Excitement was beyond palpable in the STAPLES Center last night. Even more than this weekends behind jersey, lip service between rookie Lonzo Ball and free agent to be with a home in L.A., LeBron James, doing their best Joe Pesci and Frank Vincent in ‘Casino’ impression (“whose this guy?”). As last night in Los Angeles Lakerland became ‘Kobeland’.
Forget Hollywood down the downtown road even if Jack Nicholson’s bald dome is clear to see in the above shot courtside, because last night off Chick Hearn Drive, La La Lakerland was the real city of stars as all the living legends that the storied Lakers hold in their history books came out to pay tribute to another and possibly the greatest who was about to join them in the rafters either side of Chick’s microphone.
The fire and ice of Elgin Baylor and the logo Jerry West. Big Game James Worthy. President Magic introducing his last Laker wish with Jeanie. Cap Kareem and of course the big fella and dynamic duo partner in crime Shaq amongst other teammates like Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher where in attendance like the Kevin Hart and Kendrick Lamar celebrity elite for the biggest ticket at STAPLES since Bean Bryant said goodbye to basketball with 60 points.
See Kobe Bryant was so good the Lakers had to retire him twice like the achillies and shoulder injuries that crippled his career but didn’t close it until he called it. After years of debate between eight and the one better than Jordan 24, the Lakers in the end decided to immortalize both numbers of the five time champ in the retirement rafters.
And in an evening of celebration that even featured a Santa Monica pier like ferris wheel in the ‘Kobeland’ amusement arcade outside the arena, number 8 and 24 had a hard time putting it all in words with his wife and three daughters right beside him. But after a stirring speech that passed respect to everyone from fan to teammate, when asked who would have the upper hand in a young, dunking number 8 and the court scientist of 24, all the retired Bryant could think of was at least ‘Fro8e’ could grow hair.
That was halftime. As for the actual game itself against the champion Golden State Warriors that these young Dubs to be bogey team beat last year that was a different Los Angeles Times story. The young Lake Show came close to honouring their tributed legend, but in the end faced disappointment like the eventuality that they didn’t rock those rumoured Black Mamba snakeskin jerseys that looked to Nike make-up for the lack of Hollywood Nights in all black this season. Rookie steal Kyle Kumza followed his dinner date with Kobe with 25 off the bench. Whilst number 2 Lonzo Ball pointed to 16 points and 6 rebounds and assists for a devilish line. Even returned from injury Larry Nance Jr. caught a slam as good as his dunk of the year against Brooklyn last season. But in the end after taking the champs to overtime like New York last week, the Young Golden State of California took the Showtime swag out of Hollywood, as after K.C.P. failed to drain a game winning three at regulation, Kevin Durant’s 36 points had its own muse cage, Mamba moment with a 116-114 game winner.
But despite this heartbreaking loss for team purple, this night was all about the soul of Lakers gold.
Dear Basketball here’s to the eighth wonder, ‘Ko8e24’…forever!
Time to start carving that statue…
Friday The 13th Lucky For Lakers 13th Straight Win
Unlucky for some, Friday the 13th seemed to be a lady for the Lakers today in a scorching heated matchup between Los Angeles, California and Miami, Florida. As the purple and gold took home their 13th straight win on the road with an 113-110 win by the beach.
Foreman-Ali, Tyson-Holyfield. That’s how LeBron described this heavyweight bout between his old and new team that had a playoff atmosphere and was Anthony Davis concurred “fun”. But it really was a boxing match slugfest for the belt as at first it looked like The King hadn’t taken all his talents back to South Beach. Until former N.O. dynamic duo Davis and DeMarcus Cousins twin towered him. Grading him at an A- and telling him to get back to taking everyone to school.
And oh how did he.
In this ring Jimmy Butler’s 23 was serving right hooks all night and fans on Twitter low blows, below the belt (can the guy not have one bad day (or just half in all actuality) at the office without you showing him the cardboard box like ‘Jerry Maguire’? Have you not seen what he’s done in year 17?! YEAR 17 PEOPLE! Father what?). Down went The King. Down went The King. But like falling down seven times. He got up again like the 8th wonder (word to one more in number 24 as I sit typing this in Kobe, Japan wearing a number 23 Lakers jersey…because I’m just that type of guy). And he got up swinging. All the way to a T.K.O. in the American Airlines Arena he formed Voltron with the big three of the ready for the rafters, one last jersey of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, who he hugged pregame with so much love. “You good? You good?” He asked. Concerned about his friend and court legends health like we all are. Great to see you looking so well CB4.
