Make It So ………………

Make It So …………..

In the aftermath of the Orlando Magic’s postseason foray the organization now faces a difficult task in trying to retain their All Star center Dwight Howard . The three time NBA Defensive Player of the Year has categorically stated that he wishes to become a free agent at the end of the 2011-12 season . With that in mind , the GM Otis Smith and President /CEO Bob Vander Weide will have to do their utmost in assuring Howard that they will do their best to improve the roster . Inasmuch as the player has what seems to be a very good relationship with his coach Stan Van Gundy and the coach’s assistants I can’t help but feel that the relationship and the coach’s tenure has ran its course .

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Slide show for your perusal .

Smith’s moves during the free agency period prove to be done more out of urgency rather than necessity . And in doing he saddled the organization with a number of burdensome contracts that were on the verge of expiring or that could well be bought out further leaving a somewhat financially strapped organization once again looking for a monetary handout from the NBA hierarchy . Encumbered with this mess , it is understandable why the player might well feel aggrieved knowing that while the team may well have finished with the fourth best record (52-30) in the Easter Conference it simply didn’t equate to much in the team’s postseason play and expectations. There was little to suggest that the acquisition of Jason Richardson , Quentin Richardson , Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu added much to the team . It was felt somehow that the Magic needed that offensive tenacity about them but in doing so they gave up something of a far more balanced team , for a team that in terms of defense was lacking and the overall cohesiveness was completely missing.

I’ve long felt that Stan Van Gundy while being a good regular season coach simply cannot get the best out of his players during the postseason. He becomes to animated , clearly can’t communicate with his players whereby he gets across his points succinctly . But what might be even more telling, is that as a coach I for one do not believe he truly knows how to assess talent at the college level and that’s even with the assistants at his disposal. If you’re trying to tell me that the likes of JJ Redick and Jameer Nelson are to be the future of this team along with Dwight Howard I would tell you this organization simply hasn’t a chance in hell of winning an NBA title !

The history of this franchise is well known and chronicled to such an extent that it’s great achievements are the two appearances made in the NBA Finals of of 1995 and 2009 . Both of which ended up being rather lopsided series’ losses for the Orlando Magic . And it would appear that if the organization is ambitious to make another appearance in the NBA’s showcase event then Otis Smith and Bob Vander Weide will seriously have to look at making a major overhaul of this roster. Unfortunately , through being too capricious and encumbering the team with a saddled beast in terms of salaried commitments totalling almost $75 million for the 2011-12 season it’s hard to see how the two executives will address this matter . Buyouts notwithstanding , the organization would still have to address the issues of trades and the NBA Draft . And if as to be expected Howard is unwilling to sign a two year contract extension then the organization will most certainly have to look to trade their All Star center.

And in the upcoming draft the situation for the Orlando Magic hasn’t been made any easier given the fact that the team does not have a pick in the first rounds . It is not until the second round and the 23rd pick (number 53 overall) that the Magic will have the benefit of making their first choice in the 2011 NBA Draft. And given that there isn’t a dearth of marquee talent in this draft beyond the first 10 to 15 picks that t I do believe that the organization will actually struggle to replenish the roster with the prerequisite requirements thought to be needed by the Orlando Magic .

With the Magic now housed in their new multi million state of the art venue the Amway Center housed in downtown Orlando at the taxpayers’ expense ___- to say that the organization isn’t now chasing after the proverbial pot of gold in terms of competitive success, contending for an NBA title is of the utmost desire for team owner Rich De Vos and his fellow executives . Coming off a 2010 —- season where success was short of expectations and once again where the team is expected post a loss for the fiscal year it has to be said the impending loss of Dwight Howard could be a forebearer of impending doom and gloom for the team and its fans. In 2009 the Orlando Magic and fifteen other NBA franchises were the recipients of $ 450 million by way of the league hierarchy secured in loans from various financial institutions. NBA Commissioner David Stern said at the time …… ” that these loans shouldn’t be viewed as a bailout of the teams in question but merely as a way of bolstering their financial security “. The very same edict and feat was repeated again this past season with a further $ 300 million again loaned to teams and it now begs the question if these franchises are said to have acute financial problems then what does that say about the league hierarchy itself ? Financial woes notwithstanding , I firmly believe that even with the ongoing issues at hand between the NBA and NBPA concerning the existing collective bargaining agreement (due to expire 30th June) it is quite obvious that the plight of the Orlando Magic will almost certainly be one where a prudent choice may well be the right decision that could end up being determining how the negotiations between the two parties are resolved and where Dwight Howard’s future will ultimately lay.

NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter and union President Derek Fisher know full well with the 53/47 split in terms of the league revenues totaling approximately $4.5 billion there has to be an accord reached between the league and the union. With the two sides meandering towards some type of agreement but no real sign that there’s a compromise it leaves the sports fan if we are about to see the same sort of stupidity shown by the NFL , NFLPA and the team owners . And at this moment in time that scenario looks as if it could also raise its head amongst the NBA team owners , league hierarchy and union .

The consequences of Dwight Howard possibly leaving the Magic from a competitive and financial standpoint would be a disaster in numerous ways . Having lost Shaquille O’Neal due to a lack of ambition on the part of the organization and quite possibly due to the fact that O’Neal felt that he was a minnow in a small pond . As we know the recently retired player went on to great success with the Los Angeles Lakers and thereon after. GM John Gabriel who has since left the organization and coach Brian Hill had a measured amount of success with the Magic but in the aftermath of it all that success has been fleeting with the organization . Upheavals within the front office and through the coaching carousel that tends to happen with such instances the turnaround started with the drafting of Dwight Howard and not long after the installation of Smith as general manager and acquiring at the time what the a group of players who would complement the player’s skill-set.

The decisions that are made within an organization can shape that entity either immediately or over the course of its future . This will be one decision that either way could have a long and lasting effect on what direction that this basketball franchise could very well be heading in . It remains to be seen what decision will be made by the Dwight Howard and whether or not he will be persuaded to stay with the team . The persuasiveness of Bob Vander Weide and Otis Smith has to be pronounced and with intent if they are to have any chance of proving to the player that they are capable of being prominent and perennial contenders within the NBA .

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

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

Picture gallery for your perusal .

As an NBA fan do you feel that it would be in the best interest of Dwight Howard to remain with the Orlando Magic or simply leave the organization as a free agent or would it be in the Magic’s best interest to seek a sign and trade deal for the player ? Your comments if any as you deem fit .

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

Picture and slide show details below .

