Caligula’s Fall Begins

I’ve been in Florida for several days on a beach trying to ignore the world. But it now begins, the unraveling of Caligula’s reign of overt stupidity. Gates will be the dude to watch moving forward, not Manafort. Mueller has clearly made it known he’s flipped Crazy Papa and intends to do the same with Gates and others. Mueller’s actions also make it clear he believes he has enough on Caligula which he hasn’t made public. Mueller is going for the removal of Caligula despite what Sarah Huckabee-Sanders tells the cult groupies. I’m wondering where Michael Flynn will re-enter this putrid saga of American history which is even more tawdry than the Tea Pot Dome Scandal or Watergate.

My guess is those 30 per cent who defend Caligula to the death are still with him and will remain with him till he’s tweeting from his bunker in the White House. If Eva Braun and the children are smart they’ll get their asses back to New York and stay there. I’m thinking I’ll probably call my former youth minister turned U.S. Senator James Lankford one more time to discuss his public stance on all of this.

It’s certainly not a time to gloat for those of us who have railed against Caligula since Day 1 of his announced candidacy, but more of a time to feel extremely sad on how far our country has devolved culturally.

When all the evidentiary threads of this sordid tale are exposed it will make Watergate seem like a feel good story.

Can’t wait for the Cypriot bank money laundering chapters. I’m assuming John Grisham, Bob Woodward, and Michael Lewis are taking notes. Some great books are on the horizon.

But I do feel somewhat sad for all the unread whites who put their faith in this rogue con artist as if he were ever even remotely interested in their welfare. My suggestion to these people is to start reading books and turn their televisions off.

Westbrook Triple Double Sinks Indiana, 114-96

A nice take care of business win for the Thunder on Wednesday night inside Chesapeake Energy Arena over the Indiana Pacers by a score of 114-96. The Pacers aren’t much and without Myles Turner they’re even less, but it was a good win for OKC as they continue to feel themselves out in the team building process.

Russell Westbrook triple doubled for the 81st time in his career this time with 28 points, 16 assists, and 10 rebounds. Carmelo Anthony chipped in with 28 points. Steven Adams double doubled for the second straight game. Raymond Felton was solid. Some nice things from Jerami Grant and Josh Huestis. Andre didn’t have to attempt a free throw. Alex Abrines stuffed Domas Sabonis on a point blank shot at the rim. Patrick Patterson played 16 minutes and looks like he’s getting his legs back under him. Paul George fouled out against his former teammates and finished with only 10 points.

Only downside in an 18 point win would probably be Paul George fouling out.

Indiana is picked by most to finish in the bottom third in the East so the Thunder are still looking for their first win this season over a team which will make the playoffs in either conference.

Victor Oladipo scored 35 points on his former mates and looked more at ease than he did last season playing in OKC.

The Thunder even out at 2-2 and hit the road to play in Minnesota on Friday night. The Timberwolves haven’t won a game since Wiggins’ half court heave against the Thunder. I look at it this way, if that lucky shot doesn’t fall the Thunder are 3-1. Take away the bad performance in Utah and the Thunder so far have been decent figuring themselves out four games in.

Patrick Patterson should start playing better. Felton has been excellent. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some of the things Josh Huestis has shown so far. And as we all know–Andre is going to start being the ball so that will take care of itself.

OKC in Minnesota on Friday night.

Jeff Flake Says Enough on Day 278

Jeff Flake isn’t a liberal. He’s an ultra conservative senator who came to office embracing the Tea Party ideology. He’s from one of the reddest states in the union coming from Arizona. He’s done. Actually, he was done several months ago when he openly challenged Caligula’s behavior. Politically, he’s done. This isn’t a Dem vs. the GOP deal. This is basically a fight for ownership of the Republican Party. I doubt anything Flake said will resonant with the Trump core. Because as we all have seen he could rape Ivanka on pay per view then kill the cameramen and they’d still be behind him. In fact–Kellyanne Conway and Horse Huckabee-Sanders would claim hero status. Anyway, here’s the speech where he quotes my favorite president of all-time (TR) on multiple occasions. Unlike Mike Pence, it appears Jeff Flake has actually studied history.

Oh, Boy

I’ve been asking myself should I put this on here? I did a deal on Andre’s free throw shooting before this season started. I prayed this trend would correct itself as I’m sure Sam Presti did as well.

Andre attempted his first two free throws of the season in the Minnesota game. Neither came close to touching the rim. You felt for him watching this ordeal. I just don’t know how you start someone who can’t shoot and is getting worse. He’s such a good kid and a good defender, but how do you put him on the court and sit Jerami Grant and Raymond Felton or even the sometimes frilly Alex Abines? How do you do this as a coach?

In the West, you need Andre defending Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, James Harden and others. But how do play a player who can’t shoot?

