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Andrew Bynum Makes History (4.29.12)
Since I attended game one against the Denver Nuggets, I am going to post a live impression, along with the research I looked up once I returned home.
My girlfriend and I met up with my parents about an hour and a half before the game. We planned on getting lunch before the game, so we headed over to the Yard House, right across from Staples Center in the L.A. Live section. Lakers paraphernalia was everywhere. The buzz was tangible, everyone was excited for game one of the Mike Brown era. As many of us waited for our food, close eyes were kept upon the numerous televisions as the Spurs and Jazz battled during their matchup. However, the Spurs went on a big run, putting them ahead by fifteen or so in the third quarter, and everyone seemed to stop watching and instead focus on their friends and family. After throwing down some delicious sliders, my family and I headed over to Staples Center.
One great thing about attending a playoff game, besides the game itself, is the freebie you usually receive. This time, everyone in attendance was given a white shirt that used large purple lettering to spell, "One At A Time," across the front with a Lakers logo centered underneath. The back employed small purple lettering, "2012 Playoff Time," centered and just below the shoulders. Freebies like this are obviously accounted for in the ticket price, which always rises during the playoffs, however, these freebies are limited, precious, and serve as a cool keepsake. However, these freebies are also expected to be worn during the game. If you saw the Thunder vs the Mavericks in game one, you saw the solidarity of crowd, as they all wore the Thunder blue shirts they were given. Well Los Angeles is not Oklahoma City. Although people may love the keepsake, Lakers fans usually don't don the adornment. The richer types come dressed to impress, and the normal fans all sport their favorite player with either a jersey or shirt of some type. Wearing a generic shirt, actually limited but generic inside Staples, is just not going to happen. I would estimate that considerably less than half of the crowd wore the shirt.
Now my impressions of the game. Andrew Bynum impressively highlighted the old cliche, you can't teach size. Bynum looked bigger, and was bigger, than everyone on the court, and it was obvious. To foreshadow his huge defensive game, Bynum opened the first quarter with blocks on Ty Lawson, Kenneth Faried, and a nasty block on Al Harrington as Harrington tried to dunk the ball. All of these blocks came in the paint as Bynum rotated from the weak side. Even more impressive, Bynum remained engaged in the game without taking a single shot until 4:24 was left in the second quarter. His only three buckets in the first half all came in the second quarter, with a tip putback, and two dunks. Andrew Bynum showed outstanding maturity. He did not sulk about his lack of shots. He understood that every time he touched the ball, the Nuggets doubled him hard. He knew that his role would be to draw doubles and kick out to the open man. Unable to provide a scoring impact upon the game, Bynum decided to prevent the Nuggets from being able to score. Bynum picked up his fourth block in the second quarter. Bynum switched onto Lawson due to a pick and roll. The Nuggets cleared out, hoping to take advantage of the mismatch. Lawson blew by Bynum and drove to the rim. Bynum stayed within swatting distance as he remained about a half a step behind Lawson. Lawson went up at the rim, and Bynum swatted his shot from behind. Bynum's effort was outstanding.