Is it over for the Lakers?

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The Lakers are in a tough situation right now. Kobe Bryant is the face of a renowned franchise, and yet struggling. His criticism of the Lakers front office and the players could land him in a spot where he doesn’t want to be. And while we all think the Lakers are the greatest, they would actually barely be the number 6 seed in the playoffs on this day.

Now, to all my friends in Los Angeles (which I’ll admit there are few), I’m not trying to say the Lakers stink, and they don’t. But, they need to do a couple things here, like get points from other sources aside from Gasol and Bryant.

Let’s take a little pressure off of Kobe here, okay? In case you noticed, he isn’t bad – in fact, he’s the only player on the team that is in the twenties for scoring. And Pau, for a center is playing pretty darn well. But, after Steve Blake, everybody else is below 5.5 points a game.

Getting a little more out of everyone else could keep Kobe and Pau in the place they want to be – Los Angeles. But can they? Well, we’ll know as soon as the trade deadline approches if Pau Gasol will stay a Laker, or wear another uniform, which will greatly effect Kobe. And we wait another day.

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New segment: Soccer Weekly

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Alright, so I promised soccer. And I have to say, I haven’t given much – only two posts out of my 58. Whoops. But, I’m trying to stay on top of myself, so bear with me here as I introduce a new segment: Soccer Weekly.

Basically, soccer weekly is my take on the biggest soccer story of the week. So let’s try this.

This week, I’m going to to talk about Liverpool winning the Carling Cup. It was a truly great match – Cardiff City had surprised nearly every team in the tournament, but Liverpool found a way to top them and hoist the trophy.

Now, Liverpool did not play incredibly, and I’ll admit that. In fact, they didn’t play well. Even though they scored two goals, they gave up two goals. Also, Pepe Reina didn’t really save the penalty kicks – they were all misses.

They also got very lucky with the ending situation. Cardiff had two chances, and the pressure got to them. Plus, Luis Suarez wasn’t able to take a leading role and score goals. Cardiff City played very well for an Npower league team, but I guess the better team won – and that was Liverpool.

The Marlins & Angels may not be a threat

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Who won the offseason? Well, two teams did with one close runner up. The Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Angels have picked

With Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez and Josh Johnson, the Marlins are a for sure thing and with Albert Pujols, C.J Wilson, Jered Weaver and Torii Hunter, the Angels have the same fate,  right? Well, maybe. But don’t be too sure. Let’s think about this.

In 2011, the Red Sox took that approach – as well as the New York Yankees, the New York Mets and the Chicago Cubs all put players in their prime from a bunch of different teams and put them all in the same uniform. Only half made the playoffs, and only one won a world series.

And, giving players big contracts may encourage them to do well, right? Well, they may feel like they can kick back, relax and not worry about it. Which is good. But that leads to overconfidence in yourself, which makes you worse, and eventually pretty darn bad. (Take Jayson Werth).

So, look, don’t go thinking they aren’t going to be a contender for a while, because they will – it’s just that history may have written the path they might take, which is the one of so many before them.

 

Don’t be too sure about the Heat…

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Okay, remember this?

Now, remember this?

Remember this?

Seems familiar, doesn’t it? Well, the first part does. The Heat are rocking and rolling, dunking, winning, and just seeming like a good team. And then. After doing well in the beginning, they choke at the end. Muff it up. Miss the shot. Ouch.

Right now, the Heat are being lead by James and Wade, winning and overpowering all competition. They look to be a clear contender for the championship, right? And I get that. They have what it takes – at the moment.

Have you ever noticed LeBron James is incredible in the regular season, but he scores around five points less in the playoffs, as well as around 2 more assists in the regular season. You are supposed to get better in the playoffs if you are an MVP. Not worse.

Since he doesn’t, like truly great players do, he will be beaten by Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, and Tim Tebow…. just joking on that last one, but he will get beaten, and he will lose if he can’t change it, since he is basically 33% of the team.

But can he?

