Monday Morning Coffee

March 1st, 2021

The Lakers have looked good the last two games. Even though they dropped the hammer on the Warriors last night, this time of year is a coming out party for Laker haters. There’s bad news for those folks. The Lakers snapped a four game losing streak on Friday by winning against the Blazers. They were missing 2 of their 3 best players over that losing streak. We are two months into the season, and the defending champions had the shortest off-season in NBA history. You may recall two months into last season, they lost four in a row as well. These are the dog days of the season for a defending champion. For weeks the Lakers have looked like they would rather be home drinking wine, slamming pizza, and watching Netflix, rather than playing in these games. They’ve also been shooting like crap. After all that, they still have the second best record in the league, and the best defense in the league. If there’s one thing to be concerned about, it’s Lebron’s minutes. I’m glad he got to rest in the 4th quarter last night. I realize he wants to win MVP, but he knows that winning titles matters more than anything. Chain this guy to the bench at times to prevent him from being his own worst enemy. Other than that, the Lakers will be fine. As for last night’s broadcast on ESPN, Richard Jefferson’s commentary is gold. I could listen to this guy give his thoughts on street traffic. ESPN is lucky to have a funny talent like him, because they are running out of them.

Meanwhile, the Clippers are still hovering around 3rd place in the West after losing to the Bucks, but the trade rumors are still buzzing. ESPN’s Marc Spears is reporting that they are looking to acquire a veteran point guard by the March 25th trade deadline. Eric Bledsoe, Lonzo Ball, and Kyle Lowry seem to be the names that are coming up in these rumors. Ball is probably out of their price range, and while Bledsoe can be had, it would be like just ordering a chicken salad when you’re at a steakhouse. Lowry is the prize. He’d be a great fit, the Raptors need to get something for him before he hits free agency, and the Clippers have just enough pieces to get him. They would have to give up Terrance Mann since they have no picks, but have the salary to match with Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, and maybe even Ivica Zubac. The Clips are still a contender, but without a move, there’s a lot riding on the shoulders of both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

Spring Training is underway! That means the defending World Series Champion LA Dodgers have begun Spring Training Games. One thing I’m keeping an eye on is the closer situation. As of now Kenley Jansen is the Dodger closer, and rightfully so. However, Jansen is in the last year of his deal, and I can’t see him coming back after this season. That means the Dodgers need to go get themselves a closer in free agency, or groom one. Since investing in a free agent closer is usually about as bad of an investment as investing in GameStop stock, developing one is more ideal. I think the man for the job is Dustin May. His stuff is so good, if he told the hitters what he was about to throw, most of them wouldn’t be able to hit it anyway. He also throws heat. Even by putting May in the closer role, the Dodgers still have plenty of starting pitching options: Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Trevor Bauer, Julio Urias, David Price, and younger arms behind them as well. It’s an embarrassment of riches that every other team envies, but this is one way to take full advantage of it.

As for the Angels, Albert Pujols and his wife have been making headlines with questions about his retirement. It felt like his contract would never end, but mercifully, this is the final season of his 10-year $240 million contract. However, Pujols told reporters that he has not decided if he wants to continue playing or not after this season. I don’t think the Angels care if he continues playing after this season, but it can’t be for them. Aside from the fact the Angels could use the money freed up from Pujols to spend on pitching, they also need to give every opportunity to some younger players to develop at first base. With Pujols around, he takes away from that, and at this point in his career, should be nothing more than a DH anyway. Knowing Arte Moreno though, we shouldn’t be shocked if he re-signs him.

To College Basketball, where March Madness is nearly upon us. The UCLA Bruins basketball program is in the mix for a tournament spot and has a big week ahead of them. Despite losing to Colorado on Saturday, the Bruins are hanging on to 1st place in the PAC-12. They’ve got big showdowns at home with Oregon and USC this week. They’ll probably need to win both games to finish in 1st. UCLA had more turnovers than Betty Crocker on Saturday, but they’ve gotta feel good about the fact they are shooting it better, and playing better defense than we’ve seen in recent weeks. They may not have stars, but they can still grind out some wins in all these big games they have this month.

I was both saddened and relieved when I heard about Tiger Woods car accident last week. I was relieved because we easily could have lost another sports icon one year after losing Kobe. However, I was saddened to know how far he’s fallen personally and professionally from being on top of the golf world. This man just came off of back surgery, and was struggling to get healthy to compete regularly on the PGA Tour. Now he has to deal with recovery from a broken leg. This is also a reminder that no matter how hard golf has tried to feed us “the next star”, none of them captivate us like Tiger Woods. Golf needs Tiger Woods again, and so do we as sports fans. Everybody should be cheering for that.

Anybody watch the Golden Globes last night? I needed to see it to humanize myself from COVID fatigue. Except it didn’t help all the Zoom fatigue I’m experiencing, since everybody was remote. I loved the SNL reunion they had with Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and Tracy Morgan. The Crown really cleaned house last night on the awards. I was happy to see The Queen’s Gambit take home a few awards as well, which is a series I really enjoyed. Ben Stiller is clearly having a a strong pandemic. He died his hair gray, and made Banana bread into the shape of a Golden Globe Award. Angel Basset is 62? It should be illegal to look that good at 62. Al Pacino sleeping at the Golden Globes is the most I’ve ever related to a celebrity. On the other hand, if only everybody could look as energized and enthusiastic as Jane Fonda did last night at 83. Jeff Daniels clearly understands that it’s not about how many awards you win, but how many doors you have in your guest room.

Since I have covered The Walking Dead so extensively on Jock Talk LA over the years, I feel the need to address it. The season premiere went down last night, as we march toward the conclusion of the series this year. This show has taken a lot of body blows the last couple of years, with many key characters that have departed. However, I’m too loyal and invested to not finish up these last 20 episodes or so. And no, I’m not into these stupid spin-off series AMC keeps trying to force down our throats. There’s probably only a handful of characters whose fate I’m interested in. One of them is Maggie (a.k.a. – Lauren Cohen), who finally returned to the show last night after a long hiatus. She also has an excellent taste in apocalyptic hats.

Finally, The Bachelor is back on ABC tonight, and there is much to discuss from last week’s episode. That episode did nothing for me other than prove Serena is an idiot. I think she was more appealing to Matt because she wasn’t completely sold on him. That was also the dumbest rose ceremony I’ve ever seen. 3 roses for 3 women? It couldn’t have been any more anti-climactic. At that point Matt was giving out roses like he was Oprah. Is this season a record number of people who have taken themselves out of the race? I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody walk the Bachelor out like Serena did. He was getting sent home like he was Victoria. However, seeing that must have been sweet justice for Abigail fans, since Matt received the breakup talk he gave her last week. After Serena dropped that “you’re not my person” line, Matt is probably going to go on a series of Peloton rides to get that out of his head. I’m still not sure how Rachel didn’t break any bones on that skydive. It felt like my legs were gonna break just watching it. Just think, if we had not spent so much time watching these idiots argue, we might have actually received a back story on all these remaining women. The Women Tell all is going to feel more like a Game of Thrones battle at Kings Landing than an episode of The Bachelor. After seeing previews of Matt’s beard in future episodes, he looks more like he was spending time climbing the Himalayas looking for the Buddha, and asking “why?” That doesn’t look like somebody who found love. Then again, it’s also hard to imagine Matt not choosing Rachel in this process before it eventually doesn’t work out.

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