NBA REVIEW – WEEK 12

 

 From Wednesday night’s service in Tucson, Arizona

 NBA PHOTOS OF THE WEEK

Clippers rookie sensation Blake Griffin soars for a two-handed jam against the visiting Sacramento Kings.

Seal and Heidi Klum and family courtside at Staples Center

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK – NON-NBA DIVISION

President and Mrs Obama after Monday’s “National Moment of Silence”

After speech, Obama feels good

Barack and Michelle Obama board Air Force One to return to Washington, D.C. Wednesday night.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I’d just like to say that when you look at unbalanced people, how they are—how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths, about tearing down the government, the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately, Arizona, I think, has become sort of the capital. We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry.

People tend to pooh-pooh this business about all the vitriol we hear inflaming the American public by people who make a living off of doing that. That may be free speech, but it’s not without consequences.” – Pima County (Tucson, Arizona) Sheriff Clarence Dupnik speaking in the aftermath of last Saturday’s shooting outside a Safeway grocery store that killed a federal judge, a 9 year-old girl and four others, and wounded 14 others, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ).

THEY SAID IT

“Crazy. Karma is a b****. Gets you every time. Its not good to wish bad on anybody. God sees everything!” – Le Bron James writing on his Twitter feed (with some grammatical errors) as his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, were being routed 112-57 by the Lakers Tuesday night.

“None. You forget who you’re talking to.” – Lakers guard Kobe Bryant when asked if he felt sympathy for the Cavaliers.

Boston’s Shaquille O’Neal, after Indiana’s Roy Hibbert scored 17 points against the Celtics: “Blake Griffin is the truth. All these other guys, I’m not impressed.”

Sam Smith of Bulls.com, on the fearsome reputation of Memphis’ Tony Allen, who punched out teammate O.J. Mayo: “Rarely have NBA players supposedly had hits placed on them from gangs as Allen did a few years back over a fight in Chicago.”

THEY SAID IT – NON-NBA DIVISION

“After you get settled [in your new job], I would love to talk about what we can do to promote centrism and moderation. I am one of only 12 Dems left in a GOP district (the only woman) and think that we need to figure out how to tone our rhetoric and partisanship down.” – Representative Gabrielle Giffords in an e-mail last Friday night to a Republican friend in Kentucky discussing how to “promote centrism and moderation”. 

“I’m hoping that people would reflect on some of the language that they use and realize that honorable people can disagree, but I’m not optimistic. We don’t reflect on much of anything in this society.” – John Weaver, a Republican advisor to former presidential nominee John McCain.

“I told all of our guys, shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually. You don’t have to do it with bombast. I hope the other side does that.” – FOX News CEO Roger Ailes saying Monday that he has told his network to “tone it down” in the wake of the shooting in Arizona.

“We ask blessings on the spirit of this nation. Help us move from this dark place to a place of sunshine, hope. Bless these, God, your servants who serve this nation. Keep them safe.” – Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Emanuel Cleaver (D- MO), who had everyone bow their heads, as he began to pray when members of Congress and staff went to the East Front of the Capitol for a moment of silence on Monday.

“Too many dismiss these extreme eruptions as crass commercial calculations. Saturday taught us that we have to hold bad political actors accountable. It is a shared responsibility. Those with the loudest megaphones have to understand the audience and the actions they risk provoking. Those on the listening end have to know that in America, philosophical differences and personal violence can never overlap.”  –   MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host  Joe Scarborough in Politico on Tuesday.

“I think that the president’s message is going to prevail. In fact I think Sarah Palin may be looking at the end of her political ride. I think she may be at the end of her ride right now. If Sarah Palin would have said ‘you know what, I probably have been responsible for overblown rhetoric and I’m going to watch myself,’ that would be different. But she is completely unrepentant. And the enormity of this tragedy, I think, put a very, very clear damper on her prospects. And her reaction even dampers her political ride more.” – Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) appearing on the Bill Press Show on Thursday.

“I think there are plenty of people that can render opinions on that. I’m not going to do that. And I’m happy to talk about what the president said last night.” – White House press secretary Robert Gibbs declining on Thursday to talk about Sarah Palin’s comments on the Tucson shooting, in which she charged pundits with “blood libel.”

“You have to look at it and see what are they like when they’re tested, what are they like when they’re not scripted, what are they like when they’re pushed. And I would contend to you that if Governor Palin never does any of those things she’ll never be president, because people in America won’t countenance that. They just won’t.” – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will “never be president” if she avoids unscripted, spontaneous interactions with reporters and the public in a Thursday interview with the New York Times. Christie is 1000% but, based on what we’ve seen since August 29, 2008, Palin can’t really handle any “unscripted” moments that aren’t orchestrated by the friendly folks at FOX News and she can barely handle anything that she hasn’t been programmed for.

