Raptors need a win badly

The Toronto Raptors losing streak is not surprising to me because I believe this roster is an average team, but losing to the New York Knicks without Carmelo Anthony and giving up 103 points. The Raptors need to move on and beat the Philadelphia Sixers on Monday. A work colleague said it best, “The Raptors losing streak won’t be long because there is always a terrible Eastern team to help them break it.”
The Knicks were the terrible team to help break the losing streak. Head Coach Dwayne Casey was so confident that he gave Kyle Lowry a night off to rest. The Raptors are 23 – 6 against teams below .500, which explains there huge lead in the Atlantic Division. They were able to win many games with excellent shooting behind the arc against weaker opponents.
The Raptors excellent ball movement from last year has disappeared because Lowry and DeMar DeRozan think they are Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant because each one takes more than 15 shots a game. Lowry’s shot selection hasn’t changed much; he is taking almost 2 more shots a game and is shooting 7% less from the three point line. DeRozan who has shot over 42% from the field is presently at 38%.
The role players’ number has also dropped recently. Patrick Patterson early season 45% shooting from the three point line to 39.6%. Lou Williams is third on the team is field goal attempts with 11.2 is a streaky shooters; therefore when he is on let him shoot and when he is off get him off the court.
The Raptors refuse to give Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson more shot attempts. They get most of their attempts of offensive rebounds. Jonas 8.1 attempts shots 55.9% and Amir 7 attempts shots 58.6%; they will also make some nice high low passes to each other for easy close in baskets. They are presently sixth and seventh in shot attempts on the Raptors.
Williams takes 5.5 and Lowry 5.4 three point shots a game, which is almost more filed goal attempts than the big men.
Will they beat the Sixers on Monday?
Have a great weekend!
You may comment or contact me on Twitter @AlixtheGambit or e-mail at Jadesronvil@gmail.com

UFC has now the best drug testing policy

Dana White has elevated and might have saved his fighting promotion by having all 22 fighters on the card for UFC 184 be tested not only their urine samples. The UFC has implemented blood samples will also be tested.
The UFC was put in a corner with the many failed drug test in the last few UFC events. Jon Jones for cocaine, Anderson Silva steroids, Hector Lombard anabolic steroids and Nick Diaz marijuana were among the notable drug test failures. Jones and Silva hurt the most because they are the UFC biggest drawing pay-per-view fighters.
The use of TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy) should be the next thing to go because the UFC can’t expect clean fighters to face opponents who get exceptions. Vitor Belfort is getting a title shot against Chris Weidman; it would have been interesting to see if this fight was still on the UFC 184 because Belfort is on the list of fighters who get to use TRT therapy.
Congratulations to Dana White and the UFC for taking this big step in professional fighting. Now, we will not see physical mismatches because someone took drugs to cut weight and day of the fight is 30 pounds heavier than his opponent. The Georges St- Pierre versus Johny Hendricks big physical difference is a prime example. The night of the fight GSP is 176 and Hendricks is 199 pounds.
This may put pressure on the four major professional sports unions to accept urine and blood testing as part of their collective bargaining agreement. It won’t happen immediately because the owners like their doped up athletes to put up incredible statistics to promote their sports and get fans in the seats. The NFL (National Football League), MLB (Major League Baseball), NBA (National Basketball Association) and NHL (National Hockey League) are still a long ways away from including blood tests.
The four major leagues all have some form of doping issues that needs to be addressed and now the UFC took this step it is time for them to take it also. HGH (Human Growth Hormone) doesn’t show up in urine samples, but if you did a blood test then the athlete would be caught.
Could this mean that GSP may come back to the UFC?
Have a great weekend!
You may comment or contact me on Twitter @AlixtheGambit or e-mail at Jadesronvil@gmail.com

Can D-Rose play “Old Man basketball”?

