December 27, 2021
There are so many issues with the Lakers, I don’t even know where to begin. The Nets came to down with James Harden and a bunch of G-Leaguers and took a crap in the Lakers Christmas stockings. It doesn’t matter how super human Lebron’s efforts are, the Lakers are atrocious defensively, and can never get stops when they need it most. Hopefully the last week without Frank Vogel has made Rob Pelinka and Jeanie Buss realize that this has nothing to do with coaching. In fact, the dumbest thing in the world to do would be to take a team that is struggling defensively, and then fire a coach who actually helps their defense. It looks like the Laker defense has been out all season due to health and safety protocols. I also like how Stanley Johnson looks like Larry Bird to most Laker fans right now since they don’t have any reliable wings that can play defense at the moment. Good for him though for getting back in the league. I think it’s going to take a trade to turn this thing around, and I don’t think the Lakers have attractive enough pieces to make something that impactful happen.
The news isn’t that much better for the Clippers. They found out they are going to be without Paul George for at least the next 3-4 weeks with a torn ligament in his right elbow. The Clippers came into Sunday in 4th place in the West, but now that they are going to be without PG, they will likely take a big hit in the standings for the next few weeks. Then again, there are about 7 teams behind them that can’t even get out of their own way, so the Clips may surprise themselves and hang around in the West playoff race. They can’t be too upset right now being 2 games over .500 with an injury and COVID list long enough to put a strain on the US hospital system.
To the NFL, where the Rams took down the Vikings yesterday in the Twin Cities. LA is back in 1st place in the NFC West, and even has an outside shot at the top seed with two weeks to go. Matthew Stafford was actually pretty bad yesterday, but the Rams were good enough in a lot of other areas to overcome that. However, if Stafford plays that bad against a playoff team, they are toast. I hate to simplify it, but even with Cam Akers coming back; even with Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey; and even with Cooper Kupp and OBJ; it all comes down to how well Stafford can take care of the ball. I’m somewhat fearful, given that Stafford has never actually won a playoff game. Not that it’s entirely his fault, but we will find out soon enough how much of it really was on him, since he’s going to be on the big stage in a few weeks. I’m also fearful of the fact the Rams might have to play the 49ers on Wild Card Weekend if the standings stay as they are now. Considering how Kyle Shanahan owns Sean McVay, I’d rather the Rams play the ’72 Dolphins than the 49ers.
Meanwhile, the Chargers did some very Charger like things yesterday. They lost to a Houston Texans team that isn’t even trying to win football games, and had half their regulars sidelined due to COVID. I told you last week, Charger fans should be terrified that their schedule is softer than everybody else’s going into the last three weeks of the season. That’s because I fully expect the Bolts to play down to the competition like they just did, and fail to clinch a playoff spot. Justin Herbert was actually rather mediocre yesterday, but the real failure was the defense, which let guys like Rex Burkhead run all over them.
Elsewhere around Week 16 of the NFL, The Washington Football Team put up a much better fight against themselves on the sidelines than they did against the Cowboys. The Panthers got blown out by the Bucs, and Matt Rhule proved he not only doesn’t know anything about football, but he also doesn’t know anything about Jay-Z since he claimed he was an “overnight sensation”. The Patriots lost to the Bills, and to nobody’s surprise, Bill Belichik refused to even tell reporters what his New Years resolution is. The Browns lost to the Packers, and Baker Mayfield was probably just hoping his coaching staff never asks him to throw a pass again.
Imagine being Cody Bellinger and getting the Christmas gift of a life time. This dude just hit .165 for the year, and he is going to make $17 million next year for the Dodgers. That’s a $200k raise from what he made last year. It would have been amazing to see how that negotiation went. “Hey Cody your performance has declined rapidly over the past two years. So we’re not only going to let you keep making a boat load of money, but we’re actually going to give you a raise.” Cody probably said “Where do I sign?” What a joke.
Is UCLA Basketball ever going to play again? The Bruins keep getting game after game cancelled due to COVID-19. That’s now three non-conference games that are cancelled, and three conference games that need to be rescheduled. The last time the Bruins played, Santa was still figuring out who was naughty and who was nice this year. Well we know that COVID-19 has definitely been naughty, because it’s been wiping out a lot of sporting events and athletes from playing in the past couple of weeks. At one point it felt like this was a great chance for UCLA to get healthy, but now this is going to kill all momentum, and will need a complete re-start to the season given the amount of time off.
I’m also unsure when we’ll see the NHL come back again, but the Kings and Ducks have made things interesting with what we’ve seen from them so far. The Kings are fighting for a playoff spot, so about where I thought they would be at this point in the season. They have some good young talent, but somewhat clueless on how to develop it quickly. The Ducks on the other hand have surprised everyone, tied for 1st place in the West. This is what happens when you don’t slow play the development of your young players like the Kings have. Are you taking notes Rob Blake? Probably not.
Finally, the Bachelorette wrapped up this season last week, and to nobody’s surprise, Michelle ended up with Nayte. This ended up being the first black couple to come out of the history of the franchise, which is a nice story. Then what happened? The franchise announced that Clayton was going to be the next Bachelor, which apparently pissed off a ton of people. So is the expectation now that there can no longer be white men or woman as The Bachelor or Bachelorette? Just curious now that the ABC products caved into social pressures. Of course as we’ve seen time and time again, The Bachelor’s ratings were horrible this season. They fired Chris Harrison, replaced him with two women that were great on the show, but didn’t do much as hosts; then they brought in a Bachelorette that is great in the real world, but boring in world of reality TV. I don’t feel bad at all for ABC and the franchise. They made their bed and now they have to sleep in it. Not sure how they expect to turn it around here after doing a complete 180 for the show. There’s a way to create inclusivity in society without completely sabotaging yourself in the process. ABC definitely hasn’t figured that out.