Basketball, Bill Russell, Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, Los Angeles Lakers, Nate Robinson, NBA, NBA Playoffs 2010, Red Auberbach, Shaquille O'Neal, Sports, Wyc Grousbeck

Chances Are It Won’t Work Out …………… But Then Again Who Knows ?


Chances Are It Won’t Work Out …………… But Then Again Who Knows ?

The one thing that has perplexed me since the trade deadline has been the play of the Boston Celtics and the decision made by the Boston Celtics’ GM Danny Ainge in the trading of Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson . Now inasmuch as we’re told that this was done to benefit the overall strength of the Celtics’ roster I think in large part that the trade has been to the detriment of the Celtics that has provided a slump in their fortunes where they’re now the third ranked team within the Eastern Conference sitting behind the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat .

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Though the Boston Celtics’ coach Doc Rivers has stated that this trade was a necessity to give the team depth in strength I do believe that the decision wasn’t a prudent one and it has if anything made the team all the more vulnerable and susceptible in their chances of making it deep into the playoffs much less winning the conference finals or the NBA title itself. The Celitics’ Big Three of Ray Allen , Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in addition to point guard Rajon Rondo have been playing at a level not identifiable with a team that many thought if anything would be viewed as a serious contender for the conference championship as well as the NBA championship. Instead this team has struggled and the fact that Troy Murphy an addition to the Celtics’ roster was seen as an upgrade has me wondering what it is that Ainge was trying to do ! If anything the general manager of this storied franchise must feel that the front office and the ownership of Wyc Grousbeck and his partners who can’t be entirely happy with the current situation but as long as there’s a chance that the team can be thought of as a contender then they may well be satisfied with their predicament.

In the offseason after the playoffs has reached its culmination I do believe that several decisions will have to be made as to the personnel of this team in light of the age of the team’s “Big Three” of Allen , Garnett and Pierce , never mind the roaming mercenary on the team Shaquille O’Neal whose career of late has been one where he’s merely moved for the sake of the money , rather than what he says…… ‘ is the pursuit of a fifth NBA ring , having won four as well as multiple Finals’ MVP’s . O’Neal is no longer the once dominant center within the league and if anything his productivity has slumped over the past few years . Rivers may well feel that his playing a mere twenty to twenty five minutes a game will suffice in the Celtics’ quest for another title.

Last season’s quest where we saw the Celtics fall to the Lost Angeles Lakers </a. in the NBA Finals was one where the team having outplayed the Lakers throughout much of the series they’d would fall apart in game seven where we’d see Ron Artest perhaps play the game of his life and where eventual Finals’ MVP Kobe Bryant would show us why he’s amongst the game’s most accomplished players and has long been considered one of the best players in the game when it matters most , on the NBA’s grandest stage. If that wasn’t enough to show the Celtics and their fans why it is that they can’t afford to be complacent then the 2010 Finals was definitely indicative of that.

This season for the Celtics hasn’t been without controversy for the team with Kevin Garnett leading the way with his flare up with the Pistons’ Charlie Villaneuva in the aftermath of which Garnett would try to negate the response of the press with a rather trite statement concerning remarks made about cancer victims. Garnett has always been something of a lightning rod in terms of his on the court demeanor and often at times his apparent willingness to do whatever it takes to win even if there’s a question as to his sportsmanship.

As an offense the Celtics have struggled and though they’re often viewed as a defensive force it has been here where their struggles have actually manifested itself and much to the dismay of their fans and Rivers’ coaching staff . I’ve no doubt will make the playoffs but I’m not so sure that as of now that they can be viewed as the presumptive favorites to win the conference finals ! As good as the team has been throughout much of the season the loss of Kendrick Perkins may well be too much to bear for this team. You cannot simply alter the chemistry on a team thinking that you can make it better by bringing in players that in terms of their contributions simply have shown that they’ve no real heart. Ainge for his part has been reticent to address the reasons as to the team’s falloff prior to the trade and what it has meant overall.

If the Celtics are to actually make their presence felt over the remainder the regular season and in the postseason , then as of now , they will have to show a great deal more determination . And in terms of leadership then Garnett , Pierce , Allen but Rajon Rondo in particular will have to lead by example if there’s to be any chance of this team simply being in with a remote chance of winning the NBA title . Failure by the quartet to show some form of consistency in terms of their play then you might as well count this team out because they’ve become a mere shadow of what many believed they were capable of achieving .

The Eastern Conference has often been thought of as a conference where the quality of play has been somewhat lacking in quality of its play but if anything with a litany stars now within the conference there’s the feeling that they’re now capable of staying in touch with their counterparts in the Western Conference . Now it comes to the point where we’re going to have to ask the questions as to whether or not the hype created with the Miami Heat ….. will they be good enough to win it all ? Can Derrick Rose assume the mantel of Michael Jordan and lead the Chicago Bulls to unprecedented heights not seen since the Bulls were in their heyday under Jordan in winning six titles during a ten year span. Boston for its part will be looking to add to the legacy of Red Auerbach and Bill Russell the two names synonymous , most associated with success and what the Celtics have been about over the course of their history.