“As one of the three ‘slobberers’­…I find it interestin­g that only the ruling class wants a president who is smart articulate and oratorical in delivering a funeral oration. It’s an odd and rather condescend­ing view of what the rest of America is looking for in their president.­” – Conservative commentator and author Charles Krauthammer on Thursday after Rush Limbaugh slammed FOX News panelists Brit Hume, Charles Krauthammer and Chris Wallace for their positive comments – “They were slobbering over it for the predictable reasons. It was smart, it was articulate, it was oratorical. It was, it was all the things the educated, ruling class wants their members to be and sound like.” – on the night of the president’s Tucson speech.

“Our political discourse should be more civil than it currently is, and we all, myself included, bear some responsibility for it not being so.” – Senator John S. McCain (R-AZ) in a Op Ed piece published in today’s Washington Post.

“Sarah Palin is now the female Ann Coulter.” – Radio talk show host Randi Rhodes.

“This is going to be about me raising my level against Bill Belichick. I recognize he’s the best, but I’m just trying to be the best on Sunday. I plan on being the best coach on Sunday. I recognize that my level has to come up and he’s going to get my best shot. He’s going to get everything I have on Sunday. If he slips at all, we’re going to beat him.” – NY Jets coach Rex Ryan on Monday about what it’s going to take to win Sunday’s playoff game against the New England Patriots.

“How important is the sun to life on Earth?” – Former Oregon Coach Mike Bellotti, on Nike co-founder Phil Knight’s importance to the Ducks’ high-flying football program.

SAY WHAT?

“If every person in the world was like Sarah Palin, there probably wouldn’t even be need for government because no one would be in danger of any kind. If every person were like Sarah Palin, this world would be a peaceful, beautiful world to live in.” –  Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) in a phone conversation with POLITICO on Tuesday. 

YA THINK?

“It’s very clear the party wants to do something a little different, and hopefully a little bit better.” – Former RNC Michael Steele, who left the organization $22 million in debt, in his concession statement Friday.

THE “CHILE, PLEASE” AWARD GOES TO

Lohan chats with Spike Lee before the start of the Knicks/Lakers game.

Lohan: “Excuse me Mr Black Film Director, but I need an acting job in the worst way and I was just wondering, if maybe I could be in your next ‘Mama Deary’ movie. Pleasseeee.” Lee: “I think you’ve confused me with Tyler Perry.” Lohan: “Ooops, my bad. (giggle) With clothes on, all you n-words look the same to me. What about ‘Big Mama’s House 4’?” By the way, does anyone know why Spike, at the age of 53, still insists on dressing like he’s the Knicks’ team mascot?

MY TEN NON-NBA THOUGHTS OF THE WEEK

1. I don’t care what her supporters both in and out of the media say, I don’t care what she says or does from this point forward; Sarah Palin’s presidential hopes, whatever they may have realistically been before the tragic events of last Saturday, are O.V.E.R. Palin can’t be president. She’s a divider, not a uniter, and she can’t even pretend to be anything else. Most Americans won’t forget that while Gabby Giffords and other shooting victims were still hospitalized and families were preparing to funeralize their loved ones, Palin was tending to her perceived psychic wounds via her video statement. I’m waiting for the one sane adult in the GOP, assuming that there is one, to stand up and say, without any caveat, that Sarah Palin is bad for this country and we’d all be better off if she’d just go away and raise her family on the many millions she’s made since she left office.

2. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that outside the circle of hard-core “Palinites”, Barbara Walters is one of the very few feeling sorry for Sarah Palin Barbara Walters Defends Sarah Palin, Says She Is ‘Feeling Bad’ For Her and not the victims of last Saturday’s senseless shootings in Tucson.

3. It’s just my opinion but, changing “N-word Jim” to “Slave Jim” in Huckleberry Finn is actually a demotion. Think about: at least “N-word Jim” was free; “Slave Jim” now belongs to someone.

4. When you’re getting thrown out of the AVN Awards – the Oscars of the porn industry – Andy Dick, you might want to take a long, honest look at your life.

5. If I were Tony Sparano, Dolphins recommit to Tony Sparano after brief flirtation with Jim Harbaugh, I’d feel like my woman met me at the airport after I returned from a business trip and told me, “While you were gone, I tried to find myself a new man and frankly, I thought I’d found him. But, at the last minute, things didn’t work out so now, I’m going to stay with you.”

