Archive for February, 2011

NBA REVIEW – WEEK 18

February 27, 2011

CHUCK’S CHALK TALK

It was a week that began with Kobe Bryant hoisting his record-tying fourth All-Star Game MVP Trophy in front of a hometown crowd and ended with a player-revolt by half the Pistons team led by former All-Star Rip Hamilton. In between, the Celtics surprised everyone by trading center Kendrick Perkins to OKC (more on this later), a top-three point guard, Deron Williams, was stunningly traded by the Jazz to the Nets just a little more than a week after long-time head coach Jerry Sloan stunned the league by stepping down after 23 seasons leading the team, the Grizzlies reacquired forward Shane Battier in what many believe is a boost to their playoff hopes, an owner – Mark Cuban – and a head coach – Phil Jackson – questioned the league-owned Hornets’ taking on salary after dumping it earlier in the season, the Blazers got power forward Gerald Wallace for the Charlotte Jordans, the Clippers sent perpetually disgruntled and injured guard Baron Davis to a team stuck in the Third World Division of the league (Cleveland) to play for a coach (Byron Scott) that he previously butted heads with in New Orleans for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon who, in a rare instance in league history, actually improved their lot in life by becoming Clippers (try wrapping your brain around that), Magic center Dwight Howard lamented what the team had become since their trades earlier in the season and tried to quash rumors that he’s a future Laker, Knick or some other unnamed team member, Heat forward Chris Bosh flopped so egregiously in a game against the Bulls that soccer players around the world shook their collective heads in disgust, and both the Lakers and Spurs stood pat as the stretch run to the seemingly interminable play-offs began.

Oh yeah, and Mr LaLa Vasquez, who you probably know by his government name of Carmelo Anthony, finally got his wish and forced a trade from the Nuggets to the Knicks who in his second game with the team, celebrated by losing to the lowly Cavaliers (yes I know using the word lowly in the same sentence with Cavaliers is redundant). Anthony, soon to star in his wife’s reality show, “LaLa Leads Carmelo By The Nose To New York City” (okay, I made that up but admit it, you didn’t even blink when you read those words), promptly hurt his right elbow which allowed him to wear yet another protective sleeve on his heavily tattooed body.

If I had told you at the start of the season that we’d be looking back at The Decision as “dignified and low-key”, you’d thought I’d lost my mind. But that’s exactly what Carmelo Anthony’s “I’m Going To Hold My Breath and Turn Knicks Blue until You Trade Me” saga has done for LeBron James’ way of handling his departure from C-Town last summer.

IT’S NOT LAST WEEK’S NBA

Don’t throw that Garden party just yet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dolan: “Do you wear that stupid headband everywhere?” Anthony: “La La likes it and whatever La La wants, La La gets.” Dolan: “But it makes you look, dorky.” Anthony: “You know that, I know that, the whole world except La La knows that so, I have to wear it.”

Star-studded Knicks-Heat duel featuring Melo, Amar’e, LeBron and Wade is CAA dream

Inside the NBA: Coast to coast  

Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony lead NBA’s power shift from West to East

Clippers FYI: Mo Williams, Jamario Moon glad to be in L.A.  

New Knick Carmelo Anthony’s wife, La La Vazquez, is ready to take NYC by storm  

No joke! Pistons coach loses control of players  

Jefferson: Nets better with Williams  

TNT analyst Charles Barkley says Kendrick Perkins trade good for Boston  

Genius Loves Company in N.B.A. Balance of Power  

Knicks-Heat has gravity again  

Knicks-Heat: Looking ahead at the Knicks-Heat matchup Sunday  

THEY SAID IT

Deron Williams, on his New Jersey debut: “I was messing with the guys. I brought ’em in the huddle and said, ‘Go Jazz.’ ”

Believe it

New York’s Carmelo Anthony on Twitter after Denver Coach George Karl said Anthony’s oft-criticized defense and effort level frustrated the Nuggets: “Damn, are u serious. Some people never seize (probably missed a day or two in English during his one year at Syracuse) to amaze me. Unbelievable.” “WHEN THE GRASS IS CUT THE SNAKES WILL SHOW.”

See ya

Bill Duffy, Steve Nash’s agent, to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein: “Logic dictates that it would be prudent for the Suns to start looking at their long-term future in the summer, so we would expect that they may entertain moving him during the summer…We anticipate a very respectful process if they decide to look at starting over with a younger core.”

Broken nucleus blues

Boston’s Ray Allen, joining teammates stunned by the trade of Kendrick Perkins, before the Celtics’ loss in Denver: “In my mind, he’ll always be a Celtic. He’s been here for eight years. I felt truly bad. That’s probably one of the toughest pills I’ve had to swallow of any player I’ve seen traded because he was a part of what he was doing here. So we have to change that around and incorporate these new guys we got.” 

Big Pimping

Carmelo Anthony’s wife, La La Vasquez wants to break into acting – she’s already lining up auditions – and she’s not beneath using her husband to do so: “Believe me, I’m schmoozing every casting director I see. I’m like, ‘Oh you like the Knicks? You want tickets?’ ”

COMMENTARY

Say what you will about Carmelo Anthony’s ranking among the game’s best players: some say he’s Top-5 while others deplore his lack of rebounding, passing and rebounding skills, but his forced-march move to the Knicks last week, will leave an indelible mark on the NBA for years to come.

Make no mistake about it: David Stern runs the NBA. Technically, he works for the owners but, considering he’s been involved with the league as either outside or league attorney and commissioner long enough to have worked on the landmark “Oscar Robinson Lawsuit” Robertson v. National Basketball Association which brought free agency to the league when it was settled in 1976, there’s no doubt about who really runs things. Look, I know Billy Hunter, the executive director of the NBA Players Association. He’s a nice man and a very well-respected attorney. But, he works for a bunch of young men who, over 80% of never finished college, some who didn’t even go to college (and to be frank about it, most of those who did probably had no idea there was an actual campus beyond the basketball arena and training facilities), and who, despite earning millions upon millions of dollars during their NBA careers, most of whom will be broke within hours of their last game. Contrast that to the billionaire (mostly) businessmen that Stern ostensibly reports to and guess who’s going to win the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) talks.

Billy Hunter and the players can bitch and moan all they want but if the people who sign the checks and take all the economic risk say the current economic system doesn’t work for them, then it doesn’t work for them and they’re not going to play another game after the last one in this year’s Finals until they get the one they want. And what will that look like you ask? Well, lucky for you, I have a few ideas:

1)      A lower and harder salary cap with an even more punishing luxury tax – think $1.25 – 1.50 for every $1.00 over the cap, max salaries somewhere between $12-15 million per season.

2)      Maximum contract length – 4 years, maybe 5 for top-level free agents.

3)      No more player options thus eliminating “Opt-Out Clauses” (to be known among the owners as the “Your Ass Belongs To Me” clause)

4)      The “Don’t Even Think About Asking For A Trade”/The “If You Even Think Aloud About Playing For Another Team While Under Contract I Will have You Shot In the Leg” Clauses and the one thing that’s going to change the NBA forever…

5)      The Franchise Player Tag (a tip of the hat to the NFL)

Think I’m crazy? Let’s go back to 1998-99 when Stern and a significantly different set of owners shut down the league until the players, led by a much stronger set of agents including the then powerful David Falk, gave in so they could have a 50-game season. That was nothing compared to the scorched earth strategy Herr Commissioner and his very faithful (except for Cuban and Al Davis Jr aka Donald T. Sterling) employers are about to unleash on the blissfully ignorant players. We’re talking about a full 2011-12 season being lost if necessary and guess what? Stern and the owners have already decided that it is necessary to get what they want and unless and until Billy Hunter and the players association recognize, understand and accept that, the last game of the Finals in June will be the last NBA games for a while. That’s what I see happening and nothing is going to change my mind.

