Monthly Archives: March 2017

Jets Rally & Beat Ducks In OT

March 30, 2017

Dustin Byfuglien scored the game-tying goal with 12 seconds left in regulation, and Mark Scheifele had the game-winner in overtime as the Jets rallied to beat the Ducks 4-3 on Thursday.

The Ducks took a 3-1 lead into the 3rd period, however, Winnipeg scored twice in the final 8:25 of the 3rd to tie things up.  Blake Wheeler and Joel Armia also scored for the Jets.

Anaheim got two goals from Corey Perry, and one from Jakob Silfverberg, but it wasn’t enough to keep their 5-game win streak alive.

Ducks coach Randy Carlyle issued a coach’s challenge on Byfuglien’s tying goal, but referees ruled that it was a good goal after a big scramble in the crease.  Jonathan Bernier still managed to turn away 37 shots for Anaheim, despite taking the loss.

Corey Perry said the Ducks just lost focus.  “We didn’t play for the full 60 minutes,” Perry said. “You take your foot off the gas in this league, you’re going to get burnt. You can’t sit back and receive a hockey game, and we did that in the final frame.”

Silfverberg got the Ducks off to a nice start just over 8 minutes into the game, when he beat Michael Hutchinson with a wrist shot to the glove side.

Armia scored short-handed to tie things up at 11:54 when he beat Bernie with a quick low shot.

Perry scored with just over a minute left in the 1st period to put the Ducks back in front.  He would strike again in the 2nd period with a power play goal at the 7:01 mark.

Wheeler’s 24th of the season started the Jets rally in the 3rd, which altered the momentum in the Jets favor.

The Ducks now have five games remaining on their schedule before the playoffs.  They’ll now travel to Edmonton on Saturday to take on the Oilers, followed by a trip to Calgary on Sunday to take on the Flames to finish up their road trip.

Clippers Too Hot For Suns

March 30, 2017

Blake Griffin led the way with 31 points and Chris Paul poured in 29 to go along with 10 assists, as the Clippers beat the Suns 124-118 on Thursday night in the desert.

The win was the 2nd in a row for the Clippers, who pulled within 1 game of the 4th place Utah Jazz in the Western Conference.  Meanwhile, the Suns lost their 10th straight game.

Phoenix was led by Devin Booker’s 33 points and season-high 9 assists.  However, the 2nd year guard fouled out with just under five minutes to play in the game.

The Clippers took a 67-59 lead into halftime after wrestling the game away from the Suns in the last 6 minutes of the 2nd quarter.  They closed the half on a 13-4 run, capped by a 23-foot jumper from Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

The Suns would fight back in the 3rd quarter, and finished the period on a 9-0 run over the last 2:25.  TJ Warren’s put-back after an Alan Williams miss cut the Clippers’ lead to 93-92 heading into the 4th quarter.

Phoenix tied the score 102-102 after Booker’s layup with 7:50 left in the game.  However, they could never take the lead after that.  Griffin countered with a made basket and got fouled moments later, converting a 3-point play.  Chris Paul made a 10-footer, followed by 2 more free throws, and suddenly the Clippers regained control with a 7-0 run.  The Suns shaved the lead to 114-112 after Booker fouled out, but the Clips would hold them off again.

The Clippers will return home and continue to battle for playoff positioning.  Up next will be another meeting with the Lakers, which will be Saturday afternoon at Staples, in which the Clippers will be the designated home team.



Lakers Can’t Hang With Wolves

March 30, 2017

Ricky Rubio scored a career-high 33 points to go along with 10 assists and 5 rebounds, as the Timberwolves pulled away from the Lakers in the 2nd half and won 119-104, on Thursday night at the Target Center.

The Wolves also got 32 points from Karl-Anthony Towns, and 27 points from Andrew Wiggins.  The win was the 30th of the season for Minnesota, which is one more than they had all of last season.

As for the Lakers, Jordan Clarkson led the way with 18 points, while D’Angelo Russell scored 14 and dished out 6 assists.  However, Brandon Ingram sat out his 3rd consecutive game with patellar tendinitis in his right knee, and the Lakers lost for the 17th time in the last 19 games.

Neither team played a whole lot of defense in this one, with each side putting up 37 points in the 1st quarter.  The Lakers had a 4 point lead at one point in the 2nd quarter, but the Wolves had a 67-60 lead at the half.

The Wolves had a big 3rd quarter, and took a 14 point lead into the 4th quarter.  The Lakers tried to rally, and got within 9 points with 4 minutes left.  However, Rubio would convert a drive to the basket, and then make a 21-foot jump shot to regain the momentum for Minnesota.

Rubio made 4 out of 5 three-pointers on the night.  “He’s someone that you normally are living with him shooting 3s,” coach Luke Walton said. “But our defense, we weren’t communicating.”