I’m assuming the Thunder brass thought this would get better since they extended Andre for $30 million over the next three years.

Be the ball, Andre…be the ball, buddy. Just be the ball.

Wiggins Banks in Game Winner at the Buzzer, 115-113

An excellent game between two teams who bolstered their rosters this past off season to compete for the Western crown. It would not be a shock at all if these two teams finish No. 4 and No. 5 in the regular season and find themselves battling each other in the first round.

OKC fought back from a double digit deficit in the fourth quarter behind Russell Westbrook hitting five threes and even took a 113-112 lead with 5.9 seconds left when Westbrook beautifully facilitated Carmelo Anthony on a made three from the left wing, but with no timeouts left Minnesota inbounded to Andrew Wiggins who lost Paul George on a moving screen set by Karl Anthony-Townes and banked in the game winner just past half court.

Tough loss for the Thunder who now drop to 1-2 on this young season. But this is a loss where you feel OKC did take a step forward as Westbrook asserted himself yet made the beautiful play to Carmelo with the game on the line. Good game for Steven Adams with a 17 point, 13 rebound night. A game by Carmelo which seems more in line with what his role should be on this team. An excellent game by Raymond Felton who is giving the Thunder what they never had last season… namely, an effective backup point guard. The usual array of contribution plays by Jerami Grant who at some point might need to supplant Andre Roberson.

A tough shooting night for Paul George who went 6-20 and a very tough night for Andre Roberson. But there were positives in this game which gives hope the team is starting to feel more comfortable playing together.

OKC’s record doesn’t worry me because the West is a beast. The Thunder could very well be hard pressed to win 52 games in the regular season when all is said and done, but the important thing is for this team to get better every time out and be playing their best ball coming down the stretch. The West is just so tough, so very tough this season. The Thunder better be ready to play every night out because there’s not many games on the schedule which are gimme wins. If OKC could be 5-5 after the first ten games and having the look of a team which is figuring things out I’d be okay with it.

Indiana Pacers in town on Wednesday night with Oladipo and Sabonis.

Thunder Come Up Empty in Utah

The Utah Jazz aren’t going to make the Western Conference Finals, but they are the defending Northwest Division champions and on Saturday night in Utah they pretty much coasted to an easy 96-87 win over what appeared to be a confused Thunder team.

It was an ugly game to witness from a Thunder viewpoint. The Thunder are an athletic team which should thrive on transition baskets and the pure energy of Russell Westbrook. Instead, on Saturday night what we saw was too much of Melo and Paul George hoisting a combined 46 shots. OKC was passive offensively, never seemed interested in getting Westbrook to the rim and looked more like a bad Eastern Conference also ran than a team some have picked to win the NBA championship this summer.

On the night, Westbrook had six points on 2-11 shooting. Granted, Westbrook did have 13 rebounds and 9 assists, but the staple of his game is getting to the rim. Utah is one of the better defensive teams in the West with Rudy Gobert protecting the rim, but OKC just didn’t seem interested in doing more than chucking thirty-three three point attempts of which they hit eleven. Overall, OKC shot 41% from the field and give Utah some credit, but the OKC plan for this game was bad. This is a Utah team which lost Gordon Hayward and George Hill, this is a Thunder team which added Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Give me somewhat of a break here.

I expect more from Billy Donovan as a coach. I’m all in with the concept of Westbrook being more of a Mo Cheeks type of point guard who facilitates George and Anthony, but I’m not on board with the thought of Donovan neutering his best player and the league’s reigning MVP. Some middle ground would be nice. I’m not a shot counter, but I don’t see Carmelo Anthony as the guy who needs to have 26 shots flowing through his game on most nights this season.

I wrote about this before the season in relation to Mo Cheeks and the championship he won in ’83 with the Sixers when he facilitated Dr. J and Moses Malone. Mo Cheeks in my mind was that team’s MVP as he weaved a game in which he scored, yet facilitated Julius Irving without draining the energy from his team.

If I’m coaching this team my mantra is transition, penetration, and then kick outs if the rim isn’t there. Plus, get Adams more involved on pick and roll.

I hated what I saw from the Thunder last night. This shouldn’t be a day care deal for Carmelo. He should be the second or third option. He should earn his touches based on based on his feel on a particular night. If it’s there, it’s there. Know what I mean.

I know it’s early in the season and this is a process…blah, blah, blah. Tell me if I’m wrong here– but if centering a team around Carmelo’s touches is the template then why were the Knicks the biggest underachievers in the NBA the past six seasons?

I want to see the ball move. I want to see transition created from our defensive length. I want to less chucking from Carmelo. But most of all I want to see Russell Westbrook play like Russell Westbrook.

Having written all that, Golden State is 1-2 this season and it’s early in the season.

Minnesota Timberwolves in town tonight to take on the Thunder.

Russell, please watch.