6. I must confess that when I first saw this headline, Celebrity Love Bytes: Sherri Shepherd & Vivica Fox Engaged, I got excited at the idea of Sherri and Vivica getting together ala Ellen and Portia. Alas, they’re each engaged to a guy. Oh well, maybe Rhianna and Nicki Minaji will pan out as a couple. Allegedly.

7. If an aging action-star dwarf and his by comparison, Amazonian-like Stepford wife boycott the Oscars even though neither one of them is up for an award Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes may boycott Oscars over Anne Hathaway’s parody, will anyone give a damn?

8. It appears, to this writer, that Charlie Sheen has decided to kill himself Is the Party Over? Charlie Sheen & CBS Ready to Collide via alcohol and hookers. And maybe not in that order.

9. I wonder what the folks over at the CW network who canceled The Game are thinking now Big Ratings Win for BETs ‘The Game,’ Premiere Episode Draws 7.7 Million Viewers. This is the second highest rated show in BET history, behind only the 2009 BET Awards which aired three days after the death of Michael Jackson.

10. With his big mouth, Rex Ryan has done the impossible: he’s turned me into a Bill Belichick fan this week. Go Patriots!

Bonus Thought – I love getting information from the Internet as much as the next person but, I must admit to a visceral thrill each morning when I step outside to pick up my copy of the Los Angeles Times. There’s just something about holding a newspaper, book and magazine in my hands that never gets old. Thank you Nancy Jane Freeman (mother), D.S. and Eula Mae Cunningham (maternal grandparents) and Janice Frazier Scott (big sister) for instilling a love of reading in me at an early age.

Bonus Bonus Thought – Silly me. I thought the film “Black Swan” was a documentary about the life of Hall of Fame Pittsburgh Steeler receiver Lynn Swann. Oh well.

STORIES OF THE WEEK

Nancy Lieberman: A new ‘next game’ for Hall of Fame basketball player Nancy Lieberman   

Nancy Lieberman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coach Nancy Lieberman watches her Texas Legends play the Austin Toros in a Development League game. The Legends defeated the Toros 135-112. (Brendan Sullivan / The Dallas Morning News / November 30, 2010)

Clippers halt the red-hot Heat, 111-105  

Blake Griffin

Clippers forward Blake Griffin dunks over Miami guard Mario Chalmers during the Clippers’ 111-105 victory Wednesday.

Carmelo, LeBron rivalry could finally take hold with trade  

Two of the top talents in the 2003 draft, Carmelo and LeBron may finally end up in the same conference.

Remember Tyson Chandler the teen phenom?

AROUND THE ASSOCIATION

Mark Heisler on the NBA: Suddenly the Knicks are relevant again

 Spike Lee, Norm Nixon

 

 

 

 

 

Spike: “I don’t know Norm, I think the one on the right has the nicest ass.”

Norm: “That’s my daughter.”

Spike: ‘Ummm. Hmmm.”

Norm: “Gotcha! I don’t know who she is. You right; that is a nice ass. But don’t tell Debbie I said that.” 

The Point Forward » Posts Court Vision: The latest around the league

Maloof open to relocating Kings

The Kings won’t be playing in Arco Arena much longer, a fact that has more to do with naming rights than relocation, though the latter is not out of the question. Responding to a column in Monday’s Orange County Register Are NBA’s Kings Anaheim-bound? suggesting that the Maloofs are entertaining offers to relocate the franchise to Anaheim because of the region’s inability to provide a modern entertainment complex to house the Kings, co-owner Joe Maloof said: “We are looking at all options to ensure the long term viability of this franchise. We’re looking at all our options. Of course you’re going to look at your options! We’re businessmen. We’ve been at this for 10 years without any (arena) success.”

Memphis vs. Charlotte – Recap – 10, 2011 The Bobcats defeated the Grizzlies 96-82 in front of maybe 1,000 fans due to a vicious ice storm in the Charlotte area on Monday.

Chuck Person improves Lakers’ defensive scheme

Funny, but I just don’t remember “The Rifleman” making any All-Defense teams when he was playing in the league.

Miami’s LeBron James gets a rise out of opposing crowds  

Clippers: Clippers-Heat is simply a sit-and-enjoy-it affair  

Clippers show what could be in beating the Heat  

Miami Heat’s success follows Dwyane Wade’s turnaround

Bill Simmons: Solving the Carmelo Anthony situation  

Heat’s success lacks depth  

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade notice inconsistencies in Clippers’ performance

Lakers vs Clippers: Clippers have made a noticeable turnaround

Mark Heisler on the NBA: Where will Carmelo Anthony land?  

