Opening season for the Los Angeles Lakers at STAPLES saw the Minnesota Timberwolves get one over on them, 112-111 in a tight affair last night.
It was a match-up of head-to-head, almost mirror image similarities for the two teams that originated in Minneapolis. From the NBA season debuts of number one and two draft picks Karl Anthony-Towns and D’Angelo Russell from Kentucky in college form and place of birth respectively, to the return of the father time of straight out of high-school NBA legends Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett. But alas all this in-game could not reach the heights of what happened pre-game.
Not even the sophomore stars on each twin team, from Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson to Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine. Nothing could. Not even the trash talk between the kid Randle and the legend Garnett which showed Julius wasn’t phased by the intimidation of the leagues most passionate player (“I’m not scared of anybody”). Or the swag of P Nick Young for a buzzer-beating three from 40 feet. Or the Lakers 21-3 run, 9-digit lead, 60-point first-half which led to all that as Kobe told the STAPLES purple and gold side faithful before the game, “We have a team here with great, young talent. We look forward to making the city of Los Angeles proud the way it should be.” Not to mention Kobe’s matching his jersey number in points in his returning, redemptive game. Not even Minnesota’s comeback which was sealed in the waning seconds of regulation when reigning Sixth Man of The Year, Lou Williams couldn’t add three more to his 21-points off the bench.
All this was just a footnote in comparison to both teams starting their respective 82 chapters with hopes of an epilogue with one powerful foreword to preface.
The two teams who began in the twin-city, mid-western state of Minnesota honored the late, great coach Phil ‘Flip’ Saunders with some moving shooting shirts before everything came to the tip of the referee throwing the ball up between centers. Flip Saunders who past away three days earlier at just 60 years of age from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma was and always will be one of the greatest coaches in NBA history. The number of players and people he inspired is countless. His hoop soul…as beautiful as only the purists truly know. His legacy is undeniable. His legend honored last night with a simple…but beautiful gesture. Like the ones that have been pouring through heart-brokenly all week from trending timelines to highlight reels. As the two teams lead a moment of silence the Lakers wore a grey shooting shirt that threw it back to their Minneapolis times with Flips name circling the vintage logo like the legendary MPLS letters. The Timberwolves featuring Flip’s name next to two proud letters forming the word…”WE”.
These testaments of tribute where fitting…and then when you thought it couldn’t get more meaningful as the two teams in uniform shook hands after a game were there was barely a thread between them, Minnesota not the old Lakers came away with the win. And as the Point Guard who led them to that victory with 28 points and 14 assists Ricky Rubio grabbed the game ball and pointed to the downtown L.A night sky beyond the banners and the rafters one thing was clear…
…that too was for Flip.
“Coach would’ve been proud” interim coach and Timberwolve great Sam Mitchell told the press. After tragically having to say goodbye to the team he coached all too early last season, if only Saunders could see it…or even himself have lead his kids to that victory. But then again…in a way he did!
Boogie’s Productions Down Again
Cousins injured again…we can’t relate to that.
When former Sacramento star and New Orleans Pelican DeMarcus Cousins joined the Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green Golden State Warriors to begin last season critics dubbed this superteam unfair.
What was unfair however was the ACL injury that kept Boogie sidelined for most of the season and then the quad injury on top of that in the playoffs that made sure the Warriors wouldn’t be dancing in their final chapter in Golden State.
But as D.C. made a Cali move too like the Dubs across the Golden Gate to San Francisco, heading to LeBron’s Lakerland with former frontcourt friend Anthony Davis, what was really unfair is what’s just come out of a practice run this week.
Cousins has tore his ACL again in a horrible twist of fate.
This games God’s people.
When DeMarcus reunited with the same former New Orleans big man that rocked his jersey in beautiful All Star tribute a couple of seasons back when they briefly flew together as Pelicans this Summer, the Lakers furthered their favourite status like tapping that heart on Twitter. Even if the Clippers ended up being the ones that got Kawhi Leonard…and Paul George too for the new battle of Los Angeles, raging against the Lakers Hollywood machine, the Lake Show have the ‘Space Jam 2’ of the King and the ‘brow. Not to mention the difference maker like rising star Kyle Kuzma in the veteran one of Cousins.
Either one of them will blow, or both, as the other will show he’s still got it. Giving the West’s best the biggest force of an interchangeable frontcourt. As the Lakers could either go with the more muscle version of a Tim Duncan and David Robinson twin towers in the Pelican reunited Kentucky Wildcats of Davis and Cousins and ‘Bron. Or the most dynamic duo since Shaq and Kobe of James and A.D. and the one young core star who didn’t get switched for this franchise player in Kuz, who could form a big three if the injured Cousins isn’t already still a part of one. Despite the writing off medical report.
And we haven’t even got to his Kentucky alumni Rajon Rondo led backcourt, or last year’s all dunking and blocking big headband and hair spark JaVale McGee. A gym rat who re-upped after almost going for both the Defensive Player Of The Year and Most Improved Player award in the first month of last seasons 82 campaign.