—————————————————————————————————————————-

(1) ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 28: Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic reacts after a missed basket during game six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox …….

(2) A message for and to Dwight ? A fan holds up a neon green sign with the words “Kryptonite” written on it during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs between the Atlanta Hawks and the Orlando Magic at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox …..

(3) Dwight Howard (12) of the Orlando Magic reacts after a turnover to the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox …..

(4) Gilbert Arenas (1) of the Orlando Magic drives to the basket against Josh Smith (5) and Al Horford (15) of the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images / Kevin C Cox …..

(5) Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy (C) yells at referees to play the game as forward Hedo Turkoglu (R) and CEO of the Magic Bob Vander Weide (L) look on as their team plays the Atlanta Hawks during second half of Game 2 of their NBA Eastern Conference first round playoff basket ball game in Orlando, Florida April 19, 2011.The Magic beat the Hawks 88 – 82 . REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski …..(UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

(6) Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith (right) received 3-year contract extensions from the NBA franchise. They are talking about it with the Orlando Media . courtesy of Orlando Sentinel ………

NBA commissioner David Stern, left, chats with Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos during the first half of Game 1 in a second-round of the NBA basketball playoff series between the Magic and the Atlanta Hawks in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, May 4, 2010. Stern announced earlier Tuesday that the 2012 All-Star Game will be held in Orlando. AP Photo/John Raoux ……..

———————————————————————————————————————————–

NBA News

Orlando Magic news

Orlando Magic history

Orlando Magic front office

Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith

Stan Van Gundy coach

Orlando Magic team roster

Orlando Magic team stats

NBA Team Payrolls 2010-11

NBA Player salaries for 2010-11

Orlando Magic payroll for 2010-11 season and their future salary commitments

NB: NBA salary cap is $57.75 million for the 2010-11 season

Now What ?

Now What ?

Well the NFL Draft began and over the course of three days Radio City Music Hall , New York City well become the epicenter of the NFL world . Never mind the fact that although Judge Susan Richard Nelson has sided with the players over their challenge of the league’s mandated lockout the nation’s top collegiate players will be front and center as the teams and their front office executives and coaches will assuage and assess their merits .

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Slide show for your perusal .

No real surprise as Cam Newton was taken number one overall by the Carolina Panthers having been the league’s worse team record wise last season. The draft itself as it continues and until its culmination on Saturday will provide the fans with a great many surprises and no doubt a great deal of disappointment as to the choices that’ll no doubt be made by the various teams. As a discerning fan I for one am not overly interested in the process , as from my own perspective until that first snap and first down is made on an NFL field during a regular season game we’re totally unsure what to expect from the rookies stepping up to the professional ranks . Suffice to say , that the likes of Newton , Von Miller , Marcell Dareus , A J Green , Patrick Peterson and Julio Jones are now set for life financially having been taken as the first six players in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft.

That being said I expect a number trades to take place too as some teams may well look to off-load a prospective free agent in order to move up in the draft order in order to obtain a player that meets their needs. Given the still unclear picture of the league landscape and the very fact that though a 2011 schedule has been made public the fans are still unclear as to what awaits them in terms of there actually be a regular NFL season. The owners have still vowed to fight on in spite of Nelson’s verdict and her denying them a right of appeal at the Appellate Division . So the only recourse for the league and owners would be to challenge that decision in the Supreme Court , with that challenge being heard by the Justices there . And the likelihood that Chief Justice John Roberts and his colleagues supersede or overturn that decision seems highly unlikely , unless the the league as the plaintiffs, can provide a clear and substantive proof that Nelson erred in rendering her original decision .

For now in terms of anything tangible all the NFL fan simply has at this moment in time is that draft and the parade of the players as chattel bound for a new owner. For the analysts and draft geeks I’m of no doubt that they’re well on their way to making prognostications as to who has done well in the first two rounds and who may well have made a profound miscalculation with their picks . Be that as it may , no one really knows for sure what is liable to happen with these players until that first whistle is blown and the season should there be one , gets underway. Then and only then , will we be able to gauge these players and how they’re likely to do.

I’m sorry, but now is not the time for excuses ,…………. especially when your team gets handed its own ass on the proverbial silver platter for all to see . Having watched in large part several of the games in the NBA playoff series between the Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic , I have come to the conclusion that the Magic have and become the softest team in the Eastern Conference merely not only from a mental standpoint but also from a physical one as well ! At no time throughout this series has the Orlando Magic actually played well much less with any degree of consistency . If anything their play has been erratic and if anything the hype over these players and in particular the aspirations of Dwight Howard being a viable league MVP candidate was simply hyperbole and not much else . Big players step up and lead , here’s been a clear cut case wherein Howard has simply bitched and complained as things haven’t gone his way and where the team’s animated coach Stan Van Gundy has simply proven that when it really matters most , in the face of real adversity he simply cannot instill anything into this team. I’ve heard it said that a league MVP simply means being the best player on the team , I think it goes way beyond that , as it means also showing leadership qualities and actually getting those around you to raise the level of their play. If anyone can point to the fact where Howard has shown any semblance of the latter during this series where a teammate has stepped up and followed his lead then someone please intervene and show me such an instance ?

This series essentially was over once the Hawks took to taking the Magic and exposing all of their flaws bare for all to see . A one dimensional team that lacked creativity and imagination. The likes of Gilbert Arenas , Jason Richardson and Quentin Richardson have literally been stealing money from the Orlando Magic and undeniably it has been Van Gundy , the front office executives and GM Otis Smith who have been culpable in creating this unmitigated mess with the Orlando Magic in its present guise . There has been no cohesion on this roster as it has simply been assembled as a group of mismatched pieces . The trades that took place that gave berth to the roster must’ve been thought up as a quip at first because in terms of offensive presence what had been hoped simply didn’t materialize and in terms of defensive voracity it wasn’t on display by the Magic as Jamal Crawford , Josh Smith , Al Horford and the sighting of Joe Johnson made the Magic seem all the more irrelevant during the series . Hard to believe that Magic were actually the number four seeds in the Eastern Conference but that’s what one tends to get suckered into if you simply take a record at face value rather than looking over the entire body of work and what’s brought to the table in terms of anything tangible .

