Monthly Archives: April 2014

Monday Morning Coffee

Warriors Fans

April 28th, 2014

So wait a second… mean to tell me you all just figured out that Donald Sterling is a racist?  Where have you people been? I guess nobody was paying attention when he got sued in 2003 for racial discrimination, or 2006 for housing discrimination, or when Elgin Baylor sued him in 2010 and claimed he had a “plantation mentality”.  It has amazed me that for over thirty years, the NBA never forced this guy out.  Even more amazing is the fact that when David Stern knew all about this, he handed him Chris Paul, and created a suddenly marquee franchise for an owner that didn’t even deserve to have one.  The blame starts with the NBA.  Now, you “Clipper fans”, who are really Laker haters, look like morons for supporting this guy, while those of us that didn’t start watching the NBA yesterday knew better.  Although I do feel for the Clipper players, in many ways, Chris Paul and Doc Rivers also had their heads in the sand when they decided to commit to a franchise whose owner had this well documented history.  Now everyone is outraged at the alleged recording of Donald Sterling’s argument with his girlfriend.  In case you haven’t heard it, here it is:

On the floor, the Clippers were a disaster yesterday.  There’s no question the team just wasn’t focused on basketball when the game started.  There was no defensive intensity, and the mere fact that Doc Rivers said before the game that he wasn’t sure what his future with the team would be if Sterling were still the owner, really told you where their focus was.  This series was going to be tough enough to win without the Sterling distraction.  Now they have to deal with it?  I’m not even sure if the Clippers are going to have a real home court advantage come Tuesday night at Staples, if the fans are going to boycott going to the games.  There’s so much uncertainty surrounding this team right now, its difficult to imagine them playing too much longer in the post season.

So what’s Adam Silver going to do now?  At the very least he’s going to have to fine and suspend Sterling from his involvement with the team, but long term how can he make him sell the team? This isn’t a Frank McCourt situation, where Sterling doesn’t have the money to run the team.  Still, keeping him around the Clippers would insure many fans won’t show up anymore, players and coaches won’t want to be there, and the franchise would be bombed back to hell.  This is a pivotal point in Los Angeles Basketball history.  If the Clippers end up with a new owner, it could further elevate them as a new elite NBA franchise, and further the gap between the Lakers and Clippers.  However, if Sterling stays, we could see the Clippers quickly erode back into a the crummy franchise they were previously.

Meanwhile, according to several sources, the Lakers have internally decided that they are going to bring back Mike D’Antoni for the third year of his contract.  D’Antoni is actually requesting that his 4th year team option already be guaranteed as well, to insure his success, which the Lakers are reluctant to do.  By bringing D’Antoni back, the Lakers have insured that Pau Gasol will not re-sign, and that no real game changing free agents like Carmelo or Lebron will be signing with the team this summer, even if the chances were remote anyway.  Mind you, the chances were remote the Lakers would end up with Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, and Pau Gasol as well, and it happened.  Jim Buss has already declared that he is on the clock to turn this team around, and gave himself three to four years to get it done.  Why not get rid of D’Antoni now if you know he isn’t going to be the guy after next year?  The Lakers are planning on being a lottery team next year, but when Lebron and Carmelo opt out of their contracts this summer, their front office is going to look stupid for not having a recruiting plan, and still having D’Antoni as their coach.

On to the NHL Playoffs, where I most certainly did not expect to be writing about the Kings getting ready for game 6 against the Sharks tonight.  San Jose completely dictated the style of play in games 1 through 3.  In the last two games, the Kings have turned the tables, and slowed down the pace of the game, playing their own physical style.  The problem now is, the Sharks have discovered the Kings weakness: an inability to score against mediocre backup goaltenders.  The Sharks will likely start Alex Stalock in game 6, since he has shut down the Kings so far in his relief appearances.  Look, the Kings are mentally tough as hell, and this is a team to be proud of.  However, LA has played a lot of playoff hockey the last 3 years, and it has taken its toll on them.  The reality is, they’ll be shaking hands tonight at Staples Center, and their chances of winning this series are about as good as my chances of dating Kate Upton.

