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Even With Flaws And Virtually No Structure At All, Brooklyn Nets Are One Of The Hottest Teams In NBA

Paul Pierce salutes Boston fans Sunday night. (AP photo)
  By Matt Straub  
It’s taken me more than a day to write this about the Brooklyn Nets. Not because there isn’t anything to say about this team, but because there’s so much to talk about and so little of it makes sense.

I’ve seen their last two games, one in person and one on television. I wanted to focus on them now that they’ve really turned the corner. What I saw was a team which still seems to be without any structure or coaching, has aging players and no chemistry.

And yet they’re winning, except when they’re throwing games away. 

Melodrama: Knicks Forward Carmelo Anthony Is Both Amazing, As His 62-Point Game Proved, And Frustrating, Making For Cloudy Future In NY

Carmelo Anthony is amazing, frustrating. (AP photo)
  By Matt Straub  
It’s been quite a week for Carmelo Anthony. First, he broke the scoring record at the current Madison Square Garden and made himself the topic of conversation around the league from Los Angeles, where Kobe Bryant gave a cryptic interview about Anthony’s impending free agency, to Chicago, where the latest round of rumors has him headed to the Bulls next season to fill the team’s hole at the three and be Derrick Rose’s sidekick.

The ensuing debates and discussion reminded me of why I have such a love-hate relationship with Anthony, and it has nothing to do with the fact he’s a Knick and I’m a Celtics fan. It’s because he can be so good but his talents and personality don’t lend themselves to winning.

Think about his biggest problem in New York: his game doesn’t mesh with Amare Stoudemire. Now, part of that is the fault of Knicks’ management, which didn’t listen to any of the statistical or strategic breakdowns out there which showed the worst possible companion for Amare’s game was Anthony, but doesn’t part of the blame have to go to Anthony? He’s a scoring machine, but has never seemed to be able to change his game to fit into his NBA teams better.

New Britain High Football Program Back In Good Hands With Tebucky Jones, Impressive Group of Athletes

  By Brad Carroll  
The New Britain football program took a major step forward Thursday morning, even if on the surface everything appears to be the same. With New Britain superintendent Kelt Cooper deciding to keep Tebucky Jones as head coach, the Golden Hurricanes can officially put all the drama, politics and in-fighting behind them and move forward together to create a better football program.

Of course, moving forward together is easier said than done, but Jones is more than ready to put the past in the past and focus on the job at hand, which includes not only improving the product on the field but putting his student-athletes in better positions to succeed off it as well.

“Forget the season, I’m concentrating on keeping the kids in class, keeping them doing their work and keeping them eligible,” Jones said Thursday after learning he would officially continue on as head coach.

New Britain High School Must Right A Wrong And Let Tebucky Jones Return As Hurricanes Head Football Coach

Tebucky Jones as New Britain football coach. (Herald photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
Three years into his tenure as New Britain’s head football coach, there is still no telling if Tebucky Jones is the answer to the school’s long and arduous struggle to return to the top of the mountain in Connecticut football. The jury is still out if Jones can be the guy to galvanize students to not only come out for the team but dedicate themselves to the program as well.

Jones might not be the one who recreates the aura that used to surround New Britain football. This is a school that has won 29 state football titles and is the winningest team in state history, something many current students might not even realize. All of those are unknowns.

But I have no doubt Tebucky Jones must continue on as New Britain’s head football coach. At this critical juncture in the long and storied history of the Golden Hurricanes, Jones is the perfect person to try and lead a revival.

It's Not Now Or Never For Knicks, Nets, But It Could Be Now Or 2019, So Playing In Postseason Is A Must

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (AP photo)
  By Matt Straub  

I’ve been toying with different ways to provide more NBA content for the website, since there seems to be quite a bit of interest in the New York teams this year. I wrote last time about how terrible it would be to see the two New York basketball team miss out on this chance to recapture the magic of basketball in New York. The Garden is a special place and Brooklyn had done such a good job of creating buzz around the Nets that this year can bring about the start of a rebirth of the sport in the nation’s hotbed of everything. I’m a fan of basketball and I want the sport to thrive in New York like it did when I was a kid and the Knicks were making runs at the title.

There’s another reason this year is so important to the city’s basketball future, however. Winning this season and creating that buzz could be the only way to keep the future of New York basketball bright. 

Jets Pay Him Or Slay Him On Offense: We Decide Who Stays And Who Goes, Including Geno Smith, Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes, Many More

  By Brad Carroll  
There is no question the New York Jets of 2014 are going to have to be a heck of a lot better on offense than the 2013 version was. The Jets finished this past season with an 8-8 record, which was considered a success, but if the team had a legit offense, maybe they would be taking part in the playoffs right now instead of watching from home.

If the Jets are going to be successful next season, many questions are going to have to be answered on the offensive side of the ball. There has to be an influx of talent, whether through free agency or the NFL draft. But before we look to the outside, we'll take a look at the current roster and who should remain on the team and who should go, or as we like to call it, Pay Him or Slay Him. Here is our look at the offense. Read our take on the defensive side of the ball here.

Jets Pay Him Or Slay Him Defense: We Decide Who Stays And Who Goes, Including Dee Milliner, Ed Reed, Antonio Cromartie, Many More

  By Brad Carroll  
The New York Jets finished the 2013 season with an 8-8 record, a surprising result for many and good enough for owner Woody Johnson and general manager John Idzik to give coach Rex Ryan at least one more season to get the team back to the postseason. There is no doubt the Jets are a team on the rise, but that doesn't mean there aren't a ton of decisions to make on both offense and defense this offseason.

