Monthly Archives: February 2016

Monday Morning Coffee

February 29th, 2016

It’s not very often you see Mitch Kupchak look that distraught.  Jeannie Buss subtly reminded everyone last week that her brother, Jim Buss, is running out of time.  Back in 2014, Jim foolishly claimed that the Lakers would be at least back in the West Finals within 3 years.  There’s no way that’s happening by next year, which means Jim is toast.  However, the real danger here is that since Jim knows he could be out next year, isn’t there a greater risk for him to do something reckless and desperate? That makes me more nervous than anything.  So does the idea that he could be responsible for hiring another head coach this summer, when his last three have failed horribly.  It makes more sense to get rid of him now to avoid that situation.  I’m also not sure what this means for Kupchak.  Is he tied to Jim’s timeline?  I hope not.   There aren’t many good GM’s in the league who have assembled championship teams but Kupchak is one.  Heck there are only three teams in the whole league that could possibly win a title this year.  Hopefully the Lakers don’t lose sight of that if and when they stabilize their front office.  Either way, that’s probably a bigger priority than anything else for the franchise.

The Lakers got their brains beat in on Friday by Memphis.  Meanwhile, Kobe was probably sitting at home in Newport Coast watching Netflix.  At best, he had the Laker game on his IPad while Netflix binging.  Not that I can blame him.  He’s probably earned the right not to have to deal with this crap after 20 years and 5 championships.

The Clippers are running out of time.  They appear locked into the 4th seed in the West, and have about 6 more weeks to get their chemistry straight.  They may be playing well, but once Austin Rivers comes back from injury, and eventually Blake Griffin, they’ll have to figure out how to play their best basketball.   All that on top of getting the recently acquired Jeff Green to fit in as well.

Ok, Steph Curry is out of his mind.  He is shooting 66% from anywhere between 28 feet and half court this season.  Do you realize that’s way better than DeAndre Jordan’s free throw percentage? That’s no typo.  He’s told people privately that he feels like he can pull up from just inside half court all the time and make a reasonable amount of his shots, but wouldn’t do it for the sake of playing team ball.  I’m starting to think that he misses on purpose at times to blend in with humanity.   You miss every shot you don’t take, except if you’re Steph.  Then you make those too.  Steph just can’t get any love from the grumpy old NBA legends though like Oscar Robertson and Phil Jackson.  They poo-poo everything he does, and seem to think he’s some flash in the pan.  Apparently this just isn’t impressive enough for them…..

Speaking of underachieving basketball teams, UCLA put together another embarrassing weekend of ball.  The Bruins dropped road games to Cal and Stanford, and are almost assured of missing the NCAA Tournament.  UCLA has lost to so many teams it shouldn’t this year that Steve Alford really should start updating his LinkedIn page, so he can find a new coaching gig.  That probably won’t happen though with stud recruits TJ Leaf and Lonzo Ball coming in next year.  If UCLA had real options to upgrade their head coach, keeping the recruits wouldn’t be an issue if they fired Alford.   That just goes to show you how far the Bruin basketball program has fallen.

Remember everything I said about USC basketball a couple of weeks ago? Ok good, I don’t either.  The Trojans making the NCAA Tournament is no longer a sure thing.  They looked like a completely different team against Stanford and Cal, and the offense just isn’t putting up the numbers it did a few weeks ago.   It’s possible that after a couple of weeks of game tape, other Pac 12 coaches are figuring out how to defend these guys.  That of course doesn’t apply to Steve Alford, who has no idea how to defend anything.  The Trojans have lost 5 of their last 6, and have been getting crushed of late.  They could easily be losers of 7 of their last 8 by the end of next week.  Talk about a bad time to through a complete free fall.  It’s looking like the Pac 12 Tournament may be way more important for the Trojans than we thought.

What a disaster the Dodgers Time Warner Cable Channel is becoming.  Now they’ve decided to cut their number of spring training telecasts in half, even though they are claiming it’s not a cost cutting move.  Really? A network that was made for 24-7 Dodger coverage isn’t going to be televising some of its actual games? I’ve heard some people suggest that commissioner Rob Manfred needs to get involved and force a deal to be made.  Other than telling the cable providers and TWC to get in a room, it’s not like he can force the providers to buy the channel, or force TWC to lower their asking price.  However, he should encourage them to think more out of the box to solve the problem, like streaming their games for a subscription fee.  I don’t blame the Dodgers for creating the channel, but they need to work harder to solve the problem, or many fans won’t forgive them being that it’s Vin Scully’s last year.

