April 24, 2023
The Lakers have a choice. They can either make life easy for themselves and handle business tonight and Wednesday against Memphis, then get their rest before round 2. Or they can make life difficult, screw around and make this is a six or seven game series before struggling to send Memphis home. The choice seems pretty easy to me. The Lakers are more disciplined when they want to be, deeper, and more experienced than the Grizzlies. Memphis talks trash better than they do anything else, but as long AD and Lebron set the tone, the Grizzlies will be in Cancun before the week is over. Dillon Brooks can run his mouth all he wants from there.
As for the Clippers, this is the most Clipper thing ever. There is a superstar weird enough to want to play for them, yet he’s mysteriously hurt in the biggest moments nearly ever year he’s been with the team. I don’t get it. Kawhi was fine after game 1 and 2, and completely dominated. Now suddenly he can’t play? The Clippers only needed one of their stars in Kawhi or Paul George to win this series against an underwhelming Suns team. They unfortunately had neither available. Steve Ballmer must be smashing his Microsoft Surface into pieces out of frustration. Kawhi practically held this team hostage over his free agency demands, they meet all of them, yet he’s not reliable when they need him most. He told the Clippers when the playoffs come he’ll be ready and available, despite the load managing. Well the playoffs are here and he’s not. What’s the point of load managing if you can’t build any chemistry or durability during the season? Unfortunately for the Clips, they are stuck with Kawhi for two more years.
To the ice, where the Kings and Oilers are in a classic NHL playoff battle. That series is tied 2-2 going headed back to Edmonton, and it’s anybody’s series. However, what a missed opportunity for the Kings last night to take a commanding series lead. Still, this series is probably going 7, and we forget that these teams are actually very evenly matched. They’ve each won 7 of the last 14 meetings. I’m not terribly worried about a let down emotionally after giving away a 3-0 lead last night, because the Kings still took a 4-3 lead after that. However, when I listen to Coach Todd McClellan speak, he sounds like a guy who really thinks the odds of winning the series are a coin flip, and knows the odds are against the Kings given that he’s going up against the two best players in the world. That’s not the attitude we saw in previous Kings team that were contenders. The Kings got Kevin Fiala and Gabe Vilardi back too, who both gave them offense, but it wasn’t offense that’s been their problem. They need to stay out of the penalty box or it’s instant death against Edmonton. Joonas Korpisalo has to be sharper in goal than last night, and the defense can’t make careless mistakes. On Friday in game 3 when the Kings won it OT, I love how Oilers Coach Jay Woodcroft said the Kings game-winning goal should be wiped out because Connor McDavid saw the puck knocked out of the air with a high stick. He said “I believe the best player in the world”. Solid reasoning Jay. Why don’t we just let McDavid be an independent arbitrator in all reviews during this series? In any case, most people didn’t expect the Kings to win this series, but they still have a chance to, despite the catastrophe of last night.
In baseball, for all the Dodger ups and downs, they are tied for 1st place in the NL West with the D’Backs. The scary part is that the the pitching and hitting never seem to be clicking at the same time. There’s also quite a few dudes like Chris Taylor, Trayce Thompson, and Miguel Vargas who aren’t giving them much production at all. The bullpen has also been wildly inconsistent too. I do wonder though if they will really try to make any significant improvements at the deadline if they are contending, seemingly content to just compete in the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes next winter. Either that or Andrew Friedman’s computer needs a software refresh this offseason. Props to Clayton Kershaw though on his 200th win last week, as well as another great start yesterday. He doesn’t get enough credit for still being great.
Then there’s the Angels who won yesterday, but have lost 3 of their last 5 games. The shine on this team is wearing off quickly, already 4 games back of the Rangers and under .500. To make matters worse, Logan O’Hoppe is likely done for the year with a torn labrum. Phil Nevin said there was nothing the Halos could have done to manage it better, except if you believe him you have probably been drinking. I heard 17 teams interviewed and passed on Nevin before the Halos hired him. I’m sure he would have just nailed it on the 18th. Arte might as well go ahead and trade Shohei now.
The Rams are continuing to trim the fat. They traded Allen Robinson to the Steelers, and even ate part of his contract in the process. I think the Rams might be slightly better than people think next year because the NFC is softer than Charmin, but look out for the year after. They’ll have over $70 mill in cap space and 11 draft picks. That’s why the NFL really stands for “Not For Long.
Lastly, UCLA B-Ball got some tough news last week, which is that now Adem Bona and Amari Bailey are headed for the NBA Draft. Bona reserves the right to return to school, but he’s likely a 1st rounder with Bailey. So if you’re keeping score at home (and who does these days?) The Bruins have lost 6 players from their 8-man rotation this year. Think it’s safe to say next year could be a down year.