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NBA Preview: Atlantic (11/11/03) --
The Leonardite.com NBA preview moves on to the Eastern Conference this week. For today, our team capsules will focus on teams from the Atlantic Division.

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Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics are in a state of euphoria at the start of the 2003 season. For the past few years an important member of their team was in a terrible medical state. Doctors, fans, and teammates were all thrilled when at the start of this season, Vin Baker awoke from the coma that he has been slumbering in for the past three years.

The rejuvenated Baker is currently averaging 15 points a game, but concedes he owes it all to modern medicine.

“That was a nasty situation these past few years with me being completely unconscious and incoherent on the floor.”

This has put some palpable heat on coach Jim O’Brien who has been criticized for his playing of Baker, despite his medical condition. O’Brien concedes that “mistakes were made” and that it might not have been in the best interest of the team to play a man who was in a coma.

Baker said he looks forward to finally being able to earn his ridiculously high salary, although he does cherish his Guinness World Record of being the highest-paid coma victim in history. Meanwhile, O’Brien continues to be on the heat seat for his decision.

“Look, if the Suns can play a dead man, I think I can play a guy who is in a coma.” stated a bitter O’Brien.

When it was pointed out that the deceased Anfernee Hardaway was averaging more than the still-living Baker, he only said “Shut up” and wandered away.

Washington Wizards

The Wizards are currently wearing a very dubious crown at the start of this season. Nobody is really sure if it is something they should be terribly ashamed of, or proud of in a really twisted way. Either way, the entire organization is coming to grips with this fact:

Their organization is so bad, they even managed to find a way to soil Michael Jordan’s image.

“We understand that nobody else has been able to make MJ look bad,” said team owner, Abe Pollin, “so maybe that’s something we can take to heart as a positive.”

Basketball fans around the globe have known for quite some time that the Washington franchise is a ridiculous excuse for a team, but they have now effectively cemented their reputation as legend killers.
“This should be alarming to every good American,” said Sen. Tom Daschle, D-SD. “If they can do that to MJ, what’s next? Slander the good name of Bill Clinton?”

Security has been stepped up all over the nation’s capital in case the Wizards decide to unleash their weapons of suck destruction (WSD). At the capitol building, the entrances have been completely sealed off from visitors. The Smithsonian is banning anybody and anything bearing emblems of the basketball team, and the Lincoln Memorial has explicitly banned center, Etan Thomas.

“Are you kidding? If he sat on the good President he’d crumble the statue” said the head of security at the monument.

The United Nations is currently debating on a resolution addressing the Washington Wizards crisis.

Philadelphia 76ers

“Well, we knew this had a chance of happening when we made the decision” said a Philadelphia investor who chose not to be named. “Whenever you decide something like this, you know that there could be some serious repercussions.”

The decision he is referring to is the one to get rid of basketball coach, Larry Brown. They searched all through the different levels of basketball and education before settling on kindergarten teacher, Randy Ayers, as the new “coach.”

“Yeah dogg, things are real good now, “ said star guard, Allen Iverson. “No longer do I have to put up with all that ‘coaching’ and ‘practice.’ Now I can just do what I want.”

Things certainly are different around the Sixers practice. At a recent workout, Allen Iverson was found sleeping on the bench with his bong at arm’s length while the rest of the team worked out. Ayers took it upon himself to unleash this tirade; “No, no, Allen! That’s not what we do. We need to make better decisions, Allen. But I must say that your napping skills are ahead of the curve.” Iverson then kicked Ayers in the knee and fell back asleep.

Spineless executives the world around are applauding this decision by Philadelphia to release the authority figure and allow the star run free. “The genius in letting Allen run the show, show up whenever he wants, and upstage his authority figures can’t be understated." commented former Boston Red Sox GM, Dan Duquette.

As of the writing of this article, Iverson has missed every practice but two, participated in only half of a practice, and basically not been around when the rest of the team is.

For his poor behavior, he has received one timeout, two lollipops, and a trip to the special services room.

New Jersey Nets

The New Jersey Nets are currently raising another banner to the ceiling at Continental Airlines Arena. The banner, which reads “NBA Finals Participant: 2002” sits right next to the 2001 banner.

“We wanted to put ‘Eastern Conference Champions’ but the league office wouldn’t let us. They said we could either put ‘Eastern Conference Sacrificial Lamb’ or ‘Participant’ and decided that the latter sounded better.” coach Byron Scott said.

