Monthly Archives: March 2014

Monday Morning Coffee

Lavine vs Florida


March 31st, 2014

The Bruins got exactly what they paid for in Steve Alford.  They got a Sweet 16 appearance, and no further.  Not too long ago, it was Steve Lavin who was delivering such consistent mediocrity.  Just a few years later, another Steve has been hired, and the mediocrity is back.  Of course UCLA rolled over the #12 and #13 seeds to get there, before once again, getting owned by Florida.  The Bruins defense was completely non-existent, Alford made no halftime adjustments, and his rotations were completely bizarre.  The Bruins closed within a point of the Gators, and Alford pulled out Kyle Anderson, his best player, in favor of his son, Bryce.  This is exactly why Alford gets no credit from me.  He’s playing with Ben Howland’s recruits, and when he had the chance to take the Bruins to the next level, he reverted back to the coach we all knew he was: A post season underachiever.

Now, for the next few months you’ll get to hear things like, “wait until Alford gets his own recruits in there, and the program will really take off!”  That’s gonna be tough now that Zach Lavine and Kyle Anderson are leaving for the NBA, and the Wear Twins are graduating.  Alford’s “own recruits” will mostly consist of his two kids getting more playing time, which should keep the Bruin basketball program from being elite anytime soon.  Say what you will about how Lavine not being ready for the NBA, however, he knows it’s going to be hard for him to develop with Steve Alford playing his son more minutes than him for the next few years.  In any case, the NBA and the NCAA need to agree to increase the age limit for kids to turn pro.  It will only improve the NBA game, and the college game.  I’m not sure it will help Steve Alford be a better coach though.

On to baseball, where the Dodgers had their season opener in the U.S. last night, and boy was it disappointing.  The Boys in Blue wasted a perfectly good performance by Hyun-Jin Ryu, and lost to the Padres 3-1 at Petco Park.  Not only did Ryu pitch well, but so did every other Dodger pitcher, except Brian Wilson.  Wilson might have left his game in Australia last week, but hopefully he’ll figure it out soon, since LA is paying him $10 million this year.  Wilson isn’t even the biggest pitching concern LA has right now, as their ace Clayton Kershaw is on the disabled list for the first time in his career.  Even if this seems like a minor injury, any time your $215 million pitcher gets a scratch on him, Jock Talk LA is going to freak out.  If you just bought a Ferrari, and it got just a small scratch in it during the first week you owned it, you’d be pissed.  The Dodgers can’t be happy their new Ferrari just got dinged up.

As for the Angels, they have several reasons to celebrate on the eve of their season opener against Seattle.  First, they finally locked up Mike Trout, to a 6 year, $144.5 million contract.  This is a great deal for both sides, and if anyone tells you otherwise, they need their head examined.  Mike Trout has now guaranteed himself more than $145 million for the next 7 years, regardless of whether he gets hurt or not.  He also sets up himself up for another massive payday at 29 years of age, when he can become a free agent again.  The Angels get themselves some cost certainty, and don’t have to worry about hurting Trout’s feelings in arbitration hearings for the next 7 years.  As if that isn’t exciting enough, the Halos released pitcher Joe Blanton, who has been complete garbage for more than a year.  This guys fast ball wouldn’t get a speeding ticket on the highway right now, and he was simply too much of a liability to put on the mound.  The city of Anaheim should be throwing a parade for the Blanton news alone.

Let’s go the NBA, where the Lakers are finding all kinds of new ways to disappoint their fans.  The Lake Show continues to win meaningless games, and hurt their draft status, as they have now have only the 7th worst record in the NBA.  What the hell are these guys doing?  Mike D’Antoni is probably telling his players “ok guys, let’s just keeping winning these games.  It will be great for morale, even though none of us will be here next year!”  On the bright side, Laker fans must be thrilled at the fact Marshall contacted D’Antoni recently about their vacant head coaching spot.  I was so excited when I heard this, I will even volunteer to pack D’Antoni’s things, and drive him to the airport as well.

