Posts Tagged ‘ Washington Wizards ’

Dallas Mavericks: Can We Believe?

The Dallas Mavericks have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA since their big trade with the Washington Wizards. They have currently reeled off 12 straight victories, and are within three games of the Los Angeles Lakers for the top spot in the Western Conference.There is only one problem though.

Can we believe in the Mavericks?

There is reason to plant seeds of doubt in Dallas. In 2006, the Mavs reached the NBA Finals, and had a 2-0 lead on the Miami Heat. But the Heat reeled off four straight victories and ended up as NBA Champions. The series defeat left the Mavericks with a bitter taste in their mouths and a newfound motivation to get back to the Finals and claim what they felt was theirs.

Then came the ultimate embarrassment.

The Mavericks entered the 2006-07 NBA season with that goal of winning the NBA Championship, and ended up with a league best (and franchise best 67-15 record). The end result: a 4-2 series loss to the Golden State Warriors and becoming the first #8 seed to beat a #1 seed in a best-of-seven series, and pulling off one of the greatest upsets in NBA history, and regarding the Dallas Mavericks as one of the biggest choke artists in league history.

After another disappointing first round exit at the hands of the New Orleans Hornets in 2008 that signified of the Avery Johnson era, the Mavs turned to Rick Carlisle for the 2008-09 season, and the Mavs got eliminated in the second round by the Denver Nuggets, it took a trade deadline move in the 2009-10 season that sent Josh Howard, James Singleton, and Drew Gooden to Washington and in exchange, the Mavericks got Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson. Since the trade, the Mavericks are 12-1 (only loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder) and have elevated themselves into a legitimate contender in the Western Conference. Butler is a scorer who can take the pressure of Dirk Nowitzki, Haywood is a strong rebounder and very durable and can handle the post along w/ Erick Dampier and allows Nowitzki to be a 7′ SF, and Stevenson has the mindset of an enforcer, and his defense and scoring spurts are definitely welcome. Put these elements, and Jason Kidd and Nowitzki together, and a decent bench, and the Mavericks have a chance to do some serious damage. The trade worked out for Josh Howard as well, as he got out of Dallas (although his season ended w/ an ACL injury) and improved the overall team chemistry in the Mavericks organization.

The Mavericks are legit contenders, but we have seen them buckle under the pressure of being a legit contender. They have this season to exercise demons, but there is only one question.

Are they up for the challenge, and can this be a team to believe in?


Washington Capitals: Team of Destiny?

Could there be a very small comparison of the Washington Capitals in the NHL to the New Orleans Saints of the NFL?

Two franchises that haven’t seen much success are reaching new heights that have never been seen before. Both teams have stars (Alex Ovechkin in Washington, Drew Brees in New Orleans) and a dynamic supporting cast.

But the comparisons really stop there.

While the Saints have always had the hearts of fans in New Orleans, despite the losing ways and the days of the ‘Aints, the Capitals are currently the hottest ticket in Washington (and the most successful franchise in Washington over the past few years), but they are still viewed as third-rate to a lot of people in their own city (to the Redskins and Wizards). With the current winning streak they are on (a franchise-record 14 straight) and no other team in the NHL holding a candle to them, it seems as though the stars (not Dallas) are aligned to bring Lord Stanley’s cup to the nation’s capital.

Unlike the San Jose Sharks, who looked like the team of destiny a year ago before choking in the first round against the Anaheim Ducks, the Washington Capitals know how to get the job done. They have won in every way imaginable. They have got off to fast starts and been consistent, they found ways to win the close games, and in a similarity to the Saints (again), no lead is safe with this team. That was proven yesterday when they came back from a 4-1 deficit Sunday afternoon to beat their archrival Pittsburgh Penguins in over time 5-4. Fans braved through the snow and showed up in full force. It just seems as if the Caps are not going to lose any time soon and that this team is a team of destiny. And this is a team that is more than just Ovechkin. Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green, Alexander Semin are just among the few players that makes this team go. Don’t forget about the coaching of Bruce Boudreau, he has done a great job of making sure this team handles their business night in and night out.

