May 5th, 2014
What a sports weekend we had, especially for our So Cal teams. Starting off with the Clipp Show, whose week was more tumultuous than Lindsay Lohan’s acting career. The Clipps overcame the Donald Sterling drama, and got by the Warriors in game 7 at Staples Center, to win their first round series on Saturday night. Chris Paul was ailing, but he gave the Clippers enough to win. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan were animals in the paint, while JJ Redding looked like the 2nd coming of Reggie Miller. If Vinny Del Negro were watching, he probably would have realized that you can actually win a game 7 by playing Jamal Crawford as well. Now it’s on to Oklahoma City, where the Clippers are going to have their hands full with Kevin Durant and the Thunder. I’m not sure how an injured Chris Paul will be able to contain Russell Westbrook, so Blake and DeAndre better start taking their game to a higher level if the Clipps are to have a chance.
As for the off the court drama, I’m not sure why Shelly Sterling thinks its appropriate to continue to attend Clipper games. The players are pissed off about it, and even if she owns the team moving forward, that won’t be an acceptable solution for them. Now, sources close to Sterling believe that he will sue the NBA for trying to force him to sell the team, which would prevent the franchise from being sold well into next season and beyond. In that case, the real punishment for Sterling would be to make all his players free agents, and have Doc Rivers walk away, so he’s forced to operate a business taking losses, and eventually lower the overall value of the franchise. The irony of all that would be that the Lakers might actually have a chance to sign CP3 this summer.
Speaking of the Lakers, the fans couldn’t be any more excited that Mike D’Antoni “resigned” earlier this week. As I said last week, why keep a coach around for another year, when you already know he isn’t the guy? The bottom line is that this was a disaster from the start. D’Antoni had a great team to work with his first year, and managed to drive it into the ground. This season, he had a mediocre team, that he managed to make terrible. Now, who do the Lakers turn to? LA claims they are looking to make “a splash”, which sounds like a ridiculous New York Knick move. However, a fine choice would be former Laker Byron Scott. Scott has won titles as a Laker player, has plenty of experience, knows what it means to be a Laker, and has coached teams to the Finals twice. This may not be as “splashy” as the front office is hoping, but it is someone that can lead the Lakers while they rebuild, and when they are contending for titles again.
Magic Johnson sometimes forgets to think before he tweets. He wrote “Happy days are here again! Mike D’Antoni resigns as the Lakers coach. I couldn’t be happier!”. Really Magic? As a former Laker owner, and one with aspirations of becoming an NBA owner again, have some professionalism! What do you think this is Magic? Jock Talk LA?
Ok, I admit it, I was mistaken, but boy am I happy about it. The Kings not only survived game 6, but they rose from the dead to beat the Sharks in 7 in round 1 of the NHL playoffs. If that isn’t exciting enough, the Kings and Ducks finally met for the first time ever in the playoffs on Saturday, in a series that will determine who is going to the Western Conference Finals. The Kings didn’t play anywhere near their best game, but they did force the Ducks to play their grind it out style throughout the game. The Ducks looked like they were going to beat the Kings at their own game, until Marian Gaborik tied it with 7 seconds left, then won it in OT, which propelled the Kings to a 3-2 victory, and 1-0 series lead. This is probably going to be a long series, but the Kings have an edge in grit, goaltending, and coaching. In fact it was Daryl Sutter’s creation of the Kopitar, Gaborik, and Carter super line that led to this game winner….
The Kings fans are also traveling well to the Honda Center for the road games, so there isn’t much of a “home ice advantage” for Anaheim. It’s absolutely ridiculous that we are stuck with listening to Ducks analyst Brian Heyward on NBCSN for this series. For god sakes, he’s broadcasting from the Ducks bench! Why even hide the fact that he’s a Ducks homer? I thought during the third period the guy was going to come out dressed as the Ducks Wild Wing mascot. I also like how Anze Kopitar played a brilliant all-around game with three assists, and Heyward said Kopitar hadn’t done much all night. Also, memo to Jeremy Roenick: his name is “Alec Martinez”, not “Alex Martinez”. Seeing all the Ducks fans wear those ugly orange T-shirts makes me feel like all of Orange County lost a bet to someone.
