Monthly Archives: January 2014

Monday Morning Coffee


January 27th, 2014

It was an amazing experience, but a lackluster game.  On Saturday night, the Kings and Ducks played the first outdoor hockey game ever in California, and it was the Ducks coming away with a 3-0 victory.  The Kings showed that they can’t win indoors or outdoors these days, and the Ducks showed why at the moment, they are the best team in the NHL.   Anaheim has won 21 of their last 24 games, and really gave the Kings a taste of their own medicine in this one.  The Ducks matched LA’s physical play, sending lots of bodies to the net, and scoring ugly goals against Kings netminder Jonathan Quick.  It felt like the Ducks had the Kings right where they wanted them all game long: on the powerplay.  The Kings are 0 for their last 11 powerplay opportunities, and simply could not finish.  If i really wanted to spend a lot money, stay up late, and not score, I would have gone back to my Senior Prom instead of that game.  Thanks a lot LA Kings.

I felt very fortunate that I had “good seats” to this game.  There were very few.  If you were sitting on the field level, you really couldn’t see anything.  If you were sitting in lodge level, you probably had a decent view, except if you were by the foul poles, which obstructed your view.  Otherwise, if you were sitting any higher, the players looked like ants.  Dodger Stadium felt about as unprepared for this game as the Kings were.  The lines just to get in the fan zone were outrageous, and even longer just to get a beer once you were inside.  Many of the concession stands ran out of food, and they even ran out of beer in the Pavilion.  Some folks over there had to settle for warm Coors Lights with ice.  The performance by KISS was lame and outdated, but Five For Fighting was great.   Overall, the concept of the outdoor game here was great for hockey, and they should do it again, but hopefully they’ll improve on these things moving forward.  Here’s one of “the better seats”…..


On to the NBA, where the Lakers are continued their rapid decent down the NBA standings, after finishing their annual Grammy Road trip with a 2-5 record.  Things have gotten so bad that the Lakers are now losing to Eastern Conference teams that don’t even want to win.  Even Pau Gasol, who is one of the most soft-spoken and politically correct athletes out there, ripped into his teammates yesterday, and questioned their effort.  Mike D’Antoni is demanding better defense out of his team, so yesterday, he resorted to starting rookie Ryan Kelly on Carmelo Anthony.  That’s like putting a guy wearing jeans and flip flops on him.  D’Antoni really amazes me.  He’s bitching about the defense and toughness in the paint, yet he keeps putting smaller and smaller lineups on the floor, and wants his team to just jack up three point shots all day.  After all these years in the NBA, has he really not noticed that none of his teams play defense because of the way they play offense?  If only it was Jim Buss who could see this.

Meanwhile, Blake Griffin is still beasting, and the Clippers haven’t had much of a problem winning without Chris Paul of late.  After outlasting the Raptors on Saturday night, 126-118, the Clipps are now 8-3 without CP3, and 4-2 on their current 7 game road trip.  Although the team has climbed into the top 10 in defensive field goal percentage, they somehow let the Raptors score 126 points, and let Terrence Ross break loose for 51.  When was the last time Terence Ross had 51 points in a  game?  The 7th grade?  They’ve stayed afloat without Chris Paul, but the team has a way to go defensively, before they are a championship squad.

As for the NBA All-Star voting, the league definitely failed in its attempt to get the most deserving players in this year.  Previously, fans could vote for two front court players, and a center in the starting lineup.  This year, the fans voted for the three best front court players.  This meant that Dwight Howard was snubbed, which I found rather amusing, as was Roy Hibbert.  Both of those guys will still probably get voted in by the coaches, as they should.  However, people like Charles Barkley, who are calling the fans “idiots”, should keep this in mind: the all-star game is about the fans.  If the fans want to see Kevin Love and Carmelo Anthony over Dwight Howard and Roy Hibbert, it’s because they are simply more entertaining.  The other deserving players will get selected by the coaches.  The same can even be said for Kobe Bryant, who may not be deserving, but the fans want to see him if he’s healthy.  In any case, props to the Mamba for telling the fans not to vote for him because he’s injured, even though they didn’t really listen.

Have the Dodgers actually reached the limits of their payroll?  LA was outbid by the Yankees last week in their efforts to land Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka.  LA offered “a measley” $100 million mult-year deal, while the Yankees offered a $155 million deal over 7 years.  How can this be?  I thought the Dodgers were now made of money? I thought Tanaka would be introduced at a Dodger press conference while diving into a pile of money?  I thought the Dodgers were so intent on not giving up prospects, which is why they were all about spending money?  Ok, I know I’m being dramatic here, but it does make me wonder.  Stan Kasten did come out and say the team hasn’t reached it’s payroll limit, which leads me to believe LA didn’t think Tanaka was really an ace, while everybody else did.  I guess we’ll find out if and when the Dodgers go after Rays ace, David Price again.

