I've been happily married to the Lakers for 45 years. They've given me many great moments, and 11 unforgettable championships.
But the passion is fading. The Lakers are showing their age, and the losses are mounting. As a result, the frequency of our television interludes has slipped.
Despite best intentions, I find myself infatuated with these Clippers, thinking about them constantly. And yes, the television interludes have been amazing.
I'm a red-blooded L.A. sports fan. Must I feel guilty for loving two teams?
"Oh Me Oh My"
I've been a lifelong Lakers fan who bleeds purple and gold and have always watched the Clippers with one eye. Well, I'm now watching with two eyes and love what I see.
Showtime is back in L.A. but the jersey colors are different.
Paul Shubunka Sr.
How long before Kobe offers to buy out his contract so he can go down the hall to Clippers, and get a few more rings? How would Commish Stern view that? He'd probably love it as another punishment to the Busses for not falling in line with him during lockout.
Whatever may be going on under Jim Buss' ever-present baseball cap, it is apparent that shoring up his Lakers ballclub for any kind of playoff run is of low priority. Rest assured, with the current point guard situation and thin bench, this team is prime for an early playoff departure ... if they even qualify as one of the top eight.
In last Friday's game against New York, the Lakers were literally run over by Jeremy Lin. In 38 minutes, Lin outscored all of the Lakers, save Bryant and Gasol, 38-35. If the Lakers sentimentalists even dreamed that the Lakers have a chance to make the playoffs, they should wake up and apologize.
Playing the same defense against the Knicks and expecting a different result is the definition of "Linsanity."
Bill Plaschke's column in Wednesday's paper is useless drivel and a waste of ink.
Everyone who follows the NBA clearly sees that this year's Lakers are a joke. Where the focus should be on David Stern's inexplicable intervention to block the Lakers' acquisition of Chris Paul, Plaschke instead continues to drone on about the mess the Lakers are.
Add Paul to the Lakers and the scene in L.A. is vastly different. The Clippers would be wallowing in the same mire they had been for decades, and the Lake Show would be setting the NBA on fire.
Of course, the other bit of absurd theater that took place in the off-season – Jerry Buss allowing his son Jim to hire video coordinator Mike Brown as head coach – should get more play than it does.
So let the sportswriters start addressing reality. Even with Stern's assist of the year, the Clippers have accomplished as much as the Thunder, Magic, Nuggets and Jazz: nothing. Not a single title, just a lot of noise.
Perhaps Plaschke should start writing about the L.A. Unified School District. There's an institution with real problems for which Plaschke's pessimism might be more appropriate.
Brian C. Gura
Three reasons that Mike Brown's admission that he almost cut Andrew Goudelock speaks more to Brown's inability to judge talent than it does to Goudelock's skills:
1. Goudelock must have played similarly well in practice, but instead Brown used Darius Morris when Blake was hurt.
2. Darius Morris cannot play a lick. Morris doesn't deserve a spot on the roster, much less the long look Brown gave him as the backup point guard.
3. Brown's wonders "who would have thunk" that Goudelock would eventually be Brown's backup point guard? Certainly no one who relies on Brown's ability to spot a basketball player out of a crowd.
Perhaps Mike Brown needs to be a "stats" guy. If Devin Ebanks is shooting better than World Peace and Barnes, can Brown explain why Ebanks never got off the bench? If indeed, World Peace is a deteriorating defense player, can Brown explain why he is on the court at all?
Brown doesn't seem to have any feel for running an offense or a team for that matter. The bench has the worst scoring average in the NBA. This is caused by several factors, the first being he plays his starters too many minutes and he doesn't play some bench guys for weeks.
I will say this loud and clear. Mike Brown and his staff are clueless. Period. Perhaps Brown should watch that on tape.
In addition to their point guard problem, the Lakers have a three-point problem: They can't make them, ranking dead last in the NBA at 29.1%. Even Kobe at 29.2% can't make three out of 10. Maybe they should just stop trying.
