2022 NBA All Star starts today

The Celebrity Game opens this weekend’s All Star Game, followed by the Rising Stars Game.

The Celebrity lineup features the Mayor of Cleveland, Justin Bibb, among others, understandably so since he is the main host. The lineup includes various stars from different spheres. It will be Team Walton versus Team Nique. Sure sounds like it will definitely be a hilarious exciting event notwithstanding who wins.

The Rising Stars Game (photos courtesy of NBA) features twelve Rookies, twelve sophomores (2nd-year NBA’ers), and four players from the G League. There will be other activities in-between the games.

Watch it on ESPN or your local television channels.

Ben Simmons finally found a new home

The unfortunate saga surrounding Ben Simmons (BS) finally ended when he found a new home with the Brooklyn Nets in a megadeal that included James Harden.

The former Philadelphia Sixers (PS) guard has been in the foray of various media attacks since the last NBA Season allegedly because he failed to shoot (or dunk) a net against the Atlanta Hawks during the 2020-21 season’s playoff, thus ending the chances of his Team, Philadelphia Sixers, vying for the Championship.

True or false? Could BS’s shot had secured the win for PS? I believe that it’s easier said than done.

Personally speaking, I felt bad for the hand that was dealt the 25-year old, 6’11 Australian native. From the outside looking on and in, the whole incident appeared like a hostile takeover-pushout of sorts. With Doc Rivers as head coach, it seemed something had to be conjured against the Australian basketballer in order to edge him out and have his (Doc Rivers) son-in-law (Seth Curry) take over. I suppose nepotism is allowed in the NBA.

Yes, Seth Curry is the younger brother of Golden State Warriors’ affable Star Steph Curry. We all love Steph. I love Steph. It’s easy to love Steph. And because of Steph, I suppose that his family is accorded the same love. Because of Steph love, my conclusion was that many quarters who ought to speak truth to power regarding Ben Simmons-Sixers’ issue, failed to.

Simmons wanted to be traded. He requested it in August during preseason but Sixers won’t oblige. I heard some quarters stated that BS is under contract and must abide by the letters. However, does the Team realize that you can take a horse to the river, but you can’t force it to gobble down the water. If BS, for whatever reason wants out, it is pointless trying to force him to stay. Forcing him to continue to play is tantamount to controlling him. Unfortunately, you don’t get the best out of control. And you thought he did some bad last season, forcing him to stay would mean more bad, and Sixers would not have been near the Season’s record they now have.

Why wouldn’t Sixers trade him?

The question still baffles me. Why wouldn’t the Team trade Simmons? Several reasons were read in the media, among them were:

  1. He’s being paid so much that no other Team wants to pick up the tab because of Team salary caps; so he’s stuck
  2. He needs to grow up?!
  3. He needs to fulfill his contract
  4. Blah. Blah. Blah.

All the reasons were merely excuses to buy time. The one that floored me the most was his teammate (now former) and co-All Star counterpart, Joel Embiid’s negative rantings and comments to the print and social media which did not bode well for good sportsmanship.

Well, it was a loooooooong four (or six) months for all concerned. Hopefully, all sides are happy with the outcome. BS headed to Brooklyn and, guess what, with Seth Curry. With Seth Curry now out of Philly, I hope Sixers will still continue their winning streak. If today’s game with Celtics is a pointer of the Season’s second half for Sixers, Embiid better get ready to eat up all his words and BS will have the last laugh.

Sorry if I sounded like an instigator, but let’s keep it real.

Lessons learned from the BS-Sixers Issue

  1. People will unnecessarily take sides without knowing the full details of all concerned
  2. Never say anything you’d regret later or be uncomfortable looking the other person in the eye.
  3. Don’t air your dirty laundries in the public. Once the laundry dries up, the public still remembers
  4. When spirituality (or mentality) is involved, it never makes sense.
  5. Always give people the benefit of doubt whether you like, or agree with, them or not
  6. Always show compassion (empathy) when another is going through; it might be your turn next - sure you’ll want someone to understand you and be on your side.
  7. Never be too quick to condemn another.

May God continue to help us be quick to love and slow to judge another.

All Star Voting Results are in

Every NBA player is a star. But there are a few who excel above and separate themselves from the pack.

As it is written, “All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.” (1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:39-41‬ ‭KJV‬‬)

These NBA Stars are deemed elites. They are the super-stars, in a class of their own, creme de la creme, upper echelon of the sport, that is, the top 1 to 2% of the NBA players. These ones earn the top salaries in the Association and are the ones who get to play as starters in the upcoming three-day weekend All Star Game set for February 18 – 20, 2022.

These Elites have continuously proven themselves since the start of the NBA 2021-22 Season. They are not only key players, but players who have stepped up during critical games, and steadfastly carried their Teams on their backs. Such players are honored by fans who voted for them everyday for six weeks. I hope you voted, too.

Of about the 500+ NBA players, only ten (five each from the Western and Eastern Conferences) qualify as the Elite NBA All Star Starters. Join me in celebrating them listed below:

Some may argue that these players rank highest in salary and stats such as total points, rebounds, and or assists per game, but that is not always the case.

Well, Who decides?

I’m glad you asked.
If you don’t already know. Fifty percent (50%) of the All Star Starter votes is decided by you and I, and twenty-five percent (25%) each by current players and a media panel.

Since the selection was primarily fan-based, one could argue the probability of fan bias and or that the player with the best marketing strategy got the most-est votes. In addition, there’s also the probability of popularity contest at play for both the media panel and current players’ voting.

Notwithstanding, I hope you agree that this year’s Starters are deserving of the votes.

This year’s Eastern Conference (EC) frontcourts maintained and carried over from the previous year. However, we have two new EC guards, DeMar DeRozan of the Chicago Bulls and Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks. Also new entrants for the Western Conference this year are frontcourt Andrew Wiggins of the Golden State Warriors and guard Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies. All have been phenomenal and I’m glad that the fans thought so, too.

The Reserves

Per NBA, the 2021-22 “reserves were voted on by the head coaches from each conference, who could not vote for players from their own teams.” Fifteen (15) Reserves were drafted yesterday by the Team Captains, LeBron James (West, Left) and Kevin Durant (East, Right); see below.

The All Star Teams will be playing for a charity organization of their choice. Fun and electrifying events have been lined up for the weekend and you don’t have to be physically present in Cleveland, OH to enjoy it as it’ll be aired on national and local channels. I hope you will watch to appreciate the great talents in the NBA.

Congrats to all the twenty-six amazing All Star players.

Setback for a Comeback … Welcome back, Klay

It was extremely great watching Klay Thompson (KT), Golden State Warriors (GSW)’s number 11, suit up and play again yesterday.

Klay Thompson had been out of the game for two-and-a-half years having suffered two back-to-back injuries; first an ACL during the 2019 NBA Finals and then rupturing his achilles during the 2020 NBA Draft. 2019 was definitely not the Dubs’ year. It was devastating watching it happen in 2019 during Game 6 as GSW was contending for that year’s Championship. After a year off, Klay returned only to rupture his Achilles on Draft Day. Bad as it was, it was preposterous that it happened on Draft Day; giving the Warriors’ Executive Team a quick strategic maneuver on its Draft selection.

KT, the Splash brother, was definitely and apparently missed by all; Team, fans, and the media. Though his other Splash brother, Steph Curry, held the forth in his absence, Klay’s contribution to the Team and game of basketball left a void that was terribly felt and unfillable.

The Splash Brothers, Steph and Klay, earned their alias as a result of their duo-dynamite three-point shootings from any angle. Both changed the basketball landscapes with their shootings.

Way to recovery …

The road to recovery for any athlete after a bad injury is often an emotional tumultuous journey that requires character-defining traits and values that will uphold one through till the end of the journey. While some players recover fast, others have a slow recovery. While some players return to their normal or better state, others seem to slump and finally stop playing; thus ending their athletic career. Even the strongest, positive, and most-optimistic player still has intermittent doubts and questions such as:

  • What if I do not fully recover?
  • What if I’m no longer as good?
  • What if I’m traded because of this injury?
  • What if other teams think my useful years are over?
  • What if no team wants me?
  • What if the injury ends my career?
  • A gazillion what-ifs hardly with no futuristic answers.

Klay obviously had a few question and or doubts.

After the initial surgery and recovery, Klay was always seen on the bench cheering his teammates and, after games, chatting with the analysts. His return date has been speculated a few times. He had even been sequestered to the Warriors’ G League which is a minor development team for the GSW. Having held up strong and mute about his hiatus and injuries over the years, rarely speaking about the injury nor his recovery, Klay finally and publicly showed his emotions after a Warriors’ game in late November. He was seen still being on bench long after the crowds had dispersed the Chase Center.

