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CURED HAM

Hamilton Be Scoreville — Isaac Hamilton purées his slump, tying the UCLA record with 9 Three-Pointers and scoring 33, as the #3 Bruins Honeybake the Sun Devils 102-80 to ascend to 19-1

Last week, Isaac Hamilton showed signs of breaking out of his deep shooting funk.  On Thursday night, like a Hamilton Beach Scovill electric blender, he minced it into a coarse powder, emulsified and liquified it.  In the game against Arizona State, Hamilton scored 25 Points in the first half, hitting 6 of his first 7 Three-Point shots, and went on to sink NINE buckets from behind the arc, to tie the all-time UCLA record held by Bryce Alford and Jason Kapono.  He came oh-so-close to owning the record himself, as he hit another Three but it was 1 second after the Halftime buzzer.  Hamilton ended the game with 33 Points, as the Bruins cruised to a 102-80 triumph.

The final score WAS indicative of the talent gap between these two teams, and also truly indicates the ease of victory.  However, there WAS a huge LULL for the Bruins that many will find an issue of concern.  After building a 25-point lead in the first half at 46-21, when Hamilton was personally outscoring the entire Devil team (and Lonzo Ball had more Assists than the entire Devil team), the Bruins relaxed, as they have done a few times in the past.  Part of the problem was Coach Steve Alford resting Lonzo Ball.  ASU made a big run with Ball sitting, and then it took a couple of extra minutes for Ball to get back in (waiting for a dead ball).  Even when Ball got back in, he didn’t dent the box score in the final two minutes of the half.  Sad, because before he sat, he was on pace to rack up his first-ever Triple-Double!  I’m not criticizing the Coach — I understand that he needs a fresh Lonzo on Saturday to deal with #14 Arizona, but without LBall, this team is super-vulnerable, and much more similar to last year’s model.

The Sun Devils whittled the lead down to 15 at the break, and continued their inspired play in the second half, cutting the deficit all the way down to SEVEN Points!  Finally, the Bruins woke back up, and asserted their dominance.  With Ball orchestrating everything, on his way to 10 Points, TWELVE Assists, and 7 Rebounds (so close!), the Bruins methodically extended the lead back up to 20.  Big buckets by Aaron Holiday and Thomas Welsh were pivotal, as was the all-around play of T.J. Leaf, who finished with 19 Points, 9 Rebounds, and 6 Assists.  Another huge contribution came from Ike Anigbogu off the bench.  Ike scored 4, blocked a shot, and most importantly, pulled down NINE Rebounds before fouling out.

The second-most important and telling stat of the game:  UCLA outshot ASU 60% to 41%, and the reason for that leads us to the first-most important stat of the game:  The Bruins had THIRTY Assists (on 35 baskets), compared to 11 (of 32) for ASU.  When you share the ball that much and are that unselfish, good things happen.  With Hamilton so hot at the start, all his teammates, even Bryce Alford, were trying to feed him and definitely were thinking “pass first.”  Alford didn’t even attempt a single shot until the Bruins were up BIG.  That kind of anti-Hero-ball will win a lot of ball games for UCLA this season, and hopefully, all the way deep into the Tournament.

But first things first:  A tough and highly-ranked Arizona squad comes into Pauley on Saturday afternoon, right on the heels of their road victory over u$c.  They were killing the trojans until a late run made it a one-possession game with a minute to go.  But the Wildcats held on, to maintain momentum heading into their biggest game of the year.  The Bruins might not be able to afford any lulls in that one, or it won’t be LULZ in Westwood for Bruin fans.

BEDTIME FOR LONZO

No one can resist our Sweaty Ball — Wooden Award Favorite Lonzo Ball plays all 40 minutes, leads UCLA with 17 Points, 8 Assists, and FIVE Steals, and carries the Bruins back from a 9-Point, 2nd Half deficit to boot the Utes, 83-82, along with crucial contributions from determined Aaron Holiday, “perfect” Thomas Welsh, and the stupid Utes themselves, who take and make a TWO at the buzzer when down by THREE

Hey Lonzo:  You deserve a break today, and I’m Loving It.  These two famous McDonald’s slogans seem appropriate today, especially with this coming Friday marking the Nationwide release of the fantastic movie “The Founder,” a biopic based on Ray Kroc’s “discovery” and development of the “Golden Arches.”

