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2016/2017 NBA Season Preview-Eastern Conference

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Atlantic Division

Toronto Raptors

The 6 turned the rest of the NBA upside down so much they are no longer a 9 seed now. Drake’s knights are all stars now, like dynamic duo DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowrey. And adding the likes of Jared Sullinger to a pine fresh bench that features Canadian homecomer Corey Joseph is going to take them even further out the cabin in the woods.

Brooklyn Nets

A few years and millions ago the Brooklyn Nets biggest problem was who out of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett was going to take the ball. Now underrated big-man Brook Lopez needs some help in his B.K. fight for N.Y. And his twin just escaped New York, going from the Big Apple to the Windy City. At least the as enigmatic as his hair Jeremy Lin is back in the city that gave him his 15 minutes of Linsanity. But did you see that lay-up he blew this week Shaq’ting a fool? Time for the Nets to go figure before they become just another gif.

New York Knicks

The real home of New York basketball outside of the Rucker isn’t looking as rotten with the new New York Knicks. The ‘bockers have a real spring in their step with the Derrick Rose that grew from Chicago concrete…and he brought his Bull brother Noah with him in free agency too. Add Brandon Jenning and Courtney Lee, Porzingis becoming a legit star and Carmelo Anthony having as big a year on the floor as all the awareness he is socially spreading off it then M.S.G. looks to get Mecca mega. Then they’ll be yapping about them even more in ‘Luke Cage’ barbershops. And just maybe Phil Jackson will be able to get himself a free haircut.

Philadelphia 76ers

Philly can’t catch a break right now. Unless it’s to number one draft pick Ben Simmons’ foot. Their accension from the lotto to the big ticket is like Rocky running up those steps with a dislocated hip. The creed of their city Allen Iverson answered the halls call this Summer. But their are questions shrouding their future famers. We all know the rookie season big-man Jahil Okafor had and Joel Embiid may be back but how much room is there in Nerlens Noel’s frontcourt? Put them all up there and you have one imposing frontline, especially when the next LeBron comes back from injury to guard everything else. That could be scary, but right now the Sixers are having a nightmare.

Boston Celtics

Beantown just got a shot of coffee like Boston Common this Summer. He may not be Bill Russell, but big-man Al Horford is the Celtics type of player through and through. Even if the professional veteran has spent the rest of his career with the Atlanta Hawks. He is the centrepiece of a talent and underrated roster that could bring the C’s back to the champagne and chips. All lead by Point Guard Isiah Thomas. One of the quickest, savviest floor genreals since…well Isiah Thomas.

Central Division

Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James and all the Kings men erased a half century city drought, all the doubt and a never done before 3-1 defecit in the NBA Finals against the 73 win game best Golden Stade Warriors for the realest comeback in ‘Brons Ohio homecoming. One Kevin Durant later and everyone is trying to take all this from The Land. But there’s real Cavaliers here. And Cleveland have added the type of Richard Jefferson vets that are animals when it comes to experience. From James’ former Miami Heat rock Chris Anderson, flying above the rim like a Birdman, to the legacy lineage of smooth forward Mike Dunleavy Jr. But whose going to sign J.R.? Lets not forget the Love like Kevin. The King can take his throne again this year because there’s a name here just as scary as Kevin. It’s Kyrie.

Chicago Bulls

And you say Chi-cities Bulls looked ready for a stampede last year. Now Chicago’s recharged and really seeing red. Sure in the wind of change losing hero Derrick Rose, heart Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol on hallmark form was tough, but keeping the services of Jimmy Butler was the number one priority. And they did it! But look at the big-three they’ve got in return. These guards may not be literally big, but they’ll run this small ball league into the ground. On paper Rajon Rondo is the leagues best prototype Point Guard, but buyer beware this former Celtic had been on almost as many teams since as players he’s passed too. Still homegrown Dwyane Wade’s return to his true city is the sweetest story for Chicago…even if it is weird not seeing him in Miami’s own classic red, white and black. But alas when it comes to the legendary Bulls future, rookie Denzel Valentine may show them the most love.

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Indiana Pacers

Last year Paul George returned from the previous ones season crippling injury to show he was still the player he always was…if not better. This year he plans to go one more saying he has his sights set on league MVP. The Oympic Gold Medalists team look to more however. As the Pacers in their 50th year in Indiana have quickly and quietly assembled one of the best and most underrated rosters in the association after losing the likes of George Hill, Roy Hibbert, David West and Lance Stephenson/Danny Granger. Don’t believe us? Aaron Brooks, Monta Ellis, Al Jefferson, C.J. Miles, Rodney Stuckey, Jeff Teague, Myles Turner, Thaddeus Young and Glenn Robinson’s kid tell you differently. Larry Bird’s men look to run the picket fence with a lot of dark horse power. Keep Pace!

