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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Slide show for your perusal .

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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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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/

Picture and slide show details below.
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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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Basketball, NASCAR, NBA, Randy Moss, Shaquille O'Neal, Sports

Oh Yes Here Comes The Silly Season ……….. And It Includes NASCAR’s The Chase For The Cup , Shaq’s Asinine TV Show


Unless I’m mistaken , NASCAR’s regular season schedule has now come to a halt. And we now have the final-four postseason races for the 2009 season , that ends with the sport crowing its Sprint-Nextel Series’ Cup champion. And for all of the hoop-lah created by the sport and its fans. The tension that they’ve tried to build up has been about as suspenseful as being read the story of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs. And while I don’t doubt the immense popularity of the sport across the country and seemingly across various demographics. It’s easily recognizable that the sport has now reached its zenith in terms of its popularity domestically. Now as the sport’s hierarchy seeks to further its presence on the global front. We’re led to believe that the sport can gain some further traction and resonance with a new-found fledgling of true budding NASCAR fans.

Juan Pablo Montoya of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing .

It has done its very best to lure the ever growing Hispanic market into the fray and with the popularity of Juan Pablo Montoya -his accessibility and the fact that he’s qualified for the final stages of the postseason. It bodes well for Brian France and Mike Helton , who oversee the sport under the NASCAR banner. And though it would be doing NASCAR a disservice in being critical of in their drive to lure fans of ethnicity and in particular the African American race within the sport. It’s been something of an uphill battle for the sport’s hierarchy thus far. They initially went about this haphazardly .Albeit , that they now have NFL star Randy Moss , who’s competing in NASCAR , as an owner in one of the lower echelons of the sport- the Truck Series. He’s had some semblance of success within the series and his fervor and passion for the sport hasn’t gone unabated. His Randy Moss Motorsports team has been at the forefront of NASCAR’s drive to lure the fans of color to the sport. And in particular those of the African American persuasion. And at the same time NASCAR also has its very own diversity program in place- which is proving to be something of a success .

NFL  star , Randy Moss (right)  and  business  partner , David  Dollar  of   Randy Moss  Motorsports Inc   pose  alongside  the #81  Moss  Motorsports   Chevrolet  during  the  announcement    of   his  vehicle's  entry  in  the  Craftsman  Truck  Series  .   The  venue  was  at   Daytona  International  Speedway  ,  Daytona  Beach , Florida,.  picture  appears  courtesy  of  getty images/  Geoff Burke ...................
NFL star , Randy Moss (right) and business partner,David Dollar of Randy Moss Motorsports Inc pose alongside the #81 Moss Motorsports Chevrolet during the announcement of his vehicle's entry in the Craftsman Truck Series . The venue was at Daytona International Speedway , Daytona Beach , Florida,. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Geoff Burke ...................

As I alluded to earlier NASCAR went about trying to lure the African American fans with about as much aplomb as as would be befitting a group that they’ve been oblivious to in recognizing their many contributions to the sport over the years. And it most certainly didn’t initially help their cause when the interest shown by former NBA star Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson was summarily brushed aside with their feigned interest in Johnson’s wish to enter the sport as an owner. Communications and PR wise it was an immense blunder on NASCAR’s part. But they’ve learnt from those mistakes and continues to do their utmost to make all fans welcome to the sport.

Randy Moss discusses his passion for NASCAR on ESPN‘s sports magazine program E:60.

As to NASCAR’s winding down to its regular season schedule and the upcoming postseason events. Well , there’s been about as much excitement created-as that of watching paint dry. Granted, the sport has its colorful cast of characters. But in all honesty , without its most popular Dale Earnhardt Jr not competing in the postseason. The ensuing events will create about as much excitement as watching a performance of Britney Spears or Ashlee Simpson lip syncing to one of their odious pop songs. The fans of the sport will no doubt tune in for the events as they take place and even in this dire economic climate. The faithful fans will turn out in some quantity to cheer on their very own. But as it’s been widely acknowledged that the sport has been seeing a decline in attendance for many of its events at the Sprint Cup level. The feeling is that some changes will have to be made with regard as to how NASCAR determines it champion in its highest echelon event. They’ve tinkered around with this system since its inception. And yet it has not been to everyone’s satisfaction. Though the drivers have seemingly remained mute on the topic. The fans for their part in general have accepted it up to a point. But there have been those who’ve voiced their displeasure as to the competitiveness and veracity of the system.

