Archive for November, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

November 28, 2010

It will be very interesting to see what comes out of Tuesday’s meeting at the White House between President Obama and the Republican congressional leadership.

Here’s hoping that a new sense of working together to solve the many problems that face the nation is the result and not a renewed vow by the GOP to oppose all of the president’s policies and agenda in hopes of making him a one-term president (Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s loudly and oft-repeated vow).

NBA REVIEW – WEEK 5

November 28, 2010

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK

Spoelstra

Sometimes it’s hard for Erik Spoelstra to watch his Heat team stumble.

Chris “Birdman” Andersen of the Denver Nuggets

Admit it: Mike Tyson’s face tattoo looks less strange every day now, doesn’t it.

Riley should support coach, not replace him  

Lakers FYI: Heat comments by Lakers Coach Phil Jackson draw fire  

Phil takes shots at Miami coach, Big 3  

Miami Heat’s stars have been eclipsed through season’s first month

Michael Wilbon – Super-powered Miami Heat may need a spark only Pat Riley can provide

Phil Jackson’s sorry for Miami Heat comments … kind of –  (but not really)

Hate the Heat? Loving its slow start? Enjoy it while you can  

Kobe still tough, with assists from the greats  

Blake Griffin’s play is talk (er, tweet) of NBA  

Heat hold players-only meeting after loss  

Shaq Disses Lakers, Calls This Year’s Celtics ‘The Best Team I’ve Been On’

NBA coast to coast: Blake Griffin’s tomahawk dunk sets of a list of NBA’s all-time most exciting players  

Kobe Bryant’s Grinch-styled shoes  

QUOTES OF THE WEEK

“No question you get humbled. We never would have predicted we’d be 8-7.” – Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade talking about the team’s unexpected stumble out of the gate.

Teams are going to start scheduling the Heat for homecoming.” – TNT analyst Charles Barkley

“No matter how good a player is, no matter how good a group of players are, if they haven’t played together before they not going to be as good as a team that has been together a long time.” – Noted basketball fan Barack Obama

“I told the guys, ‘I don’t know what you’re doing the night before we play. I don’t know what you’re doing away from the floor.’” – Atlanta Hawks coach Larry Drew whose team had lost seven of nine games. Think strip clubs Larry.

“I wouldn’t follow those bogus, game-affecting guidelines ever. Ever! Yes, they would fire me. [Vice President of Referee Operations] General Ron Johnson would have to let me  go because I’m not following those guidelines.” – ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy on the ejection of Orlando’s Jameer Nelson at the end of a game against Miami.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

I’m guessing that Phil Jackson and the fat Van Gundy brother won’t be exchanging Christmas cards this year.

This can’t be what the firm of Bosh, James, Wade & Associates signed up for back in July and August, is it? And all protestations from South Beach and Orlando aside, if the Heat keep losing games, how long before Pat Riley HAS to make a decision about replacing head coach Eric Spoelstra, with either himself or someone else? And, if Riley has no intention of replacing Spoelstra this season, he needs to make that crystal clear to his team, the media and fans.

One good thing that came out of, or should have, the Lakers’ Friday night loss in Utah is ending any talk whatsoever of trading Andrew Bynum for Carmelo Anthony once Bynum is healthy again. The Lakers need his presence in the post both on offense and defense if they want to 3-peat again.

If there’s a more transparently insincere player in recent NBA history than Shaquille O’Neal, I don’t know who it can be. Every time he arrives in a new city, he professes his love for it and the team he’s coming to. A few weeks later, he tells us how bad his most recent team/city was and why he had to move on. Again. Then, soon after the inevitable blow-up/falling-out, he moves on – lumbering more and more with each passing year – ready to pledge his loyalty to a new city/team and knock the place and people he just left. There’s a part of me that wishes that the Klan had a team in Jackson, Mississippi that Shaq could get traded to just so we could see the “Shaq Circle of Never-Ending Bullshit” one last time – “I must say, that for a bunch of vile racists, these guys are the best ones I’ve ever played for and with. Sure, they may hate me and the rest of the black players on the team, but at least they’re honest about it.” It’s absolutely A-MAY-ZING that he continues getting with his one-of-a-kind BS.

Isn’t it funny that an owner who’s never won a title, let’s call him Mark Cuban, is ALWAYS in the press for something he’s said, while an owner with 10 titles during his 30 years and counting in the league, let’s call him Dr Jerry Buss for the hell of it, hardly ever says anything publicly? 

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER?

The difference between Shannon Brown at the end of last season’s Finals and this season is three-fold. As in his improved outside shooting, particularly from 3-point range.

Much as Michael Cage and A. C. Green kept the Jheri-Curl alive in the NBA for far longer than they should have, the Heat’s Udonis Haslem seems to be determined to be the last player wearing braids in the league.

THE WEEK AHEAD

CHICAGO AT BOSTON

Friday, 5 p.m. PST. TV: ESPN

I’m skipping Thursday’s ballyhooed return of LeBron James to Cleveland on principle — what, you’ve never seen anyone get booed? — even if the game itself could be good with his old supporting cast, which goes all-out for new Coach Byron Scott, psyched to the gills.

I prefer a matchup based on basketball appeal, which the Celtics have and the Bulls bring with Derrick Rose, now rocketing into superstardom.

The Celtics are the Celtics, tough, physical and ogres on defense.

The Bulls are in transition, awaiting Carlos Boozer’s return but looking promising under new Coach Tom Thibodeau, who designed the Celtics’ defense.

If Boston hates/fears the Heat, Magic and the archest-rival Lakers, the athletic Bulls have battled the older Celtics on even terms since their exciting 2009 seven-game first-round series and would love to get on the list. – Mark Heisler Gee, and I thought folks would be feening for Lakers @ Grizzlies Tuesday night.

AND A NATION’S EYES TURN TO…CLEVELAND?

