Welcome to the first nomuskles live blog of the year! It seemed like this day would never come!
Boston vs. Cleveland
Neither team looked incredibly impressive (it’s early) but two things stuck out about Cleveland. Shaq is pretty much his same self and Lebron is getting nastier and nastier. He continued his trend of incredible blocks from behind and hit some nice looking jumpers. That young man is unstoppable.
Championship Ring Presentation and Banner Unveiling
The Lakers receive their championship rings tonight because, in case you might have possibly perhaps forgotten, they beat the Orlando Magicians to earn the title of 2009 NBA Champions. That’s a phrase that never gets old. 2009 NBA Champions! How many times before that gets annoying? 2009 NBA Champions!
David Stern says something incomprehensible. Jeannie Buss stands next to him and says nothing. She has her umm…shall we say, “special occcasion” boots on.
The Lakers begin the ceremony with a few players from past Lakers championship teams. They are: Jerry West, Norm Nixon, Jamaal Wilkes, Michael Cooper, Magic Johnson, James Worthy, AC Green, Rick Fox, and Robert Horry. Kareem is introduced later as a member of the coaching staff.
Players I wish would have been invited as well: Shaquille O’Neal, Ron Harper, Byron Scott, Elgin Baylor, and Elden Campbell. Okay, not Elden. I also wish Wilt Chamberlain and Chick Hearn could have been at the event. Alas.
This is followed by an awkward moment in which Dr. Buss is given some love by Magic and he has to put his drink down and we all notice that he’s sitting next to an attractive young woman who can’t be older than 33. It makes you wonder what his kids might think. And then you realize that his daughter…okay mm yeah. I’m going to stop myself right there.
Then of course Adam Morrison gets his well-deserved ring. Speaking of which, does anyone know if there are formal rules for who gets a ring and who does not? For instance, I assume Sun Yue will get one. Does Radmanovic get one also? How about Chris Wallace? I think in this case, the Lakers should send him one. And when will Trevor Ariza and Sun Yue get theirs?
Very triumphant music being played. Fisher looks like he has tears in his eyes. Kobe comes out with some young man energy smiling and bouncing around. Haters/Cynics go ahead and insert your “he’s disingenuine/fake” comments here.
The new banner is unveiled like a giant game of peek-a-boo. Amazing. I’d like to offer my appreciation to everyone here and in the Lakers organization for letting me enjoy such a great season last year. Titles don’t come very often to “your team” everyday. I’m savoring the moment.
The TNT crew does a great job ribbing Charles about the fact that Mbenga, Powell, and Morrison have championship rings. They also mention such legen..wait for it…dary legends as Rich Petruska, Zan Tabak, and Mike Penberthy.
Lakers: Dfish, Kobe, Crazy Pills, LO, and Young Bynum
Clippers: Baron Davis, Baron Davis’s beard, Eric Gordon, Al Thornton, Chris “The Recently German” Kaman, and Marcus Camby
11:50 – Lakers control the tip, go into Bynum who enjoys the give in the new rims and gets a jump hook to fall….eventually. Only notable because it forces the bench to wait on it’s new first made field goal ritual as the ball bounces around the rim. I watched the Major League version, and the bench actually does it slightly differently. Lakers tap their right foot twice in contrast to the movie guys who tapped their right foot once and then their left foot once before crossing over. Check out the 1:36 mark on youtube. Also of note: Josh Powell got it right this time. Mbenga…not so much. We are officially underway in this season of possibilities. LAC 0, LAL 2.
10:59 – For those who care, the Lakers are wearing a special patch celebrating their championship win. It’s the Larry O’Brien Trophy next to a black and gold banner that says 15 on it representing the 15 championships won by the franchise (including the ones from Minneapolis). The Lakers have also added decals along the baseline touting the 50 year history of the Lakers in Los Angeles. They now have about five different fonts on their court. Design nightmare. The Lakers.com in front of the benches, the new decals, the Lakers under the baskets, the Lakers logo at the center, and the Staples Center wordmark. Can’t we stick to one or two fonts? LAC 0, LAL 5.
