Monthly Archives: March 2016

Monday Morning Coffee

Melo + Lebron March 28th, 2016

What the hell is Lebron James thinking? His team is in 1st place in the East, and trying to contend for an NBA championship, yet he’s talking about joining forces with his three best friends.  Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love must feel like a girl who’s new boyfriend won’t stop talking about how great their ex was.  What better way to alienate your teammates.  It feels like Lebron is already giving up on the season after watching the Warriors, and is already planning to devastate Cleveland fans again by leaving.  Of course I told you all that this was bound to happen after he signed a short term deal.  What’s funny about this is that Lebron actually assembled this disaster by getting David Blatt fired, having Andrew Wiggins traded for Kevin Love, and Tristan Thompson signed to a monster deal.  However, things are much tougher in Cleveland than Lebron thought they would be, and he looks extremely unhappy, which is why he told Howard Beck he’d love to play with Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and Dwayne Wade.  Who wouldn’t love to see those four play together? The question is where can it happen.  It could actually be the Lakers.

Jim Buss and possibly Mitch Kupchak are desperate to save their jobs before Jeannie hits the eject button on them next summer.  The Lakers have more cap space than anyone, and young assets that they aren’t necessarily married to.  The Lakers could easily sign Lebron and Wade, while trading for Melo this summer.  Paul would be a little tougher to acquire, but he’s unrestricted in the summer of 2017, so once you acquired the other three, getting CP3 would be a foregone conclusion.  Then again, as exciting as those four would be, it would be short term stimulation for Laker fans.  Lebron is still arguably the best but he’s getting long in the tooth, and CP3 is still a top 10 player.  Wade and ‘Melo are not though, and those four probably don’t give you enough shooting, while providing a lot of deteriorating defense, especially when you think about the dominance of the Warriors.  It might give you 2 years of contention, but not enough to actually win a title.  On the other hand, continuing to build from within and adding some other younger free agents would be slower, but gives you a better chance to return to sustainable success by the time the Warriors run is over.  I do hope “The Banana Boat Crew” gets together somewhere though for sheer entertainment purposes, however, it’s likely to crash and burn in spectacular fashion.  Mitch Kupchak is smarter than that to let that happen here.  In Cleveland, they aren’t that smart.

This fast break basically sums up the Lakers season……

Remember when you thought the Clippers we’re better without Blake Griffin? Yea, well I sure do.  The Clippers are good team, but not an elite team with our without Blake.  The Clipps are 2-8 against the Warriors, Spurs, and Thunder, and they are looking like a good bet to face Golden State in round 2 of the playoffs.  Then again, they got manhandled against a shorthanded Memphis team last week, so the first round will be no cake walk either.  By the way, how come nobody asked Chris Paul what his thoughts were on Lebron James suggesting that he, Dwayne Wade, and Carmelo Anthony could play together? I’ll tell you why.  It’s because even the local media members that cover the Clippers don’t cover them all that thoroughly.  Nobody holds them accountable for such coverage because nobody really cares about the Clippers in the LA sports landscape.

The Final Four is set.  My Fighting Irish of Notre Dame put up a spirited fight, but North Carolina was just too talented for them.  They also probably saved me from dropping a lot of money on a trip to Houston for the Final Four.  I thought for a second Mike Brey was right that the Irish can’t lose on Good Friday or Easter Sunday.  Roy Williams must have threatened his Tar Hell players by telling them they will have to go to class if they lose.  I guess Syracuse got tired of everybody telling them that they suck, and they are just a 10 seed.  Meanwhile Virginia is advancing to their traditional seats on the couch for next weeks Final Four.  Perry Ellis shouldn’t be that upset that Kansas lost to Villanova.  He did get the opportunity to play in 20 Final Fours since he looks like he’s 20 years older than everybody else.  After Oregon got smoked by Oklahoma, they plan to unveil Nike’s new “eliminated in the NCAA Tournament” jersey’s next week.  Buddy Hield is a phenomenal player, and if I didn’t know who he was, I would think he was the next favorite horse to win the Kentucky Derby.

it sounds like the one and done rule in college basketball is going to be seriously re-evaluated by the NBA.  However, the question is how it will be changed.  Some people think we should go back to the days of high school players being able to enter the draft, but if you end up going to college, it should be for at least two years.  I’m completely against high school players being able to enter the draft.  The NBA has become an extremely watered down league because of young players that have no business being in the league.  For every Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Garnett, there are a ton more players that flame out of the league because they weren’t ready physically, emotionally, or mentally.  Going to college isn’t about getting an education, but rather learning about yourself.  Many of these teenagers fail to realize that.  The purpose of the NBA draft is to create some competitive balance in the league.  It’s difficult to do that when the players being drafted need 3-5 years to become something.  If a player is so desperate to start making a living, let them go to China or Europe to play.  However, don’t let them ruin both the college game, and the NBA game.

