Monthly Archives: February 2017

Kings Still Can’t Find Their Game

February 23rd, 2017

The Kings are still trending in the wrong direction.  The Bruins came in to Staples Center on Thursday night and defeated the Kings 4-1, handing LA their 6th loss in their last 8 games.

LA is now 4 points behind Calgary for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 22 games left to play.  The Kings have two games in hand on Calgary, but it feels like they’ve been using that excuse to feel better about themselves for a few months now.

The Bruins scored four minutes into the game off a turnover from Jake Muzzin, which led to a 2-on-1.  Brad Marchand streaked down the right wing and beat Peter Budaj with a wrist shot on the short side.  The Kings answered with a goal from defenseman Kevin Gravel, the first of his NHL career, in the final two minutes of the 1st period.  Gravel’s goal was set up nicely by rookie Adrian Kempe, who collected his 2nd NHL point on the play.

Boston would answer in the 2nd period on a goal by David Pastrnak, who broke a tie with a power play goal five minutes into the period.  Patrnak broke his stick on a one-timer from the left side, which fluttered past Peter Budaj.  The Kings pressed in the final 90 seconds of the game, pulling Budaj for the extra attacker.  However, the Bruins would score two empty-net goals, which came from Dominic Moore and David Krejci, in the final 65 seconds.

Jeff Carter knows the Kings need to score more goals to get it done.  “We didn’t have it tonight,” Carter lamented. “You’ve got to score goals to win. There were games … where we weren’t good enough to win.  And games where we were good enough but we didn’t score enough goals.”

As well as Peter Budaj has played this season, the Kings style requires elite goaltending to win.  They may get it from Jonathan Quick before the season is over, but that looks like it’s about two weeks away.  The Kings need to win now, or else the playoff race will be over by the time Quick comes back.  That also means LA needs to get more offensive production from its veteran leaders.

LA is allowing the fewest shots per game in the NHL, and the 5th fewest goals per game.  However, only 7 teams have scored fewer goals than the Kings, and their power play is just 23rd in the league.  It seems like the Kings hit a handful of goal posts every game, but they need to find a way to finish, or else their season will be finished soon.

Help doesn’t seem like it’s on the way either.  General Manager Dean Lombardi said he doesn’t expect the team to make any big moves before the March 1st trade deadline.  On one hand, the Kings control their own destiny, with 14 of their last 22 games at home, and 4 games against Calgary.  Still, it’s hard to have any confidence that the Kings are going to make the playoffs given how they’ve played.

Bruins Hold Off Arizona State

February 23rd, 2017

It was easy to look ahead to the big showdown Saturday at Arizona.  The Arizona State Sun Devils nearly took advantage of that, but UCLA held on to beat ASU 87-75.

TJ Leaf lead the way with 25 points and 8 rebounds in the Bruins sixth straight win.  UCLA also got 17 points from Aaron Holiday, and 15 from Bryce Alford.

The Bruins are known for their up-tempo offense, but on this night it was their size that wore down Arizona State.  They won the rebounding battle 49-30, and outscored ASU 50-22 in the paint.  UCLA also held the Sun Devils to 38% shooting despite the Sun Devils connecting on 14 three-pointers.

Shannon Evans II had a slam dunk that put Arizona State up 50-49 with 15:22 left in the 2nd half.  However, UCLA went on a 14-5 run from there, which was capped by an Aaron Holiday three-pointer.

Holiday had what felt like a dagger with 7:29 left, nailing another three-pointer.  That put UCLA up 74-60, and Arizona State went quietly after that.

Torian Graham led Arizona State with 28 points and Kodi Justice added 19, but it wasn’t enough.  The Bruins kept their win streak alive on a quiet offensive night from Lonzo Ball, who scored just 4 points, but did contribute 5 assists and 11 rebounds.

The Bruins can still finish in 2nd place in the Pac-12, and possibly even improve upon their #5 ranking with a win at Arizona on Saturday.  They’ll need Oregon to lose a game or two as well, but a win against the Wildcats would do wonders for their confidence in their chase for a National Championship.


Trojans Hot Early But Wildcats Hotter Late

February 23rd, 2017

The Trojans looked poised for an upset of #4 Arizona in the 1st half on Thursday night.  However, Lonzo Trier scored a season high 25 points, which included four three-pointers, as Arizona defeated USC 90-77.  The win keeps the Wildcats in 1st place in the Pac 12, and completes a season sweep of the Trojans.