Yasiel Puig is all flash and no substance.  Now he wants to fly a helicopter to every Dodger game so he can avoid traffic and be on time.  Too bad FAA rules prohibit this.  Here’s a better idea: Leave earlier like the rest of your teammates, who mange to be on time.  If Puig actually lived up to his potential, I’m sure the Dodgers would find more ways to accommodate him.  Right now he’s just a show boating pain in the ass, who needs to be traded as soon as his trade value increases again.

In NFL offseason news, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is now demanding a trade.  Chip Kelly is probably dying to replace him with a white quarterback.  Kaepernick’s trade value is currently 3 lottery tickets, a 6 pack, and a bottle of Mike’s Hard Lemonade.    The Redskins are trying to sign Kirk Cousins to a long term deal.  That’s like settling down with your ex after she’s put on a few pounds, after you were shot down by a couple of super models that wouldn’t give you the time of day.  Meanwhile, Peyton Manning reportedly has not decided whether he is going to retire or not.  Obviously, Manning has had a few too many of those Budweiser’s he was talking about.

The Kings really got screwed in their battle last night with the Ducks at Honda Center.  LA had a goal overturned by the referree in the third period when the Ducks challenged the play, which was ultimately ruled offside.  That call took so long to make, in the meantime, Leo DiCaprio actually won an Oscar while it was going on.  The goal would have made it 4-3, altering the momentum, but the Kings ended up losing 4-2.  Even though home ice advantage doesn’t really matter in the NHL, the Ducks are on the verge of taking 1st place from the Kings in the Pacific.  Anaheim is finally scoring to go along with its stellar defense.  Meanwhile, LA has been scrambling to add depth before the trade deadline.  I like the move to bring back defenseman Rob Scuderi, but I was really hoping they could add someone with a little more scoring, other than the Kris Versteeg trade they made last night.  By the way, on yesterday’s telecast on NBC Sports, Pierre McGuire actually said “Nick Shore can’t get it up and David Perron, he can get it in,” without an ounce of self-awareness.

I really think that Donald Trump might break the internet before his Presidential campaign ends.  Never have I seen so much animosity over social media directed toward politics and him in general over the last few weeks. The irony of it all is that his odds of being our next President are only going up.  Every debate that he looks stumped, embarrassed, and outmatched, he ends up gaining 15% of the voters anyway.  Maybe Rubio and Cruz would have more success if they actually discussed the issues in every debate rather than make it a pissing match.  Wolf Blitzer has about as much control of these debates as Kim Kardashian has when she’s around NBA players.  If Trump ends up going up against Hillary in the fall, I’m still not entirely convinced she would win.   We definitely didn’t think he would make it this far and yet here he is.   The man is a complete disaster, and his success thus far is exposing how uneducated most voters are. However, you’ve gotta admit politics have never been more entertaining.

The People vs OJ Simpson was phenomenal again last week.  The episode focused on how Robert Shapiro ended up losing his role as the lead attorney, as well as the media circus that developed around the trial, particularly during the jury selection process.  Marcia Clark and the prosecution totally underestimated the power of the media, ultimately losing the battle early on in the court of public opinion.  Then again, how could she have anticipated it? The OJ Simpson trial changed the way news was covered, and eventually lead to larger scale media coverage when it was over.  I do wonder if the show will end up covering the affair between Clark and Chris Darden, which we found out about years later.  As for Shapiro, it’s easy to see how his arrogance and obliviousness to race made him more unlikeable to his fellow team members.  I’m looking forward to seeing where the show goes from here.

He did it! Leo DiCaprio finally won the Oscar for best actor.  Given his bad luck, i was expecting a giant earthquake to hit Los Angeles right before the announcement was made.  I think we can have a good argument as to whether or not Spotlight should have won the best picture.  However, I don’t think anybody would argue that Michael Keaton wasn’t hammered.  Alejandro González Iñárritu notched his second straight Oscar in the directing category.  You would think you wouldn’t be rushed off stage like he was if that happened.  Chris Rock also killed it with his opening monologue.  He didn’t shy away from the race issue.  He went right at it unapologetically, poking fun at both black people and white people, and nobody could have done it better.  Of course those super sensitive types might have taken offense to it.  Here are the best parts of the opening monologue….

