The Los Angeles Rams used the first overall pick in the NFL draft Thursday selecting California quarterback Jared Goff. He becomes the face of a franchise back in the City of Angels for the first time in 22 seasons. The Rams called St. Louis home for 22 years. They were L.A.’s first pro team calling Los Angeles and Anaheim home from 1946 to 1994 prior to the move east.
Goff is the 22nd quarterback taken with the first overall pick in the common draft era (since 1967) and the first Cal quarterback to land in the first round since the Green Bay Packers took Aaron Rodgers at No. 24 in 2005.
In choosing Goff, the Rams are hoping he’ll be able to take over quarterback group that ranks last in the NFL in Total QBR since 2007. The Rams haven’t had a quarterback go to the Pro Bowl since Marc Bulger in 2006. The Rams bottomed out at the position in 2015 and ranked last in the league in passing yards (2,805), QBR (35.6), yards per attempt (6.2) and passing touchdowns (11).
At 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, Goff was the starter for the Cal Golden Bears for three seasons rewriting the Cal record books with more completions, passing yards and touchdowns than any quarterback in school history. He threw for 4,719 yards and 43 touchdowns in 2015 and owns 26 school records.
He excelled in Cal’s “Bear Raid” spread offense in which he spent more than 99 percent of his time taking snaps out of the shotgun. That means he’ll have an adjustment to make upon arrival in Los Angeles, as the Rams were in shotgun or pistol formation on fewer plays than any other team last season.
To hear from Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, general manager Les Snead and the top pick Jared Goff, click on Eric Geller’s video report from Rams draft headquarters.
Griffin’s been out since partially tearing his left quadricep tendon in a Christmas Day win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Griffin was expected back sooner until he added fractured right hand a month later punching a Clippers assistant equipment manager outside of a Toronto restaurant.
Since first being sidelined, the Clippers have posted an impressive 26 and 14 record without Griffin. That’s great for a bench that’s gotten extended playing time because of the adjustments being made without Griffin.
The team’s efficiency on both sides of the ball without Griffin has it in the top ten in the league based on 100 possessions per game.
The Clippers rank seventh in the league in offensive efficiency scoring 108 points per game, fifth in the league in defensive efficiency holding opponents to 102.2 points per game.
That puts the Clippers at an impressive fifth overall in the league at plus 5.8 points per game versus the rest of the league.
Including Friday’s game with the Trail Blazers, the Clippers have 12 regular season games remaining and are, at this point, locked in as the fourth overall seed in the Western Conference with home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs basically assured.
So, when is Griffin coming back? The hand is healed so the quad is still what’s keeping him out.
He still has to sit out a four game suspension handed down by the league for the altercation in Toronto which means if he’s to get some playing time to get acclimated to the team and vice versa before the playoffs, it seems imperative he gets back in the lineup in the next ten days.
Rivers answers questions involving Blake’s health and imminent return in the video provided which also shows Griffin working out prior to the Portland game with one of Doc’s assistants, Dave Severns.
The Los Angeles Clippers (43-26) will try to salvage the fourth and last regular season game against the defending world champion Golden State Warriors (63-7) this season when the rivals meet Wednesday night at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
The Warriors have won the last eight regular season meetings between the two pacific division foes.
In the three prior meetings this season, the Clippers held a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter of first two games before falling to the Warriors and rallied in the last meeting from a double-digit fourth quarter deficit that fell short on a last second heave by C.J. Wilcox to send the game into overtime.
According to the Clippers – who continue to play without injured Blake Griffin – a win over the Warriors Wednesday will be just that. A win.
However, it would still go a long way in the confidence department if the Clippers could come out with a win.
With just 13 games remaining in the regular season for the Clippers, it’s important to remember they’re the last team to beat the Warriors in a seven game playoff series two seasons ago.
Before Tuesday’s practice, I discussed that with head coach Doc Rivers and all-star point guard Chris Paul.
