NBA Basketball Players: Have they just become Traveling Minstrels?

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This blog is coming on the hills of the announcement by Kevin Durant that he has decided to join the Warriors. A number of people like Stephen A. Smith have harsh comments to say because of their bewilderment of his decision.  I am not surprised by his decision but I’m disappointed because I wanted him to be the example of “staying the course” with your team when it’s a good squad and winning in spite of but it was not to be.

Unlike other highly charged “sports commentators” my approach to his decision will come from a different perspective. Everyone must keep in mind that Durant is chasing the almighty championship ring and that is what drove him to make this decision.  I think free agency is great and players should be given the opportunity to explore what’s out there but at what cost to a team and fans that have been extremely loyal and supportive?  Also, Durant was playing on one of the best teams in the League with another future “Hall of Fame” player in Russell Westbrook, all he needed to do was stay the course.  The Thunder team that lost to the Warriors was actually better than the Warriors and they proved that when up 3 –1 but couldn’t close it out.  Durant and Westbrook made bad mental decisions in those final games which resulted in the Warriors winning the series.  With time and more maturity they would have learned not to repeat the same mistakes, no one will know what could have been.  That which made KD falter in the Thunder series will show itself with the Warriors, believe that.

NBA basketball has become difficult to watch because the franchise players don’t have the inner fortitude of staying connected with a team and playing through the struggles like Jordan, Magic, Kobe, Zeke, Olajuwon, Bird etc. instead they continue to opt for instant gratification. Mark my word, this decision will be a costly one.

The basketball world is saying, well LeBron did it but the difference was LeBron was not playing with a “Hall of Fame” player on any of those Cleveland teams nor did he go to a team that was winning.   When LeBron went to Miami that team sucked.  Once King James made the move to Miami, the team started winning and that’s because the talent on the Miami team was better than the talent on the Cleveland teams and better coaches.  Also, LeBron needed to be around seasoned players that could elevate him to the next level.  Guess what? KD will not be in the company of seasoned players that can elevate him to the next level.  He’s going into a situation whereby everyone is young, their chemistry is in synch and the Warriors house was built around them.

Does this move by Warriors management say that they don’t believe in the players that won 73 games and the championship in 2015? Contrary to what people say, chemistry plays a very important role in a team’s ability to win and believe me it’s hard to win 50 games, let alone 73.  For all of the people that think, it’s a “rap” and the Warriors are going to run over all of the teams in the League and win another championship next year because they’ve added KD to roster, it will not happen and he will become a “traveling minstrel” like so many others without a championship ring.

Reggie Miller said it best: “KD is giving up his legacy to chase cheap jewelry.”  KD you may have patterned your one legged jump shoot after Dirk Nowitzki, unfortunately you didn’t pattern your staying power after him.



Breaking down the 2016 NBA Finals and the play of the Four Best Teams

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Some of you are wondering what I’m talking about when I say the four best teams to play in the 2016 playoff series.  Well, I’m referring to the Spurs, Thunder, Warriors and the Cavaliers. I’m going to analyze what happened to the losing teams and why Cleveland ultimately won.  By the way, I said from the onset of the series Cleveland would be victorious.

Let’s start with the San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs are by far the best coached team in the League.  One possible problem with the Spurs, could be age.  Tim Duncan is 40 years old and the average age of the players on the team with the exception of Leonard and Green is thirty (30).  Albeit, “age may not be a factor,” now, but not having replacements for Parker, Ginobili and possibly Duncan will be.  Ginobli is a “Swiss Army” knife and can make plays from anywhere on the court and Parker is a superior point guard.  The team’s success is the result of Pop’s coaching ability.  If the Spurs really want to compete for another championship they must find legitmate replacements for Ginobili and Parker.  Aldridge may or may not be the answer for Tim Duncan but if anyone can coach Aldridge to be the next Duncan, it’s Pop.