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the Celtics’ present plight and where do you see them in terms of their chances winning an NBA title ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the Boston Celtics and that of the conference and the NBA postseason as a whole ?

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

http://tophatal.wordpress.com/

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(1) Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce (34) shoots against Minnesota Timberwolves center Darko Milicic (31) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 27, 2011, in Minneapolis. Pierce had a team-high 23 points as the Celtics won 85-82 . AP Photo/ Mark Goodson …..

(2) Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jonny Flynn (10) looks to pass around Boston Celtics guard Carlos Arroyo (45) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, March 27, 2011, in Minneapolis. AP Photo/Paul Battaglia ……….

(3) Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett (5) goes for the loose ball along with teammate Paul Pierce (34) and Minnesota Timberwolves center Anthony Tolliver during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 27, 2011, in Minneapolis. AP Photo/Paul Battaglia ….

(4) LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 19: Shaquille O’Neal of the Boston Celtics with girlfriend Nicole ‘Hoopz’ Alexander sit courtside as they attend NBA All-Star Saturday night presented by State Farm at Staples Center on February 19, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images …….

(5) Wyc Grousbeck (right) is seen here with Red Auerbach at the team’s headquarters discussing the Celtics’ team . Auerbach who died last season built the Celtics’ dynasty into one of the NBA’s most beloved and successful franchises . Grousbeck is now the senior managing partner in the Boston Celtics’ ownership group . Paul Myers / Celtic Archives / copyrighted material @ all rights reserved …..

(6) Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge (L), managing partner and CEO Wyc Grousbeck (C) and guard Ray Allen celebrate after defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of the NBA Finals basketball championship in Boston June 17, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Segar ……………..

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Wiz Khalifa ………….. ” Roll Up ”
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Baseball, Basketball, Football, MLB, NBA, NBA Playoffs 2010, NFL, Soccer, Sports, World Cup 2010

Opening Up Pandora’s Box You Simply Don’t Want To Know What’s Inside


Opening Up Pandora’s Box You Simply Don’t Want To Know What’s Inside

As a young child were you ever told by a parent or an elder …..” never play with matches and never touch anything that doesn’t belong to you ” ? Well it’s something that I believe that in the cases of both NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and David Stern they’ve failed to heed those very warnings. Goodell seems to be delighted with the fact that the 2014 Superbowl will be held at the new $1.6 billion stadium that will be home to both the New York Jets and New York Giants in East Rutherford , New Jersey. The fact that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg seems to be clamoring over this like a young boy who’s discovered his first copy of Playboy has me even more worried. Bloomberg’s craving for the public spotlight borders if not surpasses that of the NBA Commissioner David Stern. But consider this , Bloomberg’s city will have a budget deficit approaching $1.67 billion for the fiscal year of 2011. However, he and the city’s comptroller John C. Liu hope to have the now projected shortfall reined in by 2014. However, by then it’s projected to be in excess of $4 billion . Is it any wonder Bloomberg won an unprecedented third term in office ? He’ll be creating more havoc than the pimps and drug cartel leaders could ever have wished to. You can always rely on a politician to get things done by essentially fu_king things up to begin with !

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While the NFL owners are now patting themselves on the back about this latest development. have to ask why now and why the Giants and Jets ? Merely because they’ve a spanking new edifice ? OK , so we know that the economic impact of staging a Superbpowl does mean a great deal of business for the host city and that it can garner it more publicity than it could wish , had they spent the money on marketing their city. The economic impact of staging the Superbowl can mean as much $2billion to the host city over a period of six months prior to and after the event itself. And one can well understand the reason why the cities who’ve staged the event fall over themselves and clamor to re-stage the event when given the chance. But prior to this , did you realize that NFL championship games were hosted by the team who had “the best record” from the previous year ? In the era of the Superbowl all of that went right out of the window. If anything, wouldn’t that have been more of an incentive to teams than what we’ve now witnessed ?
For Jets’ owner Woody Johnson the Jets’ organization along with his counterpart from the Giants , Steve Tisch and his organization . This has to be a more than welcoming occurrence. As it immediately gives both organizations the credibility that they seek .

Now the NFL hierarchy under Goodell’s guidance merely looks at its calendar of cities that’ve successfully staged the event and then announces the winner as they would deem fit. Surreptitiously we’re told that ballots are cast to in order to create the perception of fairness. If fairness is deemed having the owners in a room locking horns and the most influential amongst them simply holding sway , then I guess you could consider it as being fair wouldn’t you Now the ramifications of which will be that all 32 teams in the NFL will feel that they too ought to be given the chance to stage a Superbowl. If the truth be told that scenario will never see the light of day under any circumstance whatsoever ! This is a Pandora’s Box that should never have been open to begin with. But you know what frankly I hope this sh_t rains down on Goodell and the rest of these damn greedy owners to begin with ! The Superbowl whenever it has been staged has never been about the fans but more so to do with the patronage of the NFL’s many corporate sponsors and major partners. Try purchasing a ticket for the very event itself better yet try purchasing a series of tickets for a group of five or six people and see how much the cost sets you back ? Goodell and the owners aren’t and never will be the least bit concerned as to what the fans may well think or how they might feel !

