Only the Kings could score 4 goals in a game and find a way to lose a game they desperately needed. Only the Kings could manage to have the lead 4 times in a game, yet manage to lose in OT. Sure enough, that’s how it went down, as the Kings lost to Minnesota 5-4 in overtime on Monday night in St. Paul.
Mikael Granlund surprised the Kings with his speed 12 seconds into overtime, and wrapped a shot around Jonathan Quick to give the Wild the victory. It was Granlund’s 20th goal of the season, which gave the Wild their 15th comeback win of the season.
The Kings got goals from Nick Shore, Tanner Pearson, Jake Muzzin, and Marian Gaborik in regulation. However, the Wild answered each goal, one by one. It was Jason Zucker’s spinning wrist shot midway through the 3rd period that tied the game. Minnesota also got goals from Nino Niederreiter, Jordan Schroeder, and Ryan White. White, along with Martin Hanzal, were playing their first game for the team after being acquired Sunday in a trade with Arizona.
Marian Gaborik responded nicely for the Kings, after being a healthy scratch in the teams’ previous game against Anaheim. Gaborik had a goal and an assist, and was using his speed to create numerous opportunities for LA throughout the game.
Jonathan Quick stopped 30 of 35 shots, and although he made some big saves, he wasn’t quite a sharp as he was on Saturday against Anaheim.
The Kings already added one significant piece to their team before Wednesday’s trade deadline, acquiring Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop. The move seems unusual with Jonathan Quick healthy again, but General Manager Dean Lombardi assured everyone that Bishop will see some playing time as Quick regains his form. “You’re never sure how well a guy who’s been out this long, is he going to have his ‘A’ game?,” he said. “This is not an insurance policy. [Bishop] needs to play.”
Even more surprising was Lombardi’s insistence that the team is unlikely to add any more offensive help between now and Wednesday. “The focus has to be on the players we have producing up to their capability. And then we can look at additions.”
The Kings managed to salvage a point in the standings, despite the loss. Tuesday night they’ll be facing an even more critical game on the road at Calgary. The Kings are 2 points behind St Louis for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, and now 5 points behind The Flames. That will be the first of 4 more meetings between the Kings and Flames this season.
In case you were living under a rock over the last week, Magic Johnson has replaced Jim Buss as the President of Basketball Operations, and NBA player agent Rob Pelinka, has replaced Mitch Kupchak as General Manager of the Lakers. This might make some of you feel better because you didn’t like how things were going with Buss and Kupchak. However, it’s not like everything is suddenly ok in Lakerland because of the changes. The good news is that Jeanie will be able to actually have normal communication with the Basketball Operations Department, unlike the weird dynamic she had with Jim earlier. The way things were going, these two practically needed attorneys just to decide what they wanted to order for lunch. It’s always good for any organization to have a unified direction, unified voice, and good communication, which the Lakers now have. Still, it doesn’t change the fact the Lakers need to get somewhat lucky to be good again. They’ll need to keep their 1st round picks, and likely find their next face of the franchise player in the draft. These days, determining the success of a 19 year old in the NBA is about as easy as playing darts blindfolded after 5 shots of Tequila. That’s why I’m a little disappointed Jerry West isn’t going to be coming back in any role with LA. He was the greatest talent evaluator ever. Even if they sign Paul George in 2018, they’ll still need a lot more around him to be competitive, which can’t be done through free agency alone.
ESPN must be desperate to create news, and the only way they can do it apparently is by talking about race. On Thursday, Dan Le Batard explained on his radio show that he felt like Magic wasn’t all that qualified to run the Lakers. Although he gave a comprehensive explanation of this, ESPN decided to take clips of Le Batard’s criticism of Magic, and play them on all their stations. However, those clips made it sound like Le Batard was a racist, implying that Magic was simply all about “shucking and jiving” his way to the top. Anybody that knows Le Batard knows this isn’t what he meant and that he’s not a racist, but it’s just another example of ESPN manufacturing a story. Le Batard also spent all of Friday explaining his position on multiple talk shows, as opposed to the clips which suggested he might be racist. Since ESPN has lost all of their real talent, apparently they have to resort to these smoke and mirror stories. So the Clippers are now considering moving to Inglewood, next to the new Rams and Chargers stadium. Don’t we have enough terrible teams moving to Inglewood? Do we really need to add a 3rd? It’s like we’ve created the city of losers. Getting approval to build that NFL stadium was complex enough, so I’d be surprised if Steve Ballmer is able to get all the city and EIR approvals necessary to get this done. Even if he has all the money to build the stadium. Ballmer does realize that Inglewood is in Los Angeles and not in Seattle, right?