10:22 – Baron Davis’s Beard is no match for Kobe Bryant’s Fadeaway. LAC 2, LAL 7.
8:52 – Sloppy play. Kobe goes around the back in the back court in transition and loses the ball. Kaman ends up with the ball and the enforcer, DFish, takes him out at the basket. There was a pile of Kaman on the floor afterwards. Recently German hits one of two. We also find out that Kaman built a workout facility on his farm in Minnesota. Someone tell Kaman that building a workout facility doesn’t fix the ugly. LAC 7, LAL 7.
7:15 – B Diddy looks good. He’s quick and he can still shoot bricks with the best of them. LAC 8, LAL 9.
6:43 – Marv Albert is telling me about how teams fair on opening night after winning the championship. Thanks Marv. Totally relevant. My life is now complete.
4:49 – The crowd Oohs and then Ahhs when Fisher throws a wraparound pass to Bynum who proceeds to Kwame it out of bounds. LAC 15, LAL 18.
3:32 – Crazy Pill decided to shave more stuff into his hair. It’s amazing. Words can’t do it justice. Go find a picture. Run, don’t walk. He shoots a couple free throws and makes one. The announcing crew proceeds to have a banal conversation about whether Artest will accept his role as a third or fourth option. Miller insights this little gem, “well he’s going to have to.” Thanks Captain Obvious. I’m glad you make so much money telling everyone what they already know.
1:07 – I believe Mike Dunleavy just asked his assistant coach what a clear-path foul is. You can now watch Bill Simmons light himself on fire. LAC 19, LAL 28.
0:53 – B Diddy fell asleep trying to receive the inbounds in the back court and Farmar accepts the gift, flushing home a deuce. Clippers turn it over again and the Lakers get two more. 4 careless points right there. I imagine Mike Dunleavy is pretty happy with that. LAC 19, LAL 32.
0:21 – Ricky Davis banks home a three instead of holding for the last shot. Hard to argue with that but Lakers will now have plenty of time to get the last shot. The scoreboard crew is also a little rusty. They add three points to the Lakers’ score and then have to take it away and add it to the Clippers’ score. LAC 25, LAL 32. That’s how the quarter ends as Artest can’t make the wide open three. Kanye West interrupts and says, “sorry Ron, but Ricky Davis had one of the best threes of all time.”
Summary of Mike Dunleavy’s 1st break interview: We’re playing well except those stupid mistakes we made. Oh really? And I’m a good cardiac surgeon except for all those patients I killed.
Lakers open the period with Odom and Crazy Pills still in with Vujacic, Farmar, and Mbenga.
10:17 – Craig Smith is built like a tank. He scores underneath and then gets a steal and beats farmar down the court to get an easy layup. LAC 26, LAL 37.
9:27 – Eric Gordon’s nickname is Hobbit??? This is quite a well-read Clippers team we’ve got on our hands. I wonder if it’s a reference to The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings. LAC 29, LAL 39. Every time the camera gets a glimpse of Blake Griffin, he’s standing and walking around. He should probably not be standing and walking so much if he’s got a borked knee. He is the new franchise player, just sayin’.
8:30 – Mbenga is throwing up all kinds of trash towards the rim in hopes that…well I’m not sure exactly. Let’s just move on.
6:35 – Mbenga spikes the ball off Josh Powell’s face. Did he yell hibachi? LAC 33, LAL 40.
5:36 – Bassy Telfair hits a jumper to make it 37-40. clippers making a little run here with Kobe, Fish, and Jerry West on the bench. I imagine they’ll be back out there on the flipside of this timeout. On a positive note, that means Kobe got a long rest with the 5 minutes from the intermission plus the 6 and a half minutes of game time already elapsed in the second quarter. If Phil can afford to do that for the entire year, Kobe is going to feel like a spring chicken come the playoffs. All the starters come back except LO. Powell stays in.
3:45 – Kobe is playing center field off his man but when Craig smith reaches the paint and Kobe doesn’t rotate over in time, what exactly is the point? If you’re cheating off your man, shouldn’t you be in prime position to help? If you’re not going to help, then just go guard your man. Don’t stand in no-man’s-land.
