The Minnesota Timberwolves surprised the Los Angeles Lakers in London on Monday night, securing a 111-92 victory thanks in no small part to Lakers star Kobe Bryant playing only 6 minutes, much to the dismay of British fans.
The famous “Kobe, Kobe, Kobe” chant fell on deaf ears as Phil Jackson refused to play his star who admitted after the game his knee is at just “60%”. He finishd with 0 points on 0-3 shooting.
Martell Webster led all Wolves scorers with 24, whilst Michael Beasley had 21. Lamar Odom had 17 to lead the Lakers.
I’ m not gonna bother writing a game report as you can find one on pretty much every big basketball website (NBA.com being the main one-with video highlights as well) however, I will go with my usual random notes/thoughts…
- NBA needs credit for putting on a great event, especially for the media. I’ve never been accredited for these type of events before, so the whole “being a journalist” thing is absolutely awesome for me. I’m like a kid in a candy shop! I show up kinda peckish and there’s some mad 2 course meal laid out for media. Pasta, roast beef, vegetables…was sick! The whole thing was extremely professionally run and gave a good glimpse into the ‘bigtime’!
- I spent a lot of the night watching/listening to the crowd. The NBA game definitely does not attract the same crowd as GB games. Crowd interaction with the MC, atmosphere when the players came out (especially Kobe) was crazy. I find it almost mind boggling that the British public make more noise for Americans playing basketball than their own players.
- The game itself really wasn’t that great. Felt like the players were treating it as a scrimmage. A lot of sloppy play. Phil Jackson and Kobe had very few positive things to say about the Lakers performance after in the press conference with Kobe calling it just another “practice”. Linking back to the last point, it’s also mind boggling the British public would pay the extortionate prices of the tickets for what was a meaningless game, yet won’t spend a tenner to watch GB play all out in a Eurobasket (and potential London 2012 Olympics) qualifier.
- Play of the game-Shannon Brown’s facial on Pekovic. Honourable mention needs to go to Lamar Odom for straight up clowning Michael Beasley-dropped him then did some crazy mocking skip/hop dribble before going behind the back to D-Fish (who got swatted).
- The reception Andrew Sullivan got when introduced on the mic by Simon Hosannah was pitiful. GB Captain who has just guided Team GB to their second successive Eurobasket and it felt like the majority of the 18,000 basketball fans had no idea who he was. The Back British Basketball campaign obviously has a lot of work to do!
- Ashley Cole got big time boo-ed when he was shown on the big screen.
- There was just one dude wearing a Timberwolves jersey in the whole arena. lol.
- Beasley was beastin’ and got hot in the 3rd quarter. He’s great to watch. I thought it was a shame Sebastian Telfair didn’t get in, was one of the nicest players I interviewed over the weekend-really rooting for him.
- Big shout out to Adam Dudley from Bournemouth who I met in the RIDICULOUS queue for the riverboat (don’t even get me started on the strikes) and agreed to split a cab with me that ended up taking 10 minutes as opposed to the expected minimum 1 hour wait for the boat.
What do you think?
Did you attend the game? What did you think of it all? Drop a comment below and let me know!