I love it when college and NBA players say they never read the headlines, or pay attention the criticism they receive from the media. The UCLA Bruins basketball team sure reads the headlines and pays attention to that criticism, because for weeks I’ve been ripping them for their pathetic defense, soft play, and lack of toughness. In the month of February they have answered the bell, playing tough defense against quality opponents. Both Coach Steve Alford, and his son Bryce, are most aware of this and admitted they are constantly working on it. It showed, and if the Bruins continue to play like this, the are true national championship contenders. UCLA has two of the biggest road wins in college basketball this year. As for Lonzo Ball’s dad, Lavar, he’s at it again, suggesting that he would only play for the Lakers when he enters the NBA next year. Although he backtracked from these comments yesterday, he replaced them with dumber comments by suggesting that if we currently put Lonzo on the Warriors instead of Steph Curry, they would be better. Lavar is going to make Lonzo the most hated basketball player in the world at this rate, and he hasn’t even played a single NBA game yet.
Why are NBA players so thin skinned these days? First you have Lebron complaining about Charles Barkley criticizing him for needing more help. Now we have Javale McGee engaging a huge Twitter war with Shaq because McGee is repeatedly on “Shaq’tin A Fool”, which is a weekly blooper reel of NBA highlights. It’s Shaq’s job to be entertaining, and that’s exactly what he’s doing. If Javale has a problem with being featured on the bloopers every week, he should stop making a fool out of himself every week he plays. The crying and bitching that we’re seeing from his teammates and the Warriors, who are complaining to TNT, is ridiculous. In case you missed the exchange between Shaq and Javale, here it is.
This race for the 2024 Summer Olympics in getting interesting. After Donald Trump was elected President, it dealt a major blow the hopes of LA’s bid. However, Budapest dropped out because similar to a number of other previous bidders, the cost was just too great for them. That leaves Paris and Los Angeles. Paris is unfortunately the home of a lot of terrorist activity of late, while the United States creates a great degree of uncertainty because of Trump’s immigration orders. On one hand, it’s hard to imagine all of those IOC voters from Islamic and Latin American countries voting for the LA because of Donald Trump. But on the other hand, we know the IOC is corrupt, and is getting bribes left and right. How else do you explain a disastrous country like Brazil getting the Olympics? It’s going to be an interesting decision for this corruption that is the IOC.
Why did the LA Kings acquire one of the top goaltenders on the market to backup Jonathan Quick now? This would have been helpful 3 months ago when Quick was hurt. Maybe they wouldn’t be on the outside of the playoff picture looking in if they had. By the way Kato Kaelin was in the house for the Kings-Ducks game on Saturday at Staples Center. This makes sense. Whenever Kato is in the house there is always bloodshed.
The Walking Dead went down last night on AMC. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it yet, so read no further if that is the case. Just when I thought I got that “Easy Street” song out of my head, I had to hear it again, and I’m going to playing it in my head for the next few weeks. Listening to Eugene’s nerdy talk was unbelievable. He was like some type of super nerd, that was made from parts of a lesser nerd. Couldn’t Negan have just killed him instead of some of our favorite characters this season? It was even more painful watching him interact with the girls Negan sent to him. Negan lines up some easy sex for him and somehow, in two or three sentences, he lost the ability have sex with every woman in that room. The scary thing about him though is that once you gave him some pickles, he got his confidence up, and bought into Negan’s nonsense. Eugene is desperate for his own survival, and knows the’s too much of a coward to stand up for what’s right. Dwight on the other hand is on the verge of snapping, and I’m curious to see if he gets revenge on Negan.
