Los Angeles Lakers fans have good memories … and no chill.
ESPN decided to set up its NBA TV crew outside of Staples Center on Saturday night for the telecast of the Lakers-Houston Rockets game. The idea seemed great — they would be live at the venue where the big game was being played. Though it was a good idea in theory, it turned out to be bad in practice.
Lakers fans marred the postgame show by taunting ESPN NBA analyst Jalen Rose with chants of “81” in the background.
Even NBA officials are busting out the ol’ scoreboard argument nowadays.
Referee Scott Foster, who was working the Los Angeles Lakers-San Antonio Spurs game at Staples Center on Sunday, was heckled by a Lakers fan over a call he made and clapped back with this great response, per Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times.
A Laker fan heckled official Scott Foster about a call. He pointed up at the scoreboard where it said the Spurs lead the Lakers by 21.
The lopsided margin ultimately held up as the Spurs wound up winning by the final of 119-98. As for Foster, he has often been criticized for his perceived bias against the home teams. But there’s not really much of an argument to that effect when it’s a 20-plus point game, so credit to Foster for that simple yet epic comeback (and for handling the Staples Center hecklers better than, say, Dwight Howard does).
Dwight Howard should fully expect to hear all kinds of four-letter words and nasty insults thrown his way when he plays games at the Staples Center, but that doesn’t mean he is just going to stand there and take it.
As Howard was returning to the locker room following the Atlanta Hawks’ 109-94 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday night, a fan shouted something at Howard that the big man did not appreciate. Howard responded by telling the fan to say it to his face.
Howard’s one season with the Lakers was a total disappointment, and the fans have not let him forget about it. He has been heckled virtually every time he returns to L.A., and Kobe Bryant even got in on the act (video here) a couple years back. For the most part, Howard does a decent job of ignoring the noise. Apparently he reached his boiling point on Sunday.
Jason Collins signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, becoming the first openly gay athlete on an active roster in one of the four major American sports. He later made his Nets debut against the Los Angeles Lakers, and Collins was treated to a warm reception from fans at the Staples Center.
Collins entered the game with just over 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter. He played 11 minutes and finished with two rebounds and a steal in Brooklyn’s 108-102 win over LA.
After the game, Collins was peppered with questions about the cultural importance of the evening. He tried to steer reporters toward discussing basketball and said he needs to spend a lot more time learning the Nets’ playbook and figuring out how he can help the team win.
The night went pretty much as anticipated, but Lakers fans deserve credit for the reception they gave Collins. It was certainly nice to see.
Dwight Howard made his first trip back to Los Angeles as a member of the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night, and the big man more than got his money’s worth. Howard was on from the start of the game when he took Chris Kaman to school and got a technical foul for taunting. He was in such a great mood later on that he joined Lakers fans who were chanting “Howard sucks!”
With the Rockets leading 73-51 midway through the third quarter, Howard could clearly be seen chanting “Howard sucks” after the fans had stopped their chant. He also did it again later in the game from the bench and got his teammates to join in on it.
And it even carried over to the plane ride home.
Howard finished the game with 20 points and 13 rebounds. The Rockets demolished LA by a final score of 134-108. Advantage: Dwight.
The Los Angeles Lakers will return home to face the Miami Heat on Christmas Day after being blown out in back-to-back road games. Now that Kobe Bryant is expected to miss another six weeks with a fractured knee, the Lakers are looking to form a new identity. And if their fans can’t stick with them while they do that, Mike D’Antoni thinks they should hit the road.
After Monday’s 117-90 loss to the Phoenix Suns, D’Antoni was asked if he has a message for any discouraged Lakers fans.
“If they’re discouraged, then find another team to root for,” he snapped, via Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times. “We’re not going to give up. Are you kidding me? Discouraged? That’s not even fair to these guys.”
