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Knicks Stop Streak – James McKern

A Sunday matinee turned into an all you can eat buffet for the New York Knicks as they put their 7 game losing streak to bed.

The Denver Nuggets came into the Mecca following a 108-87 dismantling of the Indiana Pacers and looked to carry that winning feeling through.

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Believe it or Not: NBA Season 2014/15 Predictions

This is one of my favourite times of the year. The NBA season is here. You’ve drafted players into your own world beating fantasy squad. Players have been chopped, changed and drafted all over the league. And it is also the perfect time to make predictions about the NBA season. My personal belief is that if your predictions are said loudly, told to many people and said with a great deal of overconfidence that they just might come true. Here are my Top 5. Believe it or Not.

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Sneaker Watch: Adidas Crazylight Boost

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Adidas have unveiled the new, amazing ‘Crazylight Boost’ sneaker for Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.

The new sneaker pays homage to the Blazers Point Guard, with the colourway of Purple, Red & Black nodding at Lillards College colours of Weber State and his NBA home of Portland. Lillard’s nickname of ‘DAME’ is also incorporated into the shoe with the ‘E’ in the name using the 3 stripes of Adidas. Neat.

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Patty Mills For PM

Politics and basketball. You wouldn’t think they go together, right?… Wrong! Both the major parties in Australia are struggling for support and I see only one solution to this. Bring in a new major party. The Spurs Party and have Patty Mills as Australia’s new Prime Minister.

Prime Minister

This is a no brainer. The popularity of Patty Mills is through the roof in Australia at the moment. He has given people with no interest in basketball a reason to watch and connect with the game. Patty has done his time on the bench and is ready to move up to the big time. Last season Patty was a glorified mascot. Waving towels and getting trash minutes at the ends of games to show what he could do. This season was a different story all together. Patty showed himself to be one of the better back up point guards in the league. A spark that Miami had no answer for in the NBA Finals. Patty was the dagger in the heart of the Heat fans and players alike in the third quarter of Game 5. The game was still a contest until Mills came out a splashed 3’s from everywhere and brought the crowd into the game with his energetic defense. This shows a new level of maturity for Mills. He made all the right decisions and is ready to become Australia’s Prime Minister.

Deputy Prime Minister

Technically Aron Baynes was born in New Zealand but Aussies love to claim a kiwi. Baynes now joins the likes of Phar Lap, Russell Crowe, Crowded House, Keith Urban and the somewhat contentious Weet-Bix as items and people that Australia have lovingly claimed as their own. Granted Baynes did not get a great deal of court time which means he will have plenty of time to help out his Prime Minister at anytime and we’ve seen that Baynes is also capable of stepping into a starting role for the Spurs and he did not look out of place.

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Logically this role has to go to Tony Parker. For starters he is French and it is difficult to say no to anyone with a french accent. Being on the Spurs lineup it is also obvious that Parker gets along well with people from other countries. The Spurs have the most nationalities represented in the NBA with  their roster registering 10 internationals at the beginning of the 2013-2014 season. Parker has also shown that he wants to be friendly with everyone. Parker proved this in his short lived marriage to Eva Longoria. Lovely lady and watching Desperate Housewives is worth it just for her but this wasn’t enough for Tony. He wanted more Foreign Affairs experience (see what I did there?) This is a great trait for Australia and will see Australia making many new international allies.

Treasurer

Kawhi Leonard. This kid (22 years old!) proved his worth in the NBA Finals, scoring points at will with aggressive moves to the hoop and deft jump shots but he also played outstanding defense against one of the best in the league, Lebron James. Kawhi has earnt his spot as Treasurer in the Spurs Party because he started at the bottom and wasn’t expected to rise so quickly so Kawhi understands the value of money but his endorsements and contracts are only going to grow bigger from here. This experience with discussing contracts with multi-billion dollar companies and understanding how to best spread the wealth will make Kawhi the perfect Treasurer.

Minister for Education

Coach Pop. All you need to do is look at what he has done for the Spurs to see this man knows how to educate others. Pop is arguably the most respected coach in the game and all players thrive under Pop’s coaching theories and ideals. On draft night Pop always manages to spring a few surprises. He was one of the first to see the value in drafting international ballers. Players who had already stood out in a team orientated style of play and players he knew would understand and respect a team game. Look at the expansion and growth of the team under Pop. Manu wasn’t always a superstar. He grew into the role and learnt from the best coach in the game. Parker is the same. If you need some more recent evidence just look at the growth of Belinelli and Patty Mills this season. Pop is the only choice for Minister of Education.