As for the Oscars last night, I thought blunders like that only happened in beauty pageants that were hosted by Steve Harvey! Harvey may think he’s off the hook, but the reality is we will forever compare his blunder in the pageant to every other blunder like last night. I realize it wasn’t entirely Warren Beaty’s fault, but perhaps the Academy should make sure all of its presenters are young enough to effectively read and recognize when they have the incorrect envelopes like Beaty did. Props to all the people from La La Land that recognize the goof, and stopped their acceptance speech to give the real award to Moonlight. I know i know…..most of you are wishing that the 2016 Presidential Election turned out the way Best Picture did last night. Outside of that blunder, and Justin Timberlake’s brilliant performance to open the show, last night was just a reminder that the Oscars are nothing but politics and who is in bed with the right people in Hollywood to get recognized. In case you missed the blunder here is the full disaster…..
Finally, we get to see another highly anticipated episode of The Bachelor tonight on ABC. Last week we got to see Nick go on four different dates with each remaining contestant. The remaining women are from Houston, Montreal, some small town in Arkansas, and Miami. It should be a no-brainer where he wants to live. Corrine has both geography and money on her side. Her dad also seems like the equivalent of Pauley D from Jersey Shore, but 25 years older. He’ll also have the person who might be the most famous nanny in the world, Raquel. My favorite part of the show was seeing Corrine’s mom say “I can’t do a lot of things without Raquel”, while waiting anxiously for Raquel to pass her a glass of wine. Let’s be honest though, Nick doesn’t really like olives. Vanessa might seem like the most normal, but her family is way too intense. She got dumped people, she didn’t grow up eating lipstick. Apparently, none of them realize they are on The Bachelor, and are surprised Nick asked for the permission to marry each girl remaining from all the parents he visited. They were about as surprised as I was that there was no cheese pasta served for dinner at her house. I’m going to need to take a shot of whiskey tonight every time Nick says the word “respect”. From platinum “vageen” to platinum visa, Corrine needs to be the winner.
The Clippers needed overtime, and a brilliant game from Blake Griffin, but they beat the Hornets on Sunday night 124-121 at Staples.
Griffin scored 43 points to go along with 10 rebounds, and 5 assists, as he helped the Clippers snap their two game losing skid. Chris Paul added 15 points, 17 assists, and 9 rebounds despite a tough shooting game. CP3 missed 14 of his 18 shots from the field.
The Clippers gave up a 17-point lead in the third quarter, then the score was tied at 113-113 when Kemba Walker made two free throws with 11.9 seconds left in regulation. Walker scored 34 points for the game. Paul missed a potential game-winning jumper, and the teams headed into overtime.
The Clippers built a 4 point lead in the extra period, but that also disappeared, when Charlotte’s Jeremy Lamb made a 16-foot jumper to tie the score at 120-120.
Griffin then made one of two free throws for a 121-120 Clippers lead with 20.7 seconds left. The Hornets still had a chance to steal the game.
Charlotte had to call a timeout with 19.2 seconds left and another with 10.2 to play because of tough defense by the Clippers. LA then forced a turnover, and Paul’s missed layup was rebounded by DeAndre Jordan for a slam dunk, which secured the win.
Jordan finished with 20 points and 19 rebounds. “When it came down to it, I think we just made some really great plays in overtime,” said J.J.Redick, who had 22 points. “Blake was huge. It was a one-possession game and it came down to one play.”
The Clippers will return to action on Wednesday against Houston, where they’ll try to make it two in a row at Staples Center.
The Spurs issued the Lakers a good old fashioned beat down on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center, in a 119-98 win over LA.
This game was like watching the old man at the YMCA school the young athletic kid that thinks he’s invincible. The Spurs took a 16 point lead behind 16 1st quarter points from Kawhi Leonard after 12 minutes of play. They also had 14 assists on 15 made field goals.
Midway through the 2nd quarter, San Antonio already had 17 points off 10 Laker turnovers, and had built an 18 point lead. That lead ballooned to 61-41 by halftime.
There were a few bright spots for LA despite getting manhandled. One of them was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar getting honored at halftime for his various work in social activism. On the floor, Brandon Ingram scored a career-high 22 points, while D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson were productive on offense as well. Russell scored 18 points, and Clarkson scored 19, with each of them shooting an efficient 50% from the field.
