After a summer of being rejected, called out, and insulted, the Lakers reminded the world that they will not fade quietly into cellar of the NBA.
After Dwight Howard left for his “best chance to win a title,” ESPN ranked the Lakers 12th in the West, estimating 33 wins for the purple and gold. The Clippers added insult to injury by bringing in a famed Celtic coach, Doc Rivers, who elected to cover the Lakers’ championship banners and retired jerseys during Clipper home games.
The basketball landscape in LA was shifting. Kobe Bryant was hurt. Uncertainty clouded the Lakers. The Clippers seemed poised to make a statement.
On October 29th, the basketball world expected the Clippers to make a statement at Staples Center. The Lakers were supposed to be a springboard for the Clippers to hurtle over, much like Blake Griffin’s dunk contest props, and scream, “we have arrived!”
“If you want one of those banners, little brother, you’re going to have to do alot more than cover ours up.”
Lakers champion point guard Jordan Farmar led a bench unit of NBA castoffs as they ran circles around the Clippers in the fourth quarter.
Xavier Henry, Wesley Johnson, Jodie Meeks, and Jordan Hill did battle with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and company in crunch time, and won.
Kobe watched the game in a suit, and his fellow starters enjoyed the fourth quarter onslaught from the bench alongside him.
The Lakers spent the summer hearing about Dwight’s departure diminishing their luster, watching their banners become hidden behind portraits of current Clippers players, and listening to reports that they were “on the history channel.”
On opening night, the Lakers showed the world that they have no intention of becoming ancient history.
They remain relevant. They remain exciting. They win.