With the Lakers visiting the Timberwolves earlier in the week, Kevin Love was again a hot topic.  ESPN’s Marc Stein reported that the Lakers will try to flip their lottery pick this summer, in a package for Love.  If this is true, this would be a terrible decision.  The Lakers are more than one player away from winning a championship, and more than one year away too.  With that being said, acquiring Kevin Love and pairing him with Kobe might improve the team, but not enough to be a championship contender.  LA desperately needs young talent, so keep the pick, then try to find other assets to trade for Love.  Besides, if he really wants to come to LA,  he can sign here as a free agent in the summer of 2015, and the Lakers don’t have to give up any assets.

As for the Clippers, they got a big scare on Saturday night when Blake Griffin left the game with back spasms. Griffin has been an MVP candidate this season, and the Clipps have no chance in the playoffs without him.  Actually….nevermind.  They have no chance in the playoffs with him either.

The Kings are on fire right now.  Winners of 6 straight games, as well as 8 in a row on the road, which ties a franchise record.  Frankly, I’m surprised the Kings aren’t British, because they have completely owned Canada all season long.  LA isn’t likely to move up or down in their last few games of the regular season, so Anaheim and San Jose are battling hard to win the division, and avoid the Kings in the 1st round.  Anybody see Jonathan Quick’s “scorpion save” on Saturday night? Wow was this a thing of beauty…..

And finally, the season finale of the Walking Dead took place last night.  This episode kept me on the edge of my seat, and was exciting and terrifying at the same time.  To recap quickly: Daryl’s new crew holds Rick and Michonne at gunpoint, and they threaten to rape Carl.  Daryl tries to save them by telling the captors they are “good people”.  The crew doesn’t care, and they start beating Daryl.  Before they can beat him to death Rick snaps, grapples with his captor, then bites right through the guys jugular zombie style.  While everyone else is shocked in disbelief, Michonne grabs her captors gun, and shoots him.  Rick then stabs Carl’s captor.  The next morning, Rick, Michonne, Carl, and Daryl go to Terminus, and it’s exactly what most viewers predict: a cannibal fortress.  The crew eventually realizes this, and tries to run, but eventually they are captured.  The episode ends with the four of them placed into confinement with Glenn, Maggie, and the other group of survivors.

This episode symbolized the re-birth of Rick.  Honestly, prior to this episode, I felt like the show could stand to lose Rick, because the strength of his character was fading.  However, he showed he was willing to go to whatever lengths necessary to protect Carl, Michonne, and Daryl.  He suddenly transformed into the bloody, ruthless hero, that is necessary to survive in this world.  After discovering that Terminus is a place of cannibalism, I think the one thing that is very clear after four seasons is that there is no sanctuary in the world of The Walking Dead.  There was no sanctuary in Woodbury, at the Prison, or even that research center at the end of the first season.  It’s presumed that Tyreese, Carol, and Judith are still on the road, and I suspect they will eventually meet back up with Rick and his crew if and when they manage to escape Terminus.  I’m still not really sure about the fate of Beth though.  It appeared as though her character was building quickly, but it may have been to make her death more dramatic.  The answers won’t come until the fall, but I am excited for Season 5!

Walking Dead Season 4 Finale


Monday Morning Coffee


March 24th, 2014

It wasn’t aways pretty, but they got it done.  The Bruins are headed back to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2008.  UCLA took down Tulsa and Stephen F Austin this weekend to advance to the round of 16.  UCLA was very fortunate to avoid a team like VCU during the first weekend, but in any case, they took care of business.  The only impressive thing about this weekend was the fact that UCLA won with many of their players playing far below their potential, including Kyle Anderson on Friday and Zach Lavine, in both games.  Lavine has disappeared like that Malaysian airline, and Anderson played so bad on Friday, it looked like he was shaving points.  In any case, now comes the real challenge.  The Bruins will finally have to beat Florida to get to the Elite 8.  If they can do that on Thursday, then I i will gladly give UCLA Coach Steve Alford his due.  I know you probably think the Sweet 16 is great for Alford’s first year, but UCLA is all about championships.  Otherwise, Steve Lavin and Ben Howland would still be coaching the team.

