Here are some initial reactions to the Warriors-Lakers game. I’ll have a more detailed blog including a lot of behind the scenes info tomorrow, but I wanted to get my thoughts down while they are fresh in my head.
And I have to say, this is the strangest game I’ve ever been to in my life. It’s one of the most anticipated game in recent memory, and the entire time in the Staples Center? It felt like a high school game.
I’m dead ass serious.
I felt special being here, but the atmosphere you’d expect? Just not there. The energy was bizarre the entire time, from warm ups where Steph was making rainbows and AD was lazily working on his shot (it was flat all night). Here are thoughts I jotted down quarter by quarter
The Warriors started out ON FIRE mostly getting help from their role players because the Lakers just seemed to want to key in on Steph (understandably), and pretty much as it was the last 10 games, it was Andrew Wiggins who came out hot. The problem was, the Warriors held a good lead but it felt the entire time like it should be about twice as big as it was.
The big takeaway live? Laker fans and media were kind of bewildered, and it’s very clear that AD and Bron are not 100%. Neither AD nor Bron look dominant, explosive or as bouncy as we saw in the final game of the season against Indy. Even the Laker beat guy took notice.
One girl I’ve known for years from the LA media scene was sitting next to me in the press area and I counted over 10 “wow’s” in the first quarter alone. Safe to say Laker media is susceptible to the delusions that come along with being defending champs that infect fans.
The second quarter seemed the opposite of the first; the Warriors dominated the first quarter and couldn't get separation. And the second quarter felt like a close game, but the Warriors got more separation than they did in the first.
You know how when you watch a movie and there is a role guy who has no real purpose in the plot but they steal scenes? That’s Juan Toscano Anderson. He was EVERYWHERE. Eight points off the bench in the first half and locking down Bron most of the first half. The Lakers Big 3 (AD, Bron, Schroter) went 4-28 in the first half.
Of course, Curry stole the show even though he had a relatively quiet first half. A game that felt close ended up being a 13 point Warriors lead at half.
And then the third quarter happened. The Warriors were, to be honest, incredibly bad the entire time. Wiggins returned back to the pumpkin we know him to become from his Minnesota days. The Lakers finally came to life offensively and scored almost as many points in the 3rd than they did in the first half in total.
The energy in the Staples Center FINALLY came to life. A nearly 20 point turn around will do that for you. AD and Bron decdied they wanted to play some fucking basketball. Then the crowd came to life and then they came to life more. It’s almost like fans breathe energy into players and vice versa. It’s really what’s been missing the past year and a half in the NBA.
FANS. There was a section in the arena of condensed vaccinated fans to try and recreate condensed energy. It was better than 6k socially distanced in an 20k capacity arena trying to create a vibe.
Also, the music got LOUD at the same time. Nipsey Hussle, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop, Dr. Dre in an orchestra, and every other LA rapper you could think of just BLASTING in the building. The approach was just turn the music up as loud as you possibly could to try and manufacture energy. Sort of cool sort of wack.
And the vibe was created. After one of the WEIRDEST arena experiences I ever had in the first half, I actually felt palpable stress you would normally get with a full crowd.
ASS clenching tension. Oh yeah, and it was cold as fuck in the arena. AC on full blast but hey better than a steam room I guess.
The internet in the arena… was (probably) worse than the Milton days.
And just like that … Bron became Bron and hit a desperation dagger 3 from thirty feet with the shot clock expiring. Wild.
The crowd came alive and it was curtains. Lake show fans in my mentions swarming like flies because I, as usual, spoke too soon and mushed the Warriors at halftime.
All in all, god damn it was good to watch live basketball again. From tepid to downright electric, the emotions were all over the board.
In the end, it really didn’t even matter if the Warriors lost and got screwed by the refs in the process. The entire night was surreal (more on this tomorrow) but there were glimpses that the world might just be beginning to return to normal.
And that includes Bron hitting game winners, blatantly flopping and getting every fucking call on planet earth.