Monthly Archives: June 2016

Monday Morning Coffee

Brandon Ingram walking up

June 27th, 2016

The Lakers didn’t screw up the draft.  They didn’t overthink it, and took what the 76ers didn’t take, which was Brandon Ingram.  Ingram is arguably the best player in this years draft, and easily the best fit for the Lakers.  More importantly, the Lake Show is finally developing an identity.  That is defined by uptempo, position-less basketball.  Ingram can play 3 positions.  So can Julius Randle, while Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell can play both guard spots.  If you are ok with building around youth and assuming you’re doing it with the right guys, the Lakers are off to a great start.  As for free agency, I find it strange that the Lakers don’t have a meeting scheduled with Kevin Durant, even if the odds of Blake Lively becoming my girlfriend are greater than him signing in LA.  Maybe Mitch Kupchak is going to try to lock down another veteran or two, and then attempt to secure a meeting with Durant.  Otherwise, there isn’t going to be much to pitch to Durant, other than how nice the beach is in Southern California.  For a team that’s been so superstar hungry the last few years, its hard to believe that Kupchak doesn’t have a plan.  He has one, and regardless of how effective it’s going to be, he knows how to operate with the secrecy of the FBI.

As for D’Angelo Russell, his Foot Locker commercial where he poked fun of his cell phone incident was very well done.  No matter how much you hate Russell for breaking “the man code”, he’s owning up to what he did, and it’s part of the maturation process for a teenager that is new to the NBA.  Then there’s Nick Young, and I don’t think there’s any way that those two can be teammates again, after D-Lo essentially monetized the incident with the commercial.  I don’t think anybody really cares though, because ultimately, Nick Young was the one who cheated on his girlfriend, and nobody wants him on the Lakers anymore.  Actually, the biggest trade of the NBA offseason so far has been Swaggy trading his classic Impala back to Iggy Azalea, in exchange for his engagement ring.  In case you haven’t seen Russell’s Foot Locker commercial, here it is…..

Meanwhile, the Clippers actually had a first round pick this year.  Doc Rivers made a solid, but predictable 1st round draft choice with Brice Johnson.  Johnson might end up being a useful player off the bench, however, Doc Rivers General Manager playbook continues as follows: draft players out of the ACC, and acquire players who played well against you, played for you in Boston, or are related to you.  This type of cookie-cutter operation should keep the Clippers in 2nd round purgatory indefinitely.

On to baseball, where the Dodgers have found a way to fall further and further behind the Giants in the NL West.  I guess Clayton Kershaw must be washed up since he gave up 4 runs last night to the Pirates.  Keep in mind, LA is falling further and further behind after a stretch where prior to their series against Pittsburgh, they played their best baseball of the season, which still hasn’t been good enough.  They are barely hanging on in the wild card race, and some of you seem to think this is ok given the youth on the team.  As far as I’m concerned, this has been unacceptable.  When Andrew Friedman took over the team, the Dodgers had a roster that was a World Series contender.  Now they likely won’t even make the playoffs.  Even if they did, I don’t care what the statistics say, I wouldn’t trust any Dodger starters not named Clayton Kershaw in a playoff game.  Frankly, the Dodgers are a lot closer to being trade deadline sellers than buyers, and watching them continues to be aggravating.

For the Angels, despite yesterday’s win, they have now lost 6 of 7 games, and are quickly sinking to the bottom of the American League standings.  Only the Minnesota Twins have a worse record in the AL, and they aren’t even trying to win games.  The Halos are on pace to lose 95 games, their worst under Mike Scioscia.  The worst part about it is that the injuries that have ravaged the team are probably masking the real issues: the starting pitching isn’t that good, and the lineup is fundamentally flawed.  They are still getting underwhelming production out of left field, the middle of their infield, and there is very little to no help on the way in their farm system.  Even putting aside the disaster that is this season, Billy Eppler is going to have to get really creative to improve this team in the coming seasons.

