June 2nd, 2014
Admit it. You thought it was over. You thought the Kings blew their chance in game 6 to close out the Hawks. You also thought after they went down 2-0, 3-2, and 4-3 in game 7, it just wasn’t their year. I admit it….I did. The LA Kings are mentally, one of the toughest teams I have ever seen. Even when their fans were ready to pack it in and have themselves a good cry, the Kings had an amazing, quiet, self-confidence. Justin Williams was was clutch again in game 7, Dustin Brown and Tyler Toffoli were studs, and Drew Doughty could not be more valuable. At times during this game, it felt like Jonathan Quick and Corey Crawford went out drinking together at Racine Plumbing the night before. However, Quick still came up with some clutch saves at the end of regulation, and in overtime, to help send the Kings to the finals. What a series! It’s not supposed to be easy. That’s why the Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win in sports. But the Kings tenacity has given them the opportunity to win their 2nd cup in the last 3 years.
I don’t want to hear any of you say how the Kings are going to sweep the Rangers or rip them apart in 5 games. Don’t you guys realize by now that the hockey gods don’t like this and strike down on you with a vengeance? The Rangers speed can cause the Kings problems, and Henrik Lundqvist is every bit as good as Jonathan Quick. These are the two best goaltenders in hockey, and Quick will need to be much better if the Kings are going to raise the cup this year. The Rangers are also riding a wave of emotion with the death of Martin St Louis mother. There’s no doubt that the Rangers have to feel like they are somewhat of a team of destiny given what they’ve been through. LA has the talent and the will, but they better be on their game if they want to finish this thing off.
Steve Ballmer just paid $2 billion to buy the Los Angeles Clippers. $2 billion???? At least he didn’t overpay or anything. Has anyone told the former CEO of Microsoft that he bought the Clippers, and not the Lakers? This deal is way more ridiculous than the $2.15 billion that Guggenheim paid for the Dodgers. At least that deal included a stadium, the surrounding land, and a new regional sports network. In any case, as long as Ballmer doesn’t find some sneaky way to move the team to Seattle, like Clay Bennett did with the Sonics a few years ago, then this is a great deal for the Clippers and their fans. Barring any legal shenanigans, it appears as though Donald Sterling is out of the picture, which is bad news for this blog, because it takes away a good portion of my Clipper jokes. I’m sure all of you Clipper fans are thrilled…aren’t you??….
What does this mean for the Lakers? The Buss family has long insisted that they have no plans to sell the team. However, if the Clippers just sold for $2 billion, you’ve gotta think the Lakers could easily get $4 billion. Regardless of what they are saying publicly, I’m sure any member of the Buss family has to be giving some thought about selling the team. Any sane business person would do so, no matter how much they love what they do. If that were the case, I have no doubt that Magic Johnson and the Guggenheim group would be the first in line to throw an astronomical number at the Buss family, to get them to sell the team. I don’t even know why Forbes and other business organizations have valuations of these franchises, when they don’t even come close to the numbers that are published.
As for rumors, Timberwolves President Flip Saunders insists that the Wolves are planning on keeping Kevin Love for the foreseeable future. This would actually be the best case scenario for LA, who needs Love to make it to free agency in 2015 to have a real shot at signing him, instead of committing long term somewhere else before that time. Teams are also calling the Cavs about Kyrie Irving, however, it’s pretty hard for me to imagine Cleveland trading him until they are assured Lebron won’t be returning. On the coaching front, the Lakers have now interviewed Mike Dunleavy, Byron Scott, Kurt Rambis, Alvin Gentry, and Lionel Hollins for their vacant head coaching position. In other words, they’ve narrowed their coaching search down to the following candidates……
So we’re going to have another Miami vs San Antonio NBA Finals. Take nothing away from the greatness of Lebron James, but there’s no way the Heat could ever hang with the Celtics and Lakers teams of the 1980’s, that made it to the NBA Finals four straight times. The Celtics and Lakers also had to deal with much tougher opponents on their way to the finals in those days, such as the Pistons, Bulls, Rockets, and Blazers. The Heat also would not be in four straight NBA Finals if they were playing in the Western Conference.
On to baseball, where it isn’t early anymore. Were 1/3rd of the way through the baseball season, and the Dodgers are barely over .500. Coming into Sunday, the Dodgers were 6.5 games back of San Francisco in the NL West. The only thing good is the starting pitching. The defense stinks, the bullpen is unreliable, and the overpriced outfielders haven’t earned their paychecks. Last year, LA was in an early funk, then got energized by calling up Yasiel Puig. This year, they don’t have any more Cubans to call up, especially since Alexander Guerrero just got much of his ear bitten of by Miguel “Mike Tyson” Olivo. If the Dodgers are going to catch the Giants, Matt Kemp needs to stop sulking and get his game back. The other option could be calling up Joc Pederson, and trying to trade Andre Ethier. It’s a gamble, but either way, something has to be done to get this team on the right track.
Fortunately, most of you haven’t been able to see this disaster, because the majority of you don’t have Time Warner Cable. The rumors that the Dodgers and TWC are considering legal action to get their channel distributed is laughable. The Dodgers and TWC would be arguing that all of the other cable providers are colluding to bring their price down. This sounds like a desperate move, and one that will only delay the distribution of the channel even longer.
Meanwhile, tough weekend for the Angels, who got swept by the A’s in a 3 game set. The pitching just didn’t show up for the Halos this time. Garrett Richards got blown up on Friday, Tyler Skaggs and the bullpen got beat up on Saturday, and Jeff Weaver got punked on Sunday. This was also probably not the best time for Mike Trout to miss a couple of games with some back stiffness as well. Jerry Dipoto is going to need to find some cheap help in the bullpen, or another starter by the trade deadline, if the Angels are going to make something out of this season. On a more positive note….well maybe…..Josh Hamilton looks like he’ll be returning to the lineup in the next couple of days.
And finally, what an episode of Game of Thrones last night! Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it. Let’s recap quickly. Oberyn fights The Mountain, in order to avenge his sisters death, and also to save Tyrion. Oberyn appears to have won, then taunts his victim while laying on the floor, then suddenly, The Mountain comes back to life and gouged Oberyn’s eyes out, and kills him. Thus, Tyrion is now sentenced to death. Sansa becomes an accomplice to Peter Baelish, as she lies to the panel of the Vale about how Lysa actually died. She does so because she was afraid of her fate if Peter had died. Daenery’s banishes Jorah, after she discovers that he has been feeding information about her to Varys. The Wildlings invade the town where Gilly and her baby reside. Sam is worried that Gilly has died, but the men of the Night’s Watch reassure him that she could have escaped. However, Jon Snow is concerned that the Wildlings will come for them next.
What an arrogant fool Oberyn is! The guy pulls off this crazy spinning dance prior to fight with The Mountain, then taunts him after, before getting killed. That dude deserved to die. It seems inevitable that Tyrion is going to die, as I’ve mentioned before. He’s one of the more like-able characters, which makes it all the more likely the show will find a way to kill him off. Meanwhile, Sansa’s fear is forcing her to adapt to the evil world around her, and find a way to survive, no matter what she has to say or do. I’m excited for the last two episodes!