As for the Ducks, they had an amazing comeback last night in game 6 vs the Stars, which launched them into the 2nd round of the playoffs.  With two minutes left in the third period, it looked like Anaheim was on their way to another game 7 at home, and another Bruce Boudreau choke job.  Instead, Nick Bonino pulled the Ducks within one goal with 2:10 left, then Devante Smith-Pelly tied with 24 seconds left.  In overtime, Bonino struck again, to clinch the series.  There’s definitely moments where I question the Ducks coaching, grit, and mental toughness, but they sure are talented.  The win is also huge, because it buys the Ducks an extra day or two of rest before they have to play the Sharks.  Last year it was the Ducks who robbed us of a Kings vs Ducks 2nd round matchup.  Unfortunately, it’s the Kings who will disappoint us this year.  Here’s Bonino’s winner…

To baseball, where the Dodgers seem to be struggling against everyone other than the Diamondbacks and Padres.  They lost 3 out of 4 to the Phillies, whose entire roster has an AARP card, then they dropped two out of three to the Rockies.  The offense has been wildly inconsistent. Only three teams have struck out more times than the Dodgers, they haven’t been clutch with runners in scoring position, and they are very dependent on the long ball.  Then there’s the defense, which has made appalling 23 errors in 25 games.  The starting pitching has been phenomenal, and figures to get better when Clayton Kershaw gets back, but the back end of the bullpen has been shakier than a Malaysian airline.  It’s early, and the Dodgers issues aren’t disastrous by any means, but they need to be careful, or else they could find themselves needing to make up ground in the NL West soon.

You know what I learned last night?  No, not that the Angels bullpen sucks.  We already knew that. It’s that Masahiro Tanaka isn’t that good.  How good can he be when he’s giving up a home run to David Freeze?  Despite getting crappy production at third base, things aren’t so bad for the Angels.  They are third in the majors in runs scored, and 1st in home runs.  Their starting pitchers have been decent too, giving them lots of innings.  Relief pitchers are a dime a dozen, and as long as the Halos can stay in the race for a while, they may be able to find some bullpen arms at the deadline or in their farm system later in the season.  At least it’s better than what we’ve seen to this point the last few seasons.

Bad news for UCLA basketball this weekend.  Jordan Adams changes his mind more than a 16 year old girl, and he decided to enter the NBA draft.  Now, the Bruins have lost arguably their 3 best players to the NBA in Adams, Kyle Anderson, and Zach Lavine.  The irony of it is, if the Bruins really had that many NBA players on their roster, they probably would have gone further than the sweet 16.  Get ready to see a lot more of Bryce Alford UCLA fans.

Game of Thrones returned last night for the 4th episode of the 4th season, called “Oathkeeper”.  Spoiler alert for those of you who still haven’t seen in.  To recap, Dany opens the episode by getting Grey-Worm to convince the slaves of Meereen to revolt against their masters.  Once they are free and join forces with Dany, she then punishes all the masters by nailing them to crosses.  She did so because the masters did this to numerous children.  Jamie goes to visit Tyrion and realizes that he did not kill Joffrey.  Tyrion also assures Jamie that Sansa could never kill anyone.  We then learn that it was both Little Finger and Lady Olenna that plotted to kill Joffrey, done by placing a poison crystal from Sansa’s necklace in Joffrey’s wine.  Cersei is angry with Jamie for visiting Tyrion and thinking he’s innocent, as well as not keeping closer watch over Tommen.  Margery sneaks into Tommen’s room in the middle of the night to begin to build a secret bond with him.  Jamie sends out Brienne to find Sansa and protect her, although Cersei wants her head.  Jon recruits members of The Night’s Watch to go to Craster’s keep to get re-inforcements, but he has a hunch Bran is there too.  He’s right, because Bran and his buddies were captured and held hostage there.  Finally, in the last scene, a White Walker takes Craster’s baby, lays it on some ice and another White Walker picks it up.  The White Walker touches the baby and its eyes turn blue.

This episode was much more interesting than the previous one.  As I suspected, Lady Olenna was involved in the murder of King Joffrey, although I didn’t see Little Finger’s involvement coming.  His motives still aren’t fully clear to anyone.  I love the fact that Dany’s army is getting bigger, because she is getting that much closer to interacting with the people of Westeros.  It figures that Jon and Bran will soon be re-united, or one of them will probably die, given the way the show goes.  It’s amazing how slowly, Jamie Lannister is becoming a far more lik-able character than before.  After he said goodbye to Brienne, I do wonder if at some point, the two of them will kindle some type of romance.  That might have sounded crazy before, but not so much anymore.  It’s amazing how all Margery cares about is being The Queen, and will do whatever she has to in order to have the throne.  As for The White Walkers, they look scary, but they are so far north, I’m just not seeing where they will play a factor.  Can they even survive in a warm climate?

