NBA REVIEW – 2011 ALL-STAR EDITION

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 

 

 

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