The Chicago Bulls management didn’t play or Rose didn’t want to play in the NBA Playoffs last year when his team could have used his help. He instead went to the Team USA basketball in the summer with his head coach Tom Thibodeau.
The Bulls management should have prevented him from attending the camp. He was practicing at a high level against the best American basketball players. The knee injuries are more often than not caused by the wear and tear it is rarely because of something that happened on the night of the injury.
Rose was playing 31 minutes a game and seemed to be getting better when the injury happened. He has had three consecutive years of knee surgeries, which puts in doubt how well he can comeback from this latest one.
NBA analyst Kenny Smith uses the expression, “Old Man basketball.” Anybody who has played recreational or park basketball know what that expression means. It describes a player like Paul Pierce who hardly has a vertical, is slow, but quick and has an high basketball I.Q. Pierce never seems to be moving at 100 miles per hour when he plays. He moves like tortoise and still finds a way to be effective on both ends of the floor. Pierce and Andre Miller can play past their primes because they their basketball game doesn’t depend on athletic ability only.
Rose still depends on his athletic ability to be an effective player. He was supposed to have an improved jump shoot; therefore reducing his need to drive and make explosive moves on the offensive end. Rose was shooting an abysmal 28.7% from the three point line with 5.5 attempts a game, which is a career high for him in attempts.
Derrick leads the Bulls in field goal attempts with 16.9; he still believes he can be the MVP type player that he was before his knee injuries. He is not able to pick and choose when to try to be aggressive and when to be a facilitator.
I’m afraid players like Rose can’t make the transition from super athletic to a more cerebral player because he has always depended on his athletic ability to be a great player.
Can Rose change his game?
Have a great weekend!
You may comment or contact me on Twitter @AlixtheGambit or e-mail at Jadesronvil@gmail.com

Rose injury will not affect Bulls

The Chicago Bulls have gone long stretches without Derrick Rose over the last 2 seasons; he has played only 49 out of 164 games. The Bulls still have a solid eight man rotation. They have two starters who were All-star this season: Pau Gasol and Jimmy Butler. The starting center is Joakim Noah who was defensive player of the year. Mike Dunleavy is not spectacular, but is a solid professional who understands his limitations.
Kirk Hinrich will once again become the starting point guard and Aaron Brooks will come off the bench to provide three point shooting and instant offense.
Taj Gibson 10.7 points and 6.7 rebounds a game in less than 29 minutes of playing time. He would be the starting power forward on many NBA teams.
The pressure will be on either Nikola Mirotic or Tony Snell to provide scoring off the bench. Someone has to step up and make shots because the Bulls defense is no longer the number one ranked defense in the Eastern Conference.
The Bulls are presently the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference with a three game lead on the Washington Wizards and four ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks. The seventh seed Miami Heat are eleven games behind the Bulls. Chicago will be guaranteed a top 6 position.
The Wizards have fallen apart after a great start and are 2 – in their last 10 games. The Bucks are a young team that made a few trades at the trade deadline. They are playing well despite that I don’t think they will past the Bulls either.
The Bulls have 24 games remaining and will be able to be .500 (12 – 12), which means they will reach the 48 wins mark. I don’t see the Wizards go 15 – 10 or the Bucks attain a 16 – 9 mark to close out the season. The Bulls will maintain their fourth spot and avoid the Cleveland Cavaliers until the Eastern Conference Finals.
Can Bulls keep the fourth seed in the East?
Have a great weekend!
You may comment or contact me on Twitter @AlixtheGambit or e-mail at Jadesronvil@gmail.com
the Bulls make the Eastern Conference Finals without Rose?

LeBron’s 10 year old son is being recruited

The NCAA committee only goes after athletes without trying to control the recruitment violations to protect the kids and their families from the predators.
Lebron James said in the post: “It should be a violation. You shouldn’t be recruiting 10 year old kids.” http://www.nba.com/2015/news/02/26/lebron-not-happy-colleges-recruiting-10-year-old-son.ap/
I’m glad King James has made those comments to the media, which will make the NCAA accountable for the actions of the college recruiters. James shouldn’t have to mention names. The NCAA better react quickly before the negative social media storm gets too big to handle if this practice is legal then they should put an immediate end to this bombarding of parents and kid with letters and calls. The recruiters showing up to games in their school logos to watch ten years old play is terrible.
The NBA want schools to change one and done rule to two years in order to help the NCAA and themselves. The colleges need to show when a child goes to their school; they will leave a better person from the mentoring and education that they received while attending the University; unfortunately it is not the case for many student-athletes especially Black ones.
The NCAA committee have suspended many athletes for selling game worn jerseys’ for money or tattoos, taking free plane tickets to get their parents to the Bowl games, academic violations, having dinner with agents and laws broken by them. The schools and coaches are rarely punished for transgressions.
The schools that have started to recruit LeBron’s 10 years old son should apologize to the James family. The NCAA should hold a press conference to put an end to it and penalize school that broke this rule. It has been going on for years and no one has done anything about it because schools would send clothing with team logo or other gifts that would be considered a violation. This became normal along the way and now needs to be stopped.
The NCAA is the biggest exploitation going on that is making billions, sports stations are paying and making billions with commercials sold during the games, coaches are being paid over 3 million dollars a year on average to coach a Division 1 – top 25 schools, while the student-athlete supposedly get an education, free basketball shoes, uniform, t-shirts and track suits with team logo.
I should say top 5 because child labour in many countries is worse than the situation of the USA student-athletes. The athletes are not compensated for their labour. Yes, practices, watching game films, meetings and playing games in front of thousands of fans and they are nationally televised is definitely labour because people pay to see it.
Are you surprised LeBron’s son is being recruited?
Have a great day!
You may comment or contact me on Twitter @AlixtheGambit or e-mail at Jadesronvil@gmail.com