Mad Men also returned last night for episode 3 of Season 7.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it.  Let’s recap quickly.  Don receives a phone call from Megan’s agent, about her frantic behavior in auditions, and immediately flies out to see her.  Megan confronts him about why he’s still living in New York, and reverting to his “old ways”, but then Don admits he hasn’t been going to work.  Megan kicks him out, and Don flies back to New York to meet with a rival agency.  After getting a formal offer, he takes it back to Roger in his hotel room, who lets him have his job back.  When Don arrives at work, it’s as awkward as can be.  Nobody is prepared for his return, as Roger didn’t tell anyone.  Everyone from Joan, to Peggy, to the rest of the partners are not comfortable with Don returning, but they agree to bring him back because it’s too expensive to let him go.  They also give Don some humiliating terms upon his return: he reports to Lou, can’t be alone with clients, can’t drink outside of client meetings, and must stick to the script.  He agrees.  Meanwhile, Betty takes a field trip with Bobby, but is infuriated when he trades her sandwich away for some candy.  Betty takes her anger to the dinner table after the field trip, and expresses her displeasure to her husband.

This was a great episode.  What is Don thinking?  Why would he take his old job back under such humiliating conditions, when he can just take a job in California and fix his problems with Megan? I’m sure Don’s competitiveness is driving him, and he believes that when it’s over, he will be back on top.  Also, seeing Betty snap at Bobby has to be a reminder that you probably aren’t as bad a parent as you think, if you have kids.  Betty once again, let’s her selfishness ruin the bonding opportunity with her son, and further damages their relationship.  I felt like the theme of the episode was women not taking news well.  Peggy and Joan hate the fact that Don is coming back, Megan handles her Hollywood rejections badly, and Betty just can’t seem to handle a simple bonding experience with her son.  An entertaining episode, and looking forward to seeing more of season 7.

Mad Men episode 3


Monday Morning Coffee

Los Angeles at San Jose, Game 1

April 20th, 2014

What the hell have I been watching from the LA Kings?  I could swear I stepped into a time machine, and I’m watching the 1980’s Kings teams taking a beating from the Oilers and Flames.  Where the hell is the team that was the #1 defense in the NHL this season?  LA is making the Sharks 3rd and 4th line players look like the 2nd coming of Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier.  Where are the Kings goal scores? Paging captain Dustin Brown?  Hello Mike Richards?? Care to show up Anze Kopitar?  I realize the Kings were down 2-0 to the Blues in the first round last year, but keep in mind, they narrowly lost those games.  If the Kings are going to come back in this series, they are going to have to start by being more physical.  The Kings have been knocked around more than if they were dating Bobby Brown.  We better see a completely different Kings team on Tuesday night at Staples, or their season will be over on Thursday night.  Yesterday my nieces nephews went searching for eggs.  Meanwhile, the Kings laid one.

Meanwhile, the Ducks haven’t had too many problems with with Stars.  Anaheim jumped out to a big lead in game 1, got a brief scare, but held on for the win.  In game 2, the Stars tried to bring the heat, but the Ducks had too much fire power.  I think it’s safe to say Ryan Getzlaf has had a wild week.  He took a slap shot to the jaw, attended the birth of his third child, then scored a goal to help the Ducks win game 2.  Then there’s Frederik Anderson, who is refusing to give the starting goaltender job back to Jonas Hiller.  Anderson has been pretty solid through the first two games, and as long as the Ducks keep winning, there’s no way Bruce Boudreau can go back to Hiller.  The Stars may be able to steal a game in Dallas, but this series shouldn’t take longer than 5 games.