The LA Times just did an interview with UCLA AD Dan Guerrero, which as expected, was full of spin.  Guerrero claimed that the Bruins aren’t about a coaching carousel, and that basketball coach Steve Alford giving back his one year extension showed how committed to the program he is.  The best news I heard out of the interview is that Guerrero might actually step down before 2019 because they are nearing the end of the $4.2 billion centennial campaign.  Somebody should have asked Guerrero if it was the UCLA Athletic Department that wrote that letter.  Had somebody actually done their homework, they might have realized that former Bruins football coach Karl Dorrell wrote nearly the same letter to the fans just months before he was fired.  Dan Guerrero has become selfish.  It’s all about him and his own job.  Not about the Bruins basketball program.

What do Dan Guerrero, Jim Buss, and Jeff Fisher all have in common? They are powerful LA sports executives who put themselves first, rather than taking any necessary risks to be successful.  Guerrero won’t get rid of Steve Alford because he’s afraid he’ll lose his job if he goes through another basketball coach.  Jim Buss was afraid to hire Phil Jackson as head coach again, fearing that he would have no voice in the Lakers organization.  Jeff Fisher refused to sign off on the Rams signing RGIII because he didn’t want to take the heat for another quarterback screwing up on his watch. These types of people usually play it safe for the sake of their own job security, and can sometimes find success.  However, when the expectations are championships like they are in Los Angeles, it’s difficult to meet that bar.

You didn’t really think that the Dodgers and Time Warner Cable’s attempt to lower the price of SportsNet LA was going to lead to a deal right away did you? Yes, they may have lowered their price, but none of the cable providers are going to bite when the price is only for a year.  There’s still another week to go before the season starts, so a deal can be struck, but it would be even worse for cable providers to accept the deal then lose the channel a year later.  If these two sides were really serious about making a deal, they would lock themselves in an air tight room until the deal is done.  I have no problem with TWC and the Dodgers trying to get the most money out of it, but at this point, it’s TWC that is bleeding money by not making a deal.  The good news is that none of the cable providers have really commented on the status of negotiations, so hopefully a deal is in sight.  On the field however, no relief is in sight for the Dodgers.  Andre Ethier is out 10-14 weeks with a broken leg, adding to the slew of injuries on this brittle roster that Andrew Friedman has assembled.

Roger Goodell said last week that he has not ruled out the possibility the Raiders moving to Las Vegas.  Please let this happen! Could there be anything more perfect for Raider Nation than being in Vegas? Raider Nation is filled with insane people, and so is Vegas.  Heck, people that hate the Raiders would probably even come to Vegas to see the spectacle.  Better yet, this would probably be the best thing to happen to Southwest Airlines since they put strip clubs in Las Vegas.

This last episode of The People vs OJ Simpson on FX was probably one of the slower episodes, yet it was still fantastic.  I never realized just how close the whole criminal case was to being a mistrial, once the jurors started protesting by wearing all black.  They nearly ran out of jurors, and it was amazing to see just how many of them lied on their questionaires just to be a part of a historic case.  At that point, the prosecution was probably dying for a mistrial, because they were getting obliterated.  My favorite part of the episode was the ignorance that Judge Ito showed when a juror was complaining to him that the white jurors were receiving an extra 30 minutes to shop at Target, while the black jurors were getting less time to shop at Ross.  The hilarious moment was when he had to ask the juror to re-confirm the question of whether or not black people actually like to shop at Ross instead of Target.  Johnny Cochran quickly chimed in to confirm that was the case, but it was just a reminder of how unaware people were of the multitude of ways race impacted the trial.  The show also clearly fabricated the fact that particular juror ran down the hall screaming so that she would be relieved of her duty.  She was relieved, but not in that fashion.  I also forgot that prosecution witness Dennis Fung decided to shake the hands of OJ and the defense team after they destroyed him during the cross examination.  Another important figure in the criminal case who fell victim to being star struck.

