Basketball, NBA, Philadelphia 76 er's

Sixers Say Goobye To Mr Cheeks ……………

Well it’d appear that  another NBA franchise has  seen fit to  fire their coach.  And  the Philadelphia 76 er’s have decided  in  jettisoning their coach  rather  than keeping him until  midway through the season.  That  being said  it was  expected  that this team would  be contending within the Eastern Conference  and their division as a  whole.  But  they’ve  been a  disappointment  and  underperformed much to the dismay of  their  fans  and  the  public at large.
Andray Blatche of the Wizards  is fouled by  Samuel Dalembert of  the  76 ers'.......
Andray Blatche of the Wizards is fouled by Samuel Dalembert of the 76 ers’…….

Andray Blatche of the Wizards is fouled by Sixers’ player  Samuel Dalembert  during the game played  between  the two  teams.  The 76rs’ would go on to win the game 104-89 . picture appears  courtesy of  nbae/getty images/ Thomas Rassmussen ……………

Much like another  statistic Maurice  Cheeks  was thrown to the wolves  in spite of  the fact  that  the  team’s  malaise  didn’t rest upon his shoulders but  that  of a  team  that has yet  to find its stride.  Their big money signing of  Elton Brand has yet  to  show  the  prowess upon  which  he was a desirable commodity prior to the start  of the season.  But thus  far the All Star hasn’t  put up  the  numbers  that  many  expected would become the norm. That  being  said  Cheeks  is now the  fifth coach to have been fired this  season.  And we’ve barely  reached  the  quarter mark  of the  season.
Brand blocks  a shot by  Darius Songaila  ..............
Brand blocks a shot  by  the  Wizards’ Darrius Songaila  during  the third quarter of  the  game  played  in Philadelphia.  picture  appears  courtesy of  ap/photo/Tom Mihalek  …………..
In the Atlantic Division  they sit at  the bottom  of the division having posted a 10-14 record. And already  they’re  twelve games behind the  high  riding  Boston Celtics, who lead the division with a 22-2 record and  are 10 games  ahead of their closest rivals  within the  division the New Jersey Nets.  And as we know the fans  in a city like  Philly  aren’t  always  forgiving of their  sport’s  franchises  when they  prove to be a disappointment.  They  have  a way  of  showing their  dark side  which can be  very  disconcerting  for  even  the  most  discerning  of  individuals.  The  team  was built  with an  eye on  the future  and  in  some  eyes  they  were  viewed  as  a  team that could contend.  They showed much of  that  promise with their gallant display  in the  postseason  last  year.  Albeit  that they  lost in the first round of  the playoffs.  It  was felt  that they  could build on the future and  the  nucleus  was in  place  with a young roster  of  players  led  by  Andre Iguodala , Samuel Dalembert  and  the  veteran leadership  of  Andre Miller.
Wizards 76ers Basketball
Sixers’ interim coach  Tony DiLeo calls for a timeout during the first quarter in the  Sixers’ game  played  against the Washington Wizards. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Nate  Campbell ………………


But the promise  that  was  shone in the latter  part  of  the season and  into first round of  the  postseason has been  nothing  more than aberration  for the  most part  this season.  They’ve  struggled  on both sides  of the  ball  and it  can be said that  there’s a lack  of confidence  from the  team. But most  of all  it hasn’t  helped that  Elton Brand  hasn’t brought  about  the presence  and leadership  sought  as  a perennial  All Star. As alluded to before the sole responsibility of  the team’s problems hasn’t stemmed from the  lack of coaching  ability of  Cheeks.  But  the lack of  a  cohesive presence  by the  team on the court. Interim coach Tony DiLeo has been entrusted  to lead this team now  as the  coach and it has  to be said  that he’s  been entrusted with  none too easy of a task  at  this juncture. If  he’s to succeed then the team will  have  to  respond  and show a great deal  of  consistency.  And for a first  time coach with  next  to little coaching experience. It has to be said that  his chances  of  success  border on slim at best.