To the ice, where it’s been an interesting last week of the offseason for the Kings and Ducks.  Of course the year the Kings don’t win the Stanley Cup, their star players finally get recognized for awards.  Drew Doughty won the Norris Trophy last week as the league’s best defenseman, and Anze Kopitar won the Selke Trophy, as the league’s best defensive forward.  It’s nice to finally see the voters have actually subscribed to cable, and stayed up past their bed times to do their jobs and cover the games.  The Kings also made a very smart move in letting scoring left wing Milan Lucic go, while signing Trevor Lewis to a long term deal.  Players like Lewis win championships, while Lucic is simply a luxury for a team in cap hell.  On the other hand, I’m not sure why the Ducks traded goaltender Frederik Anderson so damn soon.  They could have afforded to sign Anderson, then use him as an asset to trade much later.  Their offseason moves have been about as confusing as Hilary Clinton’s sexuality.

That Argentinian beat down of the USMNT in Copa America was a reminder that we still can’t hang when it comes to soccer.  It’s also a reminder that it’s probably time to remove Jurgen Klinsmann from his head coaching duties for someone who will actually trust his younger budding stars.  Klinsmann showed about as much trust in those younger players as Iggy Azalea has for Nick Young.  At least this tournament tells us now that we can’t hang with the best, instead of waiting for another year or two on an even bigger stage to let us know that.

Not only was I super pumped for Game of Thrones last night (more on that in a moment), but also, Shark Week on Discovery.  This year it has come about a month earlier than usual.  I definitely appreciate the focus on more scientific talk about Sharks, rather than scaring me about the next time I’m in the ocean.  That more scientific talk includes a discussion on Shark sex, which doesn’t exactly go down with your typical love making music in the background, and is much more analogous to an even more aggressive form of Fifty Shades of Grey.  Nevertheless, given the amount of sightings off the coast of our Southern California beaches, I have no desire to enter the ocean past my knees at this point.

Since Great Britain voted to leave the EU, we should all celebrate by drinking tea, canceling our next dentist appointment, and watching cricket.  It’s good to see that the financial markets didn’t overreact to the news on Friday or anything.  The US version of the Breexit we can look forward to is the Obama exit coming this fall.

Finally, a huge season finale of Game of Thrones went down on HBO last night.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if that is the case.  There was more that happened in the first thirty minutes of that episode than in the entire season! The Red Wedding was like kindergarden, however, what Cersei did was college, when she took down Kings Landing with wildfire.  I suddenly went from feeling terribly bad for Cersei, to hating her guts once again when she kllled Margaery, one of my favorite characters, but you knew she was going to get her revenge.  For nearly a full season, we forgot just how evil the woman is, and how far she will go to stay in power.  I guess you could say she got her trial by combat when it was all said and done.  Then there’s Tommen, the biggest pansy there ever was for a King.  He really re-defined the phrase “Kings Landing” with his suicide.  He probably decided to jump when he realized that he and his mother were seeing the same barber.  In some ways, Cersei losing her son that way was poetic justice for what she and Jamie did to Bran.  So many people died at once, it was hard to come to grips with it.  The Gily and Sam story wasn’t all that necessary, other than reminding us that Sam actually grew some balls.

Then there’s the Starks, who suddenly had the greatest comeback since the Beatles.  Arya’s revenge against Walder Frey made her “no name” nonsense totally worth the wait.  She’s now the “Frey Slayer”.  Something tells me Jamie Lannister isn’t so sad to see him go.  Funny how Lancel was stabbed once by a child, and couldn’t even move, while Arya was stabbed a bunch of times, yet managed to live and eventually take down her enemy like she was a Ninja Turtle.  If I were on my way home to Winterfell I’d wanna stop for food at McDonalds.  Arya decided to stop to kill somebody on her way home to Winterfell.  Sansa finally grew a brain, and decided not to trust Littlefinger.  After all this time, all she cares about is kicking ass, rather than being in power, which is exactly what she should be doing.  By the way….who knew that Sansa was actually much taller than Jon Snow? Of course we also learned that Jon’s mother is Lyanna Stark, which really makes him Ned Stark’s nephew.  Ned obviously lied because he knew the Lannisters would kill Jon if they knew he was a Targaryen.  It also explains the superpowers than Jon has, similar to Daenerys.  Speaking of Daenerys, she might as well be called the “Breaker of Hearts” instead of the “Mother of Dragons”.  When did Daario become as clingy as Ser Jorah?  Lady Mormont is one hell of a leader, and basically gave the Game of Thrones equivalent of a Ted Talk during that episode.  The only thing that would have made that episode better is if they somehow introduced Lady Stoneheart.  The last two episodes were maybe the two best of the entire series.  However, this is what happens when you realize you have to wait a whole year for the show to come back…..


