Lakers 116, Kings 108: Happy %&*@#! Birthday, SSR

SACRAMENTO, CA - APRIL 13: A fan of the Sacramento Kings hold up a sign against the Los Angeles Lakers on April 13, 2011 at Power Balence Pavilion in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

What a day.  What a surreal, strange, muddled, confusing day.

It started with bated breath, as all of Lakers Nation awaited the news of Andrew Bynum's MRI.  But as we waited, a funny thing happened.  Like a single snowflake rolling down a mountain, turning into a gigantic ball of snow, the news of Kobe Bryant's casual use of a gay slur towards a referee in last night's contest began to move to the forefront of any and all Lakers conversation.  Kobe came out with a statement that showed all the remorse of an Enron executive, the league "looked into" the incident and decided to lay the financial hammer down, and the news that Bynum was given more or less a clean bill of health was quickly pushed to the back page.

And then there was a little thing called the last game of the regular season ... against the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento ... quite possibly the last game ever in Sacramento.  The Lakers had a lot riding on tonight's contest.  Technically, the Kings had nothing riding on it.  But we knew better.  We knew the passionate Sacramento crowd would be willing their team to victory with their very being.  We knew the Lakers would be short-handed to the point of needing playing time from the likes of Luke Walton and Joe Smith.  But the Lakers built a big lead, as many as 20 points in the 4th quarter.  And then, as if on the wings of angels, the Kings fought back.  They knocked down shots, they picked up rebounds, and they gave their fans one more moment of hope.  The Lakers were happy to assist, tossing up bricks and turning the ball over, but this was about desperation.  The Kings, driven by their fans, had that quality in abundance.

So the Kings took the lead.  If this were a fair world, that would be the end of the story.  I'm a Lakers fan, have been since the day I was born, but even I could sense the justice in it.  The narrative was too perfect.  One last stand, one last heroic charge.  Even as the Lakers looked to suffer a humiliating collapse in defeat, it seemed like fate. The Lakers were the villains in this story, and as Hollywood's team, they knew that the villains are supposed to lose.  Only one guy wasn't interested in the script.  So Kobe Bryant re-wrote the ending.

Fuck Fairness.  Fuck Happy Endings.  Fuck bad PR.  Fuck losing.  These are the tenets of the Black Mamba.

How do these things happen?  How can one explain that Kobe waited 82 games to show why he remains the most feared closer in the game, and then finally put those talents on display in the most cold-blooded display you can ever possibly see?  How can it make any sense that the Los Angeles Lakers sleepwalked through large portions of their season, and are now rewarded with what appears on paper to be the easiest path to the NBA Finals of any contender? 

At the beginning of the day, I compared the Lakers situation to Dante's Inferno, and that was before the Kobe shit hit the fan.  Not 24 hours later, Kobe has another feather in his clutch cap, the team has been blessed with a relatively clean bill of health, and the playoff pieces couldn't have fallen into place any better than a four line clear in Tetris.  The Lakers will face the New Orleans Hornets in the first round, and have home court advantage in the second round, while the San Antonio Spurs will have a tougher first round matchup and quite possibly a tougher second round matchup, too.  L.A. even gets an extra day's rest for Drew before their playoff run begins.

Today also happens to be the two year anniversary of this website.  Last year, this day passed completely uncommemorated.  This year, the craziest regular season day in my memory drove the landmark off the grid.  Now, after all that's happened in such a short period of time, I'm at a loss for words.  It's tough to figure how this world works sometimes.  So I'll just say what matters.  For whatever small portion of this day remains, Happy Fucking Birthday, Silver Screen and Roll.  For whatever reason, we are extremely blessed to root for a wonderful franchise.  Let the events of this day and of this night remind you never to take that for granted. 

 

Poss.

TO%

FTA/
FGA

FT%

3FGA/FGA

2PT%

3PT%

EFG

TS%

OReb Rate

DReb Rate

PPP

L.A.

103

11

0.24

91

0.18

52

38

53

58

10

71

1.13

Sac.

102

10

0.19

58

0.24

51

29

49

50

29

90

1.06

X
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