Lonzo has certainly earned a break, after playing all 40 minutes of last night’s nailbiter in Salt Lake City.  The 83-82 Bruin victory completed a sweep of the high altitude schools and the first Pac-12 road sweep for the Bruins since Steve Alford took over.  The thin air in Boulder and Salt Lake are notoriously draining, and it was thought that the Bruins, with their relatively shallow 8-man rotation, would struggle mightily.  And on Saturday afternoon in Utah, struggle they did.

It took the incredible efforts of the Freshman phenom Lonzo Ball to push them to victory.  Despite the exhausting environment, Lonzo played the whole game.  He practically HAD TO, considering Continue Reading »

THREE MIND BRYCE

Three mined Bryce; Three NINED Bryce; See how they fall; See how we ball — Bryce Alford hits NINE of UCLA’s all-time high NINETEEN Three-pointers on his way to 37 Points, as the Bruins make Colorado look like “THREE stooges,” carving out a 104-89 victory.  Have you ever seen such a sight in your life?

I read before the game that Bryce Alford, in his three years as a Bruin, has struggled brutally in his previous trips to Colorado and Utah, shooting a combined miserable 2-for-37 from the floor.  That worried me, because Colorado is a tough place to play, with a good crowd, high altitude, and thin air.  Also, the Buffaloes were hungry, going o-3 so far in Conference play, but having beaten a ranked Xavier team in Boulder earlier in the year.  The Bruins would NEED an effective Bryce Alford in order to win, especially considering that Thomas Welsh was in a tiny slump, Aaron Holiday was in a medium-sized slump, and Isaac Hamilton was in a humungous slump, especially with his perimeter shooting.

All of that worry was for naught, as Bryce Alford tied the school record for 3-pointers by sinking 9 of them (on 14 attempts).  He had done this once before, as has Jason Kapono.  Bryce went on to score a career-high 37 Points, as UCLA pulled away from the Buffs in the second half to win easily, 104-89.

The first half was hard-fought, with Colorado hanging tough despite the Bruins scoring 51.  It was only a 6-point lead at the break.  A big part of that small margin was foul trouble for T.J. Leaf, UCLA’s leading scorer Continue Reading »

SHOULDA NEVER GIVEN THE KEYS TO SARKISIAN

Don’t take the car, you’ll kill yourself! — Alabama Offensive Coordinator, Play-caller, and former alcoholic u$c Head Coach Steve Sarkisian blows Alabama’s 14-point lead by failing to convert the Crimson Tide’s LAST TWELVE 3rd Down attempts, as Clemson overcomes a late double-digit deficit to win the National Championship on a Touchdown with 1 second left, 35-31

The boozer is a loser.  The rummy is crummy.  The Sheriff is a swigger.  Alabama’s Alcoholic’s not Anonymous.

Someone call his sponsor:  Alabama’s (recovering?) alcoholic O.C. Steve Sarkisian might go on another bender tonight, to drown his sorrows, and who could blame him?  His Crimson Tide Offense couldn’t keep Clemson’s Offense off the field in the second half, as Tiger QB Deshaun Watson erased a 10-point margin, and did just enough to put Clemson over the top in a 35-31 nailbiter.

The key stat of the game?  Alabama failed to convert 12 straight 3rd Down tries in the second half.  Their LAST 12, as a matter of fact.  With all that talent, which was able to put 31 points up on one of the Country’s best Defenses, how do you possibly blow 12 consecutive 3rd Downs??  That’s all about bad play-calling, and getting blatantly OUT-COACHED.

Put a Tiger(-enabler) in your (drunk) Tank!

Now to be fair, let’s give Sark some credit:  His offense did indeed Continue Reading »

BALL THREE’S MAUL TREES

“Hey you kids:  Get offa my Lonzo!”  — The sound of people criticizing Lonzo Ball’s unconventional shooting mechanics continues to fade, as he goes 4-for-5 from downtown and scores a team-high 21 points in UCLA’s 89-75 rout of Stanford

Once again, UCLA blows out a Pac-12 opponent in the first half behind Lonzo Ball, T.J. Leaf, and Bryce Alford, and then coasts to victory in cruise control.  On Sunday night against Stanford, the Bruins shot out to an 18-point lead at halftime, built it up to 23 in the second half, then, as usual, eased up a bit.  The Cardinal cut the lead to 11 before the Bruins put it out of reach, ending up with an 89-75 victory.  That’s an improvement over the previous game, when UCLA allowed Cal to within 5 before clamping down.