Detroit Pistons

Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson and Tobias Harris are the big-three and they may be enough to motor the Pistons to the point where everones screaning “DEE-TROIT BASKET-BALL” again. Their one of the most overlooked triple threats in a league of Holy Trinity’s. But you can’t overlook what’s overtaking you. Motown and Motor City are not over. We told you to keep pace.

Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks do not stop with the ban of O.J. Mayo. They begin with the alphabet of Giannis Antelokounmpo. The M.C.W. The making of Thon Maker. The return of Jabari Parker. And even Michael Beasley. The big contract for Cav champ Matthew Delladova. Or the big-man himself Greg Monroe, as complimentary to this team as Clarence Cleamons was on the E Street Sax. Jason Kidd’s kids where born to run and with veteran six Jason Terry coming off the bench like a runway the Bucks could really jet.

Southeast

Washington Wizards

If it aint broke, don’t try to cast a spell to fix it. The Washington Wizards house of guards John Wall and Bradley Beal and their Lincoln towering centre Marcin Gortat have been around for as long as Gandalf, but they’re still so Griffindor young. But for this team to be really capital like D.C. perhaps it’s time to initital a few more contracts. The Wiz will always be a quick draw but it’s time for someone new to come to town. But please, anybody but Trump.

Miami Heat

Once, twice, three times a loser. The big-three is done. First the King James exiled himself back home to the throne and now even Heat lifer Dwyane Wade has returned to his roots in the Rose concrete broken Chicago. But the real tragedy is Miami giving up on Chris Bosh. Lets hope and pray this is not the end. Now the most experienced South Beach talent is Gorjan Drajic. But Hassan Whiteside and Justice Winslow are the future. They might be able to count on a few more lottery picks for company soon. Don’t count them out though. The Heat is still on…but the flame is flickering.

Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks have lost a couple of wingmen. But long time franchise faces Jeff Teague and Al Horford will always be welcome in Atlanta. The players that are playing now include Kent Bazemore, Jarret Jack and Tim Hardaway Jr. And Hawkeye Kyle Korver is still the arrow man. But it’s Dwight Howard’s 100 watt Magic smile that is the new face of the A. Some in Orlando, Los Angeles and Houston may have their doubts, but wearing Kobe Bryant’s old number in memory of the family he could have had Dwight’s return to his Georgia home has so much more sweet meaning to it. And a bruising big frontcourt wih Paul Millsap will hit back at all those taking shots until the ATL reaches the knockout stages.

Charlotte Hornets

There’s a lot of buzz surrounding Hornet basketball right now. But there always will be when this North Carolinan team is owned by the greaest to ever do it, Michael Jordan. Sure they may not have the All-Star game anymore…and rightfully so, but the franchise still has those type of players. The Lance Stephenson experiment didn’t work (again). Now it’s time for Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Nicholas Batum and Frank Kaminsky to be all they can be. Then the honeycomb will be as sweet as those Kobe teal what could have been draft Nike’s. But don’t worry…Charlotte is good.

Orlando Magic

How about a Magic trick? How about the Penny pinstripe throwbacks making something out of a roster that features thunderous free agent Serge Ibaka, real dunk champ Aaron Gordon, sophomore stud Elfrid Payton and veteran journeyman star gunner Jeff Green? Otherwise Orlando will only be known for Disney and what could have been with Supermen Shaq and Dwight Howard…and don’t get us started on them losing Tobias Harris. Now you see them. Now you don’t!

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Big Trouble For Lakers Against Nets In China

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Big Trouble For Lakers Against Nets In China
The China Syndrome...

Making ’em move and shake like the guitar he strums, former Laker meme team reserve Lance Stephenson is making his name and game proud in China. Lifting trophies just weeks after taking off for the Far East. But as for his former team, they had nothing to dance about when they left China after their Shanghai/Shenzhen double-header with the Brooklyn Nets.

There was no Kevin Durant. In the end with a facial fracture no Kyrie Irving and no Anthony Davis for most of Game 2 with a sore thumb. It sucked. But there was almost no game for all the King’s men and the Brooklyn boys as China went dark on the NBA following the events of last week.

Billboards of LeBron and co came down like witnessing the first time he left Cleveland for the talents of South Beach following some comments from the Rockets G.M., James Harden and Russell Westbrook in support of the Hong Kong protesters. And they weren’t even in China. Playing big in Japan with the champion Toronto Raptors. Splitting their two game series in Tokyo a year before the 2020 Olympics, one game apiece. Commissioner Adam Silver back them up saying they, the protestors and everyone has a “right to free speech”…and then everything came down.