If the Capitals can keep this momentum up after the Olympic break, they will easily win the President’s Trophy. However, they still have to exercise demons of last year and losing to the Penguins in the second round of the playoffs a year ago. They definitely have what it takes to get it done, and have everyone in DC Rocking the Red.

Time will tell what that destiny holds.

NBA Rankings (1/25)

1. Cleveland Cavaliers (34-11)
2. Los Angeles Lakers (33-11)
3. Boston Celtics (28-13)
4. Denver Nuggets (29-14)
5. Atlanta Hawks (28-14)
6. Dallas Mavericks (29-15)
7. Orlando Magic (29-15)
8. Portland Trail Blazers (27-18)
9. San Antonio Spurs (25-17)
10. Utah Jazz (25-18)
11. Phoenix Suns (26-19)
12. Houston Rockets (24-19)
13. Memphis Grizzlies (23-19)
14. Oklahoma City Thunder (24-20)
15. Miami Heat (23-20)
16. New Orleans Hornets (23-20)
17. Toronto Raptors (23-22)
18. Charlotte Bobcats (21-21)
19. Chicago Bulls (20-22)
20. Los Angeles Clippers (20-23)
21. Milwaukee Bucks (18-24)
22. New York Knicks (17-26)
23. Philadelphia 76ers (15-28)
24. Detroit Pistons (15-28)
25. Sacramento Kings (15-28)
26. Indiana Pacers (15-29)
27. Washington Wizards (14-29)
28. Golden State Warriors (13-29)
29. Minnesota Timberwolves (9-36)
30. New Jersey Nets (3-40)

NBA Rankings (1/19)

The NBA Rankings are on schedule. Due to the MLK Holiday, and the daytime games, we here at TSX decided to wait until Tuesday to release the rankings. It’s a short week, and the Rankings will be back next Monday.

With that said, did the Lakers remain at #1 for the fourth week in a row? Who is rising and making some serious noise right now? Are the New Jersey Nets really on pace for the worst record in NBA history. Let’s go to the Rankings…

1. Los Angeles Lakers (32-9) (previous ranking: 1) The Lake Show has gotten the job done. And they are getting production from everybody in the process. The bench has done a great job picking up the slack when Kobe Bryant struggles, as displayed against the Orlando Magic.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers (31-11) (previous ranking: 2) The Cavs are #2 for the fourth straight week, but the good news is that Boston’s struggles due to injuries have given them a little bit of separation in the East. They need to take advantage of this time.

3. Boston Celtics (27-12) (previous ranking: 3) Boston has been ravaged by injuries. They have done well until now. The lack of depth and the thin bench is showing. These guys need to heal up by April to have any shot of a run for an 18th championship.

4. Dallas Mavericks (27-14) (previous ranking: 4) The Mavericks are still a team to watch out for. As good as they are, can they keep this momentum in the playoffs. It is good to see them keeping pace with the Lakers.

5. Denver Nuggets (26-14) (previous ranking: 9) The Nuggets had a 3-0 week, and that was good enough to boost them up four spots and into the top 5. Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups are healthy again, and with Ty Lawson complimenting them, the Nuggets are priming to make noise in the West again. The Lakers better watch out.

6. Atlanta Hawks (26-14) (previous ranking: 6) 3-1 week puts Atlanta in first place in the Southeast Division. One thing about them is that once they get into first place, they get too comfortable and struggle. Mike Woodson needs to keep his team focused.

7. Orlando Magic (26-15) (previous ranking: 5) Another 1-3 week for Orlando. The passion that this team had a year ago is not there. And they are much deeper than last year. Is Stan Van Gundy beginning to lose his voice in Orlando?

8. San Antonio Spurs (25-15) (previous ranking: 7) The Spurs climb up the rankings took a tumble despite a 3-1 week. The Nuggets surge and the Hawks decent week knocked them back a spot, but this team is starting to get going again, and eventually they will overtake Dallas in the Southwest Division.

9. Portland Trail Blazers (25-17) (previous ranking: 10) The Trail Blazers found ways to win when Brandon Roy is out, which is good. They did do better this week, with a 2-1 record as opposed to last week.

10. Phoenix Suns (24-18) (previous ranking: 8] The Suns are fading, and losing to red hot Charlotte, Atlanta and Memphis on the road are examples of why. They are 9-14 on the road and are showing that the West-to-East trips are not the best kind.