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

Inside the NBA: The Los Angeles Times’ rankings

San Antonio holds on to the No. 1 spot.

By Mark Heisler

February 26, 2011, 9:19 p.m.

RANKINGS, COMMENTS THROUGH SATURDAY

WHO HAD SPURS-BULLS FINALS?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Antonio’s Tony Parker (right), drives on New Jersey’s Deron Williams.

1. SAN ANTONIO (48-10) As Pop says, haven’t dominated opponents — but on pace to beat 68. (1) Slow and steady, that’s the San Antonio way.

2. CHICAGO (40-17) Presumably with a shooting guard, they’d be on 72-win pace. (5) You mean like Ben Gordon who they let get away?

3. MIAMI (43-16) Oops: Just learned East has another contender bigger than they are. (2) Two places where size matters: the NBA and in bed.

4. DALLAS (42-16) Team Lakers catch or play on road in second round goes 15-1. (4) My money says the Lakers play on the road.

5. BOSTON (42-15) Personally, I’d say this isn’t time to start thinking about future. (3) Is this the week the NBA sees the return of the “King of Technicals”, Rasheed Wallace?

TOO YOUNG, OLD OR WHATEVER

6. LAKERS (41-19) In good news, they feel better about themselves. In bad news, why? (7) Wake us when Matt Barnes is back.

7. ORLANDO (37-22) Happily, it’s not 2012: Came out of break with home loss to Kings. (9) “Ladies and gentlemen, please show your love for future (insert team name here) Dwight Howard!”

8. OKLAHOMA CITY (36-21) Showing why Thunder got Perkins, Howard gets 40 vs. Collison, et al. (6) I’ve been saying for weeks now that “If the Thunder can only get a legit big man…” and now that day has come. If his knee holds up.

9. ATLANTA (35-23) Long search for point after passing up Paul, Williams brings Hinrich. (8) Sort of like Neil Patrick Harris in “Undercover Brother”.

10. NEW ORLEANS (35-25) Cuban, Jackson aghast as NBA’s Team takes Landry’s $3-mil salary. (10) Aghast? Talk about going to the “WayyyyBack Machine”.

11. MEMPHIS (33-27) Best “little” move adds NBA’s most underrated glue guy, Battier. (11) My sister Janice LOVES Shane Battier, so he’s got at least one fan in Memphis.

12. PORTLAND (33-25) MJ can’t afford Gerald Wallace’s $9.5 million but Paul Allen can. (13) Paul Allen can buy Michael Jordan out of his coin purse.

YOU STILL HERE — HE’S GONE?

13. DENVER (34-26) Why didn’t we do this sooner? Nuggets 2-1 since Whatshisname left. (14) Man, I can’t wait to see how the crowd reacts the first time Mr La La returns to town.

14. NEW YORK (29-27) Anthony’s honeymoon lasts one night — which is a long time there. (16) Read my lips: This isn’t a championship team.

15. PHILADELPHIA (29-29) Kapono, sharpshooter who can’t find a home, being bought out. (15) So that’s where he’s been. As God as my witness, I had no idea he was still in the league.

16. PHOENIX (29-27) Oops: Nash’s agent says Sarver’s lone untouchable wants out. (12) Now?

17. HOUSTON (29-31) Rolling dice on Thabeet, who looked lost/never had shot in Memphis. (19) Look, if your name is “Thabeet”…

18. UTAH (32-28) Jazz wins Harris’ debut . . . so it’s 1-5 since Sloan left. (17) Larry Miller probably glad he’s dead.

19. INDIANA (26-31) Dunleavy Jr., prize under-the-radar free agent, breaks thumb. (18) I would LOVE to hear phone conversations between Larry Bird and Joe Dumars.

20. CHARLOTTE (26-32) No way to run a contender: Wallace leaves in mid-playoff race. (22) And Jordan will be in Vegas, March 31- April 3, hosting his golf tournament.

21. GOLDEN STATE (26-31) In Ellis’ shadow, Curry averages 18, shooting 48%, 41% and 93%. (20) Just auditioning for his next contract/team.

GLUB, GLUB, GLUB

22. MILWAUKEE (22-36) Rehab R Us: Redd practices, hoping to return after year off. (24) I thought he had retired.

23. CLIPPERS (21-39) No one misses Baron, but they need a lot more than one piece. (23) Be patient. It’s only been five years since team’s last playoff appearance.

24. WASHINGTON (15-43) Real deal, if belatedly: Wall averages 22, 9.0 assists over six. (26) To be fair, he had to adjust to not having to pretend to go to classes during season.

25. NEW JERSEY (17-42) Line for D-Will forms on right: 0-2 with him, Lopez and . . . who? (25) Oh yeah, like he’s going to stay in Jersey/Brooklyn when he can replace J-Kidd in his hometown of Dallas after next season (whenever that might actually be).

26. SACRAMENTO (14-43) If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s not a duck yet. (28) Have the Maloof Brothers fallen completely off the NBA-map?

27. MINNESOTA (13-46) If Love was the test, Rambis better try meditation with Randolph. (27) The NBA’s Gulag.

28. TORONTO (16-43) Triano’s a great guy, a Canadian and lockout looms. Otherwise, gonzo. (29) Who?

29. CLEVELAND (11-47) May be the first time coach and point guard fight a duel. (30) And my money’s  on Byron “IngleWOOD!” Scott.

DESERVE A NICHE ALL THEIR OWN

30. DETROIT (22-39) Kuester lets rebels Daye, Stuckey play as (surprise!) they beat Jazz. (21) A sad, sad ending to the Pistons careers of Dumars, Hamilton and Prince.

JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT!

                        Actresses Keke Palmer and Erica Hubbard

NBA REVIEW – 2011 ALL-STAR EDITION

February 21, 2011

Last week, I promised you a “big” NBA column after the All-Star Weekend and by God, I aim to deliver on that promise. Before I go any further, a big shout-out to Leah, Chareen and the rest of the bar/wait staff at the new Buffalo Wings Bar & Grill, located at 3939 Crenshaw Blvd (across the parking lot from Albertsons). I don’t know exactly how many flat-screen TVs and huge projection screens you’ve got in the place but, let’s just say that there are more than enough to watch all the sports action one could want to see. Oh yeah, and the food and atmosphere (beautiful ladies) ain’t bad either.

And with that, we’re off and running… 

THE PHOTOS OF ALL-STAR WEEKEND 2011

The new smash hit by Blake Griffin – “I Know I Can Jump The Hood of a Car, Grab The Ball That My Clippers Teammate Baron Davis Tosses Up Through The Sunroof, and Throw Down A Two-Hand Slam Dunk Before Landing Lightly On The Hood of Said Car While The Crenshaw High Elite Choir Sings I Believe I Can Fly.” 

 

Bryant feeds off energy as West beats East in All-Star game, 148-143

Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant of the West tries to split the East defense of Chicago’s Derrick Rose, left, and Miami’s Dwyane Wade on Sunday in the NBA All-Star game at Staples Center. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / February 20, 2011)

QUOTE OF ALL-STAR WEEKEND

“He [Griffin] definitely came prepared with the car, and nothing’s going to beat the car unless I bring a plane out or something,” JaValle McGee of the Washington Wizards, after coming in second in the 2011 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest. Frankly, if McGee had been smart, after what Griffin did with his final dunk, he would have sat on that box and just rolled the ball to the basket support and said, “No mas” because, unless he was going to wheel out a tank of live great white sharks and fly over them on his way to the rim, there was absolutely nothing he could do that would come even remotely close to topping Griffin jumping over a car. Did I mention that Blake Griffin jumped over a CAR and dunked the ball and didn’t hurt himself?

Through This Door, Marvin Gaye Entered On His Way To Center Court Where He Delivered The Definitive Rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner At The 1983 All-Star Game and I was fortunate enough to be there in the stands.

