Miami Heat

The holidays are here and that means food, drugstore family and football.  No wait, this is Christmas and that means food, family and BASKETBALL.  It’s easy to get confused because Christmas is to the NBA what Thanksgiving is the NFL.  An annual tradition that dates back to 1947 of all day basketball folly.  In 2011, the slate of games grew to 5, tipping off at 11am, and has stayed as large and as long ever since.

This year we’re looking at anything and everything from coast to coast match ups, a Finals rematch (or preview), East vs. West face-offs, and a Staples Center showdown, all complete with the requisite NBA Christmas uniforms, which I am not mad about this year.

If you’re looking to pick and choose when to watch vs. when to eat, sleep or spend time with the fam, here’s the game by game rundown.

11am CT New Orleans at Miami

A match up of the somewhat surprisingly intriguing Heat vs. the under performing Pelicans.  The Brow is always a fun watch and seeing him take on Hassan Whiteside in the paint shouldn’t disappoint.  But New Orleans is ravaged by injuries and an inability to adjust to the new coaching staff.  While I’m much more partial to New Orleans for eating, drinking and dancing, I’d pick Miami in this one.

1:30pm CT Chicago at OKC

The NBA so wanted Derrick Rose vs. Russell Westbrook to mean what it used to.  Unfortunately three knee surgeries has taken its toll on one much more than the other.  Despite this, the Bulls beat the Thunder earlier in the season behind a great game from Rose, who has since lost his facemask, the height of his hair, and his shot.  Both teams are playing under new head coaches who made the jump from college ball, but OKC is surging, while the Bulls count their lucky playoffs stars that they’re in the East.  I want to take the Bulls to turn it around and bring this one home because they always seem to surprise me on Christmas but without Joakim Noah, I have little faith this holiday season.

4pm CT Cleveland at Golden State

Get out the eggnog early because this is going to be good.  You can call it a Finals rematch or a Finals preview, but the top teams in each conference are at full strength with Cleveland seeing the return of Kyrie Irving this week, and they’re about to go at it.  Golden State boasts one of the best crowds in the NBA, who have been getting to games an hour early just see Steph Curry warm up.  And Lebron, well he’s mad.  Golden State makes history with every win so I’m picking the Warriors, if only to hope for a Riley Curry sighting at the post game press conference.

7:00pm CT San Antonio at Houston

Eat dinner quickly so you can be on the couch for an in-state battle of two completely opposite teams.  The Spurs quietly have the second best record in the NBA with only two less wins than the Warriors.  Pop is still sitting during games since it’s not April, and Kawhi Leonard shows us nightly how much bigger, stronger and faster he is than other top shooting guards in the league.  He’ll face another one in James Harden on Friday, but Harden’s Rockets have not done anything quietly this season.  Already working with an interim head coach and Dwight Howard trade rumors, the Rockets have been incredibly mediorcre so far, and outright bad at times.  They are however coming off of a 3 game win streak and have the talent to put on a show at home.  But if NBA fans know one thing, it’s to never bet against the Spurs.

9:00pm CT Los Angeles at Los Angeles

Many family Christmas gatherings may be able to relate to this match up – two passive aggressive siblings, living under the same roof, cut from the same cloth, with so little in common on any level.  On one end of the floor, the Lakers are a mess.  In the midst of the Kobe retirement tour, they boast two young stars in the making in Randle and Russell, who go in and out of the lineup for no apparent reason.  Kobe may score 34 points, or he may have 3 or 4 air balls.  Meanwhile, the Clippers are as good as they’ve ever been, but it doesn’t look to be good enough.  Their team is filled with controversial players who have never made it quite as far as they should have, and it doesn’t look like they ever will after the first few months of the season.  Kobe will be looking to go out with a bang in his 16th Christmas game, but I’d still take the Clippers to use the holiday to get their season back on track, as they continue to chase the shadow of the Warriors.

And that’s a wrap on Santa’s gift to all NBA fans this year.  Wishing you a very merry NBA Christmas, from our SDI family to yours!

