Unfortunately, that will be the only lasting memory I take from this game, as the Lakers were defeated by the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday 109-92.
There were many areas that pointed to why the Lakers lost; lack of defensive execution, lack of bench support, or playing the final game of a 5-game road trip. But, from my observation, it simply looked as if the other team felt it had more to prove out on the floor.
A Phillip’s Arena employee told me that it was Staples Center South. I have never heard fans cheer so loudly… for the Lakers. It’s almost comical how opposing teams’ fans can come out and support the visiting team so vehemently.
The crowd was full of Purple and Gold colored clothing. There were boo’s for the referee’s when a fouls were called on the Lakers! Kobe Bryant actually received MVP chants at the free-throw line, and his made baskets were celebrated in much greater fashion than Joe Johnson’s.
I think the home team actually got inspired from their crowd cheering for the opposition. They have to take the crowd out of the game to a certain degree, while at the same time give them something to cheer about.
Kobe Bryant appeared teed off the entire game; he showed the same frustrations that he displayed late in the game against New Orleans Hornets.
He recently mentioned the teams’ lackadaisical play, referring to it as “lollygagging.” I asked him after the game if he felt that the intensity was still missing. He replied, “We played hard, but the execution wasn’t there, particularly on defense.”
I tried to get a word with Sasha Vujacic. He literally told me “I don’t speak English.” Obviously, his jump shot and minutes have gone away with his ability to speak English.
And then, there was Ron Artest, soaking his feet and ankles in a tub of ice.
“I don’t think there is anything we need to change to be honest with you,” he said.
After the game many of the Lakers were visibly upset, and did not want to speak with the media at all, and seemed more interested in getting back home after the last long road trip of the season. But, that didn’t stop Ron Artest from keeping it real; I mean, keeping it really real.
After Ron’s ice bath, he proceeded to get up and take off his towel, exposing his nakedness to all of the media in the room. He casually moisturized, folded his clothes, and got dressed as if none of us were in the room.
Outside of the locker room was Andrew Bynum on his cell phone. “They need you pretty bad out there,” I said to him.
“I’ll be back,” he jokingly responded.
So in the end, there was no “that trip” for the Lakers. No 6-0 springboard into the Playoffs like last season, or the 5-0 trip that made them look like contenders the season before that.
The Lakers’ fans will have to settle for a championship. I just wish they were as enthusiastic about the team as the opposing city is.
Follow G-Small on Twitter at Twitter.com/GregorySmall.