Forum Club

Forget the “Open To The Public” sign, you HAD to be somebody, know somebody or be with somebody to get inside what former NBA player John Salley once called “the sexiest place in the league.” Center of the Basketball Universe

NBA All-Star threat paid off in 1964

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

West All-Stars Bob Pettit and Jerry West look for a steal as the East’s Oscar Robertson, bottom, falls to the court during the NBA All-Star game at Boston Garden. The East won, 111-107. (Associated Press / January 15, 1964)

Who’s better: Kobe Bryant vs. Michael Jordan

 

 

 

From the moment Michael Jeffrey Jordan entered the league for the 1984-85 season, after a stellar career at Carolina where he’d hit the national title game-winning shot as a freshman and leading the US Olympic team to a gold-medal in the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics, he was the best player on his team and one of the best in the league.

He would go on to dominate the league offensively as no other player had since quite possibly, the halcyon days of Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and he quickly became one of the game’s finest defenders as well. His accomplishments, including winning six championships while leading the league in scoring all six seasons and being named the Finals MVP all six times, and three regular season MVP awards at a time when the league included quite possibly its greatest level of competitiveness, make this an easy choice for me.

It’s Jordan and frankly, it’s really not that close.

Bill Simmons: LeBron tops the 2011 NBA Trade Value list

Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook and Blake Griffin             

SI.COM’s Zach Lowe asks what I think is a very valid question L.A.’s TV deal: revenue-sharing tipping point?  about the Lakers’ new and unprecedented (for the NBA at least) cable deal with Time Warner that will virtually eliminate the nationally popular team from broadcast (free) television beginning with the 2012-13 season. It will also create the opportunity for other teams, albeit not on quite the same level as the Lakers have been able to pull off, to create networks of their own. I predict that by 2015, televised sports, when it comes to the Big Four of MLB, NBA, NFL and the NFL and major college sports, will be 85-95% on cable except for a handful of NFL games.

Carmelo Anthony’s job hunt makes mockery of NBA, Nuggets  

This is my favorite line of the article: Carmelo Anthony, one of the most recognizable stars in the league, is conducting job interviews with other teams in the middle of the season. I ask you, is that not the most absurd thing you’ve ever heard? Imagine if, say, Derek Jeter had met with other teams during MLB’s All-Star break in Anaheim last summer. I’m guessing that would have gotten at least a “harrumph, harrumph” from Bud Selig or somebody in his office.

All-Star Weekend Turns Into Bidding War for Carmelo Anthony  

What am I missing here? For the life of me, I just don’t understand why and how it’s gotten to this point where teams are willing to destroy themselves to get a one-dimensional player who, because he wanted the safety of “guaranteed money” a few years ago when others in his draft class of 2003, most notably Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, took less money for the right to opt out in the summer of 2010 and be free agents. Lo and behold, ‘Melo got his money then but, the others got their right to choose their own destiny and all three are now members of the Heat while ‘Melo, who’s refused thus far to sign the 3-year, $65 million extension from the Nuggets that’s been on the table since last year, is still trying to force a trade to the Knicks AND get his money.

If I were the Nuggets and I can’t get exactly what I wanted from the Knicks or any other team, I wouldn’t trade him and just sit back and let the season unfold. I mean, it’s not like they’re going to win the NBA championship this year anyway and with the future unknown as far as what the salary cap and contract length will be in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, I think they should just sit back and let Carmelo come back to them. Because trust me on this, when an athlete says “It’s not about the money”, that’s all it’s about. C.R.E.A.M.

Am I the only one who looked at JaVale McGee and thought, “So that’s what the child of Cuba Gooding Jr and a chimp would look like?

CNN ‘Black Thanksgiving’ NBA Article Stirs Controversy

NBA All-Star Game: White Men Can’t Root  

NBA commissioner says system is broken  

Mark Heisler’s NBA Coast to Coast

Thibodeau Puts Winning Stamp on the Bulls  

Hoop Dreams Next for ‘Lombardi’ Producers: A Larry Bird-Magic Johnson Play  

All-Star guard Derrick Rose bulls his way into MVP mix  

Derrick Rose: Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose wears cloak of humility for All-Star weekend   

Carmelo Anthony trade reports, CBA talks loom over All-Star break

2011 NBA All-Star weekend: Blake Griffin’s All-Star diary-Day One  

Blake Griffin Jumps Over a Car, Wins 2011 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest Let me say this: If you jump over a car and don’t win a slam dunk contest, I’m not sure I want to see what the winner had to do to win.

Blake Griffin is ready to take on the world  

Blake Griffin’s legend gets a big boost

Once again, Clippers rookie Blake Griffin dunks over high expectations  

2011 NBA All-Star game: All-Star weekend is an exhausting one for Blake Griffin  

Mark Heisler on the NBA: The NBA is back in L.A., and it’s like the league never left   

L.A. throws a great party, but labor unrest could lead to some hangover

To trade for Carmelo Anthony, Knicks may have to pay steepest price in the history of NBA trades

Thomas’ influence grows within Knicks  

Isiah Thomas isn’t involved in Carmelo Anthony trade talks between Knicks and Nuggets: Knicks

The fact that the Knicks felt compelled to make such a statement tells me all I need to know about the mess that is the Knicks’ front-office because of owner James Dolan.

Stern, NBA love media attention from Carmelo Anthony saga, even when stories end up being wrong

Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant withstands test of time

Bill Plaschke: Kobe Bryant reclaims the NBA All-Star spotlight  

Trevor Ariza raises asthma awareness at All-Star weekend  

NBA All-Star game: Celebrities bring cachet

If I’m a real celebrity with significant accomplishments and I was told by the NBA that they couldn’t get me tickets and then while watching the game, I saw someone like say, Lindsay Lohan in a great seat, I’d call my lawyer, instruct him or her to have a good bail bondsman on speed dial, and I’d be on my way to raise a little hell at Staples Center.

HUMILITY, THY NAME IS NOT CARMELO ANTHONY

“I think it takes a strong-willed person, a strong-minded person, to deal with the stuff that I deal with and still go out there and go to work every day and perform on a nightly basis. I take my hat off to myself for dealing with all this stuff that’s going on and still be able to go out there and play at the high level that I can play at. I really don’t think an average person can walk in my shoes. I don’t think that.” – Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony said during a Saturday interview about trade rumors that have swirled all season as the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaches. Anthony conveniently left out/ignored one important fact: he’s the one that created the whole situation in the first place!

Statue unveiling has Jerry West recalling his own hero

Lakers great Jerry West poses next to his statue following an unveiling ceremony at Staples Center on Thursday. Elgin Baylor was there. Bill Russell was there. Pat Riley was there. Magic was there. Kareem was there. James Worthy was there. Hell, even Shaquille O’Neal, who didn’t exactly leave town on good terms with the Lakers, was there and afterwards, shared a hug and warm words with Lakers owner Jerry Buss. But guess who wasn’t there? That’s right, Kobe Bryant. And that’s why I can never, ever root for him. EVER. 

FUN FACT THAT MAYBE ONLY I CARE ABOUT

Did you know that there are more foreign-born All-Stars – Pau Gasol (Spain), Manu Ginobili (Argentina), Al Horford (Dominican Republic) and Dirk Nowitzki (Germany) (all but Horford on the West team)  – than there are white Americans – Kevin Love?

LOOKING AHEAD by Mark Heisler

MIAMI AT CHICAGO: Thursday, 5 p.m., TNT
If few around the NBA saw the aged Celtics as the big threat to Miami in the East, few around Chicago saw the Bulls as ready to challenge either team with a new coach, Tom Thibodeau, power forward Carlos Boozer’s debut delayed a month after an accident with — a gym bag? — and a hole at shooting guard.