Game six and that result (84-81) was an emphatic statement as to which team was simply deserving of this series . Having lost the series (4-2) the Magic , the coaching staff and team will have to reassess where , why and how things all went so badly wrong . This much is certain the Orlando Magic in its present guise I firmly believe will be completely new entity for the start of the 2011-12 season . I certainly don’t believe that Smith , Van Gundy and in particular team owner Rich DeVos , President & CEO Bob Vander Weide and the other senior executives of the Magic can be entirely happy with the outcome of this seris from a competitive or financial standpoint. Especially in light of franchise’s ongoing difficulties , albeit, that they’re now esconced in their new facility the Amway Center in downtown Orlando . The NBA and in particular in order to remain viable not just from a competitive standpoint also have to remain a viable one from a financial standpoint also . And that if anything has cast a shadow over the organization over the past several years . With NBA Commissioner David Stern and the league hierarchy projecting a fiscal loss of anywhere between $400 to $500 million you can well understand why it was imperative for the team to have had some semblance this postseason . Instead they’re now back to the drawing board looking to start over again with a plan in face hopefully with something that will lead to that ultimate goal of securing the club its first NBA title .

Given that in 2009 , the Orlando Magic were one of 18 teams around the NBA who were in receipt of a $175 million bailout courtesy of the league hierarchy by way of several financial institutions which the league itself has guaranteed . In 2010 the same exercise was again the norm with a further $300 million and it begs the question what’s going on with the NBA and in particular with its own financial template ? Anyone care to take a guess ?

I don’t know about you but as more information is divulged about Jim Tressel’s actions and the fact that he knew full well of several players’ improprieties , in their actions of selling memorabilia for financial gain. The more I ask myself , how is it that he still has a job at Ohio State ? Pardon me for saying this but how the fuck can the university condone these actions with a mere slap on the wrist by simply doing nothing more than asking Tressel to make a public apology and handing down a rather menial suspension ? The players involved in this subterfuge as such still have their athletic careers in tact but this simply gives further credence as to how corrupt collegiate athletics has become and the mere fact that the universities and the NCAA are powerless to stop any form of malfeasance that takes place . If Tressel can be allowed to remain on campus without there being real consequence for his actions , lying to senior faculty members and the press alike then it simply tells about this coach’s complete lack of integrity and character. And to think there are idiots about who still think of him as some type of role model ? Only a friggin’ idiot would be of that mindset I believe !

Dr E Gordon Gee the university’s president and Athletic Director Gene Smith have stated that they hope that episode can be put behind them and the school can proceed forward with its integrity still in tact . Well my answer to both Gee and Smith ….. ” had you had the balls to do what is morally right then perhaps your statements could be treated with a degree of realism “ . But given the fact that both have shown that they’d rather keep Tressel within their midst and with a tainted reputation simply emphasizes that within collegiate athletics ….. money simply trumps everything . There’s no denying that the football program brings in countless millions for the school but what that says about the school’s own image and the mere fact that they’d believe that Tressel’s less contrite apology makes up for his misdeeds shows and indicate how naive they actually are .

NCAA President Mark Emmert has stated that he’d like see a situation where student athletes would be able to receive some form of stipend while their collegiate athletic career is ongoing . But that’s something that I for one believe that the purists and many of the various athletic conferences might not be willing to part-take in . Not if it’s going to diminish what they’re receiving in terms of filling their monetary coffers . Imagine you have SEC Commissioner Mike Slive who’s now more concerned whether not the actions of Mark Shurtleff as Attorney General of Utah is stepping outside of his legal parameters ? Merely because Shurtleff wants to challenge the BCS’s antitrust exemption status and where he also feels that the BCS is an illegal monopoly in terms of its existence and how it conducts itself as a business entity. One could well understand Slive’s concerns , as he simply doesn’t want to see that gravy train dry up in any way .whatsoever . Not with there being countless millions at stake and pouring into coming into the major BCS conference coffers each year through various sports and business formats .

At some point there has to be some semblance brought into the midst as to how the NCAA deals with the misdeeds of not only the student athletes but also of the coaches who have been allowed in large have gone untouched for their actions . Simply look at what has taken place with Jim Calhoun , Bruce Pearl and Lane Kiffin recently and you can understand how pointless it as times to expect any sense of integrity coming from within collegiate athletics ! Integrity and greed simply doesn’t mix , much like oil and water is said not to . And that’s why nothing will ever change within the collegiate athletics landscape because in retrospect no one there actually wants it to change , the status quo has to remain the same . Integrity and honor be damned because that’s the least of the concerns of the schools , much less the NCAA itself .

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

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

Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do have on the topics raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as you see fit .

Alan aka tophatal …………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

———————————————————————————————————–

(1)Carolina Panthers first-round draft pick Cam Newton answers a question after being introduced during an NFL football news conference at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, April 29, 2011. AP Photo/Bob Leverone ………….

(2) Washington Redskins first-round draft pick Ryan Kerrigan addresses the media during an NFL football news conference at Redskins Park, Friday, April 29, 2011, in Ashburn, Va. AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez ……

(3) Cam Newton receives a hug from his mother Jackie on stage after he was selected #1 overall by the Carolina Panthers during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ….

(4) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) poses for a photo with Mark Ingram, #28 overall pick by the New Orleans Saints, holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ………

(5) Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic reacts after a missed basket during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin Cox / Getty Images …..

(6) Dwight Howard(12) of the Orlando Magic reacts after a turnover to the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin Cox / Getty Images …….

(7) A fan hold up a neon green sign with the word “Kryptonite” written on it during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs between the Atlanta Hawks and the Orlando Magic at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox ……….

(8) Gilbert Arenas (1) of the Orlando Magic drives to the basket against Josh Smith (5) and Al Horford (15) of the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox ………

(9) NBA commissioner David Stern, left, chats with Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos during the first half of Game 1 in a second-round of the NBA basketball playoff series between the Magic and the Atlanta Hawks in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, May 4, 2010. Stern announced earlier Tuesday that the 2012 All-Star Game will be held in Orlando. Courtesy of Forbes Magazine & AP Photo /John Raoux ……

(10) E. Gordon Gee, left, Ohio State University president; football coach Jim Tressel, center; and athletic director Gene Smith take questions during a news conference Tuesday, March 8, 2011, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State suspendedTressel for two games and fined him $250,000 for violating NCAA rules by failing to notify the school about information he received involving two players and questionable activities involving Buckeye memorabilia. Tressel also will receive a public reprimand and must make a public apology. AP Photo/Terry Gilliam ………..

