December 31, 2018
This is going to be one of the more brutal stretches of the NBA season for the Lakers. Lebron is injured, and could be out for a few more games. Rajon Rondo is out again, and Javale McGee has the plague. That means it’s all on the kids. That was cute when the Lakers were a lottery team, but now it’s just scary. Even if the Lakers tread water at .500 while Lebron is out, they could easily drop from say 4th place to 11th or 12th in the West. That’s a scary thought when the Western Conference playoff race is tighter than a Beyoncé jumpsuit. I like what I’ve seen from Ivica Zubac though. If he keeps playing this well, Mitch Kupchak might end up giving up $72 million this offseason. Speaking of Lebron, how much of a bad ass do you have to be to walk into an NBA arena drinking a glass of wine on game night?
The Rams took care of business yesterday against the 49ers to lock up the #2 seed. That’s a big relief because I was rather concerned about Sean McVay’s competency as a head coach when I learned earlier in the week that he didn’t consider “Die Hard” a Christmas movie. Nevertheless, I feel a little bit better about the way the defense has performed the last couple of weeks. Jared Goff still hasn’t gotten his groove back though. That bye week is going to be critical to getting Todd Gurley healthy. The idea of playing Seattle, Dallas, or even Chicago doesn’t sound very appealing, but the Rams should be ok with home field advantage and the extra rest. I’m still expecting a big showdown in the Super Dome between the Saints and Rams for the right to go to the Super Bowl, in another game between these two teams that should break the scoreboard.
The Chargers won, but played yesterday’s game like they knew the Chiefs weren’t going to lose to the Raiders. If you love touchbacks, you must have loved watching that game. It was threatening to be the worst game of all-time early on, and there wasn’t even any bad weather. I have a very hard time seeing the Bolts beating Baltimore, Kansas City, and then New England on the road in order to get to the Super Bowl. The Bolts have to play at 10:00 am PST next week. They are toast. Dean Spanos is such a cheap skate he might as well just save the money and not charter a plane to Baltimore. This team is talented, but not more talented than the Chiefs, not as well coached as the Patriots, and will have a difficult time with the Ravens defense.
Elsewhere around Week 17 in the NFL, Kirk Cousins will have to use the money from his contract to dry his tears after the Vikings were eliminated from the playoffs. I have no idea how Nick Foles did it, but he got the Eagles back to the playoffs. What the hell were the Giants and Cowboys thinking playing their starters in a meaningless game? The Cowboys were risking injury and the Giants were ruining their draft position. Somewhere, Tiki Barber is rolling over in his high heel boots. The Bills won, and Kyle Williams scored more touchdowns this season than Kelvin Benjamin. The Packers got blown out by the Lions to end the season, and somehow people will still pick them to win the Super Bowl next year. The Patriots beat the Jets to clinch the #2 seed. Next year the rest of the AFC East will need to kidnap Tom Brady and feed him unhealthy food to give themselves a chance.
It was finally time. Steve Alford has been fired by UCLA. Where the hell is Liberty? UCLA is now losing to schools on their home floor where you wouldn’t even be able to find them on a map. I’ve never missed the days of Ben Howland so much. At least that team had a coach who could convince his players to play tough defense and to do the fundamentals. Steve Alford couldn’t even convince his freshman 5-star recruits to complete basketball basics that 6th graders are able to execute. I don’t care if the whole PAC 12 stinks. UCLA should never be this bad. At least with this move the Bruins have a chance to salvage some of their season, and see what an interim like say, Tyus Edney might look like. Still, I have little faith Dan Guerrero will make a good hire. He doesn’t even care anymore and is just drinking latte’s in his office while counting the days until his retirement. Better hope Casey Wasserman is willing to rally the alums.
Cris Cyborg put up more of a fight in 51 seconds than Notre Dame did against Clemson. That was embarrassing, and even more embarrassing was Brian Kelly’s explanation that the loss had nothing to do with talent, but lack of execution. That’s like saying “We just got outcoached.” As painful as it was to watch for the Irish faithful, the Irish went undefeated on a tough schedule. It would be hard to put any other team in, and even more difficult to find any teams that could compete with Clemson and Alabama on the big stage. Just ask Oklahoma, who was getting abused by Alabama just a few minutes into the game. Kyler Murray should have retired by halftime and started his baseball career.
I’ve beaten up the Angels all offseason for dumpster diving. However, I have to give them credit for signing Jonathan Lucroy. They badly needed a catcher, and Lucroy is a good value that isn’t far removed from being an all-star. If anything, this might even screw over Yasmani Grandal, who is looking for big money. The Dodgers are hoping Grandal returns on an inflated on year deal, and Lucroy’s move to the Halos might actually make that happen.
I have three words for the LA Kings: BLOW IT UP. They are dead last in the league at almost the halfway mark of the season. Worst offense in the league, among the worst in special teams, and no longer an elite defensive team. The Dallas Stars, who are holding the final Wild Card spot, are underperforming and their CEO just came out and publicly said their team is playing like garbage. If the President of the LA Kings came out and said that it would be considered a compliment right now. At this point the dumbest thing the Kings could do is win. Tanking would make the most sense so they can secure the top pick in the draft.