How is your bracket looking?  I think I’m going to be picking the NIT bracket next year.  The amount of upsets we’ve seen so far shows you how screwed up college basketball is.  It doesn’t matter how talented your freshman are, because they don’t seem to understand how to win in the tourney like many of the mid-major teams with veteran talent do.  That’s a big reason why teams like Duke, Ohio State, Kansas, and Oklahoma State were eliminated.  Good thing Kentucky beat Wichita State yesterday.  Had they lost, Kentucky fans would have been more upset than when they found out they were dating their own cousins.

Now that is the Clayton Kershaw we all know!  The Dodgers awkwardly opened the 2014 regular season against the Diamondbacks over the weekend, and swept a pair of games, led by Kershaw. Kershaw dominated the D’Backs on Saturday, and the bullpen was brilliant after that in a 3-1 win.  Then, Hyun-Jin Ryu followed up with another great performance on Sunday, and Yasiel Puig finally came alive to lead the Dodgers to a 7-5 win.  There’s some questions about the bench, and parts of the lineup, but this team is going to be good.  With a $225 million payroll, I’m sure there are many teams that would love to have LA’s problems.  I still don’t understand why Major League Baseball thought it would be a good idea for these teams to open the season abroad.  Baseball has slipped to third among the four major sports, and is having its own issues keeping fans here.  I’m thinking it should probably focus on regaining its success in the U.S. before marketing abroad.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks

Back in the USA, the Angels are nearing their last few days of spring training, and Joe Blanton’s days could be numbered.  Blanton got shelled on Saturday against the Brewers, which could make him a strong candidate to be released, and would force the Halos to eat his $8.5 million salary.  With the emergence of Hector Santiago, Tyler Skaggs, and this week’s acquisition of Jose Alvarez, there’s simply no reason to keep this human launching pad on the roster.  As for ticket sales, the LA Times reported this week that season ticket sales are down by more than 20% in the last two years, and this years renewal rate was in the low 80% range.  So much for Arte Moreno’s theory that you have to have star power to sell tickets.  When will owners like Moreno and Jim Buss realize the big picture?  People don’t care how you win, as long as you do win.  You can be entertaining, but if you lose, people aren’t showing up.

To the NBA, where I’m pretty much obliged to mention the Lakers in this blog, even though they stink.  Actually, the Lakers probably don’t stink enough right now to get themselves a top 3 lottery pick.  LA found the need to defeat Orlando last night, in a game with critical lottery implications on the line.  Thank god the Lakers have a stiff like Mike D’Antoni as their coach, otherwise, they might be winning even more of these meaningless games and further damaging their lottery positioning.  Pau Gasol actually sat out the second half of last nights game, after he felt nauseous and dizzy, which caused him to spend the night in the hospital.  This proves what we’ve all suspected for quite some time, that Gasol just isn’t tough.  I mean, watching this entire Lakers season has made me nauseous and dizzy for months, and you don’t see me checking into a hospital!

As for the Clippers, they continue to build momentum towards the playoffs.  They’ve won 12 of their last 13 games, appear locked into 4th place in the Western Conference, but keep something in mind.  LA is now 6th in the league in defensive field goal percentage.  This is very important because 6 of the last 7 NBA champions have finished in the top 6 in defensive field goal percentage. (Are you listening Mike D’Antoni and Jim Buss??).  The Clipps half court offense also appears to be improving rapidly, with Blake Griffin’s game ascending to new levels.  San Antonio looks amazing, but don’t count the Clippers out yet as a team that could come out of the West.  That still might not give them the headlines the deserve.  They were barely noticeable in the Sunday morning edition of the LA Times.  LA is like a super nerdy girl in high school that shows up at your 5 year reunion smoking hot, but for some reason, still can’t get anybody to talk to her.

I don’t know about you, but I thought for sure my phone was broken on Saturday when I looked at the Kings box score.  It was telling me that Trevor Lewis, Mike Richards, and Dustin Brown all scored against the Panthers.  It feels like the odds of winning Warren Buffet’s $1 billion bracket challenge were better than that happening.  Brown and Richards have had a pretty terrible offensive season, but the Kings better hope they can get their games together for the playoffs, or else they might not last long.  When the Capitals came to town to play the Kings earlier this week I took a peek at Alex Ovechkin’s numbers, and he’s scored 45 goals and is a -31.  Holy crap! -31?? Do you know how terrible defensively you have to be to have a -31?  Congratulations to Jonathan Quick for passing Roggie Vachon for the most wins by a goalie in Kings history.  Even though Roggie didn’t have the benefit of shootouts, Quick is still on his way to being the best goalie in franchise history.   What a great save he made Saturday on Tom Fleischmann….