Finally, we made it through another edge of your seat episode of The Walking Dead last night, and nearly lost our minds during the final moments.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it.  I thought we weren’t going to lose anybody, but we just might have lost Darryl, at the hands of Dwight. We won’t know until next week.  We saw blood splatter everywhere once he shot him.  That was followed by Dwight saying “you’ll be alright.”  I have a feeling it isn’t Darryl he’s talking to.  He’s talking to the rest of us to let us know that we’ll eventually be alright even though our favorite son may have just died.  I keep asking myself if the show would do this to us, and I think the answer is yes, despite trying to convince myself otherwise.  What the hell was everyone thinking leaving Alexandria again?  What’s the point of having these freaking “safe zones”  in the post-apocalypse, if people just up and leave all the time? This is all Darryl’s fault.  Glenn even told him it was bound to go wrong and it did. Ugh!  I don’t know what Morgan was thinking either, leaving himself an excuse not to come back to Alexandria to defend the group, as he continues to hunt down Carol.  Speaking of Carol, just when you thought she might be becoming a little emotionally unstable by leaving the group, she reminded everyone how much of a badass she is by killing four of the Saviors on the road.  I think Carol will definitely be fine on her own, but it’s too bad because the group really needs her to help defend Alexandria.  Morgan’s story about The Wolf prisoner who changed is bullshit.  That prisoner didn’t save Denise’s life.  He was taking her hostage during the escape, but fortunately somebody shot him before he could go any further.  I expect that we’re going to get some big time answers in next week’s 90 minute season finale.  Some answers that we probably aren’t going to want to hear.

Darryl Dead

Monday Morning Coffee

USC Falls Short

March 21st, 2016

So much for “Dunk City”.  The Trojans blew a major opportunity to steal the basketball spotlight in the NCAA Tournament against Providence.  USC was up 5 with 2 minutes to play, but missed three critical free throws in those final moments, and lost after giving up an open layup on an inbounds play at the last second.  That’s like the equivalent of losing a football game on a Hail Mary.  Everybody is giving Andy Enfield credit for a great season, but why didn’t he remind his team to slow down the pace in the final two minutes and take more time off the clock? Was he too busy staring at his super model wife? The Trojans are an athletic squad, but one that may be lacking the fundamentals to ever win anything meaningful.  They’ll be returning a solid and more experienced squad next season, but so will Oregon, who’s lasted longer in the tournament, and won the Pac 12 while missing their best player.

So how bad is your bracket looking right about now? The leader in your office pool is probably the girl who picked teams based on who has the cutest mascot.  I think I’m going to pick the NIT bracket instead next year.  At least my Fighting Irish of Notre Dame are moving on to the Sweet 16.  Michigan State screwed us all.  Who names a school “Middle” Tennessee State?  Kentucky lost to Indiana, and John Calipari is going to punish his players by taking back all the money he paid them.  Yale shocked us by beating Baylor, only to have Duke treat them like protestors at a Donald Trump rally.  That half-court shot Northern Iowa hit to beat Texas is March Madness at its finest.  So was Texas A&M’s unbelievable comeback after being down by 12 points in the last 33 seconds, which was just preceded by Wisconsin’s buzzer beater against Xavier in the moments before.  Don’t worry Northern Iowa fans, you still have corn.  West Virginia had a poor showing against S.F. Austin, and hasn’t been that embarrassed since watching Gino Smith play in the NFL.  Meanwhile, Bill Clinton probably celebrated Arkansas Little Rock’s first round win with cigars and interns.  The Pac 12 had a pretty awful showing.  I remember when they used to be the best basketball conference in the country.  Sean Miller was sweating like a dude who’s girlfriend asked to see his phone……

Sean Miller Sweating

Northern Iowa choked in round 2, but this win over Texas was still pretty epic…….

People are losing their minds about who should be the #1 pick in the NBA draft.  Duke’s Brandon Ingram is a nice player, but LSU’s Ben Simmons has the ability to be a transcendent player.  LSU didn’t make the NCAA Tournament, but that’s a product of the parity in college basketball.  People are saying the same thing about Simmons as they said about Lebron James going into the draft: he has no jump shot, and he’s not aggressive enough in the big moment.  Just because he didn’t give a crap about school, doesn’t mean we should hold it against him when it comes time to draft him.  Don’t screw around when you have the #1 pick.  Take the best player available.

