December 29th, 2014
In the last couple of weeks, we learned a lot about the Lakers, you probably just didn’t realize it though. Most of you were focused on Kobe and his health. What you should have noticed, is that fact the Lakers could have easily traded for Rajon Rondo, signed Josh Smith, and traded for Lance Stephenson, and rebuilt the team on the fly. They had a draft pick and an expiring contract the Celtics wanted for Rondo and they said no. They had the money for Smith, but they decided against signing him. They also had the pieces to get Stephenson, but decided against it. This should tell you that the Lakers aren’t looking for some short-term, quick fix to get competitive again. They are willing to slowly rebuild to build a consistent winner again. That means enduring more losses, like the one last night at home against Phoenix, to secure a top 5 lottery pick. Sounds like a good plan, if it weren’t Jim Buss that was a part of it.
Makes sense that Josh Smith signed with Houston. Dwight Howard needs somebody to laugh at his jokes. The irony of it is, I was really hoping the Lakers would sign Smith because it would make them much worse, and give them a better chance at a top 5 draft pick. Speaking of Dwight, Santa sends his apologies to everyone for the delay after having to stop by Dwight’s 57 different kids’ houses first.
As for the Clippers, just when you think they turned the corner by beating Golden State, they come back and disappoint you with a home loss to Toronto. For a while, it looked like Blake Griffin improved his game by adding a jump shot and improving his free throw shooting. Except now he takes too many jump shots, and still doesn’t have enough post moves. Blake should be a beast on the block, who should be punishing smaller defenders over and over again. He might eventually figure this out, but by that time, the window of opportunity for this group of Clippers might have closed.
On to college football, where the Trojans found themselves in a big shootout with Nebraska at the Holiday Bowl on Saturday night. For a few moments there USC fans were re-living the nightmares of the Arizona State and Utah collapses. They survived, and finished up what amounted to be an ok season in Steve Sarkisian’s 1st year as head coach. SC will probably lose three players to the NFL Draft: Defensive lineman Leonard Williams, tailback Javorius Allen and receiver Nelson Agholor. All are nice talents, but not crippling losses. Cody Kessler is coming back for his Senior year, and I’m not sure why all of you are so pumped that’s the case. He’s a solid but not spectacular quarterback, and truly a game manager. All those gaudy stats come against bad defenses. Don’t you want to see if Max Browne can become an elite quarterback? Sounds like it’s going to be just another ok year for USC next year with Kessler under center.
I don’t know what’s worse. The fact that UCLA basketball can’t beat anybody that’s a halfway decent team, or the fact that nobody is even noticing how mediocre the program is becoming. I talked to 5 UCLA alums this weekend, and when I mentioned the game against Alabama, they said “oh I completely forgot we were playing today.” I couldn’t even find coverage of the game in the LA Times Sports Section. The only thing worse than being bad, is being irrelevant, and that’s where AD Dan Guerrero is taking this program. The storyline against decent teams is the same. Terrible shooting, even worse free throw shooting, and lots of turnovers. Oklahoma, North Carolina, Gonzaga, Kentucky, and Alabama were all the same disastrous losses. The Bruins could easily get exposed in conference play next month if they keep this up. Then again, at least that might make people angry enough to make them relevant.
On the ice, the Kings finally looked like the Kings on Saturday against the Sharks. The power play is on fire, Drew Doughty looks like an elite defenseman again, and Anze Kopitar has remembered how to put points on the board. The Ducks are still racking up those regular season points as well, including last night’s OT win against Vancouver. The Western Conference playoff race is tighter than a Beyoncé jumpsuit. Why is Jonathan Quick 9th among goaltenders for all-star voting? I didn’t realize most hockey fans drink when filling out their ballots. If you’re a hockey fan on Twitter, you’ve gotta follow @PumperNicholl. He’s hilarious…….
— PumperNicholl (@PumperNicholl) December 27, 2014
The NFL regular season is in the books, and the final weekend had plenty of drama. I guess nobody told the Chargers that if they had won yesterday, they would have been in the playoffs. It doesn’t seem to matter who is coaching this team or who is on the field, this team just has a knack for coming up short in the biggest moments. JJ Watt is a damn good football player, and if he had a halfway decent quarterback, he would probably be the MVP of the league this year. Demarco Murray and Dez Bryant are going to make some serious money from somebody. I’m just not so sure the Cowboys will be paying both of them. RG III wasn’t all that bad yesterday, but the ‘Skins defense was. Great tank job by the Bucs yesterday against the Saints. It’s like the front office called Lovie Smith at halftime on the sidelines, and told him he better take out the starters so they can lose and secure the #1 overall pick. That showing was so pathetic by the Falcons yesterday, that it shouldn’t be the Panthers in the NFC Playoffs. It should be Baylor. The last time the Lions won in Green Bay I was in the third grade. The 49ers parting ways with Jim Harbaugh still makes no sense to me. He’s been in three of the last four NFC title games, including one Super Bowl, and even made decent QB’s out of Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick. The only reason the Niners went 8-8 this year was because of injuries and off the field issues. He’ll turn Michigan around then be back in the NFL in 3-4 years. He’s the Larry Brown of football. It sure would have been interesting to see him try to turn it around in Oakland.
As for Wild Card Weekend, that Steelers-Ravens showdown should be another classic, but if Pittsburgh is without Le’Veon Bell, they might as well kiss their playoff hopes goodbye. The Cardinals caught a huge break by matching up with the Panthers in the 1st round, even though Arizona might be playing with their 3rd string quarterback again. The Cardinals asked Santa for another QB for Christmas, and another one when that QB gets hurt, and a new ambulance. The Lions have tons of talent, but can’t beat a decent team on the road, so I’m going with the Cowboys. The Colts should take the Bengals as well since Andy Dalton is usually a disaster come January.
Another plane got lost? How does this happen? How do you lose a plane? I guess these black boxes aren’t as useful as we thought.
Did anybody actually see The Interview? It was funny and all, but the movie got way too much hype. Most of us didn’t even know about it until we knew there were terrorists trying to prevent us from seeing it. In fact, that’s probably the only reason why people went to see it, which ended up making the movie a huge success.