Blog Archives

ESPN Backhands LeBron James and Beiber & Bynes Dream Couple!

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In case you were to enthralled with Justin Beiber doing an Amanda Bynes impression** at the Miami Heat game on Monday, then you already know that the Heat decimated the Indiana Pacers and have advanced to the NBA Finals to take on the wily vets, the San Antonio Spurs.

**Best celebrity couple ever? (If you can still call Amanda Bynes a celebrity). What would their celebrity nickname be? I love these things: Jamanda Byber? Amastin Beibynes? Jumandin Bebyners? Jumanji, for short?! The possibilities are endless! I must make an iPhone app that does this for me.**

ESPN posted that great video from illustrator Richard Swarbrick. Now, I don’t know this illustrator from any other illustrator, but clearly he has an appreciation for the history of Basketball. From Willis Reed playing on his hurt ankle to Michael Jordan celebrating his six championships and the most famous layup of all time to Magic Johnson’s skyhook. I would buy posters for every single one of those images, but the one image that stood out among the rest – LeBron’s cramps.

Swarbrick, you crazy son of a gun, you illustrate some of the most historic and glorious moments in NBA History and then give a little backhand to Bron Bron? Is he a Cavs fan? Did he hate the decision as much as the rest of the world? Or he hates male baldness? Maybe he doesn’t like that LeBron is being compared to Jordan. Whatever it is, it’s hilarious. When his artwork for this inevitably comes out I shall frame LeBron writhing in pain. No homo, No offense, Bron Bron.

My only question: Where was the iconic Paul Pierce getting wheelchair-ed off the court from the NBA Finals against the Lakers?

Other than the one LOL moment from the video, it’s pretty awesome. But, seriously can we get Beibs and Bynes to date already? She might throw her bong at him though. 

Follow Lance “The Red Mamba” on Twitter!

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Kobe Bryant Tweets a Grotesque Picture of His Surgery, Crosses Social Media Boundaries

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In case you’ve been living under a rock the past couple months, Kobe Bryant has taken up social media in an unprecedented way. After rupturing his achilles tendon, Kobe has embraced the 21st century and has quickly ascended my Power Rankings of Favorite Tweeters and Instagrammers. Congrats Mamba, you’re my number one!

Recently, he’s been giving updates on his rehab as he tries to prove his haters wrong and comeback from his most devastating injury of his career. But Kobe crossed a line this past week. A social media line, that is usually reserved for the creepy people on the internet not named Kobe. He Instagrammed a picture of his achilles surgery and it was the most disgusting picture I’ve seen since Kevin Ware’s broken leg made its way on the interwebs.

Click here to view the graphic photo 

At least he’s got the #hashtagging down. #Graphic is an understatement, Kobes.

While perusing my Instagram and eating lunch, this popped up. So, after I puked profusely and woke up from my Instagram induced blackout (I didn’t faint! I swear!) I thought we should set a couple guidelines for celebrities and their Instagram’s.

Do’s:

Do post #selfies of yourself. Honestly, if you’re a celebrity that means you’re probably pretty damn attractive. As much as I hate #selfies, if you’re good looking I won’t complain. Unless you post an inspirational quote as the caption to your selfie, then I will pray for your soul.

Do post pictures of you with other celebrities. Do I want to know if you’re out partying with Lindsay Lohan, Dennis Rodman and Charlie Sheen? Hell yes I do. That would be a fun game of Marry, F*ck, Kill*

*Marry: Charlie Sheen because you know he’d at least keep it interesting. F*ck: Lindsay Lohan, well she’s a girl, I’m a guy, it’s physics. Kill: Dennis Rodman, no explanation needed.

Do post behind the scenes looks at your prolific life. If you’re an actor, take some pictures that will give us an inside look on your new movie that I will probably download. If you’re an athlete, take a picture of your teammate passed out on the plane ride. We eat that shit up.

Don’ts: 

Don’t post gruesome pictures of your injuries! It is disgusting and will make the collective nation sick. We get it, Kobe, you’re a warrior, you play through injuries and you speak your mind. But, please spare me seeing the insides of your body. It just ain’t right.

Don’t tweet out a picture of your instagram that you Facebook’d. That is confusing and annoying and I will probably hate you.

Don’t like pictures that people have tweeted just of you. You’re a celebrity, so I’m sure you’re naive and need the attention, but just do a Google image search of you and bask in the glory that is yourself.

Follow Lance Cartelli on Twitter!

Kobe Bryant Betrays Me, Gives Rightful Name to Another

In case you missed the awful NBA All-Star Saturday Night, you didn’t miss much other than missed dunks in the Slam Dunk Contest, but you did miss a betrayal for the ages.  In an effort to get San Antonio Spurs Forward Matt Bonner into the Three-Point Contest, Kobe Bryant bequeathed the nickname the “Red Mamba” to him.  Needless to say I was heartbroken.

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Let’s go over the facts:  Kobe Bryant is my second favorite basketball player of all-time behind Michael Jordan. The Lakers are my favorite team.  I have red hair.  Those three factors alone put me on the short list for greatest nickname ever, “The Red Mamba”.