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The NBA has long been criticized for lacking what makes the NFL appointment viewing 3 days a week: parity.  In the NFL, for sale shorter contracts, key injuries, larger rosters, and less impact by individual players makes for the phrase “any given Sunday” and the fact that 10 different teams have won the Super Bowl in the last 15 years. In the NBA, some people write off the regular season and playoff seeding entirely because only 10 different teams have won the championship since 1980.

Conference superiority has a lot to do with the thin upper crust of champions in the NBA.  As a Bulls fan who reaps the benefits of a #1 or #2 seed in the East despite a similar record to a Western Conference team in the bottom half of the playoff picture, I constantly preach the cyclical nature of conference imbalance.  However, even I was disappointed to see Joe Johnson on my TV in late April last year while Russell Westbrook was at home.

“Cyclical” is a stretch at this point, with the Western Conference’s superiority lasting for the better part of the past two decades.  But I’m not ready to toss the conference format just yet.  The Bulls may have returned with the exact same team, but not everyone in the East followed suit.  We’re only 2 nights in to the NBA season, and it already looks like the East may have taken a major jump towards the talent, play, and energy of Western Conference teams.  You can look at almost any team in the East right now and imagine them in the playoffs (not you Sixers).

When April comes around, it’s hard to picture the Cavs, Bulls, and Hawks without home court advantage in the first round, but beyond that, all other spots are totally up for grabs.  The Miami Heat are the most likely team to join the Eastern Conference elite with the return of Chris Bosh from a blood clot that sidelined him for the final 30 games of the ’14-15 season, joining a backcourt of top NBA guards Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic.  Hassan Whiteside came of age last season and will complement the very capable Luol Deng and rookie Justice Winslow, who fell in to the team’s lap in the draft.  With this lineup, Pat Riley may have the best chance to challenge former Heat star Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and aim for an NBA Finals appearance.

Since the Heat are no strangers to deep playoff runs, the Knicks and Pistons will be the more unlikely competitors in the East this year.  In New York, the Knicks made a big opening statement topping the hyped Milwaukee Bucks by 25 points on Tuesday.  Consistent play from Kristaps Porzingis, and help from Derrick Williams off the bench combined with a healthy Carmelo Anthony if he doesn’t get traded, will make them an Eastern Conference threat.

In Detroit, Stan Van’s island of misfit toys just might work.  With a surprising victory over the Hawks on opening night, all 5 starters scored in double figures and the team dominated the boards with 59 rebounds to Atlanta’s 40.  Andre Drummond is on the cusp of stardom, and when joined by a healthy Brandon Jennings and Reggie Jackson, who the team acquired mid-last season, they should be able to consistently execute SVG’s system and recapture the run they had last year before losing Jennings to an Achilles injury.

Aside from Lebron James being the best player in the world and the Cavs heated rivalry with the Bulls, and well, everyone, the East still has a ways to go to match up with the West.  But with improvements to the Raptors, Bucks, Pacers and Celtics as well, this may be the first year in recent memory that there are deserving teams who don’t make the playoffs in the East.  At the very least, we should see an 8th seed with a winning record, an overall step in the right direction.

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Bulls are Hungry

Calling all Bulls babes: the NBA playoffs are right under our noses! If you took a backseat after Derrick Rose went out for the season or Luol Deng was shipped off to Cleveland – we don’t blame you, find but it’s time to brush up on your Bulls basics because we’re gearing up for a playoff party.

The league is wrapping up their regular season tonight and our Bulls have secured the role of “most dangerous underdog” in the post season this year. No one expected much out of Chicago after Derrick rose went down with the doom and gloom of a second knee injury. Many suggested the team tank the season and collect themselves a nice lottery pick in the draft. Instead, the Bulls are prepping for the 2014 post season and are easily one of the biggest threats to the top seeded dogs in the East.

What You Need to Know:

1. The Perfect Playoff Positioning? They’re either playing the Brooklyn Nets or the Washington Wizards in a first round show down. It all depends on the outcome of the final games tonight (The Bulls snag a four seed and Indy’s bracket with a loss or a Raptors win. They take the three seed with a win and a Raptors loss). Rumor has it the Nets don’t want to meet the Bulls in the first round after we knocked them out last year. The Pacers clinched the top seed in the East so technically we want the 4th seed to avoid the Miami Heat’s half of the bracket. Let’s not face BronBron and his title contending friends until the Eastern finals por favor.