I’m no fan of Jim Buss, but I think Laker fans should be almost as horrified at the thought of Phil Jackson being a part of their front office.  Phil the coach was the best in the history of American team sports.  However, when it comes to him as an executive, he’s a disaster.  He refuses to hire a coach that will run anything other than the triangle, which means there’s only three or four mediocre coaches that could possibly coach your team.  In fact, he’s so desperate to get a guy like Kurt Rambis a job in the NBA, he’s proposing to coach the teams home games next season.  Are you kidding me? He’s admitting that Rambis isn’t capable enough to do the job all by himself.  What’s next? He’s going to propose to coach while Skyping in? At least the Lakers have a capable General Manager, 4 promising young players to work with, and two max salary slots.  The Knicks only have 1 promising young player, an aging star, and no max salary slots.  Phil just wants a payday and doesn’t even want to be there.  Laker fans should be even more terrified at the thought of Jim being replaced by PJ.

It’s official, the LA Kings are back in the playoffs.  The Kings have won 4 straight, and are not only trying to lock up a Pacific Division title, but potentially the top seed in the Western Conference.  Call me crazy, but I’d much rather the Kings face San Jose in the first round.  The travel will be easier than facing a Central Division team like Minnesota, Nashville, or even Colorado.  San Jose is also not very good at home, and much better on the road.  This isn’t the NBA.  The top seed can easily be defeated in the first round.  Maybe I’m just paranoid because the Kings are actually playing well going into the playoffs, unlike their last two Stanley Cup runs.  However, the Kings rugged style of play can not only wear the opposition down, but also themselves if they aren’t careful.

This Adam Laroche situation is ridiculous.  There’s not a single job in the world where it’s ok to bring your kid around 100% of the time.  The White Sox also didn’t say don’t bring him around, they just said don’t bring him around all the time, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  The funny part is, the White Sox should be stoked.  They don’t have to dish out $13 million a year to a guy who hit .200 for them last year.  Props to the White Sox front office for taking a stand against him, and actually creating a professional environment since their team has been a joke the few years.

I’m beginning to wonder if Donald Trump is going to be dangerous or entertaining if he wins the Republican Presidential nomination.  Trump suggested that if he didn’t receive enough support from the Republican delegates to get the nomination, then there could be riots.  So now he’s promoting violence? We’ve already seen some at these Trump protests, so why would he stop there? We’ve never seen anything like this before.  Then again, the Republican Party is truly to blame for letting this guy get this far, and not taking him seriously.  Meanwhile, Ted Cruz continues to stand there and look like a guy trying to sell me a use car, John Kasich looks like the guy trying to stuff his face with food at a cocktail party when nobody is looking, while Marco Rubio’s campaign was about as effective as Ricky Rubio shooting a basketball.

I’m beginning to feel sad over the fact that The People vs OJ Simpson on FX is coming to an end.  We only have 3 more episodes, and we’ve reached that critical episode where OJ tries on the gloves in court.  After every episode, I always have to ask myself “is that really how it happened?”  That’s exactly the question I asked myself when Robert Shapiro actually picked up the gloves that Simpson wore during the murder, and realized they wouldn’t fit OJ.  Judge Ito and the prosecution actually allowed that? It was actually much worse.  Not only did Shapiro try the gloves on, but the entire defense team did during a courtroom break.  It was just another complete screw up by the prosecution, despite the mountains of evidence against OJ.  I also love unnecessary but totally entertaining jokes that the show makes about the characters.  For instance, back in the mid 1990’s, most people weren’t making use of internet porn.  Instead, they were buying Hustler, Penthouse, and Playboy.  When Robert Kardashian was going through OJ’s bag to make sure there was no murder weapon in it, he found nothing but those dirty magazines.  There was no reason to show a bunch of dirty magazines coming out of that bag, other than to make the audience think that OJ was that guy who had to have his dirty magazines.

