Monthly Archives: February 2022

Monday Morning Coffee

February 28, 2022

Just when you think the Lakers can’t embarrass themselves any further, they go and get smoked by 28-points at home against the Pelicans. If Chick Hearn were still alive and called that game last night, he would have absolutely crushed the Lakers. This team simply doesn’t care. Even Lebron, who scored 32 points last night, showed a very lackluster effort on the defensive end, and isn’t even leading. Of course it’s gotta be hard for Russ to show up to work everyday, knowing that Lebron tried to have him traded a week ago. I’m beginning to wonder if the Lakers are even going to make it to the play-in game at this point. If they are really going to put this kind of effort out there with 22 games left in the season, then they are really just ready to book their vacations to Cancun. Now Lebron is mad at Bill Oram of The Athletic for reporting that he had beef with Rob Pelinka for not making a move at the trade deadline. He claims that information didn’t come from him. We’re apparently supposed to believe Lebron when a week ago in Cleveland he told us that he hasn’t dismissed the idea of re-joining the Cavs at some point. I’m also not even really sure why we are all still watching this team. Apparently none of us care about our mental health.

To the NFL, where we can talk about much brighter news: Sean McVay has officially announced that he’s coming back to Rams! We heard for weeks that McVay was really considering walking away because he was burnt out, and flirting with the idea of broadcasting. I know many of you think this was some kind of a money grab by McVay, but I don’t really think it was. If that was the case, why did it take McVay a couple of weeks to publicly commit to coming back to coach the Rams? I think he was seriously considering calling it quits. I also think that by 2025, Sean McVay won’t be coaching anymore. If you put this kind of idea out there, the end is a lot closer than you think. Now the question is whether or not Aaron Donald is coming back, which we should find out shortly. He probably still has his shirt off celebrating somewhere.

In baseball, do you really think these idiots are going to come to a labor agreement today? Your odds of winning the Powerball are better. The owners are going to force the players to start missing game checks once they start cancelling regular season games, really putting the heat on the players association. There are 30 owners, and hundreds of players. Naturally, it’s a lot easer for the players to give in than for 30 owners to do the same. No matter what people say though, I don’t buy the notion that “fans won’t come back” if games are cancelled. They forgiven and forgotten before, and they will forgive and forget again.

UCLA basketball had a mixed weekend of results on their trip to Oregon. They lost to the Ducks, and then beat up on Oregon State. The Bruins will likely end up as the #3 seed going into the Pac-12 Tournament, and would probably need to win the tournament to become a #3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Otherwise the bracketologists of the world have them closer to a #5 seed. In any case, this team just needs to get healthy, rested, and in rhythm. They looked in rhythm on Saturday night, but they certainly aren’t healthy or rested. Jamie Jaquez is playing on two bad ankles, Johnny Juzang has his own ankle injury, and they are in the midst of playing 6 games in a 12-day stretch. One thing that might help the Bruins is that teams in the Top 10 AP Poll have been dropping faster than Joe Biden’s approval rating. With 6 of the top 16 teams losing over the weekend, they might be able to move up a little with a strong week against Washington tonight, and USC on Saturday.

The LA Kings are suddenly a very interesting and dangerous team to watch again. The Kings are surprisingly sitting in 2nd place in the Pacific Division with 29 games left in the season. That’s surprising because the Kings are in a developmental stage, with many younger players in their lineup and in their farm system. The Kings actually have the 2nd best farm system in hockey, according to The Athletic, and if anything, they have too many high-ceiling players that play the same position. For that reason, they are in an excellent position come the trade deadline in three weeks. They can make this team even better by adding a star player on defense, or even a star goal scorer. Even if they don’t the Kings might not be that far away from Stanley Cup contention again, in the next season or two.

Finally, props to The Walking Dead for learning from their mistakes from previous seasons. No, they haven’t brought back all their old characters, but in last night’s episode, they sped up the storyline instead of spending 5 or 6 episodes story telling about whether or not a new community should be trusted. Yes, it has a “Game of Thrones” feel to it, but most of you liked that aspect of GOT before they botched the ending. I also find it very hard to believe they are going to end The Walking Dead without bringing Rick Grimes back for another appearance at some point. Of course if you ask Scott Gimple and Angela Kang, they will tell you it’s not happening, but that’s also like believing Putin when he said he wasn’t really going to invade Ukraine last week.

