Sunday Night Heat 4/14/2019

Sunday Night Heat is a collection of my honest opinions.

I do not like advanced statistics because I do not understand them.  I prefer a method known as “the eye-test” which means I trust my own expertise over science.

The Minnesota Twins are back in action, and through the first couple weeks of the season have shown promise.  There is talent.  There is hope.  I am intrigued.

Who do my eyes tell me are the two best players on the team through the first 12 games?  Pitcher Jose Berrios and shortstop Jorge Polanco.  The two best players on the team according to WAR (the greatest single advanced statistic in sports)?  Pitcher Jose Berrios (1.0) and Jorge Polanco (0.9).  Maybe there’s a universe where the old methods and new can coexist.

There’s tons of potential in this Twins lineup.  The offense looks good.  It comes from all over the place.  Plenty of versatility.  Just wait til the weather gets better, too.  Oh, and Byron Buxton?  He’s figuring it out before my very eyes.  All-Star this year, just you watch.  Or if you don’t watch, then check the stats.  Either way.

But outside of Berrios?  Pitching is rail-thin.  Michael Pineda has looked good in his limited work so far–he’s coming off a season long injury and is being worked back in slowly.  Jake Odorizzi has been hit or miss.  And the bullpen…yikes, what a dumpster fire.

Kings Fire Dave Joerger, Hire Luke Walton

Speaking of dumpster fire…

Dave Joerger deserves a ton of credit for taking over a Sacramento Kings team with a laundry list of character and basketball issues and helping steer the franchise in the right direction.  But if you followed the team this season, a few things became clear:

  1. The young Kings had accelerated their timeline
  2. Dave Joerger was not the right fit to coach the team

The first point is optimistic, so I’ll address it in a moment.  I’ll start with point two:

I’ve been a fan of Dave Joerger’s since Memphis, so don’t take this as a hit piece.  But his rotations and time (mis)management played a massive part in the Kings missing the postseason.  First of all, Marvin Bagley should’ve been starting.  He needed to be let off the leash.

Secondly…this is terrible and inexcusable.

Down a bucket with two seconds left, the Kings are set up for an in-bounds play.  This should be a great advantage for the Kings because 1) they have home court advantage, 2) they have Buddy Hield, one of the best shooters in the league, and 3) they have Dave Joerger, who has a reputation as one of the best After Timeout coaches in the game.  Oh, and they also have a spare timeout.

What happens?  They panic and run a jangled play for Harrison Barnes to barf up a deep three rather than call timeout.  Cost the Kings the game.  Inexcusable.

Talk radio and the internet are chastising the Kings as being up to their old tricks:  any step forward is immediately negated by a giant leap backwards.

But here’s where the Kings should be getting credit.  They aren’t resting on their laurels (a sub .500 record, mind you) and realize their potential hasn’t been actualized.  Rather than remaining complacent and waiting another year for the inevitable, they did what they needed to do immediately.

Is Luke Walton the answer?  Not sure.  But the roster and the roster structure have fans salivating.  If the Kings aren’t one of the final eight teams in the playoffs next year (re: second round team) then it’ll be a failure of a season.

Return of Tiger

I’m not much of a golf fan and I didn’t watch the Masters religiously, but I did witness the Tiger effect.  My Sunday morning pickup run ran simultaneous to Tiger’s ascension, and the group of guys I play with couldn’t keep their eyes off the TV.  In between dead balls they’d peek their heads out into the main concourse and check to see if Tiger had made his move.

Lost in the shuffle of all the Tiger-redemption stories is the fact that this was Tiger’s first big tournament win in the Twitter age.  And social media was on fire Sunday from Tiger’s win.  Golf is normally considered a boring spectator sport, but following via Twitter made me a believer that golf is very much alive and could be popular among the younger generation.  Twitter and golf–two very different and conflicting ideas–could be a match made in heaven.

Sunday Dinner

I made the America’s Test Kitchen “Indian-style curry with potatoes, cauliflower, peas, and chickpeas” with some white rice and Trader Joe’s naan.  Honestly, it was pretty decent and easy to make.  And the cool thing about making a curry is it’s essentially the same thing as some white trash stew, except it’s kind of boujee because it’s foreign.  Would recommend!

Kings v. Sixers game review 2/2: Fuck the Process


Starting lineups:

Kings Sixers
Fox Simmons
Hield Shamet
Shumpert Butler
Belly Muscala
WCS Embiid

Jerry’s Key’s to the Game: “No paint for Simmons” and “Hot bench”

Key stats: Kings are shooting 38.2% from deep, second in the league. The Sixers are holding opponents to 34.4%, seventh in the league. This is what it’s like when world’s collide!

First Quarter:

  • First play of the game is a Simmons dunk. Not good for Jerry’s keys.

  • Fox rocking the ninja headband. Beautiful fast break where he throws a bounce pass to Buddy for a dunk. Video

  • Jerry compares Ben Simmons to Magic Johnson. Both in size and lack of outside shooting. Thinks BS can develop a shot in the future. Simmons and Embiid both seem like unfair physical specimens.