Bennie Boatwright scored 23 points and Chimezie Metu had 15 for USC.  It wasn’t enough though, as the Trojans lost their third in a row to the top three teams in the conference.

USC was shooting 58% at point in the 1st half, yet only led by only 9 points.  The Wildcats closed the half on a 12-2 run, and took a 44-39 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Arizona pulled away in the 2nd half, leading by as many as 16 points.  USC finished the game shooting 52% from the field, but the difference in the game was the 11 three-pointers the Wildcats hit, and the Trojans 14 turnovers.

USC will try to get back in the win column on Saturday at Arizona State.  The Trojans took down the Sun Devils at home last month, and will be going for the season sweep.

The Trojans are fading in the Pac 12 standings, but should be in good shape to make the NCAA Tournament.  They’ll need to build some momentum though heading into the Pac 12 Tournament in two weeks.

Ducks Top Bruins

February 22nd, 2016

The Ducks haven’t been scoring much his season, but Richard Rakell is having himself a fine season.  Rakell scored two goals to lead the Ducks to a 5-3 win over the Bruins on Wednesday night at the Honda Center.

With 2:34 left in the 3rd period, Rackell tapped in Corey Perry’s missed attempt that squirted to him on the right side.  Andrew Cogliano added an empty-netter with 49 seconds left, which helped snap Boston’s four game win streak under new coach Bruce Cassidy.

The Bruins attack was relentless all night, but the Ducks were up for the challenge.  Anaheim took a 3-2 led into the 3rd period after a goal by Josh Manson.  However, Boston tied it up about halfway through the 3rd after Frank Vatrano scored on a breakaway.

Jonathan Bernier made 26 saves to get the win for Anaheim.  He filled in for Jonathan Gibson who sat out because of an upper body injury.

“It was nice to get the bounces tonight,” Rakell said. “We’ve been having a tough time the last couple of games to get something going, so for sure, it was nice that we were able to help the team tonight.

The line of Ryan Getzlaf, Nick Richie, and Ondrej Kase combined for a goal and four assists in the Ducks largest offensive outbreak in their last seven games.

The Ducks will now travel up the freeway to take on the Kings at Staples Center on Saturday afternoon.


Magic & Pelinka In, Kupchak & Buss Out

February 21st, 2017

Nothing much is happening with the Lakers these days right? I guess just a complete change in leadership and a trade of their leading scorer on Tuesday.  Other than that, nothing much.

We knew it was coming, but just didn’t know when or how.  It happened on Tuesday.  Magic Johnson replaced Jim Buss as head of Basketball Operations, and fired Mitch Kupchak as General Manager.  They also let go of long time publicist John Black.  It was all orchestrated by Jeanie Buss, who didn’t hide behind Magic.  The moves didn’t stop there.  The Lakers acted swiftly, hiring NBA player agent, Rob Pelinka as their new General Manager.  They also traded leading scorer Lou Williams to Houston for Corey Brewer and a 1st round pick in 2017.

Let’s start with the leadership change.  You have to give Magic credit.  He has guts.  He had a good relationship with Mitch Kupchak, yet concurred with Jeanie that it was time for a new vision.  It was time to stop reaching into their past to try and fix the future.  You all thought that’s what was going to happen with Magic, but he ended up making a completely out of the box hire in Rob Pelinka.

I feel terrible for Kupchak.  He has been part of the Lakers organization for the last 30 years, and spent the last 17 years as their General Manager.  He also helped assemble the last five Laker Championship teams.  He probably lost his job because Jim Buss proclaimed that the Lakers would be competitive within three years.  That never happened.  Kupchak has made some sensational trades over the last 15 years.  Trading for Pau Gasol, finding gems like Trevor Ariza before anybody knew who he was, and signing Metta World Peace to a below market contract.  He traded for Chris Paul and saved the Lakers $20 million along the way before the league vetoed it.  Contrary to the nonsense you might hear, he’s draft well over the last three years too.  However, his downfall was letting Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol walk away without compensation.

