Through the long and storied existence of the team called the Lakers, through years long ago in the frigid confines of Minnesota, through seasons in the Los Angeles Sports Arena, in the Fabulous Forum, and at Staples Center, not to mention all those arenas, large and small, modest and divine, old and new, on the road, through the years of Freddie Schaus, Pat Riley, Del Harris, and Phil Jackson, with teams led by Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, by Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, by Magic Johnson and James Worthy, and with Kobe Bryant on the court, never once did the team, before tonight, ever score 51 points in a single period.
But tonight, playing against Phil Jacksons’ New York Kicks, and with no Steve Nash either, the Lakers hit that mark in the third period on their way to a 127 to 96 win in the first
|matchup between the teams in the new New York era.
Rumors were that Phil would not be on the premises for the game, but inside Staples he sat, high, high above the court, reigning supreme for all to salute, as his new legions admired him, and his new mentees got off to an eight point first quarter lead, and were never heard from again, being outscored over the final three quarters by 39 points.
The future Mrs. Jackson, Lakers’ co-owner and head of
business operations for the franchise, Jeanie Buss, sat in the second row, about 10 miles from Phil, as the crow falls, or flies.
The Lakers did all that scoring, as I said, without the distraction of Steve Nash, but also without Pau Gasol, who is awaiting further examination and a diagnosis for his vertigo. The game also saw the return of Chris Kaman, who, as ALWAYS when given a chance to play, did extremely well, with 13 points and nine boards in 23 minutes.
What exactly were those New York guys saying about a late season rally and making the playoffs?