Those LA Clippers sure know how to disappoint.  Here they were on Saturday afternoon, with a chance to completely steal the Jock Talk LA headlines, as well as the LA sports spotlight.  Instead, they drop game 1 to the Warriors in disappointing fashion, losing home court in their best of 7 first round series.  I realize that Blake Griffin and Chris Paul were in serious foul trouble, but that wasn’t the problem.  The Clippers execution at the end of the game looked a lot like the last two seasons. In other words, give the ball to Chris Paul, and hope for the best.  The Warriors knew this, and immediately double teamed CP3 every possession in the last minute.  Now that Doc Rivers is the Clippers coach, I think most of us thought the offense would be a little less predictable down the stretch.  With game 2 at home and down 1-0, it’s really a must win for the Clipp Show.

Thank god the Lakers season is over.  Can anyone really blame Kobe Bryant for leaving a day early to go on vacation with his family?  Maybe he should apologize to his all his bum teammates, most of whom won’t even be on the team next season?  Not really.  Jim Buss has proclaimed that if the Lakers aren’t contending for championships within 3-4 years, he will step aside from basketball operations.  I’ve got news for you Jim, if you don’t fire Mike D’Antoni now, make a fantastic lottery pick this summer, and find a way to acquire a superstar or two, they’ll need to find your replacement.

My goodness…..what has happened to the Indiana Pacers?  Five road teams ended up winning game 1 of the NBA Playoffs.  This is starting to feel like the NHL Playoffs.  Then again, maybe the higher seeds are a little overrated this year.

On to baseball, where the Dodgers keep rolling, and abusing the Diamondbacks.  The Dodgers took another two out of three from Arizona over the weekend.  Yesterday was the Yasiel Puig show, when the Cuban sensation made a spectacular play by throwing out a runner at 2nd base, and then hit a 3-run home run.  None of the Dodgers outfielders have really gotten it going yet. When that happens, LA is going to run away with the division, because they have a war chest of pitching, that has been lights out.  The Dodgers even got 5 shutout innings from Josh Beckett yesterday.  There are 5 guys on the Dodgers who are capable of winning and MVP.  As long as everyone is healthy, there’s no reason this team shouldn’t be contending for a World Series crown.

As for the Angels, they had a tough weekend, losing two of three in Detroit.  The starting pitching hasn’t been all that bad, but the bullpen is pretty horrendous.  It’s going to be all about the offense for this team, and that is something to feel good about.  They lead the majors in slugging percentage, and are 2nd in runs scored.  Unfortunately, 12 of the next 15 games will be against the Nationals, Yankees, and Rangers. The fans are giving Mike Scioscia a lot of heat these days, but I’m still not really sure why.  He’s doing the best he can with the cards he’s been dealt by Dipoto and Moreno.  It’s gotta be awkward for Scioscia to be managing a team that doesn’t have a pen, not a lot of team speed, and isn’t great defensively.  It just isn’t part of his identity.

There is definitely some important to TV shows to recap this week, starting with Game of Thrones. In the aftermath of the death of King Joffrey, we see Sansa escape courtesy of Lord Peter Baelish, and we find out that he was involved in the plot to kill the King.  Margery wonders if she’s still the queen, and Lady Olenna convinces her that she still is, while showing some sympathy for Joffrey’s family.  Joffrey’s little brother, King Tommen is lectured by Tywin about what it’s going to take for him to be the next great King.  Meanwhile, as Cersei weeps over the loss of Joffrey, Jamie tries to console her, and ends up returning to his incestual ways by screwing Cersei right by the coffin.  Aarya and The Hound find shelter, then The Hound mugs the farmer the took them in.  The Wildlings wage war against Northern peasantry in hopes of drawing The Night’s Watch away from the wall.  Then Danaery’s gives the speech of a lifetime in an attempt to win over another community.

This episode was a bit slower after the death of Joffrey.  Clearly, Lord Baelish was in on the plot to kill Joffrey, but it couldn’t have been just him.  I still think Lady Olenna helped him do it.  There’s plenty of incentive for Baelish to want Sansa by his side, and for Lady Olenna to want a new King by Margery’s side.  King Tommen has the feel of a better King than Joffrey, but he’s a Lannister, which still makes him a villain in most people’s minds.  We also see a return of the unlikeable, incestual version of Jamie Lannister.  Danaery’s still feels like one of the last few “good guys” in the show, but she has the same leadership qualities as Rob Stark, and we all know what his fate was.

