While Bayless is entitled to his opinions valid or invalid as the case maybe. His constant need to bring up this subject and whine on about LeBron James now borders on being ridiculous. James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are still growing as a team . And Bayless continues to make comparisons of James to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, makes the case that he’s becoming something of an idiot to begin with ! It took Jordan a number of years to assimilate into the league, hone his skills and then to become a complete and great player. Am I missing something here ? But it wasn’t until Jordan had Scottie Pippen at his side with a platoon of role players who knew their roles,that things began to click for Jordan and the Bulls.And the rest as they say is history. Something that it appears that Skip Bayless seems to be forgetting at this juncture How soon one forgets !

Bayless and his fellow co-conspirators on ‘1st And 10’ , discuss the episode about LeBron James, after he was dunked on by a college player in an indoor gymnasium , not under game condition. This was essentially much ado about nothing. But this was essentially , considered to be newsworthy ? What the hell ?

And while Bayless still continues to pay homage to Jordan , to this day. It casts doubt as to the veracity of the case that he’s trying to make . Bearing in mind that the talent that James had around when the Cavaliers first went to the NBA Finals was little more than average at best. And there wasn’t a ‘ Pippen type player’ there to begin with. Nevertheless, they made it there, even if it was at the expense of being swept by by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2006-07 NBA Finals (4-0). Where the NBA Finals’ MVP was Tony Parker , who had a stellar series en route to winning the championship.

Cavaliers'   point guard  Mo  Williams (2)  drives  the  lane  as  he  makes  his   way  to  the  basket  against the  Toronto  Raptors  .  Attempting  to  supply  the  defensive   presence  is the  Raptors'  Jarrett  Jack .    picture appears  courtesy of  nbae/getty  images/  Ron  Turenne  ..................

Cavaliers’ point guard Mo Williams (2) drives the lane as he makes his way to the basket against the Toronto Raptors. Attempting to apply the defensive presence and stop, is the Raptors’ Jarrett Jack . picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Ron Turenne ……….

Now with the 2009-10 season having just opened and with the recently acquired ,Shaquille O’Neal at his side, for what will be a very interesting season for James and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ fans. For the further progression of LeBron James as a player,it’ll no doubt be interesting to see what Bayless now has up his sleeves by way of a commentary as to this new situation within the Cavaliers’ organization. Certainly one doesn’t expect him to as such downplay his remarks or the sentiment. But I’d like to think that the ongoing analysis that he’ll provide will be fair. Rather than the bloviated and rather inane commentary that far too often he has been known for. It’s as if he bears LeBron James ill will and a grudge for some past misdeed. Or perhaps it’s because as a boy , he (Bayless ) was overlooked by others when they went about picking a team for a pickup game. He no doubt may well have been the last boy chosen to play on a team ? Whereas ,there was always someone there who may well have reminded him of James because of the talent shown. Hard not to view it that way, isn’t it ?

The  Cavaliers'   Shaquille O'Neal  (left) and  teammate  LeBron  James  oncourt   against the  Toronto  Raptors   in an   NBA  game  played   at  the  Air  Canada  Arena in  Toronto , Ontario,  Canada.      picture  appears  courtesy of  nbae /getty  images/  Ron Turenne  ...............

The Cavaliers’ Shaquille O’Neal (left) and teammate LeBron James (right) oncourt together against the Toronto Raptors in game played at the Air Canada Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Ron Turenne ….

Understandably, there are those who fully support the claims being made by Bayless , as is their right to do so. But I’d ask of them this question. Can they seriously think that LeBron James is that over-rated a player based on his career thus far ? His stats alone show that he’s far exceeded what was expected of this young phenom, when he first entered the league as a high school sensation and the first round draft pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers , chosen number one overall , in 2003 . Amongst the entrants in the draft of that year, were players such as Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, David West , Kirk Hinrich and Mickael Pietrus. All of whom, seem to have made a name for themselves within the NBA with regard to their careers, thus far. That 2003 NBA Draft, may well have been one of the most talent laden rich drafts in recent memory. And many of those players mentioned are still productive within the NBA today. Which is far less than can be said for the likes others who fell short of the plaudits that were first thrown at them. Think Sam Bowie, Kwame Brown and Michael Olowokandi . I’d certainly like to think that somewhere along the way the general managers who went out of the way to make the decision to take each of this particular triumvirate. Are somewhere , in a place where they’re not left to make a decision that could do irretrievable damage to an organization.