Monday Morning Coffee

Lebron with Trophies June 20th, 2016

I think it’s safe to say Lebron James is still the best player in the world.  He cemented himself as not only the best player in the world, but in term of individual greatness, he’s easily in the top 5 all time.  It was simple, Lebron played out of his mind.  Steph and Klay were underwhelming, while Lebron got just enough support he needed from Kyrie Irving, JR Smith, and some other role players.  The Warriors are still a great team with two of the best shooters ever, but championships are still won for the most part with the same formula: dominant swing man or dominant big man (if you can find them).  None of the Lebron haters can say anything now.  As for the Warriors, they are still going to be contenders for a while, but they’ll need to ask themselves if they want to try some different role players, of it want to gut their depth and sign Kevin Durant.  Steph needed to control his wife Ayesha, and make her stop tweeting about conspiracy theories.  Ayesha probably just had her cooking show canceled because of that.  Nevertheless, the real winners last night were the strippers at the club JR Smith hit after the game.  Wait, since Cleveland actually won a championship, that must mean we all need to find a bomb shelter since the world is about to end.  Lebron’s block on Iggy in the final moments was savage….. Lebron block on Iggy As for the Lakers, the NBA draft is on Thursday, and some things have me very nervous.  Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield claims that he’s “very confident” the Lakers are going to select him with their #2 pick.  If that happens, I’m very confident I’m going to jump off the Santa Monica Pier.  I’m hoping this is nothing more than a smokescreen by Mitch Kupchak, otherwise this would make no sense.  The Lakers need help in the front court, at at the small forward position especially.  More importantly, this is a two man draft: Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram.  After that, there is a major drop off.  The draft will be interesting, but free agency just got a whole lot more interesting after yesterday’s Cavs win.  It may sound weird, but Lebron James has earned the right to go wherever he wants to, and according to ESPN’s Stephen A Smith, he would absolutely consider LA if other max level players.  Golden State is probably a lot more likely to pursue Kevin Durant, and if Durant leaves OKC, Harrison Barnes becomes attainable (and more affordable), and eventually, Russell Westbrook  will be available too.  It’s lining up to be a very interesting summer, and a very expensive one too.

Then there’s the Clippers, who are looking for a new TV deal.  What would Fox Sports do without the Clipps? After the Lakers and Dodgers departed a couple of years ago, everyone thought Fox was screwed.  However, the Clippers came up with a halfway decent product, while the Kings and Ducks were competitive and maintained their loyal viewership.  Now, Steve Ballmer is looking to cash in on the fact that his team is a major piece of broadcasting for Fox Sports, while also incorporating a piece of fancy new broadcasting technology.  Meanwhile, DeAndre Jordan should receive some serious consideration for the US Olympic Team.  The squad is short on players who want to play, and short on big men.  Considering DJ is First Team All NBA (and I use the phrase loosely), he would be a very good fit, assuming he wants to play, and very deserving of a selection.

To baseball, where the Dodgers may have won 3 of 4 from the Brewers, but they’ve already dug themselves too big of a hole to catch the Giants in the NL West.  It’s funny because everyone is talking about how the Dodgers should be trade deadline buyers.  However, the closer we get to the end of July, the Dodgers may really be sellers and more than 10 games out of first place.  Then again, with the stupidity of Andrew Friedman, you would think the Dodgers are “sellers” with every trade they make.  His latest blunder was trading pitcher Zach Lee to Seattle yesterday, for a utility infielder.   That’s right folks, the organizations minor league pitcher of the year last year, was traded for a pile of crap.  I guess Friedman thinks injury plagued guys like Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brandon McCarthy, and Brett Anderson are trustworthy, when in actuality, they won’t be able to stay healthy for 5 more minutes.  Apparently Friedman has never heard the phrase “you can never have enough pitching”.