Fatigue getting to Knicks star  

Nets’ pitch to ‘Melo needs serving of Russian dressing  

NBA: Coast to coast  

CHUCK’S CHALK TALK

This may seem like a trivial thing to some readers Cavaliers change travel plans to avoid sharing hotel with Miami Heat but, it’s probably a smart move. Say, they were all at the same hotel and for whatever reason, an “incident” occurred. The FIRST thing the media would be saying is, “Why were these two teams staying at the same hotel? Why didn’t someone in management move one of the teams to another hotel?”

Rumors around the league are that if Carmelo Anthony is unavailable to them, the Knicks’ Plan B this summer is to address their starting center position, with Memphis restricted free-agent center Marc Gasol high on their wish list.

Another rumor that, depending on who’s talking is either very real or a bigger dream than Tyler Perry winning a Best Actress Oscar for portraying “Madea”, has Rasheed Wallace returning to the Celtics some time after the All-Star break Stephen A. Smith says Rasheed Wallace will return to Celtics.

I won’t lie and say I saw exactly this coming Lakers lower boom on Cavaliers, 112-57 once Bron Bron took his “talents to South Beach”, but even Ray Charles in his current condition could see things were going to be bad in C-Town this season. One of the things I hope the NBA and its players discuss during the current CBA negotiations is how to shore up some of the weaker franchises from a competitive standpoint. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and the league’s weak links are this close to turning this league into major league baseball where only a very few teams have a legitimate chance to win. Compare that to what’s going on in the NFL where the Seattle Seahawks have a very real chance of ending up in the Super Bowl next month.

Damn, Damn, Damn! How the hell can the Lakers look themselves in the mirror after allowing the Miami Heat to come into their house and punk them on Christmas Day and then seeing how the Clippers beat the same Heat team Wednesday night at Staples Center?

Speaking of the Heat, Le Bron James is starting to become the NBA’s Sarah Palin in that he’ll say, do or tweet something – “Crazy. Karma is a b****.. Gets you every time. Its not good to wish bad on anybody. God sees everything” when the Cavaliers are getting destroyed by the Lakers – but just as soon as he gets criticized for it, he backs off – “It was just how I was feeling at the time. It wasn’t even a comment from me, it was something somebody sent me and I sent it out, so…”. C’mon Bron Bron, man up. As Mark Jackson says, “You’re better than that.” Or should be.

My heart goes out to Portland’s, the latest victim of the dreaded “Blazers’ Curse” Portland Trail Blazers G Brandon Roy to have surgery on both knees  
 

BLAKE GRIFFIN DUNK OF THE WEEK

Blake Griffin, Mario Chalmers Argue: Clippers Star Stares Down Opponent After Huge Dunk

THE WEEK AHEAD by Mark Heisler

LAKERS AT DALLAS: Wednesday at 6 p.m. TV: ESPN

Oklahoma City is at the Lakers and Orlando at Boston on Monday, but we’ll go with Wednesday’s matchup of the West’s No. 2-3 teams, at least in the standings. The Mavericks have long yearned to rumble with the Lakers, as when owner Mark Cuban portrayed Shaquille O’Neal as Fat Albert on the scoreboard. Unfortunately, the Mavericks were only there at the end in the three seasons between Shaq and Pau Gasol. These aren’t those Mavericks, going 24-6 with Tyson Chandler, or weren’t before going 2-7 with Dirk Nowitzki out. Once four games up on the Lakers in the battle for home court in the playoffs, the Mavericks are now 2 1/2 behind. The Lakers have their own issues but are 9-1 since their last big test in Texas, which they failed spectacularly in San Antonio.

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

Mark Heisler – Tribune Newspapers

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Despite three straight losses, two of which came without LeBron James, Miami holds off Boston for top spot.

RANKINGS, COMMENTS THROUGH SATURDAY, LAST WEEK’S RANKING

NOT YET FINAL FOUR

1. MIAMI (30-12) Looked about to start league of their own when LeBron left. (1) Three losses in a row without King James shows that just like the Mavs without Dirk, there’s very little depth on most teams.

2. BOSTON (30-9) Thank heaven for Clippers, who beat Heat, wounded LeBron. (2) Still my pick in the East because of their size upfront and that’s even before the return of Kendrick “Mushmouth” Perkins.

3. SAN ANTONIO (34-6) Lakers just went 9-1… and gained one game on them. (3) “Coach Pop” pacing the Spurs better than ever before.