470807e8d9df908f72ba852a435e6294Not only did Matt Bonner — whose name is really close to being Matt Boner — get the greatest nickname on Planet Earth and probably the Milky Way Galaxy, but he also got a shirt of a Red Mamba in attack mode?!

That is my shirt.  I understand your mistake Kobe, so I’ll take that shirt in Men’s Large, does it come as a tall tee? I am ready to terrify the little kid that was jumped over in the Slam Dunk Contest. 

Now after being bestowed the “Red Mamba” nickname and an equally awesome and horrifying shirt, the Red Mamba has to run away with the Three-Point Contest, right?  There’s no way the Red Mamba could lose!

At this point, I was torn.  Do I root for Mr. Red Mamba even though he stole my rightful name?  Us Gingers do have to stick together, you know.  Or…has this man become my mortal enemy — the Joker to my Batman, the receding hairline to my LeBron James — and I must destroy him to regain what is rightfully mine? I decide to go with the former seeing as he’s a big, white guy with red hair, he’s just too damn lovable.  Damn you Bonner!

The Red Mamba comes out nailing everything.  Maybe Kobe was right.  Bonner advances to the finals against Kyrie Irving.

Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 11.22.19 AMI’m now on the #REDMAMBA bandwagon, if you can’t beat them join them.  And make it a #Hashtag, of course.

Unfortunately, being tall and white and a Ginger caught up to big Bonner in the Finals where he ran into the buzz-saw that is Kyrie Irving.

Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 11.25.51 AMThe Red Mamba loses, which gets me thinking –  I lose all the time.  I could’ve lost at the Three-Point Contest, I could lose a lot of things for the right to be called the Red Mamba by Kobe Bean Bryant. Lance “Second Place” Cartelli doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. Therefore, the twitter campaign #Lance4RedMamba begins, it shall be trending in no time.

At least Kobe still has his back right?  The guy that created the nickname and started the campaign to get Matt Bonner into the Three-Point Contest wouldn’t just turn his back on him would he?  Never turn your back on a Mamba!

Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 11.28.55 AMOh.  Nevermind. Me and my Bonner feel betrayed again.

After being stabbed in the back by Kobe, I doubt Mr. Bonner wants to keep this nickname that is tainted by the 2013 NBA Three-Point Contest.  Which means the reign of Lance “Red Mamba” Cartelli is in full affect.  Hopefully the power doesn’t go to my head and I become Joffrey from Game of Thrones

I had to do more research on this Red Mamba.  Like a Method Actor, I had to do more research to get into the role of a lifetime.

First, a Google search.  The seventh thing on the list is a movie called “The Red Mamba” made in 2002.  I don’t even need to read the plot summary I know that this will be the best movie ever made (sorry, Highlander) and that if there is a God, it will be streaming on Netflix. But, I get sucked into the IMDb page.  A movie written and directed by James Jackson – whose other credits include: Actor – Aliens vs. A-Holes and he was also a Cinematographer for Blood, Guts, and Cleaning Supplies: The Making of “The Janitor” – well, that’s two more movies on my Netflix queue. Still perusing around the IMDb page, I get to the plot summary and it is everything I’ve ever wanted and more.

A bright sunny day in the deep wilderness fades to black for Oz and Lucy, two teens on a quest for a magical sex drug which grows wild in a mythical mushroom field known as Cloud 9. Oz assures her that the story about a man who claims to have seen a caveman in the woods was either a delusion caused from his eating a similar but poisonous variety of the sex drug known as the “Red Mamba”, or more likely a spook story to keep poachers clear of the treasured fungus in Cloud 9… Or is it?

Why did Christopher Nolan not write and direct this?  There’s always the sequel.  I am available, by the way.

Unfortunately, there are no reviews or even any message board comments.  How can this be true? But, from eight satisfied patrons it is rated 8.4 which would effectively put it as the 50th greatest movie of all-time according to IMDb. I’m sold.

But I digress, I finally return to my Google search to realize there is no Wikipedia page for the Red Mamba and that it doesn’t even exist! Time to genetically mate a Black Mamba with a Ladybug to create the #REDMAMBA.

Kobe – I know you will read this and I just want you to know I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed.

#LANCE4REDMAMBA

– Lance Cartelli

Kyle McCarthy: The Weekend That Was In Sports

Hello, hello everyone! This is Kyle McCarthy here. Lancer has entrusted me with a recap of the last week or so in sports, so here it comes! Let’s go ahead and start with the most recent week in college football!

NCAA Football

I’ll leave the BCS talk alone for just a minute and reflect upon the Conference Championship weekend that just occurred.

In the most exciting game of the weekend, the Alabama Crimson Tide pulled out a close victory over the Georgia Bulldogs. I actually thought this was Georgia’s year to overtake the Tide because of their stud freshmen running backs and very stingy defense. The final score ended up being 32-28 in favor of the Tide; some may do a double-take after reading this score because the SEC is known for their defense. But this was a great game for any type of football fan. Georgia actually had an 11 point lead with 6:31 left in the third quarter, but Alabama has been there before and responded quickly with two touchdowns in a row. The final minute may have been the most exciting, if Georgia had one timeout left they may be the team in the national championship. Aaron Murray had a pass that was tipped and caught by a teammate at the six yard line, and with the first down yards away and no timeouts, all the Bulldogs could do was watch as time expired and the Crimson Tide began their celebration.