But before those decisions start to become reality, we have our own opinions on the future of the franchise and who should remain on the team next season and who should go, or as we like to call it, Pay Him or Slay Him. We start with the key players on defense. Our breakdown of the offense is here.

Winners And Losers From Decision To Suspend Alex Rodriguez For 2014 Season, Including A-Rod, Yankees Front Office, MLB, AL East, More

Alex Rodriguez has been suspended for the 2014 season. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
With Alex Rodriguez being suspended for the entire 2014 season, including the postseason, there was many winners and losers in the decision. The obvious loser was Rodriguez himself, as even though his original ban of 211 games was reduced, it' still a huge setback for the Yankees third baseman. There were many winners from the ruling as well, led by Major League Baseball, which has made it a point to make an example of A-Rod and has succeeded.

Here we break down the biggest winners and losers from the long-awaited decision that was finally delivered Saturday. We start, of course, with A-Rod.

Alex Rodriguez Suspended For 2014 Season, A Reduction From Original 211-Game Ban, Will Continue Fight

Alex Rodriguez had his ban reduced to entire 2014 season. (AP photo)
  By Brad Carroll  
Alex Rodriguez's 211-game suspension from Major League Baseball was reduced to 162 games plus the postseason Saturday afternoon. The Yankees third baseman was suspended for his connection with Biogenesis. Here is Rodriguez's statement after the announcement:

Former Mets, Red Sox Manager
Bobby Valentine Shows Why He's Both Loved And Hated In One Night

Former Red Sox and Mets manager Bobby Valentine. (AP photo)
  By Matt Straub  

I’m rarely apprehensive about covering something, but I was a bit Tuesday night. I wanted to make sure I was objective and gave Bobby Valentine a fair shake, considering some of the things I’ve said about him on this website.

Listening to him speak for about an hour, then talking to him briefly personally, I got the full Bobby Valentine experience. At times, he’d completely won me over. Hearing him charm a crowd in Southington, Conn., I was willing to overlook his season in Boston. Someone this smart and this engaging, I figured, can’t be hated. Then, as the stories went on and on, the disbelief many in the media have felt listening to Valentine started to set in. Either some of this is made up or Valentine is baseball’s Forest Gump.

He’s been everywhere and had everything happen to him.

College Football Bowl Picks 2014:
BCS National Championship
No. 1 Florida State vs No. 2 Auburn

  By Brad Carroll  
Thirty-four bowl games have been played since mid-December. A lot of them have been exciting, some have been shocking, some even were duds. But all of the bowl games that came before Monday night won't come anywhere near the battle on the field between No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Auburn in the BCS national championship game.

The two best teams in college football will play for the ultimate crown, and there is no reason to believe it won't be an epic conclusion to this tremendous season.

Top-ranked Florida State and second-ranked Auburn got to this point taking completely different routes. The Seminoles were one of a handful of teams in the preseason given a chance to play in this game. The Tigers weren't even ranked at the beginning of the year and nobody gave them a shot to be here. Certainly nobody thought the SEC's streak of BCS dominance would be left in their hands.

Knicks, Nets Hope To Turn Things Around In New Year, With Postseason Still Reality, Or It Could Be More Dysfunctional Comedy In New York

Carmelo Anthony with teammates. (AP photo)
  By Matt Straub  
This was supposed to be the year basketball was officially back in New York. This winter, the NBA was going to take the city by storm the way it did in the 1990s, with Madison Square Garden reminding everyone why it’s called "the Mecca of Basketball" and the beautiful new Barclays Center becoming an important place to be as well. Everything was trending upward.

The Knicks went to the second round of the playoffs a year ago and were expected to be one of the three teams in the East who could give Mighty Miami a run. The Nets made the playoffs last year as well, then traded for two all-time greats in the quest for much more over a short window.

Now the two buildings house two of the biggest laughingstocks in the league. The Knicks are just bad, while the Nets have been losing while also turning their locker room into an episode of All My Children, an amazing feat for one of the oldest teams in the league.

College Football Bowl Picks 2014: GoDaddy Bowl, Arkansas St vs Ball St, Compass Bowl, Houston vs Vanderbilt

  By Brad Carroll  
Before we get to college football's epic conclusion in the form of the BCS national championship game Monday night between No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Auburn, there are two weekend games to keep the bowl season in vogue. Here we preview and our college football experts pick against the spread the Compass Bowl between Houston and Vanderbilt Saturday and the GoDaddy Bowl between Arkansas State and Ball State Sunday.

College Football Bowl Picks 2014: Orange Bowl, Clemson vs Ohio State, Cotton Bowl, Oklahoma St vs Missouri

  By Brad Carroll  
Four of the best teams in college football will get the primetime stage Friday night as a pair of huge games will be on national television opposite each other for our viewing pleasure. Here we preview and our college football experts pick against the spread the Orange Bowl between No. 12 Clemson and No. 7 Ohio State and the Cotton Bowl between No. 13 Oklahoma State and No. 8 Missouri.

College Football Bowl Picks 2014: Sugar Bowl, Oklahoma vs Alabama

  By Brad Carroll  
The New Year's Day marathon of college football is over, and while that is a sad time for fans, as it was the last full-slate schedule of the season, it does mean the big-time games are on the horizon. That is no different with Thursday night's Sugar Bowl, featuring a rare meeting between No. 11 Oklahoma and No. 3 Alabama, the defending champions. Here we preview and our college football experts pick the game against the spread.