I was personally touched by Klay’s emotions. The wait and “weight” of not playing must have taken a big toil on him wondering why his return was being delayed.

The wait is finally over

He finally had his day of return on Sunday. I was overjoyed for him, like tons of fans and colleagues were, to finally watch him play again.

Click the links below to watch the various highlights on Klay’s return and game on Sunday:

  1. https://www.nba.com/news/nba-players-react-to-klay-thompsons-return
  2. https://gsw.page.link/k8TyojQZqdqDFojh7i
  3. https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/klay-thompsons-triumphant-return-to-warriors-brings-unbridled-joy-emotion-when-fans-need-it-the-most/
  4. https://www.nba.com/news/klay-thompson-return-feature
  5. https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/33028982/nba-players-celebrate-klay-thompson-return-more-two-years

Setback happens to all

If you live long enough, it is certain that one would experience one form of setback. Life often can hand us lemons and bad things often does happen to the best of folks that set us back in many ways than one. It could be a health/physical setback, like Klay’s and several other basketball players/athletes. The physical setback can have a domino effect on one’s finances, emotions, and sometimes spiritual.

What do you do when it happens?

Many murmur and complain. We ask tons of unanswered questions and can recluse. We play the blame game. Why me? I have, too, at some point. We can stop living especially when we lack helpful and positive relationships concluding that none seems to understand our predicament.

However, only few understand that at such point we cannot and should not step on the brakes. It is a turning point. What we turn round to, blame or control, will make the difference.

The proverbial “when life gives you lemon, you make lemonade,” suffices. A professional football player, for example, who suffers injury that ends his football career can turn to a new other career as a coach or recruiter or game analyst. The point is that all is not lost. It might be the end of a season, but definitely not the end of one’s life or career.

7 Steps to a Comeback

  1. Have a positive outlook that things will be better
  2. Choose the people to surround yourself with.
  3. Do everything within your power to get better. It might mean learning new skills.
  4. If new skills are involved, be gentle on yourself, realizing that there’s a learning curve which is different for each person.
  5. Take life one day at a time
  6. Every step you take will eventually turn to giant strides.
  7. Be consistent.

If you do the work, optimism will lift you up to your eventual comeback which will propel you to a better state than you were before.

Glad that Klay did the work; long though it was, and is back to doing what he does best. GSW’s chances of winning this year’s Championship got much better with your return … The Game just got started. WELCOME BACK, KLAY!

One thing I know for sure …

Credits: Unsplash / Pro Church Media

No matter who you are and how many people rave about you, about your cookies or cooking or style or looks or you-name-it, one thing I now definitely know for sure is that there is always someone somewhere who doesn’t give a hoot about you, still can’t stand you nor like you nor adore anything everyone is raving about you. And I also know for sure that that’s definitely all right.

It’s pointless trying to be all things to all men (and women). It just turns you raggedy and into an unconscious dissociative identity disorder personality.

What I’m saying is that it’s totally all right not to be liked by or raved on by people and we should all be comfortable with it.

As a kid, I repeatedly heard an international artist’s song whose lyrics in part went thus: “there’s no intelligence nor behavior that you may have that will please all people or the world; life is but a short time so people do good always …”

Lately, I also heard Oprah Winfrey say that people always accused her of being “too full of herself.” It used to hurt until she started embracing it. She went on to say that “I can only give out of my overflow; so those who say that I am full of myself are saying the truth – I am full and my cup is running over and I give out of the overflow.”

Road to greatness or making history

You might have heard that Steph Curry, of the Golden States Warriors (GSW), recently made history breaking Ray Allen’s 3-points record by 511 less games.

The road to breaking the record was aired and tracked by the news and social media for days. With 17 3-pointers to making history, Curry was frustrated by opponents. I’m sure by now players know that keeping the key player under wraps is a strategy that not only frustrates the key player, but can secure wins. So it wasn’t unusual that Curry was double-teamed most of the time thereby making it impossible for him to rain those threes. The game between Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia Sixers was the start of the 17 3-pointers needed by Curry to make history. Sixers won the game and Curry only made three 3-pointers of the 17. A rarely-frustrated player, I saw Curry openly frustrated on that game night. What caught my attention however was during the end-of-game chat with the reporter, a young Sixers player stated that he and veteran teammate, Joel Embid, talked before the game and agreed that Steph Curry would not make history on their turf. People, Seth Curry, Steph’s brother is on the Sixers team! The young player’s statement caught my attention. Why say that? What does it matter if Curry broke the record on your turf or not? Curry was closer to breaking it anyways, and it will happen – your turf or not, right? I concluded that they might not have been happy with Curry trying to make history. The subtlety of envy and jealousy or is’t intense or negative competition?! You be the judge. I don’t know but I surely didn’t like it.

The road to greatness is not all smooth or paved with gold. There will be bumps, curves, detours, lies, slanders, overt or covert hatred, and some times temporary or permanent stops. The permanent stops happen when we give up out of frustration. Some history makers, like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, and Joseph, who were supposed to liberate their people, had themselves been imprisoned before achieving destiny. Most millionaires were once penniless. Most real estate/home developers were also once homeless. Those who carry out the negative, wicked acts to deter anyone’s momentum often do so out of ignorance unknowingly doing the devil’s bidding. But my people, we can take a rest to comeback stronger, but we should never ever give up, for that breakthrough will surely come.

Congrats, Steph Curry

Stephen Curry broke the record at the GSW and New York Knicks game night; the third game after the Sixers. The New York fans were elated for him and so were the reigning record-holder, Ray Allen, Reggie Miller (another previous record holder), family, friends, and the NBA community. New York looked a better ground for the record-breaking moments than it would have at the Sixers.

I am so happy for Stephen Curry. He not only put in the work, but was key to changing the trajectory of the NBA games with his three-pointers. For someone who was overlooked and once rejected, Steph, like Michael Jordan, has proven that you can turn everyone’s rejection to applause. Now, Steph’s on to the next record …

Curry’s way to making history and the Sixers’ comment supports my point that not everyone will celebrate you, but you have to be okay with it. Waiting for the approval of men just means that we will never get anything done, because that approval might just never come.

Sometimes people (or things and, God forbid, even ourselves) deter our momentum in life, but if we don’t give up, what has been ordained for us will surely happen. Delay never equates denial. Those stumbling blocks are meant to buffet us and make us more determined for a stronger comeback.

Till your breakthrough or history-making happens, keep on keeping on, my friend.

Loving Basketball: International Players in the NBA and Opening Night Tidbits

The Season’s Opening Night was not disappointing. Both games played tonight were spectacular as expected with Milwaukee Bucks defending its championship against “short-handed” Brooklyn Nets (aka Kyrie Irving saga) and my fave Team, Golden States Warriors, routing the Los Angeles (LA) Lakers. The Dubs are surely back and in the championship race this Season. I hope tonight’s play reflects Season’s expectations which will only be improved upon and lead to playoff and eventual Finals. Knocking on woods! 🙏🏾

Credits: Bucks / NBA

BucksChampionship Rings

And, yes, the Bucks were presented with their championship rings (if you missed it, watch it here) prior to the start of game amid a full fan-packed arena. Well deserved. I’m happy for the Bucks players and management,

Will Bucks shoot for a back-to-back championship? We’ll see what the 2021-22 Season holds.

NBA’s International Players

Well, on Opening Night, the National Basketball Association (NBA) released that there are “109 international players from 39 countries on roster for its landmark 75th Anniversary Season, including a record number of players from Canada (eighteen), Germany (seven) and the Bahamas (three), and a record-tying number of players from Nigeria (five). The Toronto Raptors lead the league with a record-tying 10 international players from a record nine countries.”

The number of NBA international players went up by 2 compared to last season’s of 107 from 41 countries of which fourteen (14) were Africans.

On Opening Night, the Season’s roster comprised of 500 players. I identified 44 names of African descent. Twenty-seven (27) were Nigerians contrary to the Association’s stated number of only five (5). This might not be unconnected with the players being second or third generation Nigerians born offshore and/or having dual citizenships but choosing only to identify with the other country over Nigeria. Nigeria accepts dual nationality but some countries don’t.