Not that it was a surprise, since Thibodeau schemed the Celtics’ defense, but the Bulls, who were No. 13 in points allowed and No. 3 in opponents’ field-goal percentage, have gone to No. 3 and No. 2 this season.

Then there’s Derrick Rose, who was only supposed to be a star at this stage but is on the level of Deron Williams and Chris Paul, or Dwyane Wade, whom he resembles more.

Miami, you know. Chicago, we’ll learn something about.

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

Spurs top The Los Angeles Times’ NBA rankings by Mark Heisler

Lakers drop three spots to No. 7.

“Do I know you?”

RANKINGS, COMMENTS THROUGH SATURDAY

RIVERWALK IN SPRING
1. SAN ANTONIO (46-10) That’s a comeback: Four more wins match last season’s total. (2) Only 60-game winner in the West this season?

2. MIAMI (41-15) Word among insiders: Beat them now while they’re runts, and you can. (1) If they ever get a legitimate “5”…Really miss Udonis Haslem’s toughness and unselfishness.

3. BOSTON (40-14) All-Star for each of four seasons as bandaged “Spirit of 76” crew. (3) Doc Rivers doing his best coaching job of his career.

4. DALLAS (39-16) Take out 2-7 swoon without Dirk and Lakers aren’t in race for No. 2. (5) A sobering thought for Laker fans.

5. CHICAGO (38-16) Stealth contender gets Joakim Noah back for this week’s Heat visit. (6) Slipping into title contention one game at a time.

TOO YOUNG, OLD OR WHATEVER

6. OKLAHOMA CITY (35-19) This season is to get more experience, next season to get more players. (7) The Larry O’Brien Trophy Question: How do you get premier free agents to come to the OKC?

7. LAKERS (38-19) If Anthony’s seen as savior, real problem is their belief in themselves. (4) Is Matt Barnes really that important to the Lakers’ title hopes this season? That is the question.

8. ATLANTA (34-21) NBA’s best hamster wheel: After Nos. 4-3-4 finishes in East . . . No. 4! (9) One player away.

9. ORLANDO (36-21) Finished 23-8 last season. Better have another move like that left. (8) Nope. Can’t do it. Won’t do it. Enjoy the last 1 & ½ seasons of future Laker Dwight Howard.

10. NEW ORLEANS (33-25) Remarkable season, unless NBA contracts them before it’s over. (10) Look, if Herr Commissioner Stern hasn’t contracted the WNBA by now, he’s not going to contract the Hornets. Move them to another city with a NBA-ready arena; maybe. But he’s not going to shut down a team.

11. MEMPHIS (31-26) One for Hollins: Just went 17-7 with Zach, O.J. thought to be gonzo. (12) Coach of the Year?

12. PHOENIX (27-27) One for Gentry: Suns written off yet again, back yet again. (15) Am I the only one who missed Steve Nash this weekend?

13. PORTLAND (32-24) One for McMillan: As owner Allen’s Vulcans fly lazy circles overhead. (14) McMillan best be freshening up the old resume. Sudden thought: Is Greg Oden still alive?

YOU STILL HERE?

14. DENVER (32-25) If Melo’s doing so well, why are they down from 37-19 at ’10 break? (11) Yeah! What Heisler said!

15. PHILADELPHIA (27-29) One for Collins: Same group was 20-32 a year ago, finished 7-23. (13) And this means what exactly?

16. NEW YORK (28-26) Awoke to find he’s still Ray Felton: At 46% on Christmas, 38% since. (17) “Raymond Felton is who we thought he was!”

17. UTAH (31-26) There goes neighborhood: Corbin 0-3, two vs. fast-closing Suns. (16) This is surprising how?

18. INDIANA (24-30) Off O’Brien’s yo-yo, Hibbert at 18-8 under Frank Vogel, who’s 7-3. (18) Frank Vogel is the perfect name for an accountant, not a NBA head coach.

19. HOUSTON (26-31) Gritty as they are, GM Morey still trying to figure out Plan B. (19) Might I suggest selling Yao Ming for spare parts and should that fail, having him put down.

20. GOLDEN STATE (26-29) One for new owners, Keith Smart: 14-37 at last season’s break. (21) How Monta Ellis wasn’t an All-Star is mystifying to me.

21. DETROIT (21-36) One for Kuester: Started 12-26 with no owner, future, harmony. (20) And if the new owner is smart, soon there will be no more Joe Dumars in the front office.

GLUB, GLUB, GLUB

22. CHARLOTTE (24-32) Kwame wows them, reverts to Kwame. Next: Move to trainer’s room. (23) The name is cursed! Don’t take my word on it – Google Kwame R. Brown and Kwame Kilpatrick – and then you’ll believe me.

23. CLIPPERS (21-35) Win in Minnesota meant one L.A. team didn’t have to sneak home. (24) It’s too late to make the playoffs this season but, with “The Blake Show” in full effect, at least it’s exciting.

24. MILWAUKEE (21-34) Anonymous and scrappy is one thing; anonymous and hurt is another. (22) Quick, name one starter. I dare you.

25. NEW JERSEY (17-40) Avery says Favors, centerpiece of Melo offer, will be fine by 2012-13. (25) Huh? Somebody hold Avery up so he can get some oxygen.

26. WASHINGTON (15-39) On bright side, Wall clings to No. 2 over Landry Fields in rookie race. (26) Surely that’s not their marketing campaign slogan.

27. MINNESOTA (13-43) Promising nucleus needs 7-footer not named Darko, and results. (27) Well, duh.

28. SACRAMENTO (13-40) Nothing maturity won’t cure, wherever their young guys are by then. (28) Anaheim? Kansas City? Vegas? Compton?

29. TORONTO (15-41) There’s a place for a 7-foot shooter who gets 5.5 rebounds: Phoenix. (29) I have no response.

30. CLEVELAND (10-46) Thank heaven for hypes from the West Coast. (30) Now, this is a team that Stern might consider contracting.

ALL-STAR PHOTO GALLERY 

(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press / February 19, 2011)

Clippers power forward Blake Griffin checks for the basket in mid-flight as he gets set to throw down a reverse dunk in the Rookies-Sophomores game on Friday night at Staples Center. Griffin had 14 points, all on dunks, in 13 minutes of play. This is what led to this photograph John Wall, Blake Griffin Complete Bounce-Pass Alley-Oop (VIDEO) Here’s the really sick part about this play: this was the first time they’d ever been teammates!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / February 18, 2011)  Knicks power forward Amare Stoudemire bows down after Clippers power forward Blake Griffin (not pictured) put away one of his seven dunks in the Rookies-Sophomores game on Friday night at Staples Center.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / February 18, 2011) Wizards point guard John Wall, who was selected MVP of the Rookies-Sophomores game, goes between his legs before unleashing one of his 22 assists on Friday night at Staples Center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / February 18, 2011) Wizards point guard John Wall of the Rookies strikes a quick pose while hanging on the rim after a dunk against the Sophomores on Friday night at Staples Center.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / February 18, 2011) Players sport some funky socks for the Rookies-Sophomores game on Friday night at Staples Center. I’ve got to get me some of these socks. Seriously. I’m not joking even a little bit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  What the hell is Darryl Dawkins wearing?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT!

                   SINGER/ACTRESS TONI BRAXTON 

 

 

Random Thoughts, Friday, February 18, 2011

February 18, 2011

Read my lips – Key 2012 early states cool to Palin – Sarah Palin will not risk devaluing her very lucrative “brand” with a possible (probable) primary campaign loss. She’ll conjure up a statement about how she can do more “outside the traditional system” but, she ain’t gonna run in 2012!