The Lakers are 13-15, Kobe is on the shelf again, Steve Nash has not appeared in a game since Nov. 10 and Pau Gasol seems to get more miserable by the day. If role players are unable to step up in a big way, LA will disappear from playoff contention before Bryant even begins practicing again. I’m sure D’Antoni is aware of that, but he was very irritated by the “sky is falling” questions on Tuesday.
“Guys, I mean, it’s like, OK, we lost two road games,” he said. “It takes some adjusting. We’ve got to get somebody healthy. We’ll be back. We’re not going anywhere. We’re going to fight and we’re going to try and stay above .500. We’ve got a nice homestand coming up and if anybody hangs their head, they don’t need to be on our bandwagon.”
D’Antoni was then asked why he didn’t put Nick Young into the game earlier in the third quarter after his 15-point performance in the first half. He gave a very sarcastic response and then ended the press conference.
“I think that was the whole game right there. I screwed that up,” D’Antoni said jokingly. “Are you kidding me? I’ll look at the tape. I mean, maybe. I’m out, guys. I’m done.”
The best way for D’Antoni to show he is not worried about the future of the team would be to not snap at reporters. I guess it’s too late for that.
Andrew Bynum said all the right things during his introductory press conference last week with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Bynum continued to please Cleveland fans by praising them in an interview with FOX Sports Ohio’s Allie Clifton for “Access Cavaliers” after his introductory press conference.
After being told by Clifton that Cleveland fans love their sports, Bynum was asked what he knew about Cleveland fans.
“I just know that they’re really really passionate, and I haven’t had an opportunity to play for a city that’s really going to stand up and really support the team,” Bynum said. “I’m super excited. I can’t wait to see what it’s like.”
So in praising Cleveland fans, Bynum took a shot at Lakers fans by saying they don’t really support the team. Lakers fans are a passionate group, so I can’t imagine that’s going to sit well with them.
Bynum was drafted by the Lakers in 2005 and spent his entire career with the team until last year. Though he was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, he never played a game for them and didn’t get to experience Philly fans.
Lakers fans may take offense to the comments, but think about it from Bynum’s perspective. This is a guy Kobe wanted to ship out in exchange for Jason Kidd several years ago. There were frequent talks about the team wanting to trade Bynum for Dwight Howard. He was constantly mentioned in trade talks. Maybe he felt like the fans didn’t appreciate him.
The fans were getting rowdy as the team was getting routed. Fans began chanting “We want Phil!” while the team was getting blown out, which was a call for the team to making a coaching change from Mike D’Antoni to Phil Jackson. Someone should probably break it to the fans gently that Phil probably wouldn’t have much interest in this aging, injury-depleted roster.
One thing we’re seeing is how spoiled Lakers fans are. Since 2000, the team has won five titles and lost in two NBA Finals. The fans are used to seeing the team compete for an NBA title, so watching the team get swept to end a disappointing season has left many of them bitter. But fans should realize that if this is as bad as it gets in Laker land, it’s still much much better than what most fan bases deal with.
The Los Angeles Lakers dug themselves into a massive hole with a blowout loss to the San Antonio Spurs in Game 3 on Friday night — one that they likely will not climb out of. The Lakers have disappointed their fans all season long, but as anticipated they have looked particularly lost without Kobe Bryant. Injuries have been the team’s biggest issue, but that hasn’t stopped the fans from blaming head coach Mike D’Antoni.
As Friday night’s 120-89 loss came to a close, Lakers fans were heard chanting “we want Phil!” I doubt Phil Jackson would have much more success with the current LA roster, but the fans never see it that way.
No matter where he goes, D’Antoni can’t seem to escape the chants for the Zen Master. When the New York Knicks were struggling last year under D’Antoni, fans chanted the same thing. I guess it’s a step above calling for him to simply be fired, but it’s tough to constantly coach in the shadow of Jackson. The Lakers had another shot at Phil but they decided to go with D’Antoni. Like it or not, the fans are probably stuck with it for another year.