Monday Morning Coffee

Clarkson DrivesMarch 7th, 2016

Did that really just happen? We just witnessed history at Staples Center yesterday.  No NBA team with a winning percentage below .200 has ever beaten a team with a winning percentage above .900, and that’s exactly what happened when the Lakers destroyed the Warriors yesterday afternoon.  Admit it….you kind of wanted to storm the court after the win, didn’t you Laker fans?  Ok, so maybe Steph and Klay popped a few too many bottles in the club last the night before.  However, Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo played great defense, while putting up some very solid numbers.  Russell has scored 20 points or more in 5 of his last 6 games, including a career high 39 points earlier in the week.  Even if you’re on “Team Tank”, and want the Lakers to lose to solidify their lottery position, you’ve gotta love the confidence booster this win gives LA’s young guns.  It’s better to beat a team like this, then Phoenix or Philadelphia.  I wouldn’t be surprised after all this if the Lakers lose to Orlando on Tuesday.  D’Angelo is pumped, while Kobe needs a bye week……

Do the Clippers deserve any respect? They beat Oklahoma City earlier in the week, after one of the biggest choke jobs in the NBA this season.  Now people are suddenly thinking the Clippers should be contenders.  Let me get this straight….the Clippers beat a team Thunder team that choked harder than they usually do every spring time, and one that few people consider a true championship team. So why should we think any differently of them for that? Besides, no team with a mascot that is called “Chuck The Condor” deserves any respect in my book.  Sometimes the jokes just write themselves, and this is definitely one of those cases.

Is Lebron James still the best player in basketball? Steph Curry and Kawhi Leonard are certainly doing some amazing things, and are making me think twice about it.  However, Lebron is a 4 time MVP, and led a team to the NBA Finals in the last five consecutive seasons.  Forgive me for not being entirely prisoner of the moment since that’s what we do in the NBA, but let’s have some perspective people.  If and when Steph makes it to five NBA finals, Or Kawhi gets on a couple of All-NBA teams, then there’s a much more sound argument.  Steph is the game’s best shooter, and Kawhi is a rising star, but Lebron’s impact on both ends of the floor is still unmatched.  He may not be in his prime, but it was just last season where he nearly pulled off the greatest upset in NBA playoff history.

UCLA just finished an embarrassing regular season and is hoping to miraculously survive the 1at round of the conference tourney this week, let alone win it.  Steve Alford has been a disaster, despite the big recruits coming next year.   Hopefully, there will always be great recruits for the Bruins on the horizon…not the point. The question is whether or not Alford was a smart hire by Dan G…so far, no. Only Walt Hazzard has a lower winning percentage as a UCLA coach than Alford. He just seems in way over his head….nothing wrong with that but he he belongs working at another school. The best work I’ve seen from the Alford camp was from his agent and attorney who leveraged a panicked AD into one of the most obscene employment contracts in UCLA history….the kind that would get a guy, AD, fired.  It’s only fitting that the Trojans will be the ones to end the Bruins’ season on Wednesday.  Nothing more humiliating than losing to your “football school” cross town rival three times in one year.

Speaking of USC, the Trojans aren’t exactly a lock to make the NCAA Tournament anymore.  USC has now lost 6 of their last 8 games, after losing to Oregon on Saturday.  The pressure is really going to be on now, because an early loss in the conference tournament, and SC’s bubble might just burst.  Even more alarming is the fact that SC has lost 8 of their 11 games away from the friendly confines of the Galen Center.  That’s often the case for a team that plays uptempo like the Trojans, who’s role players just aren’t that good on the road.  The more you watch this team, the more you realize that they just aren’t ready for primetime yet.

Ok, who is surprised that Dodgers starting pitcher  Brett Anderson is injured? Sure he had a nice year last year, but him staying relatively healthy was an aberration.  Anderson ending up on the DL is about as sure as the sun rising and A-Rod admiring himself in the mirror every morning.  Andy Friedman’s idea of “pitching depth” is a collection of guys that get hurt all the time,  or that just aren’t very good.  I’d rather pay the $200 million for one guy who is going to remain healthy than $100 million for 5 guys that can’t stay healthy.  Those 5 guys will be lucky to win 10 games collectively when they do start.

There’s no way the Anaheim Ducks can continue the pace they are on.  11 in a row and looking for more tonight against Washington.  The Ducks are finally getting the goals they weren’t getting earlier in the year.  The only question is whether or not they are peaking too soon.  The Kings on the other hand, have goal scorers that have disappeared like Jeb Bush.  Home ice and winning the division is meaningless to LA, but if they don’t start scoring goals, they probably won’t last too long in the NHL playoffs.

I fully expect Peyton Manning to not only announce his retirement tomorrow, but also four new toppings at Papa John’s Pizza.  In all seriousness though, I’m definitely going to miss watching him and all his battles with Tom Brady in the postseason.  He was one of the best quarterbacks i’ve seen in my lifetime, and easily the best regular season quarterback.  That’s not a knock on him.  Winning in the NFL is tough.  He probably should have a few more rings given all of his regular season accomplishments, but I deny his brilliance and greatness.  It’s a shame that story about the PED’s and the trainer at Tennessee came out now, but in general, when we evaluate athletes performance, we have to separate what we think of the athlete vs person.  Otherwise, we probably wouldn’t be watching professional sports anymore.

I don’t know what’s more ridiculous, Donald Trump’s candidacy, or the the Republicans whining and crying about him winning.   I haven’t seen a single debate where Trump or anybody else can bring any sensibility or explain an actual plan for specific policies.  It’s been nothing other than watching a bunch of kids in the school yard call each other names.  Now Mitt Romney is trying to come in at the 11th hour and “save the day”.  Too little too late.  I feel like when it comes time for me to vote, I might have to decide which leader I would want if we were in the middle of an Apocalypse, like The Walking Dead.

You know what the beauty of The People vs OJ Simpson on FX is? We know what happened already, so nobody can spoil it for you if you are waiting to watch it on DVR.   The last episode just reminded us why Johnny Cochran was the right choice for OJ over Robert Shapiro as the lead attorney L.  The man was willing to run over anyone standing in the way of OJ’s innocence.  As for the story about the alleged murder weapon that was recovered and turned in, it’s too perfect of a publicity stunt.  You’re telling me they found this at the time the show is going on? If you believe it’s just a coincidence then you are probably voting for Donald Trump.  Even if it is the actual murder weapon , it wouldn’t have mattered.  The prosecution screwed up everything else, so they would have screwed that up too.

Finally, The Walking Dead had another intense episode last night on AMC.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if you don’t want to know.  Rick and the gang decide to invade the Saviors headquarters.  You can see how reluctant Glenn was to kill these guys while they were sleeping, however, once he looked at the bloody pictures on the wall, he knew that the ends justified the means.  Rick and Darryl on the other hand didn’t seem to have any problem killing the Saviors while they were sleeping, or while they were awake.  Every moment I was on the edge of my seat, I kept telling myself this was a bad idea for Rick’s group, but then I realize that’s probably too idealistic.  Rick’s group can either starve to death, or even be attacked by the Saviors while starving. Or they can proactively eliminate the enemy and provide themselves with plenty of food in the process.  I love the “calm before the storm” beginning of the show with happy music.  Carol and Maggie being captured puts the focus right back on Darryl and Glenn, who would probably both do anything to save them.  That’s why I think there’s a good chance we lose Darryl or Glenn when this season is over.  The show has a much dark feeling than ever before, with the bad guys super evil, and the good guys forced to resort to some evil to survive.  When Father Gabriel is forced to man up and kill people, you know the world is screwed up.

Darryl sitting on car


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