Then there’s Jim Buss.  Nobody really feels bad for Jimbo.  Even though he gets removed from Basketball Operations, he still retains his piece of ownership of a franchise that is worth over $3 billion.  Still, Buss isn’t the buffoon that most of you think he is.  His basketball acumen is actually very good, but he let his ego get in the way.  Most notably when he didn’t re-hire Phil Jackson as head coach in 2012, and instead went through a series of poor coaching choices: Mike Brown, Mike D’Antoni, and Byron Scott.  He also naively believed that the top free agents of the last few years would just sign with the Lakers simply because of their history and location.  Buss had the resources around him to succeed, but refused to leverage them because of his ego.

The tension between Jim and Jeanie heightened after the Phil Jackson debacle, and has remained.  The communication between Jeanie and the Basketball Operations department has only gotten worse.  They never even told her about the Byron Scott hire a few years ago.  Nor did they mention to Magic or Jeanie their recent attempts to acquire DeMarcus Cousins.  No organization can succeed without communication between its top leaders, and a unified vision from them.  The Lakers have that now with a new regime in the front office.

On one hand, had the Lakers waited to hire a GM, they might have had a number of options from existing executives around the league, and some good ones.  It’s also a little disappointing to know that Jerry West isn’t going to be coming back, even as an advisor.  However, Rob Pelinka is a forward-thinking hire, who understands the complex new CBA.  He has a number of relationships with players around the league.  That’s going to help when it comes to free agency.  Drafting and scouting is going to be critical however, so he’ll have to rely on what remains of the Laker front office for that.  Nevertheless, you have to appreciate the decisiveness the Lakers acted with in hiring Pelinka, in the same forward thinking way they hired Luke Walton.

In addition to all this chaos, Magic somehow kept things together and the team even managed to pull off a good trade today.  Lou Williams needed to be traded, and the 1st round pick was much needed.  I’m nit picking here, but I would have rather seen a much higher first round pick in this years draft from a team like Charlotte or Indiana.  I would also have rather seen a few expiring contracts like KJ McDaniels and Nene Hilario come back in the trade instead of Corey Brewer, who is due $7 million next year.  Still, the most important aspect of the trade is that the Lakers improved their chances of keeping their top 3 protected pick, and opened up more playing time for D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson.

Hopefully the Lakers aren’t done yet and can find a way to trade Nick Young as well before Thursdays trade deadline.  Either way, the Lakers new leadership is bold and exciting.  Let’s just hope it brings them back where they belong.

Kings Snap Skid

February 21st, 2017

It took playing the worst team in the league, but the Kings final got back in the win column.  Trevor Lewis scored the game-winning goal midway through the 2nd period, and Peter Budaj made 24 saves as the Kings beat the Avalanche 2-1 in Denver.  The win also moved Kings coach Darryl Sutter into a tie for the most wins as coach of the Kings.

The win was the 215th win for Sutter, which tied former Kings coach Andy Murray for the most in franchise history.  More importantly, the win snapped a three-game losing skid, and kept the Kings in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.  LA remains two points behind the Calgary Flames for the final playoff spot in the West.  The Flames defeated Nashville in overtime on Tuesday night.

After a scoreless first period, the Kings fell behind on a goal by Mikko Rantanen, who stole the puck from Drew Doughty at the LA blue line.  That goal came just 32 seconds in the period.  However, Tyler Toffoli scored his 10th goal of the season a few minutes later while crashing the net.  Kings rookie Adrian Kempe picked up his first career NHL point on the play with an assist.

About six minutes later, Lewis tucked the puck past Avalanche goaltender Calvin Pickard and the near post.  Budaj did an excellent job after that.  He stopped 11 shots in the third period, which might have been in his best performance in a couple of weeks.

Budaj is well aware of where the Kings are in the standings.  “You seen the standings?” he said. “The standings are tight. And we need every point we can get.  It’s just a big game for us.”

“We need to win some games and kind of get a streak going so we can get in the playoffs here,” Tyler Toffoli acknowledged.

The Kings return home on Wednesday to take on the Boston Bruins.  They’ll get another crack at the Ducks on Saturday as well before another short road trip.


Ducks Can’t Stop Red Hot Coyotes

February 20th, 2017

The Coyotes struck early and often in the 1st period on Monday, and then held on for a 3-2 win against the Ducks.  Arizona got three goals in the 1st period, capped off by Radim Vrbata’s 12th goal of the season.

After Jonathan Bernier gave up three goals on just six shots in that 1st period, he was replaced by Jonathan Gibson.  That stabilized things for Anaheim, as Gibson stopped all 14 shots he faced the rest of the way.

