Thursday, November 4, 2010

Game 5: I still wish there was a real rivalry

Whenever the Lakers play Sacramento, I'm transported back to the glorious days of the first three peat. Earlier this century, the Kings (or Queens as I liked to call them) were worthy opponents who clawed at the Lakers and gave them a run for their money. Starting with that first playoff run for a championship and including 2001 and 2002 as well. There wasn't a team I disliked more than Sacramento; I hated them with a passion. Mike Bibby the Baby, Vlade the Flopper (I had a great shirt with Sacramento Queens on the front and Flopper on the back with Vlade's number 21), Peja with his pesky 3's, Bobby Jackson, Chris Webber and of course, Doug Christie. My two favorite Lakers-Kings memories:

-the preseason game where Doug Christie and Rick Fox got into a fight on the court two minutes into the game and both got ejected. Then you saw Rick sprinting through the tunnel and coming out the other side to pound on Christie as he headed to the visitors' locker room. Both benches were involved and both players were suspended for a number of games. I freakin LOVED it! Fights are always fun in sports and the feistyness and bad blood evident between the two teams was on full view. Great things for a rivalry.

-Robert Horry's iconic game winning shot in Game 4 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals. I remember I was at my grandparent's house during a birthday party for my sister. It was looking dire and I took everything so seriously back then, even worse than I do now, so I was getting pretty upset. But watching that ball bounce around, then Vlade hitting it out to the arc, and then Big Shot Rob picking it up and swishing a 3. It was literally one of the best moments of my life, and one of the first iconic Lakers buzzer beaters that I remember with perfect clarity. My eyes welled up with happy tears for the first time- I had never cried over something happy before even though I do it quite often now haha. I actually found a replay of the game on tv a couple years ago and tuned in during the 4th quarter. Even though I knew what happened and knew that we went on to win the championship, it was absolutely terrifying to watch a second time. It felt brand new, and my heart was pounding like I didn't know the shot would go in. Who does that happen to except weirdo Laker fans like me?! hahaha I got caught up in a REPLAY that was at least 6 years old at the time! Lordy lordy lordy.

But I digress! On to last night's game:
- It's hard to think of things to say that I haven't already said about the Lakers thus far, so I'll keep it short and sweet- they are looking scaaary good this season! It's incredible; the shots keep falling especially from beyond the arc, and the Pau-Lamar tandem is doing work in the paint. They work so well together and Lamar looks like a new man. I honestly think Phil should have Andrew come off the bench when he comes back. No need to mess with what's working. Also, really sick dunk by Lamar in the third off a feed from the Mamba!
-Ron added 17 points along with Pau and Lamar's double doubles, and Derek came out of nowhere to ice the game in the 4 quarter, hitting that magical 3 of his and driving through the lane to draw the foul. That play in particular reminded me of his monster game 3 last year in Boston, when he ran down the court, got swallowed by three Celtics and still hit the running layup. Awesome.
-Kobe got a triple double!! the 17th of his career. And he made it look so damn easy while he did it. They really seem unstoppable when Kobe is playing that well because it allows the rest of the team to thrive too. He was three away from tying his career high in assists, which is awesome. And he was taking good shots, which is always nice to see. Circus shots are fun, but I hate when he's forcing things too much. He also got in a little scuffle with one of the Kings players, can't remember who.... Head, I think. Kobe got fouled, and Head got in his face and didn't back down. The officials ran over of course, but I respect players that get in Kobe's face and I know he does too. Plus like I mentioned before, I like confrontations :)
-It was the first back to back of the season and the Lakers did really well. Up by 20 at one point, got whittled down to 8, but they kept the lead in the whole second half. Only 6 turnovers the whole game, which is crazy. But yeah, nice to stay unbeaten against a feisty team.
-The Kings have some good young talent, and they're fast; it was more of a game in the first half, but they definitely kept the whole thing interesting even though it was a mini-blowout. I was entertained the whole time. They gave the Lakers some headaches last year, and who could forget Kobe's buzzer beater from the corner in Sacramento. Beautiful shot, and remarkably uncontested. They somehow let Kobe get wide open in the corner and he drained it in front of the Kings' bench. Loooove it.

Alright, this was longer than I thought haha, but mainly because I reminisced quite a bit. Man, I love my boys. I still can't believe the summer went so fast and that basketball is back. In some ways, it felt like it never left. And my stress levels are still low, luckily.... for now!

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