11. Oklahoma City Thunder (23-18) (previous ranking: 12) The Thunder are just going to be better and better in time. Sam Presti has gone young, and this team is thriving. Many are talking Kobe and LeBron for MVP, but can we get a mention for Kevin Durant?

12. Houston Rockets (23-18) (previous ranking: 11) The Rockets had a 2-2 week, but there is no room for mediocrity in the West. They have the Thunder, Jazz, Hornets, and out of nowhere, the Grizzlies to worry about. They need consistency night in and night out.

13. Utah Jazz (23-18) (previous ranking: 14) A 3-1 week puts the Jazz up a spot as they try to keep pace with the Rockets, Thunder, Grizzlies, and Hornets out West. The question with them now is: Are they going to trade Carlos Boozer. This team is starting to win more, but they are strapped for cash. We shall see.

14. Memphis Grizzlies (22-18) (previous ranking: 16) The Grizzlies have won nine straight at home, a franchise record, and are in fourth place in the Southwest Division. Had this been mentioned at the start of the season, there probably would’ve been a lot of crazy looks. Zach Randolph has been an impressive leader for this team, and is making everyone look better and keep their focus. Michael Heisley has to be pleased.

15. New Orleans Hornets (21-19) (previous ranking: 13) 2-3 week for the Hornets has them in the cellar in the Southwest Division at 21-19. Go figure. They need to win as much as they can to keep in the hunt, especially with the Grizzlies playing so well.

16. Charlotte Bobcats (20-19) (previous ranking: 19) Five straight wins, eight straight wins at home, and great defense has the surprising Bobcats up three spots in the rankings, and #5 in the Eastern Conference. This is the first time in team history that Charlotte has had a winning record at this point.

17. Miami Heat (20-19) (previous ranking: 15) Miami went 2-2 for the week, and lost two spots due to the surges of the Grizzlies and Bobcats. This team is a lot better than their record is showing. At least on paper.

18. Toronto Raptors (21-20) (previous ranking: 17) Bosh & Bargnani are playing some dynamic ball, and the Raptors finally have a winning record after all these weeks. If there is a rumor that the Raptors will trade Bosh (specifically to the Lakers), keep dreaming. It’s likely he will leave, but Bryan Colangelo will do everything in his power for him to stay.

19. Chicago Bulls (18-21) (previous ranking: 21) The Bulls had a 3-1 week. Again. As soon as Vinny del Negro is written off, he has a good week. Maybe people need to continue to tell him he’s going to be gone as a head coach.

20. Los Angeles Clippers (18-22) (previous ranking: 18) 1-4 week plus the news that Blake Griffin is done for the year. Not a good week at all for the Clippers. They were getting competitive in the West, but could be reverting to old ways.

21. New York Knicks (17-24) (previous ranking: 22) 2-3 week moves the Knicks up a spot. This team is slowly coming around, as they are just two games out the final playoff spot in the East at the halfway point. There is hope in the Big Apple.

22. Milwaukee Bucks (16-23) (previous ranking: 20) The Bucks went 1-4 this week, and received news that Michael Redd was done for the season (again) with a torn ACL (the same one from last year). They are on the verge of signing Jerry Stackhouse, but that won’t have much of an impact.

23. Sacramento Kings (15-25) (previous ranking: 23) The answer to the Kings peaking the previous week is confirmed. They have peaked after an 0-4 week. It was a good run while it lasted. Ever notice this team plays better WITHOUT Kevin Martin?

24. Indiana Pacers (14-26) (previous ranking: 28) How the Pacers missed Danny Granger. The comments about the Pacers improving are taken back. Even though Al Jefferson did have 26 rebounds in a game which would REALLY help Indiana.

25. Detroit Pistons (14-26) (previous ranking: 26) The Pistons losing streak was stopped at 13, and they responded with a 3-1 week. Can this team be on the mend fully and engineer a turnaround? Despite the 14-26 record, they are 4 1/2 games out of 8th in the East.

26. Washington Wizards (14-26) (previous ranking: 24) The Wizards are moving on with out the Gilbert Arenas fiasco. The only problem is that the big contract they gave him. It could get ugly. Still a long process before the “divorce” is finalized.