OKC Thunder: The Warriors were down 3—1 and came back from the brink of elimination to win the series in game 7, does that sound familiar? Unlike the conspiracy theories that are abounding about the Cavs comeback from elimination, the answer is actually pretty simple, Westbrook and Durant are young and still learning how to stay focused on playing four quarters of defense and trusting their teammates to get the job done as well. The Warriors should never have beaten the Thunder.  The Thunder had the perfect answer to the Warriors: height, long arms and superb defense until they started to breakdown mentally and didn’t remain focused on playing defense and not playing the Warriors game.  The goal to beating the Warriors is solid defense for four straight quarters, not playing the Warriors game of launching perimeter shots.  Once a team tries to keep up with Warriors, they are doomed for failure.  OKC did what the Cavs didn’t do.  OKC let up defensively and played the Warriors game, which ultimately resulted in their demise.  The Cavs continued the defensive pressure although they were down 3 – 1 and that made the difference.  The Cavs knew if they started launching 3s, the chances of winning the series would be “NIL.”  Cleveland was able to run with the Warriors because their defense gave them the ability to do so.

Golden State Warriors: How on earth did the Warriors lose to the Cavs after going up 3 – 1?  “Conspiracy Theorists,” let go, the game was not rigged.  No amount of bad calls by refs will breathe life into a team that is on the brink of elimination.  Not only that, the Warriors would have to be in on the rigging and  the amount of money that it would take to pull off something like that would break the bank so let go and move on.  The Warriors were beaten because King James and Company realized after game 4 that they had to play four quarters of defense, contest every shot, get every rebound, slow down the pace and not take perimeter shots unless absolutely necessary.  King James had more blocks, steals, assists and rebounds than anyone on the court.  That’s why he is King James.  The Warriors live by the 3-point shot.  Well, guess what? If you live by the 3-point shot, you will die by the 3-point shot and that’s one of the reasons the Warriors lost.  The Warriors had just come back from almost being eliminated by OKC and it took a lot out of them to fight their way back.  The Warriors don’t have an inside game which is problematic when the team is coming off a tough series.  Also, they did not have an answer for the defensive pressure applied by the Cavs.  King James running down the court and killing Iguodala’s layup was “priceless.”  The Warriors thought a swarm of bees had entered the building and they were being stung from all angles.  In addition to not having an answer to the defensive pressure, the time came for Steve Kerr to actually coach the team back and he wasn’t able to do that because the team relies so heavily on 3-point shots.  The players were tired so the “splash brothers” perimeter shots weren’t falling and if they tried to drive inside, King James and Company were there to contest every shot.  The inside pressure was so suffocating that Steph was afraid to drive inside.

Cleveland Cavaliers:  How did they come back from the brink of elimination and WIN. Defense, defense, defense, King James and Kyrie Irving.  Also, “The Will must be stronger than the Skill.” — Muhammad Ali.  The Cavs willed themselves to win and there was no stopping them.

Marinate on the above and let me know your thoughts.


Cavaliers Part II: The Will must be Stronger than the Skill.” – Muhammad Ali

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Basketball Fans, 1RAREGRL is going out on a limb to say, if the Cavs win game 6, they will win the Championship series. I know most people are shaking their heads going, “NO WAY” but in most instances I love to root for the underdog.

As I said in my last blog, I don’t dislike the Warriors but my Muse does. I have the utmost respect for the Warriors and they have earned it.  They are hardworking young men and they play to win.  The reason they win is because NBA teams have gotten away from the core formula for winning and that’s “DEFENSE.”  Defense wins games and the lack of defense exhibited by NBA teams just hands the Warriors wins on a constant basis.  When teams become frustrated with the Warriors perimeter shooting they shut down or try to keep up with them, WRONG ANSWER.

Instead of trying to keep up with the Warriors power house shooting, SHUT THEM DOWN and the only way to do that is to pressure them defensively. What happened to trapping the other team when the ball is being in bounded or half court traps and double teaming the opponent?  Come on, where is just old fashion coaching?

If the Cavs are going to hoist the championship trophy for the city of Cleveland, defense will be the weapon needed to get to job done. Also, Coach Lue will have to allow LJ to be LJ.  Irving, Love and everyone else on the team must accept who LJ is and play with him not against him.  Take a page out of the Warriors playbook and play as a team, not as a one man show.  Basketball is a team sport so play like a team, don’t play the Warriors game, play like a team hungry for a win.