In the other Championship games my UCLA Bruins came close but ended up losing to the very good Stanford Cardinals in the Pac 12 Championship game 27-24. Stanford’s victory gives them their first Rose Bowl berth in over 10 years. Their opponent will be the Big 10 Champion Wisconsin Badgers. Although the Badgers have five losses, this will be their third consecutive Rose Bowl appearance representing the Big 10. Kansas State beat the Texas Longhorns to clinch the Big 12 division. Florida State defeated Georgia Tech to clinch the ACC championship. And lastly Northern Illinois University beat Kent State in double OT to clinch the MAC Championship. Some of you may be wondering why I even mentioned Northern Illinois, and here is the reason why…

After defeating Kent State, Northern Illinois jumped high enough in the BCS to earn a spot in the Orange bowl against Florida State. ESPN analysts faces were classic upon the news, and of course twitter blew up as well. I personally root for the underdog in a lot of circumstances, but this is absurd. To say that a team like Northern Illinois deserves a spot in a BCS bowl game over other deserving teams like Georgia, LSU and even Oklahoma is ludicrous (I rarely use that word)! Thank God a college football playoff is in the works because the BCS system is flawed and this is another prime example of it. As I discussed earlier the Rose bowl will be played between the Stanford Cardinals and Wisconsin Badgers. The Florida Gators will play the Louisville Cardinals in the Sugar Bowl. The Fiesta Bowl will feature Kansas State taking on the Oregon Ducks. Keep in mind these were the number one and two ranked teams in the country just a couple weeks ago! And lastly the BCS National Championship game will feature the undefeated Notre Dame Fighting Irish against the second ranked Alabama Crimson Tide for bragging rights as the best team in the nation. Luckily, most (if not all) could agree that these are the two best teams in the nation and deserve the right to do battle for supremacy in college football.

With the upcoming Heisman trophy I thought I would share my top candidates and ultimate prediction for the prestigious trophy. I really feel there isn’t a run-away candidate this year which could make the race much closer than people think. I see this as a three person race. First you have Manti Te’O of Notre Dame. This guy is exciting to watch and very deserving of the award. What helps Manti is that his team is number one in the nation, and regardless of what anyone says, your team’s record does play a big factor in how people vote. As a linebacker Manti has seven interceptions on the year, for a linebacker, or any college player that is incredible! I have seen him play in a few games this year and he just has an instinct for being at the right place at the right time. What works against him is that he is a defensive player. Voters tend to show much more love for offensive players, no defensive player has won the award since Charles Woodson in 1997. The next candidate for the award is Collin Klein, quarterback of the Kansas State Wildcats. Collin had a very strong year. He threw 15 touchdowns with only 7 interceptions, but also added 22 rushing touchdowns to his resume. Having a total of 37 touchdowns definitely means you should be in the conversation for the Heisman. Working against Collin is that he lost against an unranked Baylor team, which ultimately cost his team a shot in the National Title game, and a TD to Interception ratio of just over 2:1. My last candidate is someone that came out of nowhere and is in my opinion, the front runner for the award. Johnny Manziel, or Johnny Football as he has been come to be known, had a record-breaking year. Johnny Football totaled over 4600 total yards, breaking the SEC record for total yardage, AS A FRESHMEN!! Not only did he break the past records of other Heisman winners Cam Newton and Tim Tebow, but he did it as A FRESHMEN, in the SEC, and in two fewer games. This guy is exciting as it comes in college football today, and with him under center Texas A&M has a bright future. His Heisman moment had to be when he went into Alabama and beat the Crimson Tide, great game! The only thing working against Johnny here is that he is ironically what makes him so intriguing, HE’S A FRESHMEN! For whatever reason some voters won’t vote for him just because of this. I find this downright stupid, and feel that a person’s tenure ship in college shouldn’t factor into their eligibility for an award. All three great candidates, but here is my prediction of how I would vote, and how I think it will realistically play out…

My Vote: WINNER- Johnny “Football” Manziel, second- Manti Te’O, third- Collin Klein

How it will turn out: WINNER- Johnny “Football” Manziel, second- Collin Klein, third- Manti Te’O

NFL

With the playoffs inching closer and closer, each and every game becomes much more important for each team, here is a re-cap of each game.

Falcons Defeat Saints 23-13: The Falcons defense did enough to stop Drew Brees’ legendary consecutive TD streak at 54. The defense played so well that they also forced Brees into a career high 5 interceptions. This was a big win for the Falcons as they close in on the number 1 seed in the NFC.

Bills Defeat Jaguars 34-18: The Bills win to move to 5-7 on the year and keep their small playoff chances alive. Big day on the ground by Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller.

Seahawks Defeat Bears 23-17: It took the Seahawks an OT period to do it, but they got the job done nonetheless. Russell Wilson threw 2 touchdowns and no interceptions to lead the Hawks by the Bears. The loss puts the Seahawks in great position for a wild card berth, while also taking away the division lead the Bears had over the Packers.

Packers Defeat Vikings 23-14: With this win, the Packers are right back where everyone thought they’d be, the top team in their division. Adrian Petersen had a big day on the ground with over 200 yards, but not enough to provide the Vikes with a W.

