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Postby jokergreen0220 on 19 Jan 2018, 09:35

(SportsNetwork. Kevin Mchale Jersey .com) - As we look ahead to the New Year, I have a feeling well have only two divisions that will be hotly contested. The Toronto Raptors and Portland Trail Blazers have very comfortable cushions with Toronto leading the Brooklyn Nets in the Atlantic by 8 1/2 games, while the Blazers are 10 1/2 games up on the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Northwest. The Chicago Bulls lead the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers by 3 1/2 games in the Central, but with the loss of Anderson Varejao for the season and Kevin Love continuing to struggle, it doesnt look like the Cavs will be able to keep up with such a deep Chicago team. In the Pacific, the Golden State Warriors are five games up on the Los Angeles Clippers, who look like theyve taken a step back from last season. With Stephen Curry clearly better than Chris Paul, and the Warriors talent level clearly being better than the Clippers, I dont see Doc Rivers team being capable of staying with Golden State. So that leaves us with the Southeast and Southwest Divisions, which may not be decided until April. Lets take a close look at each race: SOUTHEAST DIVISION The Washington Wizards were the preseason favorites to win the division, but have been unable to shake the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks are one game up on the Wizards, but Atlanta has been the more impressive team. They have clearly been better against the upper level teams of the league. Atlanta is 7-3 versus teams that would currently qualify for the playoffs, while the Wizards are just 3-7. The Hawks lost their first three games of the season against such teams, but since are 7-1. Former Hawks great Dominique Wilkins, who is currently the teams television color analyst, is really excited about what hes seeing on both ends of the floor. Theres two things that excite me about the team: team defense and playing defense on the ball is the most impressive thing, said Wilkins. You see a lot of teams rely too much on help; the Hawks defend out front. Secondly, ball movement from side to side. They share the ball. They give up a good shot for a great shot. As for the Wizards, I have to wonder after hearing some comments from Paul Pierce following a win over the struggling Miami Heat on Dec. 19, if theyre as committed to being a top team as the Hawk are. We got to build ourselves on great habits, Pierce said, according to the Washington Post. Tonight I wasnt happy with the defense, especially against a team struggling to score 100 points. We allowed them to shoot too high of a percentage. So them arent the habits we want to have throughout the course [of the season]. I think the division will be up for grabs into the final month, but my gut tells me the Hawks will be the one to prevail. SOUTHWEST DIVISION The Grizzlies sit atop the division with a one-game lead over the Mavericks, 1 1/2 games over the Rockets, while the Spurs are five back. Heres a breakdown of each team: MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES The Grizzlies big three of Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley have all played at a high level, and are mainly responsible for their 23-8 mark. Gasol is easily having his best season. In just his eighth year in the league, hes averaging a career-high 20.1 points, which is more than five points above his previous high. One problem with the Grizzlies is the secondary players who arent on the same level as those on the Spurs and Rockets. Up until Randolph missing the last five games with a sore knee, the Grizzlies have not had to deal with any injury issues, unlike two of their division rivals. Memphis lost the first three game without its starting power forward, but then beat the struggling Heat, who were without Chris Bosh and followed it up with a win over the Spurs, who were missing Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard. The bottom line is the Grizzlies can ill afford to lose any of their top three players for any period of time if they hope to win the division. HOUSTON ROCKETS Aside from James Hardens MVP-worthy performance so far, the big story has been the Rockets ability to overcome a ton of injuries. Dwight Howard and Patrick Beverley have each sat out 12 games, while Terrence Jones has missed the last 26. During Howards absence, which included seven games without Beverley and Jones, the Rockets managed to go 8-4. The injury to Jones gave Donatas Motiejunas the opportunity for some big minutes and hes really blossomed, averaging 10.1 points and 6.1 rebounds in just over 27 minutes per game. The third-year power forward is now coming off the bench again after the Rockets signed Josh Smith following his release by the Detroit Pistons. Smith scored 21 points in his Rockets debut in a win in Memphis, but he combined to score just eight points on 3-of-13 from the field and committed eight turnovers over the next two games, which Houston lost. Does Smiths presence hurt the Rockets chemistry? Its certainly a question worth asking, as the Pistons have run off three straight wins after dumping the 10-year veteran. But the Rockets have another recent addition that has already paid immediate dividends and should only bolster a very solid bench. Corey Brewer, who was acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves on Dec. 19, is averaging 16.3 points in just over 24 minutes in four games with the Rockets, and is shooting 52.3 percent from the field and 59.1 percent from 3-point range. If Smith can fit in, I like Houstons chances to come out on top, especially with Harden playing at such a high level and the Rockets having so much depth SAN ANTONIO SPURS The Spurs have given the Rockets plenty of competition in the injury department. Tony Parker is dealing with a lingering hamstring injury which has caused him to miss 12 games, while Kawhi Leonard has missed 11 games with a bruised hand and is out indefinitely at this point. In addition to the injuries to two of their top players, the Spurs have had to deal with Tiago Splitter missing 22 games, while backup point guard Patty Mills has played just two games after finally coming back from offseason shoulder surgery. With Parker and Leonard having ongoing issues, and the need to also keep Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili fresh for the playoffs, dont expect Greg Popovich to push his team to win the division title. DALLAS MAVERICKS Rick Carlisles team will have to prove they can compete with the better teams and have to overcome the loss of valuable backup big man Brandan Wright, who was dealt to the Boston Celtics in the Rajon Rondo trade. The Mavericks are just 5-8 against teams that would currently qualify for the postseason, and one of those wins came against a depleted Spurs team playing without