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Monday, December 31, 2007

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics at Staples Center on 12/31/07

Last night's game for the Los Angeles Lakers is the first game of this NBA season that Ashley and I have attended. Our seats are pretty good, in the 6th row of the Premier Section (PR9) at Staples Center – great to get tickets for this game at face value – as I heard scalpers looking for $1500 for tickets that were not any better than this. This is one of, if not the game to see this year at Staples Center.

Yes, we did get tickets for both the Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs -- however, other family members attended those games.

Over the past week, as I thought forward to this game – I noticed I had kept this Los Angeles Lakers season at arms length. In fact, even during the Christmas Day game I feared a 20 point loss to the Phoenix Suns. I was definitely a doubter in their recent run, but boy was I wrong!

The atmosphere at Staples Center for this game versus the Boston Celtics was electric for a number of reasons. The first being is that this is the only game this year in which the new Boston trio of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen will appear at Staples Center against the Lakers. The second being that tonight was a throwback night to the Los Angeles Lakers’ championship season of 1987-88.

Not only were they handing out gold t-shirts, but they read “I saw the short shorts” which meant the throwbacks would include the shorts as well – or as some folks refer to them, as John Stockton shorts. (Click here for a great gallery of the Los Angeles Lakers that started with short shorts)

Derek Fisher with his short shorts at Staples Center for Lakers vs. Celtics
Just before tip-off a great video lit the crowd up with a collection of footage from the storied franchises of the Lakers and the Celtics. Some of the written comments in the video included….

Impassioned Hereos. Larry Bird, "Championship Rings...I live for them." Pat Riley, "Celtics...a bunch of thugs." Boston. Los Angeles. The Lakers. The Celtics. Can you imagine it any other way?

Here is the video:

The video got both the fans and the players into the game and it showed up as a very chippy game in the first few minutes. Either that, or Bennet Salvatore and his NBA officiating crew never had control in the game. Very quickly, for both teams there were too many bad foul calls, make-up calls on the other side that frustrated a lot of the players on both side of the ball. That translated into 7 or so technical fouls that included Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, and Doc Rivers.

It really disrupted the flow of the game early on.

In the end however, the Los Angeles Lakers proved to be overmatched in this game, struggling to keep the deficit under double-digits for most of the second half. Andrew Bynum fouled out fairly early in the 4th quarter and then that ended it. Not to mention Kobe was off the entire night on anything not in the paint.

Even thought the Lakers lost, it was a great experience in the rivalry and we got a free t-shirt. I am looking forward to my next game in January against the Phoenix Suns.

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