Monday Morning Coffee

December 26th, 2016

Yesterday was a Christmas miracle! The Lakers got back in the win column on Christmas day after losing 11 of their last 12 games.  Yes it took injuries to Chris Paul and Blake Griffin for this to happen, but let’s not be picky Laker fans.  You’ll take wins any way they come right now.  The last two weeks have definitely wrecked the Lake Show’s playoff hopes, however, things aren’t as bad as they seem. Many of the troubles the team has had in recent weeks can be attributed to injuries to very important players.  When a young team like this has those types of key pieces in and out of the lineup, consistency is going to be an issue.  On top of that, everyone forgot that the core of this team is still in their early 20’s, learning to play defense and share the ball consistently.  They aren’t quite as good as you thought in the early going, but they still aren’t nearly as bad as you think they are right now.  Even Jim Buss is encouraged, because he’s now publicly saying that if the team shows progress, here won’t be stepping aside like he promised he would.  I’m not so sure that Jeanie Buss will feel the same way come this summer, but it would be a big mistake if she let Phil Jackson back in the fold just to tie her personal and professional life together.   I wonder if D’Angelo Russell got this phone case in his stocking……

As for the Clippers, the injuries are beginning to pile up.  First Blake Griffin goes down for a few weeks, then Chris Paul and J.J. Redick get injured too.  The Clipps are a distant third in the league to the Cavs and Warriors, and maybe an even further distant fourth to San Antonio if they are injured.  It’s a talented bunch, but one that has come together at the wrong time.  Even when Doc Rivers continues to keep Blake, CP3, and the rest of the core together, they will simply continue to age and further minimize their chances of winning.  Then again, Doc Rivers probably doesn’t care because he wouldn’t want to coach the team if they had to rebuild.  Looking back at their game from against the Spurs a few days ago, the Clippers should be eliminated from the playoffs just for this ridiculous sequence……

Elsewhere around the Association on Christmas Day, great game between the Warriors and Cavs.  Kevin Durant is probably going to demand a trade to Cleveland after his Warriors lost.  Kyrie Irving is clutch, and it’s starting to feel like he has Steph Curry’s number.  Did you know that Richard Jefferson is the first Civil War Veteran in NBA history to dunk twice in the same game? Lebron totally got away with hanging on the rim for about 90 seconds after his monster dunk late in the game.  Meanwhile in New York, Carmelo Anthony’s teammates one wish for Christmas was that he would waive his no-trade clause and leave the Knicks.  New York got beat by Boston.  Then there’s Russell Westbrook who’s Thunder beat the T-Wolves, but the real story was Westbrook denying that he was yelling out of excitement when Kyrie hit that last second shot to beat Durant and the Warriors.  Too bad we have visual and audio evidence of his excitement.  The guy clearly is still bitter about Durant leaving the Thunder.  Check it the evidence right here…..

Has anybody checked out the new NBA CBA? You can be almost assured that no elite players are going to be leaving their current teams when they reach free agency.  The new labor agreement has included a rule where any player who earns MVP, All-NBA, or Defensive Player of the Year honors is eligible to make $76 million more by staying with their teams.  That means Karl Anthony Towns and Anthony Davis better get comfortable, because they will be spending their entire careers in Minnesota and New Orleans, respectively.  It also means teams like the Knicks and Heat are screwed because they were counting on free agency to reload their teams, and instead they will be forced to build through the draft from here on out.  The Lakers may not have gotten any big time free agents of late, but at least they were fortunate enough to have drafted five high potential players in the last three years.

What a pathetic show put on by the Rams on Christmas Eve.  LA just gave the 49ers their only two wins of the season.  Somehow, Jared Goff is finding a way to get worse with every week that goes by.  Whatever new coach comes in is going to have to alter his throwing mechanics completely because he missed a lot of open throws.  Tavon Austin should look like Tyreek Hill of Kansas City.  Instead, he’s $44 million more expensive, and not nearly as consistent.  Tickets were going for $30 at the Coliseum on Saturday.  That sounds a lot like football in LA right before the Rams left for St. Louis.  As for the Jon Gruden rumors, I don’t understand how people think he’s a real candidate for the Rams head coaching job.  Gruden is the Jeff Van Gundy of the NFL.  He hasn’t even coached in the last 8 years, and would be a huge risk with this group of players.  Does anybody even know if he can still do it? I sure don’t.

Elsewhere around Week 16 of the NFL, I guess Jesus doesn’t love Philip Rivers that much, because the Chargers lost to the lowly Browns.  Amazing that Cleveland won, and they didn’t even need an Xbox to do so.  I think I even heard Browns fans chanting ‘We Want ‘Bama” when it was over.  Horrible news about Derek Carr breaking his leg for the Raiders.  I was secretly hoping for a Cowboys-Raiders “return to glory” Super Bowl, but it will probably be New England-Seattle now.  Speaking of the Patriots, they dismantled the Jets.  The Texans clinched the AFC South for the fourth time in six years.  Seeing them get eliminated in the 1st round of the playoffs is an NFL tradition unlike any other.  The Chiefs look damn good after beating up on the Broncos.  Andy Reid hasn’t been this happy since he first discovered BBQ’d ribs.  John Elway is about to call Tim Tebow.  Eli Manning was about as accurate as Helen Keller from the free throw line in the Giants loss to the Eagles.

It’s bowl time in College Football, but did you even notice?  I don’t blame players like Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette for sitting out these meaningless games.  Other than the top 4 playoff teams, all the other bowl games are just glorified consolation games.  Why should these players risk injury when millions of dollars are on the line at the next level? I’m sure their teammates would agree with their decision to sit out as well.  However, I do think that this is a great opportunity to increase the number of teams in the playoffs.  If these players had even a small chance of making it to the National Championship game, they would play in these postseason games.

Has anybody seen the Michael Floyd video of him getting arrested for a DUI? I’m sure Notre Dame officials are cringing at the fact he’s sporting an Irish beanie while being arrested.  I’m shocked the Patriots actually signed him after the Cardinals released him.  Apparently Floyd’s BAC was .217 when he was arrested.  This makes sense because he’s played the last 16 weeks like he’s been drunk on the football field.

UCLA men’s basketball just finished non-conference play with a blowout win over Western Michigan. That is the first time in over two decades that the team has been undefeated in non-conference play. There’s definitely going to be some tough teams in Pac 12 play, but it’s going to be much needed for the Bruins RPI, which isn’t as they would like at #24.  I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how they handle matchups against Oregon, Arizona, and USC.

I usually find it difficult to hate any kid playing college sports, but Duke’s Grayson Allen is a total punk.  I’m not sure why the guy finds it necessary to trip his opponents, let alone from super small schools like Elon.  Allen is basically the high school villain in every 1980’s movie.  I can’t imagine that Coach K would be willing to put up with this any longer.  This is basically how you act when your dad doesn’t get you a Mercedes for Christmas…..

I still think Christmas is the best holiday.  Yes, it’s usually a lot more expensive than Thanksgiving due to the gift giving.  However, it’s a season, it’s not just a day, and you can’t beat the feelings leading up to the day.  Hope you all enjoyed it.

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