UPDATE***-- The show on KSCR will not actually be happening this week, but you can hear me broadcasting play-by-play for USC's third round NCAA Tournament game against Florida in women's soccer on USCTrojans.com. The game starts at 7 PM at the Coliseum.***
After a week off, we return with the weekly Sports Beat...
--Many basketball analysts are wondering why Kobe Bryant reportedly wants to play for the Chicago Bulls, especially after his Lakers thrashed the Bulls last night 106-78. The Laker bench has been the most impressive part of their 6-3 start and recent 3-game winning streak. Last night, the bench scored 73 points as Jordan Farmar and Andrew Bynum each scored 14 points.
Both Farmar and Bynum seem to be playing a level above from what we've seen in the past. Farmar has become the Lakers spark plug and 4th quarter point guard, whose energy and quickness creates scoring opportunities. Bynum has gotten much more aggressive in the post, and Kobe is now regularly praising the young center's work ethic.
Still, it's way too early for Laker fans to be celebrating. The Lakers beat the Bulls without Luol Deng, the Pistons without Chauncey Billups, and the Rockets with an injured Tracy McGrady. They didn't look particularly great in a loss to the Spurs either. This is a much better start than most pundits predicted, but it's a long season.
--Two weeks ago, we said it was "Hip to be Clip." This week, the Clippers are an injury-riddled bunch. The red and blue have lost four of five, and learned today that Corey Maggette will be out for 2-3 weeks with a strained hamstring. In the meantime, Cuttino Mobley has been hampered by a groin strain and may miss some more games. Al Thornton is out with a sprained ankle. Quinton Ross has a bad knee. And of course, the Clippers are already playing this season without Elton Brand and Shaun Livingston.
--The Angels made an interesting trade today, sending Orlando Cabrera to the White Sox for Jon Garland. Cabrera is coming off one of his best seasons, but this could be an example of Tony Reagins selling high. At least, that's what Rob Neyer thinks. The Halos have significant infield depth in their organization with Erick Aybar, Brandon Wood, Maicer Izturis, and Howie Kendrick, and could afford to see what the market would offer for Cabrera.
In Jon Garland, the Angels get a dependable and consistent starting pitcher, which is tough to come by in this day and age. Garland is a SoCal native, and believe it or not, $10 million isn't a bad salary for him. Keith Law also likes the deal for the Halos, and thinks Garland's numbers will improve in a pitcher-friendly park.
Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times reports that this deal could set up the Angels to acquire either Miguel Cabrera or Miguel Tejada in a trade.
--With Alex Rodriguez heading back to New York, the Dodgers are reportedly interested in a centerfielder with Aaron Rowand rumored to be at or near the top of their list. Rowand is an excellent player who the Dodgers would be fortunate to have, but acquiring him brings up all kinds of questions about Juan Pierre. Do the Dodgers plan to trade Pierre, or will they simply move the fast, but weak-armed outfielder with a low OBP to left field? What would that mean for Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp. Yes, the hot stove is heating up!
--Kurt Streeter says that UCLA should keep Karl Dorrell, and he brings up some important points. There aren't many coaches in the country who could win with their fourth-string QB, or without some of their top running backs. An injury-depleted Bruin team still managed to give Arizona State a run for its money. Also, firing Dorrell would jeopardize the recruiting class he's bringing in, which according to Rivals.com is currently No. 4 in the country.
Still, the Bruins were mostly healthy in their 44-6 loss to Utah, and Dan Guerrero did up the ante by claiming he'd be "very interested" to see how UCLA plays in its final four games. Since that statement, UCLA is 0-2 with Oregon and USC left on the schedule.
--UCLA fans may not like this, but a Bruin victory over Oregon would help USC's Rose Bowl chances. The Trojans have a rare Thanksgiving Day game against Arizona State. Oregon suddenly looks vulnerable after losing Dennis Dixon for the season, and if UCLA can beat the Ducks and if USC beats the Sun Devils, then the Trojans will be one win away from the Rose Bowl. Of course, USC and UCLA play on December 1 at the Coliseum, and all bets are off in that one.
While it's not a certainty, Ohio State will most likely play in the Rose Bowl after beating Michigan this past weekend. An OSU-USC Rose Bowl would be an exciting ticket, but remember that USC's 2008 home opener is against the Buckeyes. If that happened, then one wonders just how much each team would open up the playbook.
--At the time of this writing, UCLA basketball is leading Maryland by 10 at halftime in Kansas City. It's really early, but I'm not sure if any college basketball team has looked better than the Bruins so far. Still, if UCLA wants to win its first national title since 1995, then they will need to get healthy.
--After embarrassing itself at home against Mercer, USC basketball bounced back with road wins at the Citadel and at South Carolina. OJ Mayo scored 29 points in the win over the Gamecocks, but it was Daniel Hackett who got most of the attention. Coming off a broken jaw, Hackett had a triple-double as the Trojans beat an SEC team.
--The 2008 MLS Cup will be played at the Home Depot Center, it was announced today. Could the Galaxy or Chivas USA get to play on its home field for that game?
Well, the Galaxy continue to bring in some big names. After hiring legendary Dutch soccer player and former Chelsea coach Ruud Gallit as head coach, the Galaxy traded for Clint Mathis today. Mathis is the all-time leading scorer in New York Red Bulls history, and some may remember that he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated before the 2002 World Cup. Gallit and Mathis will join David Beckham and Landon Donovan.
--I was the play-by-play announcer last Saturday night the USC-Washington State women's volleyball game on USCTrojans.com. I was very impressed with the professional setting for the game, and the job of the Galen Center crew. Volleyball Hall-of-Famer Debbie Green had her jersey No. 10 retired. After sweeping the Washington schools, the Women of Troy are set for a high seed in the NCAA women's volleyball tournament.
--Finally, I will be on the national sports show this Wednesday from noon to 1 PM on KSCR 1560 AM and KSCR.org.