February 16th, 2015
The NBA All-Star game is still the most entertaining All-Star game in all of sports. I’m not sure why everyone complains that there is no defense played in these games either. Last night there was more defense played than any other game Knicks game at the Garden this year. Russell Westbrook was fantastic, earning MVP, and continuing to make his case for being the best point guard in basketball. He’s gotta be kicking himself though for missing that layup that would have broken Wilt Chamberlain’s All-Star scoring record. I hear that Lebron is now threatening to take his talents to the Western Conference next season if the East doesn’t add more talent. Speaking of Lebron, he will never participate in the dunk contest, but of course he participates in the All-Star fashion show. I think it’s safe to say that Zach Lavine owns the dunk contest after the show he put on Saturday night. He was even great during the Rising Stars game on Friday, which only adds to the theory that UCLA coaches don’t know how to develop players, which is why they become that much better in the pros. Here’s a taste of what we saw over the weekend from the former Bruins….
Charles Barkley has been doing Inside the NBA on TNT for 15 years, and he’s been doing a fantastic job. After all these years, it amazes me how sensitive some people are to his criticism. Barkley has had several beefs in the last week. One was with Sacramento All-Star forward Demarcus Cousins, when Barkley said that Cousins shouldn’t have had input during the teams coaching search. Cousins said he didn’t respect Barkley after that. Earlier in the week it was Rockets GM Daryl Morey ripping Barkley after Barkley thought the teams use of analytics was stupid. Then the Rockets entire front office complained that TNT’s coverage of the team was baised against them. What a bunch of whiney babies! Even Dwayne Wade was so upset when Barkley said he shouldn’t be an all-star, that he had his wife Gabrielle Union fighting battles for him. She brought some serious trash talking to the table though by saying Charles has no credibility because he has no championship rings and thinks slavery may have been a good thing. However, she was upset when Barkley’s beef moved on to Morey and Cousins, thinking she wasn’t important enough. Barkley is great for the NBA and his job is to be honest. It’s never about the person, it’s all about the performance. Apparently, none of these athletes and executives are tough enough to take the criticism.
Speaking of not being able to take the heat, why have Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook become such ass holes towards the media of late? If anybody in Oklahoma City slightly criticize them, they publicly lash out at them in the media or on Twitter. Durant also told the media yesterday that “they don’t know shit”, and that they shouldn’t be voting for awards. Apparently, KD fails to realize that without the media, the NBA would get the attention of a Saturday afternoon game at the Y. Without that attention, KD wouldn’t be enjoying those $20 million annual paychecks. You think you hate the media in OKC KD? If you end up in a real market like LA, NY, or Boston, they would chew you up and spit you out.
Good news, unless of course you enjoy torture. There’s only 29 Laker games left in the season for you to endure. That hasn’t stopped Magic Johnson from once again, ripping Jim Buss for all the mistakes he’s made. This is getting old, and it’s starting to look more personal than ever. Every time Magic opens his mouth, people take notice, especially when he’s talking about the Lakers. I’m pretty sure guys like Lamarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol, and even Kevin Durant took notice of what Magic said, and that can’t help the Lakers chances of signing any of them, even if the odds were slim anyway. If the Lakers have any hope of becoming decent again before Lebron James grandson enters the NBA draft, Magic better stop talking. I’m no fan of Jim Buss, but he’s already put himself on the clock, and will be out in a couple of years if things don’t turn around. Magic sounds like he’s willing to go nuclear and make the guy look like a total buffoon, just to run him out of town. Even if you want Jim out of town, Magic sounds like a petty and jealous sibling, who had his favorite toy stolen and is exacting revenge. Grow up Magic…….you’re better than this.
The Clippers are actually surviving without Blake Griffin. The Clipps collected wins over Dallas and Houston before the All-Star break, mostly because DeAndre Jordan has been doing his best Wilt Chamberlain impression over the last week. The Clippers would love to make a deal to improve their team before next week’s trade deadline, except Doc Rivers doesn’t have anymore kids in the league, so he probably won’t be able to get anything done. At this point, the best the Clipps can hope for is getting Blake Griffin healthy, and somehow getting the right matchups in the playoffs. Otherwise, this teams window appears to be closing rapidly.
Don’t look now, but here comes the UCLA basketball team. The Bruins swept the Oregon schools over the weekend, and are now back in 4th in the Pac 12 Standings. You probably think I’m about to give credit to Steve Alford for getting the team to peak at the right time. Think again! The only reason UCLA is rising in the standings is because nobody else in the Pac 12 can win on the road, and even Utah and Arizona are starting to struggle. If the Bruins can somehow find a way to win their next two games, they would suddenly be right on the bubble for the NCAA tournament. The Bruins even got a decent crowd, over 10,000, which was one of the largest of the season. Still, Dan Guerrero said he’s not very enthusiastic about the attendance he’s seeing. Mr. Guerrero should try improving the product on the floor by finding a better coach. He should also drop some of those ticket prices, especially since a lot of people can’t even see games on the Pac 12 network. The Bruins have a chance to steal the basketball spotlight in LA, but instead, they are just becoming more irrelevant. At least Norman Powell provided a lot of excitement on Saturday…..
Let’s go to the ice where the Kings are back to finding the win column, as they have now won 4 straight. The bad news is that they are still 3 points out of the final playoff spot in the West, which tells you that the playoff race is tighter than what Ariana Grande wore at the All-Star game last night. Their last 27 games include 3 games against Vancouver, 2 against San Jose, and 1 against Winnipeg and Calgary. 5 of those 7 games are on the road as well, which will likely determine whether or not the Kings will be playing playoff hockey this year. Meanwhile, I thought that most people that covered the NHL were fairly intelligent, however, that is clearly not the case for columnist Jonathan Willis. Willis recently wrote a column about how Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick isn’t elite. Of course he picked out some cute little numbers in the last two months to make his case, and then finished by saying Quick needs to prove he can do it year in an year out. Apparently winning two of the last three Stanley Cups, including a playoff MVP, and starting for the US Olympic team was not enough to prove this. This is why drugs are bad for you people.
Last night’s SNL 40th Anniversary special was phenomenal, and it even got much better ratings than the NBA All-Star game. There were a few former cast members who I was surprised didn’t have bigger roles in the show. The first of which was Eddie Murphy, who simply accepted something like a lifetime achievement award from Chris Rock, but did not participate in any sort of skit or monologue. Considering the legacy he left, I thought it would have been fitting for a bigger role. I was also surprised that we only saw Mike Myers at the very end of the show in a Wayne’s World skit, but at no other point. You could make a case for greater involvement for a lot of characters, but in a lot of ways, that’s just a reminder of how much star power has gone through the show over the last 40 years. It’s nearly impossible for Lorne Michaels to involve this many stars for a show of this magnitude, but it’s also a reminder of how much staying power the show has, and will continue to have.
Finally, the Walking Dead returned for another episode last night on AMC. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to watch it. Here’s a quick recap. Rick and the entire group continue their journey from Richmond to Washington, DC. On the road, they encounter some Walkers, and we see a lot of self-reflection from Maggie and Darryl, after some of the people they cared for died in some of the recent episodes. Much of the episode is spent listening to Maggie, Darryl, Sasha, and others decide whether they even want to continue living and fighting. By the end of the episode, Rick tells the group a story about his grandfather in World War II, and that he felt like he was “The Walking Dead”, while at war, which eventually got him to feel like he was living again. Rick explained that’s how the group feels now, but that will get them to eventually feel like they are living again. The episode ends with a new character named Aaron showing up, claiming he is a friend with good news, and asking to speak with Rick.
The zombie fight was probably the lamest fight I’ve seen in 5 seasons of the show, with Walkers just getting pushed down a hill. Thank god Sasha got angry and started killing zombies the old fashioned and more entertaining way by stabbing them. How brutal was it watching Darryl eat a worm straight out of the ground? The irony is that the he and several other members of the group became uncomfortable with the idea of eating dog meat after Sasha shot a pack of dogs. Somewhere, there are angry members of PETA writing to the producers of The Walking Dead, and telling them how ashamed of themselves they should be. Darryl has now become this extremely emotional character instead of a badass survivalist. It felt like that transition was complete when he started crying in the woods with his cigarette. When Rick actually described the group as “The Walking Dead”, it really just confirmed what most of us were thinking about the show, and made me want to yell “Duh! Obviously Rick!” As for Aaron, the guy looks way to preppy and clean for the zombie world to not be evil. It’s like he just walked out of Nordstroms and into the zombie world. It’s hard to tell where the next evil do-er is going to come from on the show, but right now that’s probably everyone’s best guess.