The Tanaka sweepstakes did tell us that the Angels have definitely hit the limits of their payroll.  The Halos did not have any intention of coming close to the $100 million + offers of their competitors.  Further hurting their search for pitching is the fact that Matt Garza signed with the Brewers for 4 years and $50 million.  The Angels had serious interest in Garza, but he turned out to be out of their range as well.  At this point, there isn’t much left on the market for the Angels to improve their pitching.  They need to hope that Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago become the next Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.

To college hoops, where the up and down Bruins were back up again this weekend, with a pair of wins against Stanford and Cal.  David Wear put together a nice game with 18 points, and UCLA is now 2nd in the Pac-12.  I’m not so sure that says all that much about the Bruins, but more about how poorly the rest of the conference is performing.  I mean even USC beat Cal, and that was the Trojans only win in conference play so far!  Up next for UCLA and USC is a trip up north to battle the Oregon schools.

You know, considering the NFL is the top sport in this country, they sure have some dumb ass ideas.  For instance, why have they not done away with the Pro Bowl?  Does anybody actually watch that thing?  The players don’t even care, and now we’ve resorted to a couple of former players picking their teams.  Just get rid of it already!  I think there was more physical contact at the Grammy’s last night than the Pro Bowl.  The only thing dumber than keeping that game around, is having a cold weather Super Bowl, which will be the case next week.  Seriously, I hope Roger Godell gets hypothermia next week and freezes his ass off in the stands.  NY is a great city and all, but not the place for a Super Bowl.  The players don’t work their asses off all year to play in 20 degree weather, and be impacted by the elements in the biggest game of the year.

Finally, I was a little underwhelmed watching the Grammy Awards last night.  I still don’t get why CBS forces everyone on the west coast to watch the tape delayed version.  This is 2014 CBS….tape delayed broadcasts are out! The performances were pretty underwhelming.  Beyonce and Jay Z kicked things off nicely with their performance, but everything dropped off after that.  Katy Perry was too gothic, Lorde did an obvious lip sync, and she couldn’t have looked any more weird.  Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons kept me entertained for a little, but they don’t sound quite as good live, however, Daft Punk was pretty good.  Just think how many guys there were at bars in LA last night claiming they were Daft Punk?  I also thought the controversial, same sex couple weddings during the show were simply a way to deflect attention off of these lackluster performances.  Here’s to a better Grammy show next year.

Daft Punk Grammy's





Monday Morning Coffee



January 20th, 2014

When the Lakers and Celtics get together, it’s usually pretty exciting.  Except on Friday, it wasn’t.  With both teams improving their lottery position by the day, the winner of Friday’s game was really the loser.  That loser, was really the Lakers, who came back to beat Boston in the final minutes.  The remaining Lakers games should be televised on Comedy Central, because it’s getting comical.  I mean Ryan Kelly is even starting now.  Yes, I know the Lakers are on a whopping 2 game win streak after beating Toronto, but they still stink.  Even more embarrassing were Nick Young’s teammates, who didn’t even stand up for him when he threw a punch at Phoenix Suns Center Alex Len earlier in the week.  Kendall Marshall claimed the Lakers couldn’t come to his aid because they only had 9 healthy players left, but so what? I’m not really sure why Young was so surprised nobody rushed to his defense.  After all, that would require the Lakers actually defending somebody.

Meanwhile, Magic Johnson decided to chime in earlier this week on the state of the Lakers.  Magic basically ripped Jim Buss apart, questioned his leadership, criticized his last two coaching hires, and called him out for letting his ego get in the way of building a championship team.  There’s probably very few people out there that disagree with Magi’c assessment of what is going on in the Laker front office right now, but that doesn’t mean publicly expressing his opinion on it is the right way to go.  The Lakers are at a very critical stage right now, especially with what they are going to do this summer and next, to potentially attract some major free agents.  Magic’s comments don’t exactly inspire the confidence of Laker fans in Jim Buss, or the potential free agents that could make a difference on the Lakers.  If Magic really cares, he should think twice before he speaks.

I will never understand the rationale of the Clippers front office.  It’s almost like they decide to pursue every player that has either played for the Lakers, or they think the Lakers might be interested in, just to get under their skin.  For instance, even after Chris Paul was injured, there was no reason to sign Darius Morris, since they already had enough guys that could handle the ball, as Morris played a whopping 6 minutes the other night.  Then they signed Hedo Turkoglu, which is just bizarre.  I can just see Donald Sterling talking to his front office now: “I know what we need guys! Another player that plays 25 feet away from the basket, can’t defend or rebound, and is way past his prime!  This will really piss the Lakers off, since I heard they were interested in him!”  Once again, the Clippers looked like a 2nd tier team when they faced a real championship contender on Saturday, in Indiana.  Paul George was just nasty…..