Wizards 76ers Basketball

Elton Brand of  the  76ers makes the jump shot over the  outstretched arms  of the Wizards’  Antawn Jamison.  Brand  would have  a very good night  offensively for his team on their homecourt  scoring  27 points for the  team. picture appears  courtesy of ap/Tom Mihalek ……………


Cheeks may well have been shown a great disservice by the franchise and  with  General Manager Ed Stefanski and the fact  that it was his decision to abruptly fire the coach. Surely he  could’ve waited given the circumstances  that the  team found themselves ?   They’d  yet  to see the  team  play with all of their main starters  being  on the court  at the same time.  But these  decisions when made  can never  be reversed.  Cheeks may  well go  on to rebound from this  all and find himself in a new position at some  time in the future.  He’s well respected  coach  whose  knowledge of the  game  is  unparallelled. And he  also has the  respect  of his  peers as well  as players around the league. So one can summize that he will  find  himself with a  position of  some capacity  around the league.


Juan Dixon makes  an attempt  at  deflecting  the  ball  away from Lou Williams of  the  Sixers

Juan Dixon of  the Wizards  makes  a  gallant  effort to deflect  the  ball away  from  Lou  Williams  of the  Sixers  during  the  game which the  Sixers  would go on to win 104-89.  picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Tom Mihalek  ………………


For  their part  the  Sixers  have proven to be something  of  a  real  disappointment to  their fans and fans in general around the league.  Much  was  expected  of the  team.  Having made  the postseason  they gave  a real  accounting of  themselves albeit  that  they lost in the  first  round.  But  there  was  much  promise shown by  the team and it was felt  under  the tutelage  and leadership  of  Cheeks  that  they would  do well  this  season.   Alas with injuries prevailing  and  no real  consisistency  to  their  play.  We’ve  seen  the  team  underperform  to  such  an  extent  that  their  poor  record  seems  a microcosm  of the  real  underlying problems  within the franchise. 


Interim coach Ed Tapscott of  the  Washington  Wizards ........

Interim coach  Ed Tapscott  is on the sidelines  as  his Washington Wizards’ team takes on the  Philadelphia 76 ers  in  a  game  played in  Philadelhia. picture appears  courtesy of ap/photo/  Tom Mihalek  ……………


And as much  as we’d  like to  regale  about the  fact  that  the  Eastern Conference  doesn’t  seem  to possess a number  of  quality teams. It has  to be  said that  one of  the  problems  behind  that may well  be from the  mere  reason  that  many of  the  franchises  therein  have  a nucleus of  young  players  on their rosters. The inexperience  is showing  and  at  the  same time the rigors  of  playing  within the  NBA  has alredy  began to set  in. The Boston Celtics and  the  Cleveland  Cavaliers are  the  class  of  the  conference.  But  where  we see  much  of  the  competitive spirit  being  shown  by  the  Western  Conference   week in week  out.  There  you have the  likes  of the  Los Angeles  Lakers , San Antonio Spurs New Orleans HornetsDallas Mavericks ,Utah Jazz and the Phoenix  Suns.  Comparatively  one  could say that  the  East  doesn’t  possess  that sort of  quality  ? 


76ers Cheeks Fired Basketball

 GM Ed Stefanski introduces Tony DiLeo as  the  team’s new interim head coach for  the rest of the season. picture appears  courtesy of ap/photo/Tom Mihalek  …………….



Last night we saw  the  Sixers show a great  deal  of resolve in overcoming  the  Washington Wizards.   Their win was encouraging for interim  coach  Tony DiLeo. And one would hope  that with it comes  a renewed  passion by  the  players  and  the  organization as a whole. And with GM Ed Stefanski make  the decision that the franchise will now have  to  live  and die with. It doesn’t  bode  well for the team where  in  the city  of  brotherly  love  the fans aren’t  always  enamored  of  their teams  when it comes  to  their professionals  sports’ franchises.   For Cheeks  who’s  a   well  respected  coach and  admired  by  his  peers , he’s  well  remembered  within the city  and  much  beloved as  a favorite  son.







tophatal  ……………………………

Boxing, Welterweights

Pleas Oscar No More Excuses You Were Beaten By The Better Man ……….

For all of the functionality of the sport of boxing and we know that the sport is made up of stars  and their egos. It can be said that  last night’s bout between Manny Pacquiao and  Oscar De La Hoya had all that one could’ve envisioned from two of the biggest stars in the sport.  De La Hoya one again trying to prove that  he’ll willingly take on anyone as long as the price is right. But not all too willing  to admit  when  he’s made  a  profound mistake. 