Below is a list of the identified African NBA players, the country, the year they were drafted, and the Team:

  1. Gorgui Dieng, Senegal, 2013 - Atlanta Hawks
  2. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Congo & France, 2016 - Atlanta Hawks
  3. Onyeka Okongwu, Nigeria, 2020 - Atlanta Hawks
  4. Wes Iwundu, Nigeria, 2017 - Charlotte Hornets
  5. Ayo Dosunmu, Nigeria, 2021 Rookie – Chicago Bulls
  6. Daniel Oturu, Nigeria, 2020 – Chicago Bulls
  7. Tacko Fall, Senegal, 2019 – Cleveland Cavaliers
  8. Isaac Okoro, Nigeria, 2020 – Cleveland Cavaliers
  9. Frank Ntilikina, Rwanda-France, 2017 – Dallas Mavericks
  10. Eugene Omoruyi, Nigeria, Rookie – Dallas Mavericks
  11. Bol Bol, Sudan, 2019 – Denver Nuggets
  12. Zeke Nnaji, Nigeria, 2020 – Denver Nuggets
  13. Hamidou Diallo, Guinea, 2018 – Detroit Pistons
  14. Andre Iguodala, Nigeria, 2004 – Golden State Warriors
  15. Jonathan Kuminga, Congo, 2021 – Golden State Warriors
  16. Usman Garuba, Nigeria-Spain, 2021 – Houston Rockets
  17. David Nwaba, Nigeria, 2016 – Houston Rockets
  18. Nicolas Batum, Cameroon-France, 2008 – Los Angeles (LA) Clippers
  19. Serge Ibaka, Congo, 2008 – Los Angeles (LA) Clippers
  20. Sekou Doumbouya, Guinea-France, 2019 – Los Angeles (LA) Lakers
  21. Bam Adebato, Nigeria, 2017 – Miami Heat
  22. KZ Okpala, Nigeria, 2019 – Miami Heat
  23. Victor Oladipo, Nigeria, 2013 – Miami Heat
  24. Gabe Vincent, Nigeria, undrafted 2 years – Miami Heat
  25. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece-Nigeria, 2013 – Milwaukee Bucks
  26. Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Greece-Nigeria, 2014 – Milwaukee Bucks
  27. Jordan Nwora, Nigeria, 2020 – Milwaukee Bucks
  28. Semi Ojeleye, Nigeria, 2017 – Milwaukee Bucks
  29. Josh Okogie, Nigeria, 2018 – Minnesota Timberwolves
  30. Mamadi Diakite, Guinea, 2020 undrafted – Oklahoma City Thunder
  31. Mohammed (Mo) Bamba, Ivory Coast, 2018 – Orlando Magic
  32. Chuma Okeke, Nigeria, 2019 – Orlando Magic
  33. Charles Bassey, Nigeria, 2021 – Philadelphia Sixers
  34. Joel Embiid, Cameroon, 2014 – Philadelphia Sixers
  35. Abdel Nader, Egypt, 2016 – Phoenix Suns
  36. Chimezie Metu, Nigeria, 2018 – Sacramento Kings
  37. Al-Farouq Aminu, Nigeria, 2010 – San Antonio Spurs
  38. Precious Achiuwa, Nigeria, 2020 – Toronto Raptors
  39. OG Anunoby, Nigeria, 2017 – Toronto Raptors
  40. Isaac Bonga, Congo, 2018 – Toronto Raptors
  41. Pascal Siakam, Cameroon, 2016 – Toronto Raptors
  42. Udoka Azubuike, Nigeria, 2020 – Utah Jazz
  43. Miye Oni, Nigeria, 2019 – Utah Jazz
  44. Joel Ayayi, Benin-France, undrafted 2020 – Washington Wizards

Race composition continues to be dynamic and has changed the trajectory of professional sports, including the NBA. Though Black-Americans first entered the league in 1950, almost fifteen years after its inception, the first African-born NBA player was Hakeem Olajuwon from Nigeria who was drafted in 1984.

NBA, like other professional sports and industry, have indeed come a long way as regards inclusion and diversity. We hope the trend continues to be upward till it indeed becomes a melting pot.

Loving Basketball: 2021-22 NBA Season starts today

Woohoo. I’m excited that the NBA 2021-22 Season begins tonight. Each Team will be playing a total of eighty-two (82) games, compared to seventy-two (72) played last season.

There was a Preseason, which was a two-week warm-up, feeler, tester of sorts, for players as several Teams were revamped with new players added and exiting. The Preseason games showcased each Team’s new portfolio of players though not all “old” and veteran players played during the Preseason. Many rested and watched the younger players flex on the courts for Team inclusion and time.

A handful of Teams are totally revamped while few had minor changes. Should be exciting watching the unifying dynamics of the new with the old players.

First Game Night will feature two games that supposedly mirrors the Conferences Finals:

  1. Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks @ 7:30 p.m. ET
  2. Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers @ 10:00 p.m. ET.

Click here to see the full Season’s schedule, I hope you will watch some or all of the games with utmost cheer and care. Live games can be watched on your local sports channels or the NBA Station. Highlights, and sometimes full games, can also be seen on YouTube or Hulu.

To an exciting and fun Season while wishing all players the very best with minimal or no fatigue or injuries.

Loving Basketball: 2021-22 PreSeason and 75th NBA Season

To the Hoops Enthusiasts

As you may or may not know, the Preseason started last Sunday. The Teams are different from what they were the previous season as several players have found new homes (teams) all in the race to win the Championship.

The Preseason games, already played, featured mostly the younger and new players showing off their skills and familiarizing themselves with one another. I’m hoping that the veterans will join in the fun too, if only to sort of warm up with the teams.

The Preseason is a two-week warmer, tester, feeler of sixty-six games; I hope I got the count right. I also hope that the veterans advised the younger (agewise and years in NBA) and newbie players to use wisdom and take it easy at the onset in order to minimize injuries and fatigue as they will have seventy more games to play. Their strength, skills, and stamina will be needed more towards the end of the Season, and continuing into Playoffs and Finals.

Interested in who’s moved to where, click Familiar faces in new places for 2021-22 season courtesy of the NBA.

Preseason Schedule

I’m still trying to get the hang of using tables in WordPress. It has not being easy. Even when done in Excel and uploaded, it comes out funny. But, I hope the below format is easily readable. All Times are ET.

Sunday, October 3rd

  1. 3:30 B Nets – LA Lakers

Monday, October 4th

  1. 7:00 P Sixers – T Raptors
  2. 7:30 O Magic – B Celtics
  3. 7:30 A Hawks – M Heat
  4. 8:00 NO Pelicans – M Timberwolves
  5. 8:00 C Hornets – OKC Thunder
  6. 8:30 U Jazz – SA Spurs
  7. 10:00 GS Warriors – PT Blazers
  8. 10:00 P Suns – S Kings
  9. 10:30 D Nuggets – LA Clippers

Tuesday, October 5th

  1. 7:30 I Pacers – NY Knicks
  2. 8:00. C Cavaliers – C Bulls
  3. 8:00 W Wizards – H Rockets
  4. 8:00 M Bucks – M Grizzlies

Wednesday, October 6th

  1. 6:00 LA Lakers – P Sun
  2. 7:00 SA Spurs – D Pistons
  3. 7:30 C Cavaliers – A Hawks
  4. 8:00 O Magic – NO Pelicans
  5. 8:30 U Jazz – D Mavericks
  6. 10:00 D Nuggets – GS Warriors
  7. 10:30 S Kings – LA Clippers

Thursday, October 7th

  1. 7:00. M Grizzlies – C Hornets
  2. 7:00. T Raptors – P Sixers
  3. 10:00 M Heat – H Rockets

Friday, October 8th

  1. 7:00 I Pacers – C Cavaliers
  2. 7:30 M Bucks – B Nets
  3. 8:00 NO Pelicans – C Bulls
  4. 8:30 LA Clippers – D Mavericks
  5. 8:30 M Heat – SA Spurs
  6. 9:00 M Timberwolves – D Nuggets
  7. 10:00 LA Lakers – GS Warriors

Saturday, October 9th

  1. 7:00 T Raptors – B Celtics
  2. 7:00 NY Knicks – W Wizards
  3. 8:00 A Hawks – M Grizzlies

Sunday, October 10th

  1. 6:00 SA Spurs – O Magic
  2. 7:00 C Bulls – C Cavaliers 3. 7:30 OKC Thunder – M Bucks
  3. 10:00 P Suns – LA Lakers

Monday, October 11th

  1. 7:00 H Rockets – T Raptors
  2. 7:30 C Hornets – M Heat
  3. 8:00 B Nets – P Sixers
  4. 8:00 D Pistons – M Grizzlies
  5. 9:00 NO Pelicans – U Jazz
  6. 10:00 S Kings – PT Blazers
  7. 10:30 M Timberwolves – LA Clippers

Tuesday, October 12th

  1. 7:00 T Raptors – W Wizards
  2. 10:30 GS Warriors – LA Lakers

Wednesday, October 13th

  1. 6:30 D Mavericks – C Hornets
  2. 7:00 M Grizzlies – I Pacers
  3. 7:00 B Celtics – O Magic
  4. 7:30 D Pistons – NY Knicks
  5. 8:00 D Nuggets – OKC Thunder
  6. 9:00 M Bucks – U Jazz
  7. 10:00 PT Blazers – P Suns

Thursday, October 14th

  1. 7:00 M Heat – A Hawks
  2. 7:30 M Timberwolves – B Nets
  3. 8:00 D Nuggets – OKC Thunder
  4. 10:00 LA Lakers – S Kings

Friday, October 15th

  1. 6:30 B Celtics – M Heat
  2. 7:00 P Sixers – D Pistons
  3. 7:00 C Cavaliers – I Pacers
  4. 7:30 W Wizards – NY Knicks
  5. 8:00 M Grizzlies – C Bulls
  6. 8:00 D Mavericks – M Bucks
  7. 8:30 H Rockets – SA Spurs
  8. 10:00 PT Blazers – GS Warriors

NBA enters its 75th Season

The Season starts on October 19th. It will be exciting with NBA entering its 75th Season. Special programs have been scheduled to commemorate the history, Teams, players past and present. Click on the above link for a movie, NBA Lane, showing tomorrow.