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

NBA News

NBA Playoffs 2011

NBA Games schedule

Friday 29th April 2011

Conference Semi Finals match-ups

Eastern Conference

Home team designated on the left

Chicago Bulls vs Atlanta Hawks

Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics

Western Conference

Los Angeles Lakers vs Dallas Mavericks

San Antonio Spurs/ Memphis Grizzlies vs Oklahoma City Thunder TBA

The series between the Spurs has yet to be decided with game six to be played tonight at the Fedex Forum in Memphis , Tennessee . . The Grizzlies at present have 3-2 lead in the best of seven game series .

NFL News

2011 NFL Draft

Draft by rounds : Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

Round 5

Round 6


Round 7

NFL Draft 2010

————————————————————————————————-

Wyclef Jean …….. feat’g ….. Mary J Blige ……………. “911”

Playoffs ? What Playoffs ? The NBA Playoffs Dummy Get With The Program

Playoffs ? What Playoffs ? The NBA Playoffs Dummy Get With The Program

Well this much is certain the NBA Playoffs have began to set about a number of surprises and then there have been the teams that you simply know have underachieved during the first round of the playoffs . The New York Knicks were summarily swept out of the first round with consummate ease by the Boston Celtics . And for those out there saying that the Knicks are a work in progress …….. here’s my retort for you the gestation period for a female pachyderm is a work in progress the New York Knicks are unadulterated friggin’ mess ! How this team was assembled by Mike D’Antoni and GM Donnie Walsh gives me every reason to believe that this organization now, is no better off than when former team President and GM Isiah Thomas was running the show the whole god-damn show ! And God knows, we all know how fu_cking bad that team was under Thomas’ tenure .

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Slide show for your perusal .

Throughout this series not once had this team chosen to even play a modicum of defense but yet somehow there were idiots out there joyous that the Knicks had actually made the playoffs because in their eyes it made the club relevant once again . I’m sorry but the Knicks were about as relevant within the NBA as I’d consider Muammar Ghadaffi to be a beacon of light to democracy within the Middle East and on the African continent ! Unfortunately for all of the talk of Amar’e Stoudemire being paired together with Carmelo Anthony had the makings of a dynamic duo . Let’s say had Batman and Robin been homosexual crime fighters they’d still be far more intimidating than this duo have been throughout this series . Contributions asides when a team built primarily around offense and not a lick of defense is being played, how the hell is anyone of the belief that the Knicks were actually in with a chance of even winning this series ? At no time was I even convinced that the Knicks could win the series , much less make it a competitive one. Much of the team’s malaise can laid squarely on the shoulders of D’Antoni and Walsh. I hazard a guess that with Chauncey Billups having a series he’d rather forget , I can only surmise that his career is now in its twilight years . From a Finals MVP to a non-descript passenger on a derailed passenger train is very much how I’d assess the Knicks’ foray in this postseason along with the lackluster performances of Billups .

Speaking of a team that could very well be on the cusp of being humiliated in the playoffs are the Orlando Magic . Stan Van Gundy for all of animated demeanor and being so vocal is completely adrift with a team that is simply overwhelmed by its surroundings. The moves made by the Magic at the trade deadline were meant to improve the offensive productivity and creativity of this team . Who would’ve thought that the Atlanta Hawks would have the upper hand in this series with the Hawks not only taking a decisive a 3-1 lead but also Jamal Crawford and Joe Johnson are actually outplaying the entire Magic front court by showing so much creativity and the tenacity to get the job done . The only player on the Magic roster who appears to be showing any proclivity in wanting to play with any aggression, happens to be the team’s All Star center Dwight Howard . Other than Howard there has been little contribution if any from anyone on this team.

Unfortunately the Magic are now on the hook financially for the contracts of Jason Richardson , Hedo Turkoglu , Gilbert Arenas and Quentin Richardson who collectively are owed a cumulative sum of $63 million over the next three years. I somehow get the feeling that GM Otis Smith and the front office executives within the Magic organization gambled heavily and that bet hasn’t worked ! In fact this whole maneuver has been an unmitigated disaster . If anyone was of the belief that this Magic team was remotely in with a chance of winning this series much less being taken as a serious contender for this season’s NBA title clearly hasn’t been watching this team play. Inconsistency has been their mantra and the very fact that they’ve been unable able to close out a game with any effectiveness during the regular season and then expect them to do the same in the postseason would suggest that they were in with a remote chance of actually winning this series . And clearly that hasn’t been the case as they’ve been continually outplayed and outcoached throughout the entirety of the series .

However what might be even more surprising is the mere fact that during last season’s playoffs the Orlando Magic actually swept the Hawks in a 4-0 series drubbing that is considered to be the most lopsided series’ victory that has been seen in the NBA in quite a while . Unfortunately game five to be played at the Amway Center in Orlando this Tuesday can be viewed as a series decider as the Magic are fighting for their very survival . A loss for the Magic and Larry Drew’s team makes their way into the Eastern Conference semi finals where they’ll meet the Chicago Bulls the number one seed in the Eastern Conference . That should be a which could very well prove to be thoroughly entertaining and at the same time somewhat suspenseful.

Another series which seems to be heading towards an unlikely outcome should things remain as they are . The San Antonio Spurs face a daunting task in trying to erase a 2-1 deficit against the Memphis Grizzlies . Coming into the series as the number one seed in the Western Conference . And the Spurs’ performances during this series if anything cannot be described as that of the best team in the conference or NBA record wise . It has been the Grizzlies led by Zach Randolph who have been playing like a team that on appearance has been playing like a number one seed . The Spurs have been playing below par and if anything they’ve been complacent in taking the Grizzlies far too lightly . Game four to be played tonight in Memphis will certainly let us know whether or not the Spurs are capable of erasing this deficit or whether or not the Memphis Grizzlies can push the number one seeds to the brink of elimination by winning what could very well be a very scintillating game .

San Antonio Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich and his coaching staff will most certainly have to prove that these series’ results are no mere fluke . But if anything credit has to be given to the Grizzlies who in essence have shown us that they’re quite capable of knocking off a top seed . It has been pretty incredible to see this Spurs’ team labor throughout this series . Tony Parker has been inconsistent and while Manu Ginobli has struggled with injuries the Spurs’ bench has contributed little if anything to this series overall. The veteran presence of Tim Duncan and Antonio McDyess has made little difference as the Grizzlies have simply outran , out-thought and completely outplayed the San Antonio Spurs . Should they bow out of this series at this juncture it would be the earliest exit by the team in over five years.

As an ardent fan of the Spurs I must admit that I’ve been surprised by the lackluster effort that put forth by the team . If anything I expected a competitive series between the two teams . Excuses are the last thing I’m about to make for the Spurs should their be a monumental collapse because I do believe that teams that encounter adversity can learn something from it . And should it prove to be the case for the Spurs then hopefully Popovich and his coaching staff and in particular the Spurs’ players can learn something from this all.

