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Now For The Good News ………………..


Now For The Good News ………………………

Well perhaps the biggest story of the weekend had to be that the death of Osama Bin Laden had finally bitten the dust after a covert operation by the US military that took out the terrorist who was being harbored in Pakistan just outside the nation’s capital of Islamabad . What I find somewhat ironic is the mere fact that the attack took place so close to a military academy where many of Pakistan’s top military officers are trained in amongst other things military strategy and the use of intelligentsia in warfare . So much for that nation being a willing ally on the war on terror , the government of Pakistan and its military have been complicit and suborned Bin Laden’s safe refuge but in reality Barack Obama and his predecessor George W Bush were too damn afraid of saying …….. what in reality anyone who had one iota of common sense had known all along as ….. they simply didn’t want to alienate the Arab world in particular those countries who they state were their allies on the war on terror. Well now that the head of the snake has been chopped off the question remains where do we go from hear ? There there are likely to be retributory acts of violence in retaliation for Bin Laden’s death and you can be sure that any one of a number of organizations that were aligned with Al Qaeda will want to assume the mantra and doctrine of the terrorist group. And what does this now for Bin Laden’s most trusted follower Ayman Al-Zawahiri who is now likely to assume control of the terrorist group. Will he also be pursued hopefully with as much tenacity as Bin Laden was ?

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Having had several friends (with the US military) serving in both Afghanistan and Iraq as well as a younger sibling serving in Kabul with the British military I’ve got to say that this news was most welcomed. And having served myself on active duty as a member of the Royal Marines I have to say that warfare is nothing to shy away from even when you’re thrust into the midst of it at a young age. For those who are still serving and those about to serve the country in whatever undertaking being thrust upon them I’d just like to say thanks and remain safe !

Well on to things just as heart warming I hope , and that’s the sporting landscape as it now appears to be. After three utterly monotonous and boring days thankfully the NFL Draft is finally over ! Seven rounds and some 250 plus picks by the NFL’s teams and already questions are being raised as to who the winners and losers are ? Hell who the fuck knows who will be ultimately a winner and who’ll be a loser ? Until these players actually hit a field , play a first down in the NFL regular season it’s mere speculation and conjecture . Good , and although I watched none of the draft coverage by ESPN I can only surmise that the analysts and hosts on hand had a great deal to talk about . This much I do know there’s only so much one can take of Chris Berman , Mel Kiper and Todd McShay without wanting to blow a damn gasket !

It goes without saying that while everyone is said to be feeling all warm and fuzzy with the Draft , consider the stupidity of the situation of the NFL at present ? The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Judge Susan Nelson’s original verdict in favor of the players and in effect the NFL lockout remains in place . Judge Kermit Bye’s decision which has literally thrown a cog in the works and as of now although this apparently looked upon as a major problem . Anything that in essence prolongs this stoppage makes the whole issue of the 2011 season starting on time now seems even more remote. The NFL team owners for one thing are said to be happy that Judge Bye’s decision went in their favor as it now gives them the upper hand they will in this ongoing effort. If anything as this all plays itself out the fans are becoming even more disgruntled with the present situation as they’re being alienated by the stupidity that’s now being shown by both parties . The NFLPA through their own spokesman have stated that the decision was merely a partial victory for the league and they’ve vowed to fight on during in this ongoing episode. Any bets that there will actually be football by the opening week of September 3rd the opening weekend of the NFL season ? I wonder what odds are now being laid in Vegas at present ?

The NBA postseason continues with its usual bluster and the Miami Heat seem to be intent on making quick work of the Boston Celtics with Dwyane Wade showing why it is that the regular season 3-1 series loss and meetings between the two teams meant absolutely nothing. In game one of the Eastern Conference Semi Finals Wade and his team literally took the Celtics to task on their home court at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida , comfortably winning the game 99-90 . Dwyane Wade led all scorers with 38 points and who was also ably assisted with 25 points from teammate James Jones . And though it’s early days yet , expect this series to be a highly competitive and physical one . Would you expect it to be anything else ?

