Saturday, February 11, 2006

UCLA 67; Washington 70

If the Pac 10 isn't embarrassed about the quality of the officiating for which they are paying, then they truly have no shame. The officiating in the Pac 10 has been awful all season, but it reached a new low today, and I'm not talking about home cooking. It was bad both ways. It was horribly inconsistent. I defy anyone to explain to me what is and isn't a foul using that game as your visual aid. In the second half, they may as well have just given the Huskies two free throws, run 15 seconds off the clock, and given UCLA two free throws, and repeated the process. One of the big plays of the game was a dunk by John Brockman off a feed from Brandon Roy who was passing out of the double team. It was really the most shocking play of the game, because for the previous ten minutes, every touch by Roy was pretty much an automatic foul on the Bruins. My favorite was the fould called on Aboya who was standing on the OTHER SIDE OF THE BASKET and was knocked down by Roy landing on him AFTER he had laid the ball in the basket.

Aboya, for what it's worth, was fantastic. He was more heralded than LRMAM when this class enrolled, but surgeries on both knees slowed his progress, and he's just now beginning to make his presence felt. He led the Bruins with 15 points and added 8 rebounds (per the box score I'm using - subject to change). He's shown good quickness to the basket at times this season, and if he can get fully healthy, he looks like he can be a real force.

Ryan Hollins added nine rebounds of his own, but fouled out fairly quickly in the second half on some more brilliant officiating. Apparently a 6'10" guy can jump on top of Jordan Farmar to fight for a loose ball, but Ryan Hollins isn't allowed to battle with anyone on the Huskies for loose balls. Of course, Hollins should have been kicked out earlier, but he amazingly kept his cool after being bear hugged by Applewhite under the offensive basket ("inadvertantly" according to Mush Mouth). I've gotta think that if I were Hollins, Applewhite would have been missing a few teeth after that play.

Aaron Afflalo appeard to slip back into a slump, adding only five points on 2-10 shooting. Between the two of them, Farmar and Afflalo shot 4-23 from the field. Brandon Roy wasn't much better, shooting 3-11, but he was given 16 free throws, 13 of which he made. The key play of the game came on a Bruins steal with just over ten seconds to go. They got the ball ahead to Collison who had a chance to tie the game with a lay-up. He missed it, and was fouled, then missed his first free throw, and the Bruins were forced to take a three pointer the other end that Jordan Farmar rushed and had blocked.

And that was really the difference in the end. The Bruins shot just 65% from the line, while Washington shot 82%. The Bruins also turned the ball over 20 times, five more than their hosts. They made up for it on the glass, outrebounding the Huskies by ten at 32-22, inlcuding a 14-7 edge on the offensive boards, largely thanks to Aboya. The Bruins simply didn't shoot the ball well from the field, or the free throw line. Bruins not named Hollins and Aboya shot only 30% from the field. Somewhat surprising was that Michael Fey didn't get into the game, especially when you consider all the foul trouble that the Bruins were in.

It's a disappointing loss to be sure, especially with the opportunities they had. But there's no shame in losing to a good team on the road. This is the first road loss for the Bruins, which is kind of amazing when you think about it. It could have been a huge win, but it will end up being a learning experience. They have a week to get healthy before playing at $C, and with the Oregon schools travelling to Pauley for the next two after that, the Bruins really should win their next three before going to the Bay to end the season. If they can do that, and get a split up north, that should be enough for the Pac 10 championship.

Friday, February 10, 2006

BRMC w/ Elefant and the Morning After Girls @ the Metro - 2/8/06

First, let me just say that the title of this post is misleading, as I didn't actually see the Morning After Girls. I actually planned on catching a bit of their set, but events conspired against me. When BRMC was in town a few months ago, their show hadn't sold out beforehand, so I bought my ticket at the door and eschewed Ticketbastard's service charges. I figured I'd do the same this time. No such luck. But I'd already paid twelve bones for parking, so I figured I'd hang around outside and see if I could score an extra ticket from someone. After about 15-20 minutes of waiting in the 20 degree weather with nothing but a sweatshirt, Spike, who is touring with BRMC and playing some guitar and bass, walked by and offered to add a couple of us to the guest list. So I missed the Morning After Girls, but I got into the show for free. That's a trade off I was willing to accept.

Not long after I got inside, Elefant took the stage. First time I've seen them live, but I've listened to their debut album "Sunlight Makes Me Paranoid" a bunch of times. They sound a lot like Interpol. They have a new album coming out in April called "the Black Magic Show", so I was expecting to hear a lot of stuff that I haven't heard before, and I wasn't surprised. They played a few off of "Sunlight...". I know they played Bokkie and Love, and honestly, I think that's all they played from that album. They only played 8 or 9 songs, but they'll be touring in support of the new album this Spring, so I'll probably try to catch them then. The new album sounds like it be a little more rock oriented, but it's tough to tell from just a few songs.