Ryan Getzlaf got the Ducks on the board midway through the 2nd period, after he re-directed a pass from Josh Manson past Mike Smith.  It was Getzlaf’s 10th goal of the season.

Getzlaf got his 2nd of the game with 26 seconds left in the 3rd period, but it was too little too late for Anaheim.  The Ducks had a couple of good chances in the final seconds, but Coyotes backup goaltender Marek Langhamer made the critical saves to preserve the win.  Langhamer was forced into action when Smith left the game after a collision in front of the net with just over 4 minutes left in the 3rd period.

The Coyotes also got 1st period goals from Christian Dvorak and Jakob Chychrun.  Mike Smith made 27 saves before leaving in the 3rd, while Langhamer stopped 7 of the 8 shots that he faced.

Arizona has won four of their last six games.  They also traded defenseman Michael Stone to Calgary on Monday.  He was replaced in the lineup by Connor Murphy.

Anaheim has just 4 wins in their last 10 games, but they’ll get to come home for a while.  The Ducks play Boston at home on Wednesday, and play four of the past five games at the Honda Center.


Monday Morning Coffee

February 20th, 2017

The NBA All-Star game went down last night.  That game was basically a 2.5 hour and 1 mix tape.  The West beat the East 192-182.  Yes that was actually the final score of the game.  Since both teams were on pace for 200 points each by halftime, they really made an effort to lock down on defense in the second half.  I’d also say Steph Curry’s defense was about as good as it was in the NBA Finals last year. Besides, 192 points are what the Knicks would call an average game for their opponents.  Hopefully Anthony Davis will be awarded a free eyebrow wax from the NBA since he took home the All-Star game MVP last night.  The league could easily make this more competitive by giving a $10-$15 million prize for the winning team.  I suspect Adam Silver will fix this problem.

Last night DeMarcus Cousins was traded to the Pelicans.   It was just hours earlier that the Lakers were in talks to acquire him, but the price was too high as far as they were concerned.  We know the Kings asked for Brandon Ingram, a future 1st rounder, and probably more.  The Lakers didn’t want to include Ingram.  You might think the Lakers were stupid to not give the Kings what they wanted for Cousins, even if it meant giving up Ingram.  However, LA made the right decision hanging on to him.  As great as DeMarcus Cousins is, we’ve seen what a team looks like with him as the best player, and it’s not even a playoff team.  As a Laker, Cousins would become the best player on the team immediately, and LA still wouldn’t be a playoff team.  Don’t be fooled into thinking LA won’t give up their young talent for a star player.  That star isn’t DeMarcus Cousins though.

As for All-Star Saturday night, this had to have been one of the more disappointing ones I can remember in the last several years. The NBA is all about star power, and unfortunately, we just didn’t see much of it in any of the three contests.  Kristaps Porzingas winning the skills contest is the most exciting thing to happen to the Knicks since Allen Houston came off their payroll.  They might as well have called the three-point shooting contest the “Klay Thompson Invitational” and the slam dunk contest the “Aaron Gordon Invitational” since they were such heavy favorites, yet somehow, they both managed to lose those events.  Eric Gordon shot well, but how can you have a three-point shooting contest without Steph Curry and Kyle Korver? Otto Porter leads the league in 3 point shooting this year, and he wasn’t even in the contest. As for the slam dunk contest, not having Zach Lavine go up against Aaron Gordon was a big let down after Lavine’s injury.  Aaron Gordon himself looked like he was laboring with his foot injury, and that probably allowed a guy like Glen Robinson III to win.  In addition to the dunks just not being creative enough, the names just weren’t there either.  I think we have all come to grips with the fact Lebron isn’t going to compete now that he’s well into his 30’s.  However, where is the top young athleticism in the NBA like Andrew Wiggins, Giannis Antetokounmpo, or even an athletic freak like Larry Nance Jr? It’s feeling more and more like a “whoever we can get to show up” contest.  DeAndre Jordan had a nice dunk, but we all know the odds are always stacked against you when you are a big man.  In DeAndre’s case, the odds are also stacked against him playing basketball when Chris Paul isn’t on the floor to throw him some ally-oops.  Hopefully Adam Silver comes up with some ways to keep the dunk contest alive.