Cavaliers: “The Will must be stronger than the Skill.” – Muhammad Ali

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The above-referenced quote from Muhammad Ali is poignant for what is happening with the Cavaliers during this playoff series.  I have to digress for a moment:  People are of the opinion that I don’t like the Warriors because I’m not rooting for them to win the NBA Championship and that’s not the case at all.  I enjoy watching the Warriors; they’re a fun team to watch with great players.  For as much as I like the Warriors, MY MUSE HATES THEM!!!!

The truth is, I am a Lakers fan and always will be. I don’t care who the reigning championship team is.  If the Lakers are NEVER on top again, I will always support them regardless of where they are in the standings.  Therefore, I don’t have a horse in the race for any other NBA franchise.  However, there are other teams that I’m partial to and the Cavs for sentimental reasons happens to be one of the teams.

Back to the Cavaliers and what is transpiring in this series. LeBron almost single handedly defeated the Warriors last year but what I’m seeing in this series is frustrating and increasingly more difficult to watch.  Coach Lue’s substitutions have been awful throughout the series.  The defense is horrific and that’s what the Warriors were counting on.  The Warriors win because the opposing team cannot play four quarters of good, solid defense and in the case of the Cavaliers they have had turnover, after turnover, after turnover.  Wait: I saw LeBron slip down twice in two plays, really?  Get a new pair of sneakers or the refs need to cleanup the wet spots.  The Cavs players are standing around as if they’re in shock by what’s happening on the court and it makes no sense.  The Cavs are the Eastern Conference Champions for the second year in a row.  How are you shocked by what’s going on, on the floor?

The biggest problem with the Cavs is not allowing LeBron to take over the game out of the gate.  If LeBron is given the green light to come in the game throwing his BIG body around, crashing the boards and forcing shots it will take the Warriors out of their game and allow the rest of the Cavs team to become involved in the game.  LeBron has never been a selfish player but it’s time for him to take on a more selfish role, if the Cavs are to have any hope of pulling this out.  He has got to put the team on his back and force the Warriors to play out of their comfort zone.

I hate to keep repeating this but Magic, Bird, Jordan, Zeke and Kobe would have placed their respective teams on their backs and willed a win. Coach Lue must allow LeBron to take over and his teammates must let go of their egos and focus on winning and being champions, not individual accolades.





Phil Jackson: Would You Be Okay with Management telling you how to Coach?

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According to the articles I’ve read, Phil Jackson is so committed to the “Triangle Offense” that he’s only willing to hire a coach with experience running the offense. I have a question for Phil Jackson: Phil when you were a head coach would you have wanted the Owner, GM or VP of Player Operations telling you how to coach the team?  My guess is “NO” and if I’m right, why is it okay for you to do it?

It is not a sound strategy for the Knicks organization to go along with Jackson’s coach selection process? Did Phil Jackson really win all of those championships because of the “Triangle Offense” or was it because he had high caliber players like Jordan, Pippen, Bryant and O’Neal?  My bet is on the latter, it was the players not Phil Jackson’s offensive prowess.  Phil Jackson believes that it was his coaching genius that garnered the Bulls and Lakers all of those championships.  Well, I’m here to dispel that myth.  It is my belief that it was the talent on the Bulls and Lakers teams that resulted in those championships.  Case in point, when Jordan went on hiatus from basketball, the Bulls didn’t win anything running the “triangle offense” but when Jordan returned the Bulls won three more championships.

It was a similar situation with the Lakers, when the Lakers lost to Boston, Jackson blamed the loss on Shaq and Kobe’s inability to get along so he quit but came back, when the Lakers picked up Pau Gasol and additional talent.

With players like Jordan, Pippen, Bryant and O’Neal, he could have run the square, rectangle etc. offense and my bet is the Bulls and the Lakers would have won those championships. It was the talent, not Phil Jackson’s alleged genius as a coach.  Go on with your 100 year old “triangle offense.”

Not a single assistant coach under Phil Jackson’s leadership has gone on to be a successful head coach in the NBA. For instance, Brian Shaw was awful during his tenure with the Nuggets and Jim Cleamons was a total bust with the Mavericks so believe me when I say the “triangle offense” is a smoke screen for Phil Jackson to keep people snowed and New York gets’ enough snow so they don’t need more from Phil Jackson.

Let’s not forget the blunder he made when he hired Derek Fisher, a player under his tutelage who was a complete joke as the Knicks head coach. If he decides to hire Kurt Rambis as the head coach of the Knicks, the outcome will be the same.