Quick robs Fleischmann

With just 12 games left to go in the regular season, the Ducks have lost their grip on the Pacific Division title.  Anaheim must now overtake the Sharks to reclaim the division title.  Make no mistake about it, the Ducks want to win the Pacific, and avoid the Kings in the first round of the playoffs.  Anaheim would much rather take on the likes of Phoenix, Minnesota, or Dallas,  in the 1st round of the playoffs, where they will not be faced with such a rugged style of play.  The good news for the Ducks is that 9 of their last 12 games will be against teams that are not currently in the playoffs.  Anaheim has cooled off quite a bit, playing .500 hockey over their last 10 games, but this last stretch gives them a chance to regain some momentum before Bruce Boudreau’s annual playoff collapse.

No Walking Dead recap this week folks, as I have yet to catch up on my DVR.  However, with the season finale coming up next week, I’ll have a lengthy recap and analysis coming soon!

Monday Morning Coffee

Kobe depressed

March 17th, 2014

Sorry Laker fans, time has run out.  Jim Buss, and the Lakers front office, blew any slim chance they had remaining to be a championship contender in the near future when they let Phil Jackson take a front office job with the Knicks this week.  Not even last ditch efforts by Laker greats Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson could stop Jim Buss’ ego from running the Laker franchise into the ground.  Laker general manager Mitch Kupchak has done a phenomenal job rebuilding the Lakers roster multiple times over the last five years.  However, Jim Buss has single handedly undermined those efforts in recent years with his moronic coaching hires.  Some might say the Lakers made great moves that simply didn’t work out, like the Chris Paul and Dwight Howard trades, but that’s not the issue.  They didn’t work out because Jim Buss ego prevented him from using all of the resources around him to put the team over the top.  Expect more of this in the near future.

The Lakers are focusing most of their efforts into free agency over the next two summers.  Now, they’ll have to compete with Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks for big names like Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love, and Rajon Rondo.  Who do you think they are going to be more intrigued by: the chump with the hat on that can’t connect with people, or the greatest basketball mind with 11 championship rings? At this point, one has to wonder if Jeanie and Jim Buss will ever see eye-to-eye and run the Lakers successfully.  It’s gotten so bad that even Congress agrees that these two sides are far apart.  They better figure it out quickly, or else they are going to change the Lakers acronym of “LAL” to “LOL”.

Meanwhile, there’s this other team in town called the Clippers that’s actually won 11 in a row, and in a chase for the top spot in the Western Conference.  Everything you need to know about the Clippers, is the fact that sports radio in So Cal was dominated this past week by Laker talk.  The Clipps look like they are ready to blow by OKC for the #2 seed, but locking up #1 won’t be easy with the Spurs holding it down.  The irony is that Spurs probably don’t need home court anyway, since they currently have the best road record in the NBA, while the Clipps are just 4 games above .500 on the road.  I admit it, the Clipps are improving rapidly, and they might very well be ready to take down OKC in the playoffs.  However, it’s usually the old geezers like the Spurs, that beat young upstart teams like the Clippers come playoff time.

On to the college ranks, where the Bruins pulled off a big upset on Saturday afternoon in Vegas, taking down #4 Arizona to win the Pac-12 conference tournament.  For those of you that think I’m ready to bow down to Steve Alford think again!  I said last week that the Bruins had a great chance to win the Pac 12 tournament, which they did.  However, Alford has won 4 previous conference tournament titles in his college coaching career, and his teams have always collapsed by the sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.  If Alford takes this team beyond the sweet 16, I will give him his due. However, Jordan Adams deserves his due for making this clutch shot in the final moments on Saturday…..