One has to  take  the  good , the  bad  and  the  ugly . O'Neal  and  James  auditioning  for  ' Dancing  With The Stars'  ......maybe .  Or  just getting  some  work  in  before  the  seriousness   starts  with  regard  to  the  upcoming   NBA  season.  It'll  be  make  or  break   for  both stars as   well   as  for the  Cavaliers'  organization.  They've   got  a  lot  riding  on the  success  of  the  duo.   picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/  Daniel   Garrard  .......................
One has to take the good , the bad and the ugly . O'Neal and James auditioning for ' Dancing With The Stars' ......maybe . Or just getting some work in before the seriousness starts with regard to the upcoming NBA season. It'll be make or break for both stars as well as for the Cavaliers' organization. They've got a lot riding on the success of the duo. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Daniel Garrard .......................

There was a case at one time, where one could state unequivocally that Shaquille O’Neal was one of the most dynamic athletes in the NBA. In his younger years the fifteen-time All Star was also viewed as a dominant and some might opine an athletic individual. Nowadays, that would most definitely be the furthest thing from the truth. O’Neal, never one not to allude to his own perceived greatness. In truth however, over the last five years , he’s been doing it all with smoking mirrors. OK, it’s agreed he’s won with Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade. The latter of whom, made a much greater contribution in the Miami Heat‘s effort to win its only NBA championship-than O’Neal,, himself, is prepared to acknowledge. Granted ,he made the guarantee to the Heat’s fans that he’d secure them a championship. But having done so, he outstayed his welcome and inexplicably became something of a pariah amongst the fans and organization in Miami.

Shaquille O’Neal takes on the NFL’s Ben Roethlisberger and tries to prove his worth as a football player. Tonight’s episode of his show -you will get to see O’Neal go up against multi- Olympic champion swimmer , Michael Phelps in the pool.

After his sojourn with the Phoenix Suns, where his domicile with the team brought about some excitement amongst their fans. But added very little as to the team’s competitiveness and hopes of making the postseason. O’Neal now finds himself on his way to Cleveland to play alongside the ‘anointed one’ LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers. And now there’s the added incentive for Shaq to play alongside James and guide this team to its first win of an NBA championship. It has to have been the primary reason that , the franchise’s owner, Dan Gilbert and GM Danny Ferry made the splash to acquire the player. With the clock ticking on James and his desire win a championship with the franchise . And the very fact that he’s not yet prepared to address his future with the team as to whether or not he’ll stay or pursue his career goals elsewhere. This season will be make or break for the Cavaliers-as well as for both ,LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal.

O’Neal in the ring with former world boxing champ Oscar De La Hoya.

Last season’s disappointment of being dispatched by the Dwight Howard led Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA postseason ,was a bitter pill to swallow for James and his teammates. And the thought is with the addition of O’Neal . It will be enough to put the team over the top. But much of that will be predicated upon O’Neal’s wish to be first, a team player and at the same time defer to James. Never-mind that O’Neal’s health and fitness will come into play. And even with his performances with the Suns having been somewhat lackluster. There is the strong belief that this may well be all the motivation he needs to prove the naysayers wrong as to his declining form and zeal for the game. But I for one wouldn’t bet on it. Shaq’s been mailing it in and the whole world knows it ! And the very fact of the matter is , he has been robbing several franchises blind with his antics and his lack of professionalism when it comes to the game !

LeBron James talks about his new teammate Shaquille O’Neal and the expectations ahead for the duo.

Now we’ve been regaled with his laughable efforts to prove that he’s an athlete who can perform at the highest levels in certain sporting endeavors. His ABC reality show ‘Shaq vs.’ is about as welcoming a respite as having teeth pulled without the use of novacaine. It’s embarrassing not only for O’Neal but also for the athletes participating in the facade. O’Neal as always , the consummate class clown but even the class clown eventually has to grow up and act with maturity. Something that O’Neal has failed to exude at this juncture. For the athletes such as Albert Pujols, Michael Phelps ,Oscar De La Hoya, Kerri Walsh and Ben Roethlisberger , amongst others. It may well have been fun to be around Shaq and to have participated in the concept. But in actuality unless they were very well compensated by ABC and the thought of raising their profile alongside Shaq was deemed to be necessary. The endeavor has been an entire waste of time. Was there anyone actually watching ? So much so , it’s understandable to me why ABC would want to place this piece of garbage on the network. It can remind us why , we are appreciative of real athletes who can consistently perform at the highest level. Shaquille O’Neal hasn’t done that in years . And that’s why when it comes to the silly season we’re asked to put up with more than the human condition can bare.

Basketball, David Stern, LeBron James, MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, Phoenix Suns, Shaquille O'Neal, Sports

Bah Humbug …………..!


 

Bah  Humbug  ………………….