Loving Basketball: 2021-22 Season begins soon

2020-21 Recap

What a spectacular ending, in July, to the 2020-21 Basketball Season that catapulted the underdog Milwaukee Bucks (MB) as that season’s Champions. I was elated for several reasons; one particularly of which I felt that Giannis Antetokounmpo (GA), who led the Team, had been disrespected and routed by all; the media, fans, and other players, for shenanigans and silly various reasons in my opinion. The likes of disrespect and taunting that would not have been thrown at LeBron James (LBJ or Kevin Durant (KD) or Steph Curry (SC), or any of their caliber without some rebukes. Then again, it could have been a strategy (which obviously backfired) to intimidate GA, the Greek Freak. But, thank goodness, all those negative vibes didn’t sway him to withdraw. Yes, it did slightly affect him with his free throws. But he overcame and conquered to win the Season’s MVP. And, together with his equally indefatigable teammates, won that Season’s championship.

Too bad they (GA and MB) can’t enjoy the Larry O’Brien (LOB) trophy and exhilaration for long for two reasons: one, the break was curtailed, and two, the 2021-22 Season starts soon.

Anywho, that was a long recap.

2021-22 Season

I’m so happy to say that this Season is about to start in a month. Preseason games, which I call the warmers, testers, and feelers, start two days prior and the opening games start on October 19th.

The Preseason games in my opinion are kinda sorta warmers, testers, and feelers. Warmers because most players probably didn’t touch the ball during the break; resorting understandably to spend much needed time with their families to make up for those periods that they were grinding for the Larry O’Brien trophy. The warmups will help them know where they stand physically and mentally with the ball or see how rusty they’ve allowed themselves to let go.

It’s also a tester and feeler because each team, after the musical chairs of trades, wants to have a feel for the “new” team’s roster relative to other teams and test their capacities in various ranges.

It’s still always fun to watch. Having watched several, I feel that the experienced teams withhold their strength and capacities to give a false impression of the team. Kinda like a bait of sorts strategy. Why waste all the fire at the onset when you have seventy-two games to play, right?

The Preseason and initial first few Season games also allow the Coaches to try different strategies, plays, and players (aka rotations) for the best fit.

I can’t wait to see what the Season has for every Team. Will Milwaukee Bucks play for a back-to-back championship?

Various Teams are in the run for the LOB Trophy this season. The trades were brutal, coupled with the Rookies from the Draft, and returnees from injuries, the race to the 2021-22 Championship is going to be wild.

Have you seen or heard of the LA Lakers’ new roster? The big ball team could scare off the best of teams. But, what with Brooklyn Nets as an equally great contender?

Well, my team is in the race, too! It’s fire, fire, fire all round with the return of Klay Thompson (Welcome, Klay!), Jordan Bell, and acquisition of Ighi (Andre Iguodala), and the two Rookies, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, Golden State Warriors is right there at the top of the race. Sad to see Kelly Oubre Jr. and Eric Paschal leave. Wish them the very best.

Of course, we are cognizant of the younger teams: Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans Pelicans, Phoenix Sun, etc. They, and the rest of the teams in-between, all put up a show last season. How did the Drafts and Trades impact them? Will they return with greater tenacity this season?

I can’t wait to see and find out.

Cheers to a Season of great, fun, competitive, and mitigating (or no) injury to all players.

Last One: what’s up with the vaccine?

We all now know that being vaccinated does not preclude one from still testing positive for the covid, right? So, why did the National Basketball Association (NBA) agree to not test vaccinated players? Sounds also that masking has been lapsed, including allowing not vax’ing for religious reasons. 🤔

First, I read that the players disagreed to mandated vaccination stating that it was not part of their contract. Hey brothers, covid is no respecter of your contract. I just pray that none will test positive this season. That even if any, the impact will be mild. But remember, should any test positive, that player will be out for at least two weeks. Two weeks at the beginning of the Season is nothing, but I’m sure no Team wants their key player out for two weeks at critical times of the Season.

Now, the player options are vax or be tested daily.

My two-cents is that everyone (NBA players included) engaging in public should be vaccinated and intermittently tested. Stay home if you don’t want to vax or mask – it’s simple. I recognize the division between those who don’t want to and those who choose to. Defiantly choosing not to vax or mask is an act of selfishness given that your choice could directly and indirectly affect another or several and that the outcomes of covid when infected could be fatal. Those players choosing not to are a dire threat to those players who have chosen to. I just hope that the Basketball world are aware of this.

If you’re an unvaccinated player, do remember not to shake hands with nor hug any fans no matter how desperate the fans may be.

What side are you on: vax and mask or no vax no mask, or in-between?

For now, as much as I love to attend the opening games, my TV and living room will be my team stadium till further notice.

Loving Basketball: Welcome back, Ighi!

As you may or may not know, it has been a whirlwind in the NBA since August 2nd when the annual free agency trades began. With it came new mega contracts that’s making my head spin so hard; all in the bid to stack up on the best of the best of players onward to the 2021-22 NBA Championship race.

While some trades and contracts were shockers both on the acquiring and releasing of players, some made good business sense.

Of all the player trades, I am personally most pleased to see Andre Iguodala back with the Golden State Warriors.

Ighi a 37-year old veteran, still kicking it, has been around the NBA block since 2004 when he was first drafted by the Philadelphia Sixers; the Team he spent eight seasons with. He first joined the Warriors in 2013, had six seasons, and was invaluable in guarding key players during the Warriors’ Championships seasons in 2015, and the back-to-back 2017 and 2018. In 2015, Ighi won the MVP.

He was traded to the Miami Heats in 2019. It was a sad departure watching him leave and wondering why the Warriors couldn’t work out a better deal to retain him.

I hoped he enjoyed his two-season tenure with the Heats, but happy to see him back with the Warriors. Could this be his last dance with the Team and community that gave him the MVP? We will find out soon.

Welcome Andre Iguodala back to the Bay Area and the Golden State Warriors.

Want to read more about Ighi’s basketball bio, click here.

Bye to Oubre

As we welcome Andre, it was sad to say goodbye to Kelly Oubre Jr whose new home is now with the Charlotte Hornets. Thanks Oubre! I enjoyed watching Oubre fierce and fearless on the court and will miss him. I hope his new home is as comforting as, if not more than, the Bay. Wish you the very best, Oubre.

The Whole Trade

If you’ve followed the NBA in the last two weeks, you would have heard of the several mega and max contracts flying around. From Steph Curry to Luka Doncic to Kevin Durant to …., it’s jaw-breaking deals all over. Interested in knowing who has been traded from/to what Team, click here.

Tokyo Olympics

Credits: NBA

Finally, it behooves us to say Congratulations to both the USA Men and Women Basketball Teams for winning the Gold medals at the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics.

History in the Making! Will it happen today?

Have you been watching the NBA 2020-21 Championship between Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns, like I have? What a ball it has been!

Game 6 will be played today, at 9:00 P.M. EST in ABC. That’s in approximately three hours. It is the game NBA Analyst, Steve Aschburner, has tagged Desperation versus Discipline. I cannot agree more.

Desperation or Discipline?

Both Teams are indeed desperate to win today for obvious reasons. For Suns, it’s win or go home. The desperation is hardest on them such that some Phoenix lawyer(s) will pay for a billboard to be mounted in Milwaukee! Read about it here. Whether to support the Suns or troll the Bucks, it seems an act of desperation. The law firm should have used the money to fly all its staff and family members to Fiserv Forum to cheer Phoenix Sun if it really wanted to support. Well …

For Bucks, it’s win, clinch the Larry O’Brien Cup, or return to Phoenix for another grueling game.

Also, both Teams haven’t won a Finals in at least fifty (50) years.

Both Teams also have to indeed exercise discipline; a much better one than they had done and particularly did for Game 5 in order to mitigate the foul calls and avoid technicals and injuries.