And for the second game in a row, there were clearly 3 Bruin stars outplaying the rest of the team.  The Bruins are 16-1,  and Lonzo Ball has had about 16 great games of those 17, including Sunday night.  Lonzo hit some early Three’s on his way to 21 points.  He also had 8 Assists, 6 Rebounds, 3 Steals, and 2 Blocks.  T.J. Leaf also continued his own consistent play with 15 Points, 10 Rebounds, 2 Blocks and a Steal.  Rounding out the three stars was Bryce Alford, who, like Lonzo, went 4-for-5 from behind the arc.  Alford finished with 17 Points.  Those three carried the Bruins, who had to endure a 3-for-11 shooting night from Thomas Welsh.  Isaac Hamilton appeared like he might be emerging from his month-long slump when he hit an early Three, and he did manage to score 15 Points.  HOWEVER, he was still a troubling 1-for-7 from Three-point Land, so it looks like he needs to keep hitting the practice court for more work on his perimeter shot.

The Bruins had plenty to overcome a weak Stanford team, but they will need to be firing on more than 3 cylinders to win a Conference Title and to go deep into the Big Dance.  Hamilton and Aaron Holiday will have to find their respective grooves for this team to live up to their #4 Ranking.  Right after UCLA wrapped up the victory, their previous victim, the Cal Bears, tipped off with u$c in the Galen Center.  It was a close, exciting game that went down to the wire.  In the final seconds,
Continue Reading »

“…CLOSING THE GODDAMN DOOR”

Panic in the Pavilion — Disco may have died, but the Golden Bears refused to, after a Bruin barrage led by Lonzo, Leaf, and Lil-ford had Cal down 24 points, as they cut the lead to 5 before #4 UCLA finally slams the door in the 81-71 victory

Wanted:  Killer Instinct.  Will pay top dollar.  Please contact Steve Alford asap.

The #4 UCLA Bruins outlasted and survived the unranked Cal Berkeley Bears 81-71 last night, but there is a big problem:  The Bruins almost failed to hold onto a game that they led by 24 points with less than 14 minutes left.  This is not the first time they have squandered a lead late in a game.  Kentucky closed the gap, and Oregon overcame a late deficit, just to name two besides Cal.

The Bruins are just too good to let this happen repeatedly.  Earlier in the season, they made a habit of wearing opponents down with their fast pace, often pulling away in the second halves.  They will need that trend to return if they want to continue their quest for a Pac-12 Title and top seed in the NCAA Tournament.

On Thursday night, Bryce Alford got it going early, hitting 4 straight three’s on his way to a team-high 24 points.  Then Lonzo Ball took over, dominating the floor as he often does, stuffing the box score with 14 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, and a blocked shot.  Fellow Freshman phenom T.J. Leaf did the rest, scoring 18 points inside, and adding 11 boards, 3 assists, a steal, and a block.  Leaf also provided the highlight of the game:  a drive from the free throw line that culminated with a monster slam dunk in a Bear’s face.

All that firepower, because of the Bruins’ trademarked unselfish play.  EIGHTEEN of the 27 buckets were ASSISTED, compared to only 7 of 27 for Cal.  But it still wasn’t enough to secure the victory until the final minute. Continue Reading »

BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE

Not 13 below but 13-and-oh —  In chilly, rainy Westwood, 4 days before Christmas, #2 UCLA is ice cold from the exterior but still manages to wrap up Western Michigan 82-68 (and start the season hot with 13 straight Wins), thanks to their (Aaron) Holiday Inn Express

Santa never fails.  Every year, he manages to complete his rounds and deliver all the toys.  Even if Blitzen is blitzed or Dasher dashes off the reservation, there are a half-dozen other reindeer at the ready, to pick up the slack and get the job done.  The fat man’s team always comes through.  But on Wednesday night in Pauley Pavilion, the Bruins were less like St. Nick and more like St. Brick.  They were never firing on all cylinders, especially from the perimeter.  In a game they were favored to win by THIRTY points, it was still only a two-possession game midway through the second half.  In the first half, besides being cold from the arc, the Bruins were very sloppy, committing about 10 Turnovers, which, along with uninspired Defense, allowed the Broncos to stay within 12 at the break.

