Last night’s 101-100 victory against the Bobcats was an unusual game to say the least. After holding an 11 point first half lead, the Lakers hemorrhaged points for about a quarter and a half – going down by 18, before rallying back for a 1 point win with one of their stars on the bench in crunch time. Here’s a snapshot of what it was like to be inside Staples for the Lakers’ harrowing victory.
High Point: The start of the fourth quarter, as Kobe/Pau/MWP brought the Lakers back, leading to two Bobcats timeouts in the first three minutes – the crowd was electric, easily as loud as it has been all year.
Low Point: The beginning of the third quarter – after a disappointing finish to the half, the Lakers were down by five, and the crowd was slow to return to their seats at the start of the second half (slow even by the usual standards).
The building was silent, and the Bobcats made a BIG run. By the time most fans got into their seats, the team was down double digits, and the pounding kept coming. During the first six minutes of the third, the Lakers gave up 22 points – after allowing the ‘Cats a season high 58 in the first half.
Watching the Bobcats tear through Staples with the crowd absent was the low point – lower than the boos that came from the stands after they filled up.
Turning Point: Boos rained down at Staples in the third quarter, after the Bobcats took an 18 point lead, hitting 80 points midway through the third. The fans let the team know that the defensive effort was unacceptable – as was the 11-14 start.
However, as the Lakers turned up the intensity, the boos quickly turned to LOUD chants of “Defense!” and cheers.
The Lakers finally played with heart, and rallied back into the game, and the fans responded. Staples Center was as loud as its been all year, which is not something one would expect during a mid-December game against Charlotte.
It seems that the boos were just the kick in the butt the Lakers needed – after giving up 22 points in about 6 minutes to start the half, the Lakers smothered the Bobcats – they scored just 20 points in the final quarter and a half. Finally the team responded to adversity, and turned the negative momentum into a call to action, rather than falling to another defeat.
The fans at Staples know their team – when to cheer the team on and provide support, and when to kick the team in the butt with a chorus of boos. Last night, Laker Nation did both, admonishing the Lakers for a lack of effort when they allowed the woeful Bobcats to walk all over them, and cheering with abandon as the Lakers turned it around,
Home Crowds should not be a one trick pony (cheer as loud as you can, all the time), and Laker fans know this. Seasoned through many Championship season, Laker Nation knows that there is a time to cheer, a time to boo, and a time to sit quietly, and watch the Lakers do their thing. When it matters most, the purple and gold faithful know what to do.
Fan of the Night: The “MVP” Guy, who chants MVP for every Laker. During a Metta World Peace trip to the line, the MVP Guy chanted “MVP! “ for Metta, who clanked the freethrow. MVP Guy interrupted his chant briefly to say “You suck Metta!” and went right back to chanting MVP…Metta made the second. Nice work, fan.
JumboTron Highlight: The “Friend Zone” Kiss cam moment – a man went for the kiss, and was met with the lady’s cheek. Ouch. It’s bad enough if that happens at home, but in front of 20,000 people? Yikes.
Runner Up: An old lady covered head to toe in purple and gold, complete with copious amounts of costume jewelry, dancing (correctly!) to “Gangham Style.” I guess that song transcends age.