Monday Morning Coffee

January 25, 2021

The Lakers are now 9-0 on the road. They should just ask the league if they can play all their games on the road, especially since they don’t have to worry about the fans that aren’t allowed to attend their games. They are tied for the best record in the NBA, and have the best defense in the league as well. Everyone thought they would be much worse defensively, but it turns out they are just as good, and even better offensively. Heading into Saturday, the Lakers had a positive net rating of +1.7 when Lebron is on the bench, and a +12.1 rating with him on the court. No team Lebron has ever been on has finished with a positive rating with him off the floor. It certainly helps that Alex Caruso and KCP are shooting like the Splash Brothers right now. There’s some tough road games ahead this week, but the Lakers are looking good. It would be nice to see THT get some more minutes though.

The Clippers are looking strong as well. In fact, Kawhi Leonard should be in the conversation for MVP through one quarter of the season. The media probably won’t vote for him though because that’s like going back to your ex-gf when she cheated on you repeatedly and made you look like an idiot in public. That’s exactly what happened last year when these media clowns picked the Clips to not only win the title, but dominate everyone, and instead they crashed and burned like the Hindenburg in round 2. Nevertheless, Serge Ibaka and Nic Batum have been great value free agent signings that are playing well. However, Luke Kennard, Marcus Morris, and Lou Williams are disappearing like Donald Trump from the White House. That has to be a concern given how much money they are spending on those three, but the Clips flaws aren’t nearly as big as others in the West.

Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Kobe Bryant, and his daughter Gianna. That was the start of what many of us would consider the worst year of our lives. I don’t think a day has gone by since then where I haven’t thought about Kobe. He was truly a legend, and the magnitude of his legacy wasn’t fully understood by everyone until he passed away. In some ways, when you think about his drive and work ethic, sometimes it feels like he is still with us. I’m sure it doesn’t feel that way for Vanessa and her family, and I still cannot fathom how she deals with this everyday. Nevertheless, the only thing each of us can do is to give everything we have to each day, and hold nothing back, because that is the legacy and inspiration he wanted to pass on to everyone.

I love TNT’s Inside The NBA. There’s a reason why it’s an Emmy Award winning show. It’s so good, at times I find myself watching the halftime shows and Inside The NBA, rather than the games than themselves. With that being said though, Shaq and Chuck need to better understand the time and place to be critical of today’s players. There’s no doubt that today’s players are much more sensitive to criticism, and fail to realize that it’s an analysts job to be honest. However, that criticism shouldn’t come in the middle of interviews. I know that Shaq was trying to motivate Donovan Mitchell in last week’s interview, but Donovan Mitchell isn’t Kobe. Not everybody reacts to criticism the same way. This interview is the equivalent of your boss telling you that no matter what you do, you’ll never be promoted in this company, while providing no explanation.

To the NFL, where we had a couple of great games on Championship Sunday, and some surprises. Tom Brady is back in the Super Bowl again, after the Bucs shocked the Packers. Thank god Matt LaFleur kicked that field goal to give Green Bay 3 more points when he was a couple of yards away from tying the game with 2 minutes left! He must have forgotten the GOAT was going to get the ball back. I’m thinking somebody must have replaced LaFleur’s play calling card with a menu of Wisconsin cheeses, because there is no explanation for why he kicked a field goal there. I don’t know why people are surprised the Chiefs beat the Bills. Tony Romo predicted it, like he accurately predicts everything after they played in Week 12. If this guy tells you you’re going to commit a crime in the future, you might as well turn yourself in to the cops right then and there. Congrats to the Chiefs, but also congrats to the Bills and their fans. At least this time you didn’t lose in the Super Bowl! The Chiefs put 38 on the scoreboard and they didn’t even play Chad Henne. In all seriousness though, this is going to be a fantastic Super Bowl with Brady vs Mahomes. Greatness and both sides, and we’re lucky we get to witness it with the stakes the highest they could be.

Now that the Rams are out of the playoffs, the rumors have started to circulate about how they plan to improve their team. At the center of that discussion is Jared Goff, and if the team will part ways with him. We’ve also heard Rams sources leak to ESPN that they would trade Jared Goff and multiple picks to the Texans for DeShaun Watson. That’s like saying you want to trade in your used Mazda with 50K miles on it for a Ferrari. Every team should want Watson, but the Rams salary cap situation makes it virtually impossible for them acquire him. However, if the Rams can restructure some contracts and free up an extra $10 million, they can go get themselves an offensive lineman or two, and some help at linebacker. They might even be able to find some cheap help at QB to push Jared Goff. It doesn’t sound splashy, but it’s probably all they really need to try and get back to the Super Bowl.