4. LAKERS (30-11) They’ll never be young again, but they’re still really tall. (6) Yes but will miss Matt Barnes’ “intangibles” which include a real mean streak and “likes to fight” mentality that Bill Walton’s son just doesn’t posses.

POISED FOR MOVE, IN WHATEVER DIRECTION

5. ORLANDO (26-14) 9-0 run ends with loss in New Orleans, and Oklahoma City. (4) Still needs another “Big” to help Howard upfront.

6. OKLAHOMA CITY (27-13) Outrebounded 55 opponents last season, only 20 so far. (7) Growing pains continue.

7. UTAH (27-13) Whatever they miss, still grind it out: Jazz has won 25 of 35. (10) And yet, they’ll never, ever win a ring in the SLC.

8. CHICAGO (27-13) How good is Rose? Now it’s Chris Paul, Deron Williams and him. (8) I’d put Rose at the top of that list.

9. ATLANTA (26-15) Crawford, who knows he’s gone, averages 23 off bench in 7-1 run. (9) Which Crawford is this?

10. DALLAS (26-13) Nice having you back: Out for nine games, Dirk ejected in return. (5) No Dirk=No real chance at a ring. And even with him, they still will have to get past the Lakers and Spurs in the West which will not be easy.

11. NEW ORLEANS (25-16) Like Utah, but smaller: Started 11-1, lost 13 of 20, 7-2 since. (13) There’s a Ron Jeremy joke that I could make here but I won’t.

WILL TRADE DEADLINE EVER GET HERE?

12. DENVER (23-16) It’s too late to panic. (12) And yet, it’s still not too late for ‘Melo to change his mind.

13. NEW YORK (22-17) Someone revive Spike: After going 19-6, lost at home to Kings. (11) I refuse to believe this just as the “birthers” refuse to believe that President Obama was born in America.

14. PORTLAND (21-20) Roy hopes to return next month…or April…after knee scopes. (14) Or ever.

15. MEMPHIS (19-21) In salary drive, free agent Randolph averages 25 in 5-2 run. (15) If you added Zach to the Knicks or Magic…

16. HOUSTON (18-23) 6-6 Hayes starts at center with 6-0 (as if) Brooks, 6-0 (ditto) Lowry. (16) If Aaron Brooks is 6’, Kim Kardashian is talented.

17. PHILADELPHIA (16-23) No longer Iggy’s team but Jrue’s, averaging 22 over last four. (17) has Doug Collins pulled out his hair yet?

18. GOLDEN STATE (16-23) Keith Smart, rated longshot to stay, giving it his all. (18) So did George Custer and we know how that turned out for him.

19. INDIANA (16-21) Going small without Hibbert … oops, he’s back … oops … (20) Yawn.

20. MILWAUKEE (14-23) With their injuries, grit only gets you so far: Lost 10 of 14. (19) Double yawn.

21. PHOENIX (17-21) Things have been worse as they go 3-1. OK, not much worse. (22) Think things are bad now? Wait until Steve Nash departs the Valley of the Sun before the trading deadline next month.

KYRIE IRVING DERBY?

22. CHARLOTTE (15-23) In virtual tie for No. 8, 6-4 with Silas, looking to dump Wallace. (23) Why? 23. DETROIT (14-26) Veterans want out: Prince calls Rip’s DNP-CD: ‘Bufoonery.’ (25) The Joe Dumars Era is coming to a very ugly end.

24. CLIPPERS (13-25) Baron’s comeback shows what (no) faith in someone can do. (21) “Clipper Darryl” so happy these days, rumor has him wearing adult Depends to games so he doesn’t risk missing a Blake Griffin dunk.

I know it will never happen but, let’s say you did fold the following teams and dispersed the best players throughout the league with those teams having the worst record having first shot? Think that wouldn’t make for a better, more competitive league?

25. TORONTO (13-27) Bad sign: Lost eight of last 10 at home, two to Pistons. (24)

26. NEW JERSEY (10-30) There’s a place for them too, or most of them … Denver. (26)

27. SACRAMENTO (9-29) Cousins shows he’s worth trouble, or close, at 18-8 this month.(28)

28. MINNESOTA (10-31) Long way down to find best young forward tandem, Love-Beasley. (29)

29. WASHINGTON (11-27) Resounding thud: Wall averaging 15 this month, shooting 37%. (27)

30. CLEVELAND (8-32) Lost 22 of 23, last three by 55-22-28. (30) 

JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT!

Brothers from different mothers?

                     

Stay classy Sarah Palin.

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