  • With the score tied 15-15, Kings go on a 10-0 run punctuated by a killer Fox full-court play. Video

  • Sixers press the Kings second unit. Bogi brings the ball up and is the only person to touch the ball before bricking a stepback mid-range. Is this foreshadowing problems with the Kings bench unit tonight?

First quarter ends with the Kings up 32-26. Buddy has 15 on 6/9 shooting, including three from deep.

Second Quarter:

  • Yogi starts the second quarter off strong by picking Embiid off with his back to the basket and hitting a nice mid-range jumper off the screen.

  • Kings lead slips away as Butler abuses Justin Jackson with an array of post moves and drives.

  • Grant and Jerry suggest Buddy Hield is an All-Star, but I’m not buying it. Nothing against Buddy, but I think him and Fox are equally responsible for this season’s success, but neither has fully solidified themselves as All-Stars. I do believe they will both be there next year or the year after.

  • So in Friday’s edition of the Bee, WCS talked about guarding Embiid:

“He’s got some moves and his footwork is really great,” Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein said. “He plays with a lot of power up top and his base is so strong, you can’t let him get to his spot. If you let him get to his spot, it’s over.”

“When I play against dudes like that, it’s a load,” Cauley-Stein said. “I feel like dudes who play that aggressive, they’re waiting for you to fall. They’re waiting for you to just give in and let him do whatever. I just try to give him different looks and keep on coming. He’s going to score. He’s going to get rebounds. That’s what he does and he’s really good at it. It’s just how many times can you stop him from doing that?”

  • I listen to a lot of 1140 and trading WCS is a big topic of discussion. (I’ll probably post about that later.) But WCS deserves some credit for understanding his role and how to guard Embiid. He’s making Embiid work all game. The stats won’t do it justice. Embiid is going to get his no matter what. But WCS is fighting for position, using his hands to combat Embiid outside, and genuinely giving him a tough matchup. It’s easy to think Embiid–all 7 foot 280 lbs of muscle–would just overpower the lean WCS, but it didn’t go down like that. Here’s a video where the Sixers wanted to get the ball to Embiid in the post and WCS just didn’t let it happen. Pushed him out to the perimeter, used his hands to tip the drive, and forced Embiid to do a mid-range, turnaround, fadeaway that resulted in a 24 second violation. Video (sorry for the crap video–Wave broadband said they upgraded me to Highest Speed internet but obviously not true)

Kings go into the half up 62-52. You can feel the momentum. Kings came out to play. This isn’t a case of the Sixers being flat, either. The Kings are just taking it to Philly.

Gametime drink:

It’s Saturday night so I got crunk. Had this Ketel One Botanical. Peach and Orange Blossom infused with some San Pellegrino. For the classy drunk.

Third Quarter:

  • Half starts with Belly poking Fox in the eye. Fox leaves, Ferrell comes in.

  • Embiid on a 5-0 run to start. He’s just bullying the Kings down low.

  • More Embiid, who hits 24 with 8:40 left in the quarter.

  • Up 8, the Kings are holding their own without Fox. Buddy misses a shot, WCS gets the board, kicks to Shump, who misses a three, and WCS grabs the rebound again, who gives it to Buddy, who converts the three. 11 point lead, third time’s a charm! Video

  • Shamet misses 2/3 free throws, so the fans will get a free burger from Jack in the Box. My favorite burger from Jack? The tacos, which are just Mexican burgers.

Kings up 86-79 going into the fourth.

Fourth Quarter:

  • Before the start of the quarter, Kayte talks about how the coaching staff considers this a prize fight between a heavyweight and a middleweight, and how the middleweight just needs to outpace.

  • Fox starts the 4th. How will this change up the rotation?

  • Struggling all night, Bogi hits an And-1 opportunity.

  • Butler converts a 4 point play on a terrible, terrible call. Remember this.

  • In a span of 80 seconds the Sixers go on an 8-0 run to tie the ball-game. You can feel the momentum dissipate from the arena. Wonder how this young team closes out?

  • At the 5 minute commercial break, my buddy Dan texts me with his concerns: “The team this year doesn’t have that guy who will get you 2 points. Fox and Hield just aren’t there yet.” Literally fifteen seconds later, Fox takes a screen from WCS and drills a mid-range jumper to put the Kings up 3.

  • Another 4 point play for Jimmy Butler. Philly up for the first time since 2-0.

  • Back and forth game the last four minutes, like a boxing match where guys are just absorbing and delivering blows.

  • With two minutes left, WCS plays killer help defense to force Butler to barf up a shot. Kings secure the board and Buddy delivers a dagger. The crowd is going wild. Video

  • WCS fouled with 48 seconds left, hits a FT, makes it a two possession game.

  • Buddy hits his free throws and puts the game out of reach.

Final score: Kings 115, Sixers 108

Post Game:

Jerry’s Keys revisted:

Simmons had 18 points in the paint. He got their whenever he wanted but seemed non-existent in the fourth.

Kings bench had 32 points, 14 of which came from Bagley. Bagley was the biggest bench contributor, although Yogi did his part. Bogi was a negative tonight.

