Man, did I really write my last post way back in August of 2008???
Anyways, it's good to be back! A lot has happened since then, but I just could not find enough time to write a meaningful post.
Now is no time for that.
So, I'm here in the Huntington Beach, California right now. Been here since Jan. 13, in fact, and the first thing I set out to do was look for tickets to an NBA game! I know they would not come cheap, but I also didn't expect nosebleed seats to be that unaffordable.
Remember, by that time, there was the Lakers-Cavs game coming up in a few short weeks, so I first looked for tickets to that match-up. Much to my dismay, the cheapest seat cost $ 250 bucks! The CHEAPEST! Damn... I didn't have money that time (though even if I did, I doubt I'd spend it on that), so the Lakers were just not an option for me right now.
With that, I set out to look for the woeful Clippers' tix. Goshdarnit, they'd have to be cheaper than the Lakers, right?!?! I stumbled upon the Clips' 3-Game Flex Plan, where you choose three games at a (slightly) discounted price. They had two sets with about 10 teams each, and you could only choose three from one group. It was slightly disappointing, as the Cavaliers and Celtics (a game the Clippers would surprisingly win) were grouped separately. I really wanted to see KG just completely lose it, but there was no way I wasn't "witnessing" a LeBron James game... Luckily, there were still a lot of good teams in the Cavs' group. We eventually decided on watching the Lakers (KOBE!!!), Spurs (EVA!!!), and the Cavs. I wanted to watch CP3 and his Hornets instead of the Spurs, but figured that the robot known as Tim Duncan would be retiring soon, and I owed it to myself as a basketball fan to watch him play his game one time.A week after buying our tix, we set out to watch the Clips get demolished by the Lakers. It was bound to be a sure Clippers loss, as they were missing Baron Davis, Chris Kaman, Zach Randolph, and Marcus Camby at that time. Sure enough, the scores were as far apart as me and Kricket are, and Bynum totally dominated the paint, scoring a career-high 42 points! Kobe Bean was also fantastic, notching a trip-dub so effortlessly it almost made me a Laker fan.
Then, just last week, we watched the Spurs take on the doomed Clips, now fielding Baron Davis and Marcus Camby but missing Eric Gordon and the others. I mean, if you're playing Mike Taylor heavy minutes, you know something's up. It was too hard to get up and cheer for that game, as the Spurs easily killed all energy in the arena en route to a blowout victory.
If the trend continues, then I can expect another Clippers loss against the Cavaliers. After all, if the Lakers and Spurs could beat the Clips, surely the Cavs will. Right?
So, me and my mom arrived late in L.A., about an hour and a half before tip-off. We immediately headed out to the ESPN Zone, a sports bar of some kind that serves the BEST burger I've ever tasted. This day, however, with the King playing his last game in L.A. this season, the place was packed! Most restaurants here have frontdesks to help you get seated, so we could easily see the lines formed outside. Great. After not eating all afternoon, I'd be entering the arena hungry.
Not only that, but since my bro had to go to school that night, we had an extra ticket worth $ 40. I tried scalping it just outside the Staples Center, which was crazy since there were two police officers a few steps from me (I didn't know if scalping is illegal here or not, but the scalpers all acted shady). I approached this dude who sold and bought tix, but he wouldn't buy mine 'cause they were nosebleeds.Inside, the place was crazy. The crowd was obviously not a Laker crowd, as LBJ jerseys were everywhere! I liked this, since I really planned on chearing for the Cavs all night long.
I just love this dude. He seems reserved at times, but the way he acts around his teammates is just the opposite. As serious he is on the court, he is way playful off it. I see him dance around along with his teammates before the game. His youth is evident in these rare instances.
By halftime, the Clips had a huge lead. The Cavs came out flat tonight, passes not so crispy, and shots just not falling. The Clips also played good D on LeBron, always forcing him to go where there is help D, essentially taking him out of the game early on. LeBron seemed to be cruising up to that point, however.
Zach Randolph even manages to hit a three-pointer. I make a mental note of this.
Fast forward to the start of the 4th, with the Cavs down by a staggering 17 points. To the Clips (!). Just my luck, I thought... The one game that really mattered to me (and probably my last one watching live), and the Cavs would go on to lose... Badly.
However, my luck starts to change slowly but surely. First, the Cavs play some serious D and LeBron starts straight dominating, ninja-ing his way to the paint to score. Then, during a timeout, the video announce board announces a spectacular promo for upcoming Clipper home games. $ 18 bucks gets you one ticket (probably worth around $ 30), 1 hot dog ($ 4), 1 drink ($ 3), and even a $ 10 gas card (though it isn't Chevron)! Imagine??? This wouldn't have to be my last game, after all!
With the Clippers crashing HARD, the Cavs close the gap to the three with just over a minute left. The Clips displayed some admirable will to lose, favoring individual "heroics" over good team play and allowed the Cavs to get back in it.
BOOBIE GIBSON HITS THE 3!!! Tie game, and the place goes wild! There'a a Cavs fan two rows up from where I sat, and another one 3 seats to my right. However, there's two old(er) men just below me who are Clips fans. One even clapped in my face (it is ON!) when the Clips made a big shot. But the Cavs just won't quit, taking a 2-point lead with seconds left.
The Clips finally wake up and after swinging the ball around, Al Thornton nails a HUGE trey to put the Clips up one! Another dude gets up, turns around my way, and shouts in my face (in a playful but serious manner) and just straight looked intense. I LOVE THIS GAME!
Timeout Cavs, and LeBron dribbles around until the Cavs find a wide-open Mo Williams for the trey!!! YEAH!! Place goes wild! Curiously, the people below me were silent. I wonder why...
With 6.6 seconds left, and the Cavs up by two, Zach Randolph decides to throw up a 30-foot trey which he... AIRBALLS! Hahaha. Stupid. I knew hitting that trey earlier would bite the Clippers in the ass. I managed to shoot a video of that particular sequence, and that was me laughing toward the end. Trust me, I fully expected to get tackled by the men below after laughing out that loud.
Just a great way to end the 3 games. Watching the NBA was just a pipe dream to me just a few short years ago, but now I just witnessed one of LeBron's finest performances. It's like LeBron knew I would be there, and him tallying a triple-double was a special gift for me. I love the PBA, but nothing beats watching the NBA live. From the die-hard fans cheering even the hopeless Clippers on, to the action on the floor, everything just works magically.I'm glad to have had the opportunity to do this not once, but three times in my life. I would've been perfectly happy just watching ANY game, but to witness an NBA game this exciting in a sold-out arena with some of the most passionate fans (I see you, Clipper Darrell and Dude-Who-Wears-Viking-Helmets-And-Dances-Wildly) in the whole world?