Monday Morning Coffee

September 7, 2020

The Lakers have tied their 2nd round series with the Rockets at 1-1 but it’s been a battle and will continue to be one. It turns out playing a bunch of midgets that do nothing but shoot threes is much tougher than it looks. It was great to see the adjustments Frank Vogel made it game 2, throwing a zone and a double team at James Harden, and a much more efficient LeBron and Anthony Davis. However, the 3rd quarter was scary with the Rockets making all those three pointers, and Lebron basically taking a power nap. The Lakers can’t relax against this team. They have to make sure they are getting as much as possible at the rim with their size and strength, while making sure they defend the three point line like they did for most of the first half last night. If they don’t have that kind of attention to detail, they will be going home early. The Lakers have enough to contend for a title, but I’m tired of people wondering about the Lakers “third guy”. Look people, those of us that have been watching NBA basketball all season know the Lakers “third guy” will be done by committee and can change on a night-to-night basis. Kyle Kuzma isn’t suddenly going to turn into Kevin Love or Chris Bosh. It is what it is, and it’s perfectly fine.

Meanwhile, the Clippers got off to a nice start to their 2nd round series vs the Nuggets, then they decided to mail it in for game 2. Kawhi must have caught a case of “Playoff P”, because he was ice cold from the field. Playoff P was his usual disastrous self though, shooting 36% from the field in the loss. At this point, the Clippers might be better off starting Kim Jon Un, who is in a coma, than Paul George. I don’t expect Kawhi to play that badly again though, nor do I expect Jokic and Murray to play like Shaq and Kobe again. However, the Clippers are still playing a dangerous game of thinking they can turn it on and off whenever they want, especially since the competition in this round is much better than the last round. I understand that NBA teams don’t always play their best every night. However, for a team that hasn’t actually won anything, they act awfully cavalier.

Elsewhere around the NBA, former Laker Brandon Ingram earned the 2020 Most Improved Player Award last week. I love how just about every Laker fan couldn’t be happier for Ingram that he won the award, became an All-Star this year, and is well on his way to fulfilling the potential that made him the #2 pick in the NBA Draft. Meanwhile, the handful of Pelican fans that actually exist are spitting hate every time Anthony Davis has a bad game in the playoffs. Even Brandon Ingram took some subtle shots at the Lakers, saying playing in LA “isn’t always about basketball”. Ingram and the Pelican fans need to get a grip. He was traded for a Top 10 Player, and both teams benefited from it. He played well in LA, and he played even better in New Orleans. Just be happy for everyone and move on. No need hate on anybody. Also, looks like BI took a couple of bong rips before getting interviewed on TNT.

The Dodgers are well on their way to the #1 seed in the baseball playoffs. However, there is still much to be nervous about. The playoff format is going to be scarier than seeing Pedro Baez on the mound late in a playoff game. The first round is a 3-game series. That means if the Dodgers run into the Phillies, Reds, or Mets, they could easily just get taken out by two hot pitchers in two games. The baseball playoffs have always been a crap shoot, but the fact there are 16-teams in it makes you think it’s even more likely a lower seeded team can steal the World Series. Who’s bright idea was this? Oh right, it was Rob Manfred, who is the dumbest commissioner in all of sports. As for the team itself, I normally would skewer Andrew Friedman for trading away a solid pitcher like Ross Stripling, however, this was a good move. It allows the Dodgers to put Tony Gonsolin in their rotation, who is another good young arm for them.

As for the Angels, the trade deadline was a disaster, which says a lot about where this franchise is. They traded away three of their most productive players: Tommy La Stella, Jason Castro, and Brian Goodwin. They got a ham sandwich with expired meat in return, and now the three players that are playing in their place are hitting well below .200: Justin Upton, Luis Rengifo, and Anthony Bemboom. It’s almost like “The Smash Brothers”, except they really should be called “The Trash Brothers.” Billy Eppler is going to be toast when the season is over. How much do you have to suck to miss the playoffs when half the teams in the league qualify, and you have the best player on your team? This club has been acting like they are going to contend every year for the last 7 years, but they never invest the money in the pitching they need, and they always invest in failed position players. As if that’s not bad enough, their farm system is still near the bottom of baseball. You don’t need to tank to build a great organization. You need good scouting and development. The Angels have none of that, on top of their very poor free agent decision making. They’ve got Mike Trout and Anthony Renton for the next decade, so they better hope their next decade with one of the best players ever is much better than the first decade with him.

Now the Pac-12 is acting like they are going to play football by January, which is pathetic. Commissioner Larry Scott appeared on the Dan Patrick show earlier in the week, and tried to sound excited over their ability to test for COVID in the coming months. Funny how the SEC, Big 12, and ACC don’t seem to have a problem with testing. Nor do they have any shame by just having their football players play while many of their students aren’t even on campus. Scott said that just goes to show you where the priorities for some schools and states are compared to the Pac-12 and California. While that may be fair, since his job revolves around college athletics, perhaps he should at least give the appearance he’s trying a lot harder to make football happen this year. Instead, he looks like a toothless figurehead. This also goes to show you how USC is now really failing the conference. Back when USC was great a football in the Pete Caroll days, they might have the influence to make football happen. Instead, their leadership is apathetic toward playing, which makes sense since they don’t even care about having a mediocre coach leading them anyway. On the other hand, Ohio State might singlehandedly sway all the votes in the Big 10 to get them to play in the fall. I also like how the President called the Big 10 commissioner and not the Pac 12. Obviously it’s a political move to get the swing states voting for him, but it also speaks volumes about everyone’s priorities.

Finally, 2020 has been bad, but now it’s just getting personal. Taco Bell is taking the Mexican Pizza off it’s menu starting in November. First they came for the Nacho Supreme and the Spicy Potato Taco, which people sucked it up and dealt with. However, now you’re talking about taking something off the menu that has been a Taco Bell iconic item for decades. This is probably worth rioting and protesting over. The pitchforks and tiki torches need to come out. Without the Mexican Pizza, life may not even be worth living anymore. I wish I could have been in that marketing meeting. “We need to be more innovative and eco-friendly guys, so let’s get rid of an item that’s been a staple for decades”. Apparently fixing the packaging was not an option. 2020 has taken everything, including people’s logic, and America’s favorite fake Mexican food.

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