27. Philadelphia 76ers (13-27) (previous ranking: 27) 2-2 week for the Sixers, and they stay right at the same spot. No change for them and nothing to say really. The team is loaded with talent, and it’s sad to see that talent being wasted.

28. Golden State Warriors (12-27) (previous ranking: 25) The Warriors are an even more of a disaster now than they have ever been all season. They play no defense, and they don’t have another scorer aside from Monta Ellis. Not much for even a good coach like Don Nelson to work with.

29. Minnesota Timberwolves (9-33) (previous ranking: 29) Well it is good to see that Minnesota will avoid the 9 win mark. Unless they lose the next 40 games. That would be very scary.

30. New Jersey Nets (3-37) (previous ranking: 30) So if this was the case after 41 games, if the Nets post the same record over the next 41 games, they’d finish at either 8-74 or 6-76. The team is back, they have given up. Sad to see.

Be back next Monday with a new edition of Rankings.

NBA Rankings (1/11)

New week, new edition of the NBA Rankings.

Could the Lakers hold down the top spot for a third week in a row? What team is on-fire the past week and is heading up the charts? Lets go to the rankings….

1. Los Angeles Lakers (29-8) (previous ranking: 1) This team is getting production from EVERYbody. They are showing their depth, and it’s really going to be difficult for any team to stop. However, they did lose two in a row before Sunday’s win over the Bucks, so there are ways to stop them, just not on a consistent basis.

2. Cleveland Cavaliers (29-10) (previous ranking: 2) For the second week in a row, the Cavs are behind the Lakers. Not only are they trying to chase Los Angeles for the top spot in the Association, they have to worry about holding off the Boston Celtics in the East.

3. Boston Celtics (26-9) (previous ranking: 3) Rajon Rondo has really taken over this team. He has stars that can make him look good doing it. However, as great as Rondo been, the pulse of this team is still Kevin Garnett, and he has to get his knees in shape if they want any shot of a championship in June

4. Dallas Mavericks (25-12) (previous ranking: 5) Big win this week over San Antonio, but they got routed by the Utah Jazz at home. Not good, especially considering the Jazz’s road woes. But Orlando has been struggling as of late, so Dallas trades spots with them.

5. Orlando Magic (25-12) (previous ranking: 4) It has been a long stretch in the four spot for the Magic, but after a 1-3 week, that is over. The Magic need to get something, anything to get back to their winning ways. Good thing the Hawks are struggling, otherwise they would lose their Southeast Division lead.

6. Atlanta Hawks (23-13) (previous ranking: 6) No change for the Hawks after another 2-2 week. This team is 4-6 in the past 10, and once again, a very tough team to figure out. The rest of the teams are catching up to them, and catching up fast.

7. San Antonio Spurs (22-13) (previous ranking: 8] The Spurs are still climbing through the standings and in the rankings. Could they be one of the few teams that can challenge the Lakers in the West? Their only problem right now is that they have to get through the Mavericks first.

8. Phoenix Suns (23-14) (previous ranking: 9)- Phoenix is rising, they are curing the problems they are having on the road and are going back to playing solid hoops. But at the rate this season is going, they will have to concetrate on home-court, because the Lakers are running away from them in the Pacific Division.

9. Denver Nuggets (23-14) (previous ranking: 10)- It’s good that Denver is winning again, but to blow a lead and lose to a team like the Kings (who aren’t bad, the Nuggets are just better) is not acceptable for a team that made it to the Western Conference Finals a year ago. When healthy, this team is a problem for a lot of people.

10. Portland Trail Blazers (23-16) (previous ranking: 7) A 1-3 week sends the Blazers tumbling three spots. The good thing about this team is that they are just looking to play and see what happens, and not worry about the rest of the West. They have to turn it around this week however.

11. Houston Rockets (21-16) (previous ranking: 11) For the third week in a row, the Rockets stay at number 11. Not much to say about them, since they are behind the top 10 teams in the NBA. Aaron Brooks has been a pleasant surprise for them though.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (20-16) (previous ranking: 12) A 2-1 week keep the Thunder right at #12, Still playing solid ball right now, and trying to get their first playoff berth in Oklahoma City and in the playoffs for the first time since 2005 as the Seattle SuperSonics.