Pardon me for say this but I wasn’t aware that LeBron James’ father was David Stern . For some reason the NBA commissioner is now ready to levy fines upon anyone who apparently says anything as it regards the player’s impending free agency. Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban found this out to his cost and is now $100,000 lighter in his wallet. Considering a fine of that nature, is like a ripple across a pond to someone of Cuban’s wealth. I fail to see what imposing such a fine does in the first place. Cuban, in giving a statement did not go out or seek to influence James, as to making a decision about his future. But from Stern’s mere decision and candor he thought that the owner was bringing undue influence to bear upon the player. David Stern is acting like an autocratic despotic leader whose very command must be obeyed. He’s protecting James as if he were his child. I think LeBron can defend himself as and when needs be ! And in referring to David Stern , we call the likes of Hugo Chavez and Kim Jong-Il maniacal in terms of their authority and power ? Stern makes those two despotic leaders seem like mere children at play when it comes to undue use of power !

Tonight the Eastern Conference Final ___ series resumes between the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic . With the Magic still steering elimination in the face being down 3-1 in the series . It will be interesting to see the resolve being shown by this Stan Van Gundy coached team . Their play through much of this series has been un-inspirational and lackluster to say the very least. And the fact that there’s not been much of a sighting of Dwight Howard in the series until game four’s explosive output of 32 points and 16 rebounds on the way to the team’s 96-92 victory over the Celtics. You had the impression that the team would bow inauspiciously out the conference finals , making history as the first team that swept their opponents in the opening two rounds of the playoffs and were then swept themselves. In staving off that scenario they still have to force a game five if they’re to at least have a chance of erasing the deficit and playing themselves back into contention.

The one thing we do know is that the Celtics led by Rajon Rondo and their veteran coach Doc Rivers aren’t going to let a one game slide get to them either mentally or physically. And if anything they’ll be looking to close out the series in front of their home crowd at the TD Banknorth Garden Center in Boston , Massachusetts.

If the Magic were the presumptive favorites to win their match-up against the Celtics. Then the Los Angeles Lakers had to have been considered the overwhelming favorites against their opponents , the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals . Now with the series tied at two games apiece. This contest has now become one of intrigue and suspense. And any thought it would be the Lakers now dictating the pace and structure of the contest. Well, let’s just say the most ardent of Lakers’ fans are by no means certain their team” will come out of this series unscathed. This is becoming a dog-fight that I’ve got to believe that the Lakers’ players and their fans want no part of ! Do you think that Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson has Michael Vick’s number on speed dial ?

So the rallying cry has begun to support the US men’s national soccer team as they begin their buildup to the World Cup . Unfortunately, the cry was lost on the players as they got off to an inauspicious start by being completely outplayed and trounced by the Czech Republic team 4-2 . What one ought to consider however , is that the Czechs failed to qualify for the upcoming event to held in South Africa. If this display is a sign of things to come then there’s a distinct possibility that the US team mightn’t make it out of the opening round of the competition.

Coached by Bob Bradley the roster of the squad set to open up their tournament play against fellow qualifiers in Group C ____ England on June 12th ,the day after the opening day ceremony. And that game is being met with a great deal of anticipation as whomever comes out of it with a victory will essence be in the driver’s seat within Group C. A great deal is expecte of the team but I think it best to be realist as it concerns the US team. Ranked 14th in the FIFA World Rankings their play of late has hardly exhibited that. And Bradley knows if they are to indeed to prevail then they’ll have to raise the level of their play on all fronts.

“Respect” is what US soccer says it is looking for . Well , before you get respect you’ve got to go out and earn it and at the same respect others on the same foreboding journey as yourselves. Thus far Bradley hasn’t instilled that into his team and the players have shown very little of that from the outset. Which doesn’t augur well for this team and its fortunes in South Africa. Suffice to say that they had better get it together before they fall at the very first obstacle placed in front of them.

Sooner or later you knew it just had to happen. And for the Tampa Bay Rays all of a sudden that streak that they were on has suddenly become yolk around their neck. Having lost their series to the Boston Red Sox . They look to take the third and final leg of the contest and put themselves back on a winning roll. Now don’t get me wrong when you’re still able to maintain a 5 game lead over the New York Yankees in the AL East , that is certainly no mean feat. The thing is , maintaining the consistency of play will be what really matters at this juncture. Any slip ups and it could prove to be costly for the team and in particular the coaching staff of Joe Maddon .

As good as this Rays’ team has been playing and they’ve been playing exceptionally well that their record (32-14) clearly bears this out and why many consider them to be the best team in the majors this season . I get the feeling that if they start to lose their rhythm and concentration then things could suddenly begin to spin out of control. Maddon and his coaching staff certainly has got the players to believe in themselves and each other. And that may well be the sole reason why we’ve not really seen the team go on a prolonged losing streak as of yet. Certainly when this happens to a number of teams we see them inexplicably wilt under the pressure. Not so as of yet for this team and I’m not so sure that we’re liable to see that scenario rear its ugly head. But for the moment we just ought to merely appreciate and relish what it is that they’re doing at present.