 

It’s time to think about the Thunder

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Last night, Kevin Durant and Russel Westbrook combined for 91 points. I don’t know what catchy catchphrase I can use for that. Alright, I’ll just say this – they lead the Thunder to a 124- 118 win.

Now, let’s be honest – we kind of forgot about the Thunder. There was Linsanity, the Bulls, the Heat, the Knicks, the Clippers and the Wizards (just kidding about that last one), and they have all gotten our undivided attention this year.

But, now we see the Thunder again. And while I’m pretty sure they aren’t going to be putting on those performances all season long, I have a feeling they could go all the way.

If a few guys can step up, they would be able to take a little pressure off of Westbrook and Durant, resulting in a more balanced game, which puts them in contention for the Larry O’ Brien trophy.

I’m not saying teams like the Heat, Lakers, Bulls and Clippers won’t get in their way. But, with a little work, these guys could win it all.

5 things to expect from MLB this year

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Well, it’s official – this show is on the road. After the long, dark, cold and gray winter, athletes return to Arizona or Florida to get their game on, for the real deal – the 2012 MLB season.

There is a lot to expect from this year – players leaving, players coming, and just brand spanking new players too. But here are five things you shouldn’t be caught off guard on this year.

1. The Cardinals Returning to the playoffs:

Look, I know they lost their heart and soul, and a starter, but this is a team that is more than two players. They have hitting and reasonable pitching, which is definitely enough to get them to a Wild-Card spot.

2. The NL East being up for grabs:

4 out of 5 teams in this division look ready to rumble. (the odd team out being the Mets). The Marlins have revamped hitting and pitching, the Phillies have always been good, the Nationals being led Strasburg and Harper, and the Braves getting a couple more chances with the newbies and veterans.

3. The AL East looking different – for better and worse:

The AL East has been a dominant power the past couple years – 3 out of the past 4 seasons they have gotten the AL pennant, and won it 2 times out of those years. But, teams like the Yankees are looking for a fresh start with young pitching and trading away veterans. Teams like the Rays are trying to find a way to not just ride luck this year, and finding talent that can play all year, and the Red Sox looking to forget last year – and look to find a prominent lineup to not collapse and goof off.

4. The Tigers winning the AL (possibly):

Take a look at the lineup. Now take a look at the pitching. Wow. That’s scary for batters and pitchers. They have found a second homer hitter, which just might get them those runs they need, since it’s still the same team, just better.

5. The Angels and Marlins not being necessarily good:

O.K, I know I said the Marlins were a contender. And they are! But, let’s just get some stuff straight first. As you could tell from the Red Sox epic collapse – (and every all-star game), putting good players together does NOT make a good team. I think they will both be fine, but I’m not necessarily a believer that either of these teams can make it past the AL or NLDS – after all, after C.J Wilson and Mark Buehrle, do either of these teams have pitching?

Well, every season takes it’s own twists and turns, so we’ll just have to see.

The Big Dance is a promising one for Georgetown and Syracuse

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Sometimes the best shot is the one you missed. If you know what  I mean, great. If you don’t, that’s understandable. In the last couple of years, the best appearance in March Madness ended in a loss, for a couple teams. After a talent losing year, some of them are back and ready to roll.

Georgetown in 2007 seemed practically unstoppable. Until Ohio State came into the picture. Now, the Hoyas have a shot at a three or two seed in this years big dance, 5 years removed from their last 5 or lower seed. I think the Hoyas have found a new team that can win. Right now I project them as a 3 seed. But, anything is possible for these Hoyas – you might be seeing them at number 2 or even number one, with their new talent and old talent.

Meanwhile, the Syracuse Orange have found themselves in the position they have lacked for the past couple of years – the top 5. The Orange know they can, and may very well. They have been slowly but surely rising these past years, and you see them here now. Kris Joesph may just lead them to a Final Four.

Both of these teams may not make it to the Final Four, but if they do – it’ll be a great final four.