Minister for Communications

The leader of the Spurs. Tim Duncan. He doesn’t often say much but when he does people listen. Timmy knows when communication is needed and when it should be stopped. Remember back to Timmy dragging a talkative Tony Parker away from the officials to stop a certain tech foul. Tony did not complain. Tony, along with the Spurs lineup, know that when Timmy Duncan talks, you listen. Opposition players know that Timmy is the man to talk to when playing the Spurs. He has the respect of every baller in the NBA and was Lebron’s first point of call when it came welcoming the Spurs to the Finals.

Minister for Health and Sport

Will Sevening, the coaches and staff at the San Antonio Spurs. But mostly Will. Will is the Head Trainer at the Spurs. The Spurs aren’t exactly the youngest team in the league. They have an average age of somewhere around 30. Three of their main players; Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobilli are 37, 31 and 36 respectfully. Will has to put these “veterans” through their paces on a daily basis but also has to ensure Duncan and co. are at their physical peaks, remain uninjured and have the required rest breaks to thrive. It’s a fine line to walk but Will has done it with ease and thus gets the gig as Minister for Health and Sport.

Minister for Defence

Danny Green may not be the guy you think of when it comes to defence but look at the job he did throughout the NBA Finals. Scoring important steals. Swaying the momentum of the game to the favour of the Spurs and shutting down the potent offensive force that is Dwayne Wade. Green still has plenty of improving to do but he has shown the potential to be a star in the future. Not only did he shut down Wade and take countless steals, he is also a menace when shooting the long bomb, a pre-requisite when it comes to being a Minister for Defence.

Minister for Arts

Marco Belinelli. Coach Pop has never been a fan of the three-point shot, openly stating he doesn’t like the role the shot has in the game. This season though things changed. Coach Pop started running plays for long range bombs. Embraced the shot and made it a huge part of the Spurs Championship winning attack. With shooters like Patty Mills, Danny Green, Manu Ginobilli and Marco Belinelli, Pop had little choice but to use the three ball. Belinelli’s shot is like a work of art. He has the balance, poise and a sense of occasion when pocketing the long ball. Not only is his shot a masterpiece but Belinelli is also Italian and everything sounds arty and awesome in Italian. Pizza. Spaghetti. Gelato. Point proven.

Minister for Agriculture

Honestly I found it hard to choose a Minister for Agriculture on the Spurs but Matt Bonner does look like the ultimate country boy. The ginger hair, beard, freckles and his awkwardness on the floor, all pre-requisites when it comes to being a Minister for Agriculture. Personally I think he’d be a better farmer than baller but he does have a Championship Ring which is more than I can say about myself.

Minister for Finance

Peter Holt is the owner of the Spurs. I’m not sure if it is entirely his doing but how Holt has managed to keep Manu, Duncan and Parker on the same team for so long when they could have been earning millions more elsewhere is some kind of voodoo magic. Each of the three are legit stars in their own right but have bought into the Spurs game and Holt is a wizard on the books. Not only has he kept the big three together but also brought in players with potential and has shown a willingness in keeping these potential superstars around and continued to develop them. Just look at Patty Mills, Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. Congratulations Peter Australia’s new Minister for Finance.

Minister for Social Services

A person who on the court is always looking out for others. More concerned with getting the assist. Hitting the right player at the right time in the right position. The choice for this spot was easy. Boris Diaw. A passing big man. A player who seems to have eyes in the back of his head. Kawhi did get Finals MVP but for me Diaw wasn’t far behind. Diaw doesn’t need to put the ball through the hoop to earn his pay, he does it through a subtle bounce pass through the key or a pass to the corner for the open three. Boris didn’t get many starts throughout the regular season but as soon as the Finals came Diaw stepped into the center position with ease and proved worth his weight in gold.

Minister for Trade and Investment

Tiago Splitter. A big man from Brazil. Splitter wasn’t brought over to the NBA straight away. He was given time to develop in European and Brazilian Leagues. Tiago would’ve been a superstar if he’d stayed in the Euro Leagues but once the time was right decided to ply his wares in the NBA. Splitter has proved to be adequate back up for Tim Duncan, giving the Big Fundamental time for his body to recover. All the time and effort that the Spurs invested into Splitter paid off with his huge block on Dwayne Wade during the NBA Finals (may have been a goal tend).

Minister for Employment

I was struggling at this stage to come up with positions but I had one spot left and one person to go so it is what it is. Manu Ginobilli you are now Australia’s Minister for Employment. It is because of you and your team orientated brand of ball that has allowed the Spurs to stay strong and consistent for many years. Manu, with Argentina, showed the rest of the world the importance of team basketball. Focusing on passing and team plays rather than individual brilliance. The NBA stood up and took notice incorporating this team style into NBA playbooks and also drafting many international ballers into the NBA. Thanks Manu.