I see that Shaq believes it would be a "travesty" if Dwight Howard left the Orlando Magic. Funny, he didn't think it was a travesty when he abandoned the Magic to join the Lakers. I know, it's just Shaq being Shaq.
Ralph S. Brax
After Sunday's meltdown against Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods should consider changing his golf attire for the final round. Instead of wearing the traditional red golf shirt that he claims denotes power, I suggest he switch to white as in "waving the white flag" to announce surrender! I'm sure Jack Nicklaus is now sitting back and feeling pretty confident that his record 18 major championships will withstand any challenge from Tiger in the future.
Perhaps now that Joshua Smith has mastered the arts of missing layups and free throws, falling awkwardly to the floor of the court, and making that arms-out innocent gesture after committing an obvious foul, he can work on pulling down offensive rebounds off the missed shots of players other than himself.
I remain a Ben Howland fan, but the big disappointment this season isn't Josh Smith, it's Coach Howland's handling of Smith and Reeves Nelson.
Many in and out of the UCLA community knew Nelson was a disruptive factor going back to last season; Coach Howland should have directed him to choose to transfer or go pro before the season began. The minute Smith showed up out of shape and without a commitment to play his best, Coach Howland should have given him a redshirt and told him to come back next season in shape and ready to play, or not come back at all.
As UCLA struggles with Josh Smith's conditioning and the loss of Reeves Nelson, one can only wonder what impact Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee would have had on the team this year, had they not left school early. They sure haven't made an impact in the NBA, with Honeycutt playing for Sacramento for season totals of four points in eight minutes. But that's at least four more points and eight more minutes than the total production of Lee (not) playing for Minnesota.
The resolution for Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts does not have to be complicated. The Colts should release Peyton, thank him profusely for all that he has meant and done for the franchise wish him well and move on. Take the $28 million they will save and invest it in quality players to make the team stronger now. When Manning retires the Colts can build a magnificent statue in front of the new stadium to honor him forever.
Whether Manning retires or plays a few more years, he will always be a Colt. He won't want to tarnish that relationship like Brett Favre did with the Packers.
Paul L. Hovsepian
Wait for it ...
I'd like to thank Mike DiGiovanna for his well-written series of articles about Albert Pujols' qualities as an athlete and, more important, as a standup family man and charitable benefactor. His stories are the perfect preemptive strike, as T.J. Simers is sure to portray Pujols as a good-for-nothing spoiled athlete because he won't answer Simers' irreverent questions. It's a pleasure to meet the real man before the Times' resident muckraker strives to tarnish his image.
Increasing Kings' season-seat ticket prices is a poor decision on so many levels, none more important than the fact AEG will be hurting their most loyal fans who have supported the team over the years through overwhelmingly bad times and precious few good ones.
There is a reason Kings ticket prices have historically been below average. They match the performance of the teams that AEG has consistently provided.
Congratulations to the Kings! After 38 years of following the team through thick and (mostly) thin, and 16 years as a season-seat holder, you managed to convince me to not renew my seats for next year. If the inept offense and overall boring play wasn't enough, having the sheer audacity to raise my ticket prices for next season by a whopping 49% on the heels of a 17% increase this year put me over the edge.
I can't bring myself to cheer for the Ducks as a team, but based on the respect they show for their fans and the support they provide to promoting hockey in the local community, I have a much higher opinion of their management than I do of the Kings.
AEG's plan to jack up Kings' ticket prices as the team continues its season-long floundering play is yet another in a long line of poor business decisions by a real estate ownership group that is no closer in 2012 to knowing how to run an NHL team than they were in 1995 when they bought it.
AEG. Avaricious. Embarrassing. Gall.
I don't want to say the Kings' planned ticket price increase in the midst of a subpar season and a faltering economy is a bad idea, but somewhere the folks behind New Coke, "Ishtar" and the Edsel are rejoicing.
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