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2014-2015 NBA Preview – Western Conference

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Northwest

Oklahoma City Thunder
Don’t let the San Antonio Spurs or Kevin Durant’s injury let you rule out O.K.C. O.K.? The Miami Heat and the MVP have now left a seat for this team and Russell Westbrook to flourish, but it’s all on the best player in the league not named LeBron to see where this team finishes.

Portland Trail Blazers
No longer Jail Blazers this new generation Portland team really is blazing a trail with the NBA standard one, two punch of the new Tim Duncan, LaMarcus Aldridge and the quicksilver speed of Damian Lilliard. Watch the City of Roses in the new garden bloom like Chicago’s Derrick. Even Jordan’s not shrugging.

Minnesota Timberwolves
As good and great as he is we don’t need to talk about Kevin. There’s no love lost here in the latest cold city to have a top forward jacked by LeBron’s talent taking. We see you Toronto. You’re still the north without the Bosh. Don’t freeze over Minneapolis. The twin city home of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Prince have some new twin peaks in former number one Cleveland Cavaliers, Canadian draft picks Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins. Don’t worry they are used to the cold and Kobe knows Cleveland dumping Wiggins was as bad as when the Charlotte Hornets traded him and did we forget about one of the most sought after international draft picks in years, Ricky Rubio running the show? This team could be greater than Gatsby. It’s the new power generation.

Denver Nuggets
Ty Lawson has a few Nuggets to chip to now that Andre Iguodala is gone. Still at least the Mile High City has those air conditions on their side. That should help them breathe.

Utah Jazz
Remember when Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams where the new Stockton and Malone? Well between Exum and Favors take your pick and roll because this team is as raw as Salt Lake. They did show greatness in signing a young kid suffering from leukaemia called J.P. Gibson however. For him the Jazz will play strong.

Pacific

Golden State Warriors
The Warriors don’t just live and die by the threes of Splash Brothers Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. They thrive by it. Now the rest of the league will be left wetter then what’s under the Golden Gate.

Los Angeles Clippers
Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the new dunking Jordan will keep this city lobbing and taking off like L.A.X. STAPLES doesn’t look like the Lakers home anymore but its time to cover up those ‘selfies’ in the rafters with some real banners.

Phoenix Suns
Now the Eric Bledsoe drama is put aside…for now, it’s time for this star built like LeBron to show why his future is Sun burning bright like his most entertaining ballclub. Time to rise from those ashes Phoenix.

Los Angeles Lakers
Now former Showtime dunk legend Byron Scott is running the show in L.A. things look much better. He says this team would be a playoff one in the East. No excuses its time to return to the West’s best. Kentucky draft pick Julius Randle and his new mentor Carlos Boozer are a nice replacement for Gasol but the future is on the shaky ground of super but streaky guards Jeremy Lin and Nick Young. At least Steve Nash is back…oh wait! No pun intended. We will all miss the father of Canadian basketball legend. He the north! Still despite all the negatives I wouldn’t bet against one of the all-time and still current best Kobe Bryant! Would you?

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Sacramento Kings
I have a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell. This team shouldn’t be this low and DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay can attest to that. Where they end up in more ways than one remains to be seen. These Kings are still a long way from their throne.

Southwest

San Antonio Spurs
Reigning NBA Champions. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginoboli and now Kawhi Leonard and lets not forget Pop! Need we say anymore? Age only seems to be making these Texans like fine wine. More champagne?

Memphis Grizzlies
In the leagues toughest division the team that once surprised the Spurs will be right behind their back. This time they aren’t surprising anyone even if they still remain as underrated as their point Mike Conley and big Marc Gasol amongst the league best. Lets not get started on the rest of the starters too like the always big Z-Bo. Now, they may have missed a trick on not signing Marc’s brother and former franchise face Pau Gasol. I guess they didn’t watch Spain this Summer. Still just like the old blue suede adage, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Thank you very much.

Dallas Mavericks
These Mavs are more than Dirk Nowitzki and Mark Cuban three balling their way to another championship cigar. Now with a matured Monta Ellis bringing stability as a sidekick don’t be surprised if these gunners make a run. He may be getting old but Dirk is still a premier player and the best of his type since Larry’s legend. Bird to O’Brien.

Houston Rockets
In the Texas Triangle losing Jeremy Lin takes away the big three, but Dwight Howard and James Harden are in their comfort zone now. All smiles and beards. Welcoming back the new Bruce Bowen veteran of the league Trevor Ariza helps to. Houston if these Rockets take off then the rest of the league has the problem.

