Letters to Sports: The same age-old story with the Lakers
Enough already. Enough will all the excuses. This Lakers team is exactly what we have been seeing since the preseason. They are a sub-.500 team being coached by a guy who is as clueless as it gets. No real coach would allow LeBron James to keep shooting at will. No real coach would encourage Anthony Davis to keep shooting threes at a sub-20% pace. No real coach would allow Russell Westbrook to shoot at all. No real coach, who claims to be a defensive-first coach, would allow any team to blow lead after lead after lead. This team has no offensive structure. It’s throw the ball out there and see what happens. This team doesn’t rebound or play defense because Frank Vogel has no clue who to play.
Don’t get me started on Rob Pelinka. He has ruined this team for the next five years. His mistakes should have him fired before year’s end. And then there’s LeBron, or to us all, LeBrick. The downside of his career is an understatement. Sure, he can have a big game here and there against a terrible team. I mean, even a blind squirrel can find a nut now and again. But enough already. The Lakers need a coach that will stand up to these guys and install discipline and accountability.
I’ve seen enough of the 2021-22 Lakers as they will be lucky to finish 41-41. Yes, LeBron is a top 10 all-time player, but he’s a bottom 10 general manager and that’s not open to question.
What if the way the Lakers stumbled through a triple-overtime loss Friday to perennially downtrodden Sacramento turns out to be who they really are?
As a lifelong Lakers fan, I haven’t been watching them much recently because of “load management” and players taking games off because of sore throats, sniffles, etc. This applies to the entire NBA and doesn’t create a good product on the court. But after watching the Lakers lose to Sacramento in triple OT, I might have to start watching more games just for the comedy. Only difference is instead of the three stooges, it’s the five stooges.
Thanks, Broderick Turner, for your declaration that the “heart and soul of the Lakers” has been suspended for one game. If he’s the heart and soul of the franchise, switching team allegiance can be achieved in a heartbeat. I’d rather root for a team that wins by throwing in 30-foot three pointers instead of elbows.
We need time to mesh. Blah, blah, blah. LeBron was hurt. Blah, blah, blah. We’re not really that old. Blah, blah, blah. I barely elbowed him. Blah, blah, blah. Worst highest-paid team in professional sports history. Bling, bling, bling.
Lakers star LeBron James has been fined $15,000 for making an obscene gesture during the Lakers’ win in Indiana on Wednesday, the NBA announced Friday.
USC’s rivalry woes
Although running up the score is one thing, more importantly is USC’s overall dismal defensive effort. The 2021 Trojans have allowed an AVERAGE of 48 points in four home losses. Only the home losses in 1966 (Notre Dame 51-0) and 2011 (Stanford 56-48) are worse. In short, a poor QB rush has been the main culprit.
USC’s firing of Clay Helton was a sad mistake at the wrong time. Helton’s firing may have been needed but not after just two games of the season! With no coach and no good game plan, their loss to UCLA was inevitable. It should have been in the offseason or not at all.
Matt Campbell has remained loyal to Iowa State, but he might be ready to leave the tough job behind. His decision could alter the USC coaching search.
After last Saturday’s lackluster effort at the Coliseum, who in their right mind would accept the coaching position at USC? Add to this the team isn’t even (at this time) bowl eligible. There are 84 bowl spots (way too many) for 130 FBS teams. Only 46 teams will fail to qualify! If by chance the Trojans do, the excitement will most certainly generate some interest from some high school and junior college football coaches to take over the duties at USC! Embarrassing to say the least.
I pity the UCLA team that has to play USC when USC is good again. I really think until that day, USC will be thinking of Nov. 20, 2021, 62-33, and waiting for payback.
Bruins running amok
UCLA’s seven wins have come against opponents currently below .500 in their conference and overall records. UCLA’s four losses have come against opponents currently above .500 in their conference and overall records.
While the Bruins can at least beat bad teams (that’s an improvement), let’s not get too excited in Westwood until they actually beat a team with a winning record.
After last week’s rivalry win over USC, UCLA finishes off the regular season strong in a 42-14 victory over California at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.
Gotta love Chip Kelly and the Bruins going for two while up 48-26 in the fourth quarter. Rivalry games are for running up the score and rubbing it in, especially against the lowly Trojans.
It will be bandied about for the next few weeks: Does beating USC, having a winning record and making a bowl appearance compensate for three years of ignobility? Lest there be fans that disagree, attendance numbers don’t lie, even when inflated by giveaways. With a passive athletic department, the only entity to hold the football leadership accountable is Under Armour.
USC came back from 15 points down against No. 13 BYU at the Coliseum, but were unable to pull off the upset and keep their bowl hopes alive.
If Chip Kelly thinks for a minute that, to the UCLA fan base, hanging 62 points on a lousy USC football team will excuse four years of poor records, poor recruiting, poor public relations and a poor defensive coordinator, he’s right.
Didn’t Ben Bolch already fire Chip Kelly? So Bill Plaschke has to smear the Bruins’ triumph over hated USC with yet another pink slip?
Fact is, both writers have fired coach Kelly every year since he started. Must have been a great aid in his recruiting efforts.
Kelly stuck with Dorian Thomson-Robinson for four years and is .500 in the most important game. Players recognize loyalty.
Dump Kelly and kiss goodbye to a winning season next year.
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