Monday Morning Coffee

February 29th, 2016

It’s not very often you see Mitch Kupchak look that distraught.  Jeannie Buss subtly reminded everyone last week that her brother, Jim Buss, is running out of time.  Back in 2014, Jim foolishly claimed that the Lakers would be at least back in the West Finals within 3 years.  There’s no way that’s happening by next year, which means Jim is toast.  However, the real danger here is that since Jim knows he could be out next year, isn’t there a greater risk for him to do something reckless and desperate? That makes me more nervous than anything.  So does the idea that he could be responsible for hiring another head coach this summer, when his last three have failed horribly.  It makes more sense to get rid of him now to avoid that situation.  I’m also not sure what this means for Kupchak.  Is he tied to Jim’s timeline?  I hope not.   There aren’t many good GM’s in the league who have assembled championship teams but Kupchak is one.  Heck there are only three teams in the whole league that could possibly win a title this year.  Hopefully the Lakers don’t lose sight of that if and when they stabilize their front office.  Either way, that’s probably a bigger priority than anything else for the franchise.

The Lakers got their brains beat in on Friday by Memphis.  Meanwhile, Kobe was probably sitting at home in Newport Coast watching Netflix.  At best, he had the Laker game on his IPad while Netflix binging.  Not that I can blame him.  He’s probably earned the right not to have to deal with this crap after 20 years and 5 championships.

The Clippers are running out of time.  They appear locked into the 4th seed in the West, and have about 6 more weeks to get their chemistry straight.  They may be playing well, but once Austin Rivers comes back from injury, and eventually Blake Griffin, they’ll have to figure out how to play their best basketball.   All that on top of getting the recently acquired Jeff Green to fit in as well.

Ok, Steph Curry is out of his mind.  He is shooting 66% from anywhere between 28 feet and half court this season.  Do you realize that’s way better than DeAndre Jordan’s free throw percentage? That’s no typo.  He’s told people privately that he feels like he can pull up from just inside half court all the time and make a reasonable amount of his shots, but wouldn’t do it for the sake of playing team ball.  I’m starting to think that he misses on purpose at times to blend in with humanity.   You miss every shot you don’t take, except if you’re Steph.  Then you make those too.  Steph just can’t get any love from the grumpy old NBA legends though like Oscar Robertson and Phil Jackson.  They poo-poo everything he does, and seem to think he’s some flash in the pan.  Apparently this just isn’t impressive enough for them…..

Speaking of underachieving basketball teams, UCLA put together another embarrassing weekend of ball.  The Bruins dropped road games to Cal and Stanford, and are almost assured of missing the NCAA Tournament.  UCLA has lost to so many teams it shouldn’t this year that Steve Alford really should start updating his LinkedIn page, so he can find a new coaching gig.  That probably won’t happen though with stud recruits TJ Leaf and Lonzo Ball coming in next year.  If UCLA had real options to upgrade their head coach, keeping the recruits wouldn’t be an issue if they fired Alford.   That just goes to show you how far the Bruin basketball program has fallen.

Remember everything I said about USC basketball a couple of weeks ago? Ok good, I don’t either.  The Trojans making the NCAA Tournament is no longer a sure thing.  They looked like a completely different team against Stanford and Cal, and the offense just isn’t putting up the numbers it did a few weeks ago.   It’s possible that after a couple of weeks of game tape, other Pac 12 coaches are figuring out how to defend these guys.  That of course doesn’t apply to Steve Alford, who has no idea how to defend anything.  The Trojans have lost 5 of their last 6, and have been getting crushed of late.  They could easily be losers of 7 of their last 8 by the end of next week.  Talk about a bad time to through a complete free fall.  It’s looking like the Pac 12 Tournament may be way more important for the Trojans than we thought.

What a disaster the Dodgers Time Warner Cable Channel is becoming.  Now they’ve decided to cut their number of spring training telecasts in half, even though they are claiming it’s not a cost cutting move.  Really? A network that was made for 24-7 Dodger coverage isn’t going to be televising some of its actual games? I’ve heard some people suggest that commissioner Rob Manfred needs to get involved and force a deal to be made.  Other than telling the cable providers and TWC to get in a room, it’s not like he can force the providers to buy the channel, or force TWC to lower their asking price.  However, he should encourage them to think more out of the box to solve the problem, like streaming their games for a subscription fee.  I don’t blame the Dodgers for creating the channel, but they need to work harder to solve the problem, or many fans won’t forgive them being that it’s Vin Scully’s last year.

Yasiel Puig is all flash and no substance.  Now he wants to fly a helicopter to every Dodger game so he can avoid traffic and be on time.  Too bad FAA rules prohibit this.  Here’s a better idea: Leave earlier like the rest of your teammates, who mange to be on time.  If Puig actually lived up to his potential, I’m sure the Dodgers would find more ways to accommodate him.  Right now he’s just a show boating pain in the ass, who needs to be traded as soon as his trade value increases again.

