August 24, 2020
I like it much better when “Playoff Lebron” is playing on the Lakers. We finally saw that on Saturday night, and suddenly things are looking up for the Lakers. Sure there’s still some concern. Sometimes it feels like this team couldn’t hit a 3, even if they ran into Khole Kardashian at happy hour. Rajon Rondo also needs to be put in bubble wrap to stay healthy. However, their defense isn’t just good, it’s elite. They have held the Blazers to a measly 40% shooting in the series, which is crazy considering how hot they were coming in. Lebron didn’t even break a sweat in a game 2 blowout, and Anthony Davis has looked great in the last two games. The Blazers aren’t done yet, but they look exhausted. This series certainly is not over, but if there’s one thing Laker fans can feel better about it’s that their defense is going to give them a fighting chance against everybody.
Meanwhile, the Clippers find themselves locked up in a 2-2 series with the Mavs. Luka Doncic is becoming a star overnight, and he’s making this series far more interesting than most of us thought. The biggest problem for the Clippers right now though is that “Playoff P” is becoming “Pandemic P”. In fact, I’m not even sure the “P” stands for Paul anymore. Dude is shooting 25% in this series. When Anthony Davis has one bad half of basketball, all hell breaks loose on Twitter. When Paul George puts together 3 straight awful performances, people just say he might need to play better. This also explains why he didn’t want to play for the Lakers. He just didn’t want the scrutiny or the accountability in the big moments. I’m not convinced yet the Clips are going to lose this series, but their lack of on court time together, and their perception that they can just “turn it on” is making life very difficult for them. It’s even more of a problem because the Mavs are becoming even more confident.
To baseball where the Dodgers are just dominating. They have the best record in the baseball, and have a 4 game lead in the NL West. They have so many good young arms, they can’t even find a way to fit Tony Gonsolin in their rotation, or even find a way to get Gavin Lux in the lineup, who is their best prospect. That’s all great, but I’m still not without concern. Come October, I don’t want to see Clayton Kershaw or Kenley Jansen put in situations to fail. That means I don’t want Kershaw in a highly leveraged situation in the 7th or 8th inning when he’s thrown a lot of pitches. I don’t want Jansen going for 9-out saves. The Dodgers have a real bullpen and real pitchers behind those two. If they don’t, then you’ve been lying to us and to yourself Andrew Friedman. Only time will tell if this is true, because that’s been the case nearly every October for the last seven years with this team.
Then there’s the Angels. I’ve been thinking their best strategy is to just fake COVID infections and quit on the season. The Halos have the worst record in the American League. Their pitching staff has the 5th worst ERA in baseball. They are also in the bottom third of the league in hitting. I realize the Angels aren’t great, but I would expect them to beat up on the Giants and not make their offense look like Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent were still on the team. On one hand I’d like to suggest the the Angels just start tanking. However, they don’t need to. They are bad enough to try to win, and still lose a lot of games. That’s just sad.
Happy Mamba Day everyone! I hope you’re all planning on crumpling up pieces of paper and throwing them in the trash while yelling “KOBE!” Sometimes it’s the little things like that that make a person’s legacy. Kobe’s only been gone since January, and it feels like something that we’ll just never get over. His inspiration will just life on forever though.