This week in Los Angeles sports ranged from no defense in basketball to a great start in hockey to revved up chatter about an NFL football stadium in downtown LA. The city of LA keeps its fans occupied in more ways than one during the football season so let’s check out what was on deck last week.
The Lakers cruised into last week undefeated not having played their best ball or a complete game. However, they exited last week dropping two consective games having forgotten how to play defense. In their first two loses of the season they gave up 239 points to the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns. On the road in Denver presented a difficult task for the Lake Show as Carmelo Anthony and a rather small lineup caused problems for the Lakers. The Nuggets bench sparked an 16-0 run in the 4th, led by shawty speedster Ty Lawson. The goal was to negate the height of Pau Gasol and get out running. Trading scoring runs in the fourth quarter, the speed would beat out the Lakers size as they lost, 118 -112. Kobe Bryant became the youngest player to score 26,000 points beating out Wilt Chamberlain by 34 days. This record didn’t do much for the win column.
In their second loss, the Suns just shot lights out at the Staple Center. Speed and going small would again negate the height and size of the Lakers, as Jason Richardson and his crew made 22 three pointers (one shy of the team record). Defensive rotations be damned, because even if the Lakers could successfully rotate to the shooters, the Suns were making threes with their eyes closed and one arm behind their back. Run, run and run was the name of the Suns game. The Sun shot better from beyond the arc than from the floor shooting 55% vs. 51%. The Lakers might be leading the League in scoring but their defense is allowing 103.6 pts/game. Not a good look by the Lake Show as they now go on a a 3 game road trip, visiting Milwaukee, Detroit and Minnesota. Maybe the defense will return on the road.
The other tenants of the Staple Center have been skating it up and are off to their best start in franchise history. After a beat down of the NY Islanders 5-1, the Kings are 12-3-0 and have yet to lose at home this season winning all 8 games. The Kings are scoring first and winning 6 games when they do so. Adding to their fast streaking start is RW Justin Williams, who has at least a point in 9 consecutive games and leading the team in points (16) and goals (8). The Kings will now play 5 of their next 6 on the road, with a test tonight against division rival San Jose Sharks. This is what happens when you share your crib with 2 other teams.
The talk of a new downtown NFL stadium is starting to heat up and it seems as though this could be the answer to the vacancy left by the Raiders and Rams 16 years ago. The major players are Tim Leiweke and Casey Wasserman. Leiweke is the man behind the Anschutz, the people who brought Staples Center downtown but also the Grammy’s, LA Live and the Democratic convention to the area. This downtown idea is easily more appealing than the Coliseum, Rose Bowl or any of the other suggestions on the outskirts of LA proper. Does Carson or Irwindale come to mind? If Leiweke and his company are willing to foot the bill for an extravagant retractable roof stadium(it does rain in Southern California despite the song), then we may see the Chargers, Raiders or Jaguars call LA home.
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Written by Lea Anderson