First China cut ties with the NBA like your exes friends on Facebook. Then all posters, media and the like were removed like any chance of these games being televised. It looked like they wouldn’t even tip off as the Lakers and Net teams were stuck in their hotel rooms wondering if they could even go outside to Instagram those iconic skyline sights. The Lakers-getting there first-didn’t even have WIFi to check what was going on or scroll through their Twitter timelines and take on the trolls. But in the end from Shanghai to Shenzhen there was LeBron bringing back the iconic chalk-toss pregame like he has the headband Heat days.

But if the King thought that was the end of his troubles in China then he was thumb sorely mistaken as the Nets bucketed the Lakers on the four frames of both trips. And if you want to talk about trolling Brooklyn also had the best bite back GIF reply to the Lakers “consider this a warning” tweet last week after beating the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco for their preseason opener.

Spencer Dinwiddie’s expression said it all.

Watch what you tweet.

Despite dropping two like Alka Seltzer tablets the Lake’s put on a show as ‘Bron bulldozed the lane like John Deere and the Ghidora three-headed big-man monster of the Lakers showed they could even take on Godzilla if they were ever to cross the continent to the city of Tokyo. A.D. again coming up big before injuries got in his way, even from downtown Shanghai on that night, showed how much he’s been working on his three-ball. But wolf McGee huffing, puffing and blowing the Nets painted post house down and Howard finishing off alley-oops with that old Orlando magic (looking more and more like a solid pick-up to round out the bolstered bench on his reunion redemption move) turned the lay-up line into a dunk contest. With both former participants liking it from their alternate takes on the bench and vice versa. Getting up and off it like it was their time to play.

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McGee is one of this writers fan favourite Laker players…of any era. But if you bleed purple and gold you have to love the Bruce Bowen like Avery Bradley right now and all he’s doing for the team not only the defence end he dominates like the people’s court, but the shots he selects and creates for himself on the business end. From reigning champ Danny Green, to little Greek brother Kostas Antetokounmpo who also showed out, A.B. in the offseason of A.D. may be one of LeBron’s Lakers best pick-ups. Especially in this pick-up game like preseason exhibition. Hopes for this purple season are higher than Meth and Red right now.

But in the end in China it was nothing but the Nets.

Spreading love the BKLYN way with some crazy, rich wins, the Nets tore down the Lakers 114-111 in Shanghai, thanks to a former Laker of all people. As former (former) D-League to big league sensation David Nwaba iced the game off the turnover with a huge, signature slam with 13.9 to go before KCP (he’s still here… that’s how abyss deep the Lakers are this year) couldn’t convert a clutch three. This after both Irving and Caris LaVert went down (the latter joining Kyrie’s facial fractures with being poked in the eye). Spencer ‘The GIF’ Dinwiddie with 20 et al picked up the slack however to show the Nets are just as deep. Especially upfront, even rivalling the Lakers big, big-three as Jarrett Allen and new free agent pick-up DeAndre Jordan combined for seven big blocks.

Not treading shallow water either the following game on the H.K. border of Shenzhen closed it all out for an eventful and stressful half week. With many fans wearing hearts on their jerseys and other on their sleeves as the former New Jersey Nets took on the former Minneapolis Lakers in the second Chinese city. LeVert returned and scored 22 in that many minutes of play to lead his team to a 3-zip postseason record ensuring the Lakers would get no sleep on their return flight ’till Los Angeles. And this was without Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving. Even the locked down dreads of rookie Nicolas Claxton got in on the action with 8 points in nine minutes. If the Nets can beat the Lakers now just imagine what it will be like when their one, two punch hits. It looks like they have a dynamic duo to best not only ‘Bron and the ‘Brow, but the Shaq and Kobe greatest of all time too.

But if you thought that was how you send a message then just look at the Chinese fans who came to the game in their teams jerseys, but with a Chinese flag covering the Jerry West silhouette of the NBA logo.

Now that’s how you make a statement.

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Rockets and Raptors Win Big in NBA Japan 2019

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Rockets and Raptors Win Big in NBA Japan
Scream If You Want To Go To Japan...

Big NBA exhibitions in Japan. Who says a pack of Raptors can’t take down Tokyo’s very own monster Kaiju, Godzilla? Even without the LeBron or Kobe first named basis Kawhi anymore, the Toronto Raptors proved they were still reigning champions as they beat the Harden (despite 21 first half points) and Westbrook reunited (and it feels so good), soaring Houston Rockets 134-129 in the first of their Japan Games twofor series in Tokyo’s Saitama Super Area, Tuesday.

But Canada’s very own BasketballBuzz was in the house for the Thursday rematch, for our We The North vs Houston home-stand. Although the red lined court design looked so 6 you almost expected to see Drake courtside picking lint out of James Harden’s beard. You could really see real Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia though (I mean he never misses a game and yep he was really here. Did you really think he was going to let something as little as a continent stand in his way?). NBA big-man Raptor and Rocket legends, Chris Bosh and Dikembe Mutombo (wagging his iconic digit like “Batsu”, with the fans McDonald’s loving it), Japanese tennis ace Naomi Osaka and sumo wrestling legend Konishiki were in attendance however. In the Far East on the 55th anniversary of Tokyo’s 1964 Olympic Games.