The Lakers also got bad news when center Ivica Zubac sprained his right ankle two minutes into the game.  He left the arena in a walking boot, and will be re-evaluated when the team returns to Los Angeles.

Up next for the Lakers, they’ll return home to play the Clippers on Saturday at Staples.  It will be a designated home game for the Clippers.




Redick’s Return Helps Clips Top Wiz

March 29, 2017

J.J. Redick returned from injury to score 31 points, and the Clippers outlasted the Wizards 133-124 on Wednesday at Staples Center.

Redick had missed the Clippers game on Sunday against Sacramento with an ankle sprain.  On Wednesday night, he hit a season-high 7 three-pointers.

The other 3 members of the Clippers core also played well.  Blake Griffin scored 26 points, had 10 rebounds, and 9 assists.  DeAndre Jordan had 23 points and 18 rebounds.  Chris Paul had 27 points and dished out 13 assists.

The Wizards were led by John Wall’s 41 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds.  They also received 27 points from Bradley Beal.

The Clippers led by as many as 19 points midway through the third period. The Wizards chipped away in the fourth and pulled to within five points, 129-124, after Beal hit a three-pointer with 31 seconds left.  That gave the Clippers fear of blowing another big lead for the 2nd straight game.

However, Griffin made two free throws with 18 seconds left.  That put the game out of reach, as the Clippers led 131-124.

“We got some key stops down the stretch and kept playing offensively,” Coach Doc Rivers said. “We moved the ball around, got the ball in the right hands and made shots. That was the difference. We didn’t hesitate.”

The news wasn’t all good for the Clips though.  Austin Rivers left the game with a strained left-hamstring.  The injury is likely to keep him on the sidelines for at least a couple of games.

Utah also won on Wednesday night, which meant the Clippers didn’t pick up any ground in the race for 4th place in the Western Conference.  The Clips are back in action on Thursday night in Phoenix, against the Suns.

Kings Spoil Flames Party

March 29, 2017

The Kings prevented the Flames from clinching a playoff spot on Wednesday night in Alberta, defeating Calgary 4-1.

Jerome Iginla led the way for LA, scoring his 100th career game-winning goal, picking up an assist, and decisively winning a fight against Deryk Engelland.  Trevor Lewis, Anze Kopitar, and Jeff Carter also scored for the Kings.

This game was all about revenge for the Kings.  When these two teams last met on March 19, Calgary rookie Matthew Tkachuk elbowed Drew Doughty in the face and picked up a two game suspension.  Even prior to the start of the game, Kyle Clifford approached Tkachuk near center ice and exchanged words with the Flames rookie, as did other members of both teams.

Tkachuk fought Kings’ defenseman Brayden McNabb in the 1st period, and Tkachuk was dropped to the ice after a good upper cut.  Iginla’s fight with Engelland resulted in a cut opening up on forehead of the Flames’ defenseman.

It was Iginla’s goal with 46 seconds left in the 2nd period that would be the decisive tally.  The goal came during a big scramble in front of Flames’ goalie Brian Elliott.  Iginla now has 5 goals in 13 games for LA.

Doug Hamilton scored the Flames only goal.  Calgary will have another chance to clinch a playoff spot on Friday night against the Sharks at home.

Ben Bishop made 29 saves for LA.  Bishop is now 2-2-2 since being acquired from Tampa at the trade deadline.

The Kings will try to keep their dim playoff hopes alive on Friday night in Vancouver, against the Canucks.

Ducks Take Down Canucks & Clinch

March 28, 2017

Corey Perry and Patrick Eaves scored early in the 1st period, and the Ducks handled the Canucks 4-1 in Vancouver on Tuesday night.  The Kings loss to Edmonton earlier in the evening meant that the Ducks, Oilers, and Sharks clinched playoff spots.

Nick Ritchie and Brandon Montour also scored for Anaheim.  Jonathan Bernier made 34 saves and Antoine Vermette had two assists.  Bernier is 9-0-1 with a .947 save percentage in his last 10 starts.

The Ducks played without Ryan Getzlaf, who was a late scratch because of a lower-body injury.  Coach Randy Carlyle confirmed that the injury came about late Monday night.

“He didn’t feel right (Tuesday) morning and couldn’t get it loosened up,” the coach explained. “We just made the decision we’re not going to sacrifice a guy who’s been our best player.”

John Gibson served as the Ducks backup after missing 7 straight games, and 13 of the last 14 games with a lower-body injury.

The Ducks dominated the Canucks, and eliminated them from postseason contention with the victory.  Anaheim had built a 4-0 lead by the middle of the 2nd period.

The Ducks will continue their four game road trip on Thursday in Winnipeg, against the Jets.