 

I hope that every voter in America with the sense God gave a seedless grape, takes note of the fact that not a single GOP congressperson or senator who is calling for “deeper cuts” in federal spending has volunteered to take a pay cut in their own six-figure salaries and benefits. Not a single one. And in fact, House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday that the GOP plans to “get serious” about government spending, and if that means eliminating government jobs, “so be it.” Fed job loss? ‘So be it’ And just in case you’ve forgotten what “Agent Orange” said about jobs just a few months ago: October 2010 — Republican John Boehner – “IT’S ABOUT JOBS, JOBS, JOBS, JOBS.” 

 

Speaking of seedless grapes Michele Bachmann: Michelle Obama Trying To Implement A ‘Nanny State’ With Health Initiative

 

Why do I get the feeling that Michelle Obama must say to herself some days, “What now?” Michelle Obama as Mannequin-in-Chief: Fashion Industry Furious at First Black FLOTUS, AGAIN?  

 

To say that there’s no clear-cut favorite for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, is to say that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar “sure is tall.” Opinion: Washington as Cairo: Tumult reigns at CPAC – Joe Scarborough  

 

When I read Sarah Palin said during a rare public speaking engagement before a business group in suburban New York on Thursday, that she would like to see a candidate in 2012 that was a “multi-tasking mother with experience at the state and local level who has already been a vice presidential nominee”, I almost fell off my couch. Assuming (quite safely) that she’s referring to herself, let’s look at her record on each point:

 

·         Multi-Tasking Mother – Bristol. Say no more.

·         State Level – Quit halfway through her only term as governor of Alaska

·         Local Level – During her second term as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, the city’s long-term debt grew from about $1 million to $25 million due to $15 million for the sports complex, $5.5 million for street projects, and $3 million for water improvement projects.

·         Vice-Presidential Nominee – Replaced an ever so grateful Dan Quayle as worst in GOP history.

 

So, if that’s the resume she wants to hang her hat on, in the words of John “Agent Orange” Boehner, “So be it.”

 

Jeb Bush is the most important Republican not running for president in 2012 (he’s on record as not running but something tells me if his last name were Brown, he would be). He is the GOP’s leader on issues like education and broadening the party to Hispanics.

 

John Boehner is a two-faced, deeply (and weirdly) tanned, sleazy snake oil salesman John Boehner, Barack Obama: Boehner needs to speak out and I apologize to the honorable snake oil salesman of the world for lumping him in with their profession. I hope he’ll both read and heed the message in this LA Times editorial in Wednesday’s paper  The politics behind the GOP assault on President Obama but somehow, I doubt it.

 

Speaking of two-faced public figures, is it just me who’s getting sick and tired of “Winning Kobe” – happy, talkative, expansive, accommodating with the media – and “Losing Kobe” – sarcastic, terse, vulgar and surrounded by security guards – or are there others out there who feel the same way I do?

 

I don’t know about you but, whenever I read or hear the words, “old Negro spiritual”, I can’t help but wonder, if there are any “new” Negro spirituals.

 

The Lakers new TV deal with Time Warner cable  Time Warner Cable, Lakers strike 20-year TV deal is going to change the face of local sports programming. The deal, while understandable and great business for both the team and the cable operator, will leave many of their older and less-affluent fans in Los Angeles without the ability to watch their favorite team on television after next season.

 

I have never been a Dick Vitale fan because of his worshipping Bob Knight and Duke, and this article Sports Commentator Dick Vitale Refers to NBA Players as Inmates’ and his statements quoted in it only strengthen my already intense dislike of him. And when I say “dislike”, know that I really mean pure, unadulterated hatred. Seriously. I’m not joking even a little bit.

 

After reading news reports and seeing photos from the Music Cares benefit honoring Barbra Streisand and Clive Davis’ annual “Star-O-Rama” party, why do I get the feeling that the actual Grammy Awards show was an inevitable let-down?

 

I hope former Virginia governor and current DNC chairman Tim Kaine, one of three finalists when then-Senator Barack Obama was choosing a running mate in 2008, decides to run for the Senate seat from that’s been opened up by Jim Webb’s decision to step down after only one term Kaine will not announce intentions this weekend because the president and Democrats need him in the Senate.

 

I thought it was a very bad idea when I heard that Michael Vick was going to appear on Oprah and a very good idea when I heard he’d cancelled the appearance. I’ve got nothing against Ms Winfrey – actually I do but that’s not important right now – but, at some point, it’s time for Vick to stop talking about the past (except in his appearances on behalf of the SPCA) and now is that time. And if, as it’s been speculated/reported, it took Eagles management and his mentor Tony Dungy, to intervene on his behalf, good for them. I’m sure Vick meant well but sometimes, he needs saving from himself and his good intentions.

 

Stay classy LA during NBA All-Star Weekend.

JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ciara on the 2011 Grammy Awards Red Carpet

 

 

 

February 13, 2011

February 13, 2011

As many of you know, I started the Spring semester last week and unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your point of view), that means fewer posts in general and this week in particular, no NBA Review (will have a big one after next Sunday’s All-Star Game). 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“There are very few moments in our lives where we have the privilege to witness history taking place. This is one of those moments. This is one of those times. The people of Egypt have spoken, their voices have been heard, and Egypt will never be the same.” – President Barack Obama Friday on the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

STORIES

GOP At CPAC: We Can Deliver Big Time Change .. AP: You Probably Can’t

(L-R) Haley Barbour, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, John Thune Unseen and possibly lurking in the shadows – Jeb Bush (who insists he’s not running in 2012, Herman Cain (the 2011 version of MC Michael Steele), Eric Cantor (my personal dark horse selection) and two people I remain convinced have no real intention of running, Sarah Palin and Donald Trump.

The Spook Who Sat By The Door 2011                        

Allen West CPAC Speech Closes Conservative Conference

Allen West Cpac Speech

  “You looking at me?”

Congressman Allen “Crazy Eyes” West (R-FL)

Clarence Thomas Keeps 5-Year Supreme Court Silence  

Clarence Thomas Supreme Court

  “Yeah, I’m looking at you. You want to try me?”

RANDOM THOUGHTS

This, in my humble opinion, is how a true leader, not some wanna-be “tough-guy”, handles a world crisis Obama’s Egypt strategy: U.S. tried to pressure President Hosni Mubarak without intruding no matter what some Republicans are saying Gingrich blasts Obama’s handling of Egypt crisis, HotAirPundit: Zogby: Only 16% of Republicans Approve of Obama’s Handling of Egypt.

One thing I’ve noticed during the Egyptian crisis, for the most part, Republican criticism of the Obama administration’s handling of the situation has come from those without any real knowledge of the situation and the intelligence reports the President, his advisors and congressional leaders are seeing. In other words, a bunch of people without any “skin in the game” and to me, they and their opinions simply don’t matter.

This is what 2012 is all about – McConnell says Obama agenda is `over’ Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell declared Saturday that President Barack Obama’s legislative agenda is “over,” but said GOP lawmakers are willing to work with the White House to do what they “think is right for America.” – from the White House to Congress to the Statehouses across the country.

Speaking of 2012, Sarah Palin – she can’t risk devaluing her “brand” with a likely primary campaign loss – and Donald Trump – his hair alone disqualifies him – are not going to run for president, no matter what they say or do over the next few weeks. AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN.

Only in America could two a**holes like these guys Bill O’Reilly Dismisses Beck’s Egypt Theory: ‘No Evidence’ become rich and famous spouting nonsense on radio and TV.

I must confess: I didn’t think the Lakers had a snowball’s chance in hell of starting this year’s “Grammy Awards Road Trip” 4-0. I had them at 2-2 going into today’s game @ Orlando. Maybe the threat/rumors of trading for Carmelo Anthony was just what they needed to get refocused on things. And, wait until they get Matt Barnes (and to a lesser degree, Theo Ratliff) back after the All-Star break.

Of course the Cavaliers broke their record-tying losing streak (26 games) by beating the Clippers Friday night. Cleveland would have lost to LA Westchester High before losing to the Clippers. That’s just the cold, hard fact a member of Clipper Nation like me has to accept.