Finally, The Walking Dead went down on AMC last night with another exciting episode.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see the episode, so read no further if you are going to watch it later on your DVR.  This episode was all about Jesus taking Rick’s group to meet up with his, the Hilltoppers.  That resulted in a negotiation between Maggie and their leader, Gregory, for supplies.  After a bloody conflict ensued, we learn that the Hilltoppers are being extorted by a group called The Saviors, led by the infamous Negan.  Maggie negotiates a deal to kill Negan and his men, in exchange for half the Hilltoppers supplies.  I hate the idea of Rick’s group seeking out conflict.  It’s somewhat cocky on their part to believe that they can handle the Saviors, just because they handled the Wolves and the Governor, among others.  I don’t think there’s any question what Maggie meant though: “it’s going to cost us”.  They can do it, but it likely means that they are going to lose a group member they love in the process, which they are fully aware of.  On the other hand, if they don’t kill Negan, eventually he will probably find them, extort them, and eventually kill them.  Rick really knows how to make a great first impression doesn’t he? He kills a couple of Hilltoppers moments after meeting them when his group is threatened.  He killed someone in Alexandria, and beat up Jesus when they first met.  I can even remember how much of a punk Darryl thought he was for beating down his brother, Merle, when they first met in season 1.  The remaining episodes in this season have me very nervous, but excited to see how this all plays out.

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 11 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon – The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 11 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC


Monday Morning Coffee

Byron folded arms

February 22nd, 2016

Ok Byron Scott haters.  You’ve got me.  I can’t defend the man anymore.  There was nothing wrong with making D’Angelo Russell have to work for playing time.  There was nothing wrong with making Julius Randle have to earn it either.  Now there’s only 27 games left.  They should have been starting and playing more minutes to speed up their development about 20 games ago.  Nobody was ever going to judge Byron on how many games he won this year.  It was all about player development, and making those young players feel good about what they were working toward.  The comments and behavior from Jordan Clarkson and Russell at last week’s All-Star game were a huge indictment of Scott’s relationship with players the Lakers are going to be building with for the foreseeable future.  They hate their coach.  Now, Mitch Kupchak even sees that as well.  Several months ago, the Lakers GM said that Scott was doing a great job under the circumstances.  Last week, he gave absolutely no such support, and said that Byron is the Lakers coach and “we’ll let you know when that changes.”  Byron isn’t nearly as bad of a coach as you’re all making him out to be.  However, it’s safe to say that he is not the right coach for this team moving forward.

Kobe Bryant is really something.  If I dislocated my finger, I’d be sitting at home for weeks.  He’s back in action 1 minute later.  He’s doing it all for the fans who want to see him one last time……

Across the hall, Doc Rivers strikes again.  This time, Rivers traded for Jeff Green, another completely ineffective small forward to stick in his lineup for the rest of the season.  Every trade deadline, somebody is trying to trade for Green, thinking that he is the “missing piece” for a championship contender.  It didn’t work out in Boston when Rivers was there, it didn’t work out in Memphis, so I’m not sure why anybody would think it would work in LA (especially Rivers himself).  The funny part is, Lance Stephenson was just starting to turn it around and help the Clippers depleted bench, then Doc gets rid of him.  Doc probably doesn’t care about any future draft picks because CP3 and Blake Griffin might not be here in another 18 months.  Based on what we saw Saturday night against the Warriors, with or without Blake, it doesn’t look like the Clipps are gonna get past the 2nd round again.

The NBA trade deadline came and went last Thursday, and it was completely uneventful. It was also a reminder that NBA General Managers have absolutely no balls.  The Chicago Bulls have a bunch of front court players that will be free agents like Joakim Noah an Pau Gasol and did nothing.  I guess they are content losing to Lebron James in the playoffs every spring.  Oklahoma City is 18 months away from losing Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, yet didn’t have the guts to add an all-star like Gasol, who would have been a perfect missing piece.  The Toronto Raptors are clearly the 2nd best team in the East, but did nothing to improve their chances of beating the Cavs in the conference finals.  It’s no wonder that only a handful of NBA teams have won championships in the last 30 years.  Team executives are gutless!

In college hoops, does anybody have any idea who the favorite is to win the NCAA Title? Vegas will tell you that it’s Carolina, Oklahoma, or Michigan State, but that seems more like a kiss of death these days.  When you get ranked #1 in the polls, it seems like your stay there is even shorter than a Kardashian marriage.  Too bad UCLA won’t be participating in the madness of March after taking another body blow to their season against Utah.  USC will be in the mix, but their chances of winning the Pac 12 have faded.  Hopefully we can look forward to more of this stuff from college basketball fans in March…..