New Orleans Pelicans
The next great big man and star of this league Anthony Davis deserves more respect. Still sometimes stupid eyebrow jokes and tough divisions full of conference and championship contenders get in the way. Still Ant and the rest of the Hornets will still sting, especially with Doc’s son Austin Rivers. Fly Pelican FLY!

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La La Lakerland Played Host To A City Of All-Stars At The Weekend

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Verizon Slam Dunk Contest 2018
Like Father, Like Slam,

Los Angeles, it doesn’t get much more Hollywood than this. Even if Beyonce, Queen Latifah, Chris Tucker and even the other Michael (B) Jordan were taking in all the lights, camera action court-side.

After the 2017 Mardi Gras in New Orleans last year and two calendar’s after our native Toronto held the All Star Weekend in Canada, the sixth A.S.G. in the Clipper and Lakerland of the downtown STAPLES of L.A. was the first of it’s kind. As two of the best players in the association and reigning finalists decided to draft their own pool of players against the wall for the ultimate black and white pick-up game between ‘Team Stephen’ and ‘Team LeBron’, for all the marbles of which of the last two champions would be King.

Well it certainly helps if James picks his rivals reigning MVP teammate Kevin Durant and his own former partner in pine championship crime Kyrie Irving for the big shots first.

But before all that it was down to regular festivities to begin the weekend of All-Star. Basketball’s equivalent of music’s Grammy’s or movies Oscars in Superbowl February. Opening these ceremonials Team World beat down Team USA 155-124 in the Rising Stars game that should really tell you something. Despite home court advantage rookie steal, Kyle Kuzma notching 20, fellow Californian franchise face Buddy Hield was king as the Sacramento star hit 29 as the two sides wore Clipper and Laker interloped Buffalo and MPLS throwbacks for the Hollywood script. And after Quavo of hit duo Migos took home the Celebrity Game MVP as Team Clippers beat Team Lakers 79-66, Spencer Dinwiddie paid the bills in a superior skills comp. Before scorching Sun in California Devin Booker showed his career high 70 was no one-hit wonder as he burnt down all the nets and the money-ball rack. Winning the three-point contest showdown from reigning winner and sixth man Eric Gordon. Grounding the Rocket as this Phoenix rose. Book it!

But after the most therapeutic competition of All-Star weekend it was time for the most exciting one just as compelling. And in honoring his father Larry Nance, the 1984 winner of the inaugural Slam-Dunk contest, Larry Nance Jr. rocked the baby cradle, like father, like dunk. As he even rocked the old-school Phoenix Suns jersey, short shorts and high-socks for an inspired imitation. But under the magicians cloak, those Los Angeles natives in attendance draped in gold wish he had turned into someone turning back the clock and wearing a Lakers jersey (those Lonzo assists with the ball would have helped). As what would have been a long awaited, eagerly anticipated home-team representation turned into an Akron homecoming for the Ohio hometown hero like LeBron in the Kings land once the trade deadline passed.

Pops Nance loved it though after he himself played the lions share of his career in Cleveland as a Cavalier. Even assisting his boy on his second slam, before he blew the house down with a windmill that even rocked Chris Rock and then double tapped an Instagram worthy picture perfect dunk that if your phone blinked, you’d have had to instant replay it to not miss it and believe it. But all this court creativity wasn’t enough like Maverick rookie Dennis Smith Jr.’s 360 reverse, through the legs 50. Or All-Star Victor Oladipo getting an assist off King T’Challa himself Chadwick Boseman, suiting up in the Black Panther mask and clawing a tomahawk. And if you think that was special, if only you were a fly on the wall for the moment entertainment megastar Jamie Foxx told Vic he loved his album and started singing ‘A Song For You’ with him in the parking lot (as told by Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins). As Utah’s jazz man Donovan Mitchell won by jumping over Kevin Hart and his family (Come on! How hard is that? The comedian was even crouched down. Seriously?! He could have even been sat on his shoulders and Mitch would have been good), and then breaking out the classic Vince Carter Raptor jersey and doing you know what.

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The whole weekend turned out to be a testament to a throwback tribute despite Nike’s brand new Team LeBron and Steph duds. Last years All-Star representative, Pelican Anthony Davis paying tribute to his injury fallen teammate brother Cousins by wearing what would have been his numero zero jersey. Free agent suitors beware, DeMarcus is going nowhere now this summer after this. You see he saw on I.G. but look at the shot. How s### was his seat for a would be player?