Ah, how the rich tend to look for sympathy when their plight can’t be seen in a happier light . Over the weekend Frank McCourt gave an interview as to his impending plight now that the league hierarchy has essentially taken away the reins from him as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner. Now as good as the team has been playing of late with both Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp at present having All Star caliber seasons. I can’t help but wonder what might happen should the team going into something of tailspin and start to lose consecutive games or for that matter series !

McCourt for his part when pressed by the journalist as whether or not he had in fact had contravened any league rules in the conduct of the Dodgers’ day to day business dealings was adamant he and no other executive had done anything that has contravened any league mandated rules . In the eyes of Frank McCourt it appears it is a matter of perception as to what those rules might be and whether or not any were actually broken. The Dodgers’ owner stated that Bud Selig’s appointed intermediary former US ambassador to Japan J Thomas Schieffer and he had a very cordial meeting and that Schieffer stated that it would not be his intention of interrupting the working environment of the ball club . Can’t say that if I were in Schieffer’s place I’d have said anything to the contrary , given the fact that the Dodgers are in a financial mess and anything coming from out of the beleaguered owner can’t be viewed as having a bearing on the truth as we know it to be at present. This episode appears to be heading for what one might view as a contentious situation as McCourt has vowed to fight any intention of the league hierarchy to force him to relinquish the reins in owning the team. Personally, from a fan’s standpoint whether or not Frank McCourt retains control of this team I couldn’t at all care , because I’ve always been of the opinion that MLB baseball and the team owners are a clueless bunch of individuals ! . Were they passengers on the Titanic I believe that they’d have been making comments on how wonderful the iceberg that they were about to hit is , rather than realizing the impending disaster that is within their midst . I’ve had one patron of my site state that baseball is lucky that it doesn’t have a labor issue to resolve but here’s the caveat to his thought. It is indeed true that the MLB doesn’t have a labor issue to deal with but what it does have is a financial quagmire that’s about engulf it like quicksand has ben known to entrap an animal and stifle it of its very life blood . At present the owners and league hierarchy are too dumb to admit that fact until they’re actually up to their necks in quicksand . And when that happens we could very well see them looking them looking for a life jacket with none to be found.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment and thanks as always for the continued support !

Alan aka tophatal ………………………….

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) Ayman Al-Zawahiri (left) and Osama Bin Laden (center) are seen here delivering one of those rather radical Islamic fervent anti West statements . Bin Laden’s death now leaves something of a vacuum within Al Qaeda but it appears Al-Zawhiri will assume the role as the organization’s leader . Now word as of yet officially as whether or not the US government will go after Al-Zawahiri with the same fervor . BBC.co.uk …….

(2) At least they had something that they had to agree on and that the death of Bin Laden was a necessity . President Barack Obama and his predecessor President George W Bush are seen at the White House on the day Obama succeeded Bush at President . AFP/Reuters/ Gil Hughes ……

(3) Denver Broncos vice president John Elway, center, talks about this year’s NFL Draft after it concluded his is flanked by head coach John Fox, right, and general manager Brian Xanders during a news conference at the football team’s headquarters in Englewood, Colo., on Saturday, April 30, 2011. AP Photo/Ed Andrieski ……

(4) James Hill standing with Kermit Bye (left), judge of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and North Dakota Chief Justice Gerald W. Vande Walle at the ABA 2010 Midyear Meeting in Orlando, Fla. West Law Publishing .

(5) MIAMI, FL – MAY 1: Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat shoots against Ray Allen (20) and Glen Davis (11) of the Boston Celtics in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 1, 2011 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(6) Mario Chalmers (15) of the Miami Heat hshoots over Kevin Garnett (5) of the Boston Celtics during Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2011 in Miami, Florida
Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images ……..

