January 13th, 2013
Just because Laker fans want the team to tank doesn’t make Friday any less painful. The Lakers were pounded into dust on Friday night by the Clippers 123-87 at Staples, which was the Clippers largest margin of victory over the Lakers in the history of the rivalry. When Mike D’Antoni’s teams give up less than 125 points, he probably considers that “a solid defensive effort”. How bad does the losing streak have to get before the Lakers have to fire D’Antoni and give Kurt Rambis a chance to coach? Friday’s effort was so horrendous, I think Kurt Rambis was ready to clothesline himself. Much harder than when Kevin McHale clotheslined him……
Mitch Kupchak was interviewed this week, and attempted to make a distinction between “tanking” and “rebuilding”. He said that “tanking” is intentionally losing games for better draft position, which the Lakers would never do. “Rebuilding” is going with young players and other assets and looking toward next year if you know you are a sub .500 team. Let me translate for you folks: The Lakers aren’t trying to tank, but if they keep sucking in the coming weeks, they’ll be tanking. That may mean limiting Kobe’s minutes when he returns, or trading Pau Gasol for cap relief. Have you seen LA’s schedule the next few weeks? They may not win a game the rest of the month! There were also some rumors that the Lakers recently called the Nets about point guard Deron Williams. Makes perfect sense to me: he’s a point guard, he’s injured, he’s expensive, and his best days are behind him. Hopefully Kupchak’s next move will be putting Jim Buss on waivers.
Meanwhile, the Clippers are holding their own without Chris Paul in the lineup. Although they haven’t exactly played against the ’72 Lakers, The Clipps have won 3 of 4 games since CP3 went down, and Blake Griffin is carrying the squad. Is it me, or are Griffin and DeAndre Jordan actually getting better? Jordan has been a defensive beast, leading the NBA in rebounding, and third in the league in block shots. Griffin is shooting a career high 70% from the free throw line, and very quietly, his jumper is improving. The real question is whether or not they can go to Griffin at the end of games, and can he be more of a consistent force in the post? He’s not Karl Malone or Charles Barkley yet, but sometimes we forget……he’s only 24 years old.
The Clippers are also one of the teams bidding for the services of center Andrew Bynum, who was released by the Bulls earlier this week, after being traded from the Cavs for Luol Deng. As badly as the Clippers need depth, whoever signs Bynum deserves to have their season go straight to hell. Bynum has worn out his welcome in LA, Philadelphia, and Cleveland in a little over two years. He has all the ability in the world to become a great NBA big man, but has no motivation, lacks passion for basketball, has wobbly knees, and is quickly becoming known as a locker room cancer. Good luck to the fools that take a chance on this clown. I like how SB Nation doesn’t even have him as a “good” fit with anybody……
As for the college ranks, it had to be considered a pretty good week for UCLA. The Bruins nearly knocked off #1 Arizona on Thursday night, after putting together a fierce 4th quarter rally that fell short. Then last night, UCLA dominated Arizona State 87-72, and Zach Lavine put on a show. The Bruins defensive is questionable at times, but I’m beginning to think they are slowly peaking, and might even make a run in the NCAA tournament. The only thing that makes me question that is that Steve Alford is their coach.
On to baseball where the Dodgers, Angels, and Yankees are battling it out to sign Japanese right handed pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka is expected to sign a contract worth over $100 million, and the team that signs him will also owe his Japanese team $20 million. Let’s be honest…..this guy is probably a #3 starter, and a #2 at best. Is he really worth $100 million? For the Dodgers, he’d be a nice addition, but a complete luxury, given that they have Kershaw, Greinke, and Ryu. He would be an insurance policy in case Kershaw leaves via free agency next winter, but signing him is a far greater necessity for the Yankees and Angels. Both teams desperately need pitching, and the marketing exposure in the far east would be a huge plus. The Halos have been rumored to have an interest in Matt Garza, who would certainly be nice, but Tanaka has far greater potential to turn the Angels fortunes around. My money is still on him ending up with the Yankees though, especially with them freeing up some money after A-Roid’s suspension.