Get ready to fill out those brackets!  The Bruins do look set up nicely for a run to the sweet 16, but they’ll probably lose to a very familiar foe at that point: The Florida Gators.  The Mountain West Conference got completely disrespected on Selection Sunday.  How does San Diego State get a #4 seed, when they defeated both Creighton and Kansas, who both had better seeding than them?  New Mexico also got a #7 seed after winning the Mountain West Conference Tournament.  Florida is by far best #1 seed, and has a great chance to make the Final Four, while the Midwest looks like the toughest region with Wichita State, Michigan, Duke, and Louisville as the top 4 seeds.  Louisville and Michigan State are probably the most dangerous teams, and Wichita State has got to be the most overrated team.  My Final Four prediction: Florida, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Louisville.


It’s becoming more and more apparent that none of the Dodger players want to go to Australia.  Zach Greinke complained, and is now milking an injury to avoid the trip.  Dan Haren claims he’s “tired”, and Carl Crawford’s wife is expecting.  Ok, I suppose Crawford has a real excuse, but most of these guys are acting like they will be traveling to Australia on some slave trade slow boat, when we all know they will be traveling in extreme luxury.  I’m sure this will be the last time the MLB asks the Dodgers to do anything international, because they sure aren’t acting like great ambassadors for the game.  I sure don’t hear any complains from the D’Backs.

On the field, Yasiel Puig is struggling more than Tom Cruise at the box office these days.  Last year, Puig hit a scorching .517 in spring training.  This year, he’s hitting a measly  .152 without a home run.  I don’t like to put a lot of stock into spring training games, however, I get the feeling the Dodgers could be starting slow this season.  Puig looks like he’s trying to find his game, Kemp and Crawford could be out action early, and LA will be relying on Dee Gordon at 2nd base.   All that combined with the jet lag from Australia, and LA seems poised to come out of the box pretty slow.  As we learned last year though, it’s a long season and things can turn very quickly.

As for the Angels, right now they appear to have the makings of a good team, based on what we’ve seen in spring training.  Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs look pretty solid, and the team figures to score some runs.  However, are these dudes really going to be able keep their game together every five days for the next 6 months?  Everyone seems to have their doubts.  As long as Joe Blanton is still on the Halos roster, and as long as there’s a possibility he could be getting some starts, there’s a good chance the Angels will suck.

Is there any team in the NHL that has been screwed by the referees more this season than the Los Angeles Kings?  In general, I don’t really like to blame any loss on referees, but this is getting ridiculous.  The Kings got badly screwed in Detroit earlier in the year, which sent them in a bad tail spin.  On Saturday night, they got screwed again, when Anze Kopitar’s apparent tying goal was disallowed.  The Kings ended up losing to the Ducks 2-1 at Staples Center, and LA fell further behind Anaheim in the Pacific Division standings.  It looked like the Kings were starting to build momentum, after winning 8 in a row, but in the last two losses, LA has looked more like the team that was struggling to score before the Olympics.  At least the powerplay has been better.

As for the Ducks, they may have lost their grip on the Pacific Division title, but something interesting is happening with this team.  Anaheim is now finding a way to win those tougher, low scoring, playoff style, grind it out games.  That’s exactly what they faced on Saturday night at Staples Center, on the 2nd night of a back-to-back.  This is something that isn’t very characteristic of Bruce Boudreau hockey teams, so it has to make him pleased.  This is probably much more significant than the fact that Anaheim has lots its grip on the division, because they could be playing the Kings in the 1st round, and will be playing this kind of hockey for a 7 game series.  Home ice advantage didn’t mean much in round 1 last year, when Anaheim lost to Detroit in the 7th game at home.

And finally, The Walking Dead returned for another episode last night.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have not see last night’s episode.  To recap this absolutely shocking episode, it started with Carol, Tyreese, Lizzie, Mika,  and Judith, as one happy family (or so it appeared).  The five of them find a pecan grove, and at one point appear to be settling in quite nicely.  We soon find out that Lizzie is crazy, and has been feeding Walkers, as far back as when they were at the prison, and even playing games with them.  Lizzie is so determined to prove to Carol and Tyreese that it’s ok when Walkers come back, that she actually kills her sister, Mika.  She says “don’t worry, she’ll come back.  I didn’t hurt her brain.”.  If that wasn’t shocking enough, Carol is forced to kill Lizzie, believing that there is no saving her, and that she can’t be around other people.  Then, she confesses to Tyreese for killing Karen and David, although Tyreese forgives her.