Whether it is desperation or discipline, I hope it’s all clean, good, and fun game with no fatal injuries.

Background and Series thus far

As you may or may not know, NBA Playoffs and Championships are a series of seven games. The Season’s Championship began on Tuesday, July 6th at the home court of Phoenix Suns (PS). The Series started with Games 1 and 2 at Phoenix, Games 3 and 4 in Milwaukee, Game 5 – Phoenix, Game 6 – Milwaukee (today), and Game 7, if necessary, back in Phoenix.

As expected, PS clinched the first two games of the Series utilizing home court and fan base to their advantage, setting everyone, viewers and analysts, wondering what was going on with the Bucks, and thus putting Team Giannis in the hole 2-0! Phoenix’s fan base loudly roasted (or booed) Giannis Antetokounmpo (GA) non-stop at the free-throw line – a mental torture, in my opinion.

However, at Buck’s homecourt, GA appeared to get mentally tougher, better, and of course, fewer or non-existence of the Phoenix fans helped eased his composure at the free throw line. With some superb leadership caliber plays, Bucks won the next two games; also utilizing the fan base-home court to its advantage.

Though Game 5 was at PS’s, Bucks clinched the game; now leading series by 3-2. Spectacular was the steal by Jrue Holiday (JH) (from Sun’s Devin Booker) at the last few minutes, GA’s dunk, and Khris Middleton’s back-to-back three-pointers, including free-throws from fouls all helped put Bucks in the lead and cemented the win.

All games featured superb 40+ points each by three players; Devin Booker (PS), GA, and Khris Middleton (KM); thus making the Finals MVP a hard choice. Also notable were stunning steals in the last two games, including blocks and dunks throughout.

The Desperation continues

The Phoenix Suns franchise, established in 1968, has never won an NBA Championship. Per Jason Schandl, “the last time they even made the NBA finals was the 1992-93 season, when Charles Barkley and company lost to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. Their only other championship appearances came in the 1975-76 season.”

Bucks’ slogan is “History in the Making.” It’s the first time the team reached the Finals in fifty (50) years.

“The last time the Bucks were in The Finals, legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson were their stars. Current coach Mike Budenholzer was only four years old. Some of the 2021 players’ parents weren’t even born yet.”

Steve Aschburner

“Only four teams have ever bounced back from a 2-0 series deficit in the NBA Finals. Can the 2021 Milwaukee Bucks team become the fifth?” – Yash Mantange

The four teams, he wrote, were:

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016
  2. Miami Heat in 2006
  3. Portland Trail Blazers in 1977, and
  4. Boston Celtics in 1969.

I believe Mantange made the above statement simply because Milwaukee Bucks is closer to clinching the Series’ win than Phoenix Suns. But, it will be interesting to see the outcome tonight. Yours truly will definitely be watching, cheering, and taking notes. [smile]. I hope you will be too.

All Hail Milwaukee Bucks, the Eastern Conference Champion!!!

What a game! What a series!! I had to watch Game 6 all over again.
But now it’s over and on to the next challenge, the Real Finals.

Milwaukee Bucks are the NBA 2020-21 Eastern Conference Champs. The #3 Eastern Conference seed defeated the young and feisty #5 Atlanta Hawks in an incredibly underestimated 4-2 run.

Milwaukee home fans

I hope that Bucks learned a lesson or two from this Series which started with underrating Atlanta in Game 1 of the series The “hungry” Hawks quickly stated that they showed up to play and behold won the Game.

I had thought that it would be an easy win or a sweep, but Atlanta Hawks proved me wrong.

Of course the Series was not without its share of injuries. Both Teams’ key leaders were sidelined for two and three games each respectively. First, it was Trae Young, then it was Giannis Antetokounmpo. Both Teams survived and won at least a game each without their key players.

Giannis, who left Game 4 and missed Games 5 and 6, humbly stepped aside to allow his deserving teammates; Middleton, Holiday, Lopez, Turcker, Portis, and Connaughton, to enjoy the exhilaration of holding the Larry O’Brien cup. They all elevated their games to cover Giannis’ absence and thus are taking the trophy back home to Milwaukee.

Bucks will face the Western Conference Champs, Phoenix Suns, starting on Tuesday, July 6. It sure will be another spectacular Series as it is Bucks Final qualifier since 1974 and Suns’ since 1993. Both Teams also entered the NBA in the same year. Surely, I’m not about to miss any of the games.

Hope you’ll be watching, too.

Congrats again to Milwaukee Bucks being the superior team in the Series.

Thanks to Team Trae Young for giving Bucks a hard-earned game. Till next season, rest, rest, rest!!!

The NBA Finals begin on Tuesday, July 6. Oh how I wish the Bucks have more time between games to recoup and reenergize. Phoenix Suns has been “resting” since Thursday. I’m sure they will all be fine. 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾

Did you watch it?

Game 7 was phenomenal as expected. It could have passed for the NBA Finals, rather than the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals that it was. And for the Milwaukee Bucks, no other game going forward, could be as challenging as the one today against Brooklyn Nets. For sure!

So, Team Giannis won having narrowly missed a last minute three-pointer that could have ended the regulation with Kevin Durant’s (KD) shot, but for his (KD) foot on the line. Thus it was a two-point shot. It tied the game and went into overtime.

KD’s three/two pointer shot

The overtime (OT) started with Nets early shot, while Bucks’ shots refused to hit the basket until almost the fourth minute (of the five-minute OT).

A game with KD is not over until the clock times out because he is such a great player and shooter who can shoot from any angle. Unfortunately his last shot for the Game 7 OT was an air ball. As Giannis always says, a win is a win, whether by one or ten points. KD’s miss clenched the win for Team Giannis.

I have watched both Giannis Antetokounmpo (GA) and KD played each other times without number, both during regular seasons, Playoffs, and Finals, but still none compared to 2021 Game 7 nor have I ever seen both key players as exhausted as they both were for this Game. Everyone, that is the NBA village, was watching.

Bucks was the underdog, but with injuries plaguing the Nets, they had a chance. And chance they not only had, but took, and snatched the win from the Big Two (or shall I say, Big One-and-a-Half since Harden, who surprisingly made more shots (3s) than he did for Games 5 and 6) was not totally healthy. He stepped up immensely though to aid KD and the Team.

The key players on both Teams were glaringly and excruciatingly exhausted not surprisingly since both KD and Giannis played about 50 minutes each and had 40+ points. Giannis played with a limp towards the end having suffered pains from being hit. So did P. J. Tucker at some point. Giannis was also ridiculed at the free throw line for taking too long and missing the shots anyways, which he finally overcame and made a total of I think five out of the eight free throws. Middleton was hit in the eye. And there was also foul troubles; P.J. Tucker, who was doing a tremendous job guarding KD and frustrating his efforts, eventually fouled out during the OT.

Great Sportsmanship

KD gave his respect to the Milwaukee Bucks for all they did tonight, during the Series, and had done throughout the Season.
See the after-game video courtesy of NBA.

Congrats. Congrats. Congrats.

Congratulations to the Milwaukee Bucks. They get two days of rest, (excluding travel back to their home base) while waiting on the winner of Sixers and Atlanta, before the start of the Eastern Conference Finals Series.

Bucks-Nets Game 7 was the Game of the Season and one to remember for years!

The NBA 2019-20 Champions were Defenseless tonight!

As you may have heard, LA Lakers are out of the Playoffs. The 2019-20 defending Champions showed up on the court tonight against the Phoenix Suns defeated even before the game started. It was depressing to watch. I wonder what happened in their locker room just before game time.

Phoenix Suns on the other hand showed up to win. What with Devin Booker lighting up from the onset. He had 47 points tonight!

Congrats to Suns and on to Round 2 to face Denver Nuggets.

Playoff Round 2 will surely be spectacular to watch.

Results of Round 1

Round 2 Brackets

Congrats to all Teams moving on to the Second Round of Playoffs and thanks to the other teams for putting on their best for the seven games.

Loving Basketball: And Yes, Giannis-Bucks Won!

The game was over no sooner I submitted my last post. It is official that Milwaukee Bucks are the first team to win the first round of the 2020-21 NBA Playoffs. They defeated Miami Heat with a hard 4:0 sweep; 120-103. Game four actually started with Miami leading well into the second quarter. But you know, a 20-point lead or deficit in basketball is no longer new; it’s still can be any team’s game. Not that Heats led with that many points though; they led by ten in the first quarter at one point.

Anyway, it was a SWEEP. Bucks came with the broom, brush, RoboVac, and suctions for the cleaning business. The sweep seemed like a vengeance from the start till the finish. Hopefully, it was all ‘just basketball game’ though a few instances didn’t appear so. What with a Miami Heat’s player on Giannis, while lying on the court after he was fouled, whispering “__” to him that was caught on camera and got him a technical?! Some said that stuff like that comes with the territory especially in Playoffs or Finals games. Um, I don’t know about that. My take is that it does not have to resort to that.