The Los Angeles Rams made it out to Manhattan Beach for meetings to help acclimate coaches and players to what awaits them in L.A. in regards to getting to and from home and work in traffic.
As most of us Los Angelenos know, it can be quite difficult getting to and from work on a daily basis.
Some of the old L.A. Rams – including hall of fame offensive lineman Jackie Slater – were at the meetings helping out the new version of Rams players and coaches.
Of course fifth year head coach Jeff Fisher is an L.A. native having grown up in Encino attending Taft High School prior to playing football at USC and for the Chicago Bears.
The Rams still have an old ticket office on Pico Blvd just across from the Rancho Park Golf Course that’s now used for other purposes.
It looks as if they’ll have new offices just north of Los Angeles in Calabasas right near the concert venue – The Canyon Club.
I heard some whispers at today’s Manhattan Beach meeting the team could be featured on this season’s HBO series Hard Knocks. That’s the reality series where cameras follow an NFL team during their Summer training camp. Makes a lot of sense considering the Rams call “the entertainment capital of the world” home once again.
To hear from the new and old Rams on the L.A. logistics, click on the video report above.
Know questioning the Lakers’ collective hearts. Every player goes hard every night for head coach Byron Scott. However, unlike the legendary teams throughout the franchise’s history, these Lakers just don’t have the star-power, at the moment, to win close games down the stretch.
Leading 69-68 with just under six minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Lakers were outscored by Utah, 12 to four, and lost to the Jazz, 80-73. Utah held the Lakers to just 39 percent shooting from the field for the game.
“They definitely slowed it down,” said Lakers guard Jeremy Lin who didn’t score a point in 10 minutes of play. “They got us to play their game and we had to find a way to play ours.”
The Jazz (31-37) were led by Gordon Hayward who registered a game-high 22 points. Reserve Trey Burke added 17, Derrick Favors had 14 and was huge on the defensive end making a key block late in the game rejecting Ed Davis right at the rim and Trevor Booker chipped in with 10.
For the Lakers, Tarik Black registered his third career double-double and secnd as a Laker with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Wesley Johnson had 12 points and Carlos Boozer added 11.
This was L.A.’s ninth loss in its last 10 games and fourth consecutive defeat. The Lakers (17-50) now have the fourth worst record in the league with 15 games remaining and at this rate are a lock to keep their first round draft pick in this June’s draft.
The Lakers are back on the Staple Center floor Sunday when they host one of the three teams they’re chasing for worst record in the Association; the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Los Angeles Lakers play host to the Utah Jazz Thursday at Staples Center. Prior to the game, Lakers coach Byron Scott met with the media to discuss the Jazz. L.A. went into Salt lake City last month and beat Utah, 100-97. Scott also talks about some sort of hair line feud with injured guard Nick Young .
Dealing in what ifs in news and sports is the product of the 24 hour news cycle with both radio and TV capitalizing on it. It fuels all talk formats. Why? You have to fill time and there’s a lot of it. Further, speculation makes for great theater. A good example of this lies in the speculation that is fueling St. Louis in its efforts to keep the Rams this coming season. However, speculations aside, looks as if owner and Missouri native –Stan Kroenke – will move the franchise back to Los Angeles in time for the 2016 season.
This isn’t speculation. This is fact. It’s happening and there’s really nothing anyone can do to stop it from happening. And if Kroenke’s building it, it’s going to be the Rams’ eventual home base. If you think otherwise you’re dealing with fantasy.
Last week, a headline from INSIDESTL.com read: “If Kroenke Moves On, Who Could Fill Rams’ Ownership Void?” Shane Gray wrote the article because Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s stadium task force co-head Dave Peacock fired a shot on a St. Louis sports radio show randomly discussing the possibility Kroenke could be forced to sell his team. “The goal is to keep the Rams,” Peacock said during the radio interview. “Teams can be prevented from moving, but owners can move. Ownership can change within a team and that’s probably more palatable than actually moving a team. And I don’t know that Stan Kroenke long-term will own the team. I don’t know that. And I don’t know if Stan Kroenke knows that.”