In the second half, the Bruins still struggled to pull away.  Despite markedly increased intensity on the Defensive end, UCLA still found themselves in a dogfight.  The lead was 10-and-under for most of the half, until there were less than 3 minutes left in the game and the Bruins finally opened it up to 18.

Even great teams have off nights, when some of their players aren’t Continue Reading »

2016 BRUINS AND WESTBROOK STILL HEAD OF THE CLASS, CARROLL & KIFFIN STILL NO CLASS

High-Low — #2 UCLA beats Ohio State to improve to 12-0, and Russell Westbrook logs 22 Assists in 13th Triple-Double, while sleazy Pete Carroll calls a bush league fake punt up by 21 with under 6 minutes to go, and Lane Kiffin signs a QB who punched a woman

As the current UCLA Basketball team and Russell Westbrook continue to ascend to celestial heights, former trojan Coaches Pete Carroll and Lane Kiffin continue to wallow in pig slop.  The 2016-17 Bruins remained perfect at 12-0, after pulling away late against the Buckeyes to win 86-73.  UCLA triumphed for the third time against a Big 10 team this season, behind 20 points a piece from Aaron Holiday (off the bench) and Bryce Alford, not to mention superhuman Freshman Lonzo Ball, who missed his first Triple-Double by just 1 shot, 1 Assist, and 1 Rebound.

Speaking of Triple-Doubles, Bruin hero Russell Westbrook got his 13th of the season yesterday.  Ho-hum, except for the fact that this latest Triple-Double included an insane TWENTY-TWO Assists, in an OKC victory over Phoenix.

While UCLA is receiving all this POSITIVE publicity, two names some people associate with u$c got the other kind.  Pete Carroll, who is KNOWN for poor sportsmanship and classless-ly running up the score, did it again this week.  With his Seahawks completely destroying the hapless Rams 24-3 with 5:22 left, he called for a FAKE PUNT, Continue Reading »

WOLVERINES’ HUGE JACK-MEN NOT ENOUGH TO X OUT BRUIN MUTANTS

 Bruins Claw to victory — #2 UCLA improves to a perfect 10-0 — by enduring red-hot Michigan jacking up 16 three’s and making 12 in a first half barrage — to save the day with a hard-fought but convincing 102-84 victory, as superhuman Lonzo Ball and his fellow hero underclassmen lead the way

Even without starting Center Thomas Welsh, the #2 Bruins are formidable, on a National level.  Welsh has a bruised knee and sat this game out, but Michigan could not take advantage, as UCLA triumphs, 102-84, over a team that usually allows about half of that!  Welsh’s absence was mitigated by Gyorgy Goloman, who started in his place, and even moreso by Freshman big man Ike Anigbogu, who was a monster in the Defensive key with 4 official blocks, and even more “shot-alters.”  He also got a huge dunk while contributing 6 on the offensive end.  Completing the the front court success was another Freshman T.J. Leaf, who was super-effective throughout the game, scoring 21 with 8 Boards.

So the UCLA front court was awesome, but, as usual, the Bruins’ BACK COURT dominated yet another game.  Lonzo Ball (19 pts) hit 4 3’s in the first half and led the team to 50 points in the half… but that was not enough to have the lead at the break.  Michigan was so hot from outside that they scored 50 also, by going 12-for-16 from the arc.  They actually led by 7 before the Bruins went on a late run to tie it.  UCLA continued their run after the break to go up by 10.  Michigan hung tough, staying in striking distance until under the 5-minute mark, when UCLA finally pulled away, thanks to Continue Reading »

IT TAKES A LEAF

Home Invasion — UCLA knocks off the #1 Wildcats IN Kentucky 97-92, breaking UK’s 42-game home winning streak, scoring the most points a Calipari Kentucky team has EVER given up, and going to 9-0 for the first time in a decade, behind T.J Leaf’s 17 Points, 13 Rebounds, 5 Assists, Block and Steal

The Bruins are back, and right now, they are the best team in the Country.  Kentucky hadn’t lost at home in almost THREE YEARS, until the Bruins came in today and knocked the #1 team in the Country off their Kentucky Bluegrass Thoroughbred High Horse.  UCLA started well, but then went on a tear of Turnovers, allowing Kentucky to take a 9-point lead.  But UCLA Freshman phenom Lonzo Ball settled down, and settled down his troops, bringing them right back into the game.  Aaron Holiday came off the bench and dominated the first half, scoring 13 and carrying the Bruins into the lead, and a Ball 3-pointer right before the break gave the Bruins a 4-point lead at Halftime, 49-45.