But after Black Eyed Pea Fergie caught flack for her soulful and sultry rendition of the Star Spangled Banner national anthem (hey, you didn’t complain when Marvin did it) the game hit all the high-flying, dunking high-notes. So much so fans needed throat lozenges like Pink! Even if there wasn’t a single Clipper or Laker representative in the game itself. Despite the lobbying for 6 Man, Lou Will and new Laker Isaiah Thomas only recently being LeBron’s actual teammate.

The King took the MVP crown himself as his 29 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists helped turn a 15 point hole into a 148-145 victory. And from the look on his face as he leapt into Kevin Durant’s arms of all people, it looked like he just won the NBA Championship back. And from the look on Steph’s face on the receiving end reply it was hard to disagree.

You may be the champion, but I’m the best in the world those eyes said.

Well it’s up to you to decide when round 2 of the All Star draft is televised next year for all to see in M.J.’s land of the greatest.

Charlotte’s going to be good!

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Is Isaiah Thomas IT For The Lakers?

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Usa Today 10601289.0
IT Came On A Hollywood Night

It’s All-Star break this weekend in Los Angeles, but the Lakers already have a new one since the trade deadline to lead their young core in the heart of the city. Even if Team LeBron didn’t pick him for Sundays pick up.

But how long will IT last?

Right now in the NBA the amount of movers is really putting the shakers on teams. So much so that in regards to loyalty in this league it’s even colder than the Olympics in Pyeonchang, South Korea right now. But then again it is the Winter after all. Recently Cleveland cleaned house and LeBron’s land for some Cavalier moves. Jettisoning several All-Star points for their changing of the guard. Including former MVP Derrick Rose, ‘Bron brodie Dwyane Wade back to the Heat of Miami, South Beach and even the guy they traded Kyrie for.

Yep that’s right after summer swapping Irving for Isaiah, the Cavs sent Thomas along with versatile big-man vet Channing Frye to Lakerland. In return they got the buckets of ‘Sixth Man’ sure thing Jordan Clarkson and another Akron hometown hero in the form of Larry Nance Jr.

And although the Lakers picked-up a certified All-Star with Iverson kill at will, little man syndrome scoring a lot of fans where left tweeting negative emojis and gifs following the deadline deal. And not because their new number seven seal was a former Boston Celtic great only a season ago. Or that the former tooth chipper is now a befallen superstar by way of injury. More that the Lake Show loved the young Ball, Ingram, Kuzma, Randle and Zubac core that has lost it’s first big time players of the future since the de-loading trade of D’Angelo Russell last summer.

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Clarkson was a class act and there from the luck of the late round steal start. Whereas when Nance Jr. ran the floor like his pops all the bleachers snapped shut, tilted up. Lakerland finally thought they would see their own slamming son represent them in the Slam Dunk Contest he should surely win now like father, like dunk today. But now he’ll be doing it all for one and one for all.

But with the fast tracked pace of the Lakers new speedy dynamite dynamo it could still be Showtime again for Magic’s men like when Earvin Johnson was kissing another Isiah Thomas hello in the golden era 80’s. But this Isaiah Thomas-so long as he can ball in the same backcourt as Ball once injury time gives way to the Lavar…excuse me the Lonzo Angeles Lakers-could attract even more free agents like the expected homecoming of Paul George from the Thunder to the purple reign this offseason. Even if rumour has a Black Panther/Killmonger like relationship between this point prince and the King of the Ohio land.

But if it’s between LeBron as a Laker or another one of James’ sidekicks than who do you think will hold the headlines for tomorrows Los Angeles Times? Especially as Isaiah could aim higher than coming off the bench this summer as a free agent without restriction himself. His big contract coming off the books with Channing’s (Frye not Hollywood’s Tatum), another big three big in Brook Lopez and another former All-Star in Luol Deng (yep…he’s still here).

All these multiples of millions would surely make for a kings ransom.

This could be it, so lets enjoy I.T. whilst he lasts.

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Nuggets Jamal Murray breaks Steven Adams Ankles with Filthy Handles

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Nuggets Jamal Murray Breaks Steven Adams Ankles Filthy Handles

Denver Nuggets Guard Jamal Murray breaks OKC Thunder center Steven Adams ankles with his filthy and deadly combination of handles and three-point shooting. Murray was sensational finishing with 33 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds in a thrilling 127-124 victory. The Canadian guard (Kitchener, ON) is having the best year of his NBA career and has arguably become best Canadian basketball player in the NBA. The 6’4″, 207 lbs guard is flourishing under Head  Coach Mike Malone’s system and is averaging a respectable 16 points per game, 3.6 rebounds and 3 assists per game through 50 regular season games including a career-high 38-point outburst against the Portland Trail Blazers.

BTW. I can watch this all day!

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