I’m Feeling a Waffle House Saturday Looming

I haven’t been to my favorite Waffle House since after the Mayweather-MacGregor fight. That night was a life changer for me. I got there after the fight at about one in the morning. It was the same night I went to see Clayton Kershaw pitch for the OKC Dodgers on a rehab assignment. What a night. First Kershaw, then watching the fight with a group of millennials ( an experience in itself) at my son’s house. Then, of course—the Waffle House in Edmond.

I literally was the only white dude there and the place was packed because of the fight. Everyone was wired. I sat at the counter…right in the middle. I have no idea how I landed such a prime seat, but I did. Right there in the hub of the fray. You really don’t get the Waffle House ambience unless you sit at the counter…truth. You wanna get the blue collar pulse feel of a Waffle House you sit at the fucking counter. You want a frilly experience then go to IHOP and sit at a booth.

Two white male cooks who looked like they just came from a Trump rally in Alabama and all black female waitresses. So—all these orders start piling up on the counter and the two male cooks get pissed and scream at the black waitresses, ” If you can’t get this fucking food out we’re walking.”

The waitresses didn’t take kindly to that obviously and one of them flipped the two cooks off. So this older black guy to my left deftly gets up, goes behind the counter and starts handing out plates throughout the jam packed restaurant. Unbelievably, he got my order right.

Pecan waffle with a side of bacon, then the All-Star Platter of two eggs over medium, double order of hash browns crisp straight up with Hunt’s ketchup, toast, breakfast steak, ice water, orange juice, and a black coffee. I don’t do the whole Sean Brock production with a salad, a patty melt, and a breakfast pork chop. That’s too much for me.

Anyway, tomorrow is like an epic sports day looming and I’m thinking Waffle House at the end of it. O State at Texas, OU at K State, Michigan vs. Penn State, Game 7 Astros vs. Yankees, and Thunder at Utah. It doesn’t get much better. If only I could take my black lab Pauli with me at sit her at the counter with me it would be nirvana. Why not? It’s worth a try.

Thunder Toy With New York Knicks in Opener

It was supposed to be relatively easy and it was as the OKC Thunder did pretty much wanted they wanted to when they wanted to do it in a breezy feel good 105-84 rout of the Knicks inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Welcome to the second era of Super Team ball in the ten year history of the Thunder. As one should know—the first era came back in 2012 when Durant, Westbrook, and Harden led the Thunder to the NBA Finals in 2012 when the precocious trio led the Thunder to the Finals against LeBron’s then original Super Team in Miami. But that first OKC Super Team was organic, all from Sam Presti draft selections.

The second OKC Super Team almost came into place after the Game 6 loss to the Warriors which changed the course of contemporary NBA history. Presti almost had a Super Team in place of Durant, Westbrook, and Al Horford. But as we all know that didn’t happen as Durant took the easiest path to a title with the least resistance possible.

Quite a few figured that would be it for the Thunder. Think again. Sam Presti re-signed Westbrook, got through last season, and now has another bona fide Super Team in Oklahoma City…only this time it comes through trades and free agency. This time fans in OKC know the ‘hardened’ (pun intended) truth about the cold business aspect of the league. Dog eat dog. Shark eat shark or be eaten. So, I guess what I’m saying here is carpa diem, baby—live the moment and piss off that luxury tax.

Tonight OKC fans such as myself got our first real look at this Super Team and it was pretty much what we thought it would be…namely impressive.

Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony combined for 71 points. Throw in Steven Adams’ 12 points and OKC’s top four players combined for 83 points.

Westbrook notched his 80th career triple double with a 21 point, 16 assist, and 10 rebound night. Combined, PG and Melo went 9-23 from beyond the arc. On nights when they’re hitting their shots at a crisper rate Westbrook’s assist totals should ebb even higher. One thing is certain, when OKC gets in transition with this bunch there will be oceans of space of time for George and Melo to launch their shots.

Adams, Jerami Grant, Andre Roberson, and Raymond Felton played well, but more production will be need from the rest of the roster when they hook up with Golden State and Houston.

Rookie swingman Terrance Ferguson shows some promise and has a nice smile. Alex Abrines went 1-5 shooting threes and OKC will need more from him on nights when they’re playing good teams. But if Abrines having a bad shooting night is all I can bitch about then I think OKC will be okay.

So, it was a glorious fall evening in Oklahoma City as Super Team II was unveiled at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. But don’t kid yourself, every Thunder fan worth a grain of salt is already thinking Golden State. It’s hard not to even when you know you shouldn’t. What’s even harder is to not contemplate what would have happened last season if Durant, Westbrook, and Al Horford had teamed up to take on the Splash Brothers and the Groin Kicker. As NBA historians we’ll never know, and it will somehow eat at us.

But life moves on and we’ll deal with it.

NBA life is good in Oklahoma. Carpa diem, baby.