I realize that trying to find a franchise quarterback in the NFL these days is like trying to win the Powerball.  However, the Rams would be foolish to go into the season with Case Keenum as their starter.  The likelihood of Brock Osweiler hitting the market is pretty unlikely, but the Rams would be wise to take a flier on Robert Griffin III.  It wasn’t that long ago that RGIII was actually a decent quarterback.  He certainly wasn’t the same after he tore his ACL, but the man might still be an effective player if given the chance.  There’s certainly nobody in the draft that would fall to the Rams at #15, unless you’re a believer in Cardale Jones, and want to take him in round 2.  However, RGIII is a low risk, high reward move they would be wise to make.

In baseball, Dodgers President of baseball operations, Andrew Friedman, did an interview with the LA Times last week, with his thoughts on the season and the Dodgers plan moving forward.  After reading that piece, I came away with the impression that Friedman has no understanding of the expectations that are on him in Los Angeles.  He stressed the idea of building the farm system because having an extremely high payroll isn’t sustainable.  That’s ok, but the strong farm system was already in place before Friedman arrived.  He mentioned winning the division title a number of times, as if the General Managers that came before were unable to do that.  In fact, the General Managers that came before him not only kept the farm system strong, but also built teams that won more games and went further than him in the playoffs.  Those executives were fired because they couldn’t put the Dodgers over the top to win a World Championship.  Someone should inform him of this because he’s pretty naive to think otherwise.

Meanwhile, the Angels pitchers and catchers reported to Arizona, but they learned that they may not have Albert Pujols to start the season.  The Halos have a few question marks in their lineup, including 2nd base, 3rd base, and left field, so hopefully Pujols won’t take too long to get back in the lineup and get his game going.  However, I’m not as down on the Angels as most people.  I think their pitching is going to be pretty good this year, and their bullpen seems sturdy enough.  They play in a tough division with the Astros and Rangers, but the Angels showed their roster was good enough to stay in the race against those teams until the final days of the season last year.  It’s no surprise that former Halos GM Jerry Dipoto admitted that he and skipper Mike Scioscia had an unhealthy relationship last year, and disagreed on a number of issues.  It’s pretty early, but it seems as though new GM Billy Eppler and Scioscia are on the same page thus far.  That should provide more stability on the field this season.

The LA Kings just completed a 7 game Grammy road trip in which they went 3-3-1, but there were a number of casualties.  The list includes Jonathan Quick, Marian Gaborik, Anze Kopitar, and any Kings fans’ sobriety.  With the injuries piling up, the Kings lead in the Pacific Division is nearly gone, and both Anaheim and San Jose look poised to blow right past them in the standings.  The Kings have to have Kopitar, Quick, and Drew Doughty in their lineup, or else the team just isn’t a threat to do much.  I mean last week marked the first time I can remember the Kings ever having a lineup consisting of only North American players.  Meanwhile, the Ducks have been on fire since Christmas, sporting the league’s best record since that time.  It was an ugly start, but suddenly, the Ducks look like the contending team we thought they would be.

What another brilliant episode of The People vs OJ Simpson last week.  This episode was focused mostly on Robert Shapiro’s decision to add Johnny Cochran to the defense team, and convincing OJ that it was the right move.  There were two great parts of the episode for me.  The first was the opening scene, where Robert Kardashian is taking his kids to Chin Chin restaurant.  Kardashian reminds all his kids that being honest and being a good person is way more important than fame.  Who didn’t fall out of their chairs laughing when this line was uttered? If only Robert could see how his daughters have capitalized on fame, years after he passed.  Seeing the kids may not be necessary for the OJ story, but it sure does enhance the entertainment value of the show.  I also loved when OJ (played by Cuba Gooding Jr.), asked Robert Shapiro if he “wants to make this a black thing?” when questioning whether or not to add Cochran to the defense team.  He then reminds us how ironic the race issue was in the whole case by saying “I’m not black, I’m OJ!”.  That line was totally over the top, and so is John Travolta in his portrayal of Robert Shapiro, but they do a great job of re-living this whole drama for us.  Looking forward to seeing what’s next!

Finally, another good episode of The Walking Dead went down on AMC last night.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to watch it.  Who saw this one coming? This episode was highlighted by the sudden love affair that emerged between Rick and Michonne.  The funny part is the episode definitely implied that it would happen from the start when we see that she was living with Rick and Carl, but nobody would have imagined that a romantic relationship would have ensued.  Even better is the fact that Michonne has been accepted as family by Carl, who lets her know that if she became a walker, he would make sure he would be the one to kill her since she is like family.  That’s exactly why he didn’t kill Deanna, so he could let her son Spencer do it.  Since Rick and Michonne’s relationship was formed as a result of the apocalypse, as a couple, they will probably do much better than his previous relationships (assuming they can both survive).  In fact, when they both leap out of bed naked and point their guns at the character we know as “Jesus”, that was a perfect example.  I don’t know what to make of this Jesus character.  I’m sure comic followers know where this is going, but he must somehow be connected to Negan, who is obviously evil, so that means he can’t be good.  How did he get to Rick’s bedroom though with Darryl supposedly watching him? What a stupid decision by Rick and Darryl to chase him down when they could have just split with the supplies the group needed.  Overall it was a “lighter episode” for the Walking Dead, but one that still had enough action to keep you engaged.  It was enjoyable, but I’m sure the intensity is going to pick up again very shortly.