There it is. Australia take note. The Spurs have solved all your problems. As you can see the entire roster has the resume required to thrive in their new positions and should obviously be brought in immediately (or not)…

 



Trash or Treasure: The Lance Stephenson Edition

Pacers V Heat. A match up many didn’t think would happen with Indiana being so out of form but the Pacers lifted when they needed to and are right in their Eastern Conference Final against the defending champion Miami Heat. It’s a very intriguing match up. The superstar in waiting Paul George, up against the current King Lebron James. Roy Hibbert against his rebounding demons. The under performing Pacers bench against the canned heat of the Miami bench but I’m going to focus on an individual. Lance Stephenson. Some say he was robbed of an all-star spot. Others say he is a head case who too easily loses focus. Let’s take a look in a cheesy, radio segment kind of way. Welcome to Lance Stephenson, Trash or Treasure.   (more…)



The Big Man Curse

The NBA big man. Such an integral piece to any team hoping to be competitive in a sport basically designed to favour those who are giants. But through my research i’ve found out that it doesn’t always work out that way. Being tall doesn’t neccessarily make you a force in the hoops world. In fact I think i’ve worked out the fomula. It did require a few explosions and probes but I promise no baller was hurt in the making of this post. (more…)



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Mike D’Antoni Resigns As Lakers Coach

In the wake of one of the worst 24 months in Los Angeles Lakers history, much maligned head coach Mike D’Antoni has resigned from his position with the team effective immediately.

D’Antoni arrived in LA as a successor to Mike Brown, who was fired by the Lakers after a 1-5 start to the 2012 season. Formerly of the Nuggets, Suns and Knicks, he was unpopular with fans from the very start, with many believing Phil Jackson was the right option at the time.

D’Antoni, along with Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant struggled to make an impact on the league throughout his first season, ensuring the bad taste in fans’ mouths only worsened. Marred by injury, and a lack of talent in his second year, the Lakers and Mike never stood a chance in season 2013/14.

Last week it was reported that the Lakers were intent on keeping D’Antoni around until the end of his contract at the culmination of next year, but that he wanted them to pick up his fourth year option. Until today that was where it had been left, but earlier this afternoon ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported that D’Antoni had, in fact, resigned. It isn’t clear what will become of the $4 million left on the table by Coach D’Antoni, but it has been said that an undisclosed amount will still be given to him.

Laker fans have been ruthless when it comes to Mike D’Antoni, and while not the best man for the job, he has given his absolute all to a team with no talent, an unfathomable injury toll and who are a shell of their former selves. The D’Antoni reign in LA was strained, but one that Laker fans can now move on from.

The search will now begin for a new coach, with a myriad of options exposing themselves within the last few hours. It is in the best interest to the Lakers to take their time, and make a choice which best suits the team and direction they’re headed in.

There are tough times ahead for the Lakers, so cool heads must prevail, and conscious decisions made when selecting the new man to guide them back to the top.

D’Antoni leaves the Lakers with a 67-87 record in his two seasons with the team



The Underdogs (Clippers V Warriors)

The Playoffs are here and it is easily the best part of any NBA Season. It has highs and lows, ups and downs and sometimes the underdog gets their time to shine against the best in the league. Thus far in the Playoffs we’ve seen some upsets and they always make for interesting viewing. Sometimes it’s due to underestimation. Other times an up and comer or an aging star gets their time in the spotlight. With this piece I’m going to look specifically at the Warriors Vs the Clippers. (more…)



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Shaq Being Investigated For Alleged Assault

Former NBA Champion and TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal is currently being investigated by authorities for an alleged assault that reportedly occurred at Turner Studios in Atlanta in May of 2013.

An employee of Turner Sports has alleged that Shaq assaulted him in the hallway of the studio, “hitting him in the back, and landing on top of him”, and that he is still recovering from surgery as a result of his injuries. O’Neal’s camp have denied any wrongdoing, stating that the incident was nothing more than “horseplay”. The employees attorney has refuted that the kind of injuries sustained could not possibly result from ‘horseplay’.

No charges have been laid against the 4-Time champ, and the investigation continues. You can read an excerpt of the police report below:

“According to Robert Williams, a co-worker of O’Neal’s at Turner Studios, for whom O’Neal is an NBA analyst, the 15-time All-Star ‘ran out of a room and hit me with a tackle punch to the back knocking me down and falling on top of me injuring my neck and back.’ The investigation was initially handled by the zone and as that investigation deepened, it was transferred to the complex case squad.”

[Source: CBS Sports/NBC]



The “T” Word

Tanking. It’s like the new planking. Everyone is talking about it so I thought I’d join the party in an upright seated position. Is it happening in the NBA? Is it worth it? Does it work? Or is this just a story that has been blown out of proportion and turned into something bigger than it actually is? After having a discussion with a few fans, this is one of the issues they wanted researched and researched it shall be. If you have any stories that you want written up feel free to let me know and I’ll do my best to make it work. (more…)