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Opening up Pandora’s Box can fill you with either a few surprises , things to savor or things that you simply loathe. Here I’ve placed a few scenarios for you to discuss or perhaps you could suggest one or two yourself ? Either way simply chime in with a comment as to what you think as to what’s now happening in the realms of sports as you view it .

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………………………

Aaliyah ……………”Rock The Boat”

Basketball, Boston Celtics, NBA, NBA Playoffs 2010, Orlando Magic, Sports

I Want To Go To Disneyland Bitch !


I Want To Go To Disneyland Bitch !

What can you say about the Orlando Magic that hasn’t been said ? A wolf in sheep’s clothing by any other name wouldn’t do this team justice. They’ve been poor in every aspect of the game in this series against the Boston Celtics that it has me wondering if this team has any pride much less a backbone ? They are gutless , spineless and all the excuses that can be made cannot hide the fact that this team has absolutely no character ! Now down 0-3 in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals they’ve shown about as much urgency in the series as an elephant or hippopotamus taking a mud bath on a hot day in order to avoid the heat and humidity !

And for the Magic fans out there looking to make an excuse for their poor display please forget it as it’s simply not worth it ! If Dwight Howard is “the best center in the game” then clearly there’s something wrong with the player ! Because from where I sit the Lakers’ Pau Gasol makes Howard seem like a geriatric wearing “Depends” , going through the early onset stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Howard much like his teammates have shown about as much resolve as a whimpering child. The Magic rather than being a cohesive unit have essentially become team that’s simply outmatched by a Celtics’ team that simply outplays this Stan Van Gundy coached team and wants and relishes the zeal of making an appearance in the NBA Finals . After all that is meant to be the ultimate goal is it not ?

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Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

Celtics cruise past Magic; open 3-0 lead in series

By Jimmy Golen , AP Sports Writer

Boston , Mass ,. (AP) – There were still 20 seconds left in the game when Paul Pierce(notes) decided he didn’t need to see any more and headed to the locker room.

In the hallway, he repeated aloud: “One more. One more.”

Pierce helped the Celtics open a 16-point, first-quarter lead, then watched as Rajon Rondo(notes) and Glen “Big Baby” Davis helped Boston coast to a 94-71 victory over the Orlando Magic and take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals.

The most-decorated team in NBA history, the Celtics are one win away from their second trip to the finals in three years—and their 21st in all. No NBA team has ever lost a playoff series after winning the first three games.

“We’re motivated for what’s at stake. We see the big picture,” said Pierce, who was the finals MVP when Boston won its record 17th NBA title in 2008. “We were coming home for two games on our home court. We’re motivated. We can feel it. Guys know what its like to win a championship and play for a championship.”

The Magic have to win Game 4 on Monday night to avoid a sweep and force the series back to Orlando. They’ll need a better effort than in Game 3, when they fell behind early for the third straight game. This time, they didn’t even mount a late charge to make it close.

“The most disappointing to me was that I didn’t have our team better ready to play,” said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, who was himself knocked over late in the game when Kevin Garnett was pushed into the Orlando bench going after a loose ball. “It starts with me. It’s my job. I’m the coach of this team. It starts with me and I’m not happy with where we had our team tonight or anything I did.”

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Watching this Orlando Magic team surgically and being clinically dismantled by the Celtics’ Rajon Rondo was simply like watching a “maestro” conduct an orchestra . The Magic had no answer for Rondo or anyone else from Doc Rivers’ coached team. And for a team that many viewed as the overwhelming favorites coming into this Eastern Conference Finals match up. The Boston Celtics has essentially made sure that the Magic’s postseason ambition is quietly coming to an end. Anyone under the mistaken impression that this Magic team can now erase a 3-0 deficit had better come off their medication. This team simply isn’t good enough to overcome the deficit much less possibly win a game in this series ! And even if they were to win a game there’s still not a hope in hell that they’ll be even able to play their way back into the series. Absolutely no one on this team has the identity or character to play their way back into the series. All we’re going to hear from the players are the usual perfunctory of excuses possible. Even Van Gundy is liable to jump on that bitch and make the excuse as to why his team has under achieved .

No one wants to held accountable for their actions and it has become clear that this team simply isn’t good enough to win an NBA title. The biggest mistake was to even believe that the Orlando Magic in part was actually a team of character. Because if that were this case then the team would be playing with more passion and their effort would be great deal more than what we’ve seen thus far. Prior to game two we had the Magic‘s power forward Rashard Lewis making the statement …… “I‘ve got to find out what it is that I need to do to contribute more to make the team better“ . Well if .Lewis hasn’t realized that and no one from Van Gundy’s coaching staff has told him what in essence needs to be done. Then why the hell is he playing this game ? Only an idiot at this juncture would be of the opinion that there’s any semblance of the Orlando Magic playing like a team. They’ve simply not shown it throughout this series. And though credit has to be given to the Boston Celtics. It does take two contestants to make a game something of a competitive contest . What we’ve seen has been only one team willing to come to a contest and play while the other is simply somewhere else playing without heart and seemingly showing little interest in winning.

