STARTING POINTS: Feeling bad for Tim Bradley and Mike D’Antoni this Monday morning

POINT ONE: What a knockout

So Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao were throwing hey-makers like Rocky and B.A. Baracus on Saturday and Marquez got the final blow, and it was game over for Pac-man. It was a pretty stunning turn of events. What’s next is going to be less stunning. After Marquez-Pacquaio Four was so dramatic, it’s pretty clear that the next major fight is going to be … Marquez-Pacquiao Five. Such is life in the world of pro boxing. And such is life for Cathedral City’s own Timothy Bradley. It would be great if logic ran the sport. We would now get a fight between Marquez and Bradley to see who the real top dog at this weight class is. But unfortunately for Bradley, we know this isn’t how it works. The idea isn’t to find out who’s the best. The idea is to find out who can make the most. And as long as the four choices for making pay-per-view dollars are Marquez, Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather and Bradley, I think we know where Bradley stands. All Bradley can do is wait for his next big opportunity, and be ready when it comes around. I’m just afraid it might be a while.

POINT TWO: NFL shoutouts

Just a quick moment to give a few personal high-fives from this NFL Sunday. I was on my treadmill watching the NFL Mix Channel on DirecTV seeing eight games at a time and I had the sound on the Panthers-Falcons game when I heard Gus Johnson say: “Brought down by James Dockery. A nice play by the youngster from Oregon State.” Dockery, the Palm Desert product, recorded six tackles for the Panthers in an impressive victory over the one-loss Falcons. Matt Ryan and company tried to pick on Dockcery, who had been inactive the last couple games, but he was up to the task. Maybe Sunday’s outing will lead to more playing time this year and a steady gig next year. The other guy I have an affinity for is Washington Redskins backup QB Kirk Cousins. Cousins was a great college player and a standup guy for my alma mater Michigan State. And while all the other rookie quarterbacks in this stellar class landed in dream scenarios where they could play right away, Cousins, who has as much NFL talent as Russell Wilson, Ryan Tanneyhill or Brandon Weeden was inexplicably drafted by the Redskins a few rounds after they drafted Robert Griffin III. What a rip-off. I felt so bad for him on draft day. But there he was on Week 14, ready to go when his name was called. He threw a beautiful touchdown pass and followed it up with a steely quarterback draw on a two-point conversion to lead the Redskins to overtime and a crucial victory. It’s no surprise he was ready for his opportunity, and he may have some more huge moments to come in the next few weeks if RGIII’s injury is severe. I wish him well.

POINT THREE: Hashtag Lakers problems

With this daily blog, it’s hard to avoid talking about what’s wrong with the Lakers. I’d be happy to talk about what’s right with the Lakers, but there has to be something right to talk about. After another sluggish embarrasing loss at Staples Sunday night to the Jazz, the Lakers are 7-6 at home by the way, the doubt is creeping in more and more about this team’s legitemacy. It’s true they are not at full strength. But that doesn’t account for the effort being put forth, particularly defensively at the end of games, by the five guys that are out there. If the playoffs started today, the Lakers would not be in them. In fact if the playoffs started tomorrow, the next day or the next day, the Lakers would not be in them either. There are currently 10 teams in the West and 19 teams in the NBA with a better record than the Lakers. Only six teams out of 30 have more losses than the Lakers. Think about that for a second. Starting at the bottom it goes Wizards, Raptors, Cavaliers, Pistons, Suns, Hornets and then Lakers. I don’t have an answer for the Lakers’ woes, which is fine, but a larger problem is Mike D’Antoni doesn’t have an answer, either. “We’re not ver good right now” he said after Sunday’s 117-110 loss. He has the look of a guy who knows what should be happening, sees it isn’t happening, and doesn’t know how to make it happen. The Lakers have nine games left in December, and only two of them (both vs. the Knicks) are against a team in the top 10 in the league. If the Lakers are still sub-.500 on Jan. 1, Lakers fans officially have my permission to panic.