I HATE the people who take five f**king minutes to pick two entrees and one side at Panda Express!

Stay classy Robert Gibbs.

NBA REVIEW – WEEK 15

February 6, 2011

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK

Paul Pierce

Kobe Bryant poured in 41 points, but Paul Pierce’s 32 helped carry the balanced Celtics past the Lakers last Sunday.

 Antonio McDyess

San Antonio forward Antonio McDyess, right, gets past Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and scores the winning basket on a tip-in at the buzzer, lifting the Spurs to an 89-88 victory over the Lakers on Thursday at Staples Center. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / February 3, 2011) 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I was talking to my teammate and he decided he wanted to put his 2 cents into it. I’m a quiet guy, a laid-back guy, but I’m not going to let nobody talk trash to me. He’s on a good team now, so he thinks he can talk a little bit. There’s a lot of fake tough guys in this league and he’s one of them.” – OKC Thunder forward Kevin Durant after drawing a rare technical foul for jawing with Miami’s Chris Bosh in the first quarter of their game last Sunday.

THEY SAID IT

“I never panic. It’s just fuel to get better. Would we like to win these games? Absolutely. But the point is to continue to get better.”  Lakers guard Kobe Bryant sounding exasperated at a reporter’s question after Sunday’s home loss to the Celtics.

Michael Wilbon on ABC’s pregame show for its Sunday NBA doubleheader, didn’t exactly smother viewers in hype: “These are the dog days — I’m sorry, but they are — of the NBA season.”

“We have to do something. The Lakers are not responding and two things showed me that — the Miami Heat Christmas game and then the Boston Celtics game [on Sunday]. When you don’t get up for your two biggest games during the season and you have flat performances, then you have to start looking at trade possibilities to improve the team and bring some energy to the team and bring some new life to the team.” – Magic Johnson saying on Tuesday, a day after Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said he would consider a trade amid the team’s recent struggles, that the Lakers need to make a deal to improve a team he believes isn’t good enough to win a championship.

“It’s just a different world — the camaraderie of the game, the amount of money that we have, the mentoring of people that are involved. I don’t want to talk to agents. I don’t want to talk to ‘Wild Wild West.’” “I’m sorry, I want to talk to you,” said Denver Nuggets coach George Karl of his rapport with Carmelo Anthony. “If you and I want to go out to dinner, that’s fine, I’ll make time for that. But I’m not going to go out with you and ‘Wild Wild West’ and a couple of other guys.” While discussing his relationship with his star player, Karl repeatedly misnamed Anthony’s friend and consultant for CAA, William “Worldwide Wes” Wesley.

“They are putting this guy on every ESPN highlight. Yeah, it’s cool because fans want to see that, but you isolate him from his team. Especially … he ain’t made nobody better. It’s basically his rookie year, as an All-Star? LeBron James didn’t make an All-Star team as a rookie.” – Blazers guard (and former Clipper) Andre Miller to the Oregonian newspaper complaining about Clipper rookie Blake Griffin being chosen as a Western Conference reserve for this month’s All-Star Game over Miller’s teammate LaMarcus Aldridge among others. Miller added that he wasn’t “a hater.” Miller might be just a tad bit more believable if not for this incident earlier this season Andre Miller destroys Blake Griffin  that earned him a one-game suspension. If nothing else, it should make the next meeting between these teams just a little more “interesting” to say the least.

Cleveland’s J.J. Hickson, when the Cavaliers were one loss shy of losing their 24th game in a row, the all-time record: “They say you can’t win ’em all, but in the same light, you can’t lose ’em all, either. So if we stay [focused], I think we can get a couple of wins before the season’s over.”

Carmelo Anthony, who spurned contract-extension offers from Denver: “If I sit here and tell you I’m willing to lose $15 [million] to $20 million, then I’d be lying to you. But at the same time, this has never been about the money. In my career so far, I think I’ve made enough money. Now I can focus on just trying to win a championship. That’s the only thing that’s on my plate and on my mind right now.”

Orlando’s Ryan Anderson, on teammate Dwight Howard: “Sometimes it looks like he’s playing against high school kids out there. Actually, all the time it looks like he’s playing against high school kids.”

Howard, on statements he made when he was younger about growing up idolizing Boston’s Kevin Garnett: “Not anymore.”

BLAKE GRIFFIN SHOT OF THE WEEK AWARD

Blake Griffin Dunk Video: Watch Clippers Star’s Windmill Dunk vs. Bucks  

Blake Griffin Performance Recap  

STORIES OF THE WEEK

Cavaliers, on pace to tie losing-streak record, make losing fun

byron.jpg

 “I really don’t know how much more of this s**t I can take.” 

 Blake Griffin’s high-flying dunks turn him into top entertainer

bgriffin-is.jpg

Blake Griffin has quickly become the next great L.A. entertainer with his high-flying dunks. 

The Point Forward » Posts Artest wants a trade … wait, no he doesn’t  

artest-trade-2.jpg

“I’m soooo confused!!!!!”

AROUND THE ASSOCIATION

Carmelo Anthony saga will prove how well Nuggets know their star  

Byron Scott Has Been Through Worse Than Cavs Losing Streak  

Walsh Eager to Finish Rebuilding Knicks, if They Let Him

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak says he’s thought about making a trade  

Magic Johnson: Los Angeles Lakers may need deal to bring ‘new life’  

Larry Bird’s job safe through season’s end, Pacers owner says

Larry Bird determined to keep Pacers’ options open with new CBA

LeBron James still remembers Orlando critics when he joined Heat  

Disgruntled Ron Artest Desires Trade Out of Los Angeles

Nets Won’t See Progress Until Stars Can See Brooklyn  

Zach Randolph’s Quiet Stardom  

Four Celtics but no Love among All-Star Game reserves  

Retro style of Durant, Rose pushing NBA into new era  

Bulls’ Noah on schedule for rehabbed thumb  

Naming Blake Griffin, Kevin Love to West All-Star team was an easy call  

Shaq preparing for end game

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHUCK’S CHALK TALK

Whenever Lakers star Kobe Bryant makes comments like this when responding to a reporter’s question – “Don’t know, don’t care. People that criticize can kiss my ass. I don’t give a shit,” Kobe said in a post-practice interview. “I really don’t. I keep the train moving, we’re going to keep on moving, and in June, they’ll say nothing. But now, it’s good talk.” – I can’t help but think of a kid raised in the wealthy suburbs of Philadelphia trying to sound like a tough guy.

The Warriors’ Monta Ellis may not be an All-Star this year Ellis helps headline All-Snubbed team   but, he’s a shoo-in for the All-Tat team.

Did you know that with LeBron James last season, the Cavaliers were the first team to win 40 games? Well, they were and this year, without him, they were the first team to lose 40.

The Bulls have their annual “Ice Capades” trip in November which mean they’re never home for Thanksgiving, the Spurs have their annual rodeo trip every February and now it’s time for the Lakers and Clippers to make their annual Grammy Awards trip which this year runs even longer because of the All-Star Game being at Staples Center. Grammys force Lakers, Clippers, Kings to the road  

Key thing to remember when you decide to mock your opponent in their own building – Dwight Howard, Magic Mock LeBron Before Losing To Heat  – win the damn game. But, this was funny!

Blake Griffin’s Poster Children THERE ARE ENOUGH OF THEM TO FORM A SUPPORT GROUP are  this close to having a Facebook page of their own.

This is the Blake Griffin blog for Clipper nation: Quake Griffin

It’s about time One-of-a-kind Jerry West gets a statue is all I have to say about this! Congratulations to “The Logo”.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Lakers at Boston on Thursday, 5 p.m. PST. TV: TNT.

Expect another slugfest when the 2010 NBA finalists meet for a second time this season

They should get John Madden to help do the color commentary on this one, as in: “OOF! BIFF! SOCK!”

