The season is finally over for the Los Angeles Lakers, and it didn’t end well. The team lost in 5 games to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round of the playoffs. It didn’t have to be this way. In two of the games that they lost, the Lakers had a comfortable lead in the fourth quarter. Why did the Lakers blow those games? Because OKC is younger, quicker, more athletic and more talented; and because the Lakers are older, slower and only have one player they can rely on, Kobe Bryant.
Kobe was the only player who played well Monday night for the Lakers. In fact, he was fantastic, scoring 42 points. Pau Gasol was more aggressive than he was in the last couple games, but he did not have a good night, making 35% of his shots. In all likelihood he will be traded this summer. Gasol’s contribution to the Lakers during the last 5 years has been terrific, as he was instrumental in helping the Lakers win 2 championships. In fact, his effort for the Lakers was second to only Kobe Bryant, and for that Pau will forever hold a special place in Lakers fans’ hearts.
With a win tonight against the Denver Nuggets, the Lakers will advance to the Western Conference semi-finals to face the Oklahoma City Thunder. This potential match up will be fascinating and entertaining for several reasons.
First, it will be the first time the two teams play each other since this vicious play:
Metta World Peace — formerly known as Ron Artest — was suspended 7 games for that elbow, which left OKC guard James Harden with a concussion. It will be very interesting to see how the OKC fans treat World Peace. My guess is not very well.
The buzz in Madison Square Garden during the current New York Knicks basketball season has not been experienced in years. To the amazement of basketball aficionados, a Knicks ticket is a hot consumer item as Carmelo Anthony and Jeremy Lin (before his knee surgery) have converted a lackluster team into a possible playoff team, albeit not one that is likely translatable into an NBA championship. Nonetheless, the early success means that seats on the basketball floor, in what is sometimes referred to as celebrity row, are filled.
One of those seats is occupied at almost every home game by Spike Lee, the filmmaker and avid fan of the Knicks. He is one of the regulars along with Woody Allen, Matthew Modine, and a host of other film personalities. However, Mr. Lee stands apart; he has insinuated himself into the game by cheerleading, confirming referees’ decisions, and engaging in trash talk with opposing players.
Clearly one might ask why Mr. Lee has this privileged position. Should anyone else behave in a similar manner, he would be escorted from the Garden. Is it because he is a highly regarded black filmmaker? Or is it his friendship with the players? Perhaps his yearly purchase of celebrity seats offers license other fans do not receive?