On to baseball, where the Dodgers finally locked up ace Clayton Kershaw to a massive deal last week.  Kershaw signed the largest deal ever for any pitcher, inking a 7 year $215 million contract.  A 7 year deal is a long deal for any pitcher, but Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball, and is definitely worth it.  He’s only 25 years old, he probably hasn’t even reached his peak, and the Dodgers are now going to have him under contract for the prime of his career.  Look, it’s just money, and clearly this franchise has plenty of it.  They might even add Japanese pitching star Masahiro Tanaka to their staff this week, which shows you how deep their pickets really are.  The pieces are now in place for the Dodgers to make a World Series run for the next few years, now it’s up to the players.  Meanwhile, down in Anaheim, all eyes are on the Angels to see if they can also lock up the cornerstone of their franchise, Mike Trout.  Otherwise, the natives will burn down the Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland.

To the college hardwood, where the Bruins basketball program went straight to hell on Saturday against Utah.  UCLA fell to 3-2 in conference play, after losing to Utah, and after it looked like they had turned the corner one week ago, they were badly exposed over the weekend.  Jordan Adams is far less efficient than last year, Norman Powell can’t buy a basket, and both Bryce and Steve Alford stink.  Who misses Ben Howland?  At least the team would play defense and have a better chance to win the Pac-12, than with what we are seeing now.

We’re not seeing anything from the USC basketball program under Andy Einfield.  So far the Trojans coach looks way over his head in conference play, as USC is 0-5.  Einfield was a completely out of the box hire, who was supposed to bring an exciting run and gun style to the program.  Instead, his team looks like a talentless group of chumps, that are allergic to defense.  Einfield had better have some magic up his sleeve when it comes to recruiting, or his USC coaching stint will be as short as the career of Vanilla Ice.

There was some serious bull shit that took place in Detroit on Saturday night during the Kings and Red Wings game.  The Kings got completely screwed when the Red Wings tied the game in the last few seconds of the 3rd period on a controversial call.  The puck bounced off the netting above the glass, then came back into play and hit Jonathan Quick in the back before ending up in the Kings net.  The Red Wings went on to win the game in a shootout.  The referees ruled that since they didn’t see the puck go out of play, the goal counted.  Amazing!  These four moron referees didn’t see what everyone else in the building saw.  This is equivalent of a fan throwing the puck into the net from the stands, and having it count as a goal.  It’s even more offensive that the Red Wings coaches and players didn’t have the class to admit the goal shouldn’t have counted at the time.  I’m really looking forward to the Kings losing home ice advantage by 1 point, and bitching about this game again in the spring.  So typical….the city of Detroit steals something again.  It’s an embarrassment that this is actually a goal…..

As for the Ducks, they are rolling.  They’ve won 19 of 21 games, and they have the best record in the NHL.  However, I’m amazed at how many people are suddenly picking them to win the Stanley Cup.  I guess nobody realizes that 8 of the last 10 Presidents Trophy winners failed to win the Stanley Cup.  I’m not trying to rain on the Ducks parade here, but they’ve still got some major questions to answer come playoff time.  Can they beat Chicago on the road in a 7 game series?  Do they have enough grit and toughness to win in the playoffs? Anaheim isn’t exactly going to be pounding teams 9-1 in the post season, like it did against Vancouver last week.  It’s going to come down to matchups, and if the Ducks get the wrong one, they could be badly exposed, like they were last year.

Other interesting NHL happenings include the massive brawl that took place at the beginning of the Canucks vs Flames game on Saturday night.  2 seconds into the game, all 5 players on each side squared off, an engaged in a line brawl.  200 penalty minutes were handed out in that game, along with 8 game misconducts.  Canucks head coach John Tortorella was so mad that he got into an altercation with a Flames coach and player outside the locker room in the first intermission.  This whole incident prompted long time baseball analyst Peter Gammons to tweet it.  He said “Calgary and Vancouver last night re-iterated why the NHL is a minor sport.”  Good one Pete!  News flash buddy: this isn’t the 1980’s anymore.  Your sport is in the toilet because its filled with cheaters, and has been surpassed in popularity by nearly all 3 other major sports (including hockey).  I guess Peter didn’t notice the 100,000 people that showed up on New Years in the freezing cold to watch Detroit and Toronto go at it.  Here’s a look at the crowded penalty boxes after Saturday night’s brawl….

Crowded Penalty Boxes

What a great championship Sunday it was yesterday in the NFL.  The Broncos showed why they were the best team in the NFL all season, handling the Patriots 26-16.  Peyton Manning threw for 400 yards and a pair of touchdowns.  This may be Manning’s final season, and he played the game with that kind of desperation.  I’m sure Papa John himself was waiting for the Broncos in the locker room, naked and covered in pizza sauce.  As for the Patriots, in many ways they are wasting some very good years of Tom Brady’s career.  They constantly strip the team down of talent on both sides of the ball, and think they can get away with it because they win their crummy division and end up in the AFC Championship game every year.  They have definitely left a few Super Bowl titles on the table because of their ridiculous “Patriot Way”.  Poor Tom Brady.  What does he have left after this loss, other than his good looks, super model wife, and amazing life and hall of fame career?  This is probably what his text inbox looked like after the game…..