Rick and Darryl




Monday Morning Coffee

LeBron James

February 15th, 2015

They should have just called it the “Kobe Classic”.  There wasn’t any defense played, but it was very entertaining nevertheless.  The NBA All-Star game is still arguably the best of the four major sports because it’s a phenomenal showcase of talent.  The athleticism and the dunks are more exciting than anything else you will see in any other exhibition, which is exactly what the fans want.  It was great to see Kobe enjoying himself, and all the players enjoying being a part of Kobe’s final All-Star game as well.  I like how the only shred of heated competition was when Paul George needed one point to break Wilt Chamberlain’s single game All-Star scoring record, but Greg Popovich made sure he was double teamed and couldn’t get the record.  Both coaches allowed the players to draw up plays, and didn’t do much coaching.  Tyronn Lue should be used to this by now because that’s usually what happens to coaches in Cleveland.  What was up with Kobe and Westbrook not giving Drake any love after they were introduced? Then again, Kobe is from Philly, and everybody from Philly hates Drake.  Great halftime performance by Sting.  Meanwhile, the players were all Googling “who is Sting?”  Then there’s this dude who should have been in the dunk contest.  And the best part is he did it in jeans!

That was by far the best All-Star Saturday Night I have ever seen.  Sure there have been greater individual moments over the years, but nothing as competitive in each and every competition that we saw.  The slam dunk contest was the best since Dominque Wilkins vs Michael Jordan in 1988.  When did white people learn to jump like that? Aaron Gordon should have beaten Zach Lavine, and at the very least it should have been a tie.  It’s getting harder and harder to come up with dunks that we haven’t seen, yet those two dudes found a way to show new levels of creativity.  Who says the dunk contest is dead? It’s been brought back to life now.  What more did Gordon need to do to win? Cure cancer and AIDS while completing his dunks?  As for the three point shootout, Klay Thompson was great in edging his teammate Steph Curry.  However, imagine how good Devin Booker is going to be once he hits puberty.  Good for Klay, but Steph is still the best shooter in the world.  We also learned that Draymond Green is no better at basketball than Kevin Hart without Steph Curry on the court.  Since Hart beat Green in a 3 point contest, the Lakers are now looking to sign Hart in free agency this summer.  In the skills challenge, too many guys “play it cool” and don’t compete hard, but Karl Anthony Towns busted his ass to win.  I loved seeing it.  The Timberwolves are now considering moving KAT to point guard and Ricky Rubio to center.  Here are the highlights from one of the best dunk contests ever……

I thought both D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson were great in the Rising Stars challenge.  Both had a shot at the MVP.  Russell shot the lights out and was great at making plays for others in limited playing time.  Clarkson was outstanding as well, but I don’t know what the hell happened to him during the skills competition.  He completely “played it cool” and conceeded his matchup with CJ McCollum.  Makes sense though because the Lakers have been conceding games to their opponents all season.  Of course the battle between D’Angelo and Byron Scott continues.  Byron felt the need to call out D-Lo for his lack of maturity compared to other great point guards he’s coached.  So D’Angelo took a shot back at Byron in priceless fashion in the last 30 seconds of this clip……

There’s plenty of interesting trade rumors out there with the deadline approaching on Thursday.  The biggest one being the rumored three team deal between the Celtics, Knicks, and Cavs.  The Celtics would get Kevin Love, the Cavs would get Carmelo Anthony, and the Knicks would get some of the Celtics assets to build around Kristaps Porzingas.  The Cavs aren’t going to have forever to win a title with Lebron James.  They need to build a roster that can better matchup with the Warriors, and that means adding an elite wing player.  ‘Melo may not be a great defensive player, but he sure would matchup with Draymond Green a lot better than Kevin Love would.  We all know the Celtics want a star player, and the Knicks need to build the right way.  The deal makes a lot of sense for everybody, but probably won’t happen because the trade deadline usually amounts to nothing.