Colts Defeat Lions 35-33: What a game this was. The legend of the young Andrew Luck continues. Luck threw a game-winning walk-off TD pass to Donnie Avery to win the game and further prove why there was so much hype about him coming into the year. This makes the Colts now 8-4 on the season, who would have predicted this???

Texans Defeat Titans 24-10: The Texans continue to roll and defeated the Titans by a couple touchdowns. The win secured a playoff spot for the Texans.

Chiefs Defeat Panthers 27-21: In a game some didn’t think would be played, the Chiefs, who were the emotional favorite after the murder-suicide of one of their young linebackers, beat the Panthers. Truly a tragic story. Not much to say, but glad that at least for a little while residents of Kansas City were able to think of something other than the tragedy that just occurred.

Patriots Defeat Dolphins 23-16: The Patriots clinch their 4h straight AFC East title with their win over the Dolphins. The Patriots are known for finishing the second half very strong, and they held true to that by keeping with that trend. They will be a force in the AFC playoffs like they have been for years now.

Rams Defeat 49ers 16-13: In one of the more controversial decisions, Jim Harbaugh decided to give the starting nod to second-year QB Colin Kaepernick over their previous starter Alex Smith. I don’t agree with the move because I don’t think someone should lose their starting position to injury. Not only this but Smith led them to nearly a Super Bowl last year and leads the NFL this year with a 70 percent completion percentage. Regardless, these teams tied the last time and nearly did again. The Rams scored their only TD of the game on a fumble/bad pitch by Kaepernick after Janorris Jenkins scooped it up and fell into the end zone. The 49ers had their shot in OT with David Akers but he missed a field goal, then the Rams drove downfield and trusted their rookie kicker Greg “Legatron” Zeurlein, and he delivered.

Jets Defeat Cardinals 7-6: No highlights for this game. Sanchez threw 3 interceptions and was replaced. Only highlight is that TebowTime may be quickly approaching in New York.

Broncos Defeat Buccaneers 31-23: The strong MVP type year for Peyton Manning continues. Manning threw 3 TD’s and this win helped clinch the AFC West for the second year for the Broncos.

Bengals Defeat Chargers 20-13: The Chargers have done it again! They let a 4th quarter lead go and end up losing the game. Just like so many games before, the Chargers let me down. By the time I went to voice my frustration on twitter, “#FireNorv” and “#FireAJ” were already trending. I wish I could say that I was more optimistic coming into the year. But this is what Charger fans have come to expect under leadership by Norv Turner and AJ Smith. I would be embarrassed to have Norv coach another game. IT IS TIME FOR A CHANGE!!

Browns Defeat Raiders 20-17: Unless you are a Browns or Raiders fan you probably didn’t watch or care about  this game. Since I am neither, that’s it.

Steelers Defeat Ravens 23-20: In one of the more surprising games of the day, the Steelers went into Baltimore and beat the Ravens without Big Ben, and had their third string QB Charlie Batch play a great game in leading them to the win. A win for the Ravens would have secured a playoff spot. Furthering my point that Joe Flacco IS NOT an elite QB. Regardless of how much Flacco thinks he is.

Cowboys Defeat Eagles 38-33: Romo set the all-time Cowboys TD mark by beating their classic division rival. The Eagles may be the only more disappointing team other than the Chargers and Lions. It appears that Andy Reid’s days are numbered in Philly.

NBA

Not a whole lot to comment on with the NBA right now. Playoffs are too far away and no big trades have happened yet. Here are my rankings of the Top 5 in the league right now!

  1. San Antonio Spurs- Despite putting out a bunch of scrubs on Thursday night against the defending champion Heat, in Miami, they almost won! This just shows how deep and well-coached the Spurs are. They will be a tough out in the playoffs
  2. Memphis Grizzlies- Another deep team in the same division playing very well. The only reason they aren’t number 1 in my rankings is because they just lost to the Spurs on Saturday. Somehow they lost OJ Mayo and appear to be a much better team. Just like the Spurs, the Grizz will be a tough team to beat in the playoffs this year.
  3. Miami Heat- The defending champs have played solid to start the year. They have the best player in the game today and should dominate the Eastern conference just like the last couple years.
  4. Oklahoma City Thunder- They made a big splash to start the season by trading away James Harden when he refused their extension offer. The trade for Kevin Martin is working out well so far and the Thunder have an impressive 14-4 record.
  5. New York Knicks- Rounding out the top 5 are the Knicks. They have been one of the more surprising teams to date. Without their $20 mill/year star Amare Stoudemire they are off to an impressive 12-4 start. They have beaten several good teams and appear to have finally righted the ship in NY. Melo is playing at an MVP level to start the year.

