NBA REVIEW – WEEK 10

PHOTO OF THE YEAR

Blake “Poster Child” Griffin destroying Knicks center Timofey Mozgov.

 PHOTO OF THE WEEK

mavs.jpg

Shawn Marion and Tyson Chandler celebrating another Mavericks’ win.

 PHOTO OF THE WEEK – NON-NBA DIVISION 

President Obama joined family and friends on Monday for a treat of shave ice in Kailua, Hawaii.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“Just be patient with us, we’ll get it back in order. We’ll be fine. We’ll measure this season and come out where we want to be, I think, at the end.” – Lakers coach Phil Jackson after Saturday’s loss to the Miami Heat.

THEY SAID IT

“That’s crazy, because I had no idea what the word ‘contraction’ meant before I saw it on the Internet. I never even mentioned that. That word never even came out of my mouth. I was just saying how the league was back in the ’80s and how it could be good again. I never said, ‘Let’s take some of the teams out.’ ” – Le Bron James, after the Miami Heat’s practice Monday, walking back his recent comments on the possibility of the NBA eliminating a few teams. How is that a 25 year old high school graduate and the father of two children doesn’t know the meaning of the word “contraction”?

“I couldn’t put the ball in the basket and it snowballed from there. It’s my responsibility to make ‘em. I had some really good looks, man. I’ve got to put those down, period.” – Lakers guard Kobe Bryant after the team’s loss to San Antonio Tuesday night.

“We didn’t play a smart game, put it that way. We have to recognize what’s going on and understand what our strengths are against certain opponents, and try to exploit them. It can’t be an individual effort from nobody. It has to be altogether on a string, like a family.” – Lakers forward Pau Gasol after the team’s loss to the Spurs Tuesday night in San Antonio.

NBA quotes: Phoenix Suns Coach Alvin Gentry, Denver’s George Karl, Orlando Magic star Dwight Howard  

THEY SAID IT – NON-NBA DIVISION

“There is nobody out there except for Sarah Palin who could absolutely dominate the stage and she can’t stand on the intellectual stage with Obama (he mocked the idea that someone like Indiana Congressman Mike Pence could go head to head with President Obama).”  – Political commentator Juan Williams, speaking about the potential Republican presidential candidates for the 2012 elections on “Fox News Sunday.”

“Has Juan interviewed either so as to have any knowledge about which he speaks? or is he just talking? Knowing if he interviewed (firsthand knowledge) either and to what depth can help guide you as to whether you should credit his opinion or not. (Incidentally, I don’t know if he has….maybe he has.)” – FOX News commentator Greta Van Susteren responding to Williams’ statement. Full disclosure: Van Susteren’s husband, prominent DC lawyer John P. Coale, has served as an advisor to Palin in the past.

“I was just thinking, ‘Is it ever going to end?’ I thought I was done raising my kids.” – Jim Maggi of Ft Pierce, FL, whose two daughters and their families moved in with him and his wife after losing their jobs in the recession.

SAY WHAT?

“I’m a Christian, I’ve made mistakes myself, I believe fervently in second chances. But Michael Vick killed dogs, and he did in a heartless and cruel way. And I think, personally, he should’ve been executed for that. He wasn’t, but the idea that the President of the United States would be getting behind someone who murdered dogs? Kind of beyond the pale.” – Conservative commentator Tucker Carlson as he filled in for Sean Hannity Tuesday night on Fox News.

THE “CHILE, PLEASE” AWARD GOES TO

Mississippi Governor Haley “Boss Hogg Jr” Barbour for his statements on how smoothly things went in his hometown of Yazoo, Mississippi during the Civil Rights Era.

STORY OF THE WEEK (A MUST READ)

Feature: Allen Iverson: Fallen Star – Philadelphia Magazine  

AROUND THE ASSOCIATION

Kobe joins Lakers’ latest blame game  

Kobe Bryant missed missed 19 of 27 shots in the Lakers' loss to the Spurs.

Kobe Bryant and George Hill jawing at each other during the Lakers loss to the Spurs Tuesday.