Downtown Cleveland O-H-I-O, as the Ohio Players would put it, will be the center of the NBA universe this week as the once beloved LeBron James returns to town Thursday night as a member of the hated Miami Heat. Because of the Heat’s unexpected stumble out of the gate (9-8, losers of 4 of last 5 at press time) and the schedule, this game is probably more important than Miami’s Christmas Day visit to Staples Center to face the back-to-back defending champion Lakers.

Every, and I do mean every, basketball reporter, writer, talking head and blogger with a high-speed wireless connection and Twitter account will be hunkered down in C-Town from Tuesday on. Cavs management has teamed up with local law enforcement and NBA security in an unprecedented attempt to keep anti-Bron Bron actions to a minimum Cavs add police, ban anti-LeBron clothing for his return to Ohio. No word yet if Governor Ted Strickland will order the Ohio National Guard to go on alert.

And God forbid the Cavaliers actually win the game. Fans might think they’re at a college football game, rush the floor and take down the baskets at the final horn.

Cleveland, our eyes are on you. Whatever happens, stay classy. Well, as classy as people from Cleveland can be. Relatively speaking.

WE’VE GOT RANKINGS!

Mark Heisler’s NBA rankings

November 27, 2010

Records and statistics through Friday (last week’s ranking)

1. Celtics 12-4 (3): Actually no one’s best. I’m just rotating leaders until it’s clear. Wait until they get Kendrick “Mushmouth” Perkins back.

2. Lakers 13-3 (1): Not that they’re dependent on 3s: Making 48 percent in wins, 33 percent in losses. Hey Andrew, you ‘bout ready to come out and play yet?

3. Spurs 13-2 (4): Either resting Timmy, or at 13.5 points per game, had him mummified. Whatever they’re doing is working so far.

4. Hornets 12-3 (2): Clippers prick their balloon at 11-1. Jazz prick it at 11-2. Well, we knew it couldn’t/wouldn’t last forever.

5. Mavericks 11-4 (9): Chandler totals 36-26 in wins in Oklahoma City, San Antonio. If the Hornets or Thunder still had him…

6. Jazz 12-5 (10): Taking over, Williams averaging 23 this month as they go 11-3. He physically beat the crap out of Derek Fisher Friday night.

7. Magic 11-4 (T-6): Ghost of Vinsanity at career-low 13.9 ppg, 10.4 shots per game. When the legs go, the game follows.

8. Thunder 11-5 (5): What happened to defense? No. 11 last season, No. 23 now. They believed the hype?

9. Nuggets 9-6 (15): Making move? Just went 3-0 with four left on homestand. ‘Melo and La La still holding team and city hostage.

10. Heat 9-7 (T-6): Like my fantasy team: Dampier in, Stackhouse — who just arrived — out. If Erik Dampier is the answer to the question, you’re doomed. Doomed I say!

11. Bulls 8-6 (8): Better, anyway: 10-61 in last 10 circus trips, 3-3 on this one. Is Carlos Boozer still alive?

12. Trail Blazers 8-7 (11): Making move? Just went 2-4, eight of next 11 on road. Moving backwards.

13. Grizzlies 7-9 (17): Mayo benched two weeks ago for being late, demoted last week. Uh oh.

14. Hawks 9-7 (12): Grumbled about Woodson for years, don’t look crazy about Drew. Where’s Jermaine Dupri when you need him?

15. Suns 8-8 (16): Nash’s divorce prompts new rumors of trade to offseason New York home. BOOM went the Suns!

16. Knicks 8-8 (20): Modern leadership: 5-0 since Amar’e said he wanted to stay a Sun. Go figure.

17. Pacers 7-7 (14): Routing Heat in Miami shows this could be something. I once had a rash that turned out to be “something”.

18. Warriors 7-9 (13): Lee back soon; they’re 1-7 since he left. So that’s where Spike has been hiding out. Oh, you meant David Lee. My bad.

19. Bucks 5-10 (18): Can you really get away with a point guard shooting 38 percent? No.

20. Cavaliers 6-9 (19): I take back most of what I said about LeBron’s supporting cast. Come on Thursday!

21. Bobcats 6-10 (22): MJ better think of something with spending out of the question. Somewhere Bob “BET” Johnson is skinning and grinning.

22. Wizards 5-9 (23): Wall back, starting with Gilbert, Hinrich and two big knuckleheads. Jesus himself couldn’t coach this team.

23. Nets 5-10 (21): Avery must like Jordan; he’s averaging 24 minutes while shooting 33 percent. “Jordan” as in Jordan Farmar? Get out of here.

24. Raptors 6-10 (28): Evans, leading rebounder at 12.6, out. No. 2 Amir Johnson at 5.5.That’s like the difference between the opening weekend and second week of any Tyler Perry “film”.

25. Rockets 4-11 (25): Game’s best four-win team. Which is like being the tallest student at the School for Midgets.

26. Timberwolves 4-12 (26): GM David Kahn’s Folly, aka Darko, averages 18-9 over five. So?

27. Clippers 3-14 (30): Game’s most exciting three-win team. Free Blake Griffin! Free Blake Griffin! Free Blake Griffin!

28. Pistons 6-10 (27): How’s Tracy McGrady doing there? 3.8 points per game. he had back problems before he was 30. ‘Nuff said.

29. Kings 4-10 (24): Body remains but mind, game gone: Tyreke shoots 9-for-37 over three. Are the Maloof brothers still alive?

30. 76ers 3-13 (29): News isn’t all bad: Hollinger has them at No. 24! Doug Collins this close to going back to his perm of years gone by.

NBA REVIEW, WEEK 4

November 21, 2010

LeBron James, Rudy Gay

QUOTES OF THE WEEK

“They don’t run, they strut…I’m surprised they’re in shock that everyone is not loving them.” – TNT’s Charles Barkley on the self-esteem of the Miami Heat.

New York’s Amare Stoudemire, telling teammates how they did it in Phoenix: “We don’t have that sense of urgency. It’s almost as if it doesn’t matter. That’s something I’m not used to. I try to instill the fact that we have to play with sense of urgency.”