Despite a better effort in the 2nd half from LA, the difference in the game was the Spurs efficiency at both ends of the floor. San Antonio had 49 baskets on 37 assists. The Spurs were led by Leonard’s 25 points, LaMarcus Aldridge scored 16, and Pau Gasol had 15.
The loss was the 41st of the season for LA, and their 4th straight defeat. San Antonio on the other hand improved to 45-13, and 3-0 against the Lakers on the season.
The Lakers continue their home stand on Tuesday night against Charlotte, when they’ll try to get back in the win column.
The USC men’s hoops team looked like they had this one in the bag, but Arizona State shocked the Trojans in the final 30 seconds. The Sun Devils defeated the Trojans 83-82 on Sunday in Tempe.
The Sun Devils rallied from 6 points down in the final 30 seconds, capped off by Tra Holders two free throws with 6.9 seconds left to play.
Trailing 82-76, Holder made a layup with 28 seconds left. USC’s Elijah Stewart missed the front end of a one-and-one and Kodi Justice followed with a 3-pointer to cut the Trojan lead to 82-71 with just 14 seconds left.
Then the improbable happened. Bennie Boatwright turned the ball over on the inbounds pass, which resulted in Holder driving the lane and getting fouled. He made two free throws, and just like that the Sun Devils were up 83-82. Boatwright had one final chance to win it, but his 3-pointer missed at the buzzer.
USC Coach Andy Enfield wasn’t as concerned with the final play. “That play shouldn’t have determined the game. We missed open shots, turned the ball over,” He said. “We were up eight and just threw it to the other team, we missed a front-end of a one-on-one, we missed a right-hand layup and we missed another free-throw.”
Justice scored a career-high 22 points, including 6 three-pointers. Boatwright led the way for USC with 22 points of his own, but it wasn’t enough.
The Trojans lost their fourth in a row, and fell to 8-8 in Pac 12 play. USC will try to snap out of their slump next week against the Washington schools, before traveling to Vegas for the Pac 12 Tournament.
They went into one of the toughest places to play in the country, and found a way. The Bruins defeated Arizona on Saturday night 77-72, which was their biggest statement win of the season.
The Wildcats had won 70 of 71 straight home games coming into Saturday’s game, and 21 in a row. However, the Bruins dominated the offensive boards, and used a big 19-4 run in the 2nd half to take down Arizona.
Thomas Welsh scored 12 of his 14 points in the 2nd half. He was one of 5 Bruins in double figures. Bryce Alford had 15, TJ Leaf and Aaron Holiday had 12 each, while Lonzo Ball had 11 points and 8 assists.
UCLA had a rough ending to the 1st half, missing 7 of their last 8 shots, as Arizona went on a 10-1 run in the final two minutes. The Bruins had been up by as many as 7, but they found themselves trailing 43-39 at halftime.
The Bruins decided to play some defense in the 2nd half, switching to a 3-2 zone, which slowed down the Wildcats. They also outrebounded Arizona 9-1 on the offensive glass in the half.
UCLA stretched the lead to 11 twice late in the game. The last at 73-62 on Welsh’s’ inside basket with 4:38 to play before Arizona managed one final charge finishing the game on a 10-4 run.
Arizona cut the lead to 75-72 with 29 seconds left. Aaron Holiday missed the first of a one-and-one free throw, which gave the Wildcats a chance to tie. However, Kadeem Allen air-balled a three-pointer in the final seconds. Allonzo Trier had a career-high 28 points in the losing effort.
The win tightens the Pac 12 race and likely puts Oregon in the driver seat to win the Pac 12 regular season title. Oregon and Arizona are tied for 1st, but the Ducks own the tie-breaker by virtue of winning their head-to-head matchup with the Wildcats. Arizona has one game left at Arizona State, while Oregon’s final game is at Oregon State.
As for the Bruins, they are now 1.5 games out of 1st place in the conference, with two games left against the Washington schools. UCLA is still likely to finish in 3rd place, which sets up a very important Pac 12 Tournament. The Bruins would potentially face Arizona in the semi-finals and Oregon in the finals. A #1 seed in the West Region would be on the line for the NCAA Tournament. It’s a tough road but after Saturday, UCLA gave us reasons to believe they can beat anybody on any floor.