Tom Brady after AFC Loss to Broncos

In the NFC, the Seahawks held off the 49ers 23-17, to advance to the Super Bowl.  The 49ers looked like they had this one in control, but Russell Wilson made some big plays down the stretch, while Colin Kaepernick had some critical turnovers with the game on the line.  The big story after the game was Richard Sherman and his thug-like interview with Erin Andrews.  We get it Richard:  You are the best cornerback in the game.  But at this point, you should let your game do your talking for you, instead of yourself.  Skip Bayless is going to have a field day with Sherman this morning.  Stanford University must be so embarrassed that this dude is actually one of their alums.  Why is he so angry?  It’s like he had a series of bad sexual experiences with nerdy girls at school.   I’m sure Sherman is a smart dude, but it’s moments like this make people just dislike pro athletes…..

Did anybody actually go see Anchorman 2?  I haven’t seen it, nor have I driven a Dodge Durango, but after watching a little TV, I feel like I have done both extensively.  I’ve gotta admit that I was pretty excited to see it when it first came out, but word of mouth killed this movie quickly.  The plot sounded stupid, and the amount of media exposure in the weeks leading up to it, just wore me out.  The real mystery here is how the film even ended doing as well as it did, raking in $115 million so far.

With the Winter Olympic games coming up, ESPN released a 30 for 30 film called “The Price of Gold”, which looked back at the 1994 scandal involving figure skaters Tanya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan.  This documentary was riveting, and I still find it amazing that to this day, some people actually believe that Harding had no knowledge that Kerrigan was going to be attacked.  One of the most interesting parts was one interview with Harding, after the U.S. Championships, and well before anyone connected her to the plot to injure Kerrigan.  In that interview, she was speaking as though it was a foregone conclusion that Kerrigan would miss the Olympics due to her injury, which was even before any doctors suggested that she could miss the Olympics.  Her tone itself suggested she was hopeful Kerrigan wouldn’t compete, and in my mind, implicates her in the plot.  Well, Kerrigan did compete, and showed she had way more skill, class, and grace than Harding ever had, by winning the silver medal in the 1994 games.  Meanwhile, Harding, a total white trash loser, tried to cheat and took a pathetic 8th place.  Too bad the U.S. sent a total gutter rat to represent our country that year, and that should have never happened.


Monday Morning Coffee

Lakers Titanic

January 13th, 2013

Just because Laker fans want the team to tank doesn’t make Friday any less painful.  The Lakers were pounded into dust on Friday night by the Clippers 123-87 at Staples, which was the Clippers largest margin of victory over the Lakers in the history of the rivalry.  When Mike D’Antoni’s teams give up less than 125 points, he probably considers that “a solid defensive effort”.  How bad does the losing streak have to get before the Lakers have to fire D’Antoni and give Kurt Rambis a chance to coach?  Friday’s effort was so horrendous, I think Kurt Rambis was ready to clothesline himself.  Much harder than when Kevin McHale clotheslined him……

Mitch Kupchak was interviewed this week, and attempted to make a distinction between “tanking” and “rebuilding”.  He said that “tanking” is intentionally losing games for better draft position, which the Lakers would never do.  “Rebuilding” is going with young players and other assets and looking toward next year if you know you are a sub .500 team.  Let me translate for you folks:  The Lakers aren’t trying to tank, but if they keep sucking in the coming weeks, they’ll be tanking.  That may mean limiting Kobe’s minutes when he returns, or trading Pau Gasol for cap relief.    Have you seen LA’s schedule the next few weeks?  They may not win a game the rest of the month!  There were also some rumors that the Lakers recently called the Nets about point guard Deron Williams.  Makes perfect sense to me:  he’s a point guard, he’s injured, he’s expensive, and his best days are behind him.  Hopefully Kupchak’s next move will be putting Jim Buss on waivers.

Meanwhile, the Clippers are holding their own without Chris Paul in the lineup.  Although they haven’t exactly played against the ’72 Lakers, The Clipps have won 3 of 4 games since CP3 went down, and Blake Griffin is carrying the squad.  Is it me, or are Griffin and DeAndre Jordan actually getting better?  Jordan has been a defensive beast, leading the NBA in rebounding, and third in the league in block shots.  Griffin is shooting a career high 70% from the free throw line, and very quietly, his jumper is improving.  The real question is whether or not they can go to Griffin at the end of games, and can he be more of a consistent force in the post?  He’s not Karl Malone or Charles Barkley yet, but sometimes we forget……he’s only 24 years old.