Speaking of A-Roid, he simply needs to give up his fight. We get it A-Roid: baseball had a bunch of PED users for a long period of time, and you were one of them. Don’t make things worse by acting like everyone around you has some major character flaws. Did anybody catch the 60 Minutes interview with Anthony Bosch last night? Bosch said that he personally injected A-Roid with PED’s, and that he was scared of needles. I was waiting for him to follow this up by saying that Rodriguez cried like a little girl every time he was injected. So much for doctor-patient confidentiality! Bosch sang like a canary last night on 60 Minutes, and even though A-Rod is guilty, Bosch was obviously in serious legal trouble to spill it the way he did.
The baseball hall of fame voting process has to be the most ridiculous in sports. First of all, shame on anyone that didn’t vote for Greg Maddux to be inducted. He’s as brilliant a pitcher as we’ve ever seen, and his greatness lasted for two full decades. The 16 voters that left him off their ballots should be drug tested. Secondly, I’ve never seen a bigger group of hypocrites than these writers, who were kissing the asses of all the PED users like Bonds, Sosa, and McGwire during their playing days. They pretended as though the entire time they didn’t know what was really going on. Now, they want to exclude these players from the hall because of these character issues. You can’t tell the story of baseball without including the steroid era, so these players need to be inducted into the hall, even if an asterisk is by their name. Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb are full of their own character issues, so if we are adding that element to the voting, then we should have excluded them too.
I guess Tom Glavine picked the right sport. The LA Kings drafted Tom Glavine with the 69th overall pick in 1984. Glavine was inducted into the baseball hall of fame last week, after a phenomenal career with the Atlanta Braves. That year wasn’t a total loss for the Kings though, as they got Luc Robitaille in the 9th round, who went on to be the highest scoring left wing in NHL history.
Speaking of the Kings, Saturday night was a disaster. They were defeated by the Detroit Red Wings, who were missing most of their regulars, so they basically lost to an AHL team. This crap was so typical of the Kings of late: they put a ton of shots on goal, they can’t finish, while the opponent is far more opportunistic. Are Mike Richards and Tyler Toffoli ever going to score again? Although it’s gotta be tough to score when you are playing with Matt Frattin. 2nd time in a week the Kings blew it against an undermanned team, as they lost to Minnesota on Tuesday. LA may still be third in their division, but they are quickly losing ground to the Ducks and Sharks.
I guess Jonas Hiller doesn’t like it when I talk crap about him on Jock Talk LA. The Ducks goaltender won his 14th straight game last night, and he’s the 8th goaltender in NHL history to accomplish this feat. The Ducks continue to be an offensive powerhouse too, and they won for the 17th time in 18 games by beating the Red Wings.
Another great weekend of NFL playoff games. The Broncos held off a furious rally from the Chargers, to advance to the AFC Championship game. Peyton Manning may not have been amazing, but he made the critical throws when the game was on the line to hold off the Bolts. Early on Phil Rivers was about as accurate as Helen Keller playing Jenga, but he did help the Chargers make an admirable rally. Even though the Broncos advanced, the Chargers should feel really good about themselves. In the first year with Mike McCoy, they not only made the playoffs, but won 1 round, and lost to probably the best team in the NFL in a close game. They’ve got a great young front 7, and an emerging star in Keenan Allen. However, in the end, Manning had the the last laugh…..
Meanwhile, The Pats put a beating on the young Colts. Andrew Luck had some flashes of brilliance, but it felt like Tom Brady just said “step aside son” when this one was over. This is probably what Andrew Luck’s text inbox looked like when the game was over….
In the NFC, the 49ers took down the Panthers on the road, to advance to the conference championship game for the 3rd year in a row. It must be an annual tradition for Jim Harbaugh to lose his mind, because he looked like he was going to murder the referee late in the 1st half, before Vernon Davis catch was overturned and ruled a touchdown. That propelled the 49ers to the win. My favorite part of the game was Cam Newton doing his best Lebron James impression…..
And finally, the Saints were no match for the Seahawks in Seattle. It sure felt like the Saints had a $50,000 bounty on Percy Harvin, since he kept getting injured in his first game back. Marshawn Lynch was just too much in this one. The Saints tried to rally at the end, but I’m not sure why the hell Marques Colston thought he could throw the ball 10 yards forward after catching a pass on the last play of the game. In any case, Seattle and San Fran should be fantastic next week. If only Harbaugh and Caroll could put on the pads on and just go at it themselves!