Speaking of pitching, the Angels got a really nice performance from Tim Lincecum on Saturday, in his return to the big leagues.  Lincecum pitched six strong innings against Oakland, and all of a sudden the Halos are getting some really good pitching from their starters.  The only problem is it’s probably too little too late, given that they are already 13.5 games out of 1st place in the AL West.  Will Albert Pujols every hit over .250 again?  It would be nice if he could since he’s making $25 million per year.  The only entertainment the Halos will be able to provide this summer is Mike Trout.

What a weird coaching hire by the Anaheim Ducks.  They re-hired Randy Carlyle, who coached the Ducks prior to Bruce Boudreau, from 2005-2011.  He had the benefit of having a loaded team in 2007, when the Ducks won the Stanley Cup, but afterward his best players quite on him.  Those best players at the time, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, are still on the team.  His style is more of an outdated, rugged, “dump and chase”, and even in Toronto, his players quit on him as well.  The Ducks weren’t satisfied winning the division every year, and then getting bounced in the playoffs.  Carlyle is such a poor fit, now I’m wondering how they’ll feel missing the playoffs next year.

This Copa America thing is a very confusing to me.  I really need my soccer in World Cup form, every four years.  However, the US is giving us something to cheer about.  The problem with US Soccer is that any success they achieve, doesn’t seem to be sustainable.  Maybe by beating Argentina tomorrow, they can finally show us something sustainable.  The casual soccer fan can also start to figure out what all these other soccer tournaments are when they aren’t the World Cup. Congrats to Dustin Johnson for winning the US Open.  However, let’s be honest, we we’re all just stoked that we got to see Paulina Gretzky at the end of the tournament……. The OJ Simpson ESPN 30 for 30 was fantastic.  It was long but very fascinating, especially with the look at all the significant events between the black community and the LAPD prior to the trial.  I also love how former ESPN personality Roy Firestone was destroyed on Twitter earlier in the week for a chummy interview he had with Simpson in the early 90’s, after he had beaten up Nicole.  It’s really not fair to Firestone to criticize him with the benefit of hindsight.  You should be even more critical of Hertz and NBC, who completely ignored all the allegations of domestic abuse against Simpson.  Today, that would never fly.  Firestone owned up to it anyway, admitting he was way too chummy.  After watching the 30 for 30, my question for Johnny Cochran and all the black jurors who acquitted OJ to send a message about getting justice for black people: was it worth it? Is the relationship between black people and law enforcement that much better today because OJ was acquitted.  I don’t think so.  In fact, the potential nomination of Donald Trump for President tells me we might actually be going backwards when it comes to civil rights.

Finally, what a great episode of Game of Thrones last night on HBO! Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if that is the case.  Finally, a win for the good guys! Jon Snow and his undermanned army defeated Ramsay Bolton.  Was I the only one who was yelling in excitement when Snow was beating the hell out of Bolton? I had a feeling Sansa had something up her sleeve, and it was getting more men (who were supplied by Littlefinger).  There’s also more evidence supporting my theory that Sansa is pregnant, when Ramsay suggested she couldn’t kill him because he is part of her.  The episode was totally about girl power though, with Daenery’s destroying the Masters with her dragons.  There was also her suggestion that she and Yara would be better off running Westeros with the two of them in charge.  The fighting scenes were epic.  Unfortunately we had to lose Rickon Stark, but Sansa told us that was going to happen anyway.  Ramsay’s death was poetic justice, and one of the few times in this show where the underhanded evil tactics of the bad guys didn’t work.  Looking forward to the season finale but unfortunately, I wouldn’t expect the feel good episodes for the good guys to continue. Battle of the Bastards

Monday Morning Coffee

Steph vs Lebron

June 13th, 2016

What do I always say? People who watch the NBA often become “prisoner of the moment”.  That’s exactly what happened to Tyronn Lue, who convinced himself that starting a 35 year old Richard Jefferson over all-star Kevin Love, would yield a victory for the Cavs in game 4.  This was ultimately nothing more than shuffling chairs on the deck of the Titanic, because the Cavs were going to lose this series with or without Love.  The Warriors decided they just didn’t care in game 3, and ended up getting blown out, which had nothing to do with Love not being in the lineup.  In game 4, the Splash Brothers showed up and the Cavs were no match, just like we knew was going to happen at some point.  As great as Lebron is, he has a real Peyton Manning look to his legacy.  One of the great talents of all time, but doesn’t always assert his dominance in the biggest moments.  He did for a while in Miami, but now he’s reverted back to being passive in the 4th quarter.  The Cavs needed the Lebron of last years finals to have a chance in this series.  Draymond had this one game suspension coming.  There’s only so many times you can dish out shots to the balls.  Speaking of Draymond, he looks like that dude that takes a bite out of every piece of chocolate in the box, until he finds one he likes, then puts the rest back in the box.  I don’t think the suspension will matter anyway, because the Warriors have too much depth and create too many matchup problems.  It’s really good to finally see some back and forth trash talking between Lebron and the Warriors.  There’s just not enough hate in the NBA these days.  Despite Steph’s horrible first three games, he should still get the MVP if he has a good game tonight, and the Warriors should close it out.  The internet is amazing isn’t it?……