Manny Pacquaio the WBC lighweight champion throws a right hand to the head  of  Oscar De La Hoya  during their none title bout held in Las Vegas, Nevada. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Eric Jamison….


Well for Oscar  last  night that  held through  as  he was unwittingly surprised and  beaten  by his Filipino opponent in an 8th  round TKO in their none-title  fight.  De La Hoya unable to answer the bell  for  the ninth round just sat  on  his stool  as  Pacquaio  was later  announced  the  winner.  Much to  the joy  of  fans in attendance  who  were supporters  of the victorious  Filipino ,  Manny  Pacquiao.  


De La Hoya stands ground as Pacquaio  throws a right  to the head of his opponent during the fourth round of  their fight. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Eric Jamison ……………



Now for De La Hoya comes some  home truths  as  to the future of his career.  He  may  well  think of  himself as the savior  of the sport during  these turbulent times.  But  if  anything this particular  loss  has  proven that he’s  now way past  his prime  once and for all. And though a rematch may  not be out of the offing  , I’d  think  that  after tonight’s decision  it wouldn’t prove anything  were Pacquiao enter into  such a discussion.  Such was the lopsided  of the bout that  De La Hoya  has  to admit  at no point was  he in a position to conclusively win the bout outright. H  certainly  didn’t take the pace of the fight  and if  anything  it was Pacquiao who  held the  upper  hand right from the start and through  much of the duration of the bout.


De La Hoya connects to the  head  of Pacquiao  during their welterweight  bout in Las  Vegas on Saturday  night. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Ethan  Miller ……………..


Businesswise De La Hoya  comes  out a winner as he was co-promoter of the the event  through  his  Golden Boy Promotions Inc, alongside Bob Arum of  Top Rank Inc.  And with Arum  the promoter  of  Pacquiao  proving  to  be victorious  it’d appear  that everyone  came off  a winner in this  PPV event.  With  the price of $54.95 being charged  for subscribers to the event. It  can be  said  that it was more than a profitable night for all.   Both the Arum and the De La Hoya camp  were  hoping  for in excess of  2m buys  for  the event as that  would bring  a whopping $110m alone  in  terms of  the  PPV revenues. And  less one  forgets we also  have  the paying  members  of  the  public  in attendance  plus the  concessions  to  be  accounted. In light of  that we could well hear  that  this  bout  being close to if  not  surpassing the  take of  the previous  highest  grossing   PPV bout.  Which  again  De La Hoya was  a  part of  when  he  faced  Floyd  Mayweather  Jr.  That  fight  took in over  $160m  in gross  revenues  inclusive  of the  PPV total.  Business  is  business and  when it comes to  the  financial pulling  power it would appear that  in the worldof  boxing  no one has that  power  other  than  De La Hoya himself.  He knows it  and he craves both  that  and  the limelight that  it brings.  And for a fighter  that  it’s  said  has  earned purses in excess  of $275m  and counting  over the  course of  his career. Another $10 or  $20m  mightn’t do  him anymore  harm when it’s all said  and done.


De La Hoya is hugged by his Filipino opponent  Manny Pacquiao after a surprising end to their much heralded bout.  Pacquiao was  declared the winner  by a TKO  after De La  Hoya  was unable  to answer the bell for the ninth round. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Mark  J Terrill  …………………


The fact of the matter is the more Oscar continues to fight albeit  that he’s willing to take on  allcomers as  long as he feels that  he’s in with a chance of beating that opponent. He’ll  fight and it will  have  nothing to  do with his legacy  as  it’s now  become  nothing  more than about the money at the end of the day.  Well  those  days  now may well be coming  to  close  after  what’ll be viewed as a much heralded loss against an opponent he  was favored to  beat. 


Oscar De La Hoya  on his stool ringside  looks  across at his opponent  Manny Pacquiao during the interval of the fifth round of their  fight  held at the  MGM Grand  Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. picture appears courtesy of getty images/Jed Jacobsohn …………….