Pete Vecsey of the New York Post, on canceling a game against Orlando after debris containing asbestos fell in Madison Square Garden: “… After the success of Asbestos Night vs. the Magic, the Knicks have designated Dec. 15 vs. Boston as Mold Night and Dec. 17 [vs. Miami] as Lead Night.”

ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy, on their Washington-Atlanta, Sacramento-Clippers doubleheader on Thanksgiving: “Can we do a redo on those Thanksgiving games? Clippers? Kings? Wizards? The combined records don’t match the Hawks.”

“I think guys should definitely look at that and look in the mirror,” Pistons guard Ben Gordon said. “Phil Jackson is a great coach. … So that coming from him says a lot. I’m taking that and I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen again for me if he was talking about me” after Lakers coach Phil Jackson, known for his verbal jabs, said of the Pistons after his team’s easy win in Auburn Hills on Wednesday night: “It looks like some of their guys aren’t playing hard right now.”

“If it was me [Brent Barry], I’d go to the airport, buy a ticket and go to a Spurs road game. All the ushers and security know me, so I could get back to the players’ area. About 25 minutes before game time, I’d find out where Tony Parker was, then I’d walk up to him and blacken his eye. That’s what I’d do.” – Former NBAer and current ESPN analyst Jalen Rose talking about rumors that Parker may have had an affair with Erin Barry, the wife (so far) of former Spurs teammate Brent. Do I really need to mention that Rose is from Dee-troit? 

PUTTING THINGS INTO PERSPECTIVE

“You guys kill me,” a laughing Phoenix Coach Alvin Gentry said after Sunday night’s game, incredulous at being asked about the Lakers’ attitude and defense.

“Like the season is over for them now? C’mon, give me a break. It’s one game! You guys going to analyze this team? Let’s see what happens at the end of June, OK? You guys kill me, though. It’s one game, We made 22 threes and we had to hold on to beat them (121-116). I think they’re OK, OK?”  True story: I worked as an usher at Staples Center when Gentry “coached” the Clippers and one night, the Clips were up by 10 (I forget the opponent but it really doesn’t matter) with about 5 minutes to go in the game. There was a time-out and one of my regulars, “Persian Mike” (I called him that to differentiate him from “Black Mike”) was coming back from the restroom. The Clippers were in their huddle, Gentry was “clipboarding” his way throughout the timeout and Persian Mike said, with utter seriousness, “Look at Gentry. From here, you’d never know that he’s about to snatch defeat from victory.” We both laughed so hard, other fans started looking at us. Oh yeah, the Clippers lost. Be honest, you kind of knew that was coming. But, here’s the best part: as Persian Mike and the very lovely but sort of slutty in a classy Westside way Mrs Persian Mike left the arena, he said to me, “Clipper basketball, it stinks but at least it’s not the WNBA. Yet.”

The league’s latest PR fiasco – remember the new ball a few seasons ago? – Respect for the Game, which is aimed at cutting down on players whining and demonstrative gestures and actions after foul calls or non-calls in the case of the Lakers’ Lamar Odom during Sunday night’s loss to the Suns, is stupid, petty and awful. Other than that…

IT’S GETTING U.G.L.Y. IN D-TOWN

Prince, Kuester argument becomes heated  I think my favorite part of the story is that the coach asked arena security to remove Prince, one of his own players, mind you, from the bench. Can’t see this ending any way but badly.

Am I the only one who’s noticed that not one of his NBA peers has come to Isiah Thomas’ defense?

Watching the Lakers dismantle the Pistons Wednesday just reinforces how fortunate Laker fans here in Los Angeles and around the world are to have had Dr Jerry Buss as team owner these last 30 years.

By winning in Milwaukee Tuesday night, the Lakers have still lost three games in a row only once since obtaining Pau Gasol from Memphis in February 2008.

DIVORCE, NBA-STYLE

Athlete-Hollywood celebrity couplings always seem doomed to fail, Tony Parker’s impending divorce from actressEva Longoria only the latest casualty. 

BRON BRON NEWS

LeBron James, who recently suggested that he was playing too many minutes, is averaging about three minutes a game fewer than he did with the Cleveland Cavaliers last season…In his defense, he didn’t go to college.

Mark Cuban, during a radio interview, reveling in the Miami Heat’s struggles: “Hallelujah, boys, is that great or what? … My buddy Dan Gilbert is smiling all the way too.”

Critical of LeBron James, Esquire’s Scott Raab Loses Credentials for Miami Games  

Greg Oden just can’t catch a break, out for the season – Ball Don’t Lie  

Roy’s knee is the one that scares Blazers  

Bill Simmons: NBA Western Conference retro preview – ESPN

Bill Simmons: Los Angeles Lakers top team in West – ESPN

YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP

The Celtics have spanked that Heat a** twice this season; once at home on opening night and again in South Beach last week. BUT, they lost at home to a Kevin Durant-less (sore ankle) OKC Thunder on Friday night.

In the event that David Stern goes through with his threat of contracting a few teams, I say he should just combine the best players on the Clippers and Kings (all four of them)and then disperse the rest to whatever teams want them.

DUNK OF THE WEEK – COURTESY OF VINCE “HALF-MAN, HALF-AMAZING” CARTER

Vince Carter Slams Absurd Up And Under Dunk Against Suns (VIDEO)

WHO RETURNS FIRST – Andrew Bynum, Greg Oden or Jesus? I’m going with 1) Bynum, 2) Jesus and 3) Oden, which of course, by then, it will be too late. Or, maybe he’ll play in the “New World” NBA. Either way, we’ve seen the last of him in the NBA that we know and love.

Chad Ochocinco, Evelyn Lozada engaged: NFL star pops the question with 10-carat diamond ring You’ve got to give Lozada credit; it’s not often that you see a gold-digger willing or smart enough to change sports when the former “Sugar Daddy”, in this case, the bankrupt Antoine Walker, goes broke. Maybe this is the start of a new trend: LaQuisha says to herself, “Damn, let me go learn about some hockey!”

Bryant not amused

Bryant didn’t want to discuss the simmering controversy stemming from his appearance in a TV commercial for a warlike video game.