Out of my top 5, and if I did a top 10 they’d be out of my top 10 is my favorite professional team, the Los Angeles Lakers. I don’t think I have ever been more excited for a season to start than this one. The additions of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash put huge expectations on a team that has a “championship or bust” mentality every year regardless. After 17 games the Lakers hold an 8-9 record. This is a record even though the team has had about two-thirds of their games at home to start the year. This is a record though of a Lakers team without their top two point guards in Steve Nash and Steve Blake who are both out with injuries. The tip of the iceberg came last night when they lost to Dwight’s former team, the Orlando Magic, at home. I couldn’t name more than 3 players on the Magic to be honest. Yet, the Lakers let a bunch of no-namers come in and embarrass Lakers fans. Where do they go from here? Sure the offense will be much more efficient once Nash comes back, but it appears to be their defense which is struggling. Do we trade Pau Gasol? One of the top power forwards in the league and great passer? I’ve been a big Pau critic for a while, because I don’t think he plays to his potential a lot of the time. But the trade rumors I hear for him I don’t think make sense. Josh Smith’s name is talked about a lot, he would be an upgrade defensively, but to play the 4 in D’Antoni’s offense when he doesn’t have a consistent jumpshot, I say no. I think it ultimately is up to D’Antoni and Kobe. They need to get the team to play hard each and every night like it’s the championship. A prime example is last Thursday when the Spurs play the Heat without their starting five (Duncan, Ginobli, Parker and Green sent home, and Leonard is still hurt) and nearly won in Miami. That is a team that regardless of who is on the floor gives you everything they have every single night. Who they play doesn’t matter, and I think the Lakers have a bit of cockiness in several of these games they’ve blown. And it has cost them. Only time will tell, but I think they can turn it around!

– Kyle McCarthy

This Week In Sports

Oh, you want to know what happened this week in sports? Why don’t you let me tell you…

  • The San Antonio Spurs rested their “Big Three” in a closely contested loss to the defending champions, the Miami Heat last night and sparked a controversy between the Spurs and NBA Commissioner David Stern. Since nobody knew who these players were, the Miami Heat Public Address Announcer had to make up names during the pre-game introductions.  He came up with crazy names like: Tiago Splitter (the bad guy from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies), Boris Diaw (Russian Bad Guy in every movie featuring Russian bad guys), Matt Bonner (hehehe…Oh wait, no, not boner…Nevermind), Patty Mills (The name of the Leprechaun from Lucky Charms), and my personal favorite — Nando de Colo (Just a great name.).  Breaking News:  That was actually the San Antonio Spurs starting line up.
  • The Atlanta Falcons defeated the New Orleans Saints last night 23-13 and ended Drew Brees touchdown passing record in consecutive games at 54.  The Falcons ended other famous streaks of Drew Brees, such as: Throwing as many interceptions as his team has wins (5), most awful commercials that Drew Brees has been in in a loss, Most consecutive days where you ask yourself, “What the hell is on Drew Brees’ face?  Is it a birthmark or a scar?  OR did he get some crazy disease like ring worm on his face?  I hope it’s the latter”.
  • On his Facebook, Rolando McClain said “Officially no longer an Oakland Raider…Looking forward to playing for an actual team”.  Fans were actually more angry that McClain Instagrammed the picture of his status update and then tweeted his Instagram picture.  Due to McClain’s terrible social networking he was suspended two games by the Raiders and lost over 200,000 followers.
  • David Wright signed the largest contract in New York Mets history – an 8-year, $140 million contract. Not to be outdone, the New York Yankees decided to sign Rolando McClain (10-year $100 million), Angus T. Jones (Whatever he makes on Two and a Half Men plus one dollar and the copyright to the word “Filth”, and Lindsay Lohan (Whatever bottle of alcohol she wants whenever she wants it a.k.a. always).
  • Rajon Rondo was ejected and later suspended two games by the NBA for pushing Kris Humphries and tackling him into the stands after an altercation.  After Kim Kardashian saw the push, she quickly ended her relationship with Kanye West to start dating Rajon Rondo.  This just in:  They have officially gotten married…And now they are divorced.
  • On Thanksgiving, Ndamakong Suh’s foot collided with force against the groin region of Texans QB Matt Schaub.  Suh’s thinking may have been a little flawed, overheard by NFL Films microphones, Suh said “I thought if I kicked him hard enough he wouldn’t have testicles anymore and you have to have testicles to play in the NFL! Right?…RIGHT?!”

– Lance Cartelli

What Can Brown Do For You? Lakers Fire Mike Brown

Well, that was fast.  It only took one death stare and 5 games into the regular season for the Los Angeles Lakers to fire their Head Coach Mike Brown.  As you all know, the Lakers won the offseason with trades for perennial All-Stars Steve Nash and Dwight Howard.  They improved the depth on their bench with signings of Sixth Man Antawn Jamison and three-point specialist Jodie Meeks.  Installed the new “Princeton” offense, veering away from the Triangle Offense that has brought the Lakers six championships.  But winning the Offseason Championship doesn’t win you games, the Lakers and Mike Brown have gone 2-16 since the start of the Oklahoma City Thunder series in the Playoffs last year (including Preseason) and a change was made.

The Lakers have seen a team stacked with potential Hall-of-Famers fail before (2003-2004 Lakers when they brought on board Gary “The Glove” Payton and Karl “Mailman” Malone), so the Lakers Management (mainly the Buss’s) gave Brown the quick hook and are now in search of a coach that can lead this team to a Championship, not a promising start for the season that looked so bright just five games ago.  There will be a long line of coaches interested in the coveted Lakers coaching position, but who should take over?