(7) Paul Pierce (34) , Jermaine O’neal (7) , Ray Allen (20) , and Kevin Garnett (5) of the Boston Celtics talk during game one of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images ………….

(8) Los Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier heads toward first after hitting a single during the seventh inning of their Major League Baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Sunday, May 1, 2011, at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, California . With that single, Ethier completed a 27-game hitting streak. The Dodgers would go on to lose to the Padres 7-0 . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …………

(9) Chad Qualls (50) of the San Diego Padres and catcher Nick Hundley celebrate a 7-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 1, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …….

(10) Will Venable (25) of the San Diego Padres skips away from the tag of Dioner Navarro (30) of the Los Angeles Dodgers to score a run for a 6-0 lead during the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium on May 1, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ……..

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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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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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2010 Was A Great Year In Some Sports And In Some Ways It Was Also An Unmitigated Disaster !


2010 Was A Great Year In Some Sports And In Some Ways It Was Also An Unmitigated Disaster !

Well there are but three days left before we ring in a year year and the start of another decade and as such 2010 will have left most sports fans enriched with the spectacles that unfolded in front of their very eyes. Now speaking as an avowed sports fan there were times when I simply wanted to turn off the television set or were it an event that I’d attended I was simply hoping for a refund after the money I’d paid out and the event itself hadn’t met my expectation. For me as such having lived in the state of Florida since 1992 , coming from the UK where I’d served in the military and then worked for several years in the financial world for a number well known international financial concerns. I would became enamored with the game of baseball and my support was fully thrown behind the local baseball team which just happened to be the Florida Marlins . South Florida was a buzz when the organization came into its inception and when that first pitch was thrown out by Charlie Hough in the team’s inaugural game it was of great comfort to the fans within the region who’d longed for a baseball franchise. In that time to now I’ ve witnessed the highs and lows of the organization , from seeing them win their first World Series (1997) and then with that team being ripped apart by then owner, businessman H D Wayne Huizenga merely to save a few million dollars at the time we were led to believe. The multi billionaire co- founder of Waste Management Inc , AutoNation and Blockbuster Inc would subsequently become the owner of the NFL’s —- Miami Dolphins having bought the team from the Robbie family.

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Having torn apart that championship winning team when a great many observers at the time felt that the Marlins could have successfully defended their title left a bitter taste in the palates of the fans in South Florida. If that wasn’t enough for the fans who now felt cheated the idiocy that took place upon the team’s sale to commodities’ broker John Henry ____ had many wondering what the hell was going on within the game and in part with the game’s hierarchy led by Commissioner Allan “Bud” Selig . Henry’s tenure as owner of the organization was short lived but it didn’t stop the ongoing insanity that was taking place at the time. A lease agreement was signed by the organization (front office) with the Dolphins to lease their stadium to accommodate the team’s games throughout the season. That contract was so imbalanced and weighed everything heavily in favor of the Dolphins in terms of revenue streams that the organization (baseball club) would have greatly benefited from. So much so that to this day I still wonder who provided legal counsel for John Henry and his partners at the signing of that lease agreement ? It’s clear that these lawyers could not have graduated from an establishment that actually taught contract law with any great distinction . And as short-lived as Henry’s tenure of the team would be there was little success on or off the field that came the Marlins’ way , be it from a competitive standpoint or a financial one for that matter.

