February 17th, 2014
The weekend started off pretty lame, but finished strong. Yesterday’s NBA all-star game featured the usual dunk fest and no defense early on, but got competitive in the 4th quarter, before the East outlasted the West 163-155. We got to see what most basketball fans wanted: Lebron James and Kevin Durant go one-on-one. We also learned that Kyrie Irving isn’t completely overrated, as he earned MVP honors, and we witnessed a solid showing from a handful of the league’s upcoming stars. Say what you will about the players “on-again”, “off-again” competitiveness in the All-Star game, however, it’s still arguably the best all-star game of the four major sports. The game is for the fans, and the players usually put on a great show. The Clippers were well represented with Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, however, the Lakers were not, since Kobe Bryant sat this one out with a knee injury. Although if you count Kevin Love as a future Laker, they had good representation.
Speaking of Kobe, his comments to the press regarding his recovery from his knee injury are very concerning for the Lakers. In his press conference he said, “maybe this is the end. But then again, maybe it’s not.” What? This is Kobe Bryant we are talking about. The man who has forever believed he is completely indestructible, one of the most confident players on the planet, and now he is questioning he basketball mortality? Gee wiz….. this probably would have been good to know a few months ago, since the Lakers just invested $48 million in him for the next two years. What free agent is going to want to sign with the Lakers when Kobe might not even be healthy enough to play? Kobe might not play again this season, and if he doesn’t, he would have played just 6 NBA games in 18 months. Even if you’re Kobe Bryant, and you’re healthy, it’s not very easy to play at an elite level, after taking that much time off.
Speaking of injured Lakers, if you haven’t seen the Grantland piece on Steve Nash, it’s a must see. I’ve ripped on Nash quite a bit, but after watching this, you can’t help but feel bad for him. It isn’t that Nash’s skills have deteriorated at all. It’s simply that his body can no longer endure playing NBA basketball 4 or 5 nights per week. Take a look for yourself….
As for the rest of All-Star weekend, I’m not sure what the hell they were thinking when they re-did the format for the dunk contest this year. The “free-style” round was just ridiculous, and the end of the contest was very anti-climactic, without any real heal-to-head between the two best dunkers. On the bright side, they did actually get some names in the contest this year, and they eliminated the ridiculous props, as well as sped the time between dunks. Now, they need to simplify the format more next year.
Moving on to the Olympics, where Southern California NHL players are dominating. The average person watching the Olympics would think that the Kings probably never lose, since Drew Doughty, Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown, and Anze Kopitar have scored a combined total of 9 goals in international play. It’s almost like the Kings players have decided to troll their fans. One can only wonder if these guys will start scoring goals when they return to NHL hockey in about 10 days. Jonas Hiller and Cam Fowler have been representing the Ducks pretty well too with their play.
What an amazing game between Russia and the US on Saturday. The US was very fortunate to have won that game, and I was surprised Vladimir Putin wasn’t referring the game by the third period. He probably had somebody executed for disallowing Russia’s third goal. Jonathan Quick was brilliant, and so was TJ Oshie in the shootout. Although, I still don’t know why any coach would pick one player to shoot 6 times a shootout, however, I can’t blame Dan Bylsma now, since it actually worked. A re-match between these two teams in the gold medal game would be phenomenal, although, I’m a little upset that Canada and the US can’t meet in the gold medal game this year. American hockey fans want their revenge from 2010.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to give a special shout-out to all the morons that said that Claude Giroux should be on the Canadian Olympic team instead of Jeff Carter, and especially the buffoons that thought Ryan Miller should be starting over Jonathan Quick for Team USA. I realize that many of you east coasters are in bed while NHL games in the Western Conference are still going on, but just so you guys know, there is actually this portion of the United States known as the west coast, where some really good hockey takes place. You should try experiencing it sometime.
As for other Olympic action, I’m a little disappointed in what we saw from Shani Davis, Shaun White, and Bode Miller. These guys are supposed to be the stars of the Olympics for the US, but they have just one medal between the three of them at this point. One has to wonder if Davis was affected by his back and forth changes in skating suits, or if Miller was impacted by his knee injury or loss of his brother, or if White’s wrist injury was his downfall. However, sometimes we forget the real issue with these Olympic athletes trying to make history. They are old by Olympic standards. These three athletes have been dominating their sport for nearly a decade, which is why making history is so difficult for them. You don’t find many athletes who can dominate any sport at the highest level for a decade, and that is exactly what each of these guys is facing. There’s no shame in that.
Skeleton? Luge? Or ski jumping? If I told you that you had to do one of these insane events tomorrow, what would you choose? I’d probably go with Luge. I’d would break both of my legs on my first ski jump, and no way am I sliding down some ice slide at 80 miles per hour, while going head first. I am really wondering if that was the best men’s curling team we could possibly put out there. Really? Out of 315 million people, we can’t do any better? I’m sure there were many drunk conversations taking place in people’s living rooms this past weekend, where many people wondered the same thing.
With spring training opening up, there are a few stories that surfaced last week regarding our local squads. Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp proclaimed that he’s “no 4th outfielder”, and will return to his all-star form. I’m sure that if all 4 outfielders are healthy, Matt Kemp is probably not going to be sitting. However, Kemp has dragged himself out there repeatedly while not healthy, and his performance has suffered. I’m suddenly getting the feeling there’s this tension building between the Dodgers front office and Matt Kemp. If Kemp isn’t producing, that tension is only going to get worse, and be a disruptive force for LA this season. At some point, one of LA’s four outfielders may get traded, but let’s hope its not because one is being a pain in the ass.
As for the Angels, there’s talk that the team is talking extension with Mike Trout, which is good news. The real question is how much the Halos can afford to give this guy. On the open market, he’s probably going to get 10 years and $300 million, and I’m sure he knows it. Are he and his agent willing to compromise, especially if it means buying out his first few years of free agency? The fact that the Halos have been so reluctant to exceed the luxury tax makes me question whether or not this will get done. However, Arte may have to suck it up and give him what he wants, or see his franchise crumble.
And finally, The Walking Dead continued the 2nd half of Season 4 last night on AMC. Last night’s episode gave the the audience a little more of what we expected in last week’s episode, which was learning what happened to all the characters after the prison war. Spoiler alert for those of you that have it on DVR. Daryl and Beth run from walkers, and then try to track down the rest of the group. We also get a peek into Beth’s diary, and her constant belief in “hope”, which is why she urges Daryl to help her find the rest of the group. We find Maggie with Sasha and Bob, and they battle a bus full of walkers, in their attempt to find Glenn and others. Tyreese is with Lizzy, Mika, and Judith, and fending off another group of walkers. Things get really interesting when Carol meets up with them, and we remember that Tyreese still has no idea that Carol burned the bodies of his loved ones back at the prison. And finally, Glenn is back at the prison, and teams up with Tara to escape from the walker infested area. When the episode ends, we are introduced to three new characters: Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene.
This was a pretty solid episode, and the most intriguing part had to have been where Carol and Tyreese meet up. I do wonder how the relationship between those two will transpire from here, and if eventually, Tyreese will find out what she has done. Interestingly enough, in the comic, those two have a romantic relationship, but the show seems to be straying away from the plot line in the comic. Also, you didn’t really think the writers of the show were going to kill off baby Judith did you? I sure didn’t. Another major question of course is whether the three new characters at the end of the show are now friend or foe. Things may have slowed down a bit, but you have to appreciate the little things on this show to really enjoy the ride. Looking forward to the last 6 episodes of the season.