  •  Mike D’Antoni – The former Phoenix Sun and New York Knick Head Coach resigned from the Knicks last year and has been out of coaching since.  D’Antoni would bring instant offense to a team that is built to run up and down the court.  D’Antoni coached Lakers Point Guard Steve Nash during his MVP run and the offense would clearly run through him.  D’Antoni mainly focuses on offense and his prior teams have lacked on the defensive side of the ball, not good when you need to stop the Thunder, Spurs, Clippers, and potentially the Heat in the Playoffs.  Also, D’Antoni just underwent knee surgery that will keep him off his feet for the next six weeks, but that may not stop him from accepting the position if offered.  Verdict:  The Lakers would be one of the most fun teams to watch on offense, but would be maddening on defense and not a team that could compete with the more athletic teams defensively in the playoffs.
  • Brian Shaw – The former reserve Guard with the Championship Lakers in their first three-peat under Phil Jackson and former Assistant Coach with Jackson, Shaw is a player favorite with the LA Diva Kobe Bryant and would re-install the Triangle Offense that Phil employed.  Bryant was upset when Shaw wasn’t under consideration to take over for Phil Jackson after he retired, because the Buss family wanted to steer away from Jackson’s legacy and the Triangle Offense.  We saw how that worked out.  Verdict:  Would be a great fit for the Lakers, but the Buss family doesn’t seem to want to go back in that direction.
  • Jerry Sloan – The Hall-of-Fame Coach has been out of Basketball since resigning from the Utah Jazz in 2011.  Sloan would bring a gritty toughness that former Jazz teams always exhibited, and would run a deadly pick & roll with Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, and Pau Gasol.  Nash would be his John Stockton and Howard/Gasol would be his Karl Malone.  An extremely dangerous team on offense and Sloan would make sure the Defense is up to par as well.  Sloan has been out of coaching waiting for an opportunity like this and doesn’t want his storied career to end with a feud with Deron Williams and resigning from the Jazz. Verdict:  I think he would be the ideal coaching candidate to utilize the talents the Lakers have on offense and to take this Defense to the next level, will it happen?
  • Phil Jackson – You know he had to be brought up for consideration. You have to think the Lakers are faxing (do people still fax?) over a blank check for Phil to name his price to return to coaching Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.  He still has a great relationship with the players and a relationship (hehe) with Jeannie Buss.  The question is does Jackson still have the desire to coach, he’s already the greatest basketball coach of all-time, does he really want to come back?  Verdict:  I think if all other options are exhausted the Lakers would be willing to pay the man whatever he wants.  The only problem is the Buss family (again) wants to take this team in a new direction away from Jackson’s philosophy.

No matter who the Lakers choose to replace Mike Brown, it will be a daunting task that not every coach is up for.  The bright lights of Hollywood and Showtime, we know Phil Jackson could do it, but can any of the other coaches?  D’Antoni faded away in the spotlight with the New York Knicks, Brian Shaw has never been a Head Coach on such a big stage, and Sloan has been tucked away in Utah for over 20 years.  There are still 77 games to get this team right, but can they do it?

– Lance Cartelli

NBA Storylines & Predictions

Just think, a year ago we were all telling jokes about how LeBron James had no rings, no killer instinct, and couldn’t put the team on his back.  Now after he won the NBA Championship, MVP, NBA Finals MVP, and an Olympic Gold Medal in the past year we are now asking what’s next?  Can LeBron take himself to MJ levels?  Can he be the greatest of all-time?  And that has to be the main storyline for the upcoming 2012-13 season.

The Miami Heat:  The Heat come into 2013 as the defending champions and all the pressure is on them to take control of the NBA like they did last year.  The big storyline is can they repeat?  If so, can they go on a historic run like Jordan did with the Bulls and win multiple titles in a row?  Miami not only has the best player in the NBA, LeBron, but they now surrounded that man with shooters all around him signing the best 3-point shooter off all-time, Ray Allen.  Last year in the Playoffs, the Heat figured out who they are and it only took them two years to do it!  The Heat run an unprecedented offense with “no positions”, it will consist of LeBron doing whatever he wants and surrounding him with shooters.  The Miami Heat are clearly the team to beat in the NBA.

Los Angeles Lakers: Arguably the next biggest storyline of the off-season was the Lakers making trades to give a three-year window to allow Kobe Bryant to at least (and hopefully surpass) Michael Jordan’s six NBA Titles.  The Lakers shocked the world by not only getting Steve Nash (the best point guard that Kobe will ever play with), they traded for the much maligned and best Center in the NBA, Dwight Howard.  The Lakers are now four-deep in their starting lineup with potential Hall-of-Famers, and the Artest formerly known as Ron, Metta World Peace will only have to be a spot up shooter and play defense.  The question is can this team gel and do they have enough in their legs to last a grueling 82 game season with a long playoff run?  Dwight Howard is the great equalizer and one of the best defenders in the NBA who can clog the middle.  The Lakers will be learning to play with each other on the run and are installing the new Princeton offense.  The Lakers will start slow but will hit their stride later in the season, don’t panic if the start off around .500.