Bryant has been criticized in some circles for briefly appearing in the “Call of Duty: Black Ops” spot, peering around a corner and firing a rifle.

He snapped at a reporter who asked about it Friday.

“That’s a silly question,” he said, raising his voice. “Next question.”

He declined to talk about it after a follow-up question, repeating that the topic was “silly.”

Bryant has been criticized by some media members for promoting violence by appearing in the spot. Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel was also in the commercial. And I for one, am not “amused” by Bryant or for that matter, Kimmel’s involvement in this deplorable spot. Let me go further: I don’t think there’s any place whatsoever for this ad to run in the so-called “family viewing period” and I hope that in the future, the major sports leagues, just as they have done in the case of alcohol products, will prohibit their “active” athletes from appearing in such commercials or endorse these types of products. 

It might be a fresh start for the Minnesota Timberwolves  

Looking ahead in the NBA: Heat travel to play Magic on Wednesday

THE WAY THEY ONCE WERE (CUE: “MEMORIES”)

I ask you, if a half Black, half French point guard and a Chica actress from Texas can’t make it, then dadgummit, what hope is there for the rest of us? RIP TonyEva.

You probably haven’t noticed but the Clippers, off to a 1-13 start after Saturday’s home loss to the Knicks, are on pace to break the NBA single-season futility mark of 9-73 set by the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers.

I can’t help but wonder if Sidney Dean can still play. After all, he’s got a three-year bid to do and he’s going to need to find a way to pass the time. I just hope Billy Hoyle drops in from time to time and puts a little something on the books for his old running buddy.

RANKINGS! WE’VE GOT RANKINGS! (My comments in italics)

Mark Heisler’s NBA rankings

Lakers jump back into top spot; Thunder on the move

November 20, 2010

Records and statistics through Friday (last week’s ranking)

1. Lakers 11-2 (2): Not bad while getting Kobe up and running and waiting for Andrew Bynum. “Waiting on Bynum” has become a franchise movie in LaLa Land.

2. Hornets 10-1 (3): Led by 10 in fourth quarter at Dallas before taking first loss. Talk about going to extremes to keep CP3 happy and in town.

3. Celtics 9-3 (1): Nice offense: No FGs in last 10:34 in home loss to Thunder without Kevin Durant. This would NEVER happen if Shaquille O’Neal were still alive and playing for the Celtics…What’s that? He is and he does? Really? Oops. My bad.

4. Spurs 10-1 (4): If schedule aids best start ever, they have wins in OKC, Utah. And now that Tony Parker is free to openly date/text teammates’ wives, the sky’s the limit.

5. Thunder 8-4 (9): Averaging 24-5-8, Westbrook is 1A to Durant’s 1, or vice versa. Youngsters learning how difficult it is to win once teams start taking you seriously every night.

T-6. Heat 8-4 (8): Favorable early phase of schedule ends Wednesday at Orlando. And now with Dwyane Tyrone Wade Jr nursing an injured wrist suffered during Saturday night’s loss to the Grizz, pre-season talk of breaking the Bulls’ single-season record of 72-10 fades even further into the background.

T-6. Magic 8-3 (7): OK, who are you really? Now for rematch after Heat bombed them in Miami. Wednesday can’t come soon enough for the Magic.

8. BULLS 7-4 (14): Most underrated Trojan Taj Gibson now most underrated power forward. Can you still be “underrated” if you keep getting press about being “underrated”?

9. Mavericks 7-4 (5): Team claiming to be No. 2 in West scores 83 in home loss to Bulls. Read my lips (so to speak): You CANNOT win a championship if Dirk Nowitski is your #1 option.

10. Jazz 8-5 (6): Oops: After amazing trip, came home and lost to Thunder and Spurs. Two things I don’t understand: the fascination in this country with the British Royal Family and why the Jazz haven’t changed coaches in over 20 years.

11. Trail Blazers 8-5 (11): Gritty if cursed: Oden out for season, Roy sits, Matthews gets 30-20. Google the word cursed and the Blazers’ logo comes up.

12. Hawks 8-4 (10): Josh Smith priced to move. Both he and Hawks regret big new deal. But not on the first and 15th of the month on Smith’s part.

13. Warriors 7-5 (17): So much for new regime: Personnel director is owner’s kid. I didn’t know Jerry Jones had purchased the Warriors.

14. Pacers 5-5 (19): Hibbert averaged 7.1 as rookie, 11.7 last season, at 16.5 now. Who?

15. Nuggets 6-6 (12): Melo averaging 24-9 in MVP start — except for trying to desert. I don’t know about you but I’ve grown weary of the whole “will he stay, will he go” Melodrama. He’s starting to make Brett Favre seem decisive.

16. Suns 6-6 (16): Road to nowhere: Just lost by 27 in Miami, 16 in Orlando. Steve Nash thought he had the award for weirdest thing for a Western Conference point guard to do locked down with his unprecedented “file for divorce the day after your wife gives birth to your 3rd child” move until Tony Parker topped him this week.

17. Grizzlies 4-9 (13): Highest scoring starting lineup, averaging 84, just went 0-5. Then they beat the Heat Saturday night on Rudy Gay’s last-second shot.

18. Bucks 5-7 (15): Last season’s over: Just allowed 118 to Lakers, lost to 76ers. Scott Skiles THIS close to kicking everyone’s ass.

19. Cavaliers 5-6 (18): Forget Gilbert’s promise, I thought it would be years to ever be .500. Byron Scott can coach. I can’t wait until Bron Bron and the Heat hit C-Town on December 2.

20. Knicks 5-8 (25): Already sorry: Amare says he’d have stayed if Suns offered same deal. If you listen closely, you can hear the echoes of Stephon Marbury after he forced a trade from the T-Wolves to the Nets because he was jealous of KG’s record-breaking (at the time) $100 million plus contract. And wait until the winter weather kicks in.

21. Nets 4-8 (20): Kris Humphries, starting over Murphy, Favors, averages 15-12 over five. I have absolutely no idea who any of these people are.