So, Gray ran with it, discussing possible new owners in the event Kroenke was to sell the team based on Peacock’s theory (a theory conjured up, mind you, with not much evidence to back it).
Speculation can also add a measure of fantasy. Let’s put those two terms together and you have Specu-Fantasy. That’s what Gray’s article is; Specu-Fantasy. Here’s why: Kroenke isn’t going to sell the Rams and no one can force him to. His possible team-relocation back to Los Angeles isn’t a detriment to the league; it’s a benefit to it.
This is a fact (not speculation). Kroenke doesn’t sell any of his sports enterprises; he only buys them. That’s what Gray has written throughout this St. Louis stadium issue in regards to the Rams’ owner, and he’s absolutely correct.
Another important fact to keep in mind about the Rams’ owner as reported via some of Gray’s other articles follows: Kroenke likes to own the real estate and facilities his teams play in. That’s an absolute fact. This is why the NFL’s return to Los Angeles is happening. It’s all thanks to Kroenke. He owns the Rams and the land he’s building his stadium on in Inglewood.
Here’s another fact for you regarding Kroenke and the Rams’ Edward Jones Dome lease, specifically that Top Tier stipulation. Kroenke doesn’t have to fork out a red cent of his money to ensure the EJD becomes one of the top eight stadiums in the NFL. The state of Missouri and the city of St. Louis is responsible for every penny.
Here’s why the value rings in at nothing. For that Riverfront Stadium to be built, it will require Kroenke to fork over somewhere between $200 million to $400 million. What makes anyone think he would fork over that much coin for a non-existant stadium when the only stadium that matters is the one his team currently plays in, the EJD? And remember, the top tier stipulation in his EJD lease says he doesn’t have to fork over one red cent to make the EJD one of the eight best in the league.
Here’s another fact for you. It’s all about Location! Location! Location! Los Angeles- the home of Hollywood a.k.a. the Entertainment Capital of the World – is a much more desirable and valuable media market place than St. Louis ever was or will be. Period. If Kroenke’s going to shell out between a quarter of a billion to half a billion dollars of his own coin to build a football stadium, it stands to reason he’ll do that in a market place that will increase the value of his team minimum three times its current value which is dead last in the league.
That’s exactly what he’s doing with his real estate investment in Inglewood. Kroenke’s increasing the value of his team from dead last to top five in the entire NFL.
And let’s not go the “L.A. lost three teams because they couldn’t support them. What’s any different now?” route. That is nothing but a tired lie.
Nothing’s different. Los Angeles has always been able to support the NFL. The Rams first called Los Angeles home for 49 years prior to the move to the Mid-West in 1995. Georgia Frontiere moved the team not because there wasn’t a fan following, but because she was offered hundreds of millions of dollars by St. Louis and only after she purged the team of its best players driving the team into the ground.
These two franchises played for the championship in three out of four years in the early seventies with the New Yorkers taking two of the three meetings garnering the Knicks their only two titles in franchise history.
For the time being, not so much.
What was once the household names of Jerry West vs. Walt Frazier and Wilt Chamberlain vs. Willis Reed has digressed to the not so household names of Jeremy Lin vs. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jordan Hill vs. Andrea Bargnani.
Factor in both teams’ leading scorers and perennial all-stars Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony are out with season-ending injuries, Thursday’s game figures to have more of a Summer League match-up rather than a clash of two of the league’s storied franchises.
A little nostalgia from the benches is more what people are looking forward to when the lottery-bound teams meet Thursday at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Knicks rookie head coach Derek Fisher returns to face a Lakers team he helped win five titles as a player. Assisting Fisher is Kurt Rambis who teamed up with Lakers coach Byron Scott during the Showtime Era helping the Lakers wn three of their five titles in the 80s.