Once Henry saw fit to divest himself of the team it was bought by the MLB hierarchy with a view to either contracting the team or looking for a possible buyer . With the Montreal Expos being disbanded and them being folded the team owner billionaire art dealer and entrepreneur Jeffrey Loria was given a sweetheart deal wherein he sold the remnants of the Expos to MLB and he would then be loaned $38 million dollars by MLB at preferential rates in order to buy the Marlins from the game’s hierarchy ($158 million) having sold the Expos to Selig and his cohorts ……….. in other words all the teams in the league were in essence also part owners of the now defunct Expos and prior to that the Marlins. Loria for his part having bought the team would revamp much of the front office bringing in his trusted aide step-son , Dave Sampson as Team President and with Larry Beinfest as President of Baseball Operations & GM. However rather than look to renegotiate the lease agreement that was in place Beinfest and Sampson sought to leave it in tact even though it was a gigantic financial burden to this new ownerhsip group . Over time it would indeed prove to be costly, albeit that there was beginning to be signs of life on the field of play. A second World Series( 2003 ) would be in the offing but alas history would again repeat itself as the front office would divest itself of the talent that got them to the game’s big show.

Come full circle in 2010 and the Marlins though competitive within the NL East it’s now being ran merely as a treasure chest that’s pillaged by Loria and his general partners while making false claims as to the team’s lack of profitability. That may well be true to a certain extent but much of the claims aren’t valid given the fact that much by way of the game’s tax sharing revenue scheme the Marlins have been able to inflate those figures while at the same time misconstrued facts and then getting the state county and local municipality to finance their new venue that will come into being 2012 on the site of the Orange Bowl in Miami. Once again taxpayer’s monies and the so called bed tax (hotel tax) increased service fees and bonds are being used to finance and construct a facility for a private enterprise that will be in part will be co-owned by a multi billionaire . And with there being little if any out of pocket expenses or escrow monies as a sign of good faith being put up by the present ownership group it has to be said that the local community and governmental agencies have again been duped. Given the economic blight within this state and the unemployment that rate that is now in line with the national average of 9.8% one wonders what the hell local and state governments are thinking when they’re in part cutting many services and furloughing if not pink slipping their staff ? They may well feel that the a new venue will be a boost to the economy but within the state of Florida the game of baseball is on life support when it comes to the interest being shown by the local residents. Spring Training asides other than when the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox are in town there’s minimal support shown for the Tampa Bay Rays much less the Florida Marlins . Hardcore support for the Rays might not even break 15,000 when they are in attendance at Tropicana Field and that figure is even less when it comes to the Marlins and the attendance of fans at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.

As spirited a season as the Marlins had it was as such an immense disappointment with the team’s lack of success as much had been expected given management’s feeling at the time. And for myself I disavowed my support of the team once it became known of the lies and complicit underhandedness of Loria and the local politicians in getting a deal done that will end cost the taxpayers and state far more than estimated albeit that proponents of the new stadium are claiming otherwise. Fredi Gonzalez is no longer the team manager and his position has been entrusted to rookie manager Edwin Rodriguez . The team itself now is but bare bones with the exception of All Star _____ Hanley Ramirez and Ricky Nolasco who was recently signed to a three year $26.5 million deal. It’d be safe to say that the aspirations of the Marlins this upcoming season will fall short of expectations as I firmly believe that the team will struggle to be competitive within its own division much less the rest of National League never mind the intra-eague games that will have been scheduled against AL teams .

The 2010 World Series itself brought about the rags to riches story some might say of the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants who actually played like the champions that some wouldn’t have presumed they would be be . Throughout the postseason they set aside the egos and played as a team waylaying whatever obstacle that stood before them and their NLCS series against the Philadelphia Phillies (4-2) became so lopsided that it even had me wondering which team was star laden and had a multi million dollar payroll . Bruce Bochy’s Giants simply took care of the Phillies with consummate ease and then made light work of the Rangers with a 4-1 in a lopsided World Series victory. Enough said !