Monday Morning Coffee

February 21, 2022

Happy Presidents Day everyone! The Laker crisis has turned into a movie that we’ve seen three times before: Lebron setting himself up to leave in free agency. You can already tell with Lebron’s passive aggressive comments toward Rob Pelinka and the Laker front office, while heaping praise on other front office executives in the NBA, and even in the NFL. If you think I’m taking his comments and stretching them into something else, you need a history lesson. This is the exact same thing that occurred twice in Cleveland, and in Miami. Ramon Shelburne even validated this with her report last week that the Lakers are unlikely to make drastic changes in the off-season, because essentially, Lebron and Anthony Davis created this roster, so they need to make it work. That is the proper position to take. It sure would help if Anthony “Day-to-Davis” could stay on the court and dominate for more than a handful of games at a time. Still, without any draft picks, the Lakers would be smart to not make any salary commitments beyond next season. That way they can arm themselves with Anthony Davis and boat loads of cap space to re-make the team, even without any draft picks. And no, Anthony Davis isn’t getting traded for Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler as Chris Broussard says. He probably got this info from Drake while hanging with him at Tao night club. If Lebron wants to leave the Lakers, he’s certainly earned that right, but the Lakers need to protect themselves appropriately and prepare for the next era post Lebron in a smart way.

As for the Clippers, they’ve had plenty of injuries and plenty of excuses to lean on, yet they keep treading water. The Clips are sitting in the 8th seed, hovering right around .500, and playing hard enough to give teams some problems in a play-in tournament. It’s also funny how just a couple of years ago, everybody thought that Ty Lue was nothing more than a coach for Lebron, who was probably drawing clown faces on clipboards during timeouts. Instead, he’s now developed a reputation as one of the top coaches in the league, and one that players really like playing for. Kawhi Leonard likely won’t play this season, but if Paul George can make it back in a few weeks, they could make things even more interesting.

As for All-Star Weekend, Steph Curry put on show, and was making every shot from virtually the parking lot. It was fitting for Lebron to score the game-winner, but that’s also the hardest I think I’ve seen him play in at least a couple of weeks. That had to have been the longest halftime in the history of any basketball game. I think Scottie Pippen ended up being virtual for the Top 75 player ceremony just so he didn’t have to see Michael. Let’s all just pretend like that Slam Dunk contest never actually happened Saturday night. I get that we are trying to introduce younger players into the dunk contest, but that was a disaster with a bunch of no-names. I can appreciate what they did with the Rising Stars Challenge, making it more of a tournament format. However, they need to make the three-point shootout the final and main event moving forward. It has names, and lately seems to turn out a lot more exciting than many of the most recent dunk contests.

LeBron James, right, celebrates with teammates, including Stephen Curry after hitting the winning shot.

Meanwhile, the Rams enjoyed a nice celebration for the last week after winning the Super Bowl. It was an eventful week where we learned quite a bit. First of all, according to Veronika Khomyn, Sean McVay’s fiancé, who we basically all trust because she’s smoking hot, says that he’s not retiring on her Instagram account. I will wait until I feel a little more confident that nobody has been drinking at a parade, or in their home before I’m really confident that McVay is coming back to coach, but I feel a little better about it then a week ago. I also feel a little better about Aaron Donald returning, only because he laid out some requests to come back: OBJ and Von Miller re-signing. Both of those sound realistic, given the cap money coming off the books, and OBJ likely taking a discounted deal after his injury. Donald had his shirt off for most of Wednesday’s parade, and if my torso looked like his, I probably wouldn’t own any shirts. Then there’s the Matthew and Kelly Stafford incident, where they watched photographer Kelly Smiley fall off the stage and fracture her spine. The overreaction to this entire incident is the most 2022 thing I’ve ever seen. Yes, the Stafford’s reaction to the incident was completely insensitive, but it’s not like they could do anything anyway. The idea of them paying their medical bill is a nice gesture, but apparently these days all you need to do is fall in front of rich people and they will pay your medical bills. Then there’s all you idiots on Twitter that started a go-fund me instantly for her, only to want your money back when you found out Smiley had all these racist remarks from 5-10 years ago on her social media account. You people have way too much time on your hands.

On to UCLA basketball, where they handled business nicely over the weekend against both Washington schools. Mick Cronin deserves credit for digging a little deeper into his bench, rather than focusing on the same six dudes to get him by. That can pay dividends big time come the tournament. Their opponents may have stunk, but to dominate the way they did in the past two games without their starting point, or Johnny Juzang and Cody Riley speaks volumes about that depth. At this point for the Bruins, it’s about getting healthy, and peaking at the right time. When UCLA moves the ball and gets quality shots, they can beat anybody with the effort they put in defensively. The Bruins are also undefeated when they shoot 35% or better from 3, which tells you just how good that defense can really be. I still get weirded out hearing Steve Lavin talk about UCLA. He’s now picking them to win the National Championship this year. It’s like hearing your ex talk about you in a weird “I still have feelings for you” way.

