The Clippers need to chill.
The Clippers need to stop acting like some young new movie star who feels it necessary to prove his street cred by trashing hotel rooms and tossing bouncers.
So far this season, the Clippers are the best team in Los Angeles and one of the best teams in the NBA’s Western Conference, a talented and energetic group, legitimate contenders who could play deep into spring.
Now they need to start behaving like it.
Now that they are in the process of erasing the traditional Clippers jinx off their resume, they need to lose the traditional Clippers chip off their shoulder and stop turning Lob City into Lob Alley.
Fellas, you’re good. We get it. You don’t need to throw a flagrant elbow to show us. You don’t need to pose after a dunk to convince us. And you certainly didn’t need to subject the city to nearly three hours of cheap stuff and chippiness Wednesday night to make your point.
What happened during parts of their 96-91 loss to the Lakers at Staples Center was unsightly and unbecoming, the Clippers bumping and grinding on the outmanned Lakers to the point of distraction. By the time it ended, it was the Clippers who had been flattened, blowing a game-long lead in the fourth quarter to a Lakers team that had risen to the fight, Pau Gasol lashing, Kobe Bryant snarling, Metta World Peace declaring war.
“All that physical stuff is fine,” said Bryant afterward. “But you better know who you’re messing with.”
In the end, the Clippers messed mostly with themselves, shrouding their high-flying brilliance with 10 more personal fouls that gave the Lakers 18 more free throws, which the Lakers converted into 15 more points. It was particularly ugly during their fourth-quarter meltdown, when the Clippers were hit with two technical fouls and one flagrant foul.
When asked about that chip afterward, Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro admitted, “Well, we do have one. I mean, we haven’t done anything yet.”
Sports news from Los Angeles and beyond
The Clippers need to chill.
Fight it or admit it?
Before Rodriguez made his choice, he was publicly given some unsolicited advice by one of the leaders of the baseball’s new generation of clean young stars.
Ryan Braun told A-Rod to fess up.
“The best thing he can do is come out, admit to everything and be completely honest,’’ Braun said of Rodriguez in an interview with mlb.com. “The situation will die a lot faster if he tells the whole truth.”
Nearly three years later, Braun needs to heed his own words.
If the Milwaukee Brewers slugger did indeed use performance-enhancing drugs -– two positive tests during the playoffs were revealed and confirmed this weekend -– he needs to admit it.
And if he admits it, he needs to give up the National League MVP award he should not have won in the first place.
He would need to give it up because the Baseball Writers Association of America has no policy by which it can strip it. He would need to give it up because, unlike past cheaters who have kept their awards, he would have been caught and admitted it in the same calendar year he won the prize.
Upon awakening early Thursday morning, the two words rolled off my tongue with disbelief that the big-talking, star-balking Angels would actually put smart money behind something other than beer prices and monkey toys.
Now that I’ve checked it five different places and confirmed it four different ways and know it’s actually true, the words aren’t being rolled, they are being shouted, with entirely different punctuation mark.
After striking out on seemingly every impact free agent in recent years, the Angels stunningly hit one out of the park Thursday morning, adding the only player powerful enough to knock them back onto Los Angeles' sports landscape.
Yeah, they really signed Albert Pujols, baseball’s premier slugger and a guy who is still cleaning champagne off his cotton after leading the St. Louis Cardinals to this fall’s world championship.
Later they agreed to terms with top free-agent pitcher C.J. Wilson of the Texas Rangers, thus completing perhaps the top single-day free agent haul in baseball history and instantly turning themselves into World Series favorites while dealing a huge blow to their division rivals.
Now that the culture has been exposed as a haven for an alleged child molester, Paterno needs to do the honorable thing and resign before he coaches another game.
It's sad that the winningest coach in major college football history will end his career with a giant "L" in the human-being department, but not nearly so sad as the idea that boys may have been abused because football's most controlling boss did nothing.
Paterno is a simple man, a basic man, with his trademark black shoes and white socks and thick black glasses remaining unchanged for nearly half a century. Surely this fundamental approach can help him understand why he can no longer run a program whose legendary sparkling blue-and-white uniforms hid a dark sickness within its locker room walls.
On Saturday, Jerry Sandusky, 67, a longtime Nittany Lions defensive coordinator who was once thought to be Paterno's successor, was charged with sexually abusing eight boys during a 15-year period. The grand jury’s findings of fact in the case read like a horror story, except the location wasn't some haunted mansion, it was Joe Paterno's hallowed halls.
Did you hear about Monday night’s team Halloween party? Forward Raffi Torres and his wife, Gianna, showed up dressed as rapper Jay-Z and singer Beyonce Knowles, which would have been trendy and cute, except both of them were wearing blackface.
For those who forgotten their history -- and these two folks clearly did -- blackface was a type of makeup worn by vaudeville performers in the 19th century as a parody of African Americans. It was degrading then, and it is degrading now, but Torres’ teammate, Paul Bissonnette, thought it was so funny he sent out a photo of the happy couple on Twitter.
An understandable wave of criticism followed, leading to the ignorant statement that makes this costume so frightening.
The Coyotes, you see, publicly defended Torres.
Late Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, who passed away earlier this month at age 82, was considered a bad guy and a villain by many, yet he was a pioneer who took his team to three championships.