LeBron James’ ‘watered-down’ comment was completely off base  

Davis Says He Wants to Stay a Clipper  

Clipper fans, on the other hand, can’t wait for the day that Davis joins the ranks of “former Clippers” around the league.

In Phil Jackson’s Farewell Tour, Lakers Show Flaws  

Lakers’ Phil Jackson criticizes league’s ownership of Hornets   

Nuggets waiting to fleece New Jersey?

Trail Blazers’ Brandon Roy out ‘indefinitely’ because of sore knees

What on earth has the Portland franchise done to deserve this? First, Oden and now Roy’s career, at least in the Rose City, may be over?

 Brown’s ouster not his choice  

Mavericks-Spurs Rivalry Ages Gracefully

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson says this is his last year coaching — again  

Mark Heisler on the NBA: New Year’s resolutions  

NBA lockout in July is a virtual certainty  

Mark Heisler’s NBA Coast to Coast: Injuries slowing Celtics again  

Christmas Day NBA games draw record television ratings 

TAKE THAT PHIL JACKSON AND THE FAT VAN GUNDY BROTHER!

THIS WEEK’S “OH MY GOD, DID YOU SEE WHAT BLAKE GRIFFIN DID?” VIDEO

Video: Ho-hum, another awesome Blake Griffin alley-oop

PLAY OF THE WEEK THAT DOESN’T HAVE BLAKE GRIFFIN IN IT (tie)

Tyreke Evans hits a 50-footer to win at the buzzer

Excerpt:  Please notice that Kings forward Donte Greene leaps off the bench onto the court before the shot has even gone in for the ultimate act of basketball faith. He’s almost in the paint by the time the ball goes through, which would probably be a technical foul if not for the pure awesomeness of the play itself.

Shaun Livingston’s no-look glimpse at what might have been  

Clipper Nation still remembers what “might” have been had Livingston not been injured.

The Point Forward » Posts NBA courts: The good, the bad, the ugly  

CHUCK’S CHALK TALK

I keep trying to tell people that you can’t look at Kobe Bryant in chronological terms; you have to look at him as someone who came into the association straight out of high school, is in his 15th season (more than any player in Lakers history), has played in 198 play-off games (another 2+ seasons worth of games) and has already played more minutes than the player he’s most often compared to, Michael Jordan. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Bryant is still one of the top 5 players in the NBA but we’ve seen the best of him and it’s all downhill from this point on. Just as Brett Favre went from “veteran” to “old” in one off-season, that’s what is about to happen to Kobe Bean Bryant. And that’s an irrefutable fact of nature.

More bad news for Lakers fans: The team has just five January home games with three sets of back-to-backs and they are all home/road games. AND, their annual February “Grammy Awards” road trip is extended this season because of the All-Star Weekend preparations at Staples Center which gives them a 13 day trip that starts on February 4 (travel to New Orleans), and covers seven games including a back-to-back set with the Celtics and Knicks on 2/10 and 11.

The injuries to Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett in Boston and even more, the one to Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas shows just how fragile most teams championship hopes really are. In the words of the great Jerry Butler, “Only The Strong Survive”.

This game of “Chicken” that Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets are engaged in is getting very intriguing as the trade deadline of February 24 begins to loom over the league.

I don’t think Blake Griffin can win the Slam-Dunk contest during All-Star weekend because he’s more of an “In-The-Flow-Of-The-Game” dunker than he is a “Show Dunker”. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking with it.

THE WEEK AHEAD

SAN ANTONIO AT BOSTON-Wednesday, 4:30 p.m. PST

Even with the Celtics down three starters, this will be a challenge for the Spurs, the surprise contenders who have been as legitimate as Boston and Miami, not to mention the Lakers, who are choking in their dust.

The Spurs have been going small with Tim Duncan kicking back and rookie Tiago Splitter being eased in.

Not that it works as well in Boston where the Celtics, who weigh so much more, really throw their beef around.

Deeper though they may be, the Celtics lost three of four as Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo joined Kendrick Perkins on the sideline with the Heat hot on their trail.

With Shaquille O’Neal, Nate Robinson and Glen Davis in the starters’ shoes, they’re about to see whether anyone can hold this fort. – Mark Heisler

MY TEN NON-NBA THOUGHTS OF THE WEEK

  1. Why anyone can profess surprise that President Obama’s poll numbers are rising while those of Sarah Palin are falling is beyond me. Generally speaking, the American public isn’t anywhere as stupid as some in the media would have us to believe. No one with the sense God gave a neutered Cocker Spaniel really thinks that Palin is qualified to do anything more than what she’s doing right now and hell, she can barely handle that at times. 
  2. I’ll bet that the overwhelming majority of those complaining about the Vikings/Eagles game being postponed last Sunday, were going to be watching it from the warm, cozy comforts of home. Just as the rules for water breaks during training camp and dealing with concussions have evolved and changed over the years, so have the rules about playing games in certain weather conditions. I think the other issue that no one seemed to bring up is how weather will factor into the proposed 18-game schedule and the Super Bowl at the Meadowlands in a few years. Does the NFL really want a championship game to be at the mercy of the elements when it’s completely avoidable?
  3. Ray Romano made the perfect decision for his first TV series, Men of a Certain Age, after the phenomenal success of Everybody Loves Raymond by getting as far away from that character as possible. Granted, he’s rich enough from Raymond that he can afford such a move but, give him credit for having the professional and personal courage to do so. Unlike say, so many others before him. Yes Kelsey Grammer, I’m talking to you (“Hank”).
  4. Exactly what the hell does Brett Favre have on the NFL that he’s become virtually “un-touchable”? A $50,000 fine for “not cooperating with their investigation”? Are you kidding me!
  5. Have you seen a photo of incoming Speaker John Boehner or incoming Majority Leader with the two African-American Republicans elected to the House last month? Have you seen a photo of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell with Marco Rubio, the incoming senator from Florida? Answer: To quote the suddenly less orange-skinned John Boehner from the night the healthcare bill passed – “Hell no you haven’t!” BUT, they (the GOP) want us to believe that they’re the “party of all the people.”
  6. How is that Times Square was snow-free in time for New Year’s Eve festivities but many areas of NYC remained virtually untouched by snow plows for days after the blizzard hit the city?
  7. What happens if any of the five Ohio State football players who supposedly agreed to return to school next year so they could play in the Sugar Bowl Five suspended Buckeyes will return in 2011, decide after the game to in fact, sign up for the 2011 NFL Draft? Can the school sue them?  
  8. I’m not one of those accusing Mississippi Governor Haley “Boss Hogg Jr” of being cynical and manipulative and  looking towards his possible presidential run in his proposed release of the Scott Sisters. I’d rather be happy that they are finally getting out of prison. Besides, while President Obama’s re-election is far from a sure thing at this point – the last day of 2010 – I’m feel pretty damn confident that even if he were to lose in 2012, it won’t be to either Barbour or Sarah Palin.  
  9. Since Stanford was the last team to defeat the UCONN women’s basketball team before they started their record setting run of 90 consecutive victories, it was only fitting that Stanford be the team to end it. By the way, in another fact that links the UCONN women’s team to the UCLA men’s team who won 88 games in a row; the last team that beat them before the streak started was the same team that ended the streak: Notre Dame.
  10. I hate the Black Eyed Peas so much that they’re making me hate black eyed peas!

RANKINGS, WE’VE GOT RANKINGS! (my comments in italics)

Mark Heisler – Tribune Papers

January 1, 2011

Record, statistics through Friday’s games (last week’s ranking)

  1. San Antonio (28-4) (2): From Twin Towers to No Towers: Duncan gets two in win vs. Lakers. Gregg Popovich coaching his crazy-azz off again. By the way, how he is not in the Hall of Fame? 

2. Miami (25-9) (4): Everyone looks at offense, but key is No. 2, paint-protecting D. Say they get Camby from Portland. yeah, nobody in Lakerland wants to even think about that!

3. Boston (24-7) (1): 94-14 on last four Christmas Eves before injuries hit … as now. Injuries mean more to an old team, and the Celtics are old, harder than a younger one.

4. Dallas (24-7) (3): After missing 28 games in 13 seasons, Dirk sits out home loss to Spurs. And they haven’t won since he sat down.