By the time you finish reading this column, I’m guessing new USC Quarterback Caleb Williams would have signed another NIL deal. This kid is suddenly raking in the dough, with deals from “Beats By Dre”, “AC+ION Water”, and with a private equity group. This is suddenly becoming the Wild West, or maybe it’s the “Wilder West” because this was happening before, now it’s just happening everywhere because it’s legal. The NCAA is also in trouble now. They are losing control, like a parent over their kid going off to college. Wait until the College Football Playoff expands from four teams, then they will have nothing left. Rightfully so, as the NCAA is just a corrupt organization that has been taking advantage of kids for years to a large extent. Now they are getting what they deserve.

Finally, I don’t know about you but I’ve invested way too much in The Walking Dead to not watch the final 16 episodes of the series, which started last night. They’ve obviously had to re-make the show, due to many character departures, but last night got off to a bang with a lot to process for a mid-season premier. The entire Reaper organization has been decimated. Alexandria is lying in rubble. Negan takes off. The Commonwealth arrives, courtesy of Eugene, and invites our people to join the cause. Cut to six months later: Maggie’s defending the walls of Hilltop, someplace we haven’t seen in awhile, and a phalanx of threatening Commonwealth soldiers show up to do…something. Their leader? Daryl Dixon. Maggie has transformed into a women that is 56 weeks pregnant to a fierce soldier that is on a killing war path. It was pretty sad watching her lose Alden. Daryl could have been doing a shampoo commercial at the end of the episode when he took off his helmet, and shook his hair like he was a super model. Gabriel went from being a complete coward, to not even being phased by walkers or intruders at the gate. The final stretch is off to a good start, so I’m interested in seeing how it ends.


Monday Morning Coffee

February 14, 2022

Congratulations to the Los Angeles Rams for winning Super Bowl 56! We really are lucky to be sports fans in Southern California. The Bengals were a handful, and everybody was underestimating them, but the Rams pulled through when it mattered and came out on top. The fact they made it to the end without OBJ, Tyler Higbee, Robert Woods, and without being able to run the ball speaks to how great Matt Stafford and Cooper Kupp were. The Rams stars delivered when it was all one the line. As fans, we have created a culture of expectations that in most cities, would be completely unrealistic: championship or bust. The Rams organization embraced that concept, went all in with the moves they made, and it paid off with a Super Bowl Championship. They maxed out their credit card, and it was worth every penny. I don’t see anybody questioning the Matthew Stafford trade now. I sure hope that Sean McVay and Aaron Donald don’t decide to retire, since we’ve been hearing rumors about them. Coaching is so important in the NFL, McVay has a chance to be one of the greatest coaches of his era if he continues to lead this team. Donald also has a chance to become arguably the greatest pass rusher of all time. Plus, the Rams still have a window to contend because some of their dead money with Jared Goff and Todd Gurley are coming off the books, so they could pay the likes of OBJ and Von Miller. Even with Beckham’s injury, he should recover and come back. For now, just soak up the glory Rams fans……..the city of LA has another championship added to it’s mantle!

As for the telecast, the halftime show was amazing. All the performers were outstanding, however, it feels like they told Mary J Blige and Fity Cent they were performing two weeks ago, since it looked like the just emerged from months of Covid quarantine. The commercials though were very underwhelming. These companies that are blowing $8 million on a commercial are just giving us a celebrity love fest, or trying to tell us how exciting it is losing boat loads of money gambling or trading crypto currency.

I’m very tired of this exercise. You know, the one where we talk about the Lakers and how they can turn it around. Stop it. They can’t this season. The season is over. If the Lakers consistently played with the kind of effort they did on Saturday night in their loss to the Warriors, they could probably make the postseason and make a run. However, I have no reason to believe they can play with that kind of effort consistently. Frank Vogel said “we believe in this group” after the trade deadline. You sure Frank? Because apparently your players don’t seem to think so, which is more or less what Lebron and AD indicated before and after the deadline. This team is a sinking ship, taking on water from one part of the boat after another. You plug one hole and another one is created. They either can’t put enough quality defensive players on the floor around AD and Lebron, or if they do, they can’t put enough quality offensive players on the floor around them. Oh, but what about the buy out market? Yes, I’m sure free agents are just itching to play for a minimum contract, with a team that has multiple ball dominant players, with zero championship hopes. This was simply poor roster construction, and it’s not all because of Russell Westbrook’s play. It’s because of his contract.