22. Bobcats 4-8 (22): Hold disaster scenarios: 3-2 since 1-6 start. 4-8 ISN’T a “disaster” for a team owned and coached by Hall-of-Famers?

23. Wizards 4-7 (29): Good old days: Arenas averages 18 as they go 2-1 with Wall out. Yawn.

24. Kings 4-7 (21): More young guys than Cousins showing issues with temperament. Oh yeah, this ends badly.

25. Rockets 3-9 (23): Like last season with Yao out for two weeks, except for record. Yao who?

26. Timberwolves 4-10 (24): Oh my gosh, he’s a monster: Beasley at 25 a game, 31 in last six. Don Rileyone having second thoughts in South Beach about trading him this summer?

27. Pistons 4-8 (26): Sale stalls as Ilitch drops offer from reported $350 mill, appropriately. If not Ilitch, then who? Or is that whom?

28. Raptors 4-9 (28): Won two in row for first time this season. Over/under was zero. So, it wasn’t all Chris Bosh’s fault.

29. 76ers 3-10 (29): See ya: Igoudala missed six games in career, now at four and counting. It’s the “Elton Brand Effect”.

30. Clippers 1-12 (30): Human Layup Line allowed 109 per game in last eight. Blake Griffin already planning his future as a “former Clipper”.

WHAT I WOULD HAVE ASKED GEORGE W. BUSH

November 20, 2010

“Over 3,000 Americans died on 9/11/, you started two wars (one based on bad intelligence at best; lies at worst) that have cost over 4,000 American lives and an estimated 100,000 Iraqi lives –  virtually ignored an American city under siege from a category 5 super hurricane, took the country to the brink of the second Great Depression and you’re sitting here telling us the ‘worst moment of your presidency’ was something a rapper said about you? Are you f**king kidding me?”

 That’s what I would have asked and what somebody, anybody, SHOULD have asked George W. Bush during his recent media blitz to push his book.

DEMOCRATS TO MEET WITH PRESIDENT TODAY

November 18, 2010

When Democratic congressional leaders meet with President Obama at the White House today, I hope that they realize that for everything they accomplished these past two years, they also left a lot on the table that, with clear-cut majorities in both chambers, they should have brought to fruition. There should have been no need to sweat out the healthcare reform bill in the House. That’s one of the biggest differences between the GOP and Democrats; the former is united against this president and his agenda while the latter argues amongst themselves.

At today’s “Come to Jesus” meeting – at least that’s what I hope it turns out to be – the president would be wise to point out that incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it crystal clear that he DOESN’T want him to succeed, he doesn’t want his policies to succeed and his primary goal is to make Mr Obama a “one-term president”. If the president and those gathered at the White House today don’t understand that message, then we’re in much bigger trouble than we know. 

The GOP doesn’t care about the average American but, they are great at creating the illusion that they are. Those incoming House and Senate freshmen who campaigned on repealing “Obamacare” will be eligible for the best healthcare insurance plan available in America, but they don’t want YOU to have anything like it. Incoming House Speaker John Boehner says he’s for “working-class Americans like me”; how many of you are millionaire business owners who live in a gated golf-course community and fly around the country (and beyond) in corporate jets?

I hope and pray with all my heart that President Obama and the Democratic leadership come away from today’s meeting with a renewed sense of purpose and determination to lead the nation in a positive direction. I hope they come away knowing that they need the same type of marketing that Apple and the folks behind the “Twilight” films use to get people lined up for days just to spend their money on things they really don’t need. I hope they come away with a resolve to do the right thing for America.

Most of all, I hope they come away determined and devoted to WINNING in 2012. Because if they aren’t, we are in for a GOP controlled White House and Congress that’s going to make us long for the eight years of George W. Bush.

NBA WEEK 3 REVIEW

November 14, 2010

QUOTE/TWEET OF THE WEEK (QUITE POSSIBLY THE SEASON)

“It’s been a pleasure to bring my talents to South Beach. Now on to Memphis.” I don’t know a comedian alive today who could have come up with a better line than Paul “The Truth” Pierce did after his Celtics destroyed the Heat in Miami last week. Speaking of the Heat… 

Despite losing to the Celtics (again) Thursday night, they can still break the 1995-96 Bulls single-season record of 72-10. All they have to do is go 68-5 over the last 73 games of the season.

Chris Bosh, who just two years ago was posting YouTube videos pleading for All-Star Game votes, is finding out that it’s one thing to be the best player on a bad team – Toronto – and quite another being part of the so-called “Big 3” in Miami.

Let The Sniping Begin

LeBron questions Spoelstra

The second of two bad home losses didn’t bring out the best in the Heat. “For myself, 44 minutes is too much,” James declared. “I think Coach Spo knows that. Forty minutes for D-Wade is too much. We have to have as much energy as we can to finish games out.” There you go, Coach Spo. Get to know him well. … No one exposes the flaws of these Heat like the Celtics with their brilliant passing, precise shooting and ferocious physical play. Boston believes it can bully these Heat, believes they’re susceptible to games of the mind and body. (Yahoo! Sports) Tick. Tick. Tick. That’s the sound of the “When Does Pat Riley Take Over As Coach Again Clock” ticking in Miami.

NBA approves Golden State Warriors sale to Lacob group

So, if the Warriors who haven’t won a title or even been back to a Finals since 1975 – for perspective, consider that Gerald Ford was president – are worth $450 million, what are the  Lakers, with 10 titles since Jerry Buss bought the team in 1979, worth? $700 million? $900 million? A billion dollars?

Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony Hold Court After Nuggets Upset Lakers  

Why do I have a nagging suspicion that ‘Melo knows EXACTLY what he’s going to do and when he’s going to do it, but loves the attention he’s getting these days while playing in Denver so much, that he’s just stringing everyone along?

