Friday, November 30, 2012


The next time the Nets and the Celtics meet will be on Christmas Day in the Barclay Center. Are we looking at a new Boston rivalry? Are we looking at a change in the balance of the Atlantic Division? The season is young but why not hope for a Christmas miracle.

After Wednesday's game, Rajon Rondo was given a two game suspension for his involvement in the brawl, that he started. Kevin Garnett, who flopped his way into igniting the already hot-headed Rondo into retaliating, placed the blame on Kris Humphries. Gerald Wallace was fined but wasn't suspended.

Garnett seems to think Humphries "is always extra". Garnett explains that he thinks that Humphries plays out of control. He said that Humphries is trying to hold up the whole Brooklyn mentality. If these are not words to start a rivalry and some friction, I will continue.

Jason Terry basically called Humphries soft. Terry went on to say that when he played with Humphries in Dallas, Humphries pretended to be tough. He was told that Doc Rivers called his Celtics team soft and Terry stated, "Humphries might as well play with us if that's the case." We just had the friction and now let's throw the match on.

Boom, instant grudge!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


These are not the Nets of New Jersey or Long Island. These are the Nets of Brooklyn and if you want to fight, they'll fight, if you want to play basketball they will play basketball. Last night in Boston they did both.

Rajon Rondo has been known to be a hot head, a sore loser and just an all around bad sport and last night he proved it again.

Just before halftime the Nets had a big lead and their defense was causing Boston and Rondo fits. Kevin Garnett was fouled by Kris Humphries and Rajon Rondo took exception to this and instigated a fight. Humphries and Rondo ended up in the stands. Rondo lost his temper and his shirt. Gerald Wallace and Garnett were off to the side wrestling around. A referee got dumped and even the security guards were trying to break things up. After everything calmed down the Nets were given the worst end of it. Humphries was called for two technicals and ejected, Wallace who was already carrying a technical was called for another and tossed. The officials reviewed the whole situation via video and awarded the Celtics an extra free throw.

The Celtics suffered Rondo being straight ejected and Garnett picked up one technical. If you were watching, Rondo started his shenanigans way before this incident. With a 1:10 left in the half, Rondo scraped Gerald Wallace across the face and no call was made. This was how Wallace received his first technical.

Good news was that the Nets held onto their lead and won 95-83. They are in sole possession of 1st place in the Atlantic Division with a 10-4 record.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


After the Thanksgiving Day debacle, there are a lot of things that were good for the Jets in the scheme of things.

This is not something that you can put a band-aid on. The Jets are just a bad team. If the Jets were eeking out a 9-7 record and backing into the play-offs the Jets would be justifying the usual if this would of happened or that would of happened. They would of brought up Revis and Holmes missing. They would of brought up the fact that next year those players would be healthy and that the Jets record would be better. Thanksgiving has probably shown us the Jets reality.

The people that assembled the talent for this year's team has done a bad job. The team needs to be broken down and built up all over again by someone else. The personnel that the Jets have in the front office are just not cutting it. The mess that was Thanksgiving Day had to make that clear. It basically humiliated the owner and something will be done. Sometimes an owner needs to be prodded into action and if Sanchez' head hitting Moore's butt wasn't prodding enough, than this owner just doesn't care.

Their most significant offensive player can't catch. Stephen Hill just can't catch. Maybe he needs glasses but the guy just can't catch. He is the Jets' most dangerous and only offensive weapon and he can't catch. He is one of the reasons Sanchez has such a low percentage of completions because his number 1 receiver just can't catch. Jeremy Kurley is a good number 3 receiver but the Jets have to use him as a number 1 because Stephen Hill just can't catch. The running game is horrific and the offensive line is well below average. The quarterback situation is a complete catastrophe and possibly the worst in the league. The quarterback situation was caused by the addition of Tebow and the shenanigans that have followed Sanchez and Tebow all year. They are just a complete mess.

They fired Schottenheimer, which I thought was a good move, and they hired Sporano. So far Sporano looks like a complete blithering idiot running the offense. Who is responsible for having a quarterback that you believe in, that you traded up in the draft and have him regress, year after year after year. I place that blame on Tannenbaum.  Woody Johnson needs to go out and find a Bill Polian type guy and have him sit down and reconfigure this mess. Tannenbaum just isn't cutting it in the world of pro football and player operations.

If the Jets lose their next game, this will be the first time since 1996 that they have had two back to back losing seasons. They have not had two consecutive seasons with less than 9 wins. They also have had three losses this year by 21 points or more, first time since 1962. That record is worse than what Rich Kotite did as the coach. What I am getting at is that Rex Ryan has to share some of the blame by coaching a team to do something that Rich Kotite did not do.

This has become such a mess that Fireman Ed left the game early and is done with the franchise.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Tonight at 7 o'clock, the official rivalry between the Nets of Brooklyn and the Knicks of Manhattan begins.

These two teams have played each other 177 other times but that was not a rivalry. Those were games between an established New York Knicks team, with a home called The Garden against a nomadic suburban team that never had a home once it entered the NBA. Now this nomadic team has a home, The Barclay Center and a city by the name of Brooklyn backing them. This is going to be good.

The best rivalry that the city has ever had was between another Brooklyn team called the Dodgers and a team that hailed from the island of Manhattan, the Giants. Once these two teams split, the next rivalry to come down the pike is between the New York Rangers of Manhattan and the New York Islanders of Hempstead, soon to be the Islanders of Brooklyn. (If hockey ever plays again)

This rivalry between the two teams boils down to one chant, POTVIN SUCKS!!! This chant still fills the rafters of The Garden whenever the two teams meet. The chant started after Potvin bodychecked the Rangers high scoring forward, Ulf Nilsson, who sustained a broken ankle and was never the same after. The date that the chant was born was February 25, 1979.

