***Please note: The pictures below were taken with my little point and shoot. I know that doesn't inherently mean crappy pictures, but we were running late on the way in so I was snapping away haphazardly and once inside, taking pics at 8x zoom in a dark stadium, even with cranking up the ISO, still leads to pretty crummy pics. Although, I guess I get a few points for even realizing I could switch to manual mode on the point and shoot and kind of know what I was doing, right? Anyways, I would have loved to have the SLR there, but I had low hopes of actually getting it through security. Okay, you've been warned.***
Now that the Lakers just pulled out a nail-biter of a win for Game 2, how 'bout we look back at Game 1. You know, the one they won without giving their fans heart attacks. Staples Center was nothing less than a big 'ol Purple and Gold party on Thursday night. More Laker jerseys than you could shake a stick at and everyone smiling and in a festive mood. Great way to get the series started. In addition to all the Lakers fans, there were also a few folks sporting Magic gear. Including a group decked out in Superman capes. They got booed well before they ever entered the building. Once inside we got t-shirts. Jim quickly put his on to disguise the blue work shirt he was wearing. Good call. Tip-off was quickly approaching so we grabbed our usual grub and settled in to watch the teams warm-up. Um, if you didn't know this was a finals game, well, the ridiculous number of cameras on the court would be enough to clue you in. The Magic were introduced first. Boooo! Then the Lakers! YAY! The hoopla before the Lakers take the court is quite spectacular and the fans go gaga for it. The video shown on the screen changes throughout the year and for playoffs, it changes for each series. Pictures don't do it justice. Finally, the Lakers are introduced. Magic Johnson presented the game ball, which the crowd loved. After checking in at the scorer's table, they were off and running. Dwight Howard shot (and missed) a bunch of free throws. The Laker girls kept us entertained during timeouts. End of the first half and Lakers were up by 10. Kobe stopped for a quick interview before heading to the locker room. The half-time entertainment was, um, interesting. The is the Red Panda acrobat. She balanced multiple bowls on her foot and then tossed them up and caught them on her head. I kept expecting a spill, but there was none to be had. It was strangely impressive. The third quarter started off with a bang. The Lakers quickly opened up the lead and the crowd was pumped. By the fourth quarter, it was pretty obvious that it was going to be a blow-out, but the Lakers kept pounding - and none more so than Kobe.Why? Well, I think it probably had something to do with wanting this: That'd be 40 points - A Finals Game record for him.
The fourth quarter is also when a bunch of shenanigans occur during timeouts. The first - celebrity watch. The jumbotron featured Andy Garcia, Billy Idol, David Arquette and of course, Jack Nickelson. Kayne was also shown, but I couldn't get my camera up fast enough. Besides the real celebrities, the Chili's Fan of the Game is also highlighted on the jumbotron. The kid that won this week was particularly awesome. He wore not one, not two, but 6 jerseys from various Lakers players one on top of the other and kept lifting them up to reveal another and another and another, would get to the last one and start all over again. Hilarious!
Before we knew it, the pain the Lakers inflicted on the Magic came to a close. Lakers win! Wheeee! On the way out, we ran into the Superman crew again. They look a bit worse for wear, no? They were heckled so much as they left Staples. Teeheehee.