TSNs Jack Armstrong offers his thoughts on the Spurs being back in the mix, the bench strength of the Raptors, the Pacers and Heat not being ready for prime time, the compete level of Kemba Walker and the Warriors coaching situation. Cheap Running Shoes Store . 1. SAN ANTONIO SPURS: Have won 15 straight games and suddenly here they are again in the mix regarding the discussion of what teams can be in the Finals in June. Dont beat you ever with flash but man, oh man lots of substance when you talk about this team. Wednesday night against Denver, they had five players in double figures and had 30 assists on 43 field goals. Thats quite impressive. The commitment to the team and playing the game together is a principle that has served them well over the years and will make them a tough out in the playoffs. The sum is more important than the parts. 2. RAPTORS BENCH: Its pretty evident that in spite of the Raps being 6-5 in the absence of Patrick Patterson, they miss his presence big-time in a variety of ways. Hes a wonderful perimeter defender on screen and roll sequences, gets after it on the glass, defends in the post and can give you both scoring inside/out as well as intelligent team play on offence. He and Greivis Vasquez are the two major contributors off the bench and when you look at the Boston game Wednesday night with less than 10 points coming off the bench, its an area of concern to say the least as you prepare for the playoffs. Pattersons absence has clearly affected the defence as well with teams putting the Raptors in screen and roll scenarios and the nightly battles on the boards without one of your sturdier post guys. John Salmons has struggled of late and is a solid veteran player. When hes going good, this team has another gear. Getting Patterson back and healthy and an on-track Salmons will go a long way towards getting this team ready for the playoffs. Digging themselves early holes that they have to battle back from are an issue that has to be corrected along with tightening the screws again with the defence. They do that and Im confident that they can compete quite well in a first round series. 3. PACERS VS. HEAT: Watched the game Wednesday night and I must say I was underwhelmed with the quality of play. Yes, it had great playoff intensity but it appeared to me that both of these teams have needed a game like this for a while to get that next gear back in their playing style. Both looked like they need to work out some kinks in the final weeks with offensive flow/execution to be ready to roll in mid/late April. A long season combined with injuries, etc. have a way of messing up your chemistry and neither looked as fluid as when theyre at their best. The Raptors see both of them next week with the Houston Rockets sandwiched in between (what a week!) which will be a good test of their playoff readiness as the Heat have been able to knock off the Raptors this season three times while the Pacers are 2-1 and the Rockets won their game in Houston vs the Raps. The good teams start to take that next step here in the final 10 games to get everything humming and in sync. Always fun to watch as teams gear up for the second season. 4. KEMBA WALKER (Bobcats): Al Jefferson (35 and 15) was awesome in the overtime win vs. the Nets Wednesday night. Coach Steve Clifford has done a terrific job with that team. Its about time the folks in Charlotte get behind their team and support them for a change; this is a team you can root for. Love Kemba - what a gamer, scoring 20 points and five rebounds along with 12 assists. There are certain guys that you just throw out the stats some night because they just play so hard and have amazing pride and competitive spirit and do whatever it takes to win. From his days at UConn to now, he personifies what it means to give it his all. Hes been in a tough situation there with a poor roster, shaky coaching and questionable management decisions and Im happy for him that some of the proper decisions have been made around him and things are coming together. This team has become fun to watch and Walker is the heart and soul of that. 5. BRIAN SCALABRINE (Warriors): Assistant coach gets demoted to the D-League by head coach Mark Jackson. This is right out of the book of Jason Kidd/Lawrence Frank differences that took place early in the season. Jackson was adamantly supportive of Kidds move in the fall with Frank and now he does the same thing. Ive been both an sssistant coach and a head coach and I always felt that loyalty to the boss was #1 and if you disagree, you do it behind closed doors and it never gets picked up by the players, media, etc. At the same time, its vital that the assistant coaches cant be Yes Men that have to supress their opinion as opposed to express their opinion. Healthy dialogue is important yet at the end of the day, the head coach makes the call and we all march together in unison. (Hes also got to be open to suggestions and not have all the answers.) Jason Kidd got past this controversy and has done a good job with the Nets and it will be significant for Jackson to get past this as well by the performance of the team. Expectations are high in the Bay Area and results will be needed. Never an easy situation for any coach to be in and I can relate to the feeling of both. Jackson has a healthy ego and high opinion of his coaching acumen which is good to a degree, yet its time to get this team to the next level and the playoffs will be a major stage for him and his team to show that they can do it. Hes got major potential to be an outstanding coach in this league for a long time and this is another of the many tests young coaches go through in their development. Youre paid to make the tough calls and many times you have to be ruthless in this results-oriented business because at the end of the day, it all falls back on you and your record. Jackson is nobodys fool and is as competitive as they come. Its his show - plain and simple. Never easy or fair. In one word, you have to produce. Blue Running Shoes . Two-time Olympic bronze medallists Savchenko and Szolkowy received 79.02 points to finish ahead of world bronze medallists Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada, who had 77.01 points. Running Shoes China . The All-Pro left tackle agreed to a five-year contract with the Eagles on Wednesday. Peters was signed for 2014, and his new deal adds four years through 2018. http://www.cheaprunningshoesonline.us/ . Replay backed him up. Adeiny Hechavarria immediately followed the ruling with a go-ahead sacrifice fly for the Miami Marlins, who held on to beat the Seattle Mariners 3-2 on Sunday completing a three-game sweep.Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at email@example.com. Hi Kerry, Welcome back! Im sure you heard Peter Forsbergs comments last week regarding Canadian referees in the gold medal game. Seems to me that he was questioning the integrity and impartiality.Did you think there was anything peculiar about this decision? Thanks,Ed Hi Ed: I am thrilled that NHL hockey is back and we can all adjust our watches back to the North American time zone! Initially, I was surprised by the expletive-deleted comments Peter Forsberg made the day before the Gold Medal game and following the IIHFs selection of four North American NHL officials to work the Canada-Sweden game. Even though the officials nationality and residency slanted exclusively toward Canadian soil, the timing of Forsbergs comments (the day before the puck was dropped) caused me to pause and consider the Swedish general managers motives. Ive seen plenty of "gamesmanship" from general managers and coaches during Stanley Cup playoffs and finals, but Peter Forsbergs public comments rank up near the top of the list in attempting to gain an advantage and competitive edge. Peter was not only a world class player but I also know him to be a very intense competitor. That being said, Peter is not a stupid man and made a calculated move in hopes of gaining some advantage for his players against a highly skilled Canadian team. I believe Peters comments were designed to put the IIHF on notice in the event he felt the need to complain post-game but most importantly to plant a seed in the head of each game official hoping his team might receive the benefit of the doubt when one could be offered. It also became a story the day before the game designed to deflect some of the pressure away from Team Sweden players. I dont believe that Peter Forsberg would honestly question the integrity and impartiality of the NHL Officials that were assigned to work the game. Kelly Sutherland, Brad Meir, Derek Amell and Greg Devorski were selected on the merit of their work during the Olympics and weere regarded as the very best! They are professionals in the true sense of the word. Orange Cheap Running Shoes. The players have more confidence in the NHL officials ability than their International counterparts. Swedish team captain Niklas Kronwall of the Detroit Red Wings believed that both teams would benefit from North American officials when he was quoted as saying, "We are used to having referees from USA and Canada in the NHL. We know their standards so I think its easier for us too if the referees are from there." And teammate Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators agreed. Prior to 1998, the IIHF would not assign an official to work a game in which his country of nationality was participating in. Only neutral officials were assigned. That changed in Nagano with the inclusion of NHL players and officials. The best officials were assigned to the games regardless of their country of nationality or residency. In response to Peter Forsbergs comments, IIHF officiating manager Konstantin Komisarov issued the following statement on the selection process; "The main factor of the selection of these officials has most of all to do with their experience officiating in high-level competitions. These include Stanley Cup playoffs, World Championship competitions and Olympic competitions. Their nationalities arent considered as factors nor should they be, we want the best officials working the medal games. We are fully confident that with their experience and professionalism these officials will do their job well and preserve the integrity of the game." Good for Konstantin Komissarov and the IIHF officiating committee for selecting the best officials to work the Gold Medal game. The officiating crew did an outstanding job and preserved the integrity of the game as Konstantin was confident they would. Last Sunday, the game was played on Olympic ice in Sochi and not in the media. Peter Forsbergs silver medal-winning Swedish team was beaten fair and square by Canada to take Gold. The officiating was a complete non-factor; regardless of county of nationality. NHL officials are clearly the best in the world. 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