In the second half, Freshman big man T.J. Leaf continued his stellar play, outrebounding the Cats, and getting scores inside.  Leaf did it all, scoring 17, with 13 Caroms, 5 Assists, a Blocked Shot, and a Steal.  Lonzo was instrumental as well, with 14 Points, 7 Assists, 6 Boards, a Steal, and a Block.  Plus, he set up the Offense beautifully, and broke the soft full court pressure effortlessly.  The third Freshman, front court player Ike Anigbogu was also indispensable.  He had a put-back slam dunk that was Sportscenter Highlight material, plus he had 6 Rebounds and 2 Blocks to go with his 6 Points.  He also was a strong Defensive force in the key, keeping Kentucky from exploiting the paint, before he fouled out late in the game.

Isaac Hamilton led all scorers with 19, including 3 three’s, and Thomas Welsh added 14 Points and 8 Rebounds before he too fouled out late.  Bryce Alford did NOT have one of his better games, shooting only 4-for-10, committing 3 bad Turnovers to only 1 Assist, and missing two Free Throws in crunchtime, but he did score 14 Points, and he did hit the final 2 Free Throws that clinched the game.  The only player I didn’t mention yet was Gyorgy Goloman, who didn’t fill up the box score, but he DID contribute valuable minutes due to the foul trouble of the other big men.  The Bruins would have been in trouble without him.

So once again, it was a TEAM effort, Continue Reading »

BENCH WARRANTED

Full Nelson, Half Nelson, NO Nelson – Many ex-trojans have bench warrants issued for their arrests, but for former u$c Wide Receiver and current NFL Bust Nelson Agholor, his benching was warranted, because he has sucked so hard lately

Can you say “over-rated?”  Ex-trojan Wide Receiver Nelson Agholor was selected by Philadelphia in the First Round of the 2015 NFL Draft.  He was the 20th pick overall… and now, is probably one of the least-productive draftees of the year, compared to expectations.

His Rookie year was thoroughly forgettable.  In 13 games, he caught only ONE Touchdown.  He caught less than 2 passes a game, for less than 22 yards a game.  That’s practically the definition of an NFL BUST.  But the Eagles had a lot of money vested in him, so they kept him, touting him to have a breakout Sophomore campaign.  The Eagles won their first five games this season, as new QB Carson Wentz was becoming a huge star.  But now, after 11 games, Agholor is still a complete non-factor.  He has caught only ONE Touchdown again this season.  In Week 10, he had a total of 2 Receptions for a measly total of 7 yards.  Then in Week 11, he got ZERO Catches, for ZERO yards, in a loss to the Seahawks.  Agholor has been so pathetic, that he saw a Sports Psychologist to try to figure out why he is choking this year.

After their Week 11 loss to Seattle, the Philly Coach was thinking about pulling the plug on Agholor, but said that if Nelson had a good week of practice, he would still play on Monday Night against the Packers.  But then Monday Night rolled around, and Agholor was declared inactive.  Apparently, Nelson didn’t light it up in practice.  So the Coach decided to sit Nelson’s ass on the pine, to see Continue Reading »

KENNEDY SHOT DOWN (L.A. 1PM)

That didn’t take long — Less than 24 hours after the season dies, UCLA Offensive Coordinator (and ex-trojan) Kennedy Polamalu gets the ax (thank god)

I guess I don’t have to boycott.  Ding dong, the witch is dead.  The worst Offensive Coordinator in UCLA history, who happens to be a former u$c trojan football player, has been fired, just one day after another “offensive” performance.  After scoring only 10 points against a pathetic Cal defense, Kennedy Polamalu is rightfully toast.

Now, maybe next year, the Bruins won’t finish 126th out of 127 in rushing, and, if Josh Rosen recuperates, he can have a shot at the Heisman, as his ability indicates.  But… will Jim Mora make a decent hire this time?  You simply cannot trust a guy who handed over the reins to a completely inexperienced and in-over-his-head Polamalu.  But this will be Mora’s last chance.  If he Continue Reading »

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