Last season, too, had Giannis so provoked that he head-butted someone. I’ve never seen him lose his cool like that. They all trying to get under (or into) each other’s head and skin.

This time around, Giannis came with a renewed and recharged mental toughness fitting for the leader he truly is. He and teammates made a statement putting on the classic show.

Giannis and his team have ample time to rest between games while waiting for the next team and Round 2. Bucks will play the winner of Brooklyn Nets (Kevin Durant et al) and Boston Celtics (Jason Tatum et al). Will be another spectacular round.

Congratulations. I am so happy for the Bucks Team. ThinkTalk is cheering you all the way.

Loving Basketball: Will Giannis and Bucks be the First Winner of Round 1?

Credits: YahooSports

What a difference a year makes! Remember the two Eastern teams to face off in the second round of Playoffs last season? Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat?

They are at it again. Only this time, it’s a different ball game.

The two started this season’s Round of Playoffs. It’s been a Milwaukee dominant show since Game 1. As at now, Bucks is leading the fourth quarter (101:90) after a slow and momentary lead by the Heats. Will it be Heat being cooked and given their own dose of (fill-in-the-blanks). Can’t wait to find out. Please stay tuned.

Loving Basketball: 🥵 Golden State Warriors’ 2020-21 NBA Season is Over?!

Two painful losses for the Dub Nation in the Play-In Tournament fighting for the 7th or 8th Seed, first against LA Lakers and tonight with the Memphis Grizzlies, substantiates the fact that some outcomes in life just don’t make sense despite your BEST efforts.

It’s the second time Warriors will miss the Playoff after winning the Championship thrice, with one back-to-back.

As a fan, the losses hurt. I can only imagine how Steph and team feels.

But for a team that started the season with only eight players (due to injuries) for the first twenty or so games, coming from last and second-to-last team, to now be in the Play-In, despite the loss still needs to be commended.

Well, on to next season. Hopefully, we’ll have Klay Thompson, who’s been out since 2019, back and be back to our Championship form.

Step said “It’s weird going out like this … we gave it all the gas we had in the tank.”

Thanks Dubs for a great season!

Loving Basketball: Woohoo All 30 Teams Playing Today!

It’s a day of basketball starting now. All 30 Teams playing today – 15 games!!! It’s Pre-Play-In which starts on Tuesday. Some teams (6 from the Eastern Conference and 5 from the Western) have clinched a Playoff seed, but a few teams need to win the game today and the Play-In to qualify for Playoff.

If you’re in the U.S., check your television local and sports channels for correct times. You can also subscribe to the NBA Station for individual games or all games. Happy viewing.

Praying for all Teams.

Loving Basketball: 2020-21 NBA Season, Play-Ins, and Playoff

What a Season! The 2020-21 NBA Season has been quite interesting. What with covid and a lack of fan-fare. We must commend all the players for continuously entertaining us despite being in lockdown away from families and their fans. Yay yay yay. I hear your mutterings – they are only doing their job after all the big contracts and pay packages. True, but I believe that they could have opted out of the lockdown conditions during covid and still be legally or contractually un-liable. Well, what do I know; I’m just speaking from my heart. I am however glad that they didn’t and chose to play through it all.

The 2020-21 NBA Season started in December 2020. Now, it’s down to the wires as the Season officially ends on Sunday. Under normal circumstances, we would have known the eight teams that made the Playoffs which starts a week from Saturday (May 22nd). But since the Season’s circumstances were abnormal, there is a Play-In Tournament to determine the 7th and 8th seeds. The Play-In, starts before the Playoff Tournament, on May 18 through the 21st and, according to the NBA, “will include teams with the 7th through 10th-highest winning percentages in each conference.”

Is the Play-In an exception as a result of covid or does this become the NBA Playoff norm? We will find out sooner or later. I bet the ninth and tenth teams, given the opportunity to play-in, are glad, but it might be one game too many for the current seventh and eighth teams.

It has definitely been an interesting Season to watch. On the Western Conference, what with the 2019-20 Championship, LA Lakers, regressing from the #1 Team, and Golden State Warriors once the #15 team advancing, to both now needing to win to clinch a Playoff seed. Likewise, the Eastern Conference has seen an impressive Miami Heat already clinched the #5 playoff seed, while the once indomitable Boston Celtics is in the same boat as their Western Conference counterparts, LA Lakers.

No one team retained the #1 spot on either the Eastern or Western Conference throughout the Season. However, the Utah Jazz has maintained the #1 spot for the Western than any other, while the Philadelphia 76ers are currently Eastern Conference #1 seed.

Of course, playing rigorous, and sometimes heart-wrenching, 72 games took its toll on some of the players and some teams a lot more than others. See this current injury list of all teams. Understandably. Here’s wishing a speedy recovery to all.

Life Lessons learned from the NBA Games

  • The greatest lesson learned, cliched as it may sound, is that nothing lasts forever. Never say never.
  • The other lesson is that resilience pays. Just watching the teams and players not giving up; one game after the other, was exciting sometimes playing through pain.
  • Grace was present for those players who merely and naturally were themselves and played for the love of the game, rather than for showbiz.
  • Opportunity might only come once in certain instances. Always be ready and prepared – no excuses. Watching how bench players had to step in and up. If they missed that opportunity, they get replaced or don’t get another chance for a long time. I wish that Coaches could give other players more playing times so that they can easily step in when the noted and more famous starter-players became injured. This one puzzles me all the time as it looks so simple, but I wonder why it’s not implemented so. I’ll love to know what the reason behind this is. It takes a few back-to-back losses for a team to recoup itself after an injury to the main player.
  • Basketball is a team sport, but sometimes it only takes one player to make the defying moment of victory. Often times, it is the least-expected player that makes it happen.

The next few days are highly expectant. I know it is for me. ThinkTalk wishes every team the very best.

Results are in for the NBA All Stars and Reserves

Credits: NBA.com / The Starters
Credits: NBA.com / The Reserves

Well, well, well. The results are here and they’re final. LeBron James (LBJ) of LA Lakers and Kevin Durant (KD) of Brooklyn Nets lead the starter votes and head the West and East Teams respectively. The votes poured in from the fans and, according to NBA, “current NBA players and a media panel.” There was a tie that had to be decided by fan votes. This was specifically noted for votes between Damian Lillard of the Portland Blazers and Luka Dončić of the Dallas Mavericks.

The Reserves were “selected by the NBA’s head coaches.” The two captains, LBJ and KD, will select their teams prior to the NBA All Star Game scheduled for March 7, 2021. Due to covid, it will be a one-day event starting that will also include a Dunk contest.

Per NBA, “Philadelphia head coach Doc Rivers and his staff have earned the spot to coach Team Durant. Utah head coach Quin Snyder and his staff have earned the spot to coach Team LeBron.”

Click on the link to read all about the starters and reserves

Also found the below links that show details of the votes breakdown. It helps understand the player selection in a tie.

Eastern Conference Frontcourt

Eastern Conference Guards

Western Conference Frontcourt

Western Conference Guards

As you can see from the above links, using the guards as an example, Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors topped the overall votes for guards. However, the selection had to include two guards each from both the Western and Eastern Conferences. It also explains why Bradley Beal, Kyrie Irving, and Luka Doncic made the starter list guards over Damian Lillard. This however was not the case with the frontcourts as the top three players were selected from both Conferences.

Anyways, unfortunately, “there will be no fan activities, ticketed events or hospitality functions as part of All-Star.” But we can watch at home and try to be on the virtual cheering teams. Hope you’ll be there.

Loving Basketball: NBA All Star Voting

Credits: NBA / West Conference
Credits: NBA / East Conference

Are you aware that the NBA All Star Voting is ongoing? If you are, I hope that you’ve voted for the player you consider to be the BEST Guard and Forward for both the West and East Conferences. If not, please jump on at https://nba.com/vote and start voting before the end of the day and till February 16th.

The above images are the count/votes for both West and East for the past two weeks. Voting started on January 28th.

Sorry, I wished that I had remembered to share sooner. Now let’s help these guys (our favorites) to double their counts/votes by the deadline.

Let’s go!

. . .

The NBA All Star has been scheduled for March 5-10, 2021.

Enjoy Christmas Day with your Family watching these NBA Games!

Source: NBA

Schedule

12:00 P.M. Miami Heat and New Orleans Pelicans

2:30 P.M. Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks

5:00 P.M. Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets

8:00 P.M. Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers

10:30 P.M. Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers

Credits: NBA

I am sooooo excited and will be lazing in front of the screen with my family aaaalllllllll Day!