Game four of the Eastern Conference Finals resumes on Monday night and we’re liable to see the Boston Celtics close out the series and make their second appearance in the NBA Finals in the last three years. As to who their likely opponents will be for the time being , we’ll have to take it at face value that it will be the Los Angeles Lakers . That would clearly be an eagerly anticipated match up that would the envy of NBA fans everywhere and no doubt the NBA hierarchy of Commissioner David Stern .

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As to the Magic fans out there what excuse are you now going to come up with should the Orlando Magic be blown out of this series without a win ? As the title would suggest …… “I want to go to Disneyland bitch “ ! No chance of that apparently happening now , as the Magic made it known that although that venerable entertainment complex is within easy reach of them as a destination , they simply have no desire to visit . Much like they have now have no desire to win an NBA title at this juncture. If that were the case then we’d seen this team show us exactly what they’re made of. Instead we’ve seen a team that was vastly over-rated and over hyped. But then again what’s new ? Isn’t that we tend to get when you have an alleged team of highly overpaid primadona athletes ?

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………………….

TLC ……………………………”Scrubs”

Basketball, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA, NBA Playoffs 2010, Sports

All That Glitters Isn’t Necessarily Gold ………… Why The WNBA Might Be Now More Pertinent In The City Of Cleveland ……..


All That Glitters Isn’t Necessarily Gold ………… Why The WNBA Might Be Now More Pertinent In The City Of Cleveland ……..

Well the tires on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ bus not only did they go flat but for all sense and purpose the “RV” simply wasn’t up to the task ! The long haul of the regular season might be one thing but as everyone knows , come the postseason that’s where the excitement is to be had ! Having posted an impressive 61-21 regular season record the team was viewed as the “presumptive favorites” to win it all and thereby gaining their very first NBA title .

Now there’s a great deal to be said for what a team achieves in the regular season and what they then aspire to achieve in the postseason . And usually the achievements of the regular season can at times give you a clue as what to expect. But at times it can also be very misleading . See the Dallas Mavericks postseason foray as a prime example of what one can expect of a team that was vastly over-rated by pundits and idiotic prognosticators alike , who ought to have known better ! The Mavericks had no body of work which to point to and most were simply enthralled by the dog-n-pony show and paper tiger element that they brought to the 2010 NBA postseason.

A somber looking LeBron James takes questions from the convened press after the Cavaliers' loss in game six of the Eastern Conference semi-finals to the Boston Celtics. The Celtics now go on to meet the Orlando Magic in the conference finals. AP Photo __ Charles Krupa ................

A somber looking LeBron James takes questions from the convened press after the Cavaliers' loss in game six of the Eastern Conference semi-finals to the Boston Celtics. The Celtics now go on to meet the Orlando Magic in the conference finals. AP Photo __ Charles Krupa ................

The Cavaliers for their part were expected to march through the Eastern Conference playoffs with ease. Having a two time regular season MVP award winner doesn’t make a team invincible and even if LeBron James has been anointed “The King” or as he’d become more commonly known “King James” . Until you’ve actually landed the brass ring or the leprechaun’s pot of gold. Any comparisons being made to a monarch aren’t at all justified. What’s even more derisory were the comparisons being made about the player to the likes of Michael Jordan , Magic Johnson , Larry Bird , “Dr J” and Kareem ? Each of whom were not only regular season MVP’s but had also garnered the postseason award as well in the NBA Finals. Now don’t get me wrong , LeBron James is a tremendous player and some day he may well go down as one of the all-time greats of the game. But he’s yet to achieve a body of work that can be comparable to the names mentioned !

Ray Allen of the Celtics consoles LeBron James after they defeat the Cavaliers 94-85 in game six of the conference semi finals of the NBA Playoffs. The Celtics now go on to meet the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals. Getty Images/ Elsa Martinez .................

Ray Allen of the Celtics consoles LeBron James after they defeat the Cavaliers 94-85 in game six of the conference semi finals of the NBA Playoffs. The Celtics now go on to meet the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals. Getty Images/ Elsa Martinez .................

What we can attest to is the fact that while on paper the Cavaliers looked good as a team , once the playoffs got underway they had their problems from the very start. And although they had their way with the Chicago Bulls in the first round , winning that series (4-1) with relative ease. You came away with the impression that if they weren’t being tested then they would at some point become very sloppy and complacent against a future opponent. And in their series against the Boston Celtics all the chickens would come home to roost as the Cavaliers and James were found wanting throughout much of this series . Cleveland Cavaliers’ coach Mike Brown and his coaching staff may well have had this team prepared but did he actually have them prepared to play a Celtics’ team that had been given a new lease of life ? And though the series did ebb and flow as each team sought to make its presence felt and stamp their dominance on the series. One simply knew something had to happen that would flip the script as far as the perception of how the series was meant to turn out.

To my mind the difference maker in this series wasn’t LeBron James , it was in fact the determined by the play of Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics. As he went , so did this team and what might’ve been more inspiring was the very fact that the seasoned veterans on Doc Rivers’ team fed off the young point guard’s example. To see the likes of Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce , Ray Allen and Rasheed Wallace simply play as though they’d freshly arrived in the NBA was very inspiring.

