September 28, 2020
The Los Angels Lakers are plucking hairs from guard Alex Caruso’s head to signify how many more wins until they secure an NBA Championship this year. Sources are telling Jock Talk LA that thankfully, he only has four more hairs left, which is exactly the amount of wins the Lakers need. It took 10 years but the Lakers are back in the finals! The job is far from over yet though. Miami is a tough team with a lot of confidence, but the Lakers will be well prepared after facing a resilient Denver team. Lebron and AD were incredible, as was the entire team defense. Imagine dropping 38-16-10 in an elimination game, getting a near triple double in game 4 and locking up the hottest player in the bubble, yet still having some Boomer like Bill Plaschke call you old and washed up. Lebron is a gift basketball fans take for granted. I will miss Inside The NBA now that TNT’s coverage is over, but glad we no longer have to hear Chris Webber and Reggie Miller. Somewhere in hell, I can imagine those two calling games.
Perhaps the least surprising development of 2020 occurred the day after the Clippers were eliminated from the NBA playoffs. Paul George was reportedly accused of lacking accountability by his teammates. “Pandemic P” gave a locker room speech about staying committed and running it back next year, but the rest of his teammates just rolled their eyes. I’ve been telling you for more than two years that George wants no part of being accountable on a championship team. This is not the same guy that was arguably one of the ten best players in the NBA during his Indiana days. He wanted no part of being a Laker because he didn’t want the scrutiny and the responsibility that came along with it. He wants to compete for a title, but without any of the responsibility that comes with it. We know this because Lebron actually commented on him not wanting this pressure the year he signed with the Lakers, and we saw signs of this too during George’s time in Oklahoma City. This is likely how the Clipper locker room encounter went….
Not only are you going to get a Lakers NBA Finals this week, but you’re also going to get Dodger playoff baseball. The Boys in Blue are going to be taking on the Brewers beginning Wednesday in a best-of-3 series. I don’t know if I’m more nervous for Walker Buehler’s start on Wednesday, or Clayton Kershaw’s on Thursday, since Buehler has barely pitched this season. If there’s one thing I don’t want to see, it’s Kershaw and Kenley Jansen being put in situations to fail. That’s right Andrew Friedman, I’m talking to you and your stupid computer. I don’t want to see you telling Dave Roberts to send out Kershaw in the 7th and 8th inning when he’s running out of gas. I also don’t want to see him closing games. I don’t want to see Jansen going out for 6 or 9-out saves either. If I see that it just tells me Friedman was once again unable to assemble a bullpen that is worth a damn when it really matters, despite his unlimited resources. This has been the best team in baseball, yet I have about as much confidence in them in October, as I do in whatever Presidential candidate wins in November.
Meanwhile, the Angels finished up their season over the weekend, and once again missed the playoffs. They also wasted no time at all in firing Billy Eppler as GM. I feel like Arte Moreno was just standing by his computer ready to pounce on the email “send button”, with a termination letter emailed to Eppler, while Bcc’ing Ken Rosenthal. John Carpino’s statement thanking Eppler was lame, and looked like it was designed by a 3rd grader using Microsoft Paint. That whole saga is symbolic of the perception of the Angels organization. Seven MLB industry sources spoke to the LA Times recently, saying “it’s a bottom third job”, “it’s not the job it should be”, and “it can’t just be the GM”. In other words, this is all on Moreno and his lack of modern-day power structure in the organization. He’s clearly lacking quality scouting and player development. Dave Dombrowski can’t fix this by himself, even if he’s the next GM. Time to stop pretending like this team is ready to win now, and take the right steps to actually have a successful organization.
Look, I’m sure many NFL folks are going to point and laugh over that ridiculous pass interference call that cost the Rams the game yesterday against the Bills. I get it, they have benefitted from those calls going in their favor against the Saints two years ago in the NFC title game, and even in week 1 this year. That still doesn’t change the fact the call was garbage, and we can evaluate it for what it was individually. Still, allowing the Bills to convert a 3rd and 22 to Cole Beasley is where the game was lost. You’re not playing against Patrick Mahomes here. It would probably also help to not start playing when you’re down 28-3 in the 3rd quarter. That only works when you’re playing the Atlanta Falcons. On the bright side, the running game is looking good, so is Jared Goff, and they’ve got a great chance to win their next two games. The division is brutal right now with every team over .500 so they need every win they can get.
What a surprise, the Chargers are losing at home to football teams they have no business losing to. This time it was Carolina. Coach Anthony Lynn said he needs to teach his team how to win games like yesterday’s. Lynn doesn’t realize that this has been a 60-year tradition for this team. Justin Herbert looks like he can play, but the Bolts don’t know how to meet the moment in big games, and they play down to their competition. That’s a sure recipe to continue underachieving. There’s also the story on Tyrod Taylor, and him accidentally getting his lung punctured by doctors who tried to give him an injection for his broken ribs. I’m not sure what the big deal is here though. Doctors probably did him a favor because he would have punctured his lungs anyway by playing with a broken rib. It’s going to get even tougher next week when they visit their old friend Tom Brady in Tampa.
Elsewhere around week 3 in the NFL, the entire NFC East should be demoted to the XFL. Even the Cowboys should be 0-3, while the Eagles punted to play for a tie against the lowly Bengals. There’s not enough cheesesteaks in the city for the fans to drown their sorrows in. The Falcons blew another lead, and they keep choking harder than a guy eating a Popeyes biscuit with no drink. If Dan Quinn isn’t fired today, he’s officially the real life George Costanza. Everyone remember to check in on your Minnesota Vikings friends today after they lost again. The Raiders got handled by the Patriots, and somebody needs to teach Jon Gruden how to wear a mask, otherwise his wife is going to think he just came home from the strip club.
You probably forgot that there’s actually College Football going on too! Oklahoma is forking over leads like they are the Falcons, and losing to unranked teams like Kansas State already. LSU has apparently opted out of the College Football Playoff after their loss to Mississippi State. If Oklahoma doesn’t make it, who is the SEC Champ supposed to blow out this year in the semi finals? Can we just save everybody time, and get to another round of Clemson and Alabama already? Meanwhile the Pac 12 is gearing up for their 6-game season starting in November. I’m sure each of those games will be part of a double-header with some intramural sports leagues. What a joke that conference has become!
Finally, I know the series finale of Game of Thrones was not what any of us were hoping for. However, what was brilliant was the NBA’s “Game of Zones” series on Bleacher Report. This was next level funny, and the fact they were able to end this series with a connection to Game of Thrones, and Paul Piece’s wheel chair incident was hilariously brilliant. In case you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. Here’s the series finale: