The Lakers played their first playoff game this afternoon and I was fortunate to be in attendance. Not only was it Gasol's first playoff game, but it was mine, too! :D Unfortunately, poor Jim had to work all weekend and wasn't able to take any time off today for the game, so my brother lucked out and got to go with me instead.
The Staples Center was all decked out for the event.
As were the fans. I've never seen more Kobe jerseys in one place before. And since I like trends, I'm even considering one for myself. Hehehehe ;)
Tip-off was at noon and I was shocked to see the arena more than 75% filled. For most home games, the stands are only around 50% filled by the time the game starts, with folks trickling in throughout the first quarter. I guess the playoffs brings out the best in the fans. Who knew?!
The game itself was fantastic! Gasol was on fire (36 pts), as was Odom (17 pts) and Walton (16 pts). Kobe managed to get through the first half with something like 4 or 6 points, but came alive in the second and finished with over 30.
The crowd stayed in it the whole time, standing up throughout the game to applaud a phenomenal play or boo the refs for a crappy call. So fun! We also had 2 super rowdy, but fun, guys sitting in front of us that acted as our section's designated cheerleaders.
Late in the 4th quarter, the technical fouls started, one each for Kobe and Kenyon Martin. And before the final buzzer rang, Alan Iverson was actually thrown out of the game for 2 technicals. I'm telling you, this series is gonna get dirty at some point.
And just like that it was over -- Lakers take Game 1.
I'm hoping the Lakers take the series in 4 so they can get a bit of a rest before facing either Utah or Houston in the second round -- neither of which will be an easy team to conquer.