Mad Men also returned for the 2nd episode of the final season last night.  To recap this Valentines Day themed episode, Peggy is greeted by flowers at the office, and she thinks they are from Ted.  Later on she discovers the flowers weren’t for her, and after some other secretaries claimed the flowers weren’t for them, eventually Shirley admits they were from her fiance, which angers Peggy.  Sally loses her handbag, and eventually looks for her dad at the office.  She awkwardly learns he isn’t at the office, and wonders what happened.  Eventually she meets him at home, and then confronts Don about his lies about his job.  The two eventually go to dinner and have a good heart to heart.  Don drops Sally back at school, and they are both pleased with how the evening went.  Other office drama during the episode included Lou being upset that Sally came by to inquire about Don while Dawn was out.  Peggy asks Joan that her secretary be removed, and Pete starts to feel useless.  Don is also attracting interest from other firms.

In many ways this was really a feel good episode.  It started out looking like like a bigger fallout between Sally and Don was coming.  However, by the end of the episode, not only is their relationship strengthened, but you wonder if its a moment that actually help Don get his life back on track.  Meanwhile, Peggy simply can’t work with any of these secretaries, let alone Shirley, after her complaint to Joanne.  I’m beginning to find the Peggy story less and less intriguing as the show goes on.  It’s been a slow first two episodes, but I’m curious to see how Don’s character evolves as the show winds down.





Monday Morning Coffee

Adrian Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig

April 14th, 2014

The Dodgers look pretty damn good.  The Boys in Blue swept a 3 game set from the Diamondbacks over the weekend.  Adrian Gonzales is killing it, with homers in 4 straight games.  Dee Gordon looks like the best 2nd baseman in baseball right now.  Dan Haren has been a very solid starting pitcher, and the bullpen has practically been lights out.  Wait until Matt Kemp starts hitting home runs on days of the week other than Sunday.  Oh, and who could forget that LA is off to a 9-4 start with Clayton Kershaw and Brian Wilson on the DL.  This team is very good, and probably going to get a lot better.  Oh, and don’t be fooled by the Giants 8-4 start.  Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Ryan Vogelsong have had their problems in the early going.

Meanwhile, things aren’t so bad for the Angels either.  They took two out of three against the Mets over the weekend, including a 14-2 beat down of New York yesterday.  The Halos are an unspectacular 6-6 so far.  However, the good news is that they are scoring plenty of runs, and nobody else in the American League is setting the world on fire right now.  The bad news is that their ace, Jared Weaver, is declining faster than Tom Cruise’s acting career, and the bullpen is still terrible.  Here’s to the Halos continuing to light up the scoreboard, because I doubt their pitching is going to hold up.

Let’s go to the hardwood, where there is a critical basketball game in the NBA tonight in Utah.  The Lakers will be taking on the Jazz, in what I would definitely call “a must lose” for both teams. That’s right folks.  The Jazz and Lakers are tied for the 4th worst record in the league, and both of these teams badly need to lose this game, to improve their chances at getting the top pick in this summers NBA draft.  Hopefully LA won’t do anything stupid, like try to win tonight’s game.  I’m sure the players will be trying very hard, but good thing Mike D’Antoni will be coaching, or the Lake Show might have a real shot to win tonight.

Classy move by Lakers center Robert Sacre last night.  The first thing he said in his post game interview was, “I have to thank the fans, because our games have still been sold out despite our tough season.”  That’s nice of you to say Robert, but we’re actually a bunch of suckers, who bought our tickets at the beginning of the season, but just haven’t been showing up to most of the games.  You probably didn’t notice because you’re just excited to be getting minutes in the NBA, let alone for the Lakers.

As for the Clippers, they are gearing up for the playoffs, and have the #3 seed locked up in the Western Conference.  The Clipp Show will match up against either Dallas or Golden State in round 1, but it probably won’t matter, as they’ll likely dispatch of them quickly.  The real test will begin in round 2 vs Oklahoma City, which we got a taste of last week.  The Clipps came up on the short end, but LA has to like its chances if Blake Griffin keeps elevating his game.  Speaking of Blake, he will likely get screwed out of a 1st team all NBA selection, since you can only vote for two forwards and 1 center.  That means Lebron James and Kevin Durant will take it, and the center will go to Joakim Noah or Dwight Howard.  How does the NBA let the fans vote for 3 front court players of any kind for the all-star game, but not for its all NBA selections?  Blake is clearly an MVP candidate this year, and should be a first team all NBA player.