Bill “The Sports Guy” Simmons’ take on Carmelo Anthony’s Situation:

It was surreal watching Carmelo Anthony play the Lakers on Thursday night. He notched 32 points and 13 rebounds during a dramatic home victory, but he seemed slightly detached, like a college boyfriend two weeks away from dumping his girlfriend because she’s going away for a semester, and all his friends know that he’s dumping her, but he feels bad because it’s her birthday and he doesn’t want to break up with her quite yet. Just a weird vibe. I wondered if I was over-thinking it, but the TNT guys jumped right on it after the show. There was just something … off. He knows he’s leaving, we know he’s leaving, the fans know he’s leaving. So what’s the point? Why stay? Why go through the motions?

I don’t blame the Nuggets for hoping Anthony changes his mind; he’s one of the 10 best players in the league, and they could never get equal value for him in a trade. They should keep him until February and hope he has a change of heart. But Carmelo’s wishy-washy routine is exceptionally lame. Melo, if you want out, say it. If you want to stay, say it. But say something. Your fans stuck with you through the MSG bitch-slap, the “Stop Snitching” disaster and a slew of playoff no-shows (even in 2009, your only legitimate run, you disappeared in the last two games against the Lakers). Now you’re putting them through this?

My advice: Instead of emulating your boys Bosh and LeDecoy and jumping to a higher-profile situation, you should emulate a guy like Paul Pierce, someone who had similar ups and downs in Boston, had chances to leave and wanted to stay because he valued being a Celtic, and because he valued the unwavering support of Boston fans. If none of that stuff matters to you, then ask out right now. But don’t keep everyone in limbo because you want a $65 million extension (that only Denver can offer you) AND you want to play for the Knicks (a team that doesn’t have nearly enough to trade for you). You’re rocking a 9.9 out of 10 on the “Time to Man Up” scale right now. The Denver fans deserve better.

Isiah’s bid for Walsh’s job rebuked by Timberwolves GM  

Zeke, Zeke, Zeke. (SMH) When you’re being rebuked by quite possibly, the dumbest GM in the league (except for whoever’s in that position for the Clippers), it’s time for a long, soul-searching session with yourself and a good therapist.

LeBron James clears up postgame comments about playing time

One of these days, and hopefully it will be soon, James will learn the same lesson Kanye West learned on the “Today” show last week: just because someone asks you a question doesn’t mean that you HAVE to answer it out loud. Sometimes, just say “No comment” and keep moving.

Why does Greg Oden look much older than Shaq? I remember saying to my buddy Jaymo during the ’07 draft, Kevin Durant’s mom leaned over and whispered in his ear, “You know Kevin, I think I may have dated that Mr Oden in high school.” Or here’s another way to look at: when Bron Bron entered the league at 18, everyone said he looked “Mature for his age.” When Oden entered the league at 19, everyone said “He looks old for his age.” BIG difference.

Some more advice for dear Donald Sterling  

Some more advice for dear Donald Sterling  “Man, what I wouldn’t give for a bunch of tall Koreans right about now.”

Love’s mentors played big role  

Miami Heat has become a national punch line  

Pat Riley  Riley: “Is Pat Riley going to have to ‘Stan Van Gundy’ this little MF before Christmas?”

Andrew Bynum continues rehabilitation under Lakers’ watchful eyes  We may see peace in the Mideast, or between President Obama and John Boehner, before we see Bynum playing again.

BIGGEST SURPRISE OF THE SEASON SO FAR – Erik Spoelstra is still coaching the Heat; Hornets are 8-0; Steve Nash files for divorce the day AFTER third child (first son) is born, Blake Griffin of the Clippers hasn’t been injured yet (tie).

BIGGEST NON-SURPRISE OF THE SEASON SO FAR – Clippers are 1-9.

I’m betting that Allen Iverson is back from Turkey before Christmas. Look, the guy could barely handle life in the NBA, which except for a few scattered exhibition games each year, is played in North America where English is still the primary language. Does anyone with the sense God gave a seedless grape honestly think that the NBA’s poster-child for “Thug Life” is going to be able to maintain his sanity (or a reasonable facsimile) in a place like Turkey? I guarantee you he sits around at night looking at old DVDs of he and Larry Brown during Philly’s glory days, crying his eyes out. Either that, or haunting Turkish tattoo parlors.

Don’t be surprised if Steve Nash is traded to the Knicks before Christmas. You read it here first.

Mark Heisler’s NBA power rankings

November 14, 2010

Records and statistics through Friday (last week’s ranking).

1. Celtics 7-2 (4): Opening night was one win at home. Win in Miami makes it a trend. To coach again or not to coach again; that is the question facing Pat Riley right now.

2. Lakers 8-1 (1): Luckily for them, this isn’t Kobe at 100 percent, unless he now shoots 42 percent. He is what he is at this point of his career. Which is still better than 95% of the rest of the league.

3. Hornets 7-0 (2): Young coach Monty Williams gets credit for No. 1 defense. Monty? What the hell kind of name is that for an NBA head coach?

4. Spurs 6-1 (7): Argentine Kobe — Manu — is at 100 percent, averaging 22, 5 assists. A healthy Manu is a dangerous Manu. That’s from the Gospel according to Charles Freeman.

5. Mavericks 6-2 (8): Rally from five down in last 1:44 to beat Celtics shows they’re real. And yet, they won’t win a ring. Ever.

6. Jazz 6-3 (13): Came from 18, 22, 18, 11 down to beat Clippers, Heat, Magic, Hawks. Hell, me and four other guys in our mid-50s can come back from 18 down against the Paper Clips.

7. Magic 5-3 (5): With Raptors in after Jazz loss … they somehow lose to them too. Google the word “Overrated” and I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that a picture of Dwight Howard pops up.

8. Heat 5-4 (3): On bright side, they still have a legit shot at 57 or 58. Hell, the Cavs won 66 last season.

9. Thunder 5-3 (10): Ginobili, Parker took summer off, but Durant, shooting 39 percent, didn’t. AND, teams are focusing on him now.

10. Hawks 6-4 (6): After beating six Smurfs, lost to Suns, Magic, Bucks, Jazz. Cue the strip joint music!

11. Trail Blazers 6-4 (9): With Roy hurting, Oden still out, better figure out Plan B. More like Plan C.

12. Nuggets 5-4 (11): Little girl with little curl gives up 144 to Pacers, beats Lakers. It’s the altitude stupid!

13. Grizzlies 4-5 (12): Zach Attack back, averaging 22-13 in last three. Hey, whatever happened to Zach’s weed-smuggling case back in Indy?