Everyone is going to make a huge deal out of Magic Johnson no longer being an honorary Vice President of the Lakers.  However, it needed to be done.  Magic’s tweets and public comments might  have eventually put the Lakers at risk for tampering with free agents, and even got them fined, despite the fact he isn’t really on the payroll anymore.  Magic’s tweets are ridiculous anyway, and can usually be found under #captainobvious.  I look forward to his next tweet which will probably tell us that the sky is blue, the grass is green, and the weekend consists of Saturday and Sunday.

I’m a huge fan of the Olympic games, but what the IOC is doing is totally wrong.  None of these athletes should be forced to make a decision between their own personal health and competing in an event they’ve been waiting their whole life for.  The decision is a little bit easier for the NBA players who are dropping out left and right, who don’t want to risk catching the Zika virus.  Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Anthony Davis, and James Harden have already won Olympic gold medals.  Steph Curry, LaMarcus Aldridge, John Wall, and Blake Griffin probably wouldn’t play anyway, even if they were healthy.  The decision is much more difficult for Olympic athletes in other sports, who often only get this one opportunity to compete.  Many will compete and take the risk, but damn the IOC for putting the athletes in this situation.  There should be 5-10 countries in the world that host the Olympics, and Brazil is definitely not one of them.

UCLA has given head coach Jim Mora Jr. a two year extension.  This one is up for all kinds of mixed reviews.  In four years, Mora has guided the Bruins to 2 ten win seasons, four bowl games, and a 3-1 record against cross-town rival USC.  Although the talent level has gone up immensely under Mora, the final results have left you with a feeling that the program has underachieved.  Since a Holiday Bowl appearance in 2012, it’s felt like a slow and steady decline.  The Bruins still haven’t won a conference title since the 1998 season, and have only won the Pac 12 South once in Mora’s four years.  He’s become a poor man’s Bob Toledo.  At least the Bruins didn’t give him a 10 year extension.  I suppose you can give him a pass for the injuries last year, however, Mora should have the best quarterback in the Pac 12 South this year.  He also has 9 returning starters on defense, and the biggest conference games of the year at home: Stanford, Arizona, and USC.  Anything short of an appearance in the Pac 12 Championship game, and Mora will officially cement this program in underachieving mediocrity.

On to baseball where it looked like the Dodgers were going to make up some serious ground on the Giants this weekend, and then Kenley Jansen blew up on Saturday.  Blown saves are going to happen from time to time for anybody, but they can’t happen against your division rivals.  The Boys in Blue already have a lot to overcome like their inept offense, lack of pitching depth, an inconsistent offense and bullpen, as well as a front office executive that’s in way over his head.  Not finishing that game on top of all that is what’s going to seal their fate come the fall when they are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.  Joc Pederson’s bone head play in the 7th inning on Saturday, when he attempted to steal third base, was also a major blunder as well.  Corey Seager and Trayce Thompson are very promising young players, but I’m still not sold on Pederson.  Andrew Friedman doesn’t want to hear it though, as he has forced his managers to play Joc everyday, regardless of their feelings for him.  Although Julio Urias keeps looking better, yesterday was not enough either.  Dodger baseball has never been more aggravating.