And of course there is Knicks first year president and ex-Lakers head coach Phil Jackson who still happens to be Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss’ man. Jackson guided the Lakers to five titles in this new millennium.
So much more drama seems to be off the court than on it for both teams which makes this match-up so intriguing.
The Knicks – losers of five straight – have the worst record in the league while the Lakers – who snapped a five game losing streak of their own beating Detroit Tuesday at Staples Center – own the leagues fourth worst record.
Although this east coast-west coast rivalry isn’t what it used to be, it can return to what it once was with both teams getting healthy through the draft and free agency. Something both teams are banking on.
To hear from Derek Fisher and Byron Scott, click on the video with this story.
Sports fans in Los Angeles have been spoiled listening to the play-by-play voices of the teams – both college and pro – that have called the City of Angels home.
Among the elite voices are the Dodgers’ Vin Scully, Bob Miller of the Kings and the late Chick Hearn of the Lakers.
The legendary voice of the Los Angeles Clippers, Ralph Lawler, is in that conversation as well of course. Currently in his 36th season calling Clippers games, he was honored with Lawler Night at Staples Center for Monday’s game between the Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves.
Catch words or phrases like “Bingo!” after a three-point bucket and “Oh me, Oh my!” are what Clipper Nation have recognized all these years – good and bad.
How about “Lawler’s Law?” Late in the game Lawler, during Clipper telecasts on Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket after one of the teams gets its 100th point says, “First team to 100 wins. That’s the law.”
“Ralph is a true legend in Los Angeles sports,” said Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket Senior Vice President and General Manager Steve Sampson. “Monday’s celebration is a true reflection of his passion for the game and dedication to Clipper Nation.”
Scully, Miller, former Clippers players Gary Grant, Lamond Murray and Pooh Richardson among others were in the building to pay tribute to Lawler.
All fans going to the game received a special “Oh Me, Oh My” t-shirt. At halftime L.A. City Council President Herb J. Wesson presented a proclamation officially making March 9th “Ralph Lawler Day” in Los Angeles.
Lawler’s won three local Emmy’s for his announcing and has called 2.838 Clipper games (and still going) making him the third longest tenured broadcaster in the NBA.
To hear from Lawler and some current and former Clippers, click on the video with this story.
New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis will miss this Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden in New York because of a right shoulder sprain that’s kept him of the line-up in New Orleans’ last two games.
You’d think Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan would get a call from the commissioner’s office as Davis’ replacement but that call never came. Instead, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki got the call to replace Davis on the West roster.
The Jordan snub obviously didn’t come unnoticed by his Clippers teammates and head coach Doc Rivers. They understand offense sells and defense doesn’t especially in the all-star game where it’s non-existent.
In his seventh season with the Clippers, Jordan has been putting up all-star numbers as, easily, the best defender in the league averaging double-figures in rebounds and scoring with his points coming off rebound opportunities and five block shots per contest.
What they do know is if the Clippers have a legitimate shot at winning an NBA title as soon as this season, Jordan’s defense and rebounding will be a big reason why.
“Next year I’ll just have to average 20 points a game,” said Jordan after scoring 24 points and pulling down 20 boards in the win over the Rockets. The third straight game he’s had at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in the absence of forward Blake Griffin out with a staph infection in his right elbow. “At this point there’s nothing I can do about it (the all-star snub). I’ve moved on. It’s cool.”
“There has never been a team that’s won a championship without being a decent defensive team or a great defensive team.” Said Rivers when asked about the snub. “The defensive side is always forgotten in the All-Star Game. I think they should include the best defender.”
To hear more from the Clippers on Jordan’s all-star snub, watch the video accompanying this story.
This will be Nowitzki’s 13 all-star game appearance in his 17th season in the league. He won’t replace Davis in the West’s starting line-up. Golden State rookie head coach Steve Kerr will pick Davis’ replacement as the starter on the front line.