14. BULLS 4-3 (18): NBA’s No. 2 center? Joakim Noah averaging 16-14, 2.1 blocks. Number 3 at worst.

15. Bucks 4-5 (17): Skiles rules: Pouty Delfino averaged 5.5 before, 11 as Buck. Scott Skiles will kill you with his bare hands if you don’t do things his way. In fact, I almost wish the Clippers would trade Baron “Fat Daddy” Davis to the Bucks just to see how long Skiles would let him live. My Over/Under would be 5 days.

16. Suns 4-4 (19): Hurting Robin Lopez got 18 vs. Lakers in home opener, 21 since. Trini Lopez could do better.

17. Warriors 6-3 (15): Fast-talking Smart convinces them they’re no longer carnival act. A leader leads and that’s what Keith Smart is doing right now.

18. Cavaliers 4-4 (21): Byron rules: “Cav-nots” in a playoff slot? See #15 and replace Skiles with Scott.

19. Pacers 3-4 (22): I knew they’d break out — just not this decade: Hit 20 in row vs. Nuggets. It was absolutely breathtaking.

20. Nets 3-5 (20): Avery benches Brook Lopez at end of game for toreador defense. Of course, the ‘Lil General had to have his voice Auto-tuned so dogs within a 20 mile radius wouldn’t go deaf, but he got his point across.

21. Kings 3-5 (16): Once a sure thing at Arco, just lost three in row at home after 3-1 start. “The Kings are exactly what we thought they would be!”

22. Bobcats 3-6 (25): With Tyrus’ new contract, odds on Brown saving/killing him 20/80. Why doesn’t MJ just fire LB, hire Scotty Pippen and get on with things?

23. Rockets 2-6 (27): Things were tough before Aaron Brooks, who makes them go, went. That sound you hear in the background is Trevor Ariza laughing his ass off from N’awlins.

24. Timberwolves 3-7 (28): Rambis stops yo-yoing Love long enough for him to get 31-31. Why does that sound like the logline for a porn film?

25. Knicks 3-6 (14): If Wilt faced their defense, he’d have averaged 31-31. In his sleep.

26. Pistons 3-6 (29): Busy Tweeting? Villanueva says he doesn’t want to start. Well, what does Charlie V want to do?

27. Wizards 2-5 (23): Like Wall, fellow points Big O, Magic started at 18, 10 assists. I know John Wall can play but, can we wait a bit before inducting him into the Hall of Fame?

28. Raptors 2-7 (26): Expansion Raptors II. Bryan Colangelo casts a wistful eye towards the  Valley of the Sun.

29. 76ers 2-7 (30): Iguodala told not to rush back — since they’re better that way. Ouch. That’s like being designated an non-essential government employee.

30. Clippers 1-9 (24): Two words: Can’t shoot. No. 29 in 3-point accuracy at 29.3 percent. Two more words: Can’t win.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

November 13, 2010

Just a note.

I don’t know about any of you, but I’m pretty burnt out on politics and news right now. Plus, I’m carrying 16 units in school this semester so I haven’t really had the time to post as often as in the recent past.

So, except for commenting on BREAKING NEWS that I just can’t ignore, I’ll be focusing on my weekly NBA updates for the near future.

Thanks, and please keep reading The Freeman Flyer.

NBA WEEK 2 REVIEW

November 8, 2010

Lakers embark on a new era of harmony, but will sour notes emerge later?   While no one’s (ESPN) been paying attention, the defending back-to-back champions have opened the season 7-0.

Grizzlies can only hope it isn’t a contractual obligation  

Thomas’ attention grab blindsides Walsh, Knicks  

Delusional Isiah needs help  

 blog.thomas.jpg “I guess it all depends on how you define the word delusional.”

Isiah needs to either stop using drug or start using them because whichever he’s doing now has him crazier than a non-masturbating Christine O’Donnell after a coven meeting.

NBA quotes of the week

LeBron James has second thoughts about the TV special he used to announce his signing with Miami. 

DUH

LeBron James, conceding a TV special was the wrong place to announce he would sign with Miami, five months later: “If I had to go back on it, I probably would do it a little bit different.” Really? And things went so well. Don’t believe me? Just ask your buddy Maverick.

JUST GOT ADDRESS WRONG

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert to ESPN Radio, standing by his “cowardly betrayal” letter: “That letter was to the fans and the supporters of the Cavaliers, and it wasn’t to the player that left, it wasn’t to the rest of the world. It wasn’t to anybody but them.”

PRAY FOR THE YOUNG GUYS

Boston’s Kevin Garnett, saying Glen (Big Baby) Davis is now a leader: “He’s stepping into a role where he’s like a young voice for the young players. I think it helps Luke [Harangody] and Avery [Bradley]…” Whoever they are.

NEXT COACH

Detroit’s Tayshaun Prince on Coach John Kuester’s search for a leader: “He has to do some things better too. Obviously, we’re 0-4 so it ain’t just the team.”

EXACTLY

ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy, on Detroit’s Charlie Villanueva’s tweet, complaining Garnett told him he looks like a cancer patient: “He had a chance to do something about it during the game. Go to it.” Not that I condone what Garnett may or may not have said (personally, I believe Villanueva), but this is exactly why I love, love, love me some Jeff Van Gundy. He might say ANYTHING about anything at any given moment. He, Mike Breen and Mark “You’re Better Than That” Jackson are the best basketball announcing team ever.

NBA ahead: Boston at Miami on Thursday

Commentary

November 6, 2010

It’s taken me until now to talk/write about Tuesday’s devastating (for Democrats) election results. Am I disappointed? You bet I am. Am I discouraged? Yes I am. Am I defeated? Hell to the NAW!

Tuesday was the result of three undeniable factors: J.O.B.S., a very real and deeply partisan difference in political philosophy and what direction the country should be heading in and last but not least, the systemic and blatant racism at the heart of the so-called Tea Party movement.

