Quick drops a “S***stomped” and other knowledge bombs about L.A. fans, including one in particular, at Kings rally

After the L.A. Kings wrapped up the franchise’s first-ever Championship Parade, the media caught up with several of the players in the bowels of the Staples Center before the rally started on the ice.  Stanley Cup Champion and Conn Smyth Trophy winner (for you non puckheads, that is the NHL’s playoffs MVP award) Jonathan Quick finally let loose, showing a little bit of personality.  Woohoo! 

Apparently, Quick is a feisty one.  After a tremendous showing by Kings fans during the championship parade, I asked the goaltender to clear the air regarding the reputation of L.A. sports fans.  Take a listen as Quick sets the record straight, giving props to your “average joe” fans as well as one David Beckham of the L.A. Galaxy.  Quick loves him some British soccer player, revealing his respect for Becks who has been a legit Kings fan for several years. 

Also, if your kids are watching and you don’t want them to hear an expletive (aka the “s-word”) you might want to put on the parental ear muffs.  Enjoy!

(clip produced by JerseyChaser.com)

   

Thanks to the groups of lawyers representing the NBA and its players, we were given the gift of the professional basketball this Christmas.  Opening day of the shortened 2011-2012 NBA season was no throw-away as each of the five games had something to positive offer as well as something to hate on.  In the spirit of Christmas, we present the naughty and nice of NBA’s opening day!

NAUGHTY

The Justin Beiber/NBA Holiday Promos:  Was the idea that the Beibs has the power to draw in the under 18 female viewers?  Surely, the NBA’s target audience was cringing while being force-fed spoonfuls of the talented teeny-bopper throughout the day.

Rajon Rondo, But In A Good way:  The Celtics guard stole the show for me (despite Carmelo Anthony’s performance) as many wondered if preseason trade rumors would distract Rondo and make his already questionable attitude worse.  If anything, Rondo did what the best competitors do as he excelled among controversy (real or perceived), picking apart the Knicks defense and dropping 31 points and 13 assists while logging five steals in Madison Square Garden.  While the Knicks escaped with a 106-104 