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a  certain amount of  irreverence  meant  to  take  place  when  each  of  the  major  showcase events  take place  with  regard  to each  of  the  All  Star  events  covering  Major League Baseball(MLB), the NHL,   the NFL  and the  NBA.   Which  brings  me  to  the  real  reason  behind  this  article.

 

 

 

 

To my  mind  these  events  are  about  as  meaningful  now  as  the  voting  is  on determining  who’ll become  a  charge  on that  eponymous  reality  show  American  Idol.  The  voting  for   these  events  are  mind numbingly   boring  and  even though  the  fans  do  have  a  say.  They’re merely  voting   for their  favorite  players  rather than  voting  for the   athletes  on merit.  Much  like  it is  with the  reality  show  itself.  If  that’s  the  case  then we  might  as well  have Simon Cowell  , Paula  Abdul and  Randy  Jackson  adjudicate  who  should   or  shouldn’t  be  playing  in  the  upcoming  NBA  All  Star Game.

 

 

 

 

 

The  event  itself   will  be  held  in  the  Valley  of  The  Sun .  For  those  of  you  who are  uncertain  as  to where  that  might  be .  Well  we’re  talking   Phoenix, Arizona for  the uninitiated  out  there . There’s  already  been a  great  deal  controversy  as  to   who  has  been  voted  in  and  to  those who’ve  been  omitted.  But  at  the  end of  the  day   does  anyone  really  care  for  that  matter ?  It’s  not  as  if  the  event  itself  is  all  that meaningful  to  begin  with.   Its only   reason  for  assembling  their  stars is  in order  for  their  corporate  sponsors  to get  a  chance  to see  the  players  up close  and  personal. If it’s  for  the  benefit  of  the  fans  then  it’s  sorely  lost  on a  number  of  them.   I’d  dare  say  that the  wife  a  Fortune 500 company  executive  wouldn’t   know  LeBron  James   from  Rick  James  ?  But  she  might well  know  that  if  she’s into  the  r&b  scene  or  was once  an  NBA groupie ?  Or  quite  possibly they  might  have  children   who   are  fans  of  the  sport  in  general.   

 

 

 

Amare Stoudemire  and  teammate  Grant Hill  of the  Phoenix  Suns try  to  defend the  offensive  play  of  Golden State Warriors'  Kelenna Azubuike ..................
Amare Stoudemire and teammate Grant Hill of the Phoenix try to defend the offensive play of Kelenna Azubuike of the Golden State Warriors ...................

 

 

Amare Stoudemire and  teammate  Grant  Hill  of the Phoenix Suns  try  to  defend the  offensive  play  of the Golden  State  Warriors’ Kelenna Azubuike   ……………

 

 

 

 

 

But as  this  showcase  approaches  what  are  we   to  expect ? It’s  not  as  if  the  game  itself  has  ever  been  known  to competitive . It’s  merely  an  exhibition to  curry  favor  with the  fans. Albeit  that  the ones  benefiting  from this  all  are  primarily  the NBA and  its  corporate  benefactors.  The  fans  certainly  aren’t.   But then again  Commissioner  David  Stern would  tell  you  otherwise.   For  the  twenty  five  years that  Stern  has  been  the  commissioner    the  business  of  the  NBA has  multiplied   twelve fold.  It’s  now  become  a  multi-billion  enterprise  and  its  tentacles  reaches   right  across  the  globe.    It’s   greatest  presence   is  now  in  the  Far  East.     China  and  its 1.2  billion  population  is  the  market  that   Stern  now  seeks  to  conquer.  And  with  the  Olympics   in  Beijing  having  such  a  presence.  The  triumph  of   Team  USA  was  the  greatest  sales’  pitch  that  the NBA  could’ve   wanted.

 

 

 

 

The  All  Star  Game  that  it signifies  as  alluded  to  before  is  nothing  more  than  exhibition  for  the   game to  show of  its  wares.    The  players  themselves  are  lauded  by  the  fans .  And  it  raises  awareness  and  allegedly   more accessibility  as  on  appearance  it makes  these  superstars  approachable  and   fan  friendly.  That  may  well  be  the  case   for   many  of  these  athletes  who  are  being   millions  of  dollars    to  show  off  their   athletic   abilities.   But  then  who  amongst  wouldn’t  want to  be  in their  shoes  ?  It’s   not  as  if we  haven’t   envisaged   ourselves  at one  time  or  another  being  a  part  of the winning  team ,  hitting  the  winning   shot,  scoring  the  winning   goal.   Pipe  dream  or  not  it’s  something  that we  can  allude  to.

 

 

 

 

 

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