Some quick hot takes for a 110 degree Saturday afternoon:
I just watched a full NBA game for the first time since the restart. Sorry, just more of a baseball guy these days. But I believe the Lakers may be in trouble.
Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic are all playing well for a Portland Trail Blazers team that is going to be hungry to prove themselves. And have you seen the resurgence of Carmelo Anthony? Did you even know he was still in the league?
There is no home court advantage in the bubble so nothing there for the Blazers to worry about. Yes I know the narrative is that LeBron James always flips the switch in the playoffs and the Lakers record since the restart is meaningless. But shouldn’t they have been better than 3-5 in the Orlando bubble? After LeBron and Anthony Davis the Lakers don’t have another proven scorer. The drop off is significant. The Laker faithful will say Kyle Kuzma is the guy but he’s averaging 12 points game, 14 points less than Davis and James. What if AD is having an off night or God forbid gets hurt? Is Kuzma really the guy that can step up make clutch shots?
And who guards Lillard? Can anybody truly guard Lillard? This guy has become one of the best players in the game but still flies under the radar. Plus the Lakers have J.R. Smith on the roster. He’s not playing a lot of minutes but when he is I’m always expecting some brain dead move at any time. I’m almost surprised LeBron signed off on acquiring him after his experience with him in Cleveland.
I could be wrong. Honestly I hope I am. However a first round Laker playoff exit wouldn’t surprise me. If the Lakers do get bounced is it one of the team’s biggest disappointments ever or is it simply written off as a strange year and an aberration?
Love the NBA right now or hate it but I will give them credit for one thing. They have done a great job setting up the bubble and laying out regulations and restrictions in Orlando. There have been zero positive tests, zero! for the coronavirus out of 342 players tested since the last results were released August 5th.
Ok so on to baseball. Did you know that Clayton Kershaw has never allowed a home run to Albert Pujols or Mike Trout but has given up two to Madison Bumgarner? Kershaw? Where are we on this guy? He’s definitely no longer an ace, but he doesn’t need to be on a staff that includes Walker Buehler and Dustin May. In three starts he looked good in two of them and got shelled in the other. He’s still serviceable and can be a key component in the Dodgers winning a World Series. But I certainly wouldn’t hand him the ball to start a playoff series or a World Series or rely on him to win a Game Seven. At this point that would be Buehler.
Good news for the Dodgers. They’re in first place in the NL West with a 14-7 record and they’re doing it with Max Muncy batting .169 and Cody Bellinger hitting .181. Bellinger has shown some signs of life lately and when everybody gets going nobody should touch them in the division. Mookie Betts has been as good as advertised. Betts is the epitome of a five tool player and his arm may be the best in the league. Dave Roberts needs to stop messing around and bat him leadoff every game. 12 years is too long of a contract for anybody but for now, with Betts playing like this, I’m not going to complain. Heck, it’s not my money.
Although I’ve seen only one complete NBA game I’ve probably seen every Dodger game. Like I said baseball is more of my thing. That being said I just can’t get into the Angels. I’ve tried. I really have. But it doesn’t matter if there’s a sold out crowd, or no fans, Mike Scioscia managing the club or Joe Maddon at the helm, I just can’t do it. I’ve turned on an Angel game, watched a few pitches and suddenly found myself turning the channel to “The First 48”. Not sure what it is, the red uniforms, the rockpile out beyond the centerfield fence or the cute nickname of “The Halos”. It could be all of the above but either way for me it’s the Dodgers or bust.
I’m kind of bummed as I write this. I’m talking about the NBA playoffs and the MLB instead of the greatest sport ever – High School Football. Delay the major league baseball season, interrupt the NBA, cool, but postpone high school football? Now you’ve crossed the line. I understand CIF pushing back the season until January. I mean if a kid got sick the legal ramifications would be off the charts, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.
I’ve covered all college sports including USC football, Professional soccer with the Galaxy in the MLS and the NFL – the LA Chargers, but nothing gets my blood pumping more than standing on the sidelines waiting for the kickoff of a high school football game. Best feeling in the world. January 2021 can’t come soon enough.
Meanwhile I’ll fill the time with coaches Q & As, returning players and other tidbits that I can find. Attention all coaches: Once your football schedules are finalized send them over. I’ll be happy to post them. What can I say? I need the content.
That’s my principle.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @tspeterson40.