Finally, that episode of The Walking Dead was much crazier than I thought it would be.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see last night’s episode, so read no further if you plan to watch it later.  Funny that just when Denise was becoming stronger and more capable, she ends up getting killed by the Saviors.  Maybe they can give her other eye to Carl? At least Darryl got his crossbow back.  It was good to see that Eugene didn’t have a nut allergy after his uh….biting incident.  Perhaps they should have named this episode “Tenacious D”?  Of course the other major part of the episode was Carol deciding to leave the group again.  She’s leaving because she hates the person that she’s become.  The people she’s killed is weighing on her conscience.  Unfortunately, what she fails to realize is that if she wants to survive in what’s left of the world, she’s going to have to continue to kill. It’s probably better to do that with people she loves than without them.  Carol is too important of a character to just leave once again, as unceremonioiusly as she did.  She might eventually die, but there’s no way we’re not going to see her again.  In fact, the preview of the next episode seems to indicate that Darryl will chase after her.  If Darryl is off chasing Carol, I’m thinking the group gets invaded by the Saviors.  Now I’m starting to think that it really is going to be Glenn that will die before the season is over, at the hands of Negan.

Eugene and Abraham

Monday Morning Coffee

2016 Bracket

March 14th, 2016

There’s your 2016 NCAA Bracket.  Too bad the UCLA Bruins aren’t a part of it.  They aren’t even good enough for the NIT Bracket.  What a complete disgrace their 1st round loss to USC was last week.  There’s nothing quite like getting embarassed three times in one season by your non-basketball school rival.  UCLA really couldn’t manage to be one of the seven schools from their conference to get invited to the tournament?  It’s easy for Steve Alford to put the blame on himself when he knows he’s got a $10 million buyout, making it difficult to fire him.  That’s not enough though.  Not only did the entire team quit on him, but so have UCLA fans.  The basketball program is struggling to sell tickets, is televised on a network that barely anybody has, and is quickly becoming irrelevant in Southern California.  Do Southern California kids even identify UCLA as a basketball school anymore? This is no longer a Steve Alford problem.  It’s a Dan Guerrero problem.  Of course Guerrero won’t fire him because he himself would probably lose his own job if he cycled through another basketball coach. The big donors are pissed, but there’s nothing they can do about.  Even if they came up with $10 million, they probably have little confidence in their Athletic Director hiring the right coach.

Meanwhile, Twitter spoiled the drama by leaking some of the brackets early, and the Trojans found out they are in the tourney for the first time since 2011.  The committee didn’t make it easy on them by any means.  Not only do they have to go back east, but they have to take on a Providence team with two very good NBA prospects in Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil.  Both teams have similar tournament resume’s, losing to Xavier and beating Arizona.  However, Providence has tournament experience, and SC hasn’t been all that great away from home.  I like the Friars in this one, but neither team stands much of a chance against Carolina in the next round.

As for the remainder of the bracket, good luck trying to make your picks.  I feel like I’d have the same luck throwing darts blindfolded.  It’s like arguing with a woman.  You’re going to be wrong no matter what.  There’s probably 25 teams that can actually win the NCAA Championship this year.  UNC probably has the easiest path to the Final Four, if there’s such a thing this year.  Unfortunately, my Fighting Irish of Notre Dame ended up in their region.  In related news, Oregon received a #1 seed, and Nike responded by ordering Asian children to make new jerseys.  Villanova and Kansas have already been upset.  It’s an annual tradition unlike any other.  San Diego State and Monmouth were by far the biggest snubs in my mind.  SDSU only has themselves to blame though since the Mountain West was weak, and since 22 conference tournament winners didn’t finish 1st in their conference during the season.  Monmouth on the other hand, played a tough non-conference schedule, and the committee basically just told them it’s better to play power puffs early on, but we’ll still penalize you if you aren’t in a power conference.  I would have left out Tulsa and Vanderbilt.  Have the Lakers accepted their bid to the NIT yet?

What a stupid win that would have been for the Lakers last night against the Knicks.  Jordan Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell, and Julius Randle  played only 22 minutes each.  Byron Scott felt like he owed it to the bench to play most of the 4th quarter.  Apparently, nobody told Byron the Lakers have been eliminated from the playoffs and have nothing to play for other than ping pong balls and player development.  Nevertheless, I think we’ve reached the point where we can say for now, the Lakers picked the right player with the #2 pick in last summers draft, D’Angelo Russell.  Russell has scored 20+ points in 7 of his last 10 games.  In the month of March, he’s also shooting 46% from the field and 42% from three.  It usually takes guards a lot longer to develop, but he and Clarkson appear to be developing quite nicely when given playing time.