The eternal  triumvirate  of  the  Chicago  Bulls' dynasty . From  left to right   Scottie Pippen ,  Michael Jordan  and  the  team's  coach  Phil  Jackson.  Through  the  early to  mid  nineties  the  team  was  the  dominant  force in the  NBA  having  won  6  NBA championships  in an  eight year  span.   picture  appears courtesy of  Sports Illustratred  si.com/  Manny  Millan  ...............

The eternal triumvirate of the Chicago Bulls’ dynasty . From left to right , Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan and the team’s coach, Phil Jackson. Through the early to mid nineties, the team was the dominant force in the NBA ,having won 6 NBA championships in an 8 year span (1991-98). picture appears courtesy of Sports Illustrated si.com/ Manny Millan. ………………

And while Bayless will have his platform to make his rather incendiary statements. For James and the Cavaliers , this could very well be a make or break season for the organization and their fans. After the disappointment of last season, having lost to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals. The thought is that they’ll have to retrench and reassess where they went wrong, if they’re to improve upon last year. The loss and James’ unsportsman like conduct afterwards left a great deal to be desired. It created the impression that LeBron was immature and unable to deal with defeat in a sportsman like manner. It sent the wrong message across the NBA but more so, to his young adoring fans. Now he and his new teammate Shaquille O’Neal will look to make amends for last season. And for Cavaliers’ coach, Mike Brown, this will prove to be a severe test as to his capabilities as a coach. Failure now, and he’ll be questioned by not only the Cavaliers’ fans but also fans of the NBA in general , who’ll say that he can’t get it done – with two superstars on his team surrounded with a contingent of the customary role players in tow.

As for James , in my mind this is but a part of a well traveled journey that he’ll have to take. Success will inevitably find its way to him , if it is ultimately what he seeks. For moment however, it appears to be that the hype in essence has overshadowed in some ways his undoubted talents. But wasn’t it the same way too , for Michael Jordan ? And look at what he aspired to become .

Cleveland Cavaliers 2009-10 Roster:

Players:

NUM PLAYER POS HT WT DOB FROM YRS
1 Daniel Gibson G 6-2 200 02/27/1986 Texas 3
14 Daniel Green F 6-6 210 06/22/1987 North Carolina R
21 J.J. Hickson F 6-9 242 09/04/1988 North Carolina State 1
11 Zydrunas Ilgauskas C 7-3 260 06/05/1975 Kaunas, Lithuania 11
00 Darnell Jackson F 6-9 253 11/07/1985 Kansas 1
23 LeBron James F 6-8 250 12/30/1984 St. Vincent-St. Mary HS (OH) 6
5 Coby Karl G 6-5 215 03/06/1983 Boise State 1
15 Jamario Moon F 6-8 200 06/13/1980 Meridian CC (MS) 2
33 Shaquille O’Neal C 7-1 325 03/06/1972 Louisiana State 17
18 Anthony Parker G-F 6-6 215 06/19/1975 Bradley 6
44 Leon Powe F 6-8 240 01/22/1984 California 3
17 Anderson Varejao C-F 6-11 260 09/28/1982 Santa Teresa, Brazil 5
13 Delonte West G 6-3 180 07/26/1983 Saint Joseph’s 5
31 Jawad Williams F 6-9 218 02/19/1983 North Carolina 1
2 Mo Williams G 6-1 190 12/19/1982 Alabama 6

HEAD COACH
Mike Brown (College – San Diego)

ASSISTANT COACHES
Hank Egan (College – Navy)
Melvin Hunt (College – Baylor)
Chris Jent (College – Ohio State)
Michael Malone (College – Loyola (MD))

STRENGTH-AND-CONDITIONING COACH
Stan Kellers (College – Cleveland State)

ATHLETIC TRAINER
Max Benton (College – Colorado)

Divisional Standings: Central Division

Central W L PCT GB CONF DIV HOME ROAD L 10 STREAK
Chicago3 1 0 1.000 0.0 0-0 0-0 1-0 0-0 1-0 W 1
Detroit7 1 0 1.000 0.0 0-0 0-0 0-0 1-0 1-0 W 1
Indiana 0 1 0.000 1.0 0-1 0-0 0-0 0-1 0-1 L 1
Cleveland 0 2 0.000 1.5 0-2 0-0 0-1 0-1 0-2 L 2