The Celtics, the roughest team around before going from fireplugs to thundering herd, barely got physical with the Lakers last Sunday while outrebounding them by 13.

So if the Lakers aren’t ready, this might not be pretty … and if they are, it still might not be pretty.

Of course, ferocious as they are, the Celtics are no longer embattled and the Lakers, casual as they are, are.

The problem is, as it was in Thursday’s loss to the Spurs when the Lakers played hard, that one team was coherent and one was not.

However, it’s true: You’re never as good as you look when you win or as bad as you look when you lose.

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

By Mark Heisler, Tribune Newspapers

Spurs move back into top spot of the Times’ NBA rankings

Celtics are No 2; Lakers drop two notches to No. 5.

RANKINGS, COMMENTS THROUGH SATURDAY

GRAY PANTHERS RULE

1.- SAN ANTONIO (42-8) Forget Lakers, the race they’re focused on now is with Celtics. (2) Sneaking up on a shot at another ring.

2. BOSTON (37-12) Scary part is they’re built for playoffs, when they get days off. (1) Unless old age and/or injuries or until someone finally breaks KG’s jaw.

THE YOUNG, THE RESTLESS, THE LAKERS

3. MIAMI (36-14) Modern-NBA-in-a-nutshell rocks Magic’s world on its own floor. (4) Still not big enough upfront to beat Boston in a 7-game series.

4. DALLAS (35-15) In Dirk we trust: 1-3 upon his return, 8-0 since, winning in Boston. (9) Must shake “soft as Charmin” tag to be taken seriously as a title threat.

5. LAKERS (35-16) Stick a fork in them . . . oh, it’s Feb. 6? Make it a salad fork. (3) On an emotional see-saw all season long. Current roadie could make or break the season for them.

6. CHICAGO (34-15) Up past bedtime or not, East’s hottest team is on a 25-6 run. (5) And Noah’s almost back.

7. OKLAHOMA CITY (33-17) Small forward for the ages: Durant just scored 47-40-33-43. (8) Need a legit “Big” to go deep into playoffs.

8. ATLANTA (33-18) Needed a rest: Johnson averaged 26 last month post-elbow surgery. (10) Coach Larry Drew has been distracted by Larry II’s departure from Carolina.

9. ORLANDO (32-19) Might need another blockbuster. (7) Ya think?

10. NEW ORLEANS (32-20) Wheels come off: Okafor, Ariza out, Paul playing with ankle sprain. (6) And yet, they extended the Lakers Saturday night.

YOU STILL HERE?

11. DENVER (30-21) Lost three of five, one to Anthony’s almost-teammate Nets. (12) This ceased being interesting weeks ago. Anthony now just annoying.

12. MEMPHIS (27-25) One for Lionel Hollins: Went 8-1 amid Randolph, Mayo trade rumors. (15) It’s called “coaching.”

13. UTAH (30-22) Rolling and tumbling: Losses to Wizards, Nets started 3-9 skid. (11) This has to be Sloan’s last year, right?

14. PORTLAND (27-24) End, or new beginning, is near: Miller on block as Blazers go 2-4. (13) I’m playing the world’s smallest violin for this a**hole.

15. NEW YORK (25-24) Flattening out, but 41-41 means some JV East team must go .667. (14) The Seahawks of the NBA?

16. PHILADELPHIA (23-26) Not bad for a team that finished last season 5-21 and started 3-13. (18) I sure hope that’s not their marketing slogan!

17. PHOENIX (23-25) Just went 8-4 as Gortat blew up, but Memphis got a bigger bounce. (16) Nash gone soon?

18. HOUSTON (24-28) At least Rockets can still scare the daylights out of the Lakers. (17) That’s an ever-growing list this season.

19. CLIPPERS (19-30) They’re 14-9 since 5-21 start — but 22 of last 33 are on road. (21) Yeah, but these are not your father’s Clippers!

20. GOLDEN STATE (22-27) Curry averaged 19 last month, first in which he didn’t miss a game. (22) And somehow I think A.C. Green’s consecutive games played record is secure.

21. INDIANA (20-27) Honeymoon suite: 3-0 under ex-assistant Vogel since O’Brien axed. (24) So?

22. CHARLOTTE (21-29) Assistant Charles Oakley revives Kwame Brown. OK, intermittently. (19) Talk about a miracle. I’m not sure Jesus himself could raise Kwame from the dead.

23. DETROIT (19-32) A 7-6 run puts Pistons in East playoff race, such as it is. (23) See #15; apply here.

24. MILWAUKEE (19-30) Going wrong way: 1-4 with Jennings back, with home loss to Pistons. (20) Papa Was A Rolling Stone.

HAVE TO TAKE KINDERGARTEN AGAIN

25. SACRAMENTO (12-35) If few others grasped Kings’ potential, the Lakers just did. (25) No kidding.

26. NEW JERSEY (15-36) Next turning point: 4-1 after ending Anthony talks . . . 1-4 since. (26) “The Anthony Talks” sounds like CNN’s coverage of an ongoing news story.

27. WASHINGTON (13-37) Hit Wall: Point guard prospect of the ages at 38% since Dec. 1. (27) “Dougie” this.

28. TORONTO (14-37) Amir Johnson at 18 and 10 in last five. Raptors are 1-13 in last 14. (29) See #21; apply here.

29. MINNESOTA (11-39) KG, a head shorter: Love is Timberwolves’ first post-Garnett All-Star. (28) Best All-Star marketing video EVER!

30. CLEVELAND (8-43) Cavaliers’ 24th loss in a row makes history; 1-33 since ‘Bron’s return. (30) Could they reverse-match the 1971-72 Lakers 33-game winning streak?

Friday, February 4, 2011

February 4, 2011

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I have rarely heard anything like this on television in my life. Don’t hit ancient Babylon because that’s going to be the center of evil…what in hell is this man talking about?” – Chris Matthews On Glenn Beck: ‘What In Hell Is This Man Talking About?’ (VIDEO)

RANDOM THOUGHTS

When Fidel Castro is saying your time is up, it’s probably time to fire up the presidential 747 for one last trip out of Egypt.

Don’t ever stop talking Ricky Boy Rick Santorum: I Would Eliminate The 9th Circuit Court Of Appeals because the more you do, the more Americans will find out just how bat-sh** crazy you really are. How a guy who lost his bid for re-election in 2006 by 59-41% (the largest margin of defeat for an incumbent Senator since 1980) after only one term (I guess it didn’t take the good people dwelling in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania long to realize what an egregious mistake they had made in 2000) and hasn’t held an office since (unless you count the one in his house and I don’t), can have the unmitigated gall to even think he has a “I Voted For Michelle Bachmann Because Everyone Else Is Dead” chance in hell of winning even one poll, let alone an actual primary is beyond me. But hey, it’s one of the things that make this such a great country: a truly deranged person can dream the “Impossible Dream” and live to talk about it on Fox News for a check someday.

Why do I get the distinct feeling that Anderson Cooper has told his agent, “I don’t care about the money or anything like that. You get me the job replacing Regis or as God is my witness, if I survive this and get back to New York, I will hunt you down and trust me, you will never, ever walk or feed yourself again without help.” Oh, maybe this Anderson Cooper In Egypt: ‘I’m A Little Bit Scared’ (VIDEO) is the reason why.

I don’t know if Glenn Beck is the craziest “person” ever with national TV and radio shows, but it’s stuff like this Glenn Beck Stands By Egypt Caliphate Conspiracy Theory: ‘I’m Not Wrong’ (AUDIO) that lets me know that he’s no lower than Top Five.

Only John McCain can make a statement McCain’s endorsement: Don’t hold your breath that elicits both relief, “Thank you Jesus!”(from Republicans) and regret, “Oh no!” (from Democrats) at the same time.