13. New Orleans Hornets (19-16) (previous ranking: 17) The Hornets are the high-risers for the week. Six straight wins have them back in the hunt and maybe changing minds about the firing of Byron Scott.

14. Utah Jazz (20-17) (previous ranking: 13) The Jazz had another even week, but it is hard to stop a team that has won six in a row from taking your spot. Win games to stay in your position or move up. Especially from 12 on down.

15. Miami Heat (18-17) (previous ranking: 14) The Heat were victims of the red hot Hornets, and the fans have to wonder if Pat Riley will make a move before the trade deadline to get Dwyane Wade and Michael Beasley a third scorer or playmaker to improve this team. They are fifth in the East, but teams are coming for that #5 spot.

16. Memphis Grizzlies (18-18) (previous ranking: 15) The Grizz might have kept that #15 spot if not for two things: 1. The Hornets’ win streak, and 2. Gerald Wallace’s tip at the buzzer at Charlotte. Still though, all five teams in the Southwest Division are at .500 or above. Very impressive, and the Grizzlies are the surprise of that.

17. Toronto Raptors (19-19) (previous ranking: 16) Toronto reached the other side of .500 for the first time this season before Sunday’s loss to Boston. They are getting it together, and possibly with a string of wins together, they can get that #5 spot in the East. Just a 1/2 game behind Miami.

18. Los Angeles Clippers (17-18) (previous ranking: 20) The Clippers showed up on live television, and beat the Lakers on their floor in both teams’ arena (Staples Center) They followed that up with a win over the Heat today to put them near .500. If the West wasn’t so tough, they could be talking playoffs.

19. Charlotte Bobcats (16-19) (previous ranking: 19) 2-1 week for the ‘Cats, and the dramatics of Gerald Wallace’s shot over the Grizzlies really shows that this team is serious about making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Stephen Jackson has really been a difference for Charlotte since November.

20. Milwaukee Bucks (15-19) (previous ranking: 23) Maybe it was too early to crown Brandon Jennings as rookie of the year. He has faded, and so has this team. They are the beneficiaries of teams not playing well over the past week.

21. Chicago Bulls (15-20) (previous ranking: 18) As quickly as the Bulls were rising, a 1-3 week has put Vinny del Negro in the seat de caliente. Has John Paxson (Bulls GM) found a replacement, because that was the reason Vinny still had a job to begin with.

22. New York Knicks (15-21) (previous ranking: 23) The Knicks move up a spot with Sacramento struggling as of late. Short week for them at 1-1, so not much to be said here.

23. Sacramento Kings (15-21) (previous ranking: 21) THe question last week was: Have the Kings peaked? After a 1-2 week, you can say yes, but after the surprise win over the Nuggets this past Saturday, you never know with these guys.

24. Washington Wizards (12-23) (previous ranking: 25) The Wizards have removed anything Gilbert Arenas related from the Verizon Center. They are beginning to get the picture, but they have to get rid of this guy all together to have a shot to be respected in the NBA again. Any credibility of this squad was shot by Agent Zero.

25. Golden State Warriors (11-24) (previous ranking: 28) The Warriors? Went 2-1 in the past week? AND they moved up three spots? Don’t get too hopeful, this team is already done.

26. Detroit Pistons (11-24) (previous ranking: 24) 12 straight losses. At least Ben Gordon isn’t regretting leaving Chicago THAT much considering the Bulls are not that great, but the Pistons are so lost on the court, too many scorers there. Time for Joe Dumars to make a deal.

27. Philadelphia 76ers (11-25) (previous ranking: 26) 1-2 week for the Sixers and they are improving. It has been reported however, that Eddie Jordan’s job is in doubt. Will Tony DiLeo return to the bench?

28. Indiana Pacers (11-25) (previous ranking: 27) Good news: Danny Granger will be back. Bad news: it won’t improve the team. Indiana rejected a trade from Minnesota that would’ve landed them Al Jefferson. Larry Bird is loyal to Granger, and is willing to keep him.

29. Minnesota Timberwolves (8-30) (previous ranking: 29) The Jefferson deal fell through, the Wolves saw a dynamic inside/outside game w/ Granger & Love. Apparently Indiana saw differently.