The Heat’s undefeated homestand came to an end on this court canvas, as city for city these two teams of sunshine states styled out, live and in living colour. Miami in those Crocket and Tubbs turquoise Vice Editions that have you rolling up your sleeves and L.A. in those M.D.E. Shaq sized affairs against the team the Diesel refuelled was traded to, that are real gold in California like his slamming STAPLES statue.
But as the King went from the gallows of seven first half turnovers to a final coronation of 28 points, 12 assists (you see that tap pass that was vintage Magic from the Point King?) we all know who the real Laker and Heat legend was this night.
No decision about it.
From washed King to those spin cycle moves that rinse you. Washing his hands with all those refreshed timelines.
But how about all the slamming like Shaquille and stuff from A.D. too? As long range as LeBron from the beach let alone downtown too. And that goaltend from the D.P.O.Y. too though. Those type of plays count in different ways. And Davis’ line of a Kareem 33 points for a double, double with 10 rebounds was as sure thing automatic and reliable as the white tee under his jersey (I’ve just ordered mine in the Black Friday sale. It may aswell come with a lack of white tees because of A.D. and well I’m white and thinner than the hair that used to be uptop my crown).
Big man X-factor JaVale McGee also showed up sky-hook, lay-up line and alley-oop and one sinker finisher with that muscle flexing, screaming passion. Oh and 9 points, 10 rebounds and “hand me the Defensive Player Of The Year award” 5 blocks.
Those weren’t goaltends.
In the end it was just too much dynamic duo. Too much Bradley back to give the already deep Lakers more water (again just wait until Cousin relates even more than his advice at the half) and too much Alex Carushow, looking literally like an NBA Jam character pregame. Check the Lakers Twitter timeline. “He’s on fire”! Must be how he got that cut.
The Lakers are playing beautiful basketball right now. This is history. Like Shaq and Kobe, Magic and Kareem, Wilt and West, Mikan and those specs. Savour it.
As James Worthy clapping and lighting the cigar for this big game tweeted, “putting up 113 on Friday the 13th equals 13th straight Lake Show win”.
It’s all about the numbers 42.
Lucky for us.
Fun Guy Gets His Ring
“What it do baby!”
It may have taken longer than his Game 7 buzzer beating, playoff series winning shot against the Sixers, circling around the rim to process. But the board man finally gets his ring. As Kawhi Leonard was welcomed back to his world of the 6’s Jurassic Park for a ring reunion. Returning as a Clipper to his Raptor home in Toronto for more Star clippings.
But in the end against the Canadian champion who are surprisingly still so in contention good without him, it was all L.A. his way.
Kawhi Leonard had 23 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, 1 ring and a partridge in a pear tree this Christmas season, as the L.A. Clippers beat the Toronto Raptors (taking it back in uniform and court to their 1995 expansion inception like the dream of cousins Carter and McGrady running a dunk contest night in and night out), 112-92.
And T-Dot just wish they could take it back to last Summer man.
But as Kyle played ring bearer to Kawhi pregame it was this moment of championship matrimony that kept Leonard and Lowry together like these two K.L.’s in initials ’til death do them part.
This brotherhood bond was bigger than it all this night…even basketball. Especially this basketball game. Even if 6 God Lou Will also added 18 and 8 assists against his former Raps club. To go along with Maurice Harkless’ 14, Paul George’s 13, 11 from the Patrick’s of Beverley and Patterson and 10 from Montrezl Harrell for this balanced diet of an attack.
But if your two feet want to talk about balance. T.O is like T.D. too as they know how to eat well with everyone getting their share for their plate at the table this festive season with all the statistical trimmings.
Most Improved to Defensive Player Of The Year’ and team MVP Pascal Siakam had 24 for this 48 minutes worth of shot clocks even though the Clippers lead by as many as this. Whilst equally impressive Norman Powell added 22. OG Anunoby matched P.G. for 13 to go along with Terrence Davis 10. Whereas Spaniard Marc Gasol rounded out the rest of the Raps with 9 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists.
But with the ovation all standing for a jumbo jumbotron tribute we all know which Raptor this night was for. All to his crowd roaring success as the whole arena sounded like a Tyronasaurus paddock…let alone a Raptor enclosure.
It was perimeter fence electric. 100,000 volts Tim!
The Klaw was back in the house of claws…if only for a night to rule the earth like when the dinosaurs did.
Welcome back to Jurassic World.
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