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

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

Picture gallery for your perusal .

These series so far have been intriguing so far but there’s still a great deal to come . So if anything go ahead and enjoy what is left of the NBA postseason , so make of it what you will .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .
———————————————————————————————————————-

(1) NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 24: (L-R) Amar’e Stoudemire(1) , Carmelo Anthony(7) and Shawne Williams (3) of the New York Knicks celebrate a play against the Boston Celtics in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Celtics won 101-89 . Nick Laham / Getty Images …..

(2) Carmelo Anthony(notes) #7 of the New York Knicks gets set to receive an inbounds pass as director Spike Lee yells at referee Derrick Collins #11 against the Boston Celtics in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Nick Laham / Getty Images ……

(3) Paul Pierce(34) of the Boston Celtics looks to go up for a shot against Amar’e Stoudemire(1), Ronny Turiaf(14) and Landry Fields (6) of the New York Knicks in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City . Getty Images/ Nick Laham …..

(4) New York Knicks owner (C) Jim Dolan , General Manager Donnie Walsh and Head Coach Mike D’Antoni introduce new players Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups at a press conference at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2011 in New York City. Chris Trotman / Getty Images North America ……

(5) Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen, left, defends San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green during the second half of Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Monday, April 25, 2011, in Memphis , Tenn. The Grizzlies won 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. AP Photo/Lance Murphey …….

(6) Not looking good at all . San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan, left, and guard Tony Parker, right, of France, watch the final minutes of Game 4 against the Memphis Grizzlies in a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Monday, April 25, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. The Grizzlies won 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. AP Photo/Lance Murphey ….

(7) Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic converses with his offense in the final minutes against the Atlanta Hawks during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 24, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images …….

—————————————————————————————————————-

. NB Game four was won decisively by the Memphis Grizzlies 104-86 to take a 3-1 lead in the best of seven game series with a semi finals’ conference berth awaiting the winner .

I’m Not Buying ……….

I’m Not Buying ……….

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

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Slide show for your perusal .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

ūüėõ

Picture and slide show details below
———————————————————————————————————–

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

———————————————————————————————————-

NBA News

NBA Schedule Sunday 10th April , 2011

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

Playoff Picture scenario before today’s scheduled games .

Orlando Magic

Orlando Magic history

Orlando Magic front office ….. General Manager Otis Smith

Orlando Magic roster

Team stats

Magic team splits

Orlando Magic 2010-11 schedule

Head coach Stan Van Gundy

Orlando Magic news

——————————-

New York Knicks

New York Knicks News

New York Knicks front office

New York Knicks’ roster

Team Stats

Team Splits

————————————————————————–

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

———————————————————————————————-

Winding Down Or Winding Up As The Case Maybe

Winding Down Or Winding Up As The Case Maybe

Like me I suppose for the rest of you the topic and I do mean topic of conversation in the sports world may well have rested on LeBron James’ announcement that he was leaving Cleveland to resume his NBA career in Miami with the Miami Heat . Glasses were raised on South Beach while the once loyal fans of James in Cleveland showed their “disdain” for the player by burning his jersey replicas and whatever else they had in their possession associated with player. Not to be outdone Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert had a scalding reprimand for the player and essentially called him a coward.

Now far be it for me to show no real concern over this but once ESPN and their reporter Jim Gray chose to bilk this story for far more than it was worth , I essentially became tired of the story and of James the self appointed ” King” without a kingdom . Now don’t get me wrong with James now joining the Heat along also the recently acquired Chris Bosh to play with Dwyane Wade . This has now in essence made the Heat the presumptive favorites in the Eastern Conference and a legitimate challenger to the Los Angeles Lakers and the defense of their NBA title .

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Slide-show gallery for your perusal. Use arrow indicators for speed and direction in which you which to proceed while watching the display.

Now while all of this has come into play perhaps the two proudest and most certainly the happiest are Heat team President Pat Riley and the team’s multi-billionaire owner Micky Arison who also happens to be the owner of Carnival Cruise Lines . My concern now has to be for the Heat’s coach Erik Spoelstra , given the fact that Riley engineered this coup-d’etat with little or no input from his coach. And with that in mind I wonder if Spoelstra will go now the same way of his predecessor Stan Van Gundy ? We all know that Van Gundy was relieved of his position so that Riley could make a quick exit from his executive position to take charge of the team win an a title and then relinquish the coach’s position and make a quick return back to his executive duties. Could this once again happen given the fact that the Heat now has Bosh , James and Wade all on the same team and with the lure there for Riley to return to the fray of coaching ? If I were Spoelstra at this juncture I’d be deeply concerned and looking over my shoulder with each passing second to see if Riley were there and whether or not he had a dagger in his hand !

Now while this has been going on the African continent and the country of South Africa has been hosting the World Cup. Outside the Summer Olympics this might just be the most watched sporting event and spectacle on the planet. FIFA President Joseph (“Sepp”) Blatter says that he expects as many as 700 million viewers worldwide to tune in and watch the finals itself. It has now all come down to this with the 64th and final game of the competition between Spain and the Netherlands . And though Spain would prevail as the 1-0 victors from a goal scored by Andres Iniesta in overtime , the game itself was something of a monotonous bore. With each team failing to convert a number of chances during regulatory play. As to what this might suggest to the first time observer of the sport I’ll leave that up to you to decide !

The most recent edition of FHM an adult oriented male magazine dealing in a wide range of topics issued their list of the “100 Sexiest Women In The World” and specifically dealt with their final top ten . Nothing wrong in that by my way of thinking but then again not all heterosexual males might well feel happy with FHM’s findings and their end result. Much like Maxim Magazine has its own list of their Top 100 Most Desirable Females , I for one feel that it’s something of a trade off in order to create some hype and controversy between the two publications on their observations and then leaving it for their patrons to continue to argue over or discuss !

And amongst FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women (2010) they have Desire Siahaan , Freida Pinto , Megan Fox and slew of bodacious looking females that would be enough to make a guy salivate and drool like a newborn child . But then again what grown man doesn’t when looking at a voluptuous and beautiful female ? My own thoughts on the matter goes with the old saying ………..”beauty is in the eye of the beholder” .

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

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


Picture gallery for your perusal. Click on frame to see the picture in its original format.

Chime in with a comment if you so wish and your thoughts on the sporting weekend in general.

