The Lakers played some extremely mediocre basketball in the second half and won by 13. During their sloppiest quarter of the game, they led by no fewer than 9. Kobe Bryant ensured the game was over once LA led by 22 at the half.
They play again tonight, and it will be closer. Lakers in 5.
Boston 118, Chicago 115
I'm going to go ahead and say that basketball coaches are idiots. Unlike managers in baseball, NBA coaches actually have to do things fairly often, like dictate substitutions and call set plays. They all make the same error at the end of games, and I'll show you what they should be doing.
If your team is tied, particularly on the road, with less than a shot clock remaining and with possession belonging to the other team, FOUL. I know it sounds crazy. But the second the ball touches someone who doesn't shoot 80% free throws, foul.
But Marcus, you're clearly an idiot, you say. Then you're just giving the lead to the home team with 15 seconds t play!
I know, and that's good. The last shot at the end of a quarter is highly overrated. The last shot at the end of a game is highly underrated. Let's go through the scenarios:
1.) You don't foul:
- They make the shot with under 5 seconds remaining and win the game.
- They miss the shot with under 5 seconds remaining and the game goes to overtime.
- They make both free throws and you have a chance at a tying shot/winning three.
- They miss one and you have a chance at a winning shot.
Shaq career FT%: .581
Kendrick Perkins career FT%: .601
Yeah, coaches are dumb. Despite all the mantra about "don't play to not lose," that's exactly what coaches do.
The Ducks, behind rookie goalie Jonas Hiller, are the luckiest team to take the ice since the Boston University Terriers. I suspect Scott Niedermeyer has a horseshoe so far up his ass he can't digest his daily salad of four-leaf clovers.
The Sharks were pretty much my team for these playoffs, and they're now down 2-0 because a +20 shot differential in the NHL apparently means nothing anymore.
I'd just like to get to .500, please. At 4-8, that means we need a 4 game winning streak, which is about as likely as Tim Salmon coming out of retirement and hitting 40 homers in a shortened season.
At this point, I'm having a hard time seeing this team suddenly fix its bullpen and generate offense from any of the SS, 2B, 1B, and RF positions unless Abreu is in right (in which case LF is a problem). I think Aybar has a real shot at being a capable major league hitter, as his minor league numbers are superb, but he certainly hasn't proved it yet. Howie Kendrick is failing and clearly not built for the 2 spot in the lineup. Kendry Morales started hot but has since cooled down and is not providing the offense needed from an offense-first position. Juan Rivera and/or Gary Matthews Jr. are not hitting homers, and are therefore not suitably good outfielders. Neither is Abreu, but at least he gets lots of hits and gets on base.
The bullpen is a mess, turning brilliant starts from Nick Adenhart, Dustin Moseley, Darren Oliver, and Shane Loux into losses. Part of the problem is Mike Scioscia's asinine bullpen strategy, and part of it is a reliance on AAAA-type players Kevin Jepsen and Jason Bulger, neither of whom would be playing anywhere near a major league bullpen if not for the Angels' thus far extensive use of the disabled list. Lots of people are pointing to the loss of Francisco Rodriguez as the problem. Don't believe them. Since Scioscia doesn't allow his closer to pitch outside the ninth, the only game the Angels might have won with Frankie over Fuentes would've been Adenhart's start versus Oakland.
This team still has a chance at the playoffs, but they need to turn it around quickly. And if they don't, this team NEEDS both a great draft and a fire sale before the trading deadline. Major league talent needs to be packaged for high-level prospects and the farm system needs to be reloaded at the AA and AAA level to allow this team to compete in two years instead of five. I'm serious...if the Angels still suck in two months, they need to make sure they'll be good again sooner than later. Texas, Seattle, and Oakland will all be good as early as next season.
I picked up a 1992(!) Trek 930 on Craigslist for $90, and wow, talk about improvement. It's the first "real" mountain bike I've had in quite a few years, and the massively better ride/feel over a year-old Schwinn is crazy. Plus, the brakes still work, something which can't be said about the old bike. I'm surprised there's not still a market for lugged steel frames. This thing is solid.