The following is almost as sad as Phil Jackson’s hanging dap is hilarious: Khloe Kardashian sees herself on the jumbo tron and almost points it out to her sister Kim but then realizes that she’s supposed to be above such pedestrian concerns and stops herself midway through saying “hey look, that’s us.” You could literally see the SLOW progression of thoughts from “Oh I’m on tv!” to “oh I want to tell my sister” to “Oh, I should just pretend not to notice.” You aren’t a publicity fiend at all, Khloe. Not at all. We’re totally buying that you don’t care about being famous. Yup. Totally buying it.
1:32 – Bynum swallows up Rasual Butler’s shot and gets called for a phantom foul. So much for the regular refs being the saviors of the game. After the free throws, LAC 45, LAL 51.
0:27 – Reggie “Ferengi” Miller can finally stop talking about Khloe Kardashian when Kobe makes a nice over the shoulder layup. He articulates “Mmm..nice” Mmm nice, indeed, Mr. Ferengi. Lakers make another steal and get a Bynum layup with 1 second left. Nice way to close out the half. LAC 49, LAL 59.
Good to see Agent Zero back in action. He was hoopin tonight.
Both teams go with their starting lineups. Young Bynum put a sleeve on his bad knee at halftime. Something to be worried about?
10:50 – Clippers run a horrendous slow break. Baron Davis lets his beard make decisions for him and shoots a three with no one else around. On replay, it’s obvious that Baron’s shot was about a foot to the right of the rim. He tries to play it off like it was deflected.
8:29 – Clippers fans are now going to light themselves on fire. Baron Davis just earned his third foul in the past two minutes.
6:57 – Camby asks the Staples Center staff to shut the door after he throws up a 19-foot shot from 21 feet away. LAC 61, LAL 70.
5:31 – Reminder: it’s the first game of the season. Turnovers and bad shots abound along with the inability to corral rebounds. LAC 63, LAL 70.
4:24 – Great battle of young centers. First Kaman puts Bynum in the popcorn machine with a plethora of fakes and jabs but can’t finish. Then Bynum gets fed in transition and beats Kaman at the other end for a pretty layup. LAC 63, LAL 71.
1:26 – we might hear this a lot more this season “[insert point guard’s name here] blows by fisher.” LAC 70, LAL 74.
0:41 – Hooo weee. Telfair gives a great alley-oop to marcus camby from the wing! Great vision by the young New Yorker. LAC 75, LAL 76.
11:22 – Great defense by the Lakers. They are heavily pressuring the ballhandlers. OOOoooo. shanWOW breaks out the rocket pack and rises up in transition for a dunk after the Farmar steal. The German nudges him and takes out his legs and Shannon’s lucky not to get hurt. Brown was about to do a 180 degree reverse.
9:39 – LO! Kobe is trying to will the lakers to a win but misses the runner. Lamar grabs his 11th rebound and puts it back while getting fouled. He’ll try and pick up the 3 point play. He does. Big play right there. Did he learn how to close the deal from Khloe? LAC 77, LAL 82.
8:36 – Craig Smith (recall: built like a tank) has a full head of steam and Jordan Farmar (recall: not built like a tank) stands in the paint to accept the charge. I believe he breathed a gigantic sigh of relief when Smith wiggled his way around without any contact. Farmar immediately calls over the equipment manager for a change of shorts. Smith gets fouled at the rim but misses the free throws. LAC 77, LAL 84.
6:55 – It’s the Lamar Show! A couple seconds left on the 24 second clock and Lamar heaves up a deep three and it’s beautifully true. LAC 79, LAL 89.
5:35 – After Kobe throws up an ugly 27 footer that bounces straight to Bynum, Bynum deftly feeds Mamba on the move towards the bucket who draws the foul and hits the layup. Kobe gets a steal on the next possession and hits Ron Ron with a nice bounce pass for the layup in transition and the foul. Lakers are too deep and too strong for the Clipper Ships on this night of battle. LAC 79, LAL 94. …the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard, and the jellooooo’s jiggling. This one is in the refrigerator.
0:27 – No one told the Clippers this game was over as they continue to play hard. Too little, too late. LAC 92, LAL 99 is your final.