March 17th, 2014
Sorry Laker fans, time has run out. Jim Buss, and the Lakers front office, blew any slim chance they had remaining to be a championship contender in the near future when they let Phil Jackson take a front office job with the Knicks this week. Not even last ditch efforts by Laker greats Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson could stop Jim Buss’ ego from running the Laker franchise into the ground. Laker general manager Mitch Kupchak has done a phenomenal job rebuilding the Lakers roster multiple times over the last five years. However, Jim Buss has single handedly undermined those efforts in recent years with his moronic coaching hires. Some might say the Lakers made great moves that simply didn’t work out, like the Chris Paul and Dwight Howard trades, but that’s not the issue. They didn’t work out because Jim Buss ego prevented him from using all of the resources around him to put the team over the top. Expect more of this in the near future.
The Lakers are focusing most of their efforts into free agency over the next two summers. Now, they’ll have to compete with Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks for big names like Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love, and Rajon Rondo. Who do you think they are going to be more intrigued by: the chump with the hat on that can’t connect with people, or the greatest basketball mind with 11 championship rings? At this point, one has to wonder if Jeanie and Jim Buss will ever see eye-to-eye and run the Lakers successfully. It’s gotten so bad that even Congress agrees that these two sides are far apart. They better figure it out quickly, or else they are going to change the Lakers acronym of “LAL” to “LOL”.
Meanwhile, there’s this other team in town called the Clippers that’s actually won 11 in a row, and in a chase for the top spot in the Western Conference. Everything you need to know about the Clippers, is the fact that sports radio in So Cal was dominated this past week by Laker talk. The Clipps look like they are ready to blow by OKC for the #2 seed, but locking up #1 won’t be easy with the Spurs holding it down. The irony is that Spurs probably don’t need home court anyway, since they currently have the best road record in the NBA, while the Clipps are just 4 games above .500 on the road. I admit it, the Clipps are improving rapidly, and they might very well be ready to take down OKC in the playoffs. However, it’s usually the old geezers like the Spurs, that beat young upstart teams like the Clippers come playoff time.
On to the college ranks, where the Bruins pulled off a big upset on Saturday afternoon in Vegas, taking down #4 Arizona to win the Pac-12 conference tournament. For those of you that think I’m ready to bow down to Steve Alford think again! I said last week that the Bruins had a great chance to win the Pac 12 tournament, which they did. However, Alford has won 4 previous conference tournament titles in his college coaching career, and his teams have always collapsed by the sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. If Alford takes this team beyond the sweet 16, I will give him his due. However, Jordan Adams deserves his due for making this clutch shot in the final moments on Saturday…..
Get ready to fill out those brackets! The Bruins do look set up nicely for a run to the sweet 16, but they’ll probably lose to a very familiar foe at that point: The Florida Gators. The Mountain West Conference got completely disrespected on Selection Sunday. How does San Diego State get a #4 seed, when they defeated both Creighton and Kansas, who both had better seeding than them? New Mexico also got a #7 seed after winning the Mountain West Conference Tournament. Florida is by far best #1 seed, and has a great chance to make the Final Four, while the Midwest looks like the toughest region with Wichita State, Michigan, Duke, and Louisville as the top 4 seeds. Louisville and Michigan State are probably the most dangerous teams, and Wichita State has got to be the most overrated team. My Final Four prediction: Florida, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Louisville.
It’s becoming more and more apparent that none of the Dodger players want to go to Australia. Zach Greinke complained, and is now milking an injury to avoid the trip. Dan Haren claims he’s “tired”, and Carl Crawford’s wife is expecting. Ok, I suppose Crawford has a real excuse, but most of these guys are acting like they will be traveling to Australia on some slave trade slow boat, when we all know they will be traveling in extreme luxury. I’m sure this will be the last time the MLB asks the Dodgers to do anything international, because they sure aren’t acting like great ambassadors for the game. I sure don’t hear any complains from the D’Backs.
On the field, Yasiel Puig is struggling more than Tom Cruise at the box office these days. Last year, Puig hit a scorching .517 in spring training. This year, he’s hitting a measly .152 without a home run. I don’t like to put a lot of stock into spring training games, however, I get the feeling the Dodgers could be starting slow this season. Puig looks like he’s trying to find his game, Kemp and Crawford could be out action early, and LA will be relying on Dee Gordon at 2nd base. All that combined with the jet lag from Australia, and LA seems poised to come out of the box pretty slow. As we learned last year though, it’s a long season and things can turn very quickly.
As for the Angels, right now they appear to have the makings of a good team, based on what we’ve seen in spring training. Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs look pretty solid, and the team figures to score some runs. However, are these dudes really going to be able keep their game together every five days for the next 6 months? Everyone seems to have their doubts. As long as Joe Blanton is still on the Halos roster, and as long as there’s a possibility he could be getting some starts, there’s a good chance the Angels will suck.
Is there any team in the NHL that has been screwed by the referees more this season than the Los Angeles Kings? In general, I don’t really like to blame any loss on referees, but this is getting ridiculous. The Kings got badly screwed in Detroit earlier in the year, which sent them in a bad tail spin. On Saturday night, they got screwed again, when Anze Kopitar’s apparent tying goal was disallowed. The Kings ended up losing to the Ducks 2-1 at Staples Center, and LA fell further behind Anaheim in the Pacific Division standings. It looked like the Kings were starting to build momentum, after winning 8 in a row, but in the last two losses, LA has looked more like the team that was struggling to score before the Olympics. At least the powerplay has been better.
As for the Ducks, they may have lost their grip on the Pacific Division title, but something interesting is happening with this team. Anaheim is now finding a way to win those tougher, low scoring, playoff style, grind it out games. That’s exactly what they faced on Saturday night at Staples Center, on the 2nd night of a back-to-back. This is something that isn’t very characteristic of Bruce Boudreau hockey teams, so it has to make him pleased. This is probably much more significant than the fact that Anaheim has lots its grip on the division, because they could be playing the Kings in the 1st round, and will be playing this kind of hockey for a 7 game series. Home ice advantage didn’t mean much in round 1 last year, when Anaheim lost to Detroit in the 7th game at home.
And finally, The Walking Dead returned for another episode last night. Spoiler alert for those of you who have not see last night’s episode. To recap this absolutely shocking episode, it started with Carol, Tyreese, Lizzie, Mika, and Judith, as one happy family (or so it appeared). The five of them find a pecan grove, and at one point appear to be settling in quite nicely. We soon find out that Lizzie is crazy, and has been feeding Walkers, as far back as when they were at the prison, and even playing games with them. Lizzie is so determined to prove to Carol and Tyreese that it’s ok when Walkers come back, that she actually kills her sister, Mika. She says “don’t worry, she’ll come back. I didn’t hurt her brain.”. If that wasn’t shocking enough, Carol is forced to kill Lizzie, believing that there is no saving her, and that she can’t be around other people. Then, she confesses to Tyreese for killing Karen and David, although Tyreese forgives her.
This episode was absolutely shocking. During the first 30 minutes, this looked like it was going to be a very slow episode, without much happening. Then it took an unbelievable turn. Carol once again, proved that she is able to make the very tough decisions in the cruel world they live in, but it is excruciating for the audience. Lizzie was concerned that Carol would be mad at her for what she did, yet had no idea that Carol was actually going to kill her. This incident was difficult for Tyreese to be a part of as well, but he knew it had to be done. When Carol confessed to Tyreese that she killed Karen and David, it was probably the events that took place just moments earlier that prevented Tyreese from killing her. He understood the difficult decisions that have to be made in the world they live in. Now I’m really scared to find out what’s in store for the last two episodes of the season!