The outcome to  many  may not have been surprising  at  all when one considers the punching power of Pacquiao. What may have  surprised many in the audience and  those  viewing by  PPV was the abrupt way that the fight  ended.  De La Hoya seemingly unable  to defend  himself with any great authority looked tired and old  in the  ring. And what might’ve  been viewed an advantage for him in terms  of him  fighting  at  a weight that  he’d seemingly  become accustomed to.  In  many  respects  for  Pacquiao  it was he who looked the  more  accustomed  fighter  at the welterweight division  than  De La Hoya.  For  Pacquiao to  move up  two weight  classes and still sustain such power and  aggression  is compliment to the fighter and  his profound skills.  And for  De La Hoya it now appears  that those days  if being  the big draw in the sport are  now coming  mercifully to an end. If ever a  fight  and  the way in which  he  was defeated ouhgt  to signal an end to  an illustrious career.  Then  this was that  fight without a doubt !


Manny Pacquaio  of the Phillipines celebrates  his 8th round TKO victory over  Oscar De La Hoya with the  accompaniment of his country’s  Vice President  Noll De Castro standing  to his left. picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/Jae C Hong  …………………..


The future now is so bright for Pacquiao  that it’s  now extremely  hard to see how  he could  top this feat. Not only  has he tamed a legend  but  he beat  that  legend  ever  so convincingly. The excuses from  De La  Hoya’s  camp  may  well be rife.  But  it’s plain to see that  Oscar is no longer the supremely gifted fighter he once was  or  he that  he  himself  thinks he  still is.  


Manny Pacquaio connects with a left hook to  the body of Oscar De La Hoya during their welterweight bout in  Las Vegas  on Saturday  night.  picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Ethan Miller  …………..


No one can deny  the acclaim that  De La Hoya has  brought  the sport  and the rewards that he’s attained from it. But at the end of  the  day old Father Time has cought up with a fighter whose  better days are most certainly  not ahead of him  but  if  anything  he can actually  see those days for  himself  have  passed  him  by and he can view them  through a  rear view mirror.  Slowly as they say all  good  things must come to an  end.  And now is the time Oscar to call it quits once  and for all. No amount of excuses  can  be  made  for the  severity and abruptness  of  this loss.  And  even if  he makes the claim  of wanting  a rematch against  Pacquiao.  Is there  really  anyone of  the opinion  who’d view the  outcome any different ?  Oscar you’re  good  but on this night Manny was markedly  better.  And  he  was so  by a very wide margin !


A forelorn De La Hoya looks on duriing the interval of  the third and fourth rounds as his trainer Ignacios Beristain implores his fighter to keep his guard up. picture appears  courtesy of ap/photo/Mark J Terrill ….


The public may well  clamor for a rematch and  most definitely it’s  not out  of the realms of possibility that Oscar might want  to redeem himself against Pacquiao. But the fact the matter  he  threw  his hat into  the ring once too often an  this time  around he was found to be  wanting.  As alluded to before this may mark  the end of an  illustrious career  once and for  all.  But  there’ll be those  around  De La Hoya advising him  otherwise. The  cash cow that is  Oscar De La Hoya  brings along  with him  much  more  than the  sport itself but also  name recognition.  And  at a time when  the  world  is undergoing an economic  crisis  it  is  the big marquee names that  the fans are  interested  in.  And not  the  bottom  feeders  within the sport as whole.  One can understand  that at this juncture  there aren’t  many recognisable names within the sport.  Merely  from the  lackluster  talent  and  in many  cases  many  of the titlists being  unwilling to  face each other or  major contenders.  With  the sport being so fractured  it can only  left  to the  likes of  De La Hoya  and  Pacquiao  to offer  the fans what  they  so  desperately  crave.


 A broken and beaten Oscar De La Hoya  looks  on  after his loss to Manny Pacquiao in their  welterweight bout held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Nevada.  picture appears courtesy of ap/phot/Mark J Terrill  ……………………..


Surprisingly though what  I now  crave to  see  Oscar ride off into the sunset  once and  for all. For if he still really has anything to offer the sport.  Then  it can be done by  involving himself in the promotional  side of the  sport. And in nurturing  future  talent that the  public may  well be  interested  in seeing.  I’d rather see him now doing that than viewing  him  flailing  inside the ring with skills being questioned and being ridiculed by the fans. If nothing else  we tend to remember  our heroes when they’re more  so on top.  But when they’re on the decline we tend not to look at them  so deservedly with  the reverence  with which we once held them. 





tophatal ……………………….