OK so the Miami Heat in its present format has become ‘the talk of the town’ but last season the team struggled to remain competitive within Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference . In the off-season ‘The Decision’ as it came to be known would bring LeBron James to Miami to play alongside his good friend Dwyane Wade . James for his part played the showman trying to say the right things but at the same time coming across like a child who’d found himself a treasure trove of new toys to play with. Along for the ride also would be Chris Bosh and it immediately created to my mind the comical trio ‘The Three Amigos’ that now cult film that starred Steve Martin , Chevy Chase and Martin Short . As to the pretense by James, that he’s on South Beach merely to win titles that may well be true but in essence it’s all about the money , albeit that he’s taking less money to sign with the Heat ___ endorsement deals will undoubtedly come pouring in once the corporate behemoths align themselves with the player . Team President Pat Riley who engineered this all in conjunction with owner Micky Arison have to be now sweating bullets because should this team fall short of expectations then it’ll not only be Riley who’ll undoubtedly be judged but also LeBron James . And given the player’s less than enthusiastic welcome at such venues as Quicken Loans Arena and Madison Square Gardens this season , is it any wonder the player himself has been somewhat conciliatory to the fans in Cleveland and elsewhere ? James is now about as welcomed in Cleveland as Osama Bin Laden would be at a synagogue while the patrons there celebrated Hannukah !

Now while the Heat as of late have been on a winning spree wherein they sit atop of their division they are by no means as such viewed as the consensus favorites to make it to this season’s NBA Finals . Oddsmakers in Vegas would have us all believe that Erik Spoelstra’s team are a shoo-in as the Eastern Conference representatives but given the play of the Boston Celtics , Chicago Bulls and in particular a revamped Orlando Magic —– team I certainly don’t think that the Heat will have things all their own way ! As good as this team looks on paper I for one don’t feel that their depth can match that of the Celtics who are the team to beat within the conference . Zydrunas Ilgauskas , Erick Dampier and Carlos Arroyo simply don’t cut it for me as front line players who need to be athletic in order to give the Heat a legitimate shot. OK, so the big three night in and night out will be asked to carry the offensive load but there’ll be nights when they will cool off or the possibility of a prolonged injury to one or two of the trio that could take place at some point in the regular if not postseason. What then one might ask and who steps up to the plate at that juncture ? David Stern may well be frothing at the mouth like a hyena who’s just seen its prey fall to the ground having taken its last breath but that envisaged match up against the Phil Jackson’s Los Angeles Lakers is by no means a certainty and as appetizing a prospect as at might be . A ratings’ bonanza yes but an NBA Finals without that marquee match-up and we all might as well watch paint dry. I mean last season’s NBA Finals between the two most storied franchises whilst appealing, wasn’t exactly suspenseful to begin with. Once the Boston Celtics took their feet off the gas pedal they essentially paved the way for the Kobe Bryant and his teammates to successfully defend their title and add a sixteenth Larry O’Brien Trophy to the Lakers’ legacy and cabinet showcase.

At what point of the NFL —- season was it that the San Diego Chargers started to play football ? Midpoint or three quarters of the way through ? Such has been this team’s persona over the past few seasons that sooner or later it had to catch up with them. Starting the season and then slowly progressing to 2-5 with injuries and off the field issues Norv Turner and his coaching staff were asking a great deal of Philip Rivers to lead this team with aplomb and take them back into the postseason . As poor as the AFC West has become in terms of the play , there were spirited signs being shown by Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders . Coach Tom Cable looked as if he had the Raiders heading in the right direction but as we’ve so often come to expect of this team oil and water just doesn’t mix . And suffice to say that’s akin to asking the Raiders to win consistently , so much so, that for the first time in almost five years they’d notched three successive victories in a season. Now if only they could’ve maintained that momentum throughout the season but alas it wasn’t to be as there was a lack of cohesiveness in the team’s play , injury issues and that seemingly problem that always arises, a healthy quarterback who could string together 60 minutes of continuous and consistent play. Bruce Gradkowski and Jason Campbell each had their part to play and at times they were extremely good but more often than not they would fall short of Cable’s and the fans’ expectations .