When Black Rebel Motorcycle Club came to town a few months ago, Peter Hayes took the stage and played three songs solo acoustic before the rest of the band joined him. This show started in a similar fashion, with Hayes coming out and playing "Restless Sinner" but he limited the pre-set to that one song this time around. They lacked some of the energy this time that they've brought in the past, but word from Robert Levon-Been was that Hayes was sick. Indeed, prior to their full encore, Levon-Been came out and did a solo acoustic number in order to give Hayes a little more recovery time. Anyway, on to the Incomplete and Out of Order Setlist®:

  • Restless Sinner
  • Shuffle Your Feet
  • Ain't No Easy Way
  • Howl
  • Stop
  • Six Barrel Shotgun
  • In like the Rose
  • Love Burns
  • Red Eyes and Tears
  • Whatever Happened
  • Awake
  • Rifles
  • Spread Your Love
  • Promise
  • Weight of the World
  • Sympathetic Noose
  • The Line
  • Two I haven't heard before (although one sounded like a weird version of US Government)
  • Heart and Soul
The set was a lot more rockin' than the one they played the last time they were in town, which I kind of figured. Their latest album, Howl, is a lot more stripped down, acoustic, bluesy and gospelly than the first two, which are pretty much straightforward rock albums. Search out some reviews and you can read why. Anyway, last time they played almost the entire new album, which I thought was great, but didn't set well with some in the crowd, or at least one dude near me who wasn't happy with the set. They were touring to support that album, so it wasn't surprising that they played what they did. I kind of figured they would play more of a mix this time around, and they did, with four from "Take Them On, On Your Own", and six from their self-titled debut, including Awake, which may be my favorite song from that album, and which I haven't heard them play since probably late 2001. Another highlight was seeing them close the set with Heart and Soul, which is a terrific closer, and another one that they didn't play last time (they may have played it back when they supported TTO, OYO, but I can't remember, and that show is a whole 'nother story that I won't go into now).

So ultimately, while the set was better, the show lacked a certain something. It was still a very good show, and I certainly got my money's worth. Maybe it was just the people I was around. A couple of guys in front of me talked during the entire Elefant set, and that was kind of annoying. But otherwise, a pretty entertaining evening. Even better, it got me away from the Kings game.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

UCLA 50; Wazzu 30

For all of you nostalgic types, I hope you taped this one, because you got to see what scoring was like before the shot clock, and you almost got to see what it was like before the three point line was added. There were two three point baskets all night long. That's not a typo. 2. Count 'em. I imagine that since the three point line was added some 20 years or so ago, there has to have been games with only 1, or maybe even 0, but there can't be that many. And I'd be surprised if any of them featured a team in the top 25.

The defense was excellent yet again. You could tell that Coach Howland told them to keep the intensity up from the outset. The first few posessions featured tremendous defense, with virtually no separation for a WSU player at any time. The intensity transferred to the offensive end, as they scored on the first five posessions, moving the ball as well as they have all year, in running out to an 11 point lead. Before long, it was 14-0, and the spread was never smaller than 12 for the rest of the game.

On the scoreboard, Farmar and his injured ankle poured in 20 points on 7-13 shooting, but somehow went without an assist all night. LRMAM led the team in rebounds yet again, grabbing 7, while Ryan Hollins added 6. UCLA shot 45%, which isn't awful against Washington State, but the cougars only shot 28% themselves, including a painful 1-11 for Robbie Cowgill. I mean really, the numbers are shocking. Washington State had 50% more points in the second half than in the first, and THEY ONLY HAD 18 IN THE SECOND HALF!

One thing the Bruins are going to have to work on is lobbing the ball into the post when their big man is being fronted. I counted at least three times that they turned the ball over trying to make that pass tonight. But to be successful doing that, they'll need big men who can catch, and although they're making improvement, they aren't quite there yet.

Let's just hope that these two teams don't meet in the conference tournament. Not because I don't think UCLA will beat the Cougars a third time, but rather for my own health. I was able to resist the temptation to gouge my eyes out tonight, but another ten minutes, and it would have been close. This game was downright fugly.

Just Another Halo Victory

Well, the jury's in, and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are here to stay, at least until 2016 when Arte moves the team to somewhere that isn't Anaheim.

Personally, this is the verdict I was hoping for all along, as I'm no fan of Orange County or Anaheim. And quite frankly, when you sign a lease with a provision so clear, the fact that Anaheim got three jurors to agree with them is a credit to their attornies. But I was a little concerned for Arte. Not because the law was ambiguous, but because I don't trust juries to ever get ANYTHING right.

Arte has been pretty steadfast in refusal to sell any merchandise that identifies the team as being either from Los Angeles OR Anaheim, so it will be interesting to see if that was merely lip service, or if he was sincere. I'm kind of hoping it was lip service, as I'd like to wear an Angels jersey that say Los Angeles on the front, but that's probably because I live far from Los Angeles.

Anyway, that's behind us, barring an appeal or a decision by the judge to grant an injunction, which appears to be a long shot. Time to get ready for pitchers and catchers to report.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Kings lose again, and I'm done

This is the last you'll read of me writing about the Kings. I'm done. I see no reason to put any effort towards writing about a team that refuses to put any effort towards trying to win hockey games. If things turn around, maybe I'll be back. But for now, the Kings are dead to me.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

It's over - Kings get their asses kicked again

Only saw the last three minutes tonight. I was actually going to watch the whole thing, but I hit a wrong button on the remote and accidentally sped ahead to live TV and saw a 5-1 score against and decided not to waste my time.

5 goals against, all coming on the power play. I've been saying it for weeks. Everyone wants to rail against the power play, which is bad, but not horrid. It's the PK that has killed this team. They couldn't kill a penalty if they signed Dr. Kevorkian. This team is D-O-N-E done.

But on the bright side, pitchers and catchers report next week.