Fresh off the All Star break following a nine-game road trip in which they improbably went 7-2 (and could have been 9-0), the Lakers returned to STAPLES Center Tuesday night to open the second half of the season against the lowly Atlanta Hawks, in advance of Wednesday's road showdown against the Phoenix Suns and their new center, some dude named O'Neal.
The game marked the home debut of the newest Laker, Spaniard Pau Gasol, and the Catalan Colossus (c. Bobby P. Inc., All Rights Reserved) didn't disappoint, pouring in 23 points and grabbing six boards in a 29-point Lakers rout.
Doubters may caution "Here come the Suns," but the Lakers just say, "It's all right."
That loud pop you just heard was the sound of thousands of Southern California hamstrings pulling as fans (this blogger among the guilty) jump back on the Lakers bandwagon after a couple years of dissatisfaction at l'enfant terrible's whining. Hey Kobe, all is forgiven!
UPDATE: Lakers by six over Phoenix in an exciting, fast-paced game brimming with playoff intensity and overflowing with hoops artistry. Poetry in motion.