The UCLA basketball season is effectively over after the loss to Arizona on Friday.  Barring a miraculous Pac 12 Conference Tournament win, this team is ticketed for the NIT.  Sure Steve Alford is going to blame the referees for the big free throw disparity on Friday, but that’s just covering up the real issues going on with the Bruins.  There’s a lack of talent, lack of depth, and mediocre coaching that has made the program nearly irrelevant.  Sure there’s a great deal of parity across college basketball right now, but there’s no reason why UCLA should lose some of the games they have this year, to schools that they should be blowing off the floor.  I couldn’t help watch Zach Lavine’s brilliance during the NBA All-Star weekend and wonder how in the hell could Steve Alford limit this kids minutes and not take advantage of his talent while he was in the program?  Too bad that nobody associated with the Bruins athletic program can take a long look in the mirror and give themselves a candid evaluation to turn the program around and put it back where it should be.

Meanwhile, USC basketball is still in great shape.  ESPN’s latest bracketology has them as the 5th seed in the Midwest Region, starting out in Denver.  With the way top ranked teams are losing every week in college basketball, would anybody really be shocked if an athletic team like the Trojans made it to the Final Four? I sure wouldn’t.  Jordan McLaughlin and Julian Jacobs are easily one of the five best backcourts in the country, and USC has an experienced coach in Andy Enfield.  They might not win the Pac 12, but look out come tournament time.  Now if only the Trojan alums knew they actually had a basketball team.

Last week, ESPN’s Keith Law claimed that the Angels farm system was the worst that he has ever seen.  He went on to say that since there is no depth whatsoever that is coming anytime soon, the Angels will need to consider trading Mike Trout in a year or two to fix this problem.  This idea is completely preposterous. The Red Sox traded Babe Ruth.  How did that work out? The Mets traded Nolan Ryan.  How did that work out? I realize that baseball isn’t the NBA, where one player changes the fortunes of your franchise dramatically.  However, prospects are completely overvalued these days in baseball.  You can’t trade a once in a generation talent who is under contract in his prime, for 5 or 6 unproven talents.  The Halos play in a tough division, but they were in playoff contention up until the last few days of the season.  The year before they won the division.  The Angels have a decent team, but their window to win is in the next 3 years, before Albert Pujols decline gets too steep.  Things aren’t nearly as bad for the Halos as most are predicting.  But you don’t trade away superstars for 50 cents on the dollar.

This story about Peyton Manning sexually assaulting a trainer at the University of Tennessee is pretty ugly.  Manning allegedly put his genitals on top of Dr. Jamie Naughright’s head while she was examining him in 1996.  She sued Manning and settled.  Then in 2003 he trashed her in a book, causing her to get fired from her job.  She sued him again, and they settled once more.  This whole incident looks pretty bad for Peyton.  I mean people do stupid things in college, but the details of the story make it look like he’s a total liar, and a complete ass hole.  The one thing I can’t figure out is why Peyton didn’t like Naughright.  It’s not clear, but it was apparent that since Manning arrived at Tennessee in 1994, these two had it out for each other.  This is especially bad news for Peyton at a time where his career is probably going to end, and we should be celebrating his accomplishments.  Instead, as more details come to light, we’re probably going to be tearing him down, as we often do with superstars.  I hope we learn more, but so far, this looks really bad for Peyton, and even worse for Tennessee, which looks like another SEC University that is so obsessed with football, that they will protect the players even under the most immoral circumstances.

The People vs OJ Simpson on FX had another great episode last week.  This time we got to re-live the chase in the Bronco down the freeway, that eventually resulted in OJ turning himself in.  The real fascination with that episode was watching how quickly race emerged in the case.  A number of African Americans were lined up on freeway overpasses with signs cheering OJ on as he ran from the cops.  Those African Americans had incredible mistrust for the LAPD (they still do today), and saw OJ as one of their own, who can win a battle against them.  However, the reality of it was that OJ wasn’t one of them.  In many ways he removed himself from African American culture.  African American women hated OJ for the fact that he had been married to a white woman.  They were cheering for the wrong guy.  It was another good episode, and I’m looking forward to re-living more in the coming weeks.

