Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The opening night debuts of the superstar-laden LA Lakers today and nine years ago

The opening night debuts of the superstar-laden LA Lakers today and nine years ago
by rick olivares pic by wally skalij

When the new NBA schedule had the Dallas Mavericks traveling to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers in the season opener, I thought back to a previous game. One that took place just a little over nine years ago (October 29, 2003).

October 28, 2003 Staples Center
The Mavericks also traveled to LA that day for opening night where 18,997 people were on hand. Yes, there was a cold shoulder that opening night but for the 2012-13 season, that belonged to Kevin Garnett who refused to acknowledge Ray Allen in the Miami Heat-Boston Celtics match that took place in the opposite coast. But back to La La Land.

The cold shoulder was between Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal who took shots and jabs at each other for two days leading up to the opener. And the funny thing is they sat next to each other on the Lakers’ bench.

But the new look Lakers – they had Gary Payton, Karl Malone, Bryon Russell, and Horace Grant – crushed the Mavericks, 109-93, without Bryant who was injured. Six Lakers ended up with double figures – Devean George, Malone, Payton, Derek Fisher, O’Neal, and Russell.

The new look Mavericks that day – they signed Antawn Jamison and Antawn Walker – lacked any chemistry and were a mess. Who else was on that Dallas team? Steve Nash.

October 31, 2012 Staples Center
Flash forward to today’s NBA.

The Lakers with new signings Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, and Antawn Jamison looked like a mess on opening night with 18,997 fans in attendance. They’ve got a Big Four of their own with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Nash, and Howard. But they were felled by the new look Mavs (Elton Brand, Jae Crowder, Chris Kaman although he didn’t suit up because of an injury) who were without Dirk Nowitzki, 99-91.

Steve Nash finished with seven points and four assists. Howard tallied 19 points and 10 rebounds while Jamison had five points and five rebounds. Only three Lakers were in double figures. Outside Howard, Pau Gasol led the way with 23 points while Kobe Bryant had 22.

In the 2012 debut of the Mavs, they had six players in double digits for the win – Brendan Wright, Shawn Marion, Darren Collison, OJ Mayo, Rodrigue Beaubois, and Vince Carter.

The superstar-laden 2003-04 Lakers made it to the NBA Finals where they lost to the Detroit Pistons, 4-1. The journey for this new Lakers team has just begun. Only by the end of the season can we finally say if they charted their own path or if they will mirror that old team that was blown up immediately after the loss.


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