Oilers Edge Kings & Clinch

March 28, 2017

The Kings lost yet another opportunity to make up ground in the Western Conference playoff race, losing 2-1 to the Oilers on Tuesday night in Edmonton.  The loss meant the Oilers clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2005.

Cam Talbot made 34 saves. while Connor McDavid and Eric Gryba scored for Edmonton.  The Kings’ goal came from Jerome Iginla.  The Oilers have won 7 of their last 8 games.

Jonathan Quick made 27 saves for LA, but the Kings have lost four of their last five games.  They trail St. Louis by 11 points with only 7 games left to play.

It looked like the Oilers scored 49 seconds into the game, but Oscar Klefbom’s goal was disallowed after the referee ruled that there was goaltender interference on the play.

However, McDavid would score later in the period when his pass deflected off of Derek Forbort and past Quick.  It was his 27th goal of the season, and league-leading 89th point.

Iginla tied it up with 3 minutes left in the period, after firing a shot past Talbot on his glove side.  The goal was his 4th in 12 games since being acquired by the Kings just prior to the trade deadline.

The Oilers would score the game-winner at 7:03 of the 2nd period when Gryba’s long shot deflected past Quick.  The Kings even got a break when another Oiler goal was waived off when officials ruled they blew the whistle because of a delayed penalty prior to the puck entering the net.

The Kings had chances but couldn’t capitalize.  Jeff Carter had an opportunity short-handed that was stopped by the pad of Talbot.  “I thought I had some room low blocker. I think I just caught the top of his pad,” Carter said.

LA also had opportunities in the final minute, but Alec Martinez and Jake Muzzin were stopped by Talbot.

The Kings will try to keep their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday in Calgary.  Anze Kopitar knows things aren’t looking good.  “At the start of the year, I think if you looked at our roster, not a whole lot of people would have predicted that we’d be in the position we are right now,” Kopitar said.


Wizards Rally Past Lakers

March 28, 2017

John Wall scored 34 points while dishing out 14 assists, as the Wizards had a huge 4th quarter rally to defeat the Lakers 119-108 at Staples Center on Tuesday.

The Lakers led by as many as 16 in the 3rd quarter, and 13 heading into the 4th quarter.  However, Washington outscored LA 37-13 in the 4th.

“We just missed some early shots and turned it over and it snowballed from there,” Laker coach Luke Walton said.

D’Angelo Russell scored 28 points for the Lakers, and Jordan Clarkson added 22.  “He was great tonight,” Walton said of Russell. “He was brilliant. Some of the passing he had.”

The Lakers fell behind early in this one.  They trailed by 12 halfway through the 1st quarter, but an 8-0 run capped by a David Nwaba layup tied the game after the 1st quarter.  By halftime, the Lakers had built a 3 point lead.

A 14-3 run starting with 9:23 left in the third quarter gave the Lakers their first double-digit lead of the game.

“It was beautiful,” Walton said of the Lakers’ third quarter.  “The way the ball was moving. They were just reading off each other. Guys were ready to make quick passes. Guys were flashing. . . . Unfortunately the fourth quarter started with us missing some open looks that we had been hitting and then we had some turnovers. . . . They cut into that lead without even really having to get hot.”

The Lakers didn’t score for the first 2:05 of the 4th quarter.  Washington scored nine straight points to cut into the LA lead.  Late in the 4th, Wall stole the ball from Russell, then dunked it at the other end of the floor to tie the game at 101-101.  That changed the momentum that the Lakers couldn’t recover from.

The Suns lost on Tuesday night as well.  That means the Lakers remained .5 games behind Phoenix in the Standings.

Monday Morning Coffee

March 27, 2017

I don’t know what’s more disappointing for UCLA fans.  The fact that they lost in the Sweet 16 for the 3rd time in the last 4 years, or the fact that Steve Alford is still going to be coaching this team moving forward.  UCLA is getting exactly what I thought they would get with Alford.  A coach who is a tremendous recruiter, but one who is unable to harness that talent into tournament success.  As great as the Bruins’ offense was, their defense is what led to their downfall, and that’s always what leads to the fall of Alford’s teams come tournament time.  Lonzo Ball had a great season, but on Friday he got outplayed by De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk.  The Bruins were entertaining this season and slightly more relevant than in previous years, but the reality of it is that UCLA basketball still isn’t where it should be.

Say what you will about Lavar Ball and his craziness, but the man is actually a genius.  He is building a brand for his kids.  He is also wildly entertaining when you put a microphone in front of him.  Sports are about entertainment value, and it seems like for years to come his kids are going to be providing that entertainment on the floor, while he provides the entertainment for us off the floor.  As for his proclamation that his kids are worth $1 billion, if Lonzo ends up on the Lakers, don’t be surprised if one of the most successful business men in the world helps makes that happen, Magic Johnson.