The Clippers are also one of the teams bidding for the services of center Andrew Bynum, who was released by the Bulls earlier this week, after being traded from the Cavs for Luol Deng.  As badly as the Clippers need depth, whoever signs Bynum deserves to have their season go straight to hell.  Bynum has worn out his welcome in LA, Philadelphia, and Cleveland in a little over two years.  He has all the ability in the world to become a great NBA big man, but has no motivation, lacks passion for basketball, has wobbly knees, and is quickly becoming known as a locker room cancer.    Good luck to the fools that take a chance on this clown.  I like how SB Nation doesn’t even have him as a “good” fit with anybody……

Team Win% Avail $ Fit? Role
Clippers .658 Min OK 3rd big
Heat .771 $3.2M Poor ?
Nets .400 $5.2M OK Starter
Thunder .771 $2.3M Poor ?
Pelicans .441 $2.7M OK Starter
Hawks .528 $2.7M OK Starter
Bobcats .417 $2.7M OK Starter
Warriors .632 Min OK 3rd big
Mavericks .556 Min OK Starter?
Knicks .353 Min OK 3rd big
Pacers .800 $2.2M Poor None
Spurs .778 Min Poor ?

As for the college ranks, it had to be considered a pretty good week for UCLA.  The Bruins nearly knocked off #1 Arizona on Thursday night, after putting together a fierce 4th quarter rally that fell short.  Then last night, UCLA dominated Arizona State 87-72, and Zach Lavine put on a show.  The Bruins defensive is questionable at times, but I’m beginning to think they are slowly peaking, and might even make a run in the NCAA tournament.  The only thing that makes me question that is that Steve Alford is their coach.

On to baseball where the Dodgers, Angels, and Yankees are battling it out to sign Japanese right handed pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.  Tanaka is expected to sign a contract worth over $100 million, and the team that signs him will also owe his Japanese team $20 million.  Let’s be honest…..this guy is probably a #3 starter, and a #2 at best.  Is he really worth $100 million?  For the Dodgers, he’d be a nice addition, but a complete luxury, given that they have Kershaw, Greinke, and Ryu.  He would be an insurance policy in case Kershaw leaves via free agency next winter, but signing him is a far greater necessity for the Yankees and Angels.  Both teams desperately need pitching, and the marketing exposure in the far east would be a huge plus.  The Halos have been rumored to have an interest in Matt Garza, who would certainly be nice, but Tanaka has far greater potential to turn the Angels fortunes around.  My money is still on him ending up with the Yankees though, especially with them freeing up some money after A-Roid’s suspension.

Speaking of A-Roid, he simply needs to give up his fight.  We get it A-Roid: baseball had a bunch of PED users for a long period of time, and you were one of them.  Don’t make things worse by acting like everyone around you has some major character flaws.  Did anybody catch the 60 Minutes interview with Anthony Bosch last night?  Bosch said that he personally injected A-Roid with PED’s, and that he was scared of needles.  I was waiting for him to follow this up by saying that Rodriguez cried like a little girl every time he was injected.  So much for doctor-patient confidentiality!  Bosch sang like a canary last night on 60 Minutes, and even though A-Rod is guilty,  Bosch was obviously in serious legal trouble to spill it the way he did.

The baseball hall of fame voting process has to be the most ridiculous in sports.  First of all, shame on anyone that didn’t vote for Greg Maddux to be inducted.  He’s as brilliant a pitcher as we’ve ever seen, and his greatness lasted for two full decades.  The 16 voters that left him off their ballots should be drug tested.  Secondly, I’ve never seen a bigger group of hypocrites than these writers, who were kissing the asses of all the PED users like Bonds, Sosa, and McGwire during their playing days.  They pretended as though the entire time they didn’t know what was really going on.  Now, they want to exclude these players from the hall because of these character issues.  You can’t tell the story of baseball without including the steroid era, so these players need to be inducted into the hall, even if an asterisk is by their name.  Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb are full of their own character issues, so if we are adding that element to the voting, then we should have excluded them too.

I guess Tom Glavine picked the right sport.  The LA Kings drafted Tom Glavine with the 69th overall pick in 1984.  Glavine was inducted into the baseball hall of fame last week, after a  phenomenal career with the Atlanta Braves.  That year wasn’t a total loss for the Kings though, as they got Luc Robitaille in the 9th round, who went on to be the highest scoring left wing in NHL history.

Speaking of the Kings, Saturday night was a disaster.  They were defeated by the Detroit Red Wings, who were missing most of their regulars, so they basically lost to an AHL team.  This crap was so typical of the Kings of late:  they put a ton of shots on goal, they can’t finish, while the opponent is far more opportunistic.  Are Mike Richards and Tyler Toffoli ever going to score again?  Although it’s gotta be tough to score when you are playing with Matt Frattin.  2nd time in a week the Kings blew it against an undermanned team, as they lost to Minnesota on Tuesday.  LA may still be third in their division, but they are quickly losing ground to the Ducks and Sharks.

I guess Jonas Hiller doesn’t like it when I talk crap about him on Jock Talk LA.  The Ducks goaltender won his 14th straight game last night, and he’s the 8th goaltender in NHL history to accomplish this feat.  The Ducks continue to be an offensive powerhouse too, and they won for the 17th time in 18 games by beating the Red Wings.