Cavs victory over the Warriors sent a message

The Cleveland Cavaliers victory over the Golden State Warriors last night sent a message to the NBA that the Cavs will be in the NBA Finals. LeBron James attacked relentlessly every time he had the ball, which permitted him to either score at the rim or pass the ball to open three point shooters.
The best player in the World showed why he is the best. LeBron’s 42 points, 5 assists and 11 rebounds was his 41st (40-5-5) as per ESPNNBA twit, which puts him second to Michael Jordan with Kobe and Allen Iverson completing top 4 who have done it the most time in the last 30 years.
The Cavs have finally caught the Toronto Raptors in the wins category, but have two more losses than the Raptors for the number two seed in the Eastern Conference. Cleveland’s 18 – 2 may not be enough to put them in position to catch Atlanta Hawks, but every team in the East is realizing the Cavaliers are getting hot at the right time. Home court advantage in their first two playoff rounds would be a great advantage.
Kyrie Irving will be second in scoring on most nights on the Cavs and Kevin Love will be third. Irving is finding ways to score 20 points and being more efficient with his shot selection. He is deferring to LeBron more often than he did earlier in the year.
Love numbers have dropped just as Chris Bosh stated when he was traded to the Cavs. Kevin would gladly trade in 20 – 10 seasons for a possibility at an NBA Championship and only getting 17 – 10 average a night.
Only injuries to two of the Cavs big three or to King James can prevent them from being in the Eastern Conference Finals and four wins away from an NBA Championship.
Who will be in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cavs?
Have a great day!
You may comment or contact me on Twitter @AlixtheGambit or e-mail at Jadesronvil@gmail.com

NBA Eastern Conference playoff race…

The NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is in no hurry to make any changes to the NBA playoff format because the horrible Eastern Conference has 15 teams and only 2 are out of the playoff race. The Orlando Magic with 19 wins and .328 winning percentage is only 4 games out of a playoff spot.
The fan base in each NBA city that has a team with a .436 and .407 winning percentage are only 2 games apart. The group is comprised of 5 teams (Miami Heat, Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers and Charlotte Hornets) fighting for 2 playoff spots makes for exciting basketball games and keeps the fans focusing on playoff opportunities rather than their teams poor record. The Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic a few losses away from being eliminated.
The Western Conference has 10 teams battling for 8 spots and only 5 teams are eliminated at this point in the season. The New Orleans Pelicans and Phoenix Suns are within 2 games of the red hot Oklahoma City Thunder.
The current format has 25 out of 30 teams having a legitimate shot at a playoff spot with less than 28 games remaining on average is excellent for the league. Any changes such as top 16 records would reduce the amount of contender drastically to less than 20 if we look at current standing. The 16 seed has currently 29 wins and give them a 5 game lead on the Heat with 24.
The only adjustment that the Commissioner should consider is to have 2 divisions instead of 3. The Atlantic Division leader Toronto Raptors have a 14 game lead with 26 games left on their schedule. The second place Nets are no threat to the Division leaders. The NBA should follow in NHL footsteps and make 2 divisions within a Conference.
Should the NBA change their playoff format?
Have a great day!
You may comment or contact me on Twitter @AlixtheGambit or e-mail at Jadesronvil@gmail.com

Leafs are not tanking on purpose

The Toronto Maple Leafs are presently 2 – 15 – with Peter Horachek as their Head Coach. The players on the team don’t seem to have any pride. Some fans believe that Toronto is tanking to get Connor McDavid in order to justify why the Leafs have played so poorly.
There is no way professional athletes lose on purpose for a high draft picks. The players who make it to the NHL need to be mentally tough, talented and had success at different points in their development before reaching the big leagues. Toronto are losing because of a lack of leadership, talent and heart.
The Leafs locker room without Dion Phaneuf has made young players Nazem Kadri and Morgan Reilly have to answer more questions from the media. Phaneuf as Captain and undisputed leader of the Leafs would field most of the tough media questions. Reilly had to apologize yesterday for his comment, “You’re not here to, you know, be a girl about it.” A young player answering a question honestly and challenging his teammates’ lack of mental toughness was missed by everyone it seems. A 20 year old player just called out his teammates, but everybody concentrated on him attacking girls.
Which activity Phil Kessel’s dislike more: play in the defensive zone or answer media questions? He is a goal scorer and that is all he contributes to a team. On a struggling Leafs team; they need more from him as a player and leader. He doesn’t want to be the leader.
Connor McDavid would not be able to save the Leafs franchise with the players on the current roster. The organization has to bring in players who can play and take on leadership roles.
Toronto maybe the worst team in the NHL in terms of drafting, using their farm team prospects, signing free agents and NCAA players, which explain the Leafs disastrous record this season. The new management will have trade Kadri or he will be another bad contract they will have to move.
The Leafs went from being a playoff contender to the fifth worst team in the NHL. The Carolina Hurricanes two points behind them and also have two games in hand. The Arizona Coyotes and Edmonton Oilers have closed the gap between them and the Leafs. Only the Buffalo Sabres are guaranteed to be worse than the Leafs.
Can McDavid save the Leafs?
Have a great weekend!
You may comment or contact me on Twitter @AlixtheGambit or e-mail at Jadesronvil@gmail.com

OKC might finish higher than 8

The Oklahoma City Thunder made some great moves to improve their roster. They are now the eight seed in the Western Conference with 28 games remaining, five games behind the San Antonio Spurs and eight behind the Dallas Mavericks.
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are a great scoring duo. The additions they made: Enes Kanter, D.J. Augustine, Klye Singler and Steve Novak have made their bench stronger. Steven Adams and Mitch McGary give them big men that can rebound and score inside and not worry about foul trouble. The Thunder never had three big men battle opponents in the key for rebounds, which can change the complexion of a game.
The Thunder doesn’t need to worry about the Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Pelicans for the eight spot. Oklahoma can now set their sights on the Spurs for the seventh seed. The Spurs are struggling to put together a long winning streak to move them from seventh to third because there are only 3 games separating them from the Portland Trailblazers.
The Thunder roster has enough depth that KD can take some nights off and the team will still win. It will be interesting to see if Head Coach Scott Brooks incorporates a ball movement offense or will he let his dynamic duo do their thing, which is to be high volume shooters. They only have 28 games to make up ground. A 19 – 10 strong finish could give them 48 win total.
It is nice to have a talented Thunder roster now the star players must be able to get their teammates field goal attempts and give them confidence to contribute to the team’s success.
The Western Conference four to eight seed are still up for grabs. I believe the Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trailblazers will keep the top three spots.
Can the Thunder move up to the eight seed?
Have a great weekend!
You may comment or contact me on Twitter @AlixtheGambit or e-mail at Jadesronvil@gmail.com

Are the Raptors for real?

The Toronto Raptors beat the Atlanta Hawks again. The Raptors are the number 2 seed in the Eastern Conference six games behind number 1 seed Atlanta Hawks. Toronto is only 3 games ahead of the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers. Raptors are on a four game winning streak against some tough opponents who are playoff bound.
Are the Raptors for real? They are a big man shy of being a true NBA Finals contender. Toronto scores the most points per game and are the only team to give up more than 100 points a game in the top 8 in the Eastern Conference.
The Raptors may regret not adding a big man at the trade deadline. They didn’t want to give up Terrence Ross for Miles Plumlee, which would have given them an active big man who can rebound, defend and will try to dunk put backs.
The Hawks have loss 2 in a row and may lose five or seven in a row. They have played way over their heads and will have a hard time maintaining an over 75% winning percentage.
The Bulls have been up and down all season. They have loss too many games to inferior teams in order to move up in the standings. They will be a tough team to knockout in the playoffs because the Bulls have the talent and experience to win two rounds.
The best team in the Eastern Conference if they are healthy going into the playoffs is the Cavaliers who have won 15 out of 17 with many of the victories coming by more than 10 points. They have the best player on the planet earth (LeBron James), Kyrie Irving is one of the best one-on-one scorers in the NBA, Kevin Love is becoming a dependable double-double machine and their roles players fit in nicely.
The Cavs and Bulls are the two best teams in the Eastern Conference, while the Raptors are third. The playoffs are about playoff experience, size, team defense and star players, which the Raptors lack compared to their rivals.
Who will be your Eastern Conference Finals match-up?
Have a great weekend!
You may comment or contact me on Twitter @AlixtheGambit or e-mail at Jadesronvil@gmail.com

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