The AFC West now has a newly minted champion in the Chiefs and much of that credit has to do with GM Scott Pioli , head coach Todd Haley and former cast offs Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel who have the Chiefs playing meaningful football at the right time of the season. Familiarity doesn’t always breed contempt but given the fact that Pioli, Haley , Crennel and Weis are fruits that were borne of the New England Patriots’ tree under the tenure of Bill Belichick and owner Bob Kraft is it any wonder that this Chiefs’ organization is now being modeled on that Patriots’ template ? Success there starts from the top and works its way down to the coaching staff and players and beyond and it become a bona-fide success on the field of play. That’s the mantra now being ingrained within the organization by Pioli that hadn’t been apparent with the Kansas City Chiefs in years .

Kudos to Brett Favre , Randy Moss , Chad Ochocinco and Vince Young for showing us all that a narcissistic ingrate much like a leopard never changes its spots. Who could’ve foreseen that Favre would now be deemed a pariah both on and off the field while at the same time bring about the downfall of coach Brad Childress which in essence led to his firing by Vikings’ team owner Zygi Wilf ? If that wasn’t enough we had Randy Moss in the space of three months , played on three different teams during the season . Welcomed back like a prodigal son returning home to Minnesota to play for the Vikings , Moss made himself about as welcomed as Pat Robertson would be amongst a group of Haitian refugees or homosexuals. Suffice to say that the organization cut Moss without him adding anything productivity wise . From the Patriots to the Minnesota Vikings and on to the hapless Tennessee Titans where Vince Young’s relationship with coach Jeff Fisher is now about as combustible as Semtex and nitrolgycerin being placed in the same room would be . If that’s not enough of an indication to tell you how bad things have become then I don’t know what will . Young after a verbal assault on his coach has since been placed on injured reserve then unto the PUP list and was subsequently asked by Fisher to to stay away from the team until further notice . Moss for his part when on the field might as well be catching flies because he’s won’t be catching anything at all in terms of the Titans’ pass offense . Less we forget Titans’ owner Bud Adams still believes that Young has something to offer the team and the fans ? There’s a sucker born every minute and Bud Adams most certainly is one of those ! He might just be one of the worst owners in the NFL present .


When all you have to show for your NFL season are your accomplishments off it rather than for anything that you’ve achieved on it then it has to be time for you take a look at where you’re at in regards to your career. Not so for the Cincinnati Bengals’ wide receiver Chad Ochocinco who’s had perhaps his least productive year in the NFL since his entry amongst the professional ranks. Lined up alongside what was deemed to be a potent receiving duo of himself and Terrell Owens , Ochocinco has performed like a circus clown simply out for laughs ! Suffice to say that the Bengals’ season went south so fast that you’d have sworn that just like the Titanic this team had hit an iceberg. Coming into the season as the AFC North divisional champions this Marvin Lewis coached team simply didn’t live up to the perceived hype or expectations . And glaringly , both Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco had years that they’d no doubt rather forget. In the case of the always opinionated wide receiver he still talks up his exploits as a top line and being of the elite receivers in the league . Not so fast Chad because the likes of Devin Hester , DeSean Jackson , Larry Fitzgerald , Wes Welker and Andre Johnson now make you look all the more pedestrian ! And if that wasn’t enough the player and his teammate Owens now have host their very own cable talk show on Versus the non-descript sports programmer owned by cable giant Comcast . Now I’m beginning to understand the reason why the content there is so bad alongside that of their newly acquired network station NBC and its affiliated companies. The The TOcho Show is so pallid and a waste of resource that you’ve got to ask yourself which cable executive within Versuse came up with this idiotic idea and has he or she yet been fired by a superior ? Hopefully once the the show has ran its season it’ll be <b< yanked off the air faster than Jenna Jameson has been known to go down orally on an intimate companion.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As to the NFC itself well suffice to say that beyond the New Orleans Saints , Atlanta Falcons , Philadelphia Eagles , Chicago Bears and the now rejuvenated St Louis Rams the rest of the conference itself has been less than appealing . It’ll be interesting to see which of these teams does in fact make the postseason how well they’ll fare . But I’m simply hoping that all the teams from both the AFC and NFC make this postseason an exciting one, and one to remember ! Last season’s fairy tale story of the ‘Who Dat Boys’ of the New Orleans and their Superbowl (SB XLIV) triumph (31-17) over the Indianapolis Colts was a welcome surprise and thankfully we all got to appreciate the finesse and greatness that Drew Brees as a player is all about . Can the Saints repeat ? Well we’ll just have to wait and see.