NB: Click on the link provided to view the list of FHM’s Sexiest Women In The World For 2010 . You will most certainly enjoy this pictorial . And that I can assure you will be the least of your concerns !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………….. ūüôā

Black Sheep ………………………. “The Choice Is Yours”

He’s Got Game …………. The Magic Are Who We Thought They Were It’s Just That Now They’re Proving To Us That They’re Simply Just Not That Good !

He’s Got Game …………. The Magic Are Who We Thought They Were It’s Just That Now They’re Proving To Us That They’re Simply Just Not That Good !

If you remember these particular sound bytes then you’ll know that the coaches in question simply were being animated and couldn’t hide their disappointment of the failure of their respective team’s performances. We have Dennis Green’s now infamous meltdown and rant …….” they are who we thought they were” ! It’s become legendary and will there for all too see in the annals of sport’s history. We also have former Indianapolis Colts’ coach Jim Mora’s ……….” playoffs ? What playoffs” ? And who can forget Herm Edwards’ ……..”you play the game to win” !

Former Arizona Cardinals’ coach Dennis Green’s now infamous meltdown after his team’s loss to the Chicago Bears.

Unfortunately , all of those anecdotes as they relate to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs may well be now falling on deaf ears. This coming from a team that swept its way through the first two rounds of these playoffs with effortless ease . Who knew what we’d now be seeing from this Stan Van Gundy coached team would be a worthless effort and more so out of complacency and the lack of a will to win ? While one cannot deny that Van Gundy has been thoroughly out-coached by his opposite number in Doc Rivers of the Boston Celtics . It’s been made to look worse, given the fact that the Magic were presumed to be the prohibitive and outright favorites to take this series with some ease.

Jim Mora reminds us what the “playoffs” are allegedly meant to be about ?

With the Orlando Magic down 0-2 to a Celtics’ team that’s playing with a renewed vigor and being commandingly led by point guard Rajon Rondo who may just be the best player in the 2010 NBA Playoffs based on his performances throughout the entire NBA postseason so far. Last night at the Amway Arena in Orlando , we saw the difference between two teams that are about as close in ability as one could envisage. But based on the effort being put forth they are about as far apart as the city of Los Angeles is from Cape Town, South Africa. And that’s a distance of approximately 9,974 miles. Could the distance between the two teams be any farther apart than that ? Let’s just say that while one team appears to be heading in one direction to an NBA Finals’ appearance while the other may well be on its way back home unable to fully understand what went wrong and why it all went wrong.

Hem Edwards let’s us know that you play the game to win. Unfortunately Herm’s record ___ (139 games__ 57 wins , 87 losses) as an NFL coach , simply doesn’t bear this out.

The game two loss by the Magic to the Celtics 95-92 now places the Eastern Conference second seed in an unenviable position. Having lost home-court advantage they now have to go the Celtics’ home court at the TD Banknorth Garden Center , Boston looking to at least win two of three to keep themselves in contention for the remainder of this series. And while the talk has been the match-up between the two opposing point guards. It’d be foolish to suggest that the Magic’s Jameer Nelson is anywhere near close to performing as effectively as Rajon Rondo . He’s yet to show it in this series and while he was center stage for the Magic’s earlier sweeps of the Charlotte Bobcats and Atlanta Hawks . Those two teams collectively put up about as spirited a performance as a wet sponge would’ve been about as much use on-board the Titanic .

The Orlando Magic lives and dies by shooting the threes and if their center Dwight Howard isn’t posting up then their offensive presence in essence becomes one dimensional ! And for Van Gundy and his coaching staff the tenets “adapt” and “evolve” don’t appear to be in their glossary when it comes to strategy. And one wonders why they’re being completely outplayed and annihilated in this series so far ? If Howard isn’t on top of his game then this Magic team has the tendency of wilting under pressure. It’s become the norm thus far as the Celtics have found ways to negate the presence of the Howard’s teammates such as Rashard Lewis , __ Vince Carter and Matt Barnes . Players whose contributions will be greatly needed if the team is to stand a chance of evening the series and perhaps win it outright. But in reality , this will be more about the collective effort of the team more than anything else and their capability in overcoming in adversity when it’s staring right back at them. Dwight Howard , however, will have to show that he’s the leader of this team rather than trying to live up to a rather asinine caricature of a superhero. If Howard thinks that he’s Superman then it’s become completely obvious to those watching ____ the Boston Celtics are a large dose of Kryptonite that’s not only negating Howard’s alleged powers but it is also making Magic look all the more ordinary as a team !

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Slide show gallery for your perusal. Use the arrowed indicator to move the
slides as you wish.

At this juncture it’s hard envisioning the Magic overcoming this two game deficit ! At best this series is liable to go no more than six games at best. They’ve simply not shown enough resolve to even come within a hair’s breath of beating the Celtics in this series. Everything they’ve thrown at Doc Rivers’ teams they’ve been able to withstand and in return the Celtics have merely demoralized the spirit of the Orlando Magic , its fans and in large part those who thought the Celtics were past their “sell by date” . As the title of this piece would suggest ……………”He’s Got Game …………. The Magic Are Who We Thought They Were It’s Just That Now They’re Proving To Us That They’re Simply Just Not That Good” !

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

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

Picture gallery for your perusal. In order to view each picture individually just click unto the
desired frame.

As things now stand how do you as a fan see this series ending up ? And which teams do you feel that we’ll be seeing in the upcoming NBA Finals ? By all means chime on in with a comment and as usual thanks for the continued support ! I look forward to reading your responses and commenting in kind.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………….

Public Enemy ……………”He Got Game” If only Dwight had the game of Jesus Shuttlesworth ? Oh I forgot , Jesus is playin’ for the Celtics and he’s none other than Ray Allen . Well fancy that ?

* NB Allen co-starred in the Spike Lee directed movie He Got Game ___(1998) . The movie starred Denzel Washington in the lead role as Jake Shuttlesworth , who’s son Jessus is portrayed in the movie by the NBA star. Also co-starring in the movie are Milla Jovovich and Rosario Dawson .

Movie trailer for “He Got Game” .

Hey Pat You’re Going ’bout Things The Wrong Way ……… Dwyane Ain’t Comin’ Back If The Heat Are This Bad !

Hey Pat You’re Going ’bout Things The Wrong Way ……… Dwyane Ain’t Comin’ Back If The Heat Are This Bad !