Nice battle between Kobe and Lebron the other night at Staples.  I think Lebron was a little surprised Kobe put up that fight he did, given how beaten down his body is.  The Mamba probably even got the better of the matchup because of it, but the Cavs prevailed.  The funny part is, if Lebron wanted to, given that he’s that much younger, he probably could have taken it to Kobe early and ended it.  Had the situation been reversed, and Lebron was 7 years older than Kobe, The Mamba would absolutely destroy him, and when the game was over, he would have made him stay and play one on one to try and continue the demoralization.  Kobe did exactly this when he matched up with Michael Jordan when MJ was at the end of the line with the Wizards.  Kobe dropped 55 on him in that game.  That pyschopathic competitiveness is what really separates Lebron and Kobe.  The two of them are extremely close in terms of greatness, and Lebron may be seen as a slightly better individual player. However, Kobe’s competitiveness would make me want to take him over Lebron if I had to play one game to win.  Look at Kobe taking LBJ with these YMCA moves…..

Oh….so now you think the Clippers actually need Blake Griffin back in the lineup to win basketball games huh? I thought the Clipps were a better team without him? This is a classic case of the Ewing Theory.  Star player gets hurt, and the team plays well for a while without him, but over time, they can’t be as good of a team as they were with him.  Then again, since most of the Clipper fans (or Laker haters I should say) started watching basketball yesterday, this concept is probably unfamiliar to them.  The Clipps got exposed for what they are by a scuffling Cavs team yesterday, and with or without Blake, are sure to get bounced early on in the playoffs once again.

The Rams got off to a rough start in free agency, losing Janoris Jenkins and Rodney McLeod, valuable members of their backfield.  I guess nobody told these guys they would now be living in Southern California instead of St. Louis.  The Rams still have plenty of cap space though to improve their defense, as well as improve their quarterback situation.  I’m disappointed they have yet to show much interested in Robert Griffin III, who is a perfect low risk move, who even wants to be a Ram.  Elsewhere, Colin Kaepernick’s agent fears that he is suffering from brain damage, since he actually wants to play for the Cleveland Browns.  Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant smokes a plant and gets suspended for a year.  His teammate, Ben Roethlisberger, is accused of multiple rapes and gets four games.  The NFL disciplinary policy makes perfect sense.   Now that Russell Wilson is engaged, Tim Tebow remains the only virgin winning playoff quarterback in NFL history.  Johnny Manziel doesn’t have a drinking problem.  The Browns had a problem with him drinking.  The Broncos have replaced Peyton Manning with Mark Sanchez.  That’s like replacing a Ferrari with a Honda Accord.  Denver’s GM, John Elway’s phone has been blowing up ever since…..

Elway's Phone

I don’t know who is in worse shape: Scott Kazmir or Jeff Weaver? Both of them looked atrocious pitching against each other in a spring training game last week.  This is no surprise, because Kazmir doesn’t just go through stretches where he struggles, he has been downright atrocious for some teams, including the Angels.  Thank god the Dodgers signed him to a three year deal.  Weaver on the other than is in the last year of his deal, but is dealing with a degenerative spinal cord issue.  He isn’t in any pain, which is unfortunate, because he has no explanation for throwing 80 miles an hour last week.  I guess his excuse is that he just sucks now.

That last episode of The People vs OJ Simpson on FX was really unexpected.  It was all about Marcia Clark and everything she went through during the trial.  I never really thought I would feel bad for her, but I did.  She faced a tremendous amount of sexism, and was ridiculed immensely by the defense, as well as Judge Ito.  To top it all off, her ex-husband decided to publish naked photos of her during the trial.  At the time, everyone hated her because she symbolized somebody who was trying to take down one of the most popular celebrities in America.  If OJ had been convicted, I suspect that over time Clark would have been recognized as one of the best in her field.

Finally, that was another very intense episode of The Walking Dead last night on AMC.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it.  I definitely thought we were going to lose Carol or Maggie after they were kidnapped, or somebody else in the process of saving them.  It turns out that Carol and Maggie showed us a side of them we haven’t seen, killing their captors and escaping themselves.  Those Saviors thought the 2nd hand smoke was going to kill them? Think again, it was Carol and Maggie.  The show just keeps getting darker as Rick’s group is being forced to kill people to survive.  They do it, but you can tell many of them don’t like it.  In fact, when Darryl asks Carol if she is ok when it’s over, she says “no”.  Carol saw herself in Paula.  A previously battered woman who underwent a similar transformation that she did.  Only Paula’s transformation was obviously for more evil.  She was reluctant to kill Paula because of their similarities, but when push came to shove, she knew she had to in order to survive.  That was one spectacular death by the way.  However, when it comes to defending the ones she loves, like Maggie, Carol didn’t even think twice about pulling the trigger and killing that brunette Savior.  Carol is the Heisenberg of the apocalypse.