Everything considered, was he good for the league?
Bill Plaschke and T.J. Simers discuss the topic in their video series, L.A. Loud, moderated by Times sports reporter Melissa Rohlin.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jerry West are purple and gold lore, they are legends whose impact on the game continues to have profound reverberations today.
Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA's all-time leading scorer. The league's logo is West's silhouette. Despite their accomplishments, both men have felt like they haven't received their due respect from the Lakers organization after their playing days have ended.
Abdul-Jabbar gripes that he hasn't been immortalized with a bronze statue outside of Staples Center. West feels as though Coach Phil Jackson never truly appreciated him.
In their video series, L.A. Now, moderated by Times sports reporter Melissa Rohlin, Bill Plaschke and T.J. Simers discuss the Lakers legends and what their legacy will be. Here are some highlights.
On Jerry West:
Both columnists said they think Jerry West is a bit "strange." Plaschke recounted how the former Lakers general manager left the gym during Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference finals against the Portland Trail Blazers to go see a movie.
"Jerry accomplished a lot in his life, but he also did it with some devils in him," Simers said.
Plaschke called him "one of the most fascinating characters ever in L.A. sports." He discussed how even though West helped build the Kobe Bryant-Shaquille O'Neal dynasty, he felt overshadowed by Jackson.
On Kareem Abdul-Jabbar:
Simers rembembers seeing Pat Riley approach Abdul-Jabbar at an All-Star game in an attempt to introduce him to his friends. The six-time NBA MVP refused to spend any time with them.
"Kareem Abdul-Jabbar feels alienated by everybody and it's basically his own responsibility," Simers said.
Plaschke said Abdul-Jabbar has made himself an unlikable figure in the eyes of Lakers fans.
"James Worthy, Rick Fox get more cheers," Plaschke said.
On the field, the Detroit Tigers did what tough baseball teams do, defeating the New York Yankees, 3-2, in a deciding Game 5 to win the American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium.
Off the field, the Detroit Tigers then did what all silly baseball teams do, celebrating the series victory with a raucous, over-the-top champagne party that was far greater than the entirety of their achievement.
Three wins. They were throwing a New Year’s Eve party for three wins. Think about that.
They were spraying each other over wins that could have occurred over the course of a long summer weekend. They were pouring it on each other for wins that totaled less than 12 hours.
The Detroit Tigers just played three good games, yet felt it necessary to celebrate with countless cases of liquor and cigars, and it just makes no sense.
It isn’t just the Tigers who do this, of course, it’s every baseball team after every postseason series win, the constantly popping corks adding to baseball’s reputation as a big fraternity house while diminishing the parties that really matter.
Matt Kemp finished the season with 39 home runs, 126 runs batted in and a very strong bid for the National League MVP.
After next season, he's up for free agency.
In a recent column, Bill Plaschke argued that the Dodgers must make Kemp the highest-paid player in franchise history in the next six months or he could jump ship. T.J. Simers called him the "Dodgers great hope ... for better days ahead."
But can a bankrupt team afford to pay the price for Kemp? And even if they can, should they make a roster change considering that the Dodgers were barely a .500 team (82-79) that missed postseason play?
Simers and Plaschke discuss the topic in their new video series, L.A. Loud, moderated by Times sports reporter Melissa Rohlin.
-- Melissa Rohlin
Three games into the season, it is clear that they made the wrong choice at quarterback.
Vick is not their guy, and will never be their guy, and all the $100-million contracts and Nike endorsements and video game excitement and commissioner’s love won’t change that.
Vick is not their guy because he can’t stay upright long enough for them to climb on his shoulders. He can’t stay on the field enough to lead them down it. He can’t stay healthy enough to make anyone other than his own team absolutely sick.
This offseason, in giving Vick a contract with a guaranteed $40 million, the Eagles traded young arm Kevin Kolb to the Arizona Cardinals. After three games this year, both the Cardinals and Eagles are 1-2, with Kolb owning a 93.7 passer rating while Vick has thrown for a 87.7.
Oh, yes, and one more difference. Kevin Kolb has actually played in all three games, while Vick has missed parts of two of them and is currently suffering from a severely bruised hand that could cause him to miss another month.
Not that Vick is complaining. Well, actually, he is complaining, the athletic quarterback whining about late hits and unfair officials.
In his final start of the season Sunday, Clayton Kershaw led the Dodgers to a 6-2 victory against the Padres. He went 7-1/3 innings, holding San Diego to two runs on four hits and a walk, and striking out six.
The 23-year-old leads the National League in earned run average (2.28) and strikeouts (248) and is tied with Arizona Diamondbacks' Ian Kennedy for most victories this season (21). Should he win the Cy Young award?
Times columnists T.J. Simers and Bill Plaschke disagree on the answer to that question.
Simers says no way. Kennedy deserves the award because he carried his team into postseason play.
Plaschke says team records are irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that Kershaw is the best pitcher in the league.
This is the second installment of a new weekly video series, L.A. Loud, moderated by L.A. Times sports reporter Melissa Rohlin. Check out the first video, in which Plaschke and Simers debate whether Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant should play overseas.
-- Melissa Rohlin