This encapsulates part one of a two part series on some of my most prominent sporting memories of 2010 . Be on the lookout for part two and then by all means chime in with a comment as to your thoughts on both pieces and what if anything was one of your sporting highlights of the year.

NB: Click on the link provided to read Pt 2 in this two part series .

https://abritishman.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/2010-was-a-great-year-in-some-sports-and-in-some-ways-it-was-an-unmitigated-disaster-part-two/

Alan aka tophatal ………………………..

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Candace

Eye candy Candace Pictures appear courtesy of Smooth Magazine

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Suelyn-Brittany

Suelyn and Brittany
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Jasmine  Black

Porn star Jasmine Black not coming to your local school hall or church anytime soon.

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Basketball, Boston Celtics, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, Portland Trailblazers

Stripper Poles Or NBA Polls ………… Which Gets Your Direction And Immediate Attention ?


Stripper Poles Or NBA Polls ………… Which Gets Your Direction And Immediate Attention ?

I’ve never been one to really put much store in polls unless it’s pole that’s actually being adorned by an exotic dancer . Needless to say that with the NBA __ season now in full swing and but a quarter of the way through already some fans out there are already putting up their polls as to who they believe are the best in the league given the teams’ records. That may well be all well and good but anything can be read into a poll given the amount of information stated at the time. To my mind we don’t really know much about the teams until we are at least a third of the way through the season. But realistically we can as such say that a number of teams are merely now there only to make up the numbers .

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Unfortunately teams such as the New Jersey Nets (6-17), Washingtion Wizards (6-16), Detroit Pistons (7-17), Los Angeles Clippers (5-18), Sacramento Kings (5-15) and the Minnesota Timberwolves (6-17) are having a torrid time this season within their respective divisions . Needless to say that their fans while being somewhat disheartened are no doubt hoping for better things down the line as the season progresses. That feeling no doubt holds true also for the other teams around the NBA and of their fans also.

Here within the state of Florida where the NBA essentially comes down to the hype surrounding the trio that makes up the Miami Heat and its remaining roster of accouterments merely there to provide some sort of support and applause for Chris Bosh , LeBron James and Dwyane Wade while team President Pat Riley basks in the glory . He’s either the most despised person within the NBA or one of the most respected given the views of some across the league . I’m sure that there are a number of fans in the city of Cleveland who’d place Riley right up there alongside LeBron James at this juncture as amongst the most hated ! The Heat having got off to an ignominious start to their season now seem to be rebounding into the form many had expect. James and Wade seem to be playing up to their expected standards while Bosh just seems to be going through the motions. I’ve seen cardboard cutouts with more life than this guy seems to portray on a basketball court. But then again this was the best that Riley felt possible given the talent allegedly on the market at the time of the acquisition. You don’t say ?

The other team within the state happens to be the Orlando Magic coached by the always animated Stan Van Gundy . Now the expectations have been high for this team over the past few years and they’ve repeatedly come up short for one reason or another . To my mind it comes down to the lack of leadership shown and the very fact that this roster beyond Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson is like milque- toast , not quite tough enough to get the job done but the effort put forth at times gives you the impression that on a given night they can be world beaters but on other nights they can look extremely bad. And while I’ve no doubt that Van Gundy will find a way to will get the Magic into the playoffs I for one don’t feel that they possess the aptitude or mentality to deal with the team I believe are the favorites in the Eastern Conference the Boston Celtics. Doc Rivers perhaps the most understated coach in the NBA has a roster of veterans as well as young players that have gelled together and seem to be getting the job done and not only that but that bench of theirs might just be about the best and deepest in the league . The same I don’t believe can be said for the Magic or perhaps the perceived favorites , the Miami Heat within the Eastern Conference.