2. It’s all about the messy bun swagger and the heart hustle and muscle of Joakim Noah this post season. His energy propels the emotional stability of the entire roster. JoNo has been absolutely stunning this season, racking up career high stats. Triple-double is basically his middle name. He leads the team in rebounds, blocks, and assists (yea our center is the best passer on the team, deal with it). Noah’s health and consistent performance is essential for the Bulls to advance to the second round.

3. Crazy Cool Coach: Thibs may look like a Disney evil villain or maybe you get the used car salesman vibe from his fashion sense, but one thing proves true; Tom Thibodeau knows how to coach an NBA team. It doesn’t matter who’s on his bench, NBA players ride or die with their boy Thibs.

4. Defensive Titans: By now we are all aware of the Bulls defensive mindset. Tom Thibodeau has his teams eat and breathe defense and the Bulls are peaking (minus the loss to the lowly Knicks) at the right time. We’re looking your way Jimmy ButlerThey’ve been ranked in the top 5 defenses all season and are about to take the physicality up a notch.

5. X-Factors: Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler. Gibson is in the running for Sixth man of the year and there is no time like the present for him to whip out all the stops. I want ego-smothering dunks and I want dirty defense. Jimmy Buckets had a slow start on the year, but has picked things up since the All-Star break. We need a big burst from Butler to solidify some offense and defense for the Bulls.

6. Down and Dirty Delivery: The Bulls are primitive in their strategic play and do not possess the same finesse as power houses like the Heat and Pacers. Sometimes they barely have much offense at all; it can get ugly. However, the Bulls find other ways to beat you. They’ll physically and emotionally wear their opponents down.

Jimmer

Jimmer Fredette via @ChicagoBulls

7. Jimmer Fever: From the second Jimmer Fredette stepped foot onto a Bull’s bball court, the media and the fans went into their usual Jimmer Fever frenzy. Think Brian Scalabrine White Mamba style, but not a super old NBA veteran. Jimmer is a bench mobber who may not see heavy minutes, but can make an impact emotionally – plus he’s got a nice mid-range shot. #jimmerfeverforever

8. D.J. Augustin is the best pick-up the Bulls could have hoped for. Chicago snatched Augustin after the Raptors put him up on waivers (the NBA equivalent to being homeless on the street). The Bulls were a team who needed a backup point guard, they took Augustin under their wing and he instantly made an impact off the bench. He’s currently the Bulls’ leading scorer.

Brewer's back

Brewer via Chicagobullspics

9. Roster Updates: Ronnie “brew-ha-ha” Brewer is back on the Bulls. We were sad to see him go a few years back, but his return to the bench mob is a happy one. Brewer knows Thib’s intense defensive ways. He plays tough and can give the Bulls a pick-me-up when they need one.

10. No DRose: Derrick rose isn’t making a superhero return to whisk his team off into NBA happily ever after. Let it go, Let it go. (Yes, I went there, Frozen style)

Per usual any playoff advancing is going to take an entire Bulls team effort. Kirk, Boozer, Butler, Dunleavy and the whole gang are going to have to play their hearts out and maybe, just maybe, our Bulls may upset the entire conference. It’s time to #BULLieve.

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Chris Bosh’s 30th Birthday Bash

Chris-Bosh-Birthday-2014-Cirque-du-Noir-9

source: april belle photos

What do you get when you combine carnival games, shop a dunk tank, medical and a performance from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony? Why, an NBA birthday bash of course!

Chris Bosh recently celebrated his 30th birthday with fabulous style!  Adrienne Bosh threw her hubby a “Cirque du Noir” themed party at Marlins Park. The Miami Power Forward/Center was all smiles in his gold tuxedo jacket and black mask. Many of his teammates were present during the extravagant birthday celebration.

Chris-Bosh-Birthday-2014-Cirque-du-Noir-10

source: april belle photos

What can I say? The Miami Heat certainly needed a day at the circus. After losing seven out of eleven games, the Miami Heat was able to snag a win against the Portland Trailbrazers on Monday night (93-91).