Another great weekend of NFL playoff games.  The Broncos held off a furious rally from the Chargers, to advance to the AFC Championship game.  Peyton Manning may not have been amazing, but he made the critical throws when the game was on the line to hold off the Bolts.  Early on Phil Rivers was about as accurate as Helen Keller playing Jenga, but he did help the Chargers make an admirable rally.  Even though the Broncos advanced, the Chargers should feel really good about themselves.   In the first year with Mike McCoy, they not only made the playoffs, but won 1 round, and lost to probably the best team in the NFL in a close game.  They’ve got a great young front 7, and an emerging star in Keenan Allen.  However, in the end, Manning had the the last laugh…..


Meanwhile, The Pats put a beating on the young Colts.  Andrew Luck had some flashes of brilliance, but it felt like Tom Brady just said “step aside son” when this one was over.  This is probably what Andrew Luck’s text inbox looked like when the game was over….

Andrew Luck text inbox

In the NFC, the 49ers took down the Panthers on the road, to advance to the conference championship game for the 3rd year in a row.  It must be an annual tradition for Jim Harbaugh to lose his mind, because he looked like he was going to murder the referee late in the 1st half, before Vernon Davis catch was overturned and ruled a touchdown.  That propelled the 49ers to the win.  My favorite part of the game was Cam Newton doing his best Lebron James impression…..

Cam Newton flaw

And finally, the Saints were no match for the Seahawks in Seattle.  It sure felt like the Saints had a $50,000 bounty on Percy Harvin, since he kept getting injured in his first game back.  Marshawn Lynch was just too much in this one.  The Saints tried to rally at the end, but I’m not sure why the hell Marques Colston thought he could throw the ball 10 yards forward after catching a pass on the last play of the game.  In any case, Seattle and San Fran should be fantastic next week.  If only Harbaugh and Caroll could put on the pads on and just go at it themselves!





Monday Morning Coffee


January 6th, 2014

Poor Pau Gasol.  I sure hope he stays away from social media, because it feels like he’s nearly been traded about 10 times in the last three years.  It happened again on Saturday night when ESPN Radio 710 AM’s Rick Schwartz tweeted that Pau had been traded to Cleveland for Andrew Bynum.  Rick has been an entertaining talk show host over the years, but he blew it on this one.  Anybody that knows anything about the NBA, knows that Gasol can’t even be traded for Bynum straight up, because it doesn’t work financially.  Mitch Kupchak usually doesn’t make trades with opposing GM’s unless he is destroying them, so he likely will not deal Gasol unless he gets Dion Waiters, or a 1st round pick, or Dan Gilbert’s unborn child in return.  Pau has been a great Laker, but it’s time to move on.

Do you realize how bad it’s gotten for the Lakers?  It’s gotten so bad, if you can dribble without bouncing the ball off your leg, you can play point guard for the Lakers.  It’s gotten so bad, Mike D’Antoni believes defense will actually win games.  It’s gotten so bad, D’Antoni is already preparing for a lineup when Kendall Marshall gets injured.  It’s gotten so bad, John Ireland is even negative about the Lakers.  It’s gotten so bad, I saw Mike D’Antoni chanting “we want Phil!” in the middle of last nights’ game.  It’s gotten so bad that that the celebrities asked management not to point to them during the Laker telecasts.  It’s gotten so bad, Staples is changing their lighting scheme to dim on the court and bright on the audience.  It’s gotten so bad, Phil Jackson called Jim Buss at midnight to thank him for not hiring him.  It’s gotten so bad, that the Clippers are better than the Lakers!

Speaking of the Clippers, they suffered a big blow this week when they lost Chris Paul to a separated shoulder.  CP3 could miss up to six weeks with the injury, and the Clippers got a taste of what life was like without him, when they got pounded by the Spurs on Saturday night.  The Clipps might slide a little in the standings over the next six weeks, but nothing too disastrous.  Blake Griffin has been playing well of late, but the real story surrounding him this week was the Griffin for Carmelo Anthony trade rumors, which i reported last week on Jock Talk LA.  Doc Rivers was irritated by the mere suggestion of the rumors, but some people are ignoring the facts.  There’s two people in the Clipps organization that would be interested in this move: Chris Paul and Donald Sterling.  Paul has wanted to play with Carmelo for years, and Sterling is impulsive enough to be contemplating a move.  Although the trade is unlikely, if the Clipps have a big slide in the next few weeks without CP3, don’t rule out Sterling thinking about it a little harder.

Let’s talk UCLA football, where Bruin fans were on the edge of their seats just a few days ago.  Bruins coach Jim Mora Jr. had discussions with Texas for their job opening, and it appeared as though quarterback Brett Hundley was leaving school to enter the NFL draft.  It looked like UCLA’s football success was going to be short-lived, and they were going to be bombed back to the days of complete suckage.  Now, just a few days later, Mora squashed the Texas rumors and said he was committed to UCLA.  Then, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Hundley is expected to announce that he is returning to school next year.  Great news for UCLA, however, with it comes much higher expectations.  Being able to hang with Stanford and Oregon is no longer a cute story. The expectations will be winning the Pac-12 and going to the Rose Bowl, or else the program will soon be viewed as overrated.