30. New Jersey Nets (3-34) (previous ranking: 30) in four more games, it will be time to play guess how many wins New Jersey can win this season.

Enjoy the rankings! Hope your team is doing well.

TSX Rapid News (1/8)

Welcome to TSX Rapid News for January 8th, 2010. Here are some of the early morning news from overnight into the midday:

– On Thursday, new Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren has announced that current Browns head coach Eric Mangini will stay on as the team’s head coach for next season. After a 1-11 start, Cleveland closed out the season with four straight wins, and it led to a stronger relationship between the players and coaches, and it gives a lot of optimism for next season. The only bad news on this is that one of the main reasons for Cleveland’s late season success, Josh Cribbs has cleaned out his locker over a contract dispute. Cribbs has been dynamic this season, setting records for kickoff returns all-time. Holmgren, please pay the man the money he deserves. Especially if you want to build a winner.

– Indiana Pacers F Danny Granger is looking to make his return to the court soon. He has been practicing and has felt no pain in the past couple of days. The decision will be made by head coach Jim O’ Brien and the Pacers training staff. He will miss the next two games at Minnesota Friday and at Oklahoma City on Saturday.

– Dallas Stars C Mike Ribeiro will miss the next 4-6 weeks after taking an accidental stick to the throat from New York Rangers forward Christopher Higgins during the Stars’ 5-2 loss on Wednesday. Ribeiro underwent a tracheotomy to repair a throat contusion in Dallas on Thursday morning and the Stars will definitely miss his 33 points (10 G, 23 A) he has accumulated this season.

– The Washington Wizards plan to fine several players who took part in Gilbert Arenas’ pregame ritual where he was pointing his fingers like guns and once again making light of a serious matter, along with his teammates, in which nearly all of them were laughing and smiling before Washington’s game with Philadelphia this past Tuesday. Arenas has been suspended indefinitely by the NBA for having three guns in the Wizards’ locker room during a spat with teammate Javaris Crittenton.

Be back tonight for the night edition of TSX Rapid News.

TSX Rapid News (1/5)

Welcome to the new TSX Rapid News, where we cover four different sports stories from around that aren’t worthy of a post, so let’s get into it.

– The NFL offseason began for 20 teams yesterday, and two teams are already clearing house. The Buffalo Bills fired their entire coaching staff, including interim head coach Perry Fewell, but the good news for Fewell is that he has the opportunity to interview for the head coaching job. The Washington Redskins fired Jim Zorn, which was already anticipated in Week 5. The ‘Skins are already meeting with Mike Shanahan, and it is anticipated that he will become the next coach of the Redskins. The only thing with Shanahan is that he will want to have TOTAL control of the team (Head Coach/GM). Washington has a GM already (Bruce Allen). It looks good on the surface, but will it lead to a clash in the future if Shanahan’s hired? Time will tell.

– Gilbert Arenas says the guns were “a joke” on teammate Javaris Crittenton. This is really no laughing matter, and in the process, makes the Washington Wizards a laughingstock. It’s okay to be positive and look at the bright side, but don’t say “i’m a goofball” and act like it’s not a big deal. This is a serious matter, and at the end of the day, Joke is on him. The Wizards SHOULD trade him, but that hefty contract is something nobody wants to take on.

– The Utah Jazz may be cleaning house and rebuilding. According to Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears, the Jazz, who have a team payroll exceeding $77M, and ownership does not want to pay the NBA luxury tax for a start that has been rather mediocre. So every player except for Deron Williams is on the trading block. But even though Utah wants to take money off the payroll, they want to remain competitive, but there have been no takers. This Jazz team has been underachieving, and it is disappointing. If they want to shed payroll, they will not be as competitive in the West.

– On the same day Jason Bay was introduced as the New York Mets’ latest addition, his former team made a big splash in free agency. The Boston Red Sox announced they are in the process of signing Adrian Beltre to a two year contract to compliment and eventually replace fan favorite, but oft-injured Mike Lowell. The BoSox also need to keep up with the New York Yankees. The signing of Beltre does help his former team, the Seattle Mariners, clear payroll for Chone Figgins, who signed with Seattle after being a fixture for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.