“It’s always good to have something like [Bosh’s party] in the middle of the season, whether you’re winning or losing,” LeBron James said after the win. “It definitely helps with losing, to get your mind off it.” (ESPN)

Skylar Diggins Stuns for Mark Magazine

source: theybf.com

source: theybf.com

Skylar Diggins is one balling beauty that never ceases to showcase her FAB-ness. The WNBA star graces the latest cover of Mark magazine. Diggins rocks a form-fitting Major hit dress that is available on Mark’s Website for $42. Mark is currently celebrating 10 years of beauty, fashion and empowerment. Skylar is certainly making a “mark” in the media!

Skylar Diggins Vogue

source: rocnation.com

Diggins was also featured in Vogue magazine in a red zip crop-top and skirt (btw I am doing sit-ups while typing this). The Tulsa Shock point guard says that her “possibilities are endless” as a female athlete.

Dahntay Jones For Ebony Magazine

Dahntay Jones

I have never been jealous of a man’s shoe collection. Well, that was before Dahntay Jones’ Ebony magazine feature. I am not a sneaker head, but I felt a twitch of shoe envy amid the Nike Foamposite kicks, Christian Louboutin, Balenciaga and Lanvin.

As part of its “Sneakerhead Closet Confessions,” the April issue of Ebony magazine gives readers a peek inside of his walk-in closet. His style wonderland features 450+ pairs of shoes. Let me repeat myself. His style wonderland features 450+ pairs of shoes. One day, my heel closet will be on that level. One day.

Paul George’s Leather Ensemble

Paul George fash

source: @paul_george24

Not only did Paul George and the Pacers get slaughtered by the Chicago Bulls on Monday, but he also slaughtered 17 cows for his post game ensemble. The Indianapolis small forward/shooting guard recently shared a photo of his all-leather ensemble with his 671K Instagram followers.

After their 89-77 loss, the Pacers have dropped three of their last four games. Ouch. Things are looking quite grim for the Pacers, but at least Paul George is handling business off the court with his daring fashion!

That’s it for now, Divas! I will most definitely be back to give you the hottest news in NBA fashion/gossip. As always, I will keep you fabulously posted!

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It doesn’t get much better than a Bulls overtime win against the two-time defending Champion Miami Heat. I know it was only a regular season game, cure but the Chicago-Miami rivalry is never to be taken lightly. I don’t care if it is a backyard pickup game, find it feels good to watch the Bulls defeat the Heat.

The afternoon was full of heart, hustle and muscle led by the ever impressive Joakim Noah. The Bulls demonstrated their notorious resilience as they fought their way out of a double-digit deficit during the fourth quarter. It was a “sit at the edge of your seat” kind of end to regulation, but the Bulls dominated OT for a 95-88 Chicago victory.

What You Need to Know:

  • Jo-No is undoubtedly an NBA superstar. The Joakim Noah frenzy has taken over Chicago and only continues to grow as Noah brings out all the stops this season. The All-Star center had 20 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, and five blocked shots – just an average day of work for the #messybunswag.

    Noah

    Noah via hooperrday23 Instagram

  • Yannick Noah (former French tennis player and Joakim’s dad) needs to be a regular at every Bulls game. He almost stole the show during his cameo interview where he proceeded to cheer, clap and finger wag as Noah willed his Bulls back into the game. I think it’s pretty obvious where Jo-No gets his fire and passion from. Nothing like a proud papa to warm your heart.
  • Deja Vu Avoided: DJ Augustin had his worst game of the season against the Heat in February, but Sunday was a different story. Augustin found his shooting mojo and scored a team high 22 points.
  • Jimmy Butler (16 points) held his own against the King James all afternoon limiting the four-time MVP to 17 points. He not only proved he is truly one of the league’s top defenders, but also put a a huge stop on BronBron at the end of regulation to prevent Mr. Clutch from making the game winning shot and sent the game into OT.
  • Chicago native Dwyane Wade was Miami’s top performer with 25 points. It’s obvious Wade likes to put on his best shows in front of his hometown audience – can ya blame him?

