This won't be your typical DNB recap. I was in attendance today as a fan not in the normal media capacity. So as such it was not like I was sitting there taking notes of the blow by blow today. This was my first time catching the Lakers as a fan or media. Never really have been a Laker fan although there were lots of them in attendance today at the ACC. I am not sure why this happens, but in general when the Raptors and Lakers have hooked up it leads to big moments. Yes we all remember Kobe's 81 even if we have tried to forget it. But there was also the time in Toronto when Shaq dropped F-Bombs live on T.V back to L.A. There have actually been some close games over the years with these two teams hooking up. It defies any real logic as the Raptors history is far closer to that of the Clippers than the Lakers. But it does make for some good games. I remember Vince Carter had one of his more memorable performances in a game in L.A as well. But thanks to the NBA Lockout this is the one time this season you will see these two teams hook up. They could meet in the NBA Finals but let's be really that isn't happening. Raptors would be a long shot to make the playoffs at best and honest the Lakers are to this point not close to a favourite in the West.
This game started off ugly and it made the fact that at least I was having an enjoyable time and the ability to have a beer didn't hurt either seem good. I wasn't keeping track but I am told by those that were the Raptors were down by as many as 18 in this one. We have seen this before a slow start and the Raptors in a big hole. So keep the brews and food coming for the 2nd half right? Not exactly. In between chatting and enjoying the atmosphere something strange was occurring. The Raptors were mounting a comeback. I would turn to the person next to me and say wow the Raptors are only down....10....7.....3. It is no secret that I am far from the head of the Jose Calderon fan club. But you know what he had it going today. The fact Pau Gasol was in purple and gold might have had a lot to do with it. Also the fact that this was an afternoon game and probably was getting beamed back to Spain in prime time likely didn't hurt. It was a classic performance for Jose.
Jeremy Lin scored 38 points to outscore Kobe Bryant the other night, but who had Jose Calderon dropping 30 and out scoring him? Anyone that says you did shame on you for lying like that. Kobe would end up being in the spotlight when this game would come down the stretch. The Raptors had come from those 18 points down to lead by 4. Time was running out and Lakers needed a big play. Here is what I am going to say about Kobe Bryant and why love him or hate him you have to respect him. Everyone from World Peace to the guy in the last row of the 500's know who is getting the ball. Dwane Casey knows it too. But still Kobe gets the ball and he makes his way to the corner and swish 3 points and you knew it was in when it left his hands. That is greatness by anyway you choose to define it. The Raptors still had a chance to win this game though. Then the unthinkable happened. Those who follow on Twitter know my opinion on Rasaul Butler. I don't hide the fact I see no use for him on this roster. He had not played in this game and was suddenly in the game inbounding the basketball for the most important play of the game. He would turnover the ball would he? That would just be to perfect of an example of why I have no use for this guy. Well Butler attempted to call a timeout at 4. Ref said no dice and it was a 5 second violation. Casey who was also signaling for the time out was furious. I was convinced he was going to get tossed from the game. He would remain to see the end which was a Kobe break to the basket on turnover and drop off to World Peace aka Ron Artest. World Peace with the dagger? In any case it was a terrible end to a fantastic game.
The Spurs will be coming into town and it made me think of the unfortunate ending to both Cory Joesph and Tristan Thompson's NCAA careers. Joesph was in that same spot needing to inbound the ball with the game on the line. He too would not get the benefit of the refs call. In both cases you can argue the point till your blue in the face that both Texas and today the Raptors got jobbed. But in reality the game is on the line don't wait till you hear 4 to call a time out. Do it at 3 and be safe. Some of you may grow tired of my wrestling references but this one fits. When you break the rules in wrestling you have a 5 count to release an illegal hold. If ref gets to the 5 you are disqualified and the match is over. So what does the intelligent heel wrestler do? Breaks the hold at 3 of course. That is where you call the time out and the problem is solved.
Make the Final:
Click on the picture of the score for all the boxscore goodies.
The other thing aside from the game itself was just how many Laker Fans were in the house. They are perhaps the best travelling team in the NBA in terms of a fan base. Not that people left L.A for somewhat snowy Toronto. It is just the Lakers fan base is North American wide and World wide. This is something I can relate to as a Dallas Cowboys fan. I remember travelling to Detroit to see the Cowboys back in their big run in the 90's when they were winning Super Bowls. There were Cowboy fans all over the Silverdome on that day. A lot were not locals though. It is a little easier to plan a trip around football than it is basketball with just weekly games normally on the weekend. In terms of the Lakers many of these fans grew up Lakers fans and didn't trade in their purple and gold for purple Raptor jersey's with dinosaurs on them. They remained loyal. As for the people not that old we live in a world that makes it pretty easy to be a fan of any team regardless of where you call home. So Laker Nation North Chapter was out in full force. Including this un-named Laker fan pictured below. This Kobe "Fan Boy" was more pumped about Kobe making the big three pointer than Kobe. In fact by his reaction you almost thought he made the shot himself. But there is only one Kobe Bryant and to watch him play is a treat be you a Laker fan or just a fan of basketball in general. He is a flat out basketball killer and when you think he has nothing left to give he shows you that your wrong.
Thanks to Jerrica who was my guest for this game for all the photos in this blog. She is someone that has been one of the many loyal folks that have supported and shown the DNB some love so I invited her to come to the game. You see going to this game was all really last minute. I was invited to the game by the folks at MGD. The reason other than being a supporter of their product for years? We are once again teaming up to give you folks that read and love the DNB a chance at a fantastic VIP experience to come check out the game this Friday with the Raptors and Bobcats. That is why I was there scoping out the place where 4 of you and a guest of your choice all over the age of 19 could be next Friday. Last year we did it for The Best Seats in the House. But having sat in these seats in VIP Box on the 200 level, they are FAR FAR from the worst seats in the house. In fact the were pretty damn awesome to tell the truth. So be on the look out for #MGDDNBVIP on Twitter, Facebook and here in Dino Nation Blog. We will be having 4 unique contests giving you 4 chances to win. Starts Monday 12:01 am and runs through Thursday. When these contests will happen could be random or you might get a warning of when to expect them. Basically be on the lookout. Keep checking Twitter and the site for details. Last year's event was fantastic. I will be around again this year but because I am actually covering this game for the DNB. I have enlisted a couple folks to act as your hosts for night. It should be a great time. So be on the lookout and even if you have won past DNB Contests you are more than welcome to try to win again. Only requirement is that you are of legal drinking age and have ID to pick up your tickets. So #MGDDNBVIP Night is this Friday it is also Raptor fan night I believe so you can catch Naughty By Nature at halftime from the VIP suite as well.