It’s a shame that lost in the Laker troubles is the unbelievable play of Lebron James in year 19. Lebron became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer on Saturday night (combined playoffs and regular season). Imagine having scored more points in NBA history than anybody else, and scoring isn’t even your greatest skill set? Year 19, and he might even win the scoring title. I don’t care what you think of his politics. With 4 Championships with 3 different teams, 4 finals MVPs and 4 regular season MVPs, this man is making his case as the greatest player of all-time.

UCLA basketball took another L over the weekend, this time to cross-town rival USC. The Trojans always play with a chip on their shoulder against UCLA, which explained why amazingly, Mick Cronin has never beat them since he started coaching UCLA. You can pretty much kiss hopes of winning the Pac-12 good bye after that one. You can’t win a basketball game shooting 30% from the field. The Bruins also can’t overcome that when Johnny Juzang, Jules Bernard, and Jaime Jaquez aren’t in peak form. Jaquez needs to shut it down until his ankle gets better. They also haven’t been getting much in the past five games from Myles Johnson and Cody Riley, who represent the only size on the roster. Until their big three scorers get it going, the Bruins also need to stop relying on jumpers like they are the Golden State Warriors. It would also help if Mick Cronin didn’t throw his players under the bus like has the past few weeks. However, it was only two weeks ago that the Bruins were in peak form. There is still time to get it back as we saw last season when they struggled around the same time, yet made a run to the Final Four. Let’s just hope this team can get healthy and can make that kind of run again.

I don’t know about most of you complainers, but I love the Winter Olympics. All I’ve heard from you is how difficult it is to find the events, but all you have to do is watch NBC, USA, or Peacock. Yes we have to deal with the time difference, but so does the rest of the world when they watch all our sports so deal with it! I really don’t know how a lot of these snowboarders and skiers do what they are doing with their incredible acrobats. It must be that if you don’t die during the training for these events, you automatically qualify for the Olympics. I’m enjoying it, but I just wish that the NHL had sent their players to the Olympics to represent their countries, especially since the players love playing in it. I’m sure Canadians are ready to move continents after the US Men’s hockey team defeated Canada 4-2 the other day in pool play. I do also wish that NBC would stop focusing on the favorites that lost their events and them crying their hearts out, as opposed to the winners that are on the podium and enjoying their gold medals. We’ve seen repeated examples of this, which is just sad. The LA Times is guilty of this too. Rather than featuring a shot of the medal winners hugging and rolling around together in celebration (with an American included), they decided to show Jamie Anderson sitting in defeat. And on the following page, they show an American woman ice skater and go on about her “nerves” after she lost to an incredible Russian skater.

Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer will not face any criminal charges after he was being investigated for sexual assault last year. Much of the discussion that has occurred after that has revolved around whether or not he should pitch for the Dodgers again. In fact, Bill Plaschke of the LA Times suggested he shouldn’t, while many readers wrote letters telling Bill he is a hypocrite, comparing him to Kobe, who everyone embraced after his sexual assault charge in 2003. First of all, this is entirely a moot point, because Bauer is going to be suspended by the MLB, and very likely for 1-2 years. Second of all, Bauer shouldn’t pitch for the Dodgers again because of all the other baggage he brings aside from this. This wasn’t a one time incident. He’s got lots of baggage, the Dodgers knew this was a risk when they signed him, and it was a risk that ultimately backfired on them. That situation can’t really be compared to Kobe, who did not have a questionable past, prior to the incident in Colorado. For those reasons, as well as the fact that Bauer’s teammates have written him off, he should not be allowed to pitch for the Dodgers again.

Monday Morning Coffee

General overall interior view of SoFi Stadium during a Rams game.

February 7, 2022

We’re just 6 days away from Super Bowl LVI kicking off at SoFi Stadium. The Rams might be favored against the Bengals, but it amazes me that everyone is discounting Cincinnati. I’ve heard so many of you saying “Is Joe Burrow really ready for this?” Guys….he’s in the Super Bowl. He’s defeated the top 2 seeds on the road…..he’s for real. The Bengals have a ton of offensive weapons on the perimeter, where Jalen Ramsey can’t cover them all. They also have a very underrated defense that has been making plays. This is going to be a razor close game, but I like the Rams because they have the pass rush that can give Burrow hell, and they should have an easier time running the ball than they did against the 49ers. Ultimately though, it’s going to come down to which Matthew Stafford the Rams get. If it’s the one we’ve seen throughout this years playoffs, the Rams should be Super Bowl Champions.