To the ice, where the Kings are ready for their playoff matchup with the Sharks this week.  LA won’t have the benefit of home ice against San Jose this year, but something tells me they won’t need it.  The Kings forwards are far bigger, and more physical than the Sharks defense, and I expect LA to impose their will several times.  The Kings will also have a huge advantage in goal, not just because they have the new Jennings Trophy Winner, Jonathan Quick, but because Anti Niemi has been pretty crappy of late.

The Ducks managed to clinch the top seed in the west, with a shootout victory over the Kings on Saturday.  I don’t see Anaheim getting upset in the first round this year, with their matchup against Dallas.  The Ducks are simply too skilled, and too talented, to get upset in the early going.  Great to see Teemu Selanne get a nice farewell tour in his last regular season game yesterday against the Avs.  Selanne’s role has diminished quite a bit this year, however, he deserves to be honored for his brilliant career.  Although Teemu has become the Brett Favre of hockey with his constant retirement talk, part of me wants to see him have some playoff success in his last year, because he just seems like a pretty good dude.

Game of Thrones and Mad Men are on DVR.  Boy do I have a lot of TV to catch up on!

Monday Morning Coffee

Matt Kemp

April 7th, 2014

The start of the 2014 baseball season has a similar feel to it as last season for the Dodgers.  Despite last night’s win, the Boys in Blue came out of this weekend black and blue from their battle with their hated rivals, the San Francisco Giants.  LA lost two out of three.  Pitching is supposed to be the Dodgers strength, but Hyun-Jin Ryu was sliced and diced like sashimi on Friday, and Paul Maholm got knocked around like a battered housewife on Saturday.  Some early injuries combined with that trip to Australia, could make this a very slow slow start for LA.  It’s no wonder the Dodger players were bitching about the trip to Australia.  The trip gave Clayton Kershaw a back injury, which he’ll need a month to recover from.  It gave reliever Brian Wilson and elbow injury, and it clearly fatigued Ryu.  On top of that, Josh Beckett can’t even walk through the clubhouse without slamming his thumb in a door, adding to the injury woes.

Then there’s Yasiel Puig.  As great as this dude is, he’s got more drama surrounding him than a high school teenage girl.  He shows up late on opening day and gets benched, then suffers an injury the next day, and earlier in the week was calling team meetings to ask his teammates how he can be better.  I’m suddenly getting “Puig fatigue” from this circus.  This whole week is just more proof that the Dodgers need not 4, but 5 solid outfielders on their roster.  You never know what the Puig circus brings, nobody really knows if Matt Kemp can stay health and beast like he used to, Andre Ethier can’t hit lefties, and Carl Crawford is still pretty fragile.  In any case, there’s plenty of at bats for all of these guys, but hopefully they start making the most of them, or the Dodgers will be playing catch up in the division against the Giants.

As for the Angels, I’m thinking they should have been the team to sign a new cable deal, so that 70% of their fans couldn’t watch their horrendous games.  I realize “it’s early”, but I also said this after seeing the same crap early on the last two seasons.  After 6 games, the Halos are already in last place in the AL West, and their team ERA is in the bottom third in major league baseball.  It’s one thing for the back of the rotation and the bullpen to stink, but if Jared Weaver and CJ Wilson are going to get lit up, then the Halos season will be over by the end of the month.  The pitching isn’t the only problem either.  Albert Pujols and David Freese have yet to produce at the plate, and to really rub salt in the wound, Mark Trumbo leads the majors in home runs and RBI’s in Arizona.  Sorry Angel fans, we’ve seen this movie before, and it doesn’t have a happy ending.

On to the NBA, where it baffles me why ESPN and TNT continue to put the Lakers on national television, when the team is nothing more than a pile of bird crap.  The Lake Show got dominated once again by the Clippers yesterday at Staples Center, 120-97  The Clippers need to finish the season strong, to be sure they maintain at least the #3 seed in the West.  If the Clippers were to fall to the 4th seed, they would likely face San Antonio in the second round of the playoffs, and probably get taken to school.   The Clipps stand a much better chance against Oklahoma City in round 2, and might even get lucky, and have Houston knock out the Spurs before the Western Conference Finals.  Then again, Tim Duncan will probably make Dwight Howard cry before that series is over, so it’s probably wishful thinking.  Good thing the Clippers have another week to get Jamal Crawford and Danny Granger healthy.

As for the Lakers, they have just over a week left in their disastrous season.  With only 5 games left, LA will be very fortunate to finish with the 5th worst record in all of basketball.  It’s a virtual certainty that the Lakers won’t finish with a worse record than Boston, Orlando, Philadelphia, or Milwaukee.  However, their battle with Utah in a week will be critical for lottery position.  This means the Lakers will have to get lucky in order to get one of the top 3 picks in the draft.  Off the floor, most season ticket holders should be outraged at the fact that the Lakers are asking for renewal payments in mid May this year.  This is even before the lottery, before free agency, and possibly in the midst of a coaching search.  Usually, these payments happen in July, so the fans have even more to complain about, in addition to Jimmy Buss.

Yesterday, JR Smith broke the NBA record for 3 pointers attempted in a game, with 22.  Honestly, I’m shocked that it took him this long to attain the record.

On to the ice, where the Kings have clinched a playoff spot, but have lost their last two games.  With 5 games left, this is the point of the season, where I’m going to be unhappy with the results whatever happens.  If the Kings are winning these meaningless games, I’m going to be wonder if they are peaking too soon.  If they lose these games, I’m going to be pissed because they aren’t building enough momentum for the playoffs.  These last 5 games also make me extremely nervous that some of LA’s key players could go down with some injuries, which nearly happened when Drew Doughty suffered a shoulder injury the other night.  Fortunately, the injury wasn’t serious.  What was amazing Saturday, was the fact Slava Voynov scored.  The last time that happened, Malaysian plans were still landing at their destinations.  This Matt Greene injury looked painful…

Meanwhile, the Ducks have two games in hand on the San Jose Sharks, so they will probably hold them off to finish 1st in the Pacific Division.  However, this team has looked very unimpressive the last 3 games.  They were down 4-0 against Winnipeg, and needed a miraculous rally to win.  They needed to rally from 2 goals down to beat the Oilers, and they got destroyed by Nashville, then lost to the Oilers last night.  The Ducks aren’t going to be able to come from behind against playoff teams.  We’ve seen this time and time again from Bruce Boudreau’s teams: amazing regular seasons, followed by late season collapses and playoff failures.  I’m not saying this is going to be another year of the same story, but I’m saying it might be another year of the same story.

Kentucky vs UConn?  Yes, I’m sure we all had that in our brackets.  I’m taking the Wild Cats tonight.  Shabazz Napier has been phenomenal, but the Kentucky freshman have been gelling at the right time, and I trust the experience of John Calipari over Kevin Ollie.

And finally, the season four premier of Game of Thrones took place last night on HBO.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have not seen it yet.  To recap quickly, Tywin Lannister begins the episode by melting Valerian steel onto a sword.  We learn that this sword belonged to Robb Stark, who was murdered in the last season.  Jamie Lannister’s ability to remain in the Kings Guard is questioned by Tywin and King Joffrey.  Cersei is angry with Jamie for leaving her for so long.  Sansa is still miserable, and a maid discovers there is drama between Tyrion and Shae, and the maid reports this back to Cersei.  In the north, the wildlings are planning to march on Castle Black, and we are introduced to the Thenns, who are cannibals.  Jon Snow faced some type of discipline for his actions, but is spared his life.  Daario tries to get back into Khaleesi’s good graces, and Arya gets revenge by killing the man who killed her friend, with the help of The Hound.

It’s great to have the show back.  This episode really made the viewer have to re-evaluate where all the threats to the Lannister’s empire were coming from.  Interestingly enough, there aren’t too many people in the Lannister family that can see these threats, other than maybe Tyrion.  The threats seem so far away at this point, that its very difficult to see how this is going to play out.  Khaleesi seems a world away from everyone, and Stanis Baratheon doesn’t even have an army anymore.  I often struggle to follow what is going on in the North, but that also seems like a world away, so it’s hard to even imagine a war taking place with the Lannisters and the far North.  It’s a great start to the season, and looking forward to the next episode.

Khalesi and Dragons