Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

All I want for Christmas is…NBA – five teams and players to watch

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The new NBA season took a while to come around after a five-month lockout spent negotiating an improved labor agreement. What better day to start than Dec. 25. Merry Christmas!

Read the season preview here courtesy of Larry Fine, and our American sports editor Julian Linden weighs in with five players to watch as well as five teams sure to set pulses racing over the shortened 66-game programme.

All in all, we can’t wait for the games to begin. So whether you’re in an office scrunching up receipts and taking aim at the waste paper basket or on a basketball court shooting hoops, bring on the action. NBA, we’ve missed you.

Picture: Los Angeles Lakers power forward Pau Gasol of Spain slam dunks against the Los Angeles Clippers during their NBA preseason basketball game in Los Angeles, California December 19, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Is Phil Jackson the best coach in NBA history or just lucky?

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jacksonThe man who’s become known as the “Zen Master” for tapping Buddhist teachings has been fortunate enough to coach the likes of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant as they grew into dominant superstars, but rounding their games into championship form was a never-ending battle of wills.

In his 2006 memoir, Jackson refers to Kobe as “uncoachable” for his tendency to try to win games as a solo artist. After breaking the late Red Auerbach’s record to stand alone as the first coach to win 10 NBA championships, Jackson paid tribute to Bryant for his maturity as he accepted his very first MVP award.

Sports picture of the day

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Herewith the latest selection from Sports Pictures Editor Greg Bos:

A well executed shot using a remote camera above the net shows Shaquille O’Neill jumping up to score. Lucy Nicholson is one of the best in the business at operating remote cameras to capture great sports action moments.

ORIGINAL CAPTION: Phoenix Suns’ Shaquille O’Neal (top) goes up to slam dunk over Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol of Spain during their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles February 26, 2009. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES)

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