For the first time in 59 games, Jonathan Quick was back in goal for the LA Kings. He looked as sharp as he usually is, despite missing nearly the entire season with a groin injury. Quick made 32 saves as the Kings got a much needed 3-2 win against the Ducks at Staples Center.
Quick was excellent throughout, making several big saves in the 1st period. However, the Ducks still managed to get one by the Kings goaltender late in the 1st. Andrew Cogliano tipped in a pass from Ryan Kessler for his 14th of the season, and Anaheim was in control at the 1st intermission.
Neither team scored in the 2nd period, and despite Quick’s efforts, it looked like another game where the Kings offense was going to come up empty.
Then in the 3rd period the Kings rallied. Tyler Toffoli put LA on the board 3:37 into the period after poking the puck past a sprawling Jonathan Bernier. Bernier was unable to cover the puck during a big scramble in front of the Ducks net. A little over 4 minutes later, it was Toffoli again, scoring his 12th after tipping in a pass from Jeff Carter on a 2-on-1. 17 seconds later, Dustin Brown re-directed a shot by Kevin Gravel, which made it 3-1 Kings.
The Ducks would pressure the Kings in the final 12 minutes, but Quick continued to turn back Anaheim. Finally, after the Ducks pulled their goaltender for the extra-attacker in the final two minutes, Jeff Carter scored his 30th goal of the season on an empty-netter. Carter took a pass from Anze Kopitar, who picked up his 2nd assist of the game on the play.
The game was physical throughout, which is usually the case when these two cross-town rivals get together. Things got especially chippy in the 2nd period, when a 10-man dog pile lead to a fight between Kings defenseman Brayden McNabb and Ducks Center Nate Thompson. Later in the period, Jeff Carter and Ryan Kessler squared off, with Kessler landing a big blow to the face of the Kings leading scorer. A fight involving either of those two skilled players is rare, but the blow may have woken the Kings up from their slump.
Patrick Eaves made his debut for the Ducks after being acquired from Dallas for a conditional second-round draft pick Friday. Slotted on a line with Corey Perryand Rickard Rakell, Eaves played 16:09.
For the Kings, Coach Darryl Sutter won his 216th game with LA, passing Andy Murray for most in franchise history. Sutter also scratched right wing Marian Gaborik for just the second time this season, after Gaborik had failed to score a point in the last 9 games. Gaborik was replace in the lineup by forward Jordan Nolan, who was activated from injured reserve after missing the last 9 games with a lower-body injury.
The win tied the season series between the Kings and Ducks at 2-2. More importantly though, it kept the Kings in the playoff race. LA now trails Nashville by 3 points for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, and they are 4 points behind division rival Calgary. The Kings will face the Flames on Tuesday night in Calgary, which will be the 2nd night of a back-to-back after playing at Minnesota on Monday.
As for the Ducks, they will now have their bye week, and do not play again until March 3rd against Toronto. Anaheim is still tied for 2nd place in the Pacific Division with Edmonton, and only 3 points behind San Jose for 1st place.
Russell Westbrook was a human tornado as usual. Westbrook scored 17 points, 18 rebounds, and 17 assists, as the Thunder took down the Lakers 110-93.
The game was also the first for two new Thunder players who were acquired on Thursday. Those players were Taj Gibson, who scored 12 points, and Doug McDermott, who scored 8. That was impressive in spite of the fact that neither was able to participate in the morning shoot around Friday.
As for the Lakers, D’Angelo Russell scored 29 points, but the Lakers shot just 39.6% as a team. Russell picked up the scoring slack after the team’s leading scorer, Lou Williams, was traded a few days earlier.
“I knew at times we’d stall out offensively because Lou was such a big part of it,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “But I thought they did a great job.”
The Lakers acquired Corey Brewer from Houston, in the trade for Williams. Brewer scored 2 points in 4 minutes of playing time. Jordan Clarkson scored 14 points and Julius Randle had 13 points and 11 rebounds as well, but the Lakers shot just 7 for 35 on three-pointers.