    Clark Street Sports, $19.99

    Clark Street Sports, $19.99

  • I think BronBron had a little too much fun galavanting around Chi-town all weekend. Friday night you could buy tickets for a “Lebron Party” at Y Bar and Saturday night he was spotted at Lumen. Anyone who PAID to hang out with Lebron this weekend better not be a Bulls fan, that’s all I’m saying. James opted to not wear his protective face mask on Sunday and he may have gotten a Jimmy Butler foot to the face (oops).

Your Take Away Piece: 

“Nothing makes Bulls fans happier than a Bulls win over the Heat. Miami is the team who has eliminated our guys from the playoffs for the last three years. At the end of the day, any fan knows for the Bulls to get their championship they’re going to have to go through King James and the Heat.  Games like these give us fans hope that maybe, just MAYBE our Bulls could take on the Heat in a seven games series and head to the NBA finals. You never know.

What’s Next: 

The Bulls have a tough few weeks ahead with match ups against the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, OKC Thunder and Indiana Pacers. Jo-No and his merry men will have to take it a game at a time. First up are the Spurs who will visit the UC on Tuesday at 7 PM. Be sure to tune in on WGN to catch all the action.

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Gabrielle Union Stuns on the Arsenio Hall Show

Gabrielle Union Arsenio Hall

Intagram (gabunion)

I don’t think that I have ever seen Gabrielle Union looking anything less than FAB. During a recent appearence at the Arsenio Hall Show, viagra sale the  “Being Mary Jane”  star wore a fabulous Ramona LaRue red maxi dress.

She later changed into a sexy, black dress by Amen for her on-air interview and revealed that she does not want any bridesmaids when she ties the knot with Miami Heat star fiancé, Dwayne Wade, and that she insisted the couple have settled on a pre-nuptial agreement.

“When you have your own stuff, you don’t have to worry about someone elses stuff.” She says. Preach, Gabby – preach!

The stunning celebrity couple will be just a few of the ballers, babes and celebs heading to the NBA All-Star Weekend that began on Thursday night in New Orleans and wraps Sunday night with the 63rd All-Star Game at 7:00pm CT on TNT.

In a weekend that is full of events, music, parties, and fashion, Gabrielle, D.Wade and Chris Paul will host the Player’s Ball, an All-Star party at Harrah’s in New Orleans on Saturday night.

All Star Week CP3

Instagram (gabunion)

There will be much to discuss in next week’s Courtside Chic after this weekend’s festivities.
Orlando Magic’s Mascot Proposes to Kate Upton
Kate Upton

Valentine’s Day came early this week in Orlando when Orlando Magic fans got to witness an entertaining proposal between Kate Upton and Stuff, the Orlando Magic’s mascot. Yes, their mascot’s name is Stuff.

Wearing a simple cream colored blouse over a black cami, the supermodel received the surprise of her life. Stuff asked for Kate’s hand in marriage. Kate later showed off her post-engagement bling on Twitter. I guess she said yes? Mrs. Kate Stuff. Sounds kind of cute.

Kate Upton Twitter

probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com

The proposal wasn’t the only spectacular event of the evening. Shooting guard (and rookie) Victor Oladipo led the team by scoring 23 points with 13 in the fourth quarter. Victor and the Magic came together to snag a win from the East-leading Indiana Pacers (93-92). After recently defeating the Thunder in a 17 point comeback, Orlando has surprisingly beaten the top teams in both conferences.

Serge Ibaka’s Post Game ‘Fit 

Serge Ibaka

Instagram (mr_avecclasee)

After a game against the New York Knicks, OKC Thunder’s Serge Ibaka posed for a style insfused Instagram photograph. Ibaka is all smiles in a black leather jacket and denim jeans. He has every reason to be smiling because Oklahoma City is the leading team in the Western Conference. On Sunday, they were able to bounce back from a loss to Orlando Magic and snag a win from the New York Knicks (100-112). Although Serge will not play in the All-Star game, he is sure winning in my eyes.

This year will mark the first time since 2011 that the best team at the break in a conference has only one player participating in the All-Star game (Kevin Durant).

Well, that’s it for now, Divas! I can’t wait to come back next week after All-Star Weekend. As always, I will keep you fabulously posted on the hottest fashion and gossip.  

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