James Harden Trade:  The Los Angeles Lakers main competition to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals to a big step when the Oklahoma City Thunder abruptly traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets.  As a small market team, the Thunder “said” they couldn’t have three max players and decided to low-ball James Harden after paying Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge  .  In the short-term, the Thunder are hurt by this trade in the Western Conference, they get a big-time scorer in Kevin Martin and a developmental two-guard with Jeremy Lamb, but that won’t replace the Sixth-Man of the Year.  In the long-term the Thunder might be better off.  Westbrook and Durant are still in their early 20’s and will eventually have to sign another contract, Sam Presti and the Thunder want to make sure that the talent they have will get better and they know in three years that the Lakers will potentially be without Nash and Bryant.

The Takeover of New York:  The New York Knicks used to own New York, despite being terrible mediocre for the past two decades, having an incompetent owner and now getting rid of a potentially great and marketable Point Guard (Jeremy Lin), who they replaced with Jason “Please Ice My Knees” Kidd and Raymond “Man Titty” Felton.  Not only that, the Knicks are now without Amar’e Stoudamire for at least six weeks and this team is in trouble in the East.  But here come the Brooklyn Nets — they’ve moved into the Barclays Center (if it’s still in one piece after Hurricane Sandy — and they have an owner who may not go to games, but has the deepest checkbook in the NBA.  The Nets signed Deron Williams to a $100 million contract, traded for Joe Johnson and the $90 million left on his contract, gave Brook Lopez a max-contract (I can’t type that with a straight face) and resigned Gerald Wallace to $40 contract (still laughing).  The Battle for New York will be a funny mediocre one!

Derrick Rose Comeback:  Despite being the top team in the Eastern Conference last year, the Chicago Bulls fought off the injury bug all season, none-worse than Derrick Rose tearing his ACL in the first round of the playoffs.  Rose has a long comeback ahead of him and the Bulls are hoping he’s back by midseason.  The Bulls are talented enough to stay afloat and potentially be a 2-4 seed while he’s out, but what will DRose be when he comes back?  Are the Bulls going to be ready to unseed the Miami Heat? Lots of questions in Chicago.

David Stern Farewell Tour:  The man with potentially the biggest ego in all of sports is finally taking his Swan Song and retiring in 2014 after thirty years of being the NBA Commissioner.  Stern has taken the NBA to unseen levels of popularity,  after the booming 90s, the NBA now has a chance to pass the Golden Age of the 90s into the Platinum Age of the 2010s.  The NBA has never had as many marketable superstars and great rivalries than it does now.  Stern will look to solidify his legacy by bringing a franchise back to Seattle after he helped the former Sonics leave to Oklahoma City.  The Dictatorship may be ending soon, but Stern still has a bunch of tricks of that sleeve of his.

Predictions:

Western Conference Playoff Teams (no particular order): Lakers, Jazz, Thunder, Denver, Clippers, Spurs, Grizzlies, Rockets.

Eastern Conference Playoff Teams (no particular order): Heat, Bulls, 76ers, Celtics, Pacers, Nets, Pistons, Knicks.

NBA Finals: Miami Heat def. Los Angeles Lakers in six games.

– Lance Cartelli

This Week In Sports

If you were out doing something important with your life, here’s what you missed this week in sports:

  • The NFL resumed contract negotiations with the locked out referees on Friday.  As the NFL and the Ref’s were walking to the negotiation table, the replacement refs called pass interference, holding, traveling, dropped third strike, and made up a rule of ‘Illegal Biceps” when referee Ed Hochuli made an appearance.
  • The Los Angeles Lakers announced that they are constructing a statue outside of Staples Center for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  No word yet on when the statue of Kobe Bryant yelling at Smush Parker and the jersey retirement of Cedric Ceballos will be made, but Mark Madsen, Slava Medvedenko (I spelled that right the first time! I’m a nerd.) and Luke Walton did get permission to re-enter Staples Center after a ban of terrible white players was instituted by Jeannie Buss.
  • The Boston Red Sox agreed to a trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Los Angeles Dodgers that saved the Sox a quarter of a billion dollars.  Beckett celebrated by sprinting (yes, this is the first time he’s sprinted since 2007) to the nearest Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles and chugged a 40 oz of Mickey’s.  Carl Crawford celebrated by getting Tommy John Surgery (no punch line there), and Adrian Gonzalez celebrated by being allowed to speak Spanish for the first time since he was a San Diego Padre.
  • At the tender age of 30, Andy Roddick is retiring from competitive tennis after the U.S. Open.  Roddick, now old and decrepit, leaves the game a beaten man with only 20 million dollars in career earnings, and he must go home to this.  Retirement is tough for everyone, and I, for one, feel absolutely terrible for him.
  • LB Andre Parker of Kent State picked up a muffed (hehe) punt and ran 58 yards the wrong way on Friday.  Parker suffers from a rare form of dyslexia where he gets directions mixed up, but what was curious is that the disease became airborne and spread to the rest of his teammates as they blocked for him all the way down the field.  Doctors were called in to Kent State, but realized that Kent isn’t actually a state and nobody knows where Kent State is actually located.
  • Eagles CEO, Jeffrey Lurie, said that if the Eagles have another mediocre year that Andy Reid would be fired, essentially putting him on the hot seat.  After this was announced, Andy Reid’s Chair spoke out, saying, “Have you seen Andy Reid?  That guy is huge, chairs don’t just heat up by themselves!”
  • At the age of 50, Roger Clemens made a start for the Independent baseball team, the Sugarland Skeeters.  Proving that Dave Chappelle was right and that white people don’t know what “skeet” means, Roger Clemens said, “I want to thank all the fans of Skeeters, I just wanted to show that everyone, even women, can be a Skeeter whenever they want!  If I could, I’d be Skeeting until I die!”