In NFL offseason news, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is now demanding a trade.  Chip Kelly is probably dying to replace him with a white quarterback.  Kaepernick’s trade value is currently 3 lottery tickets, a 6 pack, and a bottle of Mike’s Hard Lemonade.    The Redskins are trying to sign Kirk Cousins to a long term deal.  That’s like settling down with your ex after she’s put on a few pounds, after you were shot down by a couple of super models that wouldn’t give you the time of day.  Meanwhile, Peyton Manning reportedly has not decided whether he is going to retire or not.  Obviously, Manning has had a few too many of those Budweiser’s he was talking about.

The Kings really got screwed in their battle last night with the Ducks at Honda Center.  LA had a goal overturned by the referree in the third period when the Ducks challenged the play, which was ultimately ruled offside.  That call took so long to make, in the meantime, Leo DiCaprio actually won an Oscar while it was going on.  The goal would have made it 4-3, altering the momentum, but the Kings ended up losing 4-2.  Even though home ice advantage doesn’t really matter in the NHL, the Ducks are on the verge of taking 1st place from the Kings in the Pacific.  Anaheim is finally scoring to go along with its stellar defense.  Meanwhile, LA has been scrambling to add depth before the trade deadline.  I like the move to bring back defenseman Rob Scuderi, but I was really hoping they could add someone with a little more scoring, other than the Kris Versteeg trade they made last night.  By the way, on yesterday’s telecast on NBC Sports, Pierre McGuire actually said “Nick Shore can’t get it up and David Perron, he can get it in,” without an ounce of self-awareness.

I really think that Donald Trump might break the internet before his Presidential campaign ends.  Never have I seen so much animosity over social media directed toward politics and him in general over the last few weeks. The irony of it all is that his odds of being our next President are only going up.  Every debate that he looks stumped, embarrassed, and outmatched, he ends up gaining 15% of the voters anyway.  Maybe Rubio and Cruz would have more success if they actually discussed the issues in every debate rather than make it a pissing match.  Wolf Blitzer has about as much control of these debates as Kim Kardashian has when she’s around NBA players.  If Trump ends up going up against Hillary in the fall, I’m still not entirely convinced she would win.   We definitely didn’t think he would make it this far and yet here he is.   The man is a complete disaster, and his success thus far is exposing how uneducated most voters are. However, you’ve gotta admit politics have never been more entertaining.

The People vs OJ Simpson was phenomenal again last week.  The episode focused on how Robert Shapiro ended up losing his role as the lead attorney, as well as the media circus that developed around the trial, particularly during the jury selection process.  Marcia Clark and the prosecution totally underestimated the power of the media, ultimately losing the battle early on in the court of public opinion.  Then again, how could she have anticipated it? The OJ Simpson trial changed the way news was covered, and eventually lead to larger scale media coverage when it was over.  I do wonder if the show will end up covering the affair between Clark and Chris Darden, which we found out about years later.  As for Shapiro, it’s easy to see how his arrogance and obliviousness to race made him more unlikeable to his fellow team members.  I’m looking forward to seeing where the show goes from here.

He did it! Leo DiCaprio finally won the Oscar for best actor.  Given his bad luck, i was expecting a giant earthquake to hit Los Angeles right before the announcement was made.  I think we can have a good argument as to whether or not Spotlight should have won the best picture.  However, I don’t think anybody would argue that Michael Keaton wasn’t hammered.  Alejandro González Iñárritu notched his second straight Oscar in the directing category.  You would think you wouldn’t be rushed off stage like he was if that happened.  Chris Rock also killed it with his opening monologue.  He didn’t shy away from the race issue.  He went right at it unapologetically, poking fun at both black people and white people, and nobody could have done it better.  Of course those super sensitive types might have taken offense to it.  Here are the best parts of the opening monologue….

Finally, The Walking Dead went down on AMC last night with another exciting episode.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see the episode, so read no further if you are going to watch it later on your DVR.  This episode was all about Jesus taking Rick’s group to meet up with his, the Hilltoppers.  That resulted in a negotiation between Maggie and their leader, Gregory, for supplies.  After a bloody conflict ensued, we learn that the Hilltoppers are being extorted by a group called The Saviors, led by the infamous Negan.  Maggie negotiates a deal to kill Negan and his men, in exchange for half the Hilltoppers supplies.  I hate the idea of Rick’s group seeking out conflict.  It’s somewhat cocky on their part to believe that they can handle the Saviors, just because they handled the Wolves and the Governor, among others.  I don’t think there’s any question what Maggie meant though: “it’s going to cost us”.  They can do it, but it likely means that they are going to lose a group member they love in the process, which they are fully aware of.  On the other hand, if they don’t kill Negan, eventually he will probably find them, extort them, and eventually kill them.  Rick really knows how to make a great first impression doesn’t he? He kills a couple of Hilltoppers moments after meeting them when his group is threatened.  He killed someone in Alexandria, and beat up Jesus when they first met.  I can even remember how much of a punk Darryl thought he was for beating down his brother, Merle, when they first met in season 1.  The remaining episodes in this season have me very nervous, but excited to see how this all plays out.

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 11 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon – The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 11 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC


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