Scott went on to say that he sympathizes with the league’s position, considering the Eastern Conference’s mediocre state. “When you look at this collection of junior high kids masquerading as NBA ball clubs, you can’t help but feel there really is no champion in this group.”

The Nets seem to be happy with their current position. As they enter the 2003 season, they’d love to do nothing more than claim the Eastern Conference “championship”, and then lay giddily on the altar as the Los Angeles Lakers mutilate them in the Finals.

“That is our ultimate goal, “ said Kenyon Martin. “For us to get back to the Finals and be destroyed by the Lakers, well, that’s what every kid dreams of.”

New York Knicks

The New York Knicks have always known that this was a possibility, but are now facing the stark reality of the whole situation. From the beginning, there was always the unsettling thought that current guard and former Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward could retire from basketball and return to football. That scenario has become a reality as Charlie Ward is leaving the Knicks to play professional football....

In the Canadian Football League.

“The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are proud to welcome Charlie Ward into our distinguished family…” read part of the CFL press release regarding the landmark signing.

NBA analysts were a bit puzzled by the move at first, but when Ward finally addressed the media personally, it all became perfectly clear.

“Let’s be realistic folks, would you rather play for the Knicks or the Blue Bombers? Honestly, look at the Knicks. Look how bad they are. Anything has to be better than that.”

The Knicks loss is apparently the Blue Bombers gain. The very football-rusty Ward has already won the MVP award for the 2003 season, despite the fact that he didn’t play a single game. He is also ready to set new CFL season and career records three games into the ’04 season.

“I am so excited to be a Blue Bomber. Thank you so much for getting me out of the hell that is the New York Knicks.”

Orlando Magic

At this pace, the Orlando Magic are going to have more than enough new revenue to go and sign a new free agent to bolster their sagging lineup. The unexpected source of revenue has emerged in the form of tourists arriving at the Magic practice facility.

“It’s not that uncommon for people to come by to see the offices, but we couldn’t figure out why they were coming in such high volumes.” commented coach Doc Rivers.

The truth, it turns out, is one that is hard to believe at first. It turns out that people could see forward Shawn Kemp from the freeway and believed him to be a giant carnival ride.

“Yeah, we were just looking for the theme parks, when we saw this big blob floating around in the middle of Orlando. We thought he was either a Thanksgiving Day balloon or one of those mechanical monsters at Universal Studios.” said Carl Parker, a visitor from Rhode Island.

Kemp apparently is receiving about 1,000 walkup visitors a day, expecting him to be the gateway or perhaps even the main attraction at a theme park.

“People are having a hard time believing I’m an NBA basketball player. They’re having an even harder time believing that I’m the same guy who starred with the Sonics a few years ago.”

The crowd that has gathered apparently has taken to questioning Kemp about his curious stature, as well as his very unique NBA career. There are a select few, however, that are connecting with Kemp on an even more personal level.

“About fifty or so that have wandered in have turned out to be my kids.” said Kemp.

Look for the Magic and Shawn Kemp from the freeway and on your TV screen this season.

Miami Heat

The Miami Heat dropped a mini-bombshell on the National Basketball Association when Pat Riley announced his surprise resignation as Heat head coach, just weeks before the season was about to tip off. Information obtained by Leonardite.com shows that his resignation was less than voluntary.

As it turns out, Riley was forced to resign after it was deemed that he was endangering the team and the fans in the building.

“The toxic amounts of hair grease and other oil-based hair products that Mr. Riley was using were a very big risk to everyone involved with the Heat franchise.” said University of Miami scientist, Ron Silvea.

The Heat, it turns out, were beginning to become alarmed by the side effects in the middle of last season. An unnamed Heat source had this to say:

“We really started to notice that there were problems in the middle of last season. Once Eddie Jones started complaining of constant nausea and Brian Grant began growing a third arm, well, we realized that there were problems.”

In fact, the Heat began throwing games throughout the season just so they could minimize their exposure to the toxic amount of hair care accessories. The team is now looking forward to a clean arena and a clean start.

“I couldn’t care less that we aren’t going to win any games. I’m just glad that I won’t have to worry about growing any more limbs.” said Grant as he shook hands with three visiting dignitaries.

The Leonardite
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