The Lakers are going to need him and that first wind of last year now more than ever.
Or the California club have some decisions to make for who to put in purple and gold for their almost meant to be final roster spot (DON’T AMNESTY!). Do they still wait for another former Warrior in Sixth Man, defensive legend Andre Igudola? Or do they leave him and the long rumoured other Anthony in Carmelo and pick up another big? Guys like Nené, Amir Johnson, Joakim Noah, Kenneth Faried, Zaza Pachulia and Marcin Gortat are still on the market like fresh fruit stalls. And even Dwight Howard of all people have expressed (more like blatantly begged for publicity) for a return to Lakerland after his Hollywood divorce.
Because we have no idea when Boogie will be back. Or if he will even be the same player when he returns. Or if he even was before this injury happened. But despite history rewriting so many careers crippled by injury we still believe. We still believe he has superstar status and could be the X-factor difference maker when he returns late in the game to this Hollywood scripted rivalry like he almost was last season in the Finals against Toronto as he flips it. You saw him almost become a Splash Brother with that three, so just you wait until you see him downtown in STAPLES this season when it’s all said and buzzer beater done.
The bridge is far from over.
New Nike Philadelphia Seventies Sixers Jerseys Are A Classic Edition
Philadelphia soul on ice.
Ever since Nike partnered up with the NBA like ‘Hobbs and Shaw’ there has been a fast and furious release of rock solid jerseys for the hardwood over the last couple of seasons. From the Association, to the Icon’s and Statement’s made. Last year the ‘Just Do It’ swoosh even helped Basketball’s best put on a vest for the City. Adding even more to the closet collection when it came to some alternates for the teams that made the postseason push to the playoffs.
But now if you thought fo, fo, four jerseys that have at least one changing by the year was enough for your locker room or throwback budget, then just you wait. Because all these fits and drips may be iconic, but Nike are about to release an addition that really is Classic for the five man team. Over the next calendar the Classic Edition jerseys will belong to only 12 franchises in this 30 strong league. Less than half for the next year that we hope includes some storied Lakers and Celtics duds.
But what better team to introduce this new tradition than the one with more classic throwbacks than Mitchell and Ness in the Philadelphia 76ers? The City of Brotherly Love may have lost Jimmy Butler and J.J. Reddick this offseason, but they’ve gained even more threads for new team player Al Horford and mainstays Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris to rock with the rock as they push it down court next season.
Open your arms to that.
The classic PHILA Philadelphia jerseys have already been brought back with a next generation twist. Whilst the 76ers seem to be the only team who could still put up those Christmas script jerseys long after other teams have gone in the New Year sales. But with the only court apparel competition being what looks in the mirror as they try these on, the Sixers have out done and stitched themselves yet again. Bringing back like 1971, Hal Greer and ‘The Kangaroo Kid’, Billy Cunningham, the iconic and creative “Seventies Sixers” jerseys. A jumping, forgotten retro relic and slept on classic until now.
Waking up the league, back to the future in a Ford Mustang the Motown era of a classic Bad Boy, Detroit Pistons would be proud…or jealous of (inch or mile, you should have got there sooner Motor City men), Embiid and Simmons in a slick photoshoot sharing an ‘S’ on the chest popped the hood and revealed all the intricate workings underneath, bringing this classic back on the road like Hall & Oates.
Hold on we’re going home.
Before the process. Before the answer. Even before “fo, fo, fo”, Cunningham and the Sixers represented Philly like steak and cheese. The 1970’s where a defining era for the city. Philadelphia soul made its mark from stereos to nightspots and some young fighter named ‘Rocky’ went the distance with some kid called Creed as some man going by the name Sly Stallone wrote a classic movie. Oh and Questlove of the legendary Roots crew was born. Along with another Philly legend you might also be familiar with.
With this thrift shop like find that celebrates the spirit and legacy of a city that reinvents itself more times than it does it’s wardrobe, this is the perfect “new” look for a team that could take inspiration from their past when it comes to their latest reinvention on court. Playing on without the services of their Butler, or top downtown gunner J.J.
And after all they’ve loved and lost over the years, even if you don’t trust it you can always try on the process now.
And its a look that could fit over seventy games this season.
Now that has the makings of a classic.
Subscribe to our Newsletter!
Canadian Basketball Insider Newsletter
U Sports1 week ago
All-Canadian Eddie Ekiyor leaves Carleton Ravens for pro ranks
U Sports1 day ago
Former Carleton All-Canadian Eddie Ekiyor charged sexual assault, kidnapping
NBA4 weeks ago
Grizzlies Throwback Takes Them Back To Vancouver
FIBA2 days ago
Canada lays the boom defeats Australia 90-70
FIBA2 weeks ago
Canada trims 2019 FIBA World Cup roster to 19 players
NBA3 weeks ago
Kawhi Leonard thanks Toronto Raptors
NBA4 weeks ago
The 8th Wonder Of The Celtics
FIBA1 week ago
Canada opens up 2019 Pre-FIBA World Cup schedule with 96-87 win over Nigeria