Finally, The Walking Dead retuned on AMC last night for the 2nd half of the season.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it.  This was a very stressful episode, that made you wonder if we were going to lose multiple characters again.  Glenn has caused most of that stress and did again.  That guy is one lucky Asian, whose ass got saved by Sasha and The Sarge, who used a machine gun on the herd of Walkers who were about to take him out.  Then again, Sasha and The Sarge were nearly toast themselves, until Darryl blew away the bikers that were threatening them.  Something tells me Negan is going to exact his revenge on one of those three.  Even Jessie knew that her son Sam was a liability, and tried to pawn him off on Father Gabriel.  Unfortunately, it was Sam that not only led to his own demise, but those of his mother as well.  Poor Rick….the guy fell in love with somebody else and she dies too.  I’m still not really sure how Carl could survive a bullet to the head.  I’m also not sure how a psychiatrist could have the skills necessary to save his life.  Now what’s left of the gang is going to try and rebuild Alexandria.  It seems as though the next major villain is going to be Negan, but are The Wolves gone for good? Their leader died, but it seems like we barely got to know anything about them before they came and went.  Something tells me that Negan is going to be even more evil, and Rick seems to be getting softer and more humane, which could make the group vulnerable. 

Daryl Bazooka


Monday Morning Coffee

February 1st, 2016

Blake Griffin did the most “Clipper-esque” thing imaginable.  He punched Mathias Testi, one of the equipment managers, in the face.  Since these two are friends, what was this really about? Did Testi buy a Nissan instead of Kia?  Actually, sources close to Jock Talk LA have the real inside scoop.  Testi is involved in developing and promoting a clothing brand called The Datum Line.   The Datum Line features clothing for adults and children, including accessories like socks and hats, and is symbolic of “hard work”  Blake and DeAndre Jordan have been helping him promote the Brand, and have even invested in it.   Those sources indicated to me that “it was about money, and Blake’s investment in the brand.”  So Griffin is just like Vinny Chase in Entourage, while Testi is Turtle, although I don’t ever remember Vinny punching Turtle after he invested in that brand of Tequila.  On and off the court, the Clippers are still “Clippin”.  Despite winning 16 of their last 19 games, everybody knows the Clpps aren’t for real with or without Blake Griffin.  This team is ticketed for another early playoff exit.  The Clippers marketing team might want to re-think this one…..

Clippers Blake Marketing

On the other side of the hallway, the Lakers are challenging the 76ers for the worst record in the NBA.  I’m not so sure how excited the Lakers should be over that since the worst team has only won the draft lottery 4 times in 26 tries, which is just over 15% of the time.  For the sake of pride, the Lakers need to win on Tuesday to avoid the longest losing streak in franchise history.  As for D’Angelo Russell, I have no problem with his level of confidence, or even cockiness if you want to call it that.  You don’t make it to the NBA without having some of that, and you can’t strive toward being one of the best without having that belief in yourself.  It’s Byron Scott’s job to reign in some of that perceived cockiness, and to harness it into developing Russell into an elite player.  We didn’t really see that last week when Russell tried to take over a game against Dallas last week, yet Scott benched him for it.  I don’t agree with how Byron does things, however, I can’t say that it doesn’t work.  Look at Julius Randle, who is balling again after struggling for a bit, and having his own issues with Byron.  Look at Jordan Clarkson as well, who is much more consistent this year, and on his way to being a very good player.

On a much more sad note, yesterday, the Laker family lost Marge Hearn.  Marge was the widow of long time Lakers announcer Chick Hearn, who passed away in 2002.  Marge was 98 year of age.  In many ways, she was “the first lady” of the Lakers, and had some beautiful words to say about her husband when he passed away.  Now she and Chick can finally be together again. RIP.

There are always going to be great players who are snubbed every year during the All-Star selection process.  This year, the biggest All-Star snub has got to be Damian Lillard.  Lillard has been playing out of his mind, and somehow has the Blazers in the 8th spot in the West.  I would have taken Lillard over LaMarcus Aldridge, who has been good, but not great for the Spurs.  Dirk Nowitzki probably deserved a better fate as well.  In the East, I would have taken Pau Gasol over Isaiah Thomas, but other than that, the coaches did good job.  As for the Rising Stars game, I’m very happy to see D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson selected, but how the hell did Julius Randle not get picked? He has 16 double-doubles, which leads all sophomores, and should have gotten the nod over Nerlens Noel.  Although there are some good international players on the world team, I think the USA vs The World format screwed a lot of people out of spots, like Myles Turner and Devin Booker, who might end up being a first team all-rookie selection.

To college hoops, where the Bruins may have salvaged a win against Washington State on Saturday, but they are still slowly circling the drain.  I think the Bruins are going to have to win the Pac 12 Tournament to get in because they are on the bubble right now according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, and they haven’t given me any reason to think they are going to play any better before March Madness begins.  Since the start of Pac 12 play, the Bruins have looked completely unprepared in nearly every game they’ve played in, and the game plan has been dependent on Bryce Alford getting blazing hot from outside the arc.  Tony Parker went to the bench, Jonah Bolden was inserted into the starting lineup, and the Bruins had a more athletic look on Saturday.  This is what happens when a highly touted recruit like Parker doesn’t get the coaching he was promised.  Over at USC, Parker would probably be getting that better coaching from Andy Enfield.  I suppose the trade-off though is that Parker is actually getting an education at UCLA, and can put together coherent sentences.