Unfortunately,for LeBron while he may well have had a woefully inept performance in game five . His surrounding cast weren’t even marginally better than their more celebrated play-maker. That 32 point loss __ (120-88) simply sealed the fate of not only LeBron but for the entire Cavaliers’ organization . Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert and GM Danny Ferry will now have to assess the whole organization from not only player personnel aspect but also on the coaching front as well. Mike Brown may well have done all that he can as a coach for this team. Perhaps a fresh set of eyes might bring a new perspective as to what ails the Cleveland Cavaliers ? And given the fact that LeBron James now becomes a free agent on the 1st June the urgency of the situation isn’t lost on anyone within the front office of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Retaining the player must be their number one priority but so too will be the need to bring in another dynamic talent to complement the needs of this team as well as taking the burden of LeBron. He may well relish being the go to guy on the team but little went right for LeBron when it was needed most in this series against the Celtics.

Game six saw the Celtics on their home-court at a soldout TD Banknorth Garden Center in Boston ____ in essence put an end to the Cavaliers’ postseason aspirations. The Boston Celtics came away with an 94-85 victory that puts them in the Eastern Conference Finals where they will meet the Orlando Magic . And that will be a series that ought to be thoroughly entertaining and one to be relished. So close but yet so far but with a cast that had no real passion or desire to get the job done . You get the feeling that with the Cavaliers that all that glitters isn’t necessarily gold. Merely because of the presence LeBron James , complacency became the norm for this team. Winning is also about having a positive mental attitude. James may well have it but it was all too rare in this series when it mattered most.His teammates for their part showed very little of it. But it certainly didn’t help that this team simply couldn’t keep possession of the ball by needlessly turning it over at the most inopportune of moments.

James looks to make a pass while being defended by the Celtics' Rasheed Wallace in game 6 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals played at the TD Banknorth Garden Center, Boston , Mass,. Getty Imaged __ Elsa Martinez .............

James looks to make a pass while being defended by the Celtics' Rasheed Wallace in game 6 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals played at the TD Banknorth Garden Center, Boston , Mass,. Getty Imaged __ Elsa Martinez .............

There’s no real need to empathize with the Cavaliers at all. They came to play but their mind laid elsewhere as they didn’t come into this series with the mindset of dealing with the immediate task at hand. Theirs was a season that has ended with a whimper instead of an almighty bang. This may well be the last chance that the Cavaliers get to an NBA Finals should the unthinkable happen of LeBron James choosing to leave the franchise. But then again the city of Cleveland still yearns for the NBA . So why not bring in WNBA franchise within the fans’ midst ? It could very well be as close as they’ll ever get to be engaged as a participant in an NBA Final at this juncture . An off-season of indecision and decision making as the case maybe for the organization . But one thing is now sure the crown of King James isn’t as secure as some might have thought. LeBron James simply has proven to us that he’s human and by no stretch of the imagination is he anywhere near ready to be talked about in the same breath as MJ , Magic , Bird , Dr J , Kareem or even Kobe Bryant for that matter ! They’ve set about leading their respective teams to the pinnacle of NBA success. All that LeBron has done is try and make us believe that he’s ready to do that when clearly he is not ! He’s still got a long way to go before he can even match the achievements of the venerable names mentioned . Will he ultimately match those feats or even surpass them ? Who knows only time will tell . But for the moment let’s not continue to heap too much praise and expectation upon the shoulders of a young man who’s still learning what it means to play in the NBA and at the same time learning how to be a leader to others.

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So now what are your own thoughts as to the Cleveland Cavaliers fall from grace ? Do you embrace as something that was needed ? Or do you as such empathize with the team and their fans ? As and when you’re ready I’ll look forward to reading your comments and responding in kind.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………………..

Bob Seger ………….. “Shake Down” one of the several hit songs from the Eddie Murphy hit movie vehicle from the 80’s “Beverley Hills Cop 2” . And though some might say “BHC 1 & 2 were all that should’ve been made. As thereafter #’s 3 &4 were simply disastrous and “bombed at the box office”. But this is the way that Hollywood works as they’re forever chasing the cash cow rather than making movies of substance and that can stand the test of time.

Baseball, Basketball, Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Cavaliers, MLB, NBA, NBA Playoffs 2010, New York Yankees, Sports

Tha Crossroads ………. See Ya’ At The Crossroads …….. So You Won’t Be Lonely ……


Tha Crossroads ………. See Ya’ At The Crossroads …….. So You Won’t Be Lonely ……

Well the “epicenter” of the sporting universe will very much this weekend be in the city of Boston . The NBA will have the continuation of the playoff series between the Boston Celtics against the Cleveland Cavaliers . And in MLB (baseball) we have the renewed and very much heated rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees of the AL East .