In the Western Conference while some seem to be impressed with the run of the Dallas Mavericks and their play. I’m wondering how the hell a number of people are overlooking the San Antonio Spurs ? OK so no it’s to be expected that the Spurs given their pedigree will be in there at the end and in Gregg Popovich they have the best coach in the league outside of Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers . However when it’s all said and done whatever the Mavericks are presently doing you can’t get over the fact that come the postseason this is a team that simply melts like butter off a hot knife . And I for one don’t believe that will change at all this season should they make the playoffs. Rick Carlisle I’ve no doubt is a good coach but he’s not a hard-nose coach who’ll get at his players when they’re failing to get the job done. I simply look at his resume’ as a coach in Indiana with the Pacers and it tells me all I need to know ! Now even with the Mavericks not much to my mind has really changed …… they simply are a team that essentially boils down to one thing go out and put up the numbers on the offensive end and then as they do so often struggle on the defensive side of things. And while they have had their plaudits it goes without saying that as their season progresses we will actually get to indeed see what this team is really made of.

The reigning champions the Los Angeles Lakers seem to have their own problems at present having lost four straight games for the first time under Jackson’s reign as a coach with the team. Hard to believe that such a thing has happened now for only the first time under this esteemed coach and the Lakers. And while there are some naive enough to think that this may well show some cracks in the vulnerability of the Los Angeles Lakers . You would be foolhardy to think that Jackson won’t find a way to fix things. Point being Phil Jackson knows how to win and one seriously doubts that Kobe Bryant won’t actually get at his teammates and tell them to pull their fingers out their own ass and get the job done . He’s as determined as anyone to prove those out there that he and not James is the rightful successor to assume the mantel as the face of the NBA since Michael Jordan’s departure. I think that 5 NBA titles, league MVP award and 2 time NBA Finals’ MVP awards gives him sort of credibility don’t you ? The team merely has to stop being complacent and simply play to its strengths rather than down to the level of their opponents . If they can do that then there’s no reason to believe why they cannot play themselves back into contention and make a return to the NBA Finals .

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Picture gallery for your perusal . By clicking on a frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size.


From my own perspective this season and in particular within the Western Conference we could very well see a number of surprises within the divisions . I’ve no doubt that the likes of the Portland Trailblazers and Oklahoma City Thunder can stake a claim that they ought to be feared and be a major part of the postseason if they play up to their potential. For me , the most exciting duo in the league at present is the tandem of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant . There’s something to suggest that given the right set of circumstances these two players could lift this team to unexpected heights this season . But for their inexperience in the playoffs last season they could have pulled off a major upset in their first round loss to the eventual champions the Los Angeles Lakers (4-2 ). Coach Scott Brooks and his coaching staff had to have been encouraged by what they had seen and have no doubt put those lessons learned to good use this season as his team looks to improve on last season’s showing. I for one would like to think that somehow a team like the Thunder can be the future of the NBA . They seem to be going about things in the right way and have the fervent support of their fans and the city of Oklahoma behind them.

As I’ve stated in terms of polls unless the information there is succinct and subject itself is something that is substantive I tend not to put much store by it. Polls can be made to sway or detract from an objective. Strippers adorning a pole on the other hand …… well is there a reason not to look and enjoy ? As to the NBA season so far and how it has progressed what thoughts if any do you have on what you’ve witnessed so far ? Chime on in with a comment .

😛

Alan aka tophatal …………………… 🙂

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Sasha-Del-Velle

Eye candy ………. Sasha Del Velle Kicks anyone ?

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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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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.