This episode was absolutely shocking.  During the first 30 minutes, this looked like it was going to be a very slow episode, without much happening.  Then it took an  unbelievable turn.  Carol once again, proved that she is able to make the very tough decisions in the cruel world they live in, but it is excruciating for the audience.  Lizzie was concerned that Carol would be mad at her for what she did, yet had no idea that Carol was actually going to kill her.  This incident was difficult for Tyreese to be a part of as well, but he knew it had to be done.  When Carol confessed to Tyreese that she killed Karen and David, it was probably the events that took place just moments earlier that prevented Tyreese from killing her.  He understood the difficult decisions that have to be made in the world they live in.  Now I’m really scared to find out what’s in store for the last two episodes of the season!

Carol shoots

Monday Morning Coffee

Phil pointing


March 10th, 2013

The clock is ticking Jimmy Buss!  That’s right buddy…’re running out of time to bring back your future brother-in-law, Phil Jackson, to the Laker organization.  The New York Knicks have offered Phil exactly what he’s looking for: a front office role, in which he has the final say in all basketball decisions.  Jackson says he will give the Knicks an answer in the next week.  It’s no surprise that Phil’s camp is leaking these rumors.  He’s trying to put pressure on Jim Buss to offer him a role with the Laker organization, which we all know is the job he really wants.  For those of you who have forgotten, Phil’s fiance, Jeanie Buss, is now co-owner of the Lakers.  If Jim let’s Phil get away, the fans will simply never forgive him, and the Laker franchise will likely slip into years of losing.  I realize that Phil has never had a front office role, however, I have a feeling he knows a thing or two about putting together championship teams, since he’s only won 11 of them.

As for what’s happening on the floor, the Lakers had a completely wild week.  Somehow, they managed to beat Portland and Oklahoma City, while getting humiliated by Clippers and Nuggets.  I’m sorry, but no NBA team should ever lose to another by 48 points, and especially not at home.  The fact that this happened to the Lakers, at home, and against the Clippers, should be completely unacceptable.  Before that game ended, the entire coaching staff should have been fired, the entire team should have been placed on waivers.  I’ve been a big advocate for the Lakers tanking, but I don’t want to see this franchise embarrassed.  Jodie Meeks obviously took my advice to a whole new level yesterday, as he decided to do his best Reggie Miller impression, with a career high 42 points.  Great professionalism by Meeks, but the same can’t be said for Kent Bazemore, who decided to bust out the airplane after making a big layup at the end of the game.  This dude does realize his team is 20 games under .500 right?

As for the Clippers, Charles Barkley believes that they are currently the best team in the West, followed by Oklahoma City.  That pretty much insures that neither one of those teams will be coming out of the West this year.  Funny, because when I woke up this morning, the standings told me that the San Antonio Spurs had the best record in the west, and they don’t even play their star players every night.  Don’t get me wrong, Blake Griffin and the Clippers are much improved, however, I don’t see them beating the Oklahoma City or San Antonio in a 7 game series.      They’ll likely have to go through both of them, in order to get to the NBA Finals.  Sorry Chuck, but your picks are “turrible”.

I had the privilege of going out to Arizona this past weekend, to check out some spring training games.  I’m usually not a big fan of watching pre-season sports, however, I would encourage all baseball fans to experience it.  It’s very fan friendly, the tickets are cheap, and you can get pretty close to the players and coaches, and I’m not talking about really good major leaguers here.  Going to Camelback Ranch was pretty exciting, and I got to see a very entertaining game between the Dodgers and Mariners on Saturday night.  Unfortunately for LA, Josh Beckett got pounded, and their pitching in spring training hasn’t been all that great, especially considering it’s supposed to be the team’s strength.  Even Clayton Kershaw has been underwhelming in three spring training starts.  On the bright side, I think Alex Guerrero is going to be a good major league hitter, and Matt Kemp says he’s getting closer to returning.  That means the Dodgers lineup is going to be explosive.