Meanwhile, Tom Brady made it official, he retired last week. Poor Jim Gray, 24 hours earlier he had Tom Brady on his podcast, and couldn’t even get a straight answer out of him. As if things aren’t bad enough for Gray with that gigantic forehead of his. For years though, I maintained that Joe Montana was the GOAT, since even in the twilight of his career, he took the Chiefs to the AFC Championship. However, I have to admit…’s Brady. He not only won 7 rings, but won with two different teams, and in many years did not have great talent around him. He also repeatedly defeated a guy who was one of the best quarterbacks of all-time, Payton Manning. Plus think about this: Tom Brady’s daughter has held Super Bowl Trophy more times in the last 20 years than the Cowboys have won playoff games.

To the NBA, where the Lakers scrapped a victory together on Saturday against the Knicks, but this team is still very much a disaster. At this point Russell Westbrook needs to be arrested for his play. How many jumpers do we have to see him clank off the side of the backboard? For a while on Saturday night, I couldn’t tell who the Lakers were trying to get fired: Frank Vogel or Tom Thibodeau. Mark Jackson also said on the broadcast that was one of the worst stretches the Lakers have played all season. I’m pretty sure he hasn’t seen nearly enough games, because they’ve looked even worse. The fact Lebron and AD are playing as well as they are (when healthy) and the fact this team is two games under .500 at the same time, shows you just how much Russell Westbrook and the lack of defense is destroying their value. It’s a phenomenon I’m not sure I have seen before. There is no trade out there that will fix this right now by the deadline on Thursday. At best, this team will be lucky to get out of the play-in tournament, and then get punished in the first round by Phoenix or Golden State. Then Rob Pelinka and Frank Vogel will have to see if one or both of them will take the fall.

Meanwhile, the Clippers are still treading water and playing hard. They also acquired two quality players from the Blazers in Robert Covington and Norman Powell. That move will not only help keep them alive this year, but also could pay dividends next year with a healthy Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. However, the real story out of Clipper-land this week was Jerry West publicly saying how the Lakers revoked his lifetime season tickets, and that the Lakers now treat him “like trash”. It amazes me that this relationship deteriorated the way it did, but if you look deep enough, you can see why. Jeanie Buss has always loved and adored Phil Jackson, who she was once engaged to. Phil Jackson and Jerry West do not like each other. That hatred started in the early 2000’s, and eventually led to Jerry leaving the Lakers. Naturally, Jeanie was always going to have her opinion of Jerry colored by whatever Phil had to say. It probably also explains why she didn’t bring back Jerry West in any capacity in the last few years when she had a chance to. I imagine that Jeanie probably wanted to stick it to Jerry too when he decided to work for the Clippers. It’s sad that one of the greats in franchise history has had his relationship with the Lakers completely dislocated. I sure hope that at some point, they can make nice, but I have my doubts this will happen anytime soon.

The USC Football team got some big news last week: Quarterback Kaleb Williams is transferring from Oklahoma. What the hell took so long? Williams and Lincoln Riley must think we are all idiots, claiming that they have had no contact with each other since Riley left the Sooners program. Did you really expect us to believe that Williams was going to go to UCLA and play for Chip Kelly? Especially after Jaxton Dart transferred? This definitely makes USC a lot better. They still have a lot of work to do to get back to where people expect them to be. Apparently the Trojans will have to deal with another issue with Williams though, after some sorority girls at OU outed him upon hearing that he was transfering.

Dear UCLA Basketball: please do not play like you played on Saturday during the month of March. Please do not behave like you did on Thursday night against Arizona. That was one embarrassing week. To be fair to Mac Etienne, Arizona fans should be given a life time prison sentence for some of the things we’ve seen them do and say over the years. Sometimes we forget that these are just teenagers that are growing up. Etienne is a kid who made a mistake when he spit in the face of Arizona fans, and he will learn from it.

Finally, I really believe that this season of The Bachelor would get back to what made the show entertaining and an enjoyable train wreck to watch. However, it just hasn’t been that way. Instead, we’ve been listening to grown women fight about shrimp, while our expectations for Clayton as a Bachelor are falling faster than our expectations of the Lakers. I’m actually convinced that Clayton’s either dumb as a ROCK to give Shanae a rose or the producers have held his entire family hostage and this is the only way to get them back. Clayton has more chemistry with Clarence than all of these girls combined. Given how this season is going though, I have my doubts they end up together.