Games are airing on ESPN and ABC today. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Loving Basketball: 2020-21 NBA Season Starts Tomorrow!

For lovers of NBA Basketball, the 2020-21 Season starts tomorrow!!! I’m so excited but too bad Covid-19 has barred fans from being live on-the-ground to watch their favorite Teams. Well, we’ll be glued to our televisions.

It’s going to be different. What with Teams’ almost all new players and the ten (10) players who, missed almost all of the previous season or more, now returning, and all the BIG deals and trades! Giannis Antetokounmpo having the BIGGEST BADDEST DEAL! The trades are on till March, so still more trades to expect and James Harden is still looking for a new home. I wonder where he’ll land.

The Championship race this season will sure be different. Personally, it’s hard to tell who’s going to lead each conference, but I know it’s gonna be darn wild and exciting!! Yours truly will be watching and I hope you will too.

Here’s the Season’s Broadcast Schedule. Watch your locals for appropriate showing times.

Loving Basketball: Preseason starts this Saturday!

t.email.warriors.com/r/

Woohoo!!!

Check your local Teams for respective stations’ airing times. You know (C)ThinkTalk will be glued to the television.

Quiz:

Which Team will win this season’s Championship?

1 Golden State Warriors

2 Golden State Warriors

3 Golden State Warriors

4 Golden State Warriors

😆 Okay, I just displayed my bias!

Let’s take two:

Which Team will win the 2020-21 NBA Championship?

1 Golden State Warriors

2 Los Angeles Lakers

3 Miliwaukee Bucks

4 Brooklyn Nets

You can also write it in the comments.

Hope you’ll be watching too!

Loving Basketball: So glad to see these guys back!

www.nba.com/news/10-players-we-finally-get-to-see-again-in-2020-21

. . .

I’m really glad and looking forward to the 2020-21 NBA season starting soon – Christmas will be bomb!!!

The game, like any other sports, is a risky venture. We, the fans, concern ourselves more with the big bucks paid to the players and big contracts signed. But none, absolutely none, can relate to the private grind and unfortunate mishaps, nor the public scrutiny, that comes with it.

I’m really gladder to see these players, highlighted by renowned NBA sportswriter and my fave sportswriter (though he doesn’t know that or know me! smile), #ShaunPowell, return to doing what they love. I watched the incident live as it happened to everyone on the list and man, I shed a tear or two. That each had to be grounded at all is painful; for some a year or more. But as awful as each’s incident was, I gathered and consoled myself that each needed a divine rest that they would otherwise not had taken.

How could the Bay Area fans had explained Kevin Durant’s (KD’s) incident recur live during the 2018-19 NBA Championship. It undoubtedly dented hopes of winning that season. Steph, Draymond, et al were still fighting till the next casualty Klay Thompson went down! All hopes at that point, for my beloved Golden State Warriors (GSW) winning that season, shattered. Was that a divine coincidence? You be the judge.

Needless to say, we welcome these guys back and pray that there will be no mishaps during the season. Cheers to the stronger, vibrant, and healthier ten (10) NBA players. Love you all and thanks for giving us your best always and sharing your gifts and talents with the world.

p.s. we continue to pray for a speedy recovery for the indomitable Klay Thompson.

Loving Basketball: 2020 NBA Draft Day

Today is the NBA Draft. Hundred (100) prospects with their families will gather, via videoconferencing due to covid-19, for the event and the possibility of starting a “new life” in basketball. The event which was originally “scheduled to be held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, will now be conducted at the ESPN’s facilities in Bristol, Connecticut.” The WNBA Draft earlier this year was also conducted via videoconferencing because of covid-19.

The NBA Draft consists of top talented American and International basketball players.

Of the hundred (100), only sixty (60) favored of these prospects will be chosen in two rounds of what will seem like an anxious auction of sorts.

Unlike the highest bidder getting the product in an auction, in the NBA Draft, the teams already know who they’d like to pick. The uncertainty arises if another team picks the specific prospect before the Team’s turn. I’m sure that each NBA Team has done its due diligences and has a first through probably fifth choice should that happen. Makes it the more uncertain though intriguing.

The Lottery earlier

The NBA Draft Lottery, which determines the order of selection for the NBA Draft, was earlier conducted in August. The 14 teams that did not make the 2020 postseason were eligible for the Lottery and included:

Golden State > 14.00% Charlotte > 6.00%
Cleveland > 14.00% Washington > 4.50%
Minnesota > 14.00% Phoenix > 3.00%
Atlanta > 12.50%

San Antonio > 2.00%
Detroit > 10.50% Sacramento > 1.30%
New York > 9.00% New Orleans > 1.20%
Chicago > 7.50% Memphis* > 0.50%

Though the above fourteen (14) teams have the edge of choosing the top fourteen prospects, all NBA Teams will have the opportunity to choose a prospect that fits with both their current needs and cultures and that will subsequently enhance their abilities to be competitive for the upcoming 2020-21 NBA Season. The goal will be to maximally compete for the next NBA Championship.

The NBA 2020-21 Season will start on December 22, 2020.

Draft Rounds

There are two rounds to go through. The first round consists of college freshmen who have opted to forgo the remainder of their education for a rosier NBA life. Their “contracts run a total of four years, with the first two being guaranteed.” The second round “talent often consists of sophomores, juniors and seniors who have had more time to develop their skills on the basketball court and end up being much better pro players than they would have been coming out a year earlier. This creates a demand for them, but the additional year in school theoretically means one less year for that drafting team, and as such, they fall to the second round.”

Steinberg, a Forbes Sports contributor, believes that “there is an inverse relationship between age and draft position.” Click here to read more on this.

Draft and Deals

Prior to today, several trade deals have been entered into that involves Teams exchanging draft picks. It is also not uncommon to make trade deals on Draft day. It will be interesting to see those that happen today.

. . .

Wikipedia has a table, with all Teams and their draft selection positions, that you can print and use to enter the prospects as you follow along. I’m unsure if I’ll be available to watch the live event, but I’ll definitely utilize the form for a later watch and reference.

Tune in if you will to watch this spectacular event on ESPN at 8 P.M. ET.

ThinkTalk wishes the chosen young men the very best in their NBA pursuits and career. May each land with the Team of their Dream. Here’s also wishing that the unselected forty (40) will continue to hope and try again either next year or look to alternative basketball or other pursuits; such as international. There’s surely a place for each one!

Thanks for reading.

Loving Basketball: What a Game, but Bucks is out!

Unbelievable! Milwaukee Bucks, the NBA Number One seed and East Conference leader, with a regular season record of 56:17, is out of the 2019-20 NBA Playoffs!! Bucks was edged out by an underdog, the East’s 5th ranking Miami Heat who had a regular season record of 44:29!!

First-time a lower-seed (5th) will oust the number one seed!

Miami is already the first No. 5 seed to hold a 3-0 playoff series lead over a No. 1 seed in league history.

Miami Heat, with the duo of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, and their two three-point shooters of Tyler Herro (a rookie) and Goran Dragic, were phenomenal. They outscored the Bucks in the fourth quarter.

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo (GA) had earlier sprained his ankle, the second time, during Game 4 of the series and had to leave the game. That was a damper, but his teammates successfully held the fort and won that game. Giannis showed up at Game 5 in a boot. I was optimistic that Milwaukee, without GA, will continue the streak. And they did till the fourth quarter. Though Khris Middleton and team played hard, too many turnovers and missed shots cost the leader team.

This is the second time that Milwaukee Bucks will lose the playoffs despite their team’s formidable season’s efforts. The first was the 2018-19 season during the finals against Toronto Raptors. Which brings me to wonder what’s going on with the team. Is’t exhaustion? But no, if the Golden State Warriors could hold up and win back-to-back championships, then Bucks could too. The question is “why aren’t they?” Did the Heat have the advantage of being well-rested since they finished the first round sooner than other teams and Bucks didn’t? Could there be internal affairs issues that the outside world/fans are unaware of? Your guess is as good as mine.

Well, well, well … Kudos really to the Miami Heat. They swept their first opponent, Indiana Pacers, in the first round of the playoffs and almost did it with the Bucks, too. They went 7:1! Now they have another opportunity to be well-rested for the semi-finals. Will it be Boston Celtics, who leads the series at 3:2, or the reigning champions Toronto Raptors?

Congratulations to Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat.

Like Charles Barkley said, we hope that Giannis will remain with the Bucks, figure out what the stumbler is that’s affecting them at critical moments and rectify it soonest, including hoping to win the NBA Championship soon.

Thanks for reading.

Loving Basketball: Landslide Victory for the Greek Freak!

Credits: CBS Sports

The media went agog on the announcement.