The Angels have to feel really good about what they are seeing so far from their new pitchers. I don’t like to make a big deal about spring training performances, however, Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago have looked like quality middle of the rotation pitchers, which the Halos desperately need.  Albert Pujols hasn’t shown too much power though, and he’s also a little cranky.  He was asked earlier in the week if he feels pressure to put up big numbers because of what his teammate, Mike Trout, is doing.  Pujols was so disgusted with the question, he responded by implying that Trout is not as proven of a commodity as he is, since he’s only been in the league for a couple of seasons.  I think the better question for Albert would have been if he feels pressure to put up “Pujols numbers” since he is making $240 million over the next decade.

On to college basketball, where March Madness has arrived.  The conference tournaments start next week, but UCLA managed to blow it again on Saturday, losing to lowly Washington State on the road.  UCLA is still the #2 seed heading into the Pac-12 tourney next week, but their inconsistency, lack of focus, and lack of defense makes me think they won’t be playing for very long.  This sounds like a team coached by Steve Alford.  That’s right…..they are coached by Steve Alford!

Let’s go to the ice, where it looks like the Olympic break did wonders for the LA Kings.  LA has won 7 in a row, and it feels like they’ve scored more goals in the last week, than they have all season.  Suddenly, Alec Martinez is scoring like Bobby Orr.  I also love the trade for Marion Gaborik, that they made at the deadline.  I realize that Gaborik is capable of getting injured when air hits him, however, he is one of the most skilled players in the league, and could provide a big boost to a team that sometimes struggles to score.  It’s a low risk, high reward move, and the team appears to be responding well to it.  The bad news for LA is that they will likely be playing without home ice advantage in any playoff series this year, so they’ll have to hope they can build the kind of momentum they did going into the playoffs in 2012.

Meanwhile, the Ducks made quite a few moves at the deadline, and are still playing well.  Even though Anaheim lost back-to-back shootouts, they dominated for long stretches against Montreal and Pittsburgh.  The bad news is that the Blues have passed them in the standings for the top seed in the West.  Coach Bruce Boudreau doesn’t seem too worried, which is good, because he probably forgot that his teams have sucked in the playoffs for years.  I was a little surprised that Dustin Penner was traded, because he usually brings it during playoff time, but Anaheim felt like his play was deteriorating after a strong start.  It was quite fitting that Penner was traded to Washington on National Pancake day!

Finally, the NFL off-season moves have begun.  In a surprising move, the Saints cut running back Darren Sproles, while the New York Jets have released defensive back Antonio Cromartie, which saved them $9 million.  Cromartie is notorious for having fathered 10 children, with 8 women, in 6 different states.  After being released by the Jets, his text inbox looked something like this…..







Monday Morning Coffee

Jordan Farmar, Ray McCallum

March 3rd, 2014

This Pau Gasol vs Mike D’Antoni battle is about the only thing left that’s interesting about the Lakers season.  These two are like an old married couple, except, its starting to look like they are about to get a divorce, and at least one of them will be moving out come July.  Last week, Gasol complained to the media that the Lakers were playing very selfishly, and lacked discipline.  Mike D’Antoni had no idea what Pau was referring to with the part about discipline, and told the media that he should have kept things in-house.  Funny, because D’Antoni hasn’t seemed to keep things in house during his entire time coaching the Lakers, as he has repeatedly called out Pau for not fitting into his stupid system.  The more I watch D’Antoni coach, the more it’s becoming obvious that no superstar wants to play for him.

The Lakers have one of the toughest remaining schedules in the NBA, which is great news for those who want the team to tank.  However, it’s going to take a lot more than just one great draft pick to put this team back in contention.  The Laker front office needs to stop fooling themselves into thinking they don’t need to rebuild.  The sooner they embrace this concept, the sooner they can get back to contending for titles.  Otherwise, they will fall into the black hole of a 7 to 10 year rebuild.  Just ask the Chicago Bulls after Jordan retired, or the Celtics after Larry Bird retired.  Speaking of retiring, Steve Nash appears to be moving much closer to that.  If you haven’t seen it, check out the 2nd episode of Grantland covering his attempted comeback from injury.  Sad to see, but he can definitely sense the end is near….