5. Orlando (21-12) (8-0): Turkoglu, who turns to pumpkin at city line, at 15-5-5 in 5-0 run. “There’s no place like home!” 

6. Lakers (23-10) (5): OK, who said they shouldn’t have given Drew all that money again? You can’t teach/coach height and size.

7. Oklahoma City (23-11) (6): Duh. Charles, Kenny, CWebb say they’re not in West top four. Huey, Dewey and Louey have been known to be wrong before. Speaking of the TNT studio show, am I the only one who realizes that Ernie Johnson is there to translate for those viewers who speak English?

8. Utah (22-11) (7): Won 51 with young team in 2006-7… have been at same level since. How do you get top free agents to move to Salt Lake City? Answer: You can’t. And that’s why the Jazz will never win a Larry O’Brien Trophy.

9. BULLS (21-10) (9): Doing OK now. Imagine them with Noah and shooting guard who can shoot. Imagine if Tyler Perry was a good film director.

10. Denver (18-13) (11): At least he came back: Melo gone for a week after sister’s death. Where else was he going?

11. Portland (17-16) (14): If only guts were luck. Just went 4-2, beat Jazz home-and-home. And yet, without Roy, oblivion lurks around the corner.

12. Houston (16-16) (15): Post-Yao era. Offering his $17 million expiring deal as cap relief. Yeah, well, good luck with that.

13. Atlanta (21-14) (12): Have beaten two winning teams: sliding Magic, Knicks. Yawn.

14. New York (18-14) (13): Someone here or in Toronto may get bargain as Suns set. Okay, what if they get Camby and slide Amare to PF where he belongs?

15. New Orleans (19-14) (10): Knocked off injured Celtics — or they’d be 7-14 since 11-1 start. First team to be “Nationalized” since Obama was sworn in. Coincidence?

16. Memphis (14-18) (18): Oops: About to win third in row when Tyreke hits half-court three. Most A-MAY-ZING end to a game so far this season.

17. Indiana (14-17) (17): Hibbert averaged 16, shot 49 percent in November, 11, 41 percent in December. What, pray tell, is a “Hibbert”?

18. Phoenix (14-17) (18): Free Nash! Rant at refs in loss to 76ers shows how low he is. Karma’s a bitch baby!

19. Philadelphia (13-20) (20): Written off faster than any rookie ever, Turner gets 23-12 off bench. Whatever.

20. Milwaukee (12-18) (16): Good thing it’s ensemble cast; top six scorers miss 49 games. Can/will it get worse before it gets better? You betcha!

21. Clippers (10-23) (24): Interloper crashes dressing room as they turn up. No, not Donald. A weird season gets weirder and weirder each day.

22. Golden State (13-19) (21): Still surprise if not a shocker; 3-1 since Curry’s return. I like  curry, especially on shrimp.

23. Charlotte (11-20) (22): Augustin gets 27-28-12, no longer carrying Brown on his back. Good night sweet Charlotte. Maybe if you moved the team to Vegas or the Bahamas, your owner might pay you some attention.

24. Toronto (11-21) (23): Late-starting Ed Davis’ 17-12 breakout shows he has something. What that “something” is, no one really knows.

25. Detroit (11-22) (25): Who knew he was still playing? T-Mac averages 18 over four. Better yet, does anyone care anymore?

26. New Jersey (9-24) (26): Prokhorov would deal future for star. Luckily they’re off Melo’s list. Does he know where the Nets are? After all, he owns a yacht that he told “60 Minutes” Steve Kroft, that he didn’t know where it was.

27. Washington (8-23) (27): Knuckleheads’ Ball: Future hopes McGee, Blatche fight outside club. So, it wasn’t all Gilbert Arenas’ fault after all.

28. Cleveland (8-24) (28): One Cavalier stepping up: Daniel Gibson, small body, major guts. His nickname is “Boobie”. ‘Nuff said.

29. Minnesota (8-25) (29): With Ridnour fine, Rubio in their future, taking offers for Flynn. Love wonders why they’re not taking offers for him.

30. Sacramento (6-23) (30): Tyreke’s last-second half-court three gets them third win in 25 games. When a miracle shot is the highlight of your season…But, it was a hell of a shot.

JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT!

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