Rick’s group has inflicted far more violence upon the Saviors than they have on them.  The line between “good” and “bad” is not nearly as clear as seasons past, which has been a key element of character development.  Rick apparently seems to have less of a conscience about this line, while Carol is still keeping a body count.  The last few episodes have been that test for every key character.  Morgan is apparently the only one who refuses to cross that line.  Lastly, I love how every member of the Saviors claims that they are Negan.  This symbolizes the fact that he is a beast that can’t be eliminated so easily, because his army of people are fighting so hard for him.  Something tells me that the real Negan is so evil, he will make Rick’s group pay a price for what they’ve done.

Carol and Maggie



Monday Morning Coffee

Clarkson DrivesMarch 7th, 2016

Did that really just happen? We just witnessed history at Staples Center yesterday.  No NBA team with a winning percentage below .200 has ever beaten a team with a winning percentage above .900, and that’s exactly what happened when the Lakers destroyed the Warriors yesterday afternoon.  Admit it….you kind of wanted to storm the court after the win, didn’t you Laker fans?  Ok, so maybe Steph and Klay popped a few too many bottles in the club last the night before.  However, Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo played great defense, while putting up some very solid numbers.  Russell has scored 20 points or more in 5 of his last 6 games, including a career high 39 points earlier in the week.  Even if you’re on “Team Tank”, and want the Lakers to lose to solidify their lottery position, you’ve gotta love the confidence booster this win gives LA’s young guns.  It’s better to beat a team like this, then Phoenix or Philadelphia.  I wouldn’t be surprised after all this if the Lakers lose to Orlando on Tuesday.  D’Angelo is pumped, while Kobe needs a bye week……

Do the Clippers deserve any respect? They beat Oklahoma City earlier in the week, after one of the biggest choke jobs in the NBA this season.  Now people are suddenly thinking the Clippers should be contenders.  Let me get this straight….the Clippers beat a team Thunder team that choked harder than they usually do every spring time, and one that few people consider a true championship team. So why should we think any differently of them for that? Besides, no team with a mascot that is called “Chuck The Condor” deserves any respect in my book.  Sometimes the jokes just write themselves, and this is definitely one of those cases.

Is Lebron James still the best player in basketball? Steph Curry and Kawhi Leonard are certainly doing some amazing things, and are making me think twice about it.  However, Lebron is a 4 time MVP, and led a team to the NBA Finals in the last five consecutive seasons.  Forgive me for not being entirely prisoner of the moment since that’s what we do in the NBA, but let’s have some perspective people.  If and when Steph makes it to five NBA finals, Or Kawhi gets on a couple of All-NBA teams, then there’s a much more sound argument.  Steph is the game’s best shooter, and Kawhi is a rising star, but Lebron’s impact on both ends of the floor is still unmatched.  He may not be in his prime, but it was just last season where he nearly pulled off the greatest upset in NBA playoff history.

UCLA just finished an embarrassing regular season and is hoping to miraculously survive the 1at round of the conference tourney this week, let alone win it.  Steve Alford has been a disaster, despite the big recruits coming next year.   Hopefully, there will always be great recruits for the Bruins on the horizon…not the point. The question is whether or not Alford was a smart hire by Dan G…so far, no. Only Walt Hazzard has a lower winning percentage as a UCLA coach than Alford. He just seems in way over his head….nothing wrong with that but he he belongs working at another school. The best work I’ve seen from the Alford camp was from his agent and attorney who leveraged a panicked AD into one of the most obscene employment contracts in UCLA history….the kind that would get a guy, AD, fired.  It’s only fitting that the Trojans will be the ones to end the Bruins’ season on Wednesday.  Nothing more humiliating than losing to your “football school” cross town rival three times in one year.