As for the Angels, they are steadily circling the drain.  After dropping two of three to Cleveland at the Big A, the Halos are now losers of 8 of their last 11, and are sinking to the bottom of the AL West standings.  I wouldn’t exactly say help is on the way either, with Tim Lincecum getting lit up in the minors, although Mike Scioscia claims he’s optimistic and excited about getting him in the rotation.  On the bright side, Matt Shoemaker has turned it around, and if he keeps this up, he could probably fetch some decent prospects at next months trade deadline.  Other than that things are pretty bleak for the Halos.  Even Mike Trout was hitting just .243 in June coming into Sunday’s game.  Things haven’t been this bad in Anaheim since they shut down Pirates of the Caribbean last year.

We really lost some amazing legends over the last week: first Muhammad Ali, and then Gordie Howe.  Ali’s memorial service on Friday was beautiful.  Billy Crystal’s eulogy was brilliantly done, and the passionate speech by Rabbi Michael Lerner was very powerful.  Whether you agree or disagree with what he said, his words were so perfect for the Ali service.  Ali was constantly fighting against the place American society tried to put him in, and was ultimately respected for it.  Lerner was simply echoing how Ali would feel about what’s going on today, if he were still alive, which is so symbolic of his great legacy.  Shame on all those people though who tried to profit off his memorial service by selling tickets, or even t-shirts.  I do have respect though for all those people that were willing to pay money to go to that service.  As for Gordie Howe, he wasn’t the transcendent figure in American society that Ali was, but he was an ambassador for hockey before Wayne Gretzky showed up.  Howe was a world class player, and a world class human being.  He played until he was 52 years old, and put hockey on the map.  I idolized Wayne Gretzky growing up, but Gretzky idolized Howe, who influenced him on and off the ice, which ultimately helped shape Gretzky as the player and human being he became.  In case you missed Billy Crystal’s eulogy, here it is.  It’s long, but definitely worth it!

I saw Part 1 of ESPN’s 30 for 30 on OJ Simpson: Made in America.  For those of you that haven’t seen it, the documentary is definitely worth it, because it’s much more than just the trial.  The first part put race into context in the 60’s and 70’s, and how it related to OJ.  He did not see himself as a black man, he saw himself as someone who was accepted by white America, and had no interest in helping the black community become more accepted, despite other great athletes attempts to do so. The documentary also explained how police brutality started in the LAPD during that time.  I bring this up because nearly fifty years later, despite the progress that has been made, race, religion, and sexual orientation are still major social issues in our country.  Although we just had our first black president, in many ways, the nomination of Donald Trump as our next President is somewhat of a response against the acceptance of individuals of certain race, religion, or sexual orientation.  Given the events that happened in Orlando on Sunday morning, sometimes it feels like these issues will simply never go away despite the progress.  On that note, my thoughts and prayers go out to all the families and individuals that were affected by that tragedy.

Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who won the Stanley Cup yesterday by defeating the Sharks 4-2 in their best of seven series.  More importantly, the Penguins helped revitalize all of the jokes we will be able to make about the Sharks, and their inability to win the big one.  Yes the Penguins have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.  However, they won the Stanley Cup because after seven years of failure since their last cup, they finally fixed their defense and goaltending.  That is something the Kings no longer had this year, and something the Ducks haven’t figured out in a decade.  It’s also a reminder that even when you’re struggling in January and February, it doesn’t matter as long as you make the playoffs and are peaking at the right time.  So don’t freak out when the Kings don’t re-sign Milan Lucic, or Steve Stamkos, or some other stud who can score goals.  They are way better off spending their dough on fortifying the defense.  In the meantime, enjoy making fun of the Sharks…..

Sharks cup

Finally, another excellent episode of Game of Thrones went down last night on HBO.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it.  This episode made you realize how powerful certain relationship were in the show.  Jamie’s closest thing to a friend is probably Brienne, but the dynamics of their relationship are interesting in acknowledging that they might have to fight each other if necessary.  When the castle is recovered and Brienne floats away, I think they are both thankful it didn’t come to that.  I get the feeling that is probably the last time we are going to see those two together. It was somewhat moving, and frankly, reminds you why many of us have grown to like Jamie.  As for Varys and Tyrion, they seem to bring out the best in each other, but after all this time, I still don’t entirely trust Varys.  Then there’s Tommen, who has essentially sentenced his mother to death by banning trial by combat.  The stupidity of Tommen amazes me though, because as Jamie said, Cersei would do whatever it takes to protect her son.  Apparently he doesn’t feel the same way and in the long run, this stupidity is going to be his downfall.  Something tells me though that Margaery has a plan to save her brother, and Cersei will be a beneficiary of that process.  The Hound’s story was interesting for a while, but now that his revenge has happened, his story doesn’t seem that interesting.  Arya’s killing of the Waif was somewhat predictable, but it was good to see her reestablish her identity, instead of this no one stupidity.  I thought she was actually going to kill Jaqen  or a second, but they both seemed very satisfied walking away at that point.   Daenerys return to Mereen came just in the nick of time, but I wish we had gotten to see her Dragons destroy the slave masters.   Overall, great episode!

