Posts Tagged ‘Bob Ryan’

Labor Talks: Here We Go Again

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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Did you wake up this morning wondering what the first weekend of November has in store for you, NBA fans?

Let us help.

How about another round of “talks,” perhaps even another round of hollow smiles and more posturing about deadlines that move at the whim of the men on both sides of the league’s labor dispute and even a scare tactic or two that threatens to cost us the entire 2011-12 season?

We completely understand if lockout fatigue syndrome is full-blown in your household. It’s choking the life out of things here at the hideout, where every breaking news blast is met with a raised eyebrow and questions about who might be pulling the strings on this latest stunt (the dissolution of the union is coming back to the forefront now).

(SI.com and NBA TV’s legal analyst Michael McCann details all of the particulars for you!)

They’ve met in small groups, larger groups and committees. There have been conference calls, secret ones and not-so-secret alike, news conferences and now threats of the union decertifying and still no sign of the one thing we need … a new collective bargaining agreement!

Substantive talks are one thing and we’d welcome anything in that neighborhood going on this weekend.

But showing up to a Manhattan hotel and sticking around just long enough to tell each other that nothing has changed is not what we’d consider progress.

And we’re not the only ones exhausted by the process …

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Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe captures the mood of many with his column that places the current state of affairs in the proper historical context:

It is very annoying for those of us who still love the sport of professional basketball to see what its custodians are currently doing to harm it. I wish it were as easy to decipher as the NFL madness. It was pretty easy to outfit the combatants in that one.

White Hats: Players

Black Hats: Owners

The NFL lockout was about very rich guys, all making a profit from their teams, wanting more. The players asked for nothing. Status quo was fine with them. There was a $9 billion pie, and there was ample opportunity for everyone to get a nice slice.

The NBA pie is worth “only’’ approximately $4 billion, and, unlike the NFL, not everyone makes a profit. That is clear. But just who is losing what remains unclear, because history teaches us that in these matters, professional sports teams make statements concerning their finances that, while perhaps not outright lies, are, shall we say, substantial stretches of the truth. Make that enormous, stupendous, astonishing stretches of the truth.

No Sleeping On The Celtics

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Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it 1,000 times the past few days.

“Don’t sleep on the Celtics!”

I won’t.

We won’t.

We’re done estimating the old men in the NBA’s Final Four, and yes the aged Celtics remain the most seasoned group in the conference finals on either side.

That seasoning, however, provides mettle and toughness that only the Los Angeles Lakers can begin to approach. And as we all know, it was this same Celtics team two years ago that took these Lakers to the woodshed.

But the Celtics we will see today are a much improved bunch from what we saw earlier this season, as the venerable Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe points out here:

Even so, that LeBron [James] still might have been good enough to defeat another playoff foe, and he definitely would have been good enough to defeat those 27-27 Celtics of January, February, March, and April. The ultimate issue in the Boston-Cleveland series was Boston, not Cleveland. The LeBron sideshow dominated all local and national attention. Had the opponent been the Rochester Royals, no one would have noticed. It was a LeBron Festival, 24/7.

Should anyone stop talking about where LeBron is heading for five seconds and decide to turn on his or her TV set at 3:30 EDT this afternoon, he or she will see a team wearing green uniforms that is playing high-level NBA basketball, a team that has renewed commitment to both defense and sharing the basketball, a team whose eight primary rotation players all have championship rings, and a team that has the extra motivation that comes when you are trying to prove millions of people wrong. No one picked them to go this far, and they know it.

The current Celtics team did not really exist all season. True, they had that 23-5 start, but that was without Glen Davis. Only now does Doc Rivers have the unit he needs to compete with the Cavs, Magic, Lakers, and Suns of the world.

The basic story line now centers on health. The situation is exactly what Rivers said all along it would be. If, he kept saying before and during many a lost evening this past winter, we ever get healthy, we will be OK.

There was also this gem from Ryan, summing up the playoffs and this series perfectly:

A regular-season record is the product of talent, yes, but it also reflects whom you play, when you play them (i.e. are you in the fourth game in six nights of a killer road trip?), who’s healthy, how difficult the team is to prepare for, and, without question, motivation. In the playoffs, motivation is self-evident.

Coaching and preparation can decide series. Teams can zero in on opponents’ vulnerabilities. In-game coaching decisions are magnified (did Doc kick poor Mike Brown’s butt or what?). It’s all totally different.

The Magic have won 27 out of 30, but the Celtics are ready for them. A month ago, we all thought the Celtics might lose in the first round, no matter whom they played. Now they’re playing Orlando for the Eastern Conference championship, and it’s going to be a fair fight.

We’re done with predictions around here.

We’re down to the best of the very best.

It’s time to get it on and the best team standing at the end is the undisputed beast of the East!

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