Speaking of UCLA, the Bruins basketball team opened conference play by dominating USC at Pauley Pavilion, 107-73.  Ok…I get it.  UCLA can actually beat a real division I opponent.  However, the Bruins RPI is still pretty underwhelming.  Big, bad, Arizona is coming to town on Thursday night.  UCLA is yet to collect a signature win this season.  If the Bruins win, then they’ve got my attention.  By the way, I always find it interesting how USC fans almost never recognize when their team gets beaten down by UCLA in basketball.  I completely understand that UCLA is really a basketball school, and USC is a football school.  However,  USC should historically be a much better school in basketball, much like the Bruins have put together some quality football teams throughout history.

Let’s go to the ice, where the Kings and Ducks are beginning to find out which members of their team will be participating in next months Winter Olympics.  Team USA selected Kings forward Dustin Brown, goaltender Jonathan Quick, and Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler.  Both teams could each have 5 or 6 total players selected, but do you really want these guys beating the shit out of each other for two weeks in February, when they could be getting some extra rest?  I love the Olympics, and I love that these guys take it so seriously, but I love my hockey team a lot more.

Speaking of the Kings, I’m not sure what the hell is going on with them.  LA snapped a 5 game losing streak on Saturday against Vancouver, but that’s their longest losing streak since Darryl Sutter took over the team.   Tyler Toffoli has cooled off, Dustin Brown’s goal scoring ability has gone to hell, and Mike Richards has disappeared like hodini.  It’s not time  to panic, but if you lose a few games in the west, you can easily go from 3rd place to 9th in no time.  Get it together fellas, or you may have to dig yourselves out of a big hole!

What a great Wild Card Weekend we had.  The Colts had a great comeback, but it was more about the Chiefs collapsing.  You knew things were going Indy’s way when the ball bounced into Andrew Luck’s hands and he rushed for a TD.  I think Jim Irsay drew up this play when he was drunk at 2 am at Taco Bell….

Andrew Luck(y) TD

The Saints and Eagles played a relatively boring game compared to the weekends other three games.  New Orleans proved once again, that it can be its own worst enemy with all the turnovers it committed.  However, somehow, they managed to escape with a win.  That last second field goal was the quietest ending to any football game I have ever seen.

Then there’s the Chargers, who pulled off the unthinkable by going to Cinci and handling the Bengals easily.  What Charger fan actually believed they would make the playoffs this season? Let alone, win a playoff game?  Mike McCoy’s play calling was more conservative than Muslim chick during Ramadan, but the Bolts benefited from Andy Dalton’s collapse.

Finally, the 49ers got by the Packers at Lambeau yesterday.  It’s pretty rare that the spread and the temperature are the same (+3).   It was so cold, I think I saw the Coors Frost Brew Train go through Lambeau Field.  Colin Kaepernick was pretty unstoppable, and if he plays that way the 49ers will be headed back to the Super Bowl.  Aaron Rodgers didn’t have the magic coming back from the broken collar bone, but the Pack are going to be dangerous next season now that they have a running game again.

Has anybody been watching the bowl games?  That Oklahoma-Alabama game was pretty amazing, and was probably the best bowl game I’ve seen over the past few weeks.  It should be known a the “I probably had sex with my cousin and I’m ok with it” bowl.  Meanwhile, SoCal has been invaded by all of those hillbillies from the south, with FSU and Auburn going at it tonight for the BCS Championship.  I’ve got FSU in this one.  How many games has Auburn gotten lucky this year and escaped with a win?

This past week had a few pieces of sad news.  Yesterday, Padres broadcaster, former Yankee player, and American ware hero Jerry Coleman passed away.  I had the honor of working with Jerry at The Mighty 1090, and anyone that worked with him would tell you he was a pleasure to be around.  I’ll always remember him for his exciting play-by-play calls like “You can hang a star on that baby!” and “Woooah Doctor!”  Condolences to the Coleman family, and RIP Jerry.

The other piece of sad news we received this week was the passing of James Avery.  Avery was literally my favorite TV dad, on my favorite television show of all time: The Fresh Prince of Bel-air.  Not only did Avery brilliantly play the role of “Uncle Phil”, but he was also the voice of “The Shredder” in the Ninja Turtle cartoons as well, so he was definitely an important piece of my childhood.  Here’s a classic Uncle Phil moment….








Fixing The Lakers

Milwaukee Bucks at Los Angeles Lakers

January 1st, 2014

The Lakers are sinking faster than the Titanic.  Half their roster is injured, the other half is barely talented enough to play in the NBA.  Their coach is a terrible fit for the roster, the team can’t play defense, and Jim Buss looks like the Tommy Boy of the NBA right now.