No one wants a Net or a Knick to get hurt but something memorable will have to happen to make this rivalry reach the pinnacle of Dodgers/Giants or Rangers/Islanders. They meet four times a season and anything can happen. Maybe a fight can break out and Avery Johnson is last seen going for a ride on Tyson Chandler's leg a la Jeff Van Gundy and Alonzo Mourning. The point is, don't rush it. These are two city teams and something will happen, eventually.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


With everything trying to get back to normal in the borough of Brooklyn after Hurricane Sandy roared through, the Nets are showing signs of normalcy.

Last night against the Cavaliers, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson combined for 51 points, leading Brooklyn to a 114-101 win.

Williams was outstanding in moving the ball to the open man, driving the lane and just being in charge. Joe Johnson finally found his shot and he was on fire in the second and fourth quarter. This is a fun team to watch when they are operating together. It will be more fun once Gerald Wallace and MarShon Brooks come back from injury.

While watching Brooklyn play an up tempo style of basketball, I could not help but notice number 2 for the Cavaliers, Kyrie Irving. If you get a chance to see this kid play, do it. He is the future of the NBA. He is a combination of Magic Johnson and Pete Maravich.

Big game for Brooklyn on Thursday when the Celtics come to Brooklyn.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Last night the Brooklyn Nets took on the Toronto Raptors at the Barclay's Center. This was the first home game for this brand new team in Brooklyn. They won 107-100 but this is not so much about the game but how a long time Knicks fan has become a Brooklyn Nets fan.

About a year and a half ago, I read a book called Heaven is a Playground by Rick Telander.  This is a true story about the time that the author spent in Brooklyn living the playground life of a basketball player. This all takes place in the summer of 1973 and 1974. He meets a bunch of playground basketball players and observes, questions, travels and plays with these players. What brings all of these subjects together is their passion for basketball.

The time period that Telander writes about is the time period that I spent playing basketball in my playground at P.S. 209. We had our cast of characters and each of us had our own story. The difference between us and the guys Telander wrote about was basically that we didn't have a journalist following us around but I am pretty sure we could of been our own book. Telander's book took me back to a time that I will always remember.

Awhile ago I wrote about how my father was broken hearted about the Brooklyn Dodgers leaving Brooklyn. This was something that I didn't find out until after his death in 1993. This has been something that has stuck with me since the news of his passion for a team and a city. I sometimes wonder how my father-son conversations would have been different if I had known this back in those same summers that Telander wrote about. Maybe if I knew that, I might of asked him to come shoot hoops with me at 209 but I thought that he just didn't like sports but boy was I wrong. I sometimes wonder if he wanted me to ask him to the playground, I sometimes wonder if he wanted me to ask him to have a catch but I mostly wonder what was going on inside of his head when I would leave the apartment with my stick ball bat or basketball and scream, "I'm going to the schoolyard with Cliff!!!" I'll never know.

Those days of basketball in P.S. 209 were filled with talk about Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe, Bill Bradley, Dave DeBusschere and Phil Jackson. The Knicks were our team and Marv Albert was imitated on any sweet move or shot. "YES AND IT COUNTS!!!!, coming from anyone who was fouled and his shot made it through the hoop with no net. Talk was also getting around about this doctor that was playing out on Long Island with an ABA team called the New York Nets. We heard stories about this doctor that could basically fly through the air. He could jump from the foul line and soar through the air and dunk. Each and everyone of us fools tried that and succeeded in getting nowhere. This doctor was Doctor J, Julius Erving, and supposedly the Nets were going to come to the NBA. We thought that it would be cool to see this guy against our beloved Knicks and it eventually happened but the good doctor was wearing a 76ers uniform by then.

When I heard that the Nets were moving to Brooklyn I thought that it was a good idea. Brooklyn has always been known as a great basketball city and they would support that team like no other. I never gave much thought about the move because there always seemed to be problems with the Atlantic Yards Project.

When I finally realized that the Nets were going to make that move, I contemplated if I had to root for the real home team, the Brooklyn Nets. I went back and forth but a few weeks ago in Sports Illustrated there was a feature article by Rick Telander. The article was all about Brooklyn basketball and the memories of those days in P.S. 209 came rushing back. The memory of my father and his heartbreak also took center stage. I know that if my father was alive, he would be wearing the black and white of the Nets because he was from Brooklyn. I know it would of never replaced his beloved Dodgers but he would of had a team that he could call his own.

The Knicks of my youth will always be with me. but it feels right to put on the black and white of the Brooklyn Nets. I am thinking of getting a Brooklyn Nets jersey with a number 1 and the name Irving on the back. Not for the good doctor, Julius Erving, but for my father, Irving.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


There is a lot of talk about this afternoon's Breeder's Cup Classic at Santa Anita. There is a buzz about Mucho Macho Man and Game On Dude. The buzz is that Mucho Macho Man can upset Game On Dude and the other buzz is that Game On Dude can be Horse of the Year if he wins this Breeder's Cup Classic.

These are all good points but I have been looking at my racing form and I like what I see in Flat Out. The horse seems to be in a cycle right now and this is the second time that Rosario is in the saddle.

Morning line odds on Flat Out is 5-1. If you can get a price, bet the horse Win/Place. We will see what all the buzz is about at about 5:30 this afternoon after Trevor Denman states, "The flag is up and aawwaay they go!"