Player of the Game:

Buddy had 34 and broke his single season record for 3’s made…with 30 games to go. Bagley looked poised in the clutch and came up with some big half-hooks and defense. Fox was steady handed.

But the real Player of the Game, imo, is WCS. I was never a believer in WCS, but I am wrong about the guy. He played a killer game against Embiid. Yes, big boy had 29/17, but he went 9-24 from the field. WCS made the potential MVP work and neutralized Embiid. Credit where it’s due.

Next up:

Monday, 7pm vs. San Antonio @ home.

Beer Review: Shipyard’s Finder IPA


The worst thing about New England is that despite how annoying the residents are, the region puts out a helluva product.  The Red Sox just won their fourth World Series in the last 15 years, the Patriots are the preeminent football dynasty, the Celtics are classic, The Departed is the greatest movie ever made, and New England clam chowder is delicious.

Before I drank it I had to find out what the hell a New England IPA was.  I live in Northern California and drink Sierra Nevada like it’s water.  IPA’s, to me, are synonymous with the West Coast.  Why is the Northeast appropriating our beer?

Turns out that a New England style IPA is just a pussy version of a REAL IPA.  Not quite as hoppy.  Not quite as bitter.  A little more fruity.

Shipyard’s own website describes the Finder IPA as follows:

This mouthwatering New England Style IPA has a creamy mouthfeel. The Citra, Mosaic and El Dorado hops create a drinkable, juicy ale with flavors of grapefruit, orange peel and lemongrass. Finder finishes with a slight bitterness and notes of tropical sweetness.

I wouldn’t say it has a creamy mouthfeel, but it is definitely drinkable and juicy.  You can taste a lot of the fruit, almost like a hybrid IPA.  The site also describes the beer’s color as “Deep Gold” but that’s a generous characterization.  It’s more appropriately describable as “Dust Bowl Orange”.

Because I hate New England’s fanbase, I so dearly wanted to write a scathing review of this beer.  Alas, I believe beer are like dogs–there’s no such thing as a bad dog.


All hail Spanish Nick Collison!

NBA Purgatory is a depressing state of existence where an NBA team and their fanbase have nothing to root for:  the team is neither good enough for contendership, nor bad enough for the highly revered “youth movement” (re: The Process.)

Luckily for the Charlotte Hornets, they can fast forward through another dreaded 28-54 season of irrelevance and start the rebuild process immediately.  Kemba Walker, the diminutive two time all-star who is Kirkland Signature Steph Curry, hits the free agent market this summer.  (He will almost assuredly sign with the LA Clippers and lead them to 33 win seasons until Doc Rivers croaks.)  Why not just trade him now and build around your real franchise player?

Who is this budding superstar, you may be asking?  Is it Malik Monk or Miles Bridges?  Neither.  It’s Willy Hernangomez, the 24 year old Spanish center.  But don’t get it twisted.  He’s a young 24.   Continue reading “All hail Spanish Nick Collison!”

NBA Trash Report: Sacramento’s Justin Jackson is king of the dumpster

Sacramento is a city on the upswing.  Money is pouring in to make California’s Capitol a big time player in politics, tech, art, education, etc.  We are trying to become a destination rather than departing juncture.  But in the midst of the expansion comes gentrification, and Sacramento’s homeless epidemic is a real hot-button issue in the area.  From 2015 to 2017, the transient population in Sacramento rose 30%.

And after last night’s game against the Utah Jazz, the city has another bum to add to the list:  Justin Jackson.

Here’s a screenshot that just begins to scratch the surface Jackson’s impact last night:

justin jackson

That is some ripe garbage!  Jackson, who had one good year shooting on a stacked national title team, came into the league marketed as an NBA ready catch and shoot threat.  But in his time with the Kings, he’s reverted back to a trash baby shooter who possesses none of the athleticism needed to be a complete wing.  And despite shooting just 30% from deep last season, Jackson took four attempts from beyond the arc last night.  He missed them all.

But the frustration with Jackson is more than just his poop offense and poop defense.  It’s the fact that the Kings were actually in a position to beat Utah last night and, for some reason, kept riding the Jackson Junction.  With five minutes left to go in the third, old Blue Balls checked into a 78-78 ballgame.  Inexplicably, he played the remainder of the game, which ended 123-117 for the Jazz.

Here’s Jackson playing soft on the break:

And here’s Jackson screwing up an easy two points that led to a four point swing:

Love the sound clip from Grant Napear here:

“Jackson…JACKSON!  OH MY GOODNESS!  Almost a disaster!”

No Grant, it was a disaster.  Justin Jackson is a disaster.

When asked for comment on why Justin Jackson played 17 straight minutes against the best defense in the league despite being a terrible player, Kings coach Dave Joerger offered this insight:


Over half of Jackson’s minutes came at the four, including a stretch in the 4th when the 6’8, 200 pound Jackson was guarding Derrick Favors, a 6’10, 260 pound beast.  But can you really blame Dave for that?  After all, we are in the era of Positionless Basketball©.  Hopefully Jackson’s next position will be on the bench.  At Discovery Park.  With the other bums.