Cersei and Mountain

Monday Morning Coffee

LBJ Drives in game 1

June 6th, 2016

So much for a competitive NBA Finals.  The Cavs were supposed to be out of excuses this time, with a healthy and rested roster.   Instead, they’ve been dominated by the defending NBA champion Warriors thus far, and are going back to Cleveland down 0-2.  Lebron’s greatness is always a constant.  However, the problem for the Cavs is that they can’t compete offensively without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, and they can’t compete defensively with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.  It’s looking more and more like a bad matchup.  Matthew Dellavedova and Timofey Mozgov need bigger roles, otherwise the Warriors bench will continue to issue beatings.  Klay and Steph haven’t needed to do very much, the Warriors turned it over 20 times yesterday, the Cavs shot 14 more free throws, yet Cleveland still lost by 30 in game 2.  JR Smith has probably taken more shots of tequila in the last week than shots on the court.   As for Lebron’s legacy, if the Cavs do indeed lose this series, it’s going to be a bad look for him.  The only questions left to be answered in this series include: how many more people Draymond Green will kick?  How many more shots to the balls will Dellavedova deliver? And how many more times will I have to hear Doug Collins remind me that he coached Michael Jordan? If he says it one more time, I will hunt him down and force him to watch the new Ghostbusters movie as punishment.

You’ve gotta love the fact that Kobe did a commercial for the new Ghostbusters movie all by himself.  He couldn’t get Rick Fox, Derek Fisher, or anybody else to represent the other three Ghostbusters with him?  For better and worse, that’s so Kobe.  Speaking of the Lakers, the early word is that getting free agents to take their money this summer isn’t going to be easy.  Kevin Durant, Lebron, DeMar Derozan, Nicholas Batum, and Andre Drummond are all a good bet to stay put.  Hassan Whiteside and Harrison Barnes seem like the only free agents with a small chance of leaving, but the Lakers would have to grossly overpay to get them.  That means you better get used to the idea of a slow and steady rebuild and not some fantasy basketball overnight re-load that makes the Lakers  contenders again.  That’s probably ok with fans, but it might not be ok with Jeannie Buss, who could can her brother and Mitch Kupchak next year.  In case you missed the Ghostbusters commercial, here’s Kobe, “keeping it 100” like he usually does……

I think it’s becoming obvious at this point that the Dodger front office has no intention of winning anything this year.  The latest evidence of this was when outfielder Carl Crawford, who is still owed a total of $35 million this year and next, was designated for assignment.   At this point, Trace Thompson has probably earned a spot as an everyday player, which is smart.  What’s not so smart however, was to start rookie Julio Urias against the Mets and the Cubs, instead of breaking him in against teams like the Padres and Rockies, so he can build his confidence.  Since Andrew Friedman is supposed to be a genius, I thought this would be a little more obvious to him.  Just think how much better the Dodgers would be with a bat like Ryan Braun, and a reliever like Aroldis Chapman.  Too bad the Boys in Blue don’t want to give up the prospects required to acquire those two.  My favorite quote over the weekend was from Clayton Kershaw, after earning his 8th victory of the season with 6 shutout innings against the Braves.  Kershaw said “six innings is not acceptable.  I’ll take it for tonight, but I don’t even want to leave three innings for the bullpen.”  What he’s really saying is “I wouldn’t trust those jokers in our bullpen with a cup of coffee.”