On this day Yoshinori Sakai, born on the day of the Hiroshima bombing 19 years previous carried the torch we know as the Olympic Flame. This epic, exhibition event the perfect precursor to next year’s 2020 Games and the race for hoops five ring gold in this land of the rising sun, host nation, capital city. With this writer supporting the Toronto team he once lived in tonight, trying to make a teaching (and who knows maybe one day coaching) dream come true in this big city of bright neon lights holding on to his ticket on the subway like a Willy Wonka golden one Charlie.

As after losing to the dinosaurs in the first roaring round, the beard of Houston’s James Harden caused unintended problems as he made some comments in support of Hong Kong protesters in the Far East, that lead to Commissioner Adam Silver backing him and the right for free speech up and then China itself going dark on the NBA across the continent. Clawing down billboards of the forthcoming Lakers and Nets games in Shanghai and Shenzhen (good job this purple and gold bleeder didn’t book that extra flight) with LeBron and A.D. company having no WiFi and no clue what was going on. Just like most of us refreshing our timelines. The game went ahead in the end with Brooklyn netting the Lake Show, 114-111 in their first of two round.

But as Harden stirred the pot like his classic celebration and professed his love for China, not even a typhoon on the way this weekend for their whirlwind week was going to stop Tokyo’s Basketball banner moment. It has been a fast moving seven days for the most innovative city on the planet. First rock God Lenny Kravitz assembled his Hollywood rich and famous, Dom Pérignon bottle popping, black and white photo gallery Assemblage exhibition in the fashionable district of Harajuku in Shibuya and now crossing over this game has gone global. With games of the NBA’s best also being exhibited in places like India, Mexico…and hopefully China too.

Tokyo’s massive population came out in their sold out droves for this one. As they proved they were as excited about these two teams (Houston’s rise in the Far East goes as far back as Yao…so you can imagine the fallout. Time for the Ming dynasty to step in) as they are for Japan’s very own top ten pick, the Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura or last year’s hustling Memphis Grizzlies big man of the future, Yuta Watanabe. With Harden, 13 and Siakam, 43 jerseys lining the bleachers. Although both teams missed a trick playing in their respective reds and whites for the flag like Canada.

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Now that would have been a statement.

They were made in the game however after the “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” of the lay-up line putting on a show for Tokyo came the running and screaming for the Jurassic Park vs Apollo 13 franchises. What more could you expect for the first NBA game in Japan since 1991? Although this city and country has been immersed in Americana culture of that decade since years before then. With a 7Eleven and Starbucks on every corner like Eric Gordon going for back-to-back threes downtown here.

The hoops hoopla didn’t disappoint either as the 2K new to the NBA live generation were kept entertained in this gladiator arena by Clutch and Raptor mascots, fan events and that old timeless t-shirt tossing…no matter what size you are, you’re grabbing for those sleeves like it was the New Year sales. Despite Raptor Kyle Lowry being milk carton just days after announcing he was re-upping for a year next season and not pulling a Kawhi via The Players Tribune. And NBA and FIBA world champion in the same Summer (that’s a record right?) Marc Gasol coming off the bench for some brief burn like touching a plate you had warming up in the oven for too long whilst you were waiting for an overdue pizza delivery. Albeit to cheers like he was a Hall of Famer. Come to think of it little brother and this generations Vlade Divac is one. Especially when you take into the account older Pau is the second best European player of all-time and only a fraction better than his sibling.

Or the Harden/Westbrook tandem-both scoring 22-being in foul or slumping trouble when they weren’t jack knifing their way through the paint butter for some geometry defying lay-ups. Cutting a hardwood path to a 118-112 Rockets over Raptors victory bite back. Seeing James do that dribble, step-back, rug and court cutting shuffle-especially in a pink P.J. Tucker sneaker king approved pair of kicks that he threw into the crowd like a rock star does drumsticks post set-is one of this age games eight wonders like Russell’s athletic enthusiasm as he runs to his corner like Ali or A.I. Screaming for the fans to get pumped.

It was Clint Capela (10 powerful points to go with 7 rebounds and 2 big blocks) and even his veteran back-up, big Tyson Chandler who came up big off the block or oop before the reserves cleared up the garbage like Japanese soccer fans the World Cup stands. Making sure those in court regalia passing the salary men on the escalators to the last train left satisfied and with both teams taking a game, content in the Yin and Yang feeling that this was just one half of a whole lot of world wide spanning and spinning basketball that Tokyo is about to see in 2020.

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