The NBA, FIBA World Cup, Oh, and the Clippers

For almost 65 years, some of the top basketball players in the world have participated in the FIBA World Cup, held quadrennially among men’s national teams of the members of the International Basketball Federation. Since the games of 1994, the NBA has allowed its players to participate, and for this year’s games, Team USA’s coaches, Mike Krzyzewski and Jerry Colangelo, figured to have the cream of the NBA crop at their disposal. The likes of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, the laughing man Deee-Wight Howard, Stephen Curry, and other marque’ names have all imbibed in the kool-aid and apparently want to play. Many other NBA stars will be wearing the silks of their various other home countries.

Is it just me, or don’t a couple of top stars ALWAYS seem to get hurt in these tournaments? Continue reading

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Suddenly, the Dodgers Do Need Another Starter

Fresh off a dominating three-game sweep of the Giants that returned the Dodgers to first place in the NL West Division, the team begins a home stand with a three-game series against the Braves. Tonight’s first game matches the still ailing Josh Beckett, who with the swift decline of Dan Haren has now become an even more vital cog in the rotation, against former Dodger Aaron Harang, who has had big ups and big downs since the Dodgers gave him way in early 2013 for the over-the-hill Ramon Hernandez.

Harang was a decent 10-10 in 2012, but the club decided they did not need pitching depth Continue reading

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Dodgers, TimeWarner Blackout Draws Ire of Local Congress Members

With more than two-thirds of the season gone, there is no indication that the stalemate between the Dodgers, Time Warner Cable and their bastard progeny, SportsNet LA, on one hand, and millions of Dodgers’ fans and virtually ever other TV provider within a couple of hundred miles of Dodgers’ Stadium on the other, will ever be resolved, and a group of Democratic members of Congress have decided that, while they can instigate no action within Congress, that it is worth a try to get something done for the baseball fan sitting three thousand miles away from Washington, D.C. Perhaps that is far enough away from House leadership that they will be able to exert some degree of influence. Perhaps. Continue reading

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Lakers Take Forever, Go Around in Circles, and Goof-Up

Back in April when Mike D’Antoni and the Lakers parted ways, the front runner for the newly vacant coaching spot immediately became Byron Scott. After months of speculation, with names from George Karl to Kurt Rambis to Mike Dunleavy to Brian Shaw to Mike Krzyzewsk to Tom Thibodeau and everyone in between being bandied about, lo and behold, the powers that be, i.e. Jim Buss, have come full circle, as if there ever really was any doubt, and Kobe Bryant’s one and only choice is the new Lakers’ coach, …. Byron Scott.

Big mistake, unless Jimmy was looking for a fall guy. Continue reading

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Zack Greinke Brings Back Memories of Chuck Finley

In the post I wrote last night about how the Dodgers hit five triples and Zack Greinke tied the record for the number of times a pitcher has struck out four batters in an inning, at two, the name of former Angels’ great Chuck Finely came up. He, Greinke, and A.J. Burnett are the only three pitchers in the long history of major league baseball to have ever done this on more than on occasion. But Finley, whose name seldom comes up anymore, should be remembered for being one of the Angels’ all-time bests, and not just for that little incident with hie ex-wife that is, unfortunately, much more memorable, and for the use of his name in the USA spy series, Burn Notice. Continue reading

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Giants Trade for Peavy, Insert Dan Uggla at Second Base

As the Giants saw Tim Lincecum’s streak of solid starting efforts blown up last night by the Dodgers, and as their former ace Matt Cain (2-7, 4.18 ERA) and his $20 million salary languish on the disabled list, they traded two pitching prospects, Heath Hembree and lefty Edwin Escobar, to the Red Sox in a deal for another former front-liner who has fallen on tough times, Jake Peavy.

Time was, there were few better starters around than Peavy, but most of that is now ancient history Continue reading

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Zack Greinke and Dodgers’ Outfielders Listened

After I wrote today’s earlier post critical of the Dodgers’ recent play, especially critical of declining efforts from the team’s starting pitchers including Zack Greinke, and the overall poor play of the teams cadre of high-priced outfielders, Yasiel Puig in particular, Greinke went out and pitched a gem against the Giants, and the the Dodgers overpowered the Giants, 8-1, led by Puig who collected four hits, including three triples. As a team, they totaled five triples on the night, with Matt Kemp and Dee Gordon also recoding three-baggers.

Greinke pitched seven shutout innings, striking out 10, including four in the third inning, Continue reading

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Slumping, Unmotivated Dodgers Begin Key Series in San Francisco

The Dodgers spent the All-Star break in the West Division’s top spot, and with the National League’s best record. Since resuming play however, a flat, unmotivated group of slow-moving older-looking guys wearing Dodgers’ uniforms have lost two consecutive series to the Pirates and Cardinals, beginning the second half with a 2-4 record. Before the break, I wrote how the team will be facing stiffer competition and much better teams than those they ran through in the recent past. The tougher schedule is not making them look good, and it won’t get better any too soon.

After the three games in San Francisco, the Dodgers come home, and after three games with the Braves, they do face the last-place Cubs for three, but then they have home-and-home games against the Angels, Continue reading

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NL West Figures To Be Only Dodgers & Giants For Years to Come

The five teams than comprise the National League West have in recent years fallen into two categories, with the Dodgers and Giants in one, and the Rockies, Padres and Diamondbacks in the other. Either the Dodgers or Giants have won the division title in five of the last six seasons, and one of them will win it again this year.

Colorado has never won the division, but did have one shinning year in 2007, when they exploded over the last few weeks of the season and as the wild card, got to the World Series, where they lost Continue reading

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Hit Batters, Comebacks, and Extra Innings – the Dodgers or the Angels?

The Angels started the second half by playing 28 innings in their first two games, splitting the two with Seattle. Today, in the rubber game of the series, the Angels were down 5-4 going into the ninth inning, but Albert Pujols doubled in Mike Trout to tie then game. After a double play took momentum away from the Angels and it looked like their rally was over, and a third straight extra innings game was in the offing, Grant Green, playing shortstop for the first time ever in the major leagues and filling in for the injured Erick Aybar, grounded a single into left, to drive in the winning run,

The game thus became the Angels’ major-league-leading thirtieth come-from-behind win of the season. Continue reading

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Third Angels’ Deal: They’ve Moved From Frieri Alley to Huston Street

Possessing the major league’s second best record, the Los Angeles Angels appeared to have almost everything a solid title contender needs: Consistent and clutch hitting, and with power, solid defense, a smart, experienced and decisive manager with a quality coaching staff behind him, and vastly improved and now solid starting pitching. What was glaringly missing, however, was a dependable bullpen, led by a reliable closer.

As the season progressed, this weakness became more and more apparent, and after several unsettling losses, Continue reading

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Dodgers’ Outfield Logjam and Trade Talk Distracts From Second Half Start

The Dodgers may have the best record in the National League as the second half of the season begins, but, that is a bit illusory. In fact, while they are 54-43 overall, they are only 15-20 against teams with records over .500 and at 1-2 with the one team they have played that currently is right at .500, Cleveland. This is a pretty important point, as they begin the second half by playing 26 of their first 29 games against teams above .500.

After a slow start, the Dodgers came on strong to roar past the Giants, who had looked like the NL West’s team to beat over the season’s first two months. Continue reading

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