Speaking of USC, the Trojans aren’t exactly a lock to make the NCAA Tournament anymore.  USC has now lost 6 of their last 8 games, after losing to Oregon on Saturday.  The pressure is really going to be on now, because an early loss in the conference tournament, and SC’s bubble might just burst.  Even more alarming is the fact that SC has lost 8 of their 11 games away from the friendly confines of the Galen Center.  That’s often the case for a team that plays uptempo like the Trojans, who’s role players just aren’t that good on the road.  The more you watch this team, the more you realize that they just aren’t ready for primetime yet.

Ok, who is surprised that Dodgers starting pitcher  Brett Anderson is injured? Sure he had a nice year last year, but him staying relatively healthy was an aberration.  Anderson ending up on the DL is about as sure as the sun rising and A-Rod admiring himself in the mirror every morning.  Andy Friedman’s idea of “pitching depth” is a collection of guys that get hurt all the time,  or that just aren’t very good.  I’d rather pay the $200 million for one guy who is going to remain healthy than $100 million for 5 guys that can’t stay healthy.  Those 5 guys will be lucky to win 10 games collectively when they do start.

There’s no way the Anaheim Ducks can continue the pace they are on.  11 in a row and looking for more tonight against Washington.  The Ducks are finally getting the goals they weren’t getting earlier in the year.  The only question is whether or not they are peaking too soon.  The Kings on the other hand, have goal scorers that have disappeared like Jeb Bush.  Home ice and winning the division is meaningless to LA, but if they don’t start scoring goals, they probably won’t last too long in the NHL playoffs.

I fully expect Peyton Manning to not only announce his retirement tomorrow, but also four new toppings at Papa John’s Pizza.  In all seriousness though, I’m definitely going to miss watching him and all his battles with Tom Brady in the postseason.  He was one of the best quarterbacks i’ve seen in my lifetime, and easily the best regular season quarterback.  That’s not a knock on him.  Winning in the NFL is tough.  He probably should have a few more rings given all of his regular season accomplishments, but I deny his brilliance and greatness.  It’s a shame that story about the PED’s and the trainer at Tennessee came out now, but in general, when we evaluate athletes performance, we have to separate what we think of the athlete vs person.  Otherwise, we probably wouldn’t be watching professional sports anymore.

I don’t know what’s more ridiculous, Donald Trump’s candidacy, or the the Republicans whining and crying about him winning.   I haven’t seen a single debate where Trump or anybody else can bring any sensibility or explain an actual plan for specific policies.  It’s been nothing other than watching a bunch of kids in the school yard call each other names.  Now Mitt Romney is trying to come in at the 11th hour and “save the day”.  Too little too late.  I feel like when it comes time for me to vote, I might have to decide which leader I would want if we were in the middle of an Apocalypse, like The Walking Dead.

You know what the beauty of The People vs OJ Simpson on FX is? We know what happened already, so nobody can spoil it for you if you are waiting to watch it on DVR.   The last episode just reminded us why Johnny Cochran was the right choice for OJ over Robert Shapiro as the lead attorney L.  The man was willing to run over anyone standing in the way of OJ’s innocence.  As for the story about the alleged murder weapon that was recovered and turned in, it’s too perfect of a publicity stunt.  You’re telling me they found this at the time the show is going on? If you believe it’s just a coincidence then you are probably voting for Donald Trump.  Even if it is the actual murder weapon , it wouldn’t have mattered.  The prosecution screwed up everything else, so they would have screwed that up too.

Finally, The Walking Dead had another intense episode last night on AMC.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if you don’t want to know.  Rick and the gang decide to invade the Saviors headquarters.  You can see how reluctant Glenn was to kill these guys while they were sleeping, however, once he looked at the bloody pictures on the wall, he knew that the ends justified the means.  Rick and Darryl on the other hand didn’t seem to have any problem killing the Saviors while they were sleeping, or while they were awake.  Every moment I was on the edge of my seat, I kept telling myself this was a bad idea for Rick’s group, but then I realize that’s probably too idealistic.  Rick’s group can either starve to death, or even be attacked by the Saviors while starving. Or they can proactively eliminate the enemy and provide themselves with plenty of food in the process.  I love the “calm before the storm” beginning of the show with happy music.  Carol and Maggie being captured puts the focus right back on Darryl and Glenn, who would probably both do anything to save them.  That’s why I think there’s a good chance we lose Darryl or Glenn when this season is over.  The show has a much dark feeling than ever before, with the bad guys super evil, and the good guys forced to resort to some evil to survive.  When Father Gabriel is forced to man up and kill people, you know the world is screwed up.

Darryl sitting on car