What a great game between Kentucky and North Carolina yesterday.  There were so many lead changes that Drake kept switching between his UNC and UK jersey all game long.  UNC is the easy pick to win the Final Four.  Meanwhile, Kansas has clinched their annual spot on their couch for the Final Four after losing to Oregon.  I’d say South Carolina busted your bracket, but the reality of it is your bracket was probably busted long ago.  Gonzaga really lucked out that Arizona was upset by Xavier.  They also lucked out that West Virginia somehow couldn’t even get a shot up in the last twenty seconds of the game.  That kid is still probably dribbling the ball as we speak.

I loved seeing the Lakers unveil Shaq’s statue on Friday, outside of Staples Center.  However, what really almost made me cry was listening to Kobe talk about Shaq both during the ceremony, and to the media leading up to it.  “When you win three titles together and you’ve had so much impact on one another’s legacy as a player and as a champion,” Kobe said by phone last week, “there is absolutely no way in the world I would miss an opportunity to talk about him and thank him and to acknowledge everything that he’s done for not only this organization and the city, but for me personally.”  Kobe and Shaq grew up before our very eyes.  We can only hope we are fortunate enough to witness another Laker duo as fun as it was watching them play.

It looked like the Clippers were getting their act together when they defeated Utah on Saturday.  Then they blew an 18 point lead against Sacramento yesterday, and lost at home.  The real reminder is that the bench isn’t really as reliable as we thought it was.  The bench was outscored 46-28 yesterday, mostly while CP3, Blake, and DeAndre were resting.  Of even greater concern are comments from JJ Redick and Blake Griffin mentioning things like “lack of spirit”, uncertainty around game plans, and overall lack of chemistry.  Given the amount of time this team has been together, that shouldn’t be the case.  If anything, the Clips biggest problems seem more psychological.

It’s amazing how the media milked the story last week about NBA teams resting stars. This is really only a significant story for a handful of players like Lebron, Westbrook, Harden, Durant, and Curry.  Those are the only players people really care about seeing, and people will spend their hard earned more for the chance to watch those players play.  With that being the case, the league should do a better job scheduling nationally televised games, and avoiding back-to-back games for teams on those nights.  That would increase the likelihood of star players playing.  At the same time though, NHL players have an even more grueling game to play, and they don’t complain that they need rest.  NBA players need to stop being so soft, and understand their responsibility to the fans who actually make the league what it is.

Congratulations to the United States for winning the World Baseball Classic by defeating Puerto Rico.  Puerto Ricans haven’t been this upset since Menudo broke up.  Somehow Ian Kinsler managed to become public enemy #1.  I didn’t actually watch more than 5 seconds of the tournament.  That’s because winning the WBC is like being the smartest person at a monster truck rally.  It’s cool, but it really means nothing.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says it’s doubtful NHL players will participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics.  Good one Gary.  You and I both know you can’t afford to not send players to the Olympics.  It’s too much free marketing and exposure for the NHL and its player’s, who love representing their countries by the way.  It’s going to happen.

Finally, another episode of The Walking Dead went down on AMC last night.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if you plan to watch it later.  Second to last episode of the season goes down, and amazingly, nobody of significance died.  I have a feeling that’s going to change next week.  If you didn’t like the episode, you don’t like character development.  I do wish however, that we would get to see the backstory on Negan.  I’m sure we were all shocked that Gregory couldn’t fight off a walker.  Carl has pretty good aim to be able to shoot while holding a gun up to his patched eye…..


Lakers Legal Battle Over

March 27, 2017

The Laker ownership controversy has ended peacefully.  Jeanie Buss has removed her brother Jim Buss as a trustee and replaced him with her younger sister Janie Buss, according to documents entered into Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday morning.

The three siblings have agreed for Jeanie to serve as controlling owner and on the team’s board of directors as long as the family owns the Lakers.  Johnny Buss will remain on the board of directors.

“It’s great that we were able to work this out so fast. We’ve resolved everything clearly and cleanly and now we can get back to work,” Jeanie Buss told ESPN.

According to sources close to the situation, neither brother was given any additional financial settlement beyond what’d they’d be entitled to through yearly salaries and disbursements from the trust.

“Jeanie is captain of the ship,” Janie Buss told ESPN. “My sister is the one who finally played her aces. I’m just behind her. I’ve always been behind her. Now she can focus on where the Lakers need to go.

The agreement means the probate court trial scheduled for May 15 to resolve the matter won’t happen.

Janie is excited for what’s ahead.  “This is a new beginning for us as a team. Now we don’t need to worry about this family stuff. We can focus on the Lakers now.”