And for the venues in which both of these spectacles will be showcased for the attending fans and those watching on television. Expect the excitement and action to be riveting in its form and presence. Fenway Park , Boston will take center stage for what is perhaps baseball’s richest and most storied rivalry. The New York Yankees will be looking to keep astride with the division leading Tampa Bay Rays . And it’d be safe to say that the Rays are not only the “surprise team” of the division but they might just be the best team in baseball at present based on their current form. If only their “home fans” were appreciative of that fact in turning out at Tropicana Field , St Pertersburg in droves to show their unconditional support for the team . But alas, they are very much a fickle set of fans , to say the very least !

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The TD Banknorth Garden Center in Boston will play host to the Cavaliers led by their newly minted regular season MVP _____ LeBron James . And this particular series and game will be “pivotal” for both teams. Tied 1-1 James and his Cavaliers’ teammates will be looking to retake the advantage by winning the first game at the Celtics’ home venue. Not to be outdone however, Doc Rivers knows that if his team are to have a chance against this Mike Brown coached team and keeping the momentum after their ” lopsided” game two victory 104-86 over the Cavaliers. Then the Boston Celtics will have give their fans a repeat performance of their display at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland , Ohio.

And as surprising at that 18 point margin of victory was , what even be more shocking was the laissez-faire approach taken by Cavaliers in general. Mike Brown’s post-game interview was none apologetic and if anything both he and his coaching staff ought to be held accountable for such a poor display. And the fact that he was unwilling to call out his star player as well as the supporting cast makes you wonder who is in fact ruling the roost there in Cleveland ? Is it “King James” or is it the coach ?

Can we all agree the disdain and contempt that the Red Sox fans have for the New York Yankees’ fans as well as the the team borders on that spirited feud between the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s ? If there’s a more heated rivalry both on and off the field in all of sports. Then I for one have yet to witness here in the United States ! Now don’t get me wrong there may well be one or two other rivalries that would like to lay claim that theirs is comparable to that of the Red Sox and Yankees’ rivalry. But you’d be hard pressed to convince the majority of baseball fans that is indeed the case. What one fans purports to be a rivalry one hand pales into insignificance when measured against of what we’ve all no doubt witnessed between these two teams over the course this rivalry’s existence. I know it’s not allout war but the Palestinians and Israelis could learn a thing a two from this long existing feud. Yankees’ fans can be obnoxious because their self conceived superiority complex. Red Sox fans on the other hand, now feel that after years in the wilderness and now with renewed success. Well in essence , they feel that their time is now to hell with what the Yankees’ fans might think or who the hell they are. As for their contempt of the team , well let’s just if they had a pot urine or fecal matter it would not surprise if they chose to launch it in the direction of an opposing fan or player of a fan ! Do you get where I’m coming from concerning this matter ?

Well what can the fans and viewing public expect to see throughout the series ? A Yankees’ team that’s playing well and in many ways some might say pacing themselves for the long haul drudgery of the season . The Red Sox for their part seem to be back to their winning ways . But this is a team that’s lacking in confidence and the players brought in via trades or free agency have yet to show their worth. As astute as GM Theo Epstein is deemed to be , even he must be somewhat disappointed in the form of Adrian Beltre , Marco Scutaro , Mike Cameron and in particular the team’s DH , David Ortiz . Granted, Mike Cameron is on the 15 day DL . Oh what a surprise that is ? Were he a race horse the veterinarian might well have considered euthanizing the often injured player. If there’s said to be a real disappointment however , then it has to be the inconsistency of the front-line starters in terms of the pitching rotation . Josh Beckett’s ERA of 6.31 is either an aberration or there’s a real cause for concern. I’ll let you be the judge of that if you happen to be a Red Sox fan. On the other hand, if you’re a Yankees’ fan then you’re probably rolling about the floor laughing your a_s off .

How manager Terry Francona and the team goes about contesting this series may well go a long way in telling us about the Boston Red Sox and their real aspirations for the season . His opposing number Joe Girardi knows that with the bulls eye resting squarely on their backs as World Series champions . Everyone within baseball will be looking to take them down and usurp their dominance. With a plethora of high priced stars on the team’s roster . This is a Yankees’ organization that takes “their dominance of the sport” rather seriously. Winning equates with success , which equates with making money. And no professional sports franchise makes money the way that the New York Yankees is able to do. Be it from a business or competitive standpoint their success is unparalleled and unmatched .

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Picture gallery . Click on the individual frame to view under close scrutiny.

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Well all that is left to say at this juncture , is merely to enjoy the sporting weekend and the revelry of the spectacles as they unfold. Be it in support of the Red Sox , Yankees or Cavaliers or Celtics . Just have fun and hopefully you’ll enjoy the cavalcade of sports entertainment at your disposal. For myself , it may well not so much be about these two series in question. But if anything I’ll be watching to see how the San Antonio Spurs acquit themselves in their playoff series against the Phoenix Suns . They have to erase a 0-2 deficit and still play themselves back into contention. An impossible task ? Not necessarily but given the consistency of their play against the Suns . I’m hoping that they can defend their home-court successfully in order to put my mind at ease. Thereafter, it’s then everything to play for .

Alan Parkins ………………….tophatal ………


Bone Thugs-n-Harmony ……………….. “Tha Crossroads”

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The always sultry Kerry Washington .

