Monday Morning Coffee

June 21, 2021

It took 43 years, but the Clippers are finally here: The Western Conference Finals. It doesn’t matter that they lost game 1 to the Suns. Let’s be honest, the Clips have been the punching bag of Jock Talk LA for almost a decade, and the red-headed step child of LA Sports Franchises for four decades. However, no matter what happens against the Suns, they deserve every bit of credit for what they’ve accomplished. It’s safe to say they “Mann-ed” up! Sorry that was too easy. However, the team could have packed it in and booked their flights to Cancun after Kawhi got hurt. Instead, Paul George actually played like the elite player he’s capable of being, while Terance Mann and Reggie Jackson turned into Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Also, for those of you that think Ty Lue is just some ex-player that ran to Dick’s Sporting Goods to buy a clipboard and a whistle when Lebron and Kawhi picked him to be their coach, think again. Lue has out-coached both Rick Carlisle and Quin Snyder with his small ball lineups, and made brilliant adjustments after trailing 0-2 in both series. Without Kawhi, they are playing with house money against the Suns. Nobody expects them to win, but don’t be surprised if they do. They hung in yesterday, but Devin Booker was just too much. Still, they are starting to believe in themselves, and frankly, it would almost be weird if they didn’t start this series down 0-2!

Ty Lue made a very “matter of fact” comment regarding the Lakers after the Clippers advanced to the Conference Finals. Lue said “I always look at it differently. I know the Lakers are out and there’s a lot of Laker fans here. But once the Lakers are gone, if we’re not playing the Lakers, you should be cheering for the Clippers because it’s all in one city.” This is not an unreasonable take at all. The problem is, the most die hard NBA fans, including Laker, fans aren’t always reasonable people. NBA fans often cheer for outcomes dictated by their experience with opposing fans they know. So there’s plenty of Laker fans out there that get peeved when their Clipper fan neighbor says “I think this is the Clippers year”. They take it personally, and just want the Clippers to lose. Not because they hate the Clippers, but because they just want to stick it to their neighbor. The is a very common and bizarre NBA fan occurrence. In reality though, it’s inspirational stories like the Clippers overcoming adversity that actually make people want to watch sports.

Elsewhere around the NBA Playoffs, Lebron is going to have a lot of fun with KD, Kyrie, and Harden when he sees them this week in Cancun. The Nets super team was super injured, but props to the Bucks for taking advantage of it and coming up big on the road in game 7. Giannis approaches every free throw stressing like his life is on the line, but nevertheless, he still made some big plays to get the Bucks to the Conference Finals. Ben Simmons disappeared like Emilia Earhar, and Joel Embiid had more turnovers than Betty Crocker, and the Sixers were sent packing, while the Hawks are headed to the East Finals. Also, Dick Vitale needs one of his grand kids to teach him how to use acronyms on Social Media. Either that or he’s been spending too much time on Porn Hub.

To baseball, where we are just a few weeks away from the All-Star break and the Dodgers are playing well. The problem is they are still chasing the Giants for 1st place in the NL West. Other than the “new Dodger Dogs”, this team has no glaring weakness that needs to be addressed at the trade deadline. Sure they could use a bullpen arm here or there, but who couldn’t? They just need to get healthy, and need the Giants to come back to earth, and something tells me they are playing way over their heads and overachieving. All of the solutions to the Dodgers problem are internal. Better approaches at the plate, better situational hitting, and a clean bill of health are what this team needs to repeat. Remember when we thought Kenley Jansen was done? Funny, I don’t hear anybody screaming from the mountain top anymore that he needs to be sent packing. He’s looked like the Kenley of old. They’ve got some big games coming up against the Padres, Cubs, and Giants, so hopefully they take these games just as serious as if it were a pivotal game in September. They count just as much in the standings.

As for the Angels, just when you think they are playing a little bit better and might do something, reality hits that they aren’t going anywhere in the standings. Heading into Sunday, the Halos had won 7 of their last 10, but were still 7.5 games back of 1st place Oakland in the AL West. They are also 6 games back of the Wild Card, and they’d need to climb over 4 teams to get there. I get it’s only June, but this is one of the softest parts of the schedule, the Halos are now .500, but can’t even make up any ground in the standings. The most exciting thing this team has to celebrate is Shohei Ohtani participating in the Home Run Derby. Then again they might not be celebrating come September when he goes in a massive slump like many Derby participants usually do. I also love how Taylor Ward has become a useful player, and suddenly people think the Angels know how to scout. You can’t scout if you don’t have scouts. They would uncover a lot more useful players if Arte Moreno spent some money on player development.

So let me get this straight……Sofi Stadium is now the host of another College Football Glorified consolation game, as I like to call them? It will feature the fifth place finisher in the Pac-12, against the first place finisher in the Mountain West. In this instance, Jimmy Kimmel is putting his name on the game, in what will be a called “The Jimmy Kimmel Bowl”. Well as long as UCLA keeps Chip Kelly as their head coach, they might as well call it “The Jimmy Kimmel UCLA Bowl”.

Finally, the Bachelorette is back on ABC tonight for episode 3 of this season, and last week was filled with drama. On one hand, it was probably very premature to send Cody packing, but on the other hand, Katie saved us from having to deal with two weeks of nonsense drama. Plus, now Cody can go focus on being famous in the zipper sales industry. Katie is really going to miss out on free zippers for life though. I admire Karl and his resilient approach to creating drama, and even giving Katie a tutorial on how to be The Bachelorette. That guy actually gets paid to speak for a living? I would pay just to have him not speak. I love how John was just grinning while getting absolutely demolished in the mud pit. Katie feels like she might pull a Clare and just go home with Greg right now. What exactly are “the right reasons” to be a contestant on The Bachelorette? I wonder if Chris Harrison is actually watching this season. The man is still missed by everyone on every episode. Katie hasn’t done anything wildly unpopular yet, so looking forward to seeing what’s in store next.

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