What A Night in indiana For the LA Lakers!

I was criticized up and down on facebook and ESPN.com following my last post about the Lakers, but as critical as I was about the horrid Lakers’ team when I wrote that yesterday, I still said that they would win tonight in Indiana, when they played a bad Pacers’ team that, like the Timberwolves, is missing three key players. But, the three Pacers out of action, Paul George, George Hill, and Ian Mahinmi, are not in the same league as Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, and Nikola Pekovic. Thus, As talentless and as poorly coached as the Lakers are, I felt they would beat a bad Pacers’ squad. Wow, was I wrong. Continue reading

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Don’t Over Think Lakers’ Recent Improvement

Yes, with tonight’s 100-94 victory over the undermanned Minnesota Timberwolves, the Lakers have won three in a row, raising their record to 8-16, and a season-high .333 winning percentage. But, don’t read to much into all that, and also not into their likely win tomorrow night in Indiana, against the 7-17 Pacers. The Lakers beat by three points a Sacramento team playing without its best player, DeMarcus Cousins, who was at the time hospitalized with viral meningitis. Tonight they managed a six point win over a Wolves’ team playing without their THREE best players, leading scorer Kevin Martin, center Nikola Pekovic, their leading rebounder and third leading scorer, and point guard and heart of the team, Ricky Rubio, who prior to his injury was averaging almost as many assists per game as the rest of the team combined, 10.0 to 11.7. Continue reading

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Angels Loading Up On Young Starters, But Who Will Play Second Base?

At the top of the Angels starting rotation are veteran Jered Weaver, last year’s amazing rookie Matt Shoemaker, and the fast-declining C.J. Wilson. Following them first and foremost is Garrett Richards, whose return date from last year’s serious leg injury remains uncertain. Then, there is the inconsistent Hector Santiago, and the also injured Tyler Skaggs, whose return timetable is even more uncertain than Richards’. The lack of depth was a major problem for Angels last season, and it became most pronounced as the post season approached, and quickly ended. Thus, additional and improved starting pitching was to be an off-season priority for general manager Jerry Dipoto. Continue reading

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Dodgers’ Upheaval – Day Two

When I wrote “In the Midst of a Dodgers’ Upheaval” yesterday, the team, well, actually new head of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, had begun what looked like an almost total makeover of the best team that money could buy, ignoring all that was working with the team, ignoring the most critical deficiency – the lack of a major league caliber manager – and instead, trading away solid players, leaving major holes and significant question marks. More deals followed, and while I still have a significant problem with at least one of those deals (guess which one), some things have come together, and maybe, just maybe, things are not quite as bleak as they seemed early last evening. Continue reading

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In the Midst of a Dodgers’ Upheaval

When the Dodgers hired Andrew Friedman to run baseball operations, it seemed like they had brought in just the right guy to fine tune the best team money can buy, and get them on the right track toward the success that had eluded them for so long now, through the end of the O’Malley years, the horrible Fox episode, and the tumultuous McCourt era. Many observers saw a talent-laden team, that suffered first and foremost from the lack of a major-league caliber and knowledgeable manager, and from a need for bullpen help and improved defense. Rumors have been rampant that, in fact, Friedman wants to do much more than that, and if some were to be believed, it seemed that he was about to rip apart the fabric of the team. With what appears to be going on today, it seems like that ripping and shredding asunder is in progress. Continue reading

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Was the Lakers Win Over the Kings a Mistake?

A few days after the Lakers’ recent lineup changes designed to add some semblance of defense to the worst defending team in the NBA, former Lakers’ star and former part-owner Magic Johnson has now chimed in on the “tank” side of franchise-building, saying that the team needs to lose, lose, and lose some more, enhancing its chances of re-building with top lottery picks. Well, Kobe Bryant and the rest of the team did not take too well to the comments, and they went out last night and defeated a Sacramento Kings’ team missing its best player, DeMarcus Cousins, by an overpowering three points. Despite Coach Byron’s Scott ill-conceived move of inserting Ronnie Price into the starting lineup but powered by a hot Kobe when points were a must, the Lakers pulled out that close win that likely has Magic shaking his head. Continue reading