Even though the NBA All-Star game did not have any Lakers playing in it, they did have some representation, most notably in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday. Both D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram participated. I don’t like to read too much into an exhibition game without a lot of defense being played, but after seeing D’Angelo contribute 12 points and 4 assists, and giving the fans some highlight reel isolation plays, it couldn’t help but reinforce what I already thought about him. Russell has star talent, but whether he fulfills it will come down to all the intangibles: work ethic, mental toughness, and maturity. As for Brandon Ingram, the skill is there, but until the kid puts on some weight, it’s hard to know exactly what the Lakers have in him.

Did anybody stop and think for just one minute that Kyrie Irving was actually trolling the media when he suggested the world is flat? It just goes to show you how desperate the media can be for a story in a slow news weekend.  Kevin Love has been the subject of some trade rumors in Cleveland, as he has been the last couple of years.  He was actually replaced on the All-Star team by Carmelo Anthony.  He and Lebron had a nice little exchange of text messages a few days ago….

New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis turned himself in to authorities on Friday, after being charged with four felonies and a misdemeanor stemming from an altercation in Pittsburgh last week. Revis is scheduled for a hearing in a few days.  Looks like Revis Island is about to turn into Alcatraz Island if he has to face jail time.  If the judge we’re going to give him a maximum sentence though, he would just sentence him to playing for the Cleveland Browns for the next five years.

Going into Saturday, it felt like UCLA was never going to beat USC again in basketball.  Then Lonzo Ball reminded us how great he was once again, as the Bruins blew out the Trojans at Pauley Pavilion.  Not only did UCLA play great defense, but we didn’t have to hear Steve Alford bitch about how high of a standard we hold him to when they don’t play defense.  If Alford wants to complain about it, he should go coach at Southwest Missouri State and take his kid with him.  To his credit though, Alford has gotten the Bruins to play some much better defense in the last couple of games.  I still think that Lavar Ball needs to settle down with all the talk about Lonzo being better than Steph Curry and better than Jason Kidd.  It’s great to have confidence in your kid and support him, but no need to put the added pressure on him, or even put a target on him that other players want a shot at.  Lavar Ball has become the world’s worst soccer mom.

Let’s go to the ice where last night the LA Kings played one of their biggest games of the season, yet somehow laid their biggest egg.  In typical Kings fashion, they couldn’t score, losing 1-0 to the Ducks at Honda Center.  The Kings must be under the impression that their bye week was for two weeks instead of one, because they haven’t showed up in their last three games.  I get it, Anze Kopitar is a nice defensive forward who does more than score.  However, the Kings sure as hell need him to score, and for $10 million per year, it better be more than six goals a season.  I also love how the Kings called up their most skilled prospect in Adrian Kempe, yet stick him on the 4th line instead of the top line when they are desperate for offense.  The Kings may not be out of the playoff race, but it sure feels like they’re letting the playoffs slip further and further away from them.

To baseball where spring training has opened up in Arizona for the Angels and Dodgers.  However, the big news for the Halos is that according to Arte Moreno, they will be playing at Anaheim Stadium until 2029.  The Angels also spent $1.5 million to install some LED lights in the stadium during the off-season, to go along with other improvements to the stadium over the years.  Moreno has clearly experienced the same troubles that Clippers owner Steve Ballmer has recently, with regards to trying to build a new stadium in Southern California.  Even if Moreno had the money to do it himself, which he doesn’t, trying to build something in Orange County is not amenable to most residents, while in LA there are just too many stadiums.  Even if there was an opportunity to move, Anaheim has been home to the Halos for decades, and should continue to be that home.

Another coalition building episode of The Walking Dead last night on AMC.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if that is the case, and you want to watch it later.  I like how Rick was saved by Michonne in this episode, and she wasn’t even fighting with him.  I was shocked that Jadis didn’t ask for a hair stylist instead of all those guns for her group.  She must have thought the Jim Carey “Dumber & Dumber” haircut was in.  I was really bummed that Darryl didn’t tell  Carol that Glenn and Abraham were beaten to death.  However, my gut feeling is that she will eventually find out, and when she does, she will get her revenge.