As for the Clippers, they most certainly won the buyout battle with the addition of Glenn Davis, and now Danny Granger.  Granger hasn’t been all that impressive since returning from a knee injury, however, he doesn’t necessarily need to return to all-star form to be effective for the Clippers.  He simply needs to make a few open shots, and play some solid perimeter defense.  The real beauty of this addition is that Jamal Crawford will return to the bench, and provide more fire power in the 2nd unit.  Of course, in typical Clipper fashion, Doc Rivers forgot to add Granger to the active roster on Saturday night, making him ineligible to play that night.  It was like Doc was saluting the incompetence of the franchise over the last 30 years with that move.

It’s on to baseball, where the Dodgers have begun spring training play, and Zach Greinke must be thrilled.  Greinke sustained a strained calf injury in his first spring training start, which gives him the perfect excuse to not travel with the team to Australia for their first regular season series.  Interesting that Greinke developed this injury immediately after telling the media that he was “not excited at all” for the trip down under.  I’m not saying he’s faking an injury….but I’m saying, he’s probably faking an injury.  I’m also a little disappointed in 2nd baseman Alex Guerrero, who’s performance thus far has been underwhelming.  You would think a 2nd baseman who was due to make $28 million over the next 4 years, would be able to lock up the job over a bunch of past their prime players.  Apparently that’s not the case, and LA could have a major hole at that position.

I’m amazed at the ignorance of people, who are bitching about the Dodgers launching their own channel on Time Warner Cable.  Look, I get it…..the cable industry sucks, and it’s frustrating when our favorite teams like the Lakers and Dodgers go to a more expensive channel.  However, it would be foolish for these storied franchises to pass up such an opportunity, when billions of dollars in profits are at stake.  You guys want competitive products on the field, but the reality is, this is how you get the money to support that.  Unfortunately, most people are too short sighted to understand that, when they can no longer find their favorite team through their crappy cable provider.  This is the one, very rare moment, that I’m glad I subscribe to Time Warner.

The Angels and Mike Trout continue to work toward an extension.  Still no resolution, but at least the team settled on a $1 million contract for this year.  Amazing isn’t it?  Mike Trout made less last year, then Max Kellerman did working for ESPN!  No matter what Trout does, the Angels hopes will rest with their pitching, and they have to like what they’ve seen in the early going from Hector Santiago.  Even Joe Blanton didn’t completely suck in his spring debut, which has to give the team hope.

Still no word on why UCLA starters Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams were suspended for Thursday night’s game vs Oregon.  My guess is that they were caught smoking weed at the Sigma Nu fraternity house, while simultaneously complaining about Coach Alford playing his son too many minutes.  Coach Alford actually said recently that his son, Bryce, was actually just as good as Anderson.  This makes me think that it’s actually Coach Alford that is doing drugs at one of the fraternity houses.  Thursday night’s loss to Oregon was a sad glimpse into the future of Bruins basketball, when Anderson, Adams, and Zach Lavine enter the NBA draft this summer.  Get used to the Alford family, because they are going to have this program wallowing in mediocrity for years.

I was a little underwhelmed by watching the Oscar’s last night.  This could be because I have only seen two of the movies that were nominated, but still, I was hoping for more.  Ellen DeGeneres was ok as a host, but really didn’t make me laugh much.  I realize that fitted suits are a little more in fashion now, however, when did wearing suits that were 3 sizes too small for you become cool?  I’m also unsure why Pharrell thought it would be ok to wear tuxedo shorts, especially when he was nominated.  I was shocked American Hustle and Leo DiCaprio came away empty handed as well.  This is probably the only time a selfie is ok….

Oscar Selfie

And finally, The Walking Dead returned last night for another episode.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it.  This episode was all about Darryl and Beth.  The two of them were constantly escaping walkers, and in between, Darryl wept about losing the others, while Beth was looking to have her first alcoholic drink and keep things positive.

I am usually a big proponent of episodes in which more character depth is provided.  However, this episode was completely useless.  If I never saw the episode, I could probably watch the next episode without a problem.  I suppose the moral was that Beth is more of a happy drunk, while Darryl is an angry drunk, but other than that it was pretty useless.  Hopefully the last 4 episodes will bring a little more to the table.