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Lakers Lineup Changes Look For More Defense

When the Lakers took the court on Sunday against New Orleans, Carlos Boozer and Jeremy Lin stayed back, finding seats on the bench. Replacing them in the starting lineup were, respectively, Ed Davis and Ronnie Price. While Boozer has been a fine addition to the teams’ offense, he has yet to actually play defense in any game while wearing a Lakers’ uniform. Replacing him with Davis, on a team with several offensive weapons and not an iota of defense, appears to be a long overdue no brainer, but given that such decisions come from the zombie-like apparently brain-dead mind of coach Byron Scott, who any casual observer could conclude spends Lakers’ games in a deep trance, far off from any attachment to reality, it is a major move. Continue reading

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Latest Dodgers’ Rumors Not Just Crazy, But Scary

The last couple of days have seen rampant rumors of deals involving the Dodgers and West Division rivals Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres that defy logic, decay brain cells, and horrify any true fan. If there is any truth to either of these deals, then the one has to ask, “What is Andrew Friedman thinking?”

The first involves Andre Either and the D’Backs, who have now returned to the world of real major league baseball after firing former general manager and all-around incompetent, and borderline sociopath, Kevin Towers, replacing him with a real baseball man, Tony La Russa, Continue reading

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The Turning Point for Last Season’s Dodgers’ Bullpen, and Looking Forward

The 2014 Los Angeles Dodgers had, when healthy, a dominating starting rotation, and a reliable, shut-down closer in Kenley Jansen. Their major weakness on the field, as opposed to in the dugout, was the rest of the bullpen, which, when depending on the likes of Brian Wilson, Brandon League, Chris Perez, Carlos Frias, Pedro Baez, and others was a massive failure. Much has been made of that, and while no top tier set up reliever has been acquired, new veteran additions to the bullpen have included Joel Peralta and Juan Nicasio. The end of the season was not pretty, with again the Dodgers’ early elimination from a post season that many had expected to extend much longer and produce far more success. All this could have had a very different result, were it not for the May, 2014 injury to the guy who had been groomed for the set-up spot and potentially a closer role, hard-throwing right hander Chris Withrow. Continue reading

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Lakers Front Court No Match For Overpowering Celtics

Before last night’s Lakers-Celtics match-up, the supposed “experts” were gleefully saying that the much maligned Los Angeles front court would have a field day against the even less talented group in Boston, who similarly played little if any defense, but who provided even less offense. Could they have been any more wrong?

Turns out the Celtics’ group totally dominated the Lakers front court, with starters Jered Sullinger, Jeff Green and Tyler Zeller shooting an amazing 77% on 23-of-30 from the floor, while pulling down 31 rebounds, all in only 90 total minutes of playing time. Continue reading

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Can or Should Kobe Keep Up the Pace?

In his return from missing virtually an entire season due to two very serious leg injuries, Kobe Bryant appears to have not missed a beat physically, playing close to 36 minutes per game. That seems like a lot, but it is his second fewest minutes per game since Kobe’s second season of 1997-1998, in which he averaged only 26 minutes per game. Since then, only in 2010-2011 when he only played 33.9 per game did he fail to be on the floor for less than 36.1 minutes, and in the majority of seasons, between 38 and 41 minutes (other than last year when he appeared in only six games). But, his effectiveness, at 36 and coming off those two injuries, has seen a significant downward turn. Continue reading

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Latest Dodgers’ Rumors Just Crazy: Do Not Dump Greinke For Lester!

So this morning the buzz all over the baseball rumor mills is that the Dodgers are shopping co-ace and former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke, in order to position themselves for a winning free agent offer to Jon Lester. This makes no sense whatsoever, and would be a huge mistake, on several fronts.

2015 will be the third year of Greinke’s six-year, $147 Million contract, and he will receive $25 M of that money for next season. But, Greinke has an opt-out clause after the 2015 season, and apparently there is some worry that he might exercise that clause. But, that clause would also be a big red warning to any team considering a deal, as paying full value to get him could result in only a single season from him. Playing devil’s advocate, Continue reading

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