The Lakers trailed throughout. Oklahoma City led 58-51 at the half, and quickly opened up a 73-58 lead in the 3rd quarter. LA got within 9 points with just over 4 minutes left, but free throw shooting didn’t help their cause. The Lakers were just 6 of 14 from the free throw line.
Lakers new President of Basketball Operations, Magic Johnson, made the trip to Oklahoma City in order to get a better feel for the team. D’Angelo Russell recognized the importance of this.
“It’s like you’re starting over and trying to impress,” Russell said. “Everybody has to look over their shoulders once again. It’s like coming to a new team. Trying to impress the GM and the guys in the front office with your play and off the court the way you handle yourselves. So it’s all different.”
Things won’t get any easier for the Lakers. They’ll take on the Spurs at Staples Center on Sunday.
Chris Paul returned for the first time in five weeks, but it didn’t matter. The Spurs took down the Clippers 105-97 on Friday night at Staples Center.
Kawhi Leonard battled through foul trouble to score 21 points. Pau Gasol had 17 points and 11 rebounds, while LaMarcus Aldridge added 15 points and 11 rebonds of his own.
This was the Spurs first game after a nine-day layoff, while it was the Clippers 2nd straight loss after the All-Star break.
Blake Griffin led the way for the Clippers with 29 points, and Paul scored 17 but committed 4 of the Clippers 12 turnovers. Austin Rivers poured in 23 off the bench, but it wasn’t enough. The Clippers were up 47-42 at halftime, but they couldn’t hold on. Paul seemed content with an evening that he could build upon though.
“I came out unscathed, which is great,” Paul said. “It was a tough loss, but it felt good to get through an entire game.”
The Clippers were up 68-59 midway through the 3rd quarter. However, for the 2nd night in a row, their opponent erupted at that point. The Spurs went on a 16-5 run, to take a 77-73 lead into the 4th quarter.
At one point, Blake Griffin was hit in the face by Spurs reserve Dewyane Dedmon. Griffin went down on the court bleeding, and went to locker room for a moment. However, he came back out with a band-aid beneath his right eye.
The Spurs now lead the season series with the Clippers 2-1. LA dropped into 5th place in the Western Conference behind Utah. The Clippers host Charlotte on Sunday, where they’ll look to get back in the win column.
I’m not saying the Warriors have the Clippers number or anything. However, I am saying that after last night they have beaten LA ten times in a row. The Warriors handed LA a 123-113 loss at Oracle on Thursday, in a game that felt more like a lion playing with its food before devouring it.
The Clippers led by 16 points at one point in the 2nd quarter, and took a 61-49 lead into the locker room. However, in typical Clipper fashion, DeAndre Jordan lost his composure and picked up a technical foul at the end of the half. DJ was upset that no foul was called on the final play of the half. That moment alone may have changed the momentum.
Golden State exploded in the 3rd quarter for 50 points, which was the first 50-point quarter in the NBA since the Lakers had 51 against the Knicks in March of 2014. The eruption was led by Steph Curry, who scored 17 of his 35 points in that 3rd quarter. Those 17 points came in a stretch of only 3:37. Kevin Durant scored 15 of 25 points in the 3rd as well, to go along with 15 rebounds and 7 assists.
“Well, we stopped playing,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. “I thought the game plan was great. I thought we played with energy defensively. They scored 50 points in the third quarter and I was more upset with our offense.”
DeAndre Jordan had 17 points and 11 rebounds in the loss, while Austin Rivers had 19 points. LA even had 6 players in double figures, and their bench outscored the Warriors 51-32. Still, their efforts were no match for the Warriors trio of Curry, Durant, and Klay Thompson, who combined for 78 points.
I’m sure Doc Rivers is trying to convince himself that things could be different when Chris Paul came back. However, we’ve already seen that movie before. As great as Chris Paul is, the trio of Jordan-Paul-Griffin is no match for Curry-Durant-Thompson as well as Draymond Green.
The Clippers seem unlikely to catch the Rockets for 3rd place in West. They are tied for 4th place with the Jazz. However, they would probably be better off dropping into 6th place, so they don’t have to face the Warriors in the 2nd round of the playoffs. The Grizzlies are currently in 6th, 1.5 games behind LA. With 25 games left, the Clippers need to catch lightning in a bottle.