As for the Angels, they got a nice series win against a good Pirates team over the weekend.  However, do they have any starting pitchers left that aren’t injured? Nick Tropeano is the latest to join the disabled list, along CJ Wilson, Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney, and Tyler Skaggs.  They say in the majors that you spend two months figuring out who you are, two months fixing it, and then going for it in the last two months.  The problem is the Angels problems don’t seem fixable.  Albert Pujols probably isn’t going to fix his .238 average.  Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney, and CJ Wilson haven’t given us any reason to think they are going be healthy and effective.  Mike Trout seems like the only reason to go see an Angel game these days.  Other than that, it’s probably going to be a long summer for the Halos.

When I was 7, my family and I ran into Muhammad Ali while coming out of a restaurant in San Clemente, CA.  The man was incredibly gracious, signed autographs for both my sister and I, while he and his entire family took the time to engage in conversation with my family.  It was that kindness that was just one part of the incredible legacy he leaves behind, after passing away over the weekend.  He was a humanitarian, a philanthropist, in addition to being probably the greatest boxer ever.  Today, there is often controversy as to whether or not athletes should publicly voice their opinion over social issues.  Ali embraced tackling these social issues through his defiant nature, and leaves a legacy that goes well beyond sports.  He stands alongside athletes like Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, and Jim Brown, whose achievements beyond the playing field had a lasting impact on this country.  Ali had such deep convictions, they actually cost him three years of his prime boxing years when he refused to be drafted into the Vietnam War.  His bouts in the ring with Joe Frazier were legendary.  However, I’ll always remember getting chills in 1996, watching him light the Olympic torch in Atlanta.

We’ve had three great games so far in the Stanley Cup Final.  Of course ESPN just glosses over it and moves on to where Johnny Manziel spent his evening partying.  The Penguins lost an opportunity to take a commanding lead in the series, but the Sharks got back into it with an overtime win on Saturday, now trailing 2-1 in the best of 7.  Look guys, if there’s anybody that knows it’s always possible to choke away a series lead before it’s over, it’s the San Jose Sharks.  I also love Logan Couture accusing Sidney Crosby of cheating on face offs.  This is the same guy a few years ago who stuck his stick out while he was sitting on the bench to knock the puck away from a Kings player.   I still like San Jose to win the series, but this one might take 7 games to decide.

There are some animals like sharks and gators that fascinate me, yet completely terrify me for fear of being eaten by them.  Last week a 52 year old woman was attacked by a Great White Shark, right in front of my place in Corona Del Mar.  After that, I was too scared to take a shower, let alone go in the ocean.  It’s almost amazing that we don’t have more shark attacks give the number of Great Whites that are constantly being spotted of the SoCal coasts.  That still doesn’t make it any more comforting every time any of us enters the ocean, even if the chances are remote.  Then there’s those dudes that were playing golf in Palmetto, Florida, that ran into the biggest alligator anybody has ever seen.  Does this thing eat golfers?  I’m not sure if those guys were playing golf or walking through Jurassic Park.  If I saw this thing I’d probably run the other way, right back up the fairway.

Finally, another episode of Game of Thrones went down last night on HBO.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if that is the case.  I would ask how in the hell The Hound is still alive after Brienne skewered him, but that would be ridiculous since Jon Snow came back to life as well.  It’s an interesting twist, but not necessarily a storyline I find more interesting than anything that is taking place already.  After this season there’s only going to be 7 episodes in season 7, followed by another 6 in season 8 which will conclude the series.  That’s right folks.  That means there are only 16 episodes left in the entire series.  That also means they really need to pick up the pace to give us all satisfying conclusions to everything.  I sure wish we had gotten to see Daenerys and the Dragons, and catch up with Bran.  Nevertheless, the Hound is bound to take some revenge on those people that killed his group.  Arya could probably use his help right now though since she is bleeding profusely in the middle of the street.  She is sure to survive this one though, and I have no doubt she will get her revenge.  As for Sansa, my guess is that she reached out to Littlefinger for help, but this feels like it’s going to bite her and Jon in the ass.  Then again, going into battle with only 2,000 men isn’t going to be enough.  I still can’t figure out what Margaery’s end game is.  Whatever it is though, it’s probably going to work since her husband has no idea how to be a King.  Who knew that Yara was gay? There’s gotta be some epic battle scenes in the next three episodes between Jamie’s showdown at Riverrun, Jon’s battle at Wintefell, and a fight involving The Mountain at Kings Landing.  It’s going to be a bloody last three episodes.

Cersei episode 7