Basketball, Dallas Mavericks, NBA, NBA Playoffs 2010, San Antonio Spurs, Sports

Beauty Is In The Eye of The Beholder ……………….


Beauty Is In The Eye of The Beholder

It really gets me how when I hear people prognosticate about the NBA Playoffs , they merely talk about current form . But they don’t look at the pedigree of the team they claim is the favorite in a series. Can you hear me AB ? Dallas Mavericks becomes a “bitch” in the playoffs. When you look at a “hot chic” you’d better be sure that she’s gonna put out ? Because the Mavericks are merely a tease ! I repeat the Mavs’ are merely a tease ! You _ick may feel hard but it’s not going to be satisfied orally.

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Basketball, NBA, NBA Playoffs 2010, Sports

Dwyane Wade Has Been Left Out On An Island Where’s His Man Friday ?


Dwyane Wade Has Been Left Out On An Island Where’s His Man Friday ?

Well as we all know the NBA Playoffs have started and the prospect of seeing a first round blowout and sweep seems to becoming all the more apparent. Unfortunately , for Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat , he has been left all alone on a deserted island . He’s overwhelmed , as this Heat team has underperformed against the Boston Celtics in this Eastern Conference quarter finals’ match-up. Never mind the fact that in last night’s loss 106-77 to the Celtics was as lopsided a defeat as one could ever wish to see. What might be even more telling and exasperating for the Heat fans and their team’s front office was that the Celtics were able to achieve the win with Kevin Garnett not playing. The Celtics’ inspirational leader had been suspended for game two of the series having been involved in altercation with Heat player, Quentin Richardson in the latter stages of game one.

For Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and the team’s President & GM Pat Riley this cannot bode well for the team’s hopes of retaining its best player. With the player said to be reluctant to sign a long term deal with him becoming an impending unrestricted free agent. One has to believe that a first round loss might hasten Wade’s decision to forgo resigning with the team !. He knows that he can go elsewhere and “obtain a maxed out contract” with a team that actually has aspirations to become a “perennial contender” . In the case of the Miami Heat it’s extremely difficult to envisage that , given the existing complement of players that Wade is said to be surrounded by.

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Michael Beasley has yet to meet expectations and the veterans such as Jermaine O’Neal , Quentin Richardson and Udonis Haslem might as well be playing for pennies given their contributions in this series as it has progressed.

With the Heat now 0-2 down in the best this seven game series. They now know that they will have to rally round and put on a very intense display on their homecourt of the American Airlines Arena in Miami – if they are to stand any hope of cutting the deficit and playing themselves back into contention in the series. With the apparent acrimony between the two teams becoming more heightened and evident . You can be sure that there would be nothing better that Celtics’ coach Doc Rivers would like nothing better than to clinically and surgically close out this series , leaving the Heat players to make their home with their tails hanging between their legs. A four game sweep might be even more exhilarating for the Celtics , their players and fans in sending a clear message to the rest of the Eastern Conference that they’re not yet “dead” and “buried” as some might believe. Granted the likes of the numbers one , two and three seeds within the conference have all been playing well. But it’s clear that they Boston Celtics intends to use this series to send a shot across the bow of the Cleveland Cavaliers , Orlando Magic and the Atlanta Hawks .

The travails of the Heat have been well chronicled this season . And I for one though not taken by surprise that they made the playoffs ! I am completely surprised by the team’s lackluster performance in the series so far !. Given the fact that in the run up to end of the regular season they were one of the hottest teams in the conference in terms of their record (9-1 in their last 10 games) coming into these playoffs. The wheels on this Heat bus have not only fallen flat but they’ve actually fallen off the damn vehicle ! And whilst Wade is there trying to repair what damage there is , the rest of his teammates have deserted him. Were Wade , Robinson Crusoe he would be without his man , Friday. And Friday in this case are his less than apt coterie of teammates who allegedly make up this roster .

My own feelings are at this juncture , is that it wouldn’t at all surprise me should the Miami Heat fall at the first hurdle in these playoffs. Then most likely , we’ll see Wade come to a decision to leave the Miami Heat altogether ! It would definitely be a blow to Pat Riley and the team’s coach Erik Spoelstra. But in all honesty the roster that Riley has surrounded Wade with, is “marginal at best” , if that at all ! Other than Dwyane Wade who on this roster would you actually say is deserving a place on the roster of another team in the NBA ? Think about it in depth before you come to a decision .

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NB Click here to view the details of the 2010 NBA Playoffs thus far .

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ……………..

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No Man Is An Island lyrics by Joan Baez

No man is an island,
No man stands alone,
Each man’s joy is joy to me,
Each man’s grief is my own.

We need one another,
So I will defend,
Each man as my brother,
Each man as my friend.

I saw the people gather,
I heard the music start,
The song that they were singing,
Is ringing in my heart.

No man is an island,
Way out in the blue,
We all look to the one above,
For our strength to renew.

When I help my brother,
Then I know that I,
Plant the seed of friendship,
That will never die.

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These words may well now typify the plight that Dwyane Wade is now facing. The unfortunate thing for Wade is that his teammates are hardly being supportive in this quest.
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Mya Jane ………….

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