2010 Lakers Opening Night at the Staples Center

Why don’t the Lakers play a audio recording of Chick Hearn “putting the game in the refrigerator?”  What better way to honor the late, great, Chick Hearn than by playing his voice at the end of each home victory?  For basically every Laker fan over the age of 15, Chick Hearn is THE Lakers broadcaster.  His consecutive games streak, his oral ability, and the fact that he invented most basketball slang (he invented the term slam-dunk) are just some of the reasons why he’s so beloved by Laker fans.

Apr. 20, 2010 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - Marge Hearn, wife of the late Los Angeles Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn during a unveiling of his statue before a Western Conference first Round Playoff basketball game at the Staples Center on Tuesday, April 20, 2010 in Los Angeles.

They could prepare an audio clip with a short video to play on the JumboTron, and they could play it when each Lakers’ victory is ensured.  They could give Stu Lantz the button to activate “The Refrigerator.”  I could see dozens of reasons why this might not be a good idea, but I can see even more reasons why it would be a great idea.

It’s the first game of the season, so I’m not going to get too excited or disappointed by how they play.  The Lakers looked to be one-step-behind for much of the game on defense.  It looked like they came into the game on cruise control and stepped on the pedal just enough to escape with a victory.  Offensively they looked fine, with Shannon Brown and Steve Blake hitting some timely shots.  I don’t think anybody in the building thought that the most critical shots of the game would be made by those two guys.

There have been rumors that the Lakers might be content to sail through the regular season to make sure they’re healthy and peaking by the playoffs. While this is a smart strategy for an old veteran team such as the Celtics, I don’t think this will do at all for the Lakers. Home court advantage will be more important than ever, as we saw the Lakers needed a game 7 at home to win the championship last year. Especially with a lack of title contenders in the west (but with a LOT of quality teams), the Lakers should be focused on winning 60 games and trying to secure home court advantage for the entire playoffs. If they don’t, I’d say their championship chances drop drastically.

Since this was the first game of the season, I’m not going to put much weight into how the Lakers’ performed.  Obviously, this kind of defensive inattention will not win us the championship, but they did win the game against a gritty and talented Houston Rockets team.  The Lakers didn’t play up to their full potential, but then again, they rarely do.

Bottom line: 1 down, 81 to go.

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