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The Morning Column: December 8, 2021
I said the Lakers could be on their way to the most disappointing season in franchise history. The truth is anything short a championship would put them in the same conversation as the 2003-04 Lakers.
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1. In Monday’s column, I wrote that “the Lakers are on their way to the most disappointing season in franchise history.” They were 12-12 and coming off a loss to the Clippers on their home court. Some Lakers fans agreed with me while others obviously pushed back. I’m not saying this is a bad team. Far from it. Despite their early struggles, they’re still one of the top five teams in the West and top 10 teams in the league.
But let’s play this season out for argument’s sake. Let’s say after winning 50 percent of their games through the first 24 games of the season, they turn things around and win over 60 percent the rest of the way and finish the season 49-33. They finish third in the division, find a way to win their first round series but eventually lose to either the Golden State Warriors or Phoenix Suns in the second round. Where would that season rank in terms of disappointment? I would argue it would be in the conversation for the most disappointing considering the Lakers built a “super team” with five future hall of famers this summer and began the season as championship favorites along with the Brooklyn Nets.
2. The truth is, anything short of a championship this season will be considered a disappointment by Lakers fans. Look at how the 2003-04 Lakers, which added Karl Malone and Gary Payton in the offseason, is viewed historically.
That team started the season 18-3, finished 56-26, won the Pacific Division, won the Western Conference and advanced to the NBA Finals to play a Detroit Pistons team that was in the midst of a run where they played in six straight conference finals and back-to-back NBA Finals. The series was tied 1-1 when Malone, who missed half the season, injured his knee and was essentially done for the series. A frontcourt that began the season with Malone, Horace Grant and Rick Fox now had to lean on Slava Medvedenko and Devean George against Rasheed Wallace and Ben Wallace. I still think if Malone doesn’t get hurt (he missed 40 games in the regular season), the Lakers could have won a franchise-tying best 69 games and the championship and would be viewed far differently.
It’s ridiculous whenever that team gets compared to the 2012-13 Lakers, which added Dwight Howard and Steve Nash in the offseason. That team started the season 17-25, finished 45-37 and get swept out of the first round of the playoffs.
3. I’m not ready to walk back my opinion on the Lakers after their 117-102 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday but the Lakers might be turning a corner this season. They have won three of their last four games and Russell Westbrook is beginning to look more comfortable playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
But the Lakers are still 13-12 and their last three wins have come over the 13-12 Celtics, 8-14 Sacramento Kings and 4-16 Detroit Pistons. Their previous three wins before that came against the 8-12 Indiana Pacers in overtime, the 4-12 Pistons and the 4-9 San Antonio Spurs. On the season, the Lakers have just four wins over teams above .500: Boston (13-12), Miami (14-11), Cleveland (13-12) and Memphis (14-10).
4. We all knew Staples Center would be changing its name to Crypto.com Arena on Christmas Day as part of a 20-year, $700 million naming rights deal but I wasn’t ready to see the signage outside of Staples Center come down this week. The exterior signage for Crypto.com Arena might not be up until June, according to AEG, so Staples Center could be without a name on its exterior for six months.
5. I always post “get-in” prices for tickets in this column. A lot of you have reached out to say you appreciate that and have taken advantage of cheap tickets you didn’t know about that. The best deal in town this season has been the Clippers with the “get-in” price for most games under $10, which is cheaper than parking around Staples Center. For example, if you’re a Boston Celtics fan, you could have paid $86 for a 300-level seat to the Lakers-Celtics game on Tuesday or $6 for a similar seat to tonight’s Clippers-Celtics game. Some Clippers fans took this as a shot but it’s just the opposite. Every fan would rather pay less to see their team play. I’ve gone to several Clippers games this season as a fan with family and friends because I was able to buy 8 seats together and pay less than $50. I wish that was the case for most teams in town.
6. San Diego State’s new 35,000-seat football stadium will be called Snapdragon Stadium as part of a 15-year, $45 million naming rights deal with Qualcomm, which owns Snapdragon. The stadium is scheduled to open in Sept. 3, 2022 when San Diego State plays Arizona.
7. Here are some odds if you’re thinking about placing a wager today brought to you by Circa Sports.
8. Here’s the local pro sports schedule today brought to you by Yaamava’.
7:00 p.m. Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Clippers – Bally Sports SoCal
9. Here are the “get in” prices for tickets locally on TickPick if you’re thinking about going to a pro sports game.
Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Clippers – $6
10. On Tuesday’s The Arash Markazi Show, we talked about what the Lakers and Clippers have to do to turn around their seasons and the signage outside of Staples Center coming down.
Listen to The Arash Markazi Show Monday-Friday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. on The Mightier 1090 in Southern California following The Rich Eisen Show and on 98.5 The Fan in Las Vegas following The Jim Rome Show. The Mightier 1090 has one of the strongest radio signals in North America and can be heard from “Baja to the Canadian Rockies” and 98.5 The Fan is the home of college football and the Los Angeles Chargers in Las Vegas. You can listen to The Mightier 1090 anywhere with your free TuneIn app or ask your smart speaker to “Play The Mightier 1090.” You can listen to 98.5 The Fan anywhere with your free Audacy app or ask your smart speaker to “Play The Fan Las Vegas.” You can also listen to the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher and the BLEAV Podcast Network.
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That’s it for today. Talk to you on Friday.