Duncan, Parker, Leonard, Ginobili and Splitter. The Mavs particularly have had problems in beating the other seven teams in the Western Conference that would qualify for the playoffs at this point. That mark is just 1-7. The addition of Rondo should help Dallas defensively in the backcourt, but it doesnt solve the problems in the frontcourt where Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons have problems with their lack of athleticism. Defensive deficiencies and the loss of Wright will make it difficult for Dallas to take the division. Marcus Smart Jersey .ca. In Sundays Blackhawks-Penguins game, Pittsburgh defenceman Brooks Orpik laid a huge hit on Chicagos Jonathan Toews. Now in my view, Orpik can be clearly seen leaving his feet while delivering a moderately high hit. Bob Cousy Jersey . The team announced that it exercised the options on 15 players including goalkeepers Evan Bush, Maxime Crepeau and Troy Perkins, defenders Matteo Ferrari, Karl W. http://www.authenticcelticsproshop.com/Bill-Russell-Jersey/ . Jamies number grades given are out of five, with five being the best mark. Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins (5) – He had a brilliant game; it was a huge response for his average games before.ALBANY, N.Y. - About one-third of professional mixed martial arts matches end in knockout or technical knockout, indicating a higher incidence of brain trauma than boxing or other martial arts, according to a new study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. University of Toronto researchers examined records and videos from 844 Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts from 2006 to 2012 for the study published this month. They found that 108 matches or nearly 13 per cent ended in knockouts. Another 179 matches, or 21 per cent, ended in technical knockouts, usually after a combatant was hit in the head five to 10 times in the last 10 seconds before the fight was stopped. "Were taking the premise with this that what you see on TV is one thing, but to kind of add scientific rigour to document it objectively," said Michael Hutchison, co-author and director of the concussion program at the universitys MacIntosh Sports Medicine Clinic. With the technical knockouts, or TKOs, they reviewed videos and found "an increasing number of repetitive strikes to the head" during the last 30 seconds of a match, he said. Professional mixed martial arts includes elements of wrestling, judo, boxing and kickboxing inside an enclosure with fighters wearing small, fingerless gloves and no headgear. Officials from UFC, the sports major brand, seeking approval to stage bouts in New York have argued that mixed martial arts has evolved over 20 years with many safety regulations to protect fighters, including mandatory suspensions after concussions. They say its safer than boxing, where fighters tend to take repeated blows from padded gloves, with no history of deaths or traumatic brain injuries sustained in the ring. Lawrence Epstein, chief operating officer of UFC, called the Toronto study "somewhat flawed" and said a forthcoming study by researchers who have enrolled nearly 400 active and retired fighters will provide better insight. "By partnering with the Cleveland Clinic, one of the worlds leading medical research institutions, on advanced studies aimed at not only preventing long-term brain injuries, but also identifying those predisposed to them, the UFC demonstrates true commitment to the safety of all professional athletes," Epstein said. Preliminary results from the Cleveland studies found athletes with higher exposure to head trauma — based on a formula including number of fights, years fighting and fights per year — were likelier to score lower on cognitive testing. Researchers conducting the free, ongoing assessments of fighters brain health are examining factors like genetics, lifestyle or head trauma exposure and susceptibility to injury. The Toronto researchers, who examined UFC matches, found the time from a knockout blow — often a punch to the jaw — until maatches were stopped averaged 3. Shaquille ONeal Jersey. 5 seconds with losers on average getting hit 2.6 more times to the head. With TKOs, they found that in the last 30 seconds before a match was stopped the loser was hit on average 18.5 times, 92 per cent of those to the head. Hutchison acknowledged that unlike the knockouts, which meet the criteria for brain concussions, they cant definitively identify the particular injury from a TKO. Professional rules say that happens when a referee stops a fight because one competitor can no longer defend himself. "We can accurately suggest ... this cant be good for their health," he said. Citing data from other research, the study said the mixed martial arts head trauma rate also outpaces football and hockey. The researchers proposed introducing rules like in boxing where a fighter gets a 10-second count and evaluated after a knockdown. They also proposed more training to help referees to identify fighters who are defenceless or have lost consciousness so they can stop fights more quickly. "Given that participation at amateur levels of the sport is growing rapidly, we expect to see high rates of traumatic brain injuries at more junior levels of amateur competition," the researchers wrote. "These points strongly argue for banning the sport in youth and for preventive strategies to reduce the burden of traumatic brain injuries in professional MMA fighters who elect to fight." Hutchison wasnt saying whether mixed martial arts should be legal or not, only that adults should know the risks so they can make informed decisions. People are inherent risk takers, and some do it with drinking, smoking, skydiving or other activities, but they should be aware, he said. Most states have legalized and regulated professional mixed martial arts although some are silent on the matter. New York is the only state that prohibits such fights and longstanding efforts to get it legalized recently stalled again for advocates hoping to gain access to Madison Square Garden and other New York venues. The state Senate has passed the bill for several years and put it in a proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, but it has not cleared the state Assembly. New York state Sen. Joseph Griffo sponsored legislation that would legalize the sport and subject amateur mixed martial arts to state oversight that would include more stringent rules and regulations like those employed by amateur boxing. Regulation would also help the state go after the underground fights with paying audiences that are occurring now, especially in New York City, he said. "I think everybody would agree the objective is to be very sensitive and do everything possible with preventing trauma to the head," Griffo said. "I dont think in any way that should prevent the sport." 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