The news isn’t all bad though.  The Lakers should have at least $30 million in cap space this summer, and probably a lottery pick in the 2014 draft, which is expected to be the best in the last decade.  They also have one of the most savvy general managers in the NBA, in Mitch Kupchak, who has already shown he can rebuild a championship team very quickly.

The question the Lakers need to ask themselves is this: how determined are they to build a championship contender in the next two years, with Kobe still under contract?  The Lakers can either surround Kobe with some veteran players this summer,  or take a little bit slower process in hopes of building a team that can contend for a longer period of time.  Here are a few ideas:

Plan 1: Trade Pau Gasol, Steve Blake, and Chris Kaman to Chicago for Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, and a 2015 1st round pick.

Explanation:  This trade would take the Lakers out of the running for any big 2014 free agents like Lebron or Carmelo, but it keeps them competitive in the West for the next season.  LA would probably re-sign Deng, and have a core of Kobe, Deng, Boozer, and their 2014 lottery pick.  The Bulls do this to save money, and begin a rebuild.  Boozer’s deal expires after next season, so LA could potentially still try to sign Kevin Love in the summer of 2015, and have even more flexibility in 2016 when Kobe’s contract expires.  This doesn’t make the Lakers a championship contender, but puts them back in the playoffs in the West.  The only issue here is that Boozer would probably struggle a lot in Mike D’Antoni’s system, since he isn’t the typical “stretch 4” D’Antoni likes.

Plan 2: Trade Pau Gasol to Cleveland for Andrew Bynum, Dion Waiters, and a 2015 1st round pick.    Sign Carmelo Anthony and Dirk Nowitski in the summer of 2014.

Explanation: The Lakers would acquire Bynum to waive him and get themselves under the luxury tax this season, and they also get two assets out of it.  Carmelo could get close to a max deal in LA, with an early opt out in his contract to make up what he lost by leaving NY.  If the Mavs miss the playoffs, Dirk could strongly consider leaving Dallas, and take a paycut to play in LA with Kobe and Carmelo for his final year or two.  LA would have a core of Kobe, Carmelo, Dirk, Dion Waiters, and their 2014 lottery pick.  This would be an interesting team that would score a lot of points, but could have some problems defending.  The Lakers also take themselves out of the running for any 2015 free agents going this route, and ‘Melo probably wouldn’t be amenable to playing in LA if Mike D’Antoni were still the head coach.

Plan 3 – Trade Chris Kaman, Jordan Hill, and Shawne Williams to Oklahoma City for Kendrick Perkins, a 2014 1st round pick(from Dallas) , and a 2015 1st round pick.  Trade Pau Gasol and Steve Blake to Cleveland for Andrew Bynum, Dion Waiters, Anderson Varajeo, a 1st round pick in 2014, and a 1st round pick in 2015.  Sign Kevin Love and Rajon Rondo in the summer of 2015, and sign Kevin Durant in the summer of 2016.

Explanation – This is a much more long term plan.  The Lakers take on the Perkins and Varejao contracts, which takes them out of the running for any major 2014 free agents.  However, they get a good young player in Waiters, and four 1st round picks over the next two seasons.  Waiving Bynum also gives the Lakers some luxury tax savings as well.  The Thunder and Cavs would be interested in these deals because they need to win now.  This trade also gives LA a shot at really bottoming out this year, for a low 2014 lottery pick.  The Lakers would then have four more 1st rounders (including two in 2015),  a young asset in Waiters, and the expiring contracts of Perkins and Varejeo to dangle in a trade for Love or Rondo, while signing the other as a free agent.  By the 2015-2016 season, LA could have a core of Rondo, Love, Kobe, their 2014 lottery stud, and their two more 1st round picks.  Once Kobe comes off the books in 2016, they can go after Durant or even Russell Westbrook.  The challenge to this plan will be convincing Kobe and the Laker fans to be patient through a rebuild.

Notice how each of these plans involves trading Pau Gasol.  Although he has been instrumental in the last two Laker championships, it’s clear he has mentally checked out and is unhappy.  It’s unlikely the Lakers will be able to re-sign Pau this summer at the discounted rate they would hope for, so LA should get something for him.

Another major issue with the Lakers plan moving forward, is what to do with Mike D’Antoni.  It’s very obvious that D’Antoni needs very specific type of players in his system to be effective.  If LA plans to stick with D’Antoni, it eliminates the possibility of Carmelo Anthony coming to the Lakers, and would force them to build their team around an elite point guard moving forward.  Buss and Kupchak need to figure out what the identity of their roster is before moving forward.

You might have noticed that none of the options listed include Lebron James signing with the Lakers this summer, or LA signing restricted free agents Eric Bledsoe or Greg Monroe.  None of those options are realistic.  One way or another, the fans need to be patient.  In most NBA cities, a 2-3 year rebuild is fantastic.  In LA, it fees like an eternity.  A quick fix will likely lead to many years of futility.  However, if LA starts a rebuild now that is similar to plan 3, they might even be contending again before Kobe retires.