If you thought that billionaire cruise line operator and NBA sport’s franchise owner , Micky Arison had problems, then you’d be absolutely right. The economic downturn being what it is, Arison and his company, Carnival Cruise Lines , has seen something of a drop-off in not only revenues but also in terms of passengers being able to afford cruises aboard his luxury vessels and cruise liners. A marketing push has been started by the company to lure passengers back to the fine art of cruising , traveling the seas and enjoying one’s self amongst the camaraderie on-board a cruise ship .

<strong>  Pat Riley (l), Erik Spoelstra , team  head coach (center) and  right  ,team owner , Micky  Arison </strong>.    Here  the  three are  seen  after  the   formal  announcement  had  been  made  that  Riley  would  return  to the front office  of  the   Miami  Heat  to  resume his  duties  as  President of  Basketball Operations   and  General Manager of the  team.   Spoelstra  would  assume  the  position  as  coach  of the  Miami   Heat.   photo  appears   courtesy of   Associated Press /  Mark   Thomas   ..............
Pat Riley (l), Erik Spoelstra , team head coach (center) and right ,team owner , Micky Arison . Here the three are seen after the formal announcement had been made that Riley would return to the front office of the Miami Heat to resume his duties as President of Basketball Operations and General Manager of the team. Spoelstra would assume the position as coach of the Miami Heat. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press / Mark Thomas ..............

Arison for all of his brilliance as a businessman has seen limited success with his sport’s endeavors , with regard to his ownership of the Miami Heat. Granted, the franchise has to its name , its lone NBA title won (2006) under the tutelage of NBA coaching great, Pat Riley. But since that win , with both Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal< at the helm to lead the charge to NBA championship glory. Things for the franchise have literally cooled off. Were it to get any colder , then the streets of Miami and South Beach would be littered with ice , several inches of snow , sledges, Eskimos and Alaskan huskies. That’s how bad things have now gotten for the team and their young head coach, Erik Spoelstra. The coach was Riley’s hand picked successor, having succeeded the NBA legend , after his return to the Heat’s front office as President of Basketball Operations and the team’s de-facto General Manager. Power they say ‘corrupts’ but for Pat Riley , it seems to be an elixir that even he simply can’t ever seem to get enough of . It was the same way when he was the head coach of the New York Knicks and it may well have been the thing that led to his abrupt departure from the franchise , after his contentious relationship with team owner, James Dolan.

<strong> Dwyane Wade (#3) </strong> of the Miami Heat lays one in against the Toronto Raptors during a game on January 27, 2010 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  photo  appears courtesy  of  <strong> NBAE/Getty Images/</strong> Ron  Turner  .................
Dwyane Wade (#3) of the Miami Heat lays one in against the Toronto Raptors during a game on January 27, 2010 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Ron Turner .................

The relationship between Riley , Arison and Spoelstra, on the face of it seems to be a pleasant one. With each individual doing what’s needed to make the organization productive and a well ran business concept and entity. However, on the field of play the Heat are having their problems and by all accounts underachieving. The standings being what they are at present continues to bear this out. Within the Eastern Conference the team has posted a 23-22 mark that puts it two games over .500. A challenge at best for a team that was expected to be amongst the elite within the conference this season. But we are talking about the Eastern Conference where a .500 record can garner you a playoff berth at the end of the regular season. And I’m to believe that’s meant to be competitive ?

<strong> Chris Bosh (#4)</strong> of the Toronto Raptors celebrates a basket late in the game against<strong> Jermaine O'Neal (#7) </strong>of the Miami Heat during a game on January 27, 2010 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The  Raptors  would  go  on  to defeat the  Heat  <strong>111-103 </strong> in  the  match-up  between  the   two   Eastern  Conference  foes.  photo  appears  courtesy  of  <strong> NBAE/Getty Images/</strong>  Ron Turner  ...............
Chris Bosh (#4) of the Toronto Raptors celebrates a basket late in the game against Jermaine O'Neal (#7) of the Miami Heat during a game on January 27, 2010 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Raptors would go on to defeat the Heat 111-103 in the match-up between the two Eastern Conference foes. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Ron Turner ...............

Based on that record the Heat as a team would garner the sixth seed in the conference , were the playoffs to start today. And within the Southeast Dvision the Heat now lies in third place behind the surprise division leading, Atlanta Hawks (29-14) , with in second place, last season’s Eastern Conference representatives in the NBA Finals, the Orlando Magic (29-16). And beneath the Miami Heat within the division are the Charlotte Hornets (22-22) followed by the last plaaced and woefully inept Washington Wizards(14-30). The standout teams within the division this season are Atlanta Hawks and the Orlando Magic. And it would appear that both will be contesting the divisional honors based on their present form. The same cannot be said of the Heat , as they have lacked consistency and Dywane Wade has been lacking in support from his teammates. And one well understand the frustrations behind the player and his lack to make a full commitment to the team, as it concerns his immediate future. At the end of the season Wade become an unrestricted free agent. And he, alongside LeBron James are thought to be the most prized assets of what likely will be ‘a blockbuster crop of talent laden stars’ on the open market.


Courtesy of Miami Herald

Miami Heat’s Jermaine O’Neal could be dealt for Amar’e Stoudemire

By M Wallace , Miami Herald

Toronto — The last time center Jermaine O’Neal was traded, he was involved in just about every step of the negotiation process in his move last February from the Raptors to the Miami Heat.

If the Heat has any plans to move O’Neal and his $23 million expiring contract before next month’s trade deadline, the 14-year veteran apparently is not aware of them.

O’Neal could be a major cog involved in a potential deal if the Heat is serious about acquiring Amare Stoudemire from Phoenix.

The Heat has been mentioned among a half-dozen teams that might pursue a trade for Stoudemire if the Suns make him available. Stoudemire has a $17 million contract option for the 2010-11 season, but could opt out after this season to join free-agent class highlighted by Cleveland’s LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

League and team sources confirmed Wednesday the Heat is in its “due diligence” process, something team president Pat Riley does when a big-name player surfaces who could help Miami.

Despite concerns at times over his role, O’Neal is not believed to have publicly or privately asked to be traded, and would like to make it work in Miami. The Heat seemed committed to O’Neal for the season and had not ruled out trying to resign him.

Riley’s plan has been to maintain enough salary-cap space this summer to re-sign Wade, add another maximum-level player and also convince a third star free agent to take less money on what would be a title contender.

If Miami is reluctant to package second-year forward Michael Beasley in a potential offer for Stoudemire, then O’Neal and a first-round pick might entice Phoenix.

