Monthly Archives: December 2011

(Lack of) Effort in the NBA and clock management

The lockout shortened NBA season is officially rolling, and everyone is talking about the demanding, condensed schedule. The Lakers start was a case in point: three games back to back against the Bulls, Kings, and Jazz. They should have beaten the Bulls but blew a 5 point lead in the last minute. Then came the predictable, tired-legs loss to an inferior team in Sacramento.

The Lakers came into the season in disarray. The league denied their trade for Chris Paul, Kobe hurt his wrist (a full ligament tear that will likely get worse, not better, this season), they traded extremely disgruntled Lamar Odom for next to nothing (he was part of the Paul trade offer), and Pau Gasol remains somewhat disgruntled (also part of the Paul trade offer). To make matters worse, the Clippers swiped Chris Paul instead and beat the Lakers twice in the preseason. New coach Mike Brown felt it necessary to assure the media that the Lakers would make the playoffs before their third game against the Jazz.

After their loss to the Kings, a lot of people expected an 0-3 start for the Lakers. The Kings game was close until the final 1:30, so they should have been especially tired against the Jazz. Instead, the Lakers came out and demolished the Jazz.

I have a different theory for what happened to the Lakers. Continue reading

NFL week 17: contenders and pretenders

Week 16 was huge. Fifteen teams entered the week with work to do to make the playoffs (7 more had already clinched). Ten of those 15 teams played another team within the same group. That meant 5 guaranteed wins for these teams; only the Titans got a win outside of the group.

Before I break down the carnage, let’s look at the real contenders. Here are the True Wins standings for the six teams that I think have a chance (you can learn about True Wins in my previous post, which are my quick and dirty luck-free measure of team quality): Continue reading

Howard and the Lakers

At halftime of the Lakers and Bulls Christmas day game, the commentators speculated on whether the Lakers can compete as they are or whether they should keep pushing to trade for Dwight Howard. Magic Johnson said unequivocally that the Lakers cannot win a championship with their current team and should continue working on a trade offer with Andrew Bynum as the centerpiece. Chris Broussard went even further, arguing that the Lakers should trade Bynum and Pau Gasol, which seems to be what the Magic want.

This was music to my ears. The Lakers have some interesting new role players this year (good rebounders Troy Murphy and Josh McRoberts, sharpshooting rookie Andrew Goudelock). Even if they have to trade one or two of these guys and a stocking full of draft picks, it’s a great time to follow my South Beach Talents model by pairing top 15 superstars. I no longer put Gasol in the top 15, at least not with the specter of Kobe staring down ready to criticize every mistake.

With Brook Lopez out, the Nets missed their shot. The Lakers should do EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to get Dwight Howard. If they do, they will immediately become strong contenders for at least one more NBA championship. What more could they want under their Christmas tree?

Thank you, Lions!

I got a Christmas present from the Lions one day early this year. In convincing fashion, they clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 1999!

From LA, I wish a happy holiday to all my readers.

Everyone can hate Kobe now

Apart from a select few sleazeballs who admire Kobe Bryant’s philandering ways, I think everyone will hate him after the National Enquirer story this week (summarized online by Deadspin – thanks to Adrian the Canadian for the link). Apparently, Kobe has slept with 105 women — that his wife Vanessa knows about — during their 10 year marriage, which makes for 10.5 women a year. Wowsers.

I chuckled when I read Jack Dickey and Timothy Burke’s analysis in the article above. Based on his on-court scoring average Continue reading

A hockey game worth your attention

Last night, I stayed up to watch my Red Wings take on the Canucks on the West coast. These are two of the hottest teams in hockey, led by veterans who rely on passing, puck handling, and precision (the Sedins for the Canucks, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Lidstrom for the Red Wings). I figured I was in for a clean game with lots of exciting plays.

You can check out some highlights on TSN. This game had it all: Continue reading

The Brooklyn Broken Metatarsals

It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? They could have been the Brooklyn Talents, on their way to the playoffs. Instead, the Nets will be lucky to win 30 games without Brook Lopez. They should have given the Magic whatever they wanted in exchange for Dwight Howard. Who cares about a few more draft picks or a role player? Too late now.