The GOP, as personified by John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, is opposed to the president’s agenda but for the most part, I don’t think it’s personal. Yes, McConnell is an older (68) white Southerner, so many African-Americans think that he harbors racist beliefs that color (pun fully intended) his feelings toward President Obama. Maybe there’s some truth to that; I don’t know. But, I find that to be a convenient rationalization especially when you consider that he’s been married to Elaine Chao, a Korean, since 1993. And frankly, John “Agent Orange” doesn’t seem like a racist to me either. He’s just a wealthy former small business owner, country-club Republican who loves low taxes, golf, unfiltered Camel cigarettes and a few “adult beverages” after work.

While Boehner and McConnell oppose President Obama’s agenda and policies along political lines, the sudden rise of the so-called Tea Party is based solely on the fact that a segment of white Americans are so opposed to an African-American that they will angrily and stupidly vote against their own interests.

Many pundits are saying that this is a repeat of what Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton went through in 1982 and 1994 respectively. While there are some similarities, neither of those men faced a nation and Congress so bitterly and deeply divided, a 24/7 news cycle or the raging  blogosphere. Also, neither Reagan or Clinton were ever subjected to the racist venom directed at this president.

Hall of Fame basketball coach Pat Riley has often said that the best advice his late father Lee ever gave him was on his wedding day. As he prepared to drive off, Lee called his son over to his career and said, “Just remember what I always taught you. Somewhere, someplace, sometime, you’re going to have to plant your feet, make a stand and kick some ass. And when that time comes, you do it.”

My friends, that time has come for the 44th President of the United States of America and I just hope and pray that Barack Hussein Obama realizes that before it’s too late.

God help us if he doesn’t.

Friday, November 5, 2010

November 6, 2010

AFTER THE LOVE IS GONE

“Mama said there’d be days like this, but, DAYUMMMM!”

EDITORIAL CARTOONS

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QUOTES

“It feels bad. [Now,] I’m not recommending for every future president that they take a shellacking like I did last night. You know, I’m sure there are easier ways to learn these lessons… What yesterday also told us is that no one party will be able to dictate where we go from here, that we must find common ground in order to set — in order to make progress on some uncommonly difficult challenges.  And I told John Boehner and Mitch McConnell last night I am very eager to sit down with members of both parties and figure out how we can move forward together. – President Barack Obama when asked about the GOP landslide at his Wednesday press conference.

“We’re humbled by the trust that the American people have placed in us.  As I said last night, our job is to listen to the American people and follow the will of the American people.  It’s pretty clear the American people want us to do something about cutting spending here in Washington and helping to create an environment where we get jobs back in our country.  We’ve got a big job ahead of us.  That’s why you will see us roll up our sleeves and go to work today.” – House Speaker-to-be John Boehner (R-OH) on Wednesday morning.

“The only way to do all these things it is to put someone in the White House who won’t veto any of these things.” – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Thursday in a speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation in which he called for  Senate votes to repeal or erode Obama’s signature health care law, to cut spending and to shrink government.

“He’s got Harvard problems, and he’s got community college friends giving him advice.” – FoxSports.com columnist Jason Whitlock explaining why LeBron James may be making some questionable decisions.

NEWS

 THREE FACES OF EVIL

John Boehner, Mitch McConnell,  Haley Barbour

(L-R) Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Representative John Boehner (R-OH), Governor Haley Barbour (R-MS) meet the press in Washington, DC on Wednesday.

Election doesn’t end major discord for GOP, Obama “They may have missed the message somewhat,” McConnell told reporters. Democrats “can change now and work with us to address the issues that are important to the American people,” he said, or they can refuse and see that another round of Republican wins “can happen in 2012,” when Obama will seek re-election.
 
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/11/03/press-conference-president

Mitch McConnell: Dumping Obama In 2012 Is The Only Way To Achieve The GOP Agenda

Barack Obama’s arrogance – John F. Harris and Glenn Thrush

Meghan McCain: Christine O’Donnell Is ‘Out Of Her Frickin’ Mind’ (VIDEO)

Aretha Franklin cancels appearances through May
 
 
 

RANDOM THOUGHTS

At least Mitch McConnell is being upfront and honest in saying how he feels about President Obama and his agenda/policies.

Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s shrewdest move this year may have been when she agreed to allow crazier than a loon on LSD Michelle Bachmann form an official Tea Party Caucus. Incoming Speaker John Boehner may have his hands full trying to keep the extreme right of his party in line in the new Congress.

Will Meg Whitman prove that she really wants to help California recover economically by offering to be a liaison to the business community for Governor-Elect Jerry “Back To The Future” Brown or just disappear with her billion-dollar (minus the $150 million she blew losing to Brown) fortune, never to be heard from again?

Bill Clinton can (and will) say, smugly I might add, “Hey, I did what I could but nobody in the White House wanted to take my advice.”

Tuesday’s biggest winner didn’t appear on a ballot – Michael Steele.

Democrats, independents and young voters who turned out in record numbers for Obama in 2008 MUST be re-engaged and that effort must start NOW!

Democrats need to learn message discipline and party unit and do it ASAPLY (yes I made that up).

Charlie Crist and Kendrick Meek blew it in Florida. Rush Limbaugh has a better chance of being inducted into the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame than Meek did of being elected as Florida’s junior senator. He should have made the pragmatic, political and exited the race 2-3 months ago and thrown his support behind Crist.

George W. Bush’s saying in his new book that he considered dropping Dick “Darth” Cheney from the 2004 ticket made me wonder how different his presidency, the nation and the world might be today if he’d selected someone else as his running mate in 2000.

Glad to see Greg Anthony, one of college basketball’s best analysts (CBS), has joined NBA TV this season. Now both college and NBA fans can benefit from his knowledge and keen insight.

Kevin Garnett is a horrible excuse for a human being and Isiah Thomas is the most delusional athlete I’ve ever heard of.

Get well soon Aretha.

Don’t forget to “Fall Back” tomorrow night (Saturday).