To baseball, where the Dodgers are having their issue. They may have swept the Twins earlier in the week, but their bullpen made every outing a damn adventure, then completely wet the bed over the weekend in Florida. Friday, Jose Dominguez stunk it up. Saturday, Brian Wilson continued to suck, and Chris Withrow completed the collapse. Yesterday it was Jamie Wright. Kenley Jansen has been struggling too. Are there any reliable relievers left? To make matters worse, the only outfielder that is earning his paycheck is Yasiel Puig, and he just slammed his grill into a wall yesterday. Matt Kemp can’t find his swing, Carl Crawford is nothing like the player he once was, and Andre Ethier’s hitting is underwhelming. The Boys in Blue will need to correct these issues fast, or else the Giants will widen their lead in the division.
As for the Angels, things really aren’t so bad. The Halos are actually at .500, which is a huge positive from what we’ve seen the last two years. Even though the Angels got pounded by the Rangers this weekend, the pitching is far more serviceable, and the bullpen even showed a slight improvement the last 3 games. Hopefully now that David Freese has broken his finger, when he gets back, maybe he’ll remember how to swing the bat like a major leaguer. Now the Yankees are coming to town, and even though they are in 1st place, they aren’t too much better than the Halos. Will Hector Santiago ever win a game? If so, the Angels might actually sweep this series.
Let’s talk TV, as Game of Thrones returned last night for another episode. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it. Let’s recap quickly. At Kings Landing, Tommen was crowned King, and Cersei approached Margery about whether or not she would be interested in being Queen again. Cersei also admitted that Joffrey had his shortcomings. In Mereen, Daenery’s decided against continuing on to Kings Landing, and instead elected to further strengthen her rule in Astapor and Yunkai, by trying to free others who have been enslaved after she left those communities behind. Sansa and Littlefinger arrived at The Vale, where we learned that Littlefinger aligned with Lysa. Lysa is in love with Littlefinger, and intends to marry him, although its clear he isn’t in love with her. Lysa’s intention is to have Sansa marry her demented cousin Robin, but she also accused Sansa of sleeping with Littlefinger, which she adamantly denied. Aarya continued to recite the names of her enemies, including The Hound, and we see her practicing her water dancing sword fighting technique. The Hound ridiculed her for this. Jon Snow and his forces invade Craster’s Keep, and eventually kill Craster and his men. Bran and his friends escaped, and Bran considered meeting up with Jon, but his friends convinced him otherwise, because he would never let him find the three eyed raven and fulfill his destiny. Meanwhile, Jon and his men burned down Crater’s Keep at the request of the women that live there.
This episode was a clear reminder of what this show is all about. Sometimes Game of Thrones teases you into thinking you’re going to get what you want as a viewer, or that you might get a happy moment for the good characters, and then it pulls it away from you. We thought that Sansa was going to some place better than Kings Landing. Instead, she has simply exchanged one prison for another. We also thought Jon Snow and Bran would be re-united. Then we realize that Bran has been brainwashed by his loony bin friend, who tells him to continue on his journey. I was also disappointed to learn that Daenery’s will not be conquering Kings Landing anytime soon, because she needs to go back to further establish her dominance. More than anything, this episode was a reminder that the show just isn’t about happy endings for good characters.
Mad Men also returned last night as well. Spoiler alert for those of you who haven’t seen it yet. To recap quickly, Pete and Ted find an opportunity to pitch to Burger Chef. It seems as though they want to put Peggy on this, however, Lou doesn’t like the idea, and sticks Don on her team. Peggy thinks she is really being given Burger Chef when Lou offers her a $100/hour raise. Later on she sees that she was set up to fail, as Don refused to do the work. A computer is also being installed in the office, which was likely discussed by the partners, but excluding Don. After Don has an interesting conversation with Lloyd from LeaseTek, he goes to see Cooper about pitching to LeaseTek, but his suggestion is brushed aside, as is Don’s importance to the firm. Don gets angry, and then gets drunk in the office. After a heart to heart with Freddy, he convinces Don to actually do the work, otherwise it is the other partners that will win. Rodger and Mona also spend much of the episode trying to get their daughter from her “hippie house”, but by the end of the episode, are unsuccessful. Roger is guilted by his daughter over leaving her every day he went to work.
This episode just showed how difficult it was going to be for Don to get back to the top of the firm. It’s clear that the partners are looking to make life as difficult as possible for him, and set him up to fail, even if there is collateral damage involved, like being unprofessional towards Peggy. However, the most symbolic portion of the episode was the 1969 Mets pennant that Don found in his office. For those of you unfamiliar with who they were, they were a relatively unknown Major League franchise that came out of nowhere in 1969 to win the World Series. This has to be symbolic of Don coming out on top at the firm, when this season is over.