Phil Jackson needs to step aside and hire a coach that can develop the talent on the Knicks team or become the head coach himself. The Knicks don’t have the talent the Bulls or Lakers had when Jackson was coaching so my bet is he will not become the head coach because he doesn’t know how to develop players.

Phil Jackson, either step up or step off and hire a real coach to come in and coach the Knicks.



Instead of Frank Vogel being fired, Maybe Larry Bird should be Fired!!!

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There was a time when I thought Larry Bird had a lot of class. However, that is no longer the case given how he handled the firing for Frank Vogel and the statement he made to the press.  He said “Frank Vogel” begged for his job.  Wow, was that really necessary?  It was not necessary nor was it professional.  No one deserves to be treated that way and I do mean NO ONE.

First of all Frank Vogel requested an opportunity to convince him why he should continue as the coach of the Pacers, which is a reasonable request and for Bird to blab to the media that Coach Vogel made this request showed his lack of class and really immaturity in the role of President.  Food for Thought:  Maybe Larry Bird should be fired, not Frank Vogel. 

Larry Bird’s philosophy is that a coach should only remain in place for three (3) years; that is a very smart way to run a professional franchise.  If he believes having a coaching carousel is the way to build a winning franchise, he is completely in the dark and has absolutely no business being the President.  As a matter of fact, he should consult with Bill Belichick, Phil Jackson and Greg Popovich and ask them if that mindset is a winning formula.  Also, there is not a descent coach around the League who will be willing to take that job, it’s not worth it.  It takes time and a whole of effort to build a winning team.  Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a winning basketball franchise.

During his three (3) year tenure as the head coach of the Indiana Pacers from 1997 to 2000, his accomplishments included the team going 58—24 in a single season, which was a franchise best, forcing the Bulls to a game seven (7) in the conference finals in the 1977—98 season and in 2000, the Pacers went to the NBA finals and lost but they got there.  Prior to accepting the job as the head coach, he made it clear that he would only be there for three (3) years.  At the end of the day, the franchise still hasn’t won a championship or returned to the NBA finals under his leadership as the President of the organization.  Maybe he is a better coach than President because his philosophy is definitely not in line with what it takes to build a successful franchise.

With Bird’s philosophy leading the organization no coach is going to take that job, unless you fall into a golden situation like Steve Kerr did with the Warriors. As it stands right now, we all know that the Pacers are not at the Warriors level.  It is my personal belief that Frank Vogel has done a good job with what he had to work with and he needed more time to develop the players.  If Larry Bird didn’t want Coach Vogel that’s fine but give him his walking papers in a professional manner don’t humiliate him in public, which is exactly what he did and that’s “foul” and “low budget.”

What is the world coming to when a person thinks it’s okay to humiliate another person in public?  A man of Bird’s stature should have known better but clearly he doesn’t.  When I watched the final Indiana game, I had a feeling Coach Vogel was on a slippery slope just by the nature of Bird’s facial expressions.  He wore his emotions on his sleeves and the signs were very telling.  If he can’t keep it together any better than that and add to that his philosophy of three (3) years and out, he’s definitely not the right person for the role of president in any organization.



Lakers: Mark Jackson Built the House the Warriors Win In: Hire Him

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With all of the NBA teams in need of coaches, why isn’t Mark Jackson’s name at the top of the list?  The Warriors would not be the Warriors “but for” Mark Jackson.  However, for some reason there is an eerie silence around the league when sportscasters and the like are referencing who the next coach should be for teams in dire need of a coach.

Since I’m a “die hard” Lakers fan, it is my recommendation that the Lakers hire Mark Jackson at all cost. I wrote a blog when the season began and without any hesitation stated that Bryon Scott was a bad hire from day one.  Now that Bryon Scott has been terminated, it’s time to for the Lakers to select the right coach for the role and IT’S NOT LUKE WALTON.

Come on people, I can coach the Warriors with the amount of talent on that team. All Luke Walton had to do was be a cheerleader on the sideline when he took over for Steve Kerr.  All he needed was one of my old high school cheerleader uniforms and he would have been set.  The Lakers don’t need a cheerleader, they need a real coach that has the ability to lead, build and get the players to buy into his strategic vision for the team.  There are enough coaches in the league that lack the qualities, I just listed.  Under the leadership of Mark Jackson, the Warriors players were taught the value of teamwork, disciple, ball movement, the importance of working together for the greater good of the team and he gave them confidence.