I can’t be the only one who gets “creeped out” by the Just For Men ad with the two little girls are trying to fix up their dad with a date, right? And, is he a widower or just divorced? And, if he’s not a widower, how did he get custody of the kids? And, why do they even know what being a “good catch” is at their ages? And, what kind of father sends pictures of his dates to his kids of any age? AND, where the hell is their babysitter while Daddy’s out trying to get caught?

I’m not questioning the IQ of those Americans who night in and night out make Jay Leno their late-night talk show choice (actually I am ) but, I simply can’t stand to watch him for more than the time it takes for me to grab the remote and change the channel. He’s like Maze featuring Frankie Beverly; they both have three songs (jokes) that they just change the lyrics (punch lines) to and play (tell) over and over and over again. And again. And again. By the way, if you’re not watching or DVRing Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, shame on you! Yes, I’m talking to you.  

Would it be illegal or morally wrong to suggest that we (collectively) have both Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan “put down” at the same time? Or can we at least make them date each other for a reality show?

Luckiest people ever in a band (tie):  Ringo Starr, the other two guys in the Black Eyed Peas and the tuba player (?) in The Roots.

Please, I beg of the people who run Hollywood, please find/give Jeff Bridges a role that doesn’t require him to stop shaving for more than three days in a row!

One great example of why the NFL’s system of “socialism” works: both the AP’s Player and Coach of the Year – Tom Brady and Bill Bellichick respectively – will be sitting at home (or somewhere) on Super Sunday.

We’ll know that NFL teams are taking the “Rooney Rule” (requires that minority candidates be interviewed for open head coach and GM positions) seriously when they start bringing more than one guy at a time when a job opens up.

Speaking of the NFL, I’m not saying it can’t happen but, constructing a new wing of the Los Angeles Convention Center, which would increase its size by 90,000 square feet, then demolishing the old West Hall and building a 64,00-seat retractable-roof stadium (expandable to 78,000 for Super Bowls and Final Fours), by early 2015 Farmers Field has big plans beyond just football seems awfully ambitious to me. But hey, maybe the folks at AEG are just echoing President Obama from his Sate of the Union speech last month when he said “We [Americans] do big things.”

From the “Chris Rock Wasn’t Available So We Booked His Less-Funny Brother Tony Instead” category: Bengals hire Jon Gruden’s brother Jay to lead offense  

When President Obama talks about America’s colleges not turning out the trained workforce for today’s global marketplace, I’m fairly certain that this isn’t what he had in mind – Cowboy Stadium Lap Dance — Dallas: WE NEED MORE SUPER BOWL STRIPPERS!!!  (Bill Clinton on the other hand…but I digress)  – I can remember a time in the not so distant past when America’s colleges and universities had many upstanding, talented, young women willing to work their way through college as “exotic dancers.” If you ask me, and admittedly, no one has, this is just another glaring and tragic example of how America’s youth have become lazy, uninspired and unwilling to grab hold of what I like to call “The Pole of Opportunity”. I bet if the SB was being played in China or India, young women would be pouring out of their halls of higher learning in order to take off skimpy clothing while gyrating in five and six-inch heels in front of drunk men for money.

Why didn’t I hear any of the cast of “The Game” interviewed on a single national sports talk radio show this week? ALL of the shows are in Dallas for the Super Bowl and it just seems to me that BET missed a huge opportunity to promote the show to a broader audience.

JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT

Because I’m a life-long AFL/AFC fan and because I’ve met and worked with some great people from Pittsburgh – James Tripp Haith, William E. Baker, Michael Keaton, Christina Aguillera and the late, great Maurice Lucas – I’m picking the Steelers led by head coach “Omar Tomlin” over the Packers 28-24.

Stay classy Andy Pettite.

February 2, 2011

February 2, 2011

QUOTE OF THE WEEK SO FAR

“The challenge that you have coming from the private sector as I did is when someone asks you a question, you answer it… the challenge I had last time was I answered every question, and sometimes, you need to say: you know, let me quickly answer that question and then get on to what’s really important.”- Former (and presumed future) presidential candidate Mitt Romney on ABC’s The View when asked what he learned from his unsuccessful 2008 run.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

I almost burst out in laughter watching John Boehner (admin has responded to “tense situation pretty well”…”democratic reforms” for nation are “right direction”) and Mitch McConnell ( – on FOX and NBC respectively – on the Sunday morning news shows publicly support President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton’s approach and response to the crisis in Egypt. It was so apparent that they were doing so through firmly clenched teeth, especially McConnell who said that this was a time for only “one voice” to be heard from on behalf of America. Oh, for a “thought bubble” above his head.

This is the kind of thing – A new Gallup poll shows 88% of Republicans say it is important that Republican leaders consider the Tea Party’s positions and objectives when addressing national problems. Interestingly, slightly more than half of Democrats surveyed, 53%, also believe it’s important for the GOP to consider the Tea Party’s ideas — even though just 11% of Democrats have a favorable view of the Tea Party. Also of interest: 43% of Republicans surveyed in the  poll did not take a position on the Tea Party (52% support it, while 5% oppose it). The poll was conducted Jan. 14-16, 2011 – that could prove problematic for the eventual Republican nominee in that in order to win the nomination, they will be forced to run to the extreme right and then have to pivot back to the center in the general election.

I don’t what’s going to be funnier over the next two years: waiting for Sarah Plain’s convoluted explanation of why she won’t run for the presidency (that will be priceless), watching Mitt Romney trying desperately to be all things to all factions of the GOP – the sane, the insane and the truly demented – Mitt flip-flops on populism, Romneycare, Haley “Boss Hogg Jr” Barbour (if he runs which I seriously doubt) trying to explain away his racist past (“Hey, I like the Nee, excuse me, Black people!), Mike Huckabee walk the line between folksy and outright religious nut, Newt Gingrich explaining why anyone with the moral compass of a $20 street hooker should take him seriously, Tim Pawlenty trying to be taken seriously, Jon Huntsman ultimately failing to convince voters why he, Obama’s first ambassador to China, should be trusted (“I was the white man by the door”) Obama praise could hurt two 2012 GOP candidates, John Thune trying to explain why he can beat Obama (“Mitch McConnell thinks I can and that’s good enough for me”) OR what I think will be more intriguing than anything else – keeping an eye on the uber-ambitious Eric Cantor as John “Weepy” Boehner tries to keep him in check.

Speaking of John Thune, if you’ve been asking yourself, “Self, who the hell is John Thune and why is he considered a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2012?”, here’s a few answers for you. Who’s John Thune — and Why Is He on the GOP Short List for President?”.

Excuse me for being just a tad bit cynical about John McCain suddenly becoming a possible Obama ally Is the Mac Back? as this writer suggests.

Something tells me we’re getting this close to finding out which Bush daughter voted for Obama in ’08. Former first daughter Barbara Bush supports gay marriage

I know Hillary Clinton received a lot of criticism for her lack of style during her eight years as FLOTUS and frankly, much of it was justified. But, what I don’t remember is Laura Bush’s fashion choices being questioned and commented on as much as those of Michelle Obama Michelle Obama Shrugs Off Oscar De La Renta Jab: ‘Women, Wear What You Love’. By the way, De La Renta is a serial Michelle Obama critic; he complained about what she wore to meet Queen Elizabeth in 2009 and candidly admitted on ABC’s The View (he and host Barbara Walters are close friends) that he wanted to dress the First Lady and was disappointed that she hadn’t selected any of his designs. 

This couldn’t have been more awkward and contrived Mark Zuckerberg Joins Jesse Eisenberg On SNL if Sarah Palin had written it herself. 

Why the ongoing journey to redemption for Michael Vick is so difficult Michael Vick: Eagles QB’s Journey from Prison to the Pro Bowl is going to be an ongoing question for a while.