As for USC, we are halfway through the Pac 12 season, and they are near the top of conference.  This team is now a lock to make the NCAA tournament, and is poised to do some damage.  Not only are the Trojans winning, their basketball team is going Hollywood.  Christian Bale showed up to Saturday’s win against Washington, along with D’Angelo Russell and Taj Gibson.  The Trojans haven’t been this good at home since 1943, as they are now 13-0 at the Galen Center.  If UCLA isn’t careful, their basketball program is going to slip into further irrelevance as the Trojans hoops program steals some of the headlines away from them.  UCLA better start by beating the Trojans at the Galen Center on Thursday, and avenging the beating they were given a few weeks ago by USC at Pauley Pavilion.

Congratulations to the Dodgers Andrew Friedman, who found the other half of his brain temporarily, and re-signed  Howie Kendrick.  The Dodgers were poised to be significantly worse next year after already losing Zack Greinke, and employing a platoon of old guys and average players at 2nd base.  At least Kendrick alleviates some of that with his reliable bat, steady clubhouse presence, and solid defense.  They also got him at a very reasonable two years, and $20 million.  2nd base is just not a position that teams pay a premium for in Major League Baseball.  I still think the Dodgers aren’t going to make the playoffs this year with their horse crap bullpen, and their mediocre pitching staff behind ace Clayton Kershaw.  However, this move at least prevents them from being a total embarrassment.  Then again, nobody will be able to watch the Dodgers embarrassment anyways since only 30% have Time Warner Cable.

We’re just 6 days away from Super Bowl Sunday.  It’s a shame that all we’ve been hearing about is Cam Newton, and why people dislike the guy.  I don’t think there’s any doubt that race plays a role in the minds of most people who dislike Newton’s antics, simply because most people who have these feelings aren’t even subconsciously aware of how race impacts how they look at certain people.  It’s a sad fact of life that you would think we would be beyond.  Nevertheless, the problem with this discussion is that we have two weeks of a build up a storied white quarterback, vs a polarizing black quarterback.  It really takes away from the fact that Cam Newton should be the next face of the NFL. As for the game itself, I think the Broncos are going to keep it much closer than most people expect. It’s very hard to blow out a team with a great defense, and both of these teams have that going for them.  I like Carolina in a close one, but the Broncos have been surprising me all season with how they’ve been winning ugly, so why stop now? I wouldn’t be shocked if they won, and surely would take the points.

The Chargers staying in San Diego for the 2016 season is a very sensible move.  The only problem is that they must insure that they resolve their stadium situation this summer, because moving to LA after next season would just be silly.  Have you ever met a Chargers fan living in LA? I’ve lived in Southern California nearly my entire life, and I have yet to do so.

So while I completely hated the new NHL All-Star Game format, the story of John Scott was incredible, and may have actually made the entire weekend a success.  Scott was initially voted in as a captain as a joke by the fans.  After being traded from the Coyotes to the Canadiens and sent to the minor leagues, the league tried to force him out of the game.  Turns out that Scott was eventually allowed to play, and not only ended up on the winning team, the Pacific Division, but also won the MVP award.  For a guy who isn’t even in the NHL, and about to have another child, it’s a nice story.  Especially with his share of the $1 million his team won, and brand new car.  This was basically a big “screw you” to the NHL.  In fact, it makes you think that the league should find a way for the fans to vote a loveable journeyman into the game every year.  The Pacific Division victory also marked the first time that members of the San Jose Sharks have been part of something that resembled an NHL championship team.  I am happy to see LA getting awarded the 2017 All-Star game as well.

Then there was the other ridiculous all-star event yesterday, The Pro Bowl. This game is a bigger and bigger joke every year, yet nobody is laughing.  It used to be that there was basically no hitting, but just tackling.  Yesterday, there really wasn’t even tackling.  I did notice that Eli Manning threw an interception though, so at least one player was giving his normal effort.  They say that it was Charles Woodson’s last NFL game, but I’d argue that it really can’t be considered much of a game.  Woodson and Richard Sherman even lined up on offense.  Attending this game is becoming more and more of a punishment for players than anything else.  Next years rosters will probably consist of 17 janitors, 12 homeless guys, 18 random Twitter users, 10 NFL execs, and you (if you don’t decline).