When there is not a team in the League mentioning hiring Mark Jackson as their next head coach, there is a dead cat on the line somewhere out there. People can pretend until the cows come home but it was Mark Jackson who built the house the Warriors win in.

The Lakers desperately need to hire Mark Jackson because the management needs guidance for the upcoming draft and that certainly can’t be left up to Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss because the two of them share the same brain. 

I can’t sit back and watch the Lakers continue down this road of abyss without pointing out that, whatever negative comments Golden State’s management has made about Mark Jackson is just smoke and mirrors and the Lakers organization should not be fooled by the hype of Luke Walton. 


I wonder what Luke Walton’s record would be if he was coaching the 76ers today, it probably would be the same if not worst, boom!!!  Guys my nieces and nephews can coach Golden State.

Hey by the way, Patrick Ewing has proven that he will be a great head coach as well. Not only for the Lakers, Knicks, 76ers but for any other team looking for a good head coach, please wise up to what’s really going on.


Russell Wilson and Ciara; Russell Westbrook and Nina: Beautiful Couples

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With everything that’s going on in professional sports and there is a lot going on, it’s important to write about how some professional athletes are choosing to live their very public lives in a way that represents family values and the importance of having healthy, positive relationships.

Is there something about the name Russell or are Russell Westbrook and Russell Wilson just fine examples of young men with their heads on straight. Now don’t get me wrong, they are still young and have made mistakes like the rest of us and will continue to do so. However, both of these young men have “put rings” on the women they love and have not been shy about it. As a matter of fact, Westbrook married his longtime girlfriend and he didn’t do it because there was a baby involved.  As a community we have to get back to these kind of family values.

For those of you that read my blog and my tweets, you know that I don’t sugarcoat things. I will say this about Russell Wilson, he realized that the person he married the first time, was not supposed to be his wife and he made a swift exit, praise the Lord and there was no baby involved. He corrected that mistake with a quickness.  Ciara on the other hand, is the poster girl for ALL that is wrong with getting into and staying involved with the wrong person. Ladies, I have said this time and time again, it is NEVER okay to be “baby mama” number one, let alone “baby mama” number four and that’s what Ciara is.  Now she is tied to a buffoon for life.

Ciara had absolutely no business dating Future and she sure as hell had no business getting pregnant by him. Yes, he did put a ring on it and then did what he does best and that is cheat, allegedly with his stylist. Of course, he says he didn’t cheat but that he wanted to continue to hang out with his low budget friends and Ciara was not having it. Really, who gets’ married and still wants to behave like a juvenile? Now he is salty and continues to spew venom on twitter, in magazines etc. He has proven what a male friend told me once, the best revenge for a woman when a man does you wrong, is to live WELL and that is what Ciara is doing.

She definitely, moved up and on because Russell Wilson is from great stock. Wilson’s pedigree sets him apart from a lot of professional athletes. If you want to know more about his pedigree, checkout my blog about his contract because it gives a detailed summary of his family roots.

Kudos to Russell Wilson and Ciara and Russell Westbrook and Nina. Continue to show the world what good stock looks like.

In the words of one of my favorite singers Mary J. Blige these two couples represent: “Real Love”




The Lakers Beat the Warriors, How?

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The Lakers handed the Warriors their sixth defeat this season and the Lakers thirteenth win.   As terrible as the Lakes are and they are awful, their win proves that “defense” wins games. Regardless of whether the sport is basketball, football, baseball etc. it is defense that wins’ games.  The Lakers forced 20 turnovers by the Warriors to the Lakers 11. The Warriors had 57 rebounds to the Lakers 49, still a very good showing by the Lakers a team that’s typically not aggressive on the offensive or defensive boards but they were fighting for rebounds on both sides of the court. The Lakers field goal percentage was 47.1 to the Warriors 40.2, the Lakers 3-Point percentage was 37.5 to the Warriors 13.3. Once the Lakers realized they could win, there was no stopping them.