– Lance Cartelli

Ménage à Trois: The NBA’s Love Triangle

Who Gets My Rose for Favorites of the 2012-13 NBA Season?

Don’t worry, my loyal readers, this isn’t some kind of actual weird love triangle with NBA players, where Chic-Fil-A fans will burst into my house and ‘teach me a lesson’.  Instead, this ‘Love Triangle’ in the NBA is the top three teams trying to win my affection and eventual choice as the favorites going into the NBA season a couple months away.

Those three teams are, of course, the defending NBA Champions the Miami LeBrons Heat, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and after stealing Dwight Howard away from the Orlando Magic, the Los Angeles Lakers.

Think of it like the Bachelorette finale (shameless way of getting girls attention to keep reading), I went on three different dates and met the players and the families a.k.a. the Front Office’s of the three teams, but who did I give my final rose to?

Seeing as I’m getting older, I wanted to feel young again so my first encounter was with the Oklahoma City Thunder.  They took me out to the only bar in Oklahoma City and tried liquoring me up to get me to give it up. (It being the rose, get your mind out of the gutter!). I enjoyed my time with them, they have a young nucleus with Kevin Durant, turns 24 next month, Russell Westbrook, turns 24 a month into the season, and James Harden, turns 23 this month.  Durant is the biggest mismatch in the NBA standing at 6’11 as small foward, or the 3, and has in the gym range.  The Thunder were the favorites after defeating the Spurs in the Western Conference Championship, but got caught up by their lack of experience and LeBron realizing he’s the best player since Michael Jordan, and evolving like he’s a Pokemon character.  But with this team getting older, more mature, and simply getting better they made a strong argument for the final rose.

Next up, I took my talents to South Beach..(I had to.)  LeBron, a limping DWade and a still dapper and great-haired Pat Riley picked me up from the airport in LeBron’s Mom’s Hummer, I didn’t appreciate their lack of love for the ecosystem, but I was impressed.  After wining and dining me all night, the master negotiator, Riley, made his pitch on why they deserved my final rose.  The aforementioned greatest player since Jordan, LeBron James, figured out how to play as their point forward, Wade is now his Scottie Pippen, and they signed the greatest three point shooter ever, Ray Allen, while also signing Rashard Lewis, one of the most overpaid athletes of all-time, but he has one job – hit threes.  The Heat will keep playing the Oregon offense in the fast-break, while posting up LeBron and putting 4 shooters around him, not to mention they are the best defensive team in the league.  Nice job Pat.

Finally, I visited Hollywood, and you know what they say wine and women get better with age, but I’ve never heard a sports team getting better with age, the Lakers have an uphill battle for this one.  I loved the hijacking of Steve Nash from division rival, for 4 draft picks that won’t matter, giving the Lakers their first legit, Hall of Fame point guard since Magic Johnson**, but the Lakers backcourt now consists of Kobe Bryant, old, and Steve Nash, really old and Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum didn’t give me any confidence that when the Westbrook’s and CP3’s of the world blew by them on offense that they had an interior defender to protect the rim, but then Los Angeles Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchack got a phone call from the Orlando Magic General Manager Rob Hennigan and this was the their conversation that I overheard:

Mitch: “Go for Mitch.”

Mitch: “Wait…you just want my moody center and I get to keep Pau Gasol?”

Mitch pulls the phone away from his face and starts fist pumping like he’s Tiger Woods and he just won a major.

Mitch: “I guess I can do that, what contracts am I taking on?”

Mitch: “I’m not taking on Quentin Richardson or Hedo Turkoglu’s terrible contract?”

Mitch now starts laughing hysterically and buying shots for the group.

Mitch: “Oh yeah, I’m still here. Rob, you drive a hard bargain, but you got yourself a deal”.

So, while I’m out with the Lakers they pull off the biggest lopsided trade since he traded for Pau Gasol with a package centered around Kwame Brown (LOL). Not only that, but Dwight Howard is the perfect fit for the Lakers.  A guy that, when healthy, is the best defensive player in the NBA, doesn’t need the ball to dominate, and will gladly take alley-oops from Nash on pick-and-rolls all day.  This offseason the Lakers acquired 2 MVP’s, 3 Defensive Players of the Year, 8 All-NBA 1st teams, 16 All-Star appearances, and 1 sixth man trophy with Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, and Antawn Jamison.  Wow.

**I love what Derek Fisher did for the Lakers, but if you say he’s a HOFer you are dumb, good player but not HOF worthy.

The final decision was tough, everyone really knows how to treat a man they are trying to win over, but I had to make a final decision.  Who was my Jef with one F?! But without further ado, my favorite for the 2012-13 NBA Season and the person to get my final rose is…The Miami Heat.  The defending NBA Champions got a lot better, figured out how to play together, and have the best player in the NBA, that equals Championship for me.

Who do you think is the favorite?

-Lance Cartelli

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