To College Hoops where the Bruins lost their first game in conference play over the weekend, losing to Stanford. UCLA can still win the PAC-12, and even make a run in the tournament, but they can’t afford to take any nights off. They have talent, but not enough to just put it in cruise control. They’ve done that the past few games and it cost them Saturday, especially in the final seconds when they gave up the game-winning layup at the buzzer. The Bruins also need to turn their defense into offense, with easy fast break points. There were no fast break points at all on Saturday, and it’s been limited all-season. It’s called “Showtime”. Not “Slow Time”. Last year a loss to Stanford helped them correct a lot of their flaws, and propelled them to a hot streak. Let’s hope this loss results in the same type of streak.

Speaking of the PAC-12, Larry Scott will no longer be the conference commissioner come June 30th. This is a move that desperately needed to be made. The PAC-12 has a TV network that nobody can watch, and receives far less revenue than the other Power 5 Conferences. On top of that, Scott moved the headquarters to a much more expensive location, in San Francisco. He also had to deal with the wrath of state Governors enacting plenty of limitations this year around all sports. The PAC-12 had better figure out how to come up with a better media deal, because the top recruits are going to go elsewhere if their games aren’t getting a lot of exposure. Let’s hope the next guy in charge is capable of running more than just a hot dog stand like Scott was. That’s huge for the likes of USC and UCLA athletics.

To baseball, where the Dodgers lost one of their big-time performers over the weekend, Kike Hernandez. The super-utility player signed with the Boston Red Sox. Hernandez was a great find by Andrew Friedman, who came over in the trade with the Florida Marlins for Dee Gordon, six years ago. I’m sure this is going to devastate all those women who just watch Kike to play in his tight pants and all, but the reality of it is the Dodgers have cheaper options. More specifically, they have Gavin Lux and Chris Taylor. There’s also talk of the Dodgers going after free agent pitcher Trevor Bauer. They certainly don’t need Bauer, but signing him would be keeping him away from their NL rivals like the Padres. What they do need however, is to re-sign Justin Turner, and add an impact pitcher in the bullpen.

As for the Angels, they actually signed a pitcher! Last week they inked starter Jose Quintana. He’s not exactly Randy Johnson, but he’s a decent middle of the rotation arm that can give the Halos some innings. However, only the Angels would sign a pitcher who suffered an injury in the past year while washing dishes. They’ll need more pitching than that though, and I wouldn’t count on it coming in the form of Trevor Bauer. Arte Moreno treats the luxury tax like a form of cancer causing radiation, so I wouldn’t count on the Halos getting anywhere near it. Still, let’s hope Moreno’s penny pinching doesn’t get in the way of signing another capable starter.

There are certain things in life that you don’t have a true appreciation for until you get a little bit older. One of those things was Larry King, and his broadcasting career. I was saddened learn of his passing last week, as he was truly a legend in his industry. His non-confrontational and conversational interviewing style is one that I wish most journalists would follow these days. Those were the good ‘ol days.

Do you guys remember the LA Kings? You know, the hockey team in LA that actually won two Stanley Cups in the last decade. Well they hadn’t played in 10 months, until the season began last week. Their defense looks about as organized as the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine though. It’s sad to see how far the Kings have fallen, but what’s even more said is that they have the #1 farm system in the NHL, and they aren’t playing many of those prospects. Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, and Drew Doughty all made their NHL debut’s before 20 years old. They were cornerstones on those Cup winning teams. Just because the Kings best prospects are all in that age range doesn’t mean they should baby them. Take the training wheels off and let them play now, otherwise what is already a 4-year rebuild will become a 10-year rebuild.

Finally, The Bachelor is back on ABC tonight, and it was an eventful last episode. In a matter of 10 minutes, Sarah became the show’s villain. I’m not sure how though, with Queen Victoria still in the house. The girls wanted Sarah to come out of her room but all they did was make fun of her and single her out. All those girls deserve to be kicked off the show and sent to La Quinta as punishment. I don’t care if Bennet would find Sarah deficient in 3 of 4 emotionally intelligent components. That wasn’t cool. I’m glad there are five more girls coming to compete according to the previews, because those mean girls deserve to have more competition. So do the other 30, I just haven’t learned their names yet. Kit and Victoria really came together in that episode to form a super villain. On behalf of Bachelor Nation, thank you to whoever farted on Victoria’s pillow. Who would have thought the girl showing up with the vibrator on the first night would be the most mature person in the episode? She put both Sarah’s happiness and Matt’s above her own, and that is why she is too good to even be on this show. At this point, it’s Abigail and Katie for Matt, and it’s not close.

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