This Lakers did everything OKC didn’t do in order to win this game and OKC has better players and a better coach.  It just goes to show, even a team as bad as the Lakers can beat a team as good as the Warriors if the team plays four quarters of defense and solid basketball. As I said in my blog last week, the Warriors beat teams because the players are lazy, they are not coached to play defense, the coaching is horrible and they are offensively arrogant. The Lakers played good solid team basketball, which included four quarters of solid defense and the Warriors didn’t have an answer for that. The Lakers hands were up in the Warriors faces and they challenged their shots, which is critical in a basketball game.

This win by the Lakers is good and bad. Good in the sense that the young players on the team know that they can win, if they play good solid basketball for four (4) quarters. Bad in the sense that the team is on its way to securing a good pick in the draft if they continue to lose.

Too many wins could kill their chances of getting a good draft pick. Of course, getting a good pick is contingent on Mitch Kupchak knowing a good player when he sees one. The Lakers have not taken full advantage of the draft in the past so a good selection by the Lakers remains to be seen.


How Did OKC Lose to the Warriors Last Saturday?

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Let me start by saying that I like the Warriors and I enjoy watching them play but I would like to see other teams rise to the level that hands the Warriors a defeat. Yes, the Warriors have been beaten by the Bucks, Mavericks, Pistons, Trailblazers and the Nuggets so what, these teams with the exception of the Trailblazers don’t really have the talent that can actually beat the Warriors in the playoffs or the championship.  Maybe the Warriors were tired when they played these teams.  Whatever the case maybe, these teams will be trashed by the Warriors in the playoffs.

The Warriors are the best team both offensively and defensively in the league and they are the hardest working. The Warriors are so good because they are relying on NBA teams to play NBA basketball.  NBA basketball has become really difficult to watch because the players are lazy, they are not being taught to play defense, they are offensively arrogant and have non-teaching coaches.  A coach still has to teach.  Case in point, KD was trapped at the opposite end of the court, the expectation by the OKC players was that he would be fouled but he wasn’t.  When he realized he was not going to be fouled he threw a bad pass and ended up fouling out.  A good coach would have prepared his team for that kind of defensive play.  It is basketball 101, never leave your teammate behind or go back and help him.  OKC didn’t know what to do in that instance.  How is a team at this level shocked by a defensive play?

The Warriors are not playing NBA basketball and it’s exposing what is wrong with NBA basketball today.  The Warriors are playing real basketball and if these other teams don’t start coaching their players properly, the Warriors will win the championship again and again and again.  NBA basketball is becoming unwatchable because their is this unrealistic expectation that the players coming into the league already know how to play the game and they don’t.  How can they know the basic fundamentals of the game when they’re only spending a year or so in college? It is not possible.

OKC has the talent on its’ team but in order to beat the Warriors significant changes will need to take place, starting with being taught by the coach how to manage the clock, play four (4) quarters of defense, block out players and get offensive and defensive rebounds.  Passing the ball around is a key component to managing the clock and getting the best shot off.  Pass the ball around, don’t dribble for 20 seconds and then just throw up a shot.

Another example of the Warriors not being concerned with the teams in the NBA, Ibaka came down the court and made two attempts at three point plays, the Warriors didn’t even both to contest his shots because they were hurry up shots and the odds were he was not going to make them so they didn’t get out of their defensive stance and got the rebounds instead.

The Thunder like every team in the league must get every player on the court involved in the game or the game will continue to decline.

An example of offensive arrogance happened when OKC had a comfortable lead, they started running down the court and throwing up air balls in the final minutes of the game. You can’t do that against the Warriors or any team. When playing a team with players that can shoot you out of the gym, it is imperative that you run as much time off the clock as possible and get the best shot off.

Yes, the Warriors have outstanding players on the team but it’s exposing how poorly coached a lot of these teams are and the lack of basketball fundamentals being displayed on the floor.

Summing up this blog, I want to point out that most teams/players in the NBA are lazy and unwilling to play defense, “a la the All-Star Game.”  This was not the case for Magic Johnson and the Lakers, Larry Bird and the Celtics, Michael Jordan and the Bulls or Isiah Thomas and the Pistons, just to name a few.  I know analysts and others will say the rules have changed to favor the offense and this is true but who took effort and hustle out of the game.