Such a package could be constructed under salary-matching guidelines that would allow the Heat to swap O’Neal for Stoudemire and still get beneath the league’s $71.2 million luxury-tax threshold.

Riley has said Miami is about $2.5 million over the tax and is intent on getting under it.

=======================================
In order to read this article in its entirety just
click on the link provided herein
=======================================

Fearful of the fact that he could lose the player to free agency , Pat Riley has sought to do almost everything within his power to try and persuade the player to stay. Wade for his part, has said all of the right things but at the same time he’s been critical of the organization and none committal as to his immediate plans for the future and whether not the Miami Heat are part of those plans. Which leaves the Heat fans thinking that they could be once again facing those dark days wherein the team was merely used as a stop off point for South Beach by an opponent and at the same time as ‘cannon fodder’ in an NBA contest. Well that would appear to be the scenario were Dywane Wade not a part of this team in the future. And the Heat certainly hasn’t helped its cause with the understated play of Michael Beasley . Nor has it helped that aged veteran, Jermaine O’Neal appears to be at least five steps too slow from his prominent days where he was considered to be a top ten performer in the league. Such has been the falloff in his play that one wonders why he’s still on the Heat’s roster ? Beasley for his part, has had his moments but they’ve also been overshadowed by his private off the field issues.

<strong> Michael Beasley (#30)</strong> of the Miami Heat throws down the dunk ahead of <strong>Hedo Turkoglu (#26)</strong>  of the Toronto Raptors during a game on January 27, 2010 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  <strong>photo  appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/</strong>  Ron  Turner  ...............
Michael Beasley (#30) of the Miami Heat throws down the dunk ahead of Hedo Turkoglu (#26) of the Toronto Raptors during a game on January 27, 2010 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Ron Turner ...............

One can surmise that until Beasley’s mindset is completely on basketball , then he’ll continue to disappoint not only the Miami Heat fans but also those of Kansas State (Wildcats), where Beasley attended college. It’s too early yet to conclude that Beasley has been ‘a complete bust’ in the NBA. But given the fact that a player of the caliber of Kevin Durant is lighting up the NBA with his enormous presence and phenomenal play. Albeit, that he preceded Beasley by a year in the NBA Draft. Whilst Durant’s game has steadily progressed with each year ,for Beasley it has been just moments of rare glimpses of brilliance and little much else. So much so, that is was widely believed around the league that Riley might pursue a trade of the young player, feeling that a change of environment might to be better Beasley altogether. However, there ‘were no takers’ for the number 2 overall pick from the 2008 NBA Draft , where the overall pick was the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose. Far be it for me to suggest that in making the pick, Riley erred on the side of caution. But given the facts and the play of Rose during the NCAA tournament of that year. It would’ve proven to be fortuitous had he chosen Rose over Beasley by having initiated a change of picks with the Bulls on draft day. But as they say ‘……hindsight sight is 50/50’ ? For Pat Riley this wasn’t necessarily about hindsight but poor judgment by him and the entire Heat coaching staff on the day.

There’s no bone of contention however, that for the Miami Heat to retain Dywane Wade , then the play of note Beasley will have to improve but so too will the play of Jermaine Neal and the entire Heat roster for that matter ! They face enough of an uphill task as it is trying to hold unto the sixth seed within the Eastern Conference. The struggles of this Miami Heat team paints an ominous picture were they to miss the playoffs entirely. So acute now is their situation that Heat coach, Erik Spoelstra , has to be looking over his shoulders to see if Riley will step down from his palatial executive suite in the front office of the organization to return to coaching, relegating his young protoge’ back to the assistants’ bench. After-all he’d done it once before with Spoelstra’s predecessor, Stan Van Gundy, on his way to coaching the team to his fifth NBA titleas a coach and the team’s first and only championship in their entire existence. The latter scenario may not happen but given the present situation , anything is possible at this juncture.

For the Miami Heat fans this may not be something that they can envisage or stomach. And that’s a team without the best player in team history no longer being part of the organization or even the fabric of the local community. Dwyane Wade’s appearances and his philanthropic efforts in the community and beyond have been well documented. And Wade’s recent efforts in not only raising awareness of the Haitian crisis within the community but also putting on a fundraiser amongst fans and members of the team , speaks well as to how much as to how beloved he is within the community but also in the City of Miami. He has in effect become their ‘favorite son’ .

If the Heat are to fare well throughout the remainder of the season , then it will have to be through a collective effort by the team as well as the entire coaching staff. And with trade deadline just around the corner it will be very interesting to see whether or not Riley will be a player in the market , either by trading a player or acquiring one that’ll be of benefit to the team. But it has become very clear to see that the initial gamble made by Riley in the draft hasn’t paid off at all . But where success is now judged by the immediacy of the here and now and what have you done for me lately ? This might well prove to be the last chance for Pat Riley to show us all how good a personnel executive he really is . If he and Erik Spoelstra can’t turn things around then for all sense and purpose they might as well wave goodbye as Dwyane Wade departs from the city of Miami and away from Miami Heat, also. There’s a sense of inevitability that this is about to happen. But as alluded to earlier , Pat Riley will do his damn best to make sure that scenario doesn’t take place in the very near future.

What are your thoughts if any on the possible or imminent departure of Dwyane Wade from the Miami Heat ? Do you believe that it is likely to happen or not ?


Ever  wanted  to  know  what  a   female  JAG  lawyer  looks  like out  of   uniform  ?  Well  here's   your  chance.  It's  Catherine  Bell   from  the  CBS  hit  show  <strong> 'JAG'  </strong>  of  which   Bell  played  US Marine  Cpt  and  lawyer <strong> 'Sarah Mackenzie' </strong> .   A  role   which  she  played  for   six   years  on  the network.    The  spin-offs   from  the  show  has  been   NCIS   and   its   counterpart  NICS-Los  Angeles.  Both  shows are   <strong> bonafide hits  </strong for  the  network.    And   Bell  to  my  mind  is  a hit  in   or  out  of   uniform .

Catherine Bell, the former star of the CBS hit action-drama ‘JAG’. On the show Bell player US Marine lawyer and‘ Lt. Colonel , Sarah Mackenzie. Let’s just say in or out of uniform , Bell looks ‘damn fine’ !

And as an added treat , here’s a video covering Bell’s photo shoot for FHM . Can we praise Bell for showing us some skin ? Yes we can as it’s change that we can all believe in !

50 cent ‘drops it’ for Pat Riley as a reminder as to what’s needed. ‘Window Shopper’

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………. ūüôā

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 …!”