Lastly, we’re down to the final four on The Bachelor, and I’m sure many of you can’t wait for tonight’s episode.  I’m fairly amazed how Nick has found a way to send all the girls home that would actually be good wives.  That dude is crazier than the women on the show.   He wants a deeper relationship, the women say they love him, then he sends them home.  Can they just send Nick home already? Let’s be honest, Nick probably sent Christina home because he thought he had to travel all the way to Russia for the hometown date with her.  Looks like ABC forgot to issue the spoiler alert when they announced that Rachel Lindsay will be the next Bachelorette.  This was never a problem with previous Bachelorette’s, so I’m not sure why ABC made this scheduling goof.  I’m not sure what was up with Corrine suddenly talking in the third person during last week’s show.  Who does she think she is, Elmo?  Nevertheless, she has a real shot to win, and my prediction is that you’re going to see her in the final.  If not though, I hope we at least get to meet her crazy family and Raquel.  After all, nothing says bringing a girl home to your family like a “platinum vageen”.  I’m not sure what was funnier: seeing Corrine walk out of that hotel while walking past the sliding doors, or seeing her walk like Bambi in those Louboutin’s.

Ducks Shut Down Kings

February 19th, 2017

The Kings continued their struggle to score, and the Ducks got 2 big points against their cross-town rival with a 1-0 win against LA on Sunday night in Anaheim.

Josh Manson scored his second goal of the season and Jonathan Gibson made 24 saves for his 10th career shutout.  Anaheim has now won two of the three games this season against LA, and moved back into a tie for 2nd place in the Pacific Division.

In seasons past, the Kings have been known to win these tight checking close games.  LA played a very physical game, however, Anaheim countered with a persistent forecheck which ultimately set up the only goal of the game.  The Ducks know they need to play that style to win in the postseason, something that has eluded them for a while.

“We just showed how we can play,” Gibson said. “This time of the season, that’s the way it is going to be. Going into the playoffs, towards the end of the year, every game is going to be tight. There’s not much room for error, so (you’ve) got to be pretty good.”

The Kings still had their chances.  Trevor Lewis looked like he was going to tie the game for Los Angeles in the final 30 seconds of the second period. The puck careened off the boards and behind Gibson, who was out at the top of his crease, but Lewis somehow put it wide of the open net.

Then Adrian Kempe then hit the outside of the post off a rebound late in the third period, and the Kings did nothing on a subsequent power play for too many men on the ice.

The Kings remain two points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.  Drew Doughty doesn’t seem worried, but knows time is running out.  “We’re still fully confident we can turn it on now and get back into that playoff spot we want to be in,” Doughty said. “The longer we wait, the harder it’s going to be.”

LA will try to get back in the win column on Tuesday at Colorado.  As for the Ducks, they’ll take on the Coyotes tomorrow night in Phoenix.

Bruins Snap Skid Against Trojans


February 19th, 2017

For the first time in about two years, the Bruins looked like a basketball school against their cross-town rivals. #6 UCLA routed the Trojans 102-70 on Saturday Night at Pauley Pavilion.

The win snapped a four game losing streak against the Trojans on the hardwood, including an 84-76 loss at USC last month. The Bruins improved to 14-1 at home, and are now 5-0 in the month of February.

Bryce Alford led the way for the Bruins with 26 points, including 10 straight in the second half, along with 5 three-pointers. All five starters were in double figures for UCLA, including Lonzo Ball, who had 15 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists, as well as TJ Leaf, who scored 19 points to go along with 8 rebounds.   Thomas Welsh contributed a career-high 16 rebounds too.

Not much went right for USC, who was led by Bennie Boatwright’s 20 points and 10 rebounds.   Boatwright, who didn’t play in the first meeting between the Bruins and Trojans, didn’t get much help from his teammates. USC shot only 34% from the field, and got crushed on the boards by a margin of 50-33.

“We beat them the first time by making it tough for them on offense; we challenge shots,” USC Coach Andy Enfield said. “And tonight they did make some tough ones, but our defense was not as exceptional as it was the first time we played them.”

With 8 minutes left in the first half, UCLA went on a 17-3 run. That run was capped by a deep Lonzo Ball three-pointer, which gave the Bruins a 46-34 lead at halftime. That’s the fourth time this season that Ball has hit a deep three-pointer in the final seconds before halftime. The Bruins have won all four of those games.

UCLA appears to be locked into 3rd place in the Pac 12, but is gaining more momentum heading into March. “Coach always says February sets up March,” said Lonzo Ball. “So that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Everyone will look at the 100 points and believe the Bruins won this game with their #1 ranked offense in the nation. However, it was really the effort on the defensive end, and on the glass that was the biggest difference in UCLA’s win, as well as in the last three weeks. Those are things the Bruins will need to continue if they expect to compete for a National Championship.