Monday Morning Coffee

April 18th, 2016

Never could I have imagined that Kobe Bryant’s legacy would actually improve before playing the last game of his career against the Utah Jazz.  No Hall of Famer has ever scored more than 29 points in their final career game.  Kobe obliterated that by scoring 60, and reminding us of the glory days for Laker fans, one last time.  Only Kobe could steal the show from the Golden State Warriors, on a night where they broke the single season record for wins.  It was beautiful sight to see, and gave you chills.  For those that hate him, it was just one last reminder, that your criticism drove Kobe to all his success, which is why he embraced it when it was over.  Leave it to the LA Times though to give you a tribute section to Kobe in yesterday’s paper, only to throw in a few articles that don’t actually show either Kobe or his wife, Vanessa, in the post positive light.  The sad part is that now that he’s gone, you’ll really see how much you miss him.  It was a fun ride while it lasted, but it was twenty great years.  It’s going to be really weird when we continue to crumple pieces of paper and throw them into the trash while yelling “Kobe!” and our kids are trying to figure out what the hell we are talking about.

Oh I guess we have to talk about the Clippers now. LA took care of the Blazers last night in game 1 of their 1st round playoff series.  For some reason Damian Lillard struggles against CP3, but always seems to play well against Steph Curry.  Last night was another case of Paul getting the best of him. There will probably be a game in this series where Lillard and backcourt mate CJ McCollum go off and steal a game, but that night wasn’t last night.  The Clipps have too much fire power, and this shouldn’t take any longer than 5 games.  LA better hope that they can build some better rhythm between CP3 and Blake during that time, if they want any fighting chance against the Warriors in round 2.

What a joke the first round series of the NBA playoffs have been so far.  I feel like I’m watching a bunch of #16 seeds take on a bunch of #1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.  The Houston Rockets were probably considering boarding a plane and heading back to Houston before the 2nd half started in game 1 against the Warriors.  The Mavericks got blown out by the Thunder.  It was 21-7 after the first quarter.  It’s like football season never ended.  I guess Reggie Jackson thinks that just because he played with Russell Westbrook that he is Russell Westbrook.  I’ve got the Cavs in 4, Raptors in 6, Celtics in 7, Miami in 6, Warriors and Spurs in 3, Clipps and Thunder in 5.

Let’s talk puck.  Sorry Kings fans, but it’s over.  LA is in serious trouble against the Sharks.  I’m sure some of you are clinging to the false hope of 2014, but this is not the same Kings team, nor the same  San Jose team.  Darryl Sutter can’t come up with a line combination that can consistently generate offense.  Anze Kopitar has disappeared like Houdini, and no defenseman outside of Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin can be trusted with a cup of coffee.  Marian Gaborik might have been the Kings best player in game 2, and he hasn’t played in 9 weeks!  The Sharks may be downplaying it, but they are determined to make up for their embarrassment in 2014.  Sharks Coach Peter Deboer also wants revenge for the Kings beating his Devils team in the finals in 2012.   The Sharks are beating the Kings at their own game.  They are more physical, manhandling LA in front of their own net, and getting the better of the special teams play.  The Shark jokes were fun while they lasted, but the Kings are going to be done playing hockey this season on Wednesday night at the Shark Tank.  That’s the parity of the NHL.

Speaking of trouble, the Ducks are down 0-2 as well to Nashville, after dropping the first two of the series at home.  Don’t you just love the NHL Playoffs? There’s really no such thing as an upset.  The Ducks have been more frustrated than Tim Tebow’s girlfriend, as Pekka Rinne has been solid in goal for Nashville.  Their defense has been tough, and they’ve gotten the timely scoring they need at even strength.  Corey Perry was nowhere to be found last night either.  It’s tough to win a playoff series when your best players don’t show up, which is exactly how the Kings feel right now.  The worst part about this for Anaheim is that they have some demons of past playoffs they are trying to overcome, so going down 0-2 has to shake their confidence.  Don’t count the Ducks out yet, but the way things are going, they’ll be done playing this week, and Bruce Boudreau might be looking for a job shortly after that.

Let’s go to the NFL, where the Rams stole the headlines from Kobe on Thursday, by acquiring the #1 pick in the draft.  Yes, I realize that the Redskins and their fans are laughing their asses off after this trade, and that the Rams won’t have another 1st round pick for the next 30 years or so.  However, I’m actually a fan of this trade.  You can’t win in the NFL without a quarterback, and that QB isn’t Case Keenum.  Jeff Fisher and Les Snead know that.  The reason the Rams were able to make this trade was also because they made the RGIII trade, and were able to build their team to the point they have now.  However, that team is consistently a 7-9 or 8-8 team.  That’s not good enough.  Sounds like Carson Wentz is the better long term player with more upside than Jared Goff. The Rams have the time to develop Wentz, since they don’t move into their new stadium until 2019.  I hate the notion however, that this trade was made because it’s a star driven town.  That’s a poor way to run a franchise if that’s the sole reason it was made.  As a result, Jeff Fisher’s phone has been blowing up since the trade was announced…..

Fisher's phone

I feel like the only requirement to be the USC AD is to have played football at the University.  The Trojans surprised quite a few people by hiring Lynn Swan as their new AD.  This feels very similar to the Mike Garrett hire.  No specific experience that would make him qualified to run a major NCAA athletic program.  One thing he does have is a membership to Augusta National, so I’m sure some of the powers that be at USC will be taking advantage of a few rounds of golf there.  Heck, OJ has to be telling himself that if he didn’t end up in the slammer or on trial, he would have easily been on USC’s short list for the AD position by now.  I’m most curious to see how much slack he gives Clay Helton, since he did not hire him.  Speaking of Helton, I’m surprised he didn’t proclaim Max Browne his starting quarterback after the spring scrimmage.  I still think there’s no way he’s going to lose the job, and that he’s probably just making Browne work for everything.  I’ve never really been a fan of these spring scrimmages, because it’s just more wear and tear on these guys bodies, but at least the Trojans scaled down the scrimmage, unlike a lot of other schools.

Just how bad is the Dodgers bullpen? It’s bad enough that closer Kenley Jansen is already being asked to come in during the 8th inning for extended appearances.  When will the Dodger front office learn? Jansen can’t make up for a terrible middle relief group.  The same way that Clayton Kershaw can’t make up for a crummy pitching staff.  Scott Kazmir proved once again this weekend that you wouldn’t even trust him to tell you what he wanted on his pizza.  What a waste of $48 million.  At least the Dodgers finally managed take a series from the Giants, who seem to be just dripping with championship pedigree.  I like Dave Roberts, but the front office hasn’t done him any favors.

Finally, a brutal weekend for the Halos.  They were swept by the lowly Minnesota Twins, who hadn’t won a game yet this season.  The Angels bullpen just couldn’t get it done.  It was one close loss after another.  This was supposed to be a softer part of the Halos schedule, but it’s turning into more of a mine field.  After the three straight losses in the Twin Cities, the Angels now go to Chicago to play the upstart Chi Sox, who have won 8 of their first 12.  We’re also still waiting for Albert Pujols and Mike Trout to find their offensive groove.  Wake me up when someone decides to take control of the AL West.


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