Monday Morning Coffee

May 15, 2023

The Lakers are going to the Western Conference Finals. If you predicted this was going to happen in Mid February, at the time everyone would have thought you should be locked up in an insane asylum. Their defense against the Warriors was elite, Lebron and AD delivered when they were called upon, and the role players stepped up. They may not be favored, but this team has a reasonable chance to not just beat the Nuggets, but to win an NBA Championship this year. Those of you that wanted to trade Lebron James, Anthony Davis, fire Rob Pelinka, and have Jeanie sell the team, can send your apology letters to the El Segundo headquarters. Don’t forget about Darvin Ham, and all the right adjustments and buttons he’s pushed thus far. The Nuggets have arguably the best player in the world right in Nikola Jokic. However, Anthony Davis seems to get the better of him when they play. Howver, this version of Jokic is peak Joker. Plus the Nuggets have a great pick and roll challenge with Jamal Murray, and way more depth than when they last played LA in the postseason in 2020. If the Lakers execute at the top of their game, they can win this series. If not, they’ll get dismantled. As for the outside chatter, everyone wants to beat up the TNT guys and Stephen A Smith for laughing at Anthony Davis, but go easy on them. Their job is to entertain, and they do a damn good job. With that being said, I don’t think they treat the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Chris Paul the same way they treat AD, which isn’t fair, but that’s what comes with being a Laker.

Elsewhere around the NBA, the Celtics took down the Sixers to advance to the East Finals. Doc Rivers has now coached seven teams that have blown a 3-1 or 3-2 series lead. It’s a tradition unlike any other. Then there’s the Suns, who got destroyed in another elimination game, this time with KD. If The Suns get eliminated in a blowout by a team with another Euro, Joe Biden might start sending them money. Speaking of Euros, how did Mark Jackson not even have Jokic on his MVP ballot? Don’t ever let that guy assemble any IKEA furniture because you know he doesn’t read any instructions.

What’s the deal with Ty Lue? Dude is under contract with the Clippers, but his name keeps coming up with other jobs. The Bucks, Raptors, and Suns are all in the market for a new coach, and his name has come up as a candidate for two of those jobs. If these teams didn’t really think he could be had, why would his name be out there? It’s an interesting situation to keep an eye on and understand just how sold both sides are on each other. It’s possible Lue is frustrated with the injuries and lack of availability of his stars. He may feel like it won’t get any better if Kawhi’s people insist on continuing to load manage. From the Clippers standpoint, if they can get a 1st round pick for Lue, and solid coaches like Mike Budenholzer, Monty Williams, and Nick Nurse are out there, then how married are you to Ty Lue? Stay tuned Clipper fans.

The Dodgers swept the Padres over the weekend, and don’t look now, but the Boys in Blue have the best record in the National League. I was told that the Padres were going to run the NL West and that the Dodgers are made up of a bunch of scrubs this year. Turns out none of that was true. The Dodgers have won 13 of their last 15 games, have a 3 game lead in the NL West, and 7 game lead over the Padres, who aren’t even in the NL playoff picture at the moment. Mookie Betts is also crushing it, with 6 homers in his last `5 games, and Freedie Freeman is cooking too. It’s certainly a long season and it’s always about October with the Dodgers, but right now, there’s a lot to feel good about.

As for the Angels, they lost 2 of 3 to the Guardians over the weekend, so are now 4.5 games out of 1st place in the AL West. They won for the first time in forever in Cleveland on Friday, but the pitching and bullpen in particular let them down on Saturday and Sunday. The Angels schedule won’t get any easier this week with a four game set at the Orioles, followed by three at home with the Twins. Both teams have been playing well.

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