Congratulations is in order for Milwaukee Bucks Giannis Antetokoumpo on winning the 2019-20 KIA Defensive Player of the Year Award. An award with the best NBA defensive players gave Giannis a landslide victory of 432 points over candidates Anthony Davis of LA Lakers and Rudy Gobert of Utah Jazz who had 200 and 187 points respectively.

This is one of two awards the Nigerian-Greek player was nominated for this season. He was also nominated for the 2019-20 KIA MVP along with LeBron James of LA Lakers. The result and winner of the Kia NBA MVP Award will be announced during coverage of the ongoing 2019-20 NBA Playoffs.

Once again, congratulations to Giannis Antetokoumpo. We wish him very best!

For more on the award, click 1, 2, and 3.

Loving Basketball: All hail Dame $$$Dolla!

Damian Lillard was determined from the get-go. “We didn’t come here to play.” He sure was right. Contending for the West’s 8th seed was no joke for Dame and his team.

The Restart is now over!

What a two-week Restart! What a finish particularly for Dame and the Trailblazers?! Of the 22 teams that competed in the NBA Restart, 6 teams were sent back home. All 22 teams played, in my opinion, better than they did during regular season and before the shutdown, with the exception of two, maybe three, teams. The competition was fierce but the determination to qualify for playoff was fiercer.

A few offsets and surprises made me wonder what was going on in/around Camp Florida. But, as we always say, it’s all well that ends well.

As I earlier blogged, and stated to watch out for Dame/Trailblazers, he and his team did not disappoint and probably surprised noone other than their opponent, the Grizzlies! They played their hearts out and, fought to finish, for that 8th seed. Dame is definitely an indefatigable leader. No wonder he was unanimously selected for the Kia Player of the Seeding Game. He obviously couldn’t have done it without the equally indefatigable teammates, McCollum and Nurkic; who despite injury and death in the family respectively, were equally as determined to qualify.

I salute their tenacity. Congratulations to Dame and the Portland Trailblazers.

Here’s hoping the energy will continue to flow unhindered by any force of sickness or injury as they face the LA Lakers on Tuesday, August 18, for Round 1 of the 2019-20 Playoff.

Honorable mention is due to the Rookie, Ja Morant. He’s sure on his way for the bigger and better. Here’s hoping that he wins the Rookie Award, which could have been a difficult choice to make had Zion W. played as expected in the Restart. Zion’s efforts, or lack thereof, makes the award an easier one to choose.

Click here for more on Dame and Trailblazer news.

Below is the Round 1 Playoff schedule.

I’m excited for the 16 teams and look forward to more intense energy. We wish all players and coaches the very best competing for the race to the NBA 2019-20 Championship.

Loving Basketball: Recap of First NBA Restart Game

My oh my!

Did you watch the two debut Restart games yesterday?! Were you, like I was, holding onto your seat, screaming to the point of near-hypertension (I pray not), most of the time, shaking-my-head wondering how the games will end?

Well, I couldn’t help myself doing all that. Though I won’t be blogging on each game, the above two games seemed important for two reasons; one, it’s the first two games of the Restart; and two, the hype about Zion and LeBron. The latter more so for the MVP race.

How it ended

Well, we know how it ended. For those who didn’t watch or were even oblivious of the NBA Restart games, Utah Jazz (UJ) won over New Orleans Pelicans (NOP), and LA Lakers (LAL) over LA Clippers (LAC). Both defeated teams put up a fight till the end as such the minimal differentials in points. But win or lose, those minuscule points matter a great deal. It only takes a point to win any game, right?

Could game outcome have been different?

Could there have been a different outcome if key players, like Zion (NOP) and Lou Williams/Patrick Beverly (LAC) started and/or had more playing minutes? Your guess is as good as mine.

I enjoyed every moment of both games. They’re the kind I like to watch; not those mis-matched games where one team clearly dominates the other.

Needless to say, the NBA Games is back with a bang! Did not realize how much I had missed them! Welcome back guys!! Love you all for entertaining us … yay yay yay I know making-those-huge-salaries and laughing-all-the-way-to-the-bank entertaining us, right?! Still love you all. 😊😍

Today’s games:

  • Orlando Magic vs. Brooklyn Nets
  • Phoenix Suns vs. Washington Wizards
  • Portland Trailblazers vs. Memphis Grizzlies
  • Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics
  • Houston Rockets vs. Dallas Mavericks

Watch your local channels for airing times.

😊

Loving Basketball: A Note from Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner

NBA Games Restart tonight on TNT at 6:30 ET. Watch your local channels to check for airing times. For detailed schedule, visit NBA Restart Schedule. Let’s enjoy it together.

Letter to NBA Fans

Dear NBA Fan,

It’s been more than four months since we last played NBA basketball.  Tonight we restart the season with 22 teams in Orlando and attempt to establish our new normal.  And while spectators won’t be there in person, fans remain at the heart of our game.

We’re introducing several elements to improve the live game viewing experience, including multiple, new camera angles, enhanced audio of players and coaches, a feature on our NBA app that allows for virtual crowd reactions, customized alternative streams on NBA League Pass with statistical overlays and influencers calling the action, and video boards surrounding the court featuring hundreds of fans watching from home.

At the same time, we recognize that this moment is about more than basketball.  It’s an opportunity for NBA players and teams to continue a longstanding tradition of addressing important issues around social justice.

These are difficult and challenging times, but the NBA is coming back because sports matter in society.  We hope that the return of the NBA – along with other major league sports – will enrich your lives.

Welcome to a whole new game!

Sincerely,

Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner

© 2020 NBA PROPERTIES, INC.

Loving Basketball: Basketball is Back!

Credits: Laylayrock26

NBA is back and been back a few days! I hope you all are as excited as I am; or even more so. Let’s hear the 🥁rolls …..

Pre-pandemic

The league, like everything else, was abruptly shut down in March just when we were getting excited about which teams made the playoffs. The momenta got snapped like a one-inch elastic round falling off a pant.

Restart

Well, they’re back. Too bad that my fave team, Golden State Warriors, didn’t make the restart. We all know why, right? For those who don’t: KD left the team (yay yay yay like he left OKC, right? And probably will leave Nets?!), and his leaving sent pandemonium not only to Dubs, but the who league!

Credits: ftw.usatoday.com; cdn.ampproject.org

If not for the love I have for KD, I would have blamed it all on him. But, the boy KD is phenomenal with the ball; he’s got style uniquely his. So I’ll spare him. Who knows, maybe just maybe, he might decide to return for our namesakes. I don’t believe his Oakland Hills mansion found a buyer yet, so he might just move back. We’ll pretend that he just went on a vacation and is back, right?! Please tell me that I’m not dreaming.

. . .

Anyways, the newly-formed Golden State Warriors team has lots of young players that hopefully will stay with the team long term.

Appreciate them for keeping on despite all “things” working against them. Here’s hoping that Klay T. is feeling better and will be back soon/next season. Till then, we hope the GSW players and coaches have a great and restful time off.

Four-month hiatus

Sorry I forgot why I was blogging today 😊 Got carried away raving about KD. The boy is darn (pardon my Greek) good!

Okay, NBA is back people! Four months hiatus. Gheez what did I do during those months? I guess that it’s one of those things – you love it while it lasts, and just accept it once it’s gone.

The restart scrimmages have been fun to watch. I remember my daughter’s coaches always said, “the scrimmage shows how you’re gonna play in the game.” There were times I disagreed, but for the most times, the coach was right.

So, if the NBA restart scrimmages reflect what we would see come playoffs, beginning on July 30th, we might be in for some rude shockers.

While COVID-19 didn’t affect some players’ games, many seem to be just about finding their rhythms and appear lost in the court space. We will see.

The scrimmages started two days ago and will end on July 28th, with a two-day break.

Playoffs and race to the 2019-2020 Championships begins on July 30. Who are you routing for? Do you think Toronto Raptors will be able to defend their title? They haven’t really been in the run-off news all season though but we still can’t put anything pass them. They shocked us (or maybe it was just me) last season to emerge as the 2018-19 Champions.

On the West side, the race is between Lakers and Clippers. Lakers presently takes a commanding lead though with five games over Clippers. But watch Portland and Pelicans battling for the eighth position.

On the East side, there seems to be no rival. Mil Bucks and The Freak got it being seven games over the current champion; who like KD had their lead star, KL, bail to the other side.

Game schedule

Tune in to your favorite sports channel (or TBT or ESPN or NBA) to watch the fun. Below is a link to the full schedule.

https://www.nba.com/article/2020/06/26/nba-comeback-schedule-2019-20-seeding-games

And let’s have fun voting for the 2019-2020 MVP.

Credits: Wikipedia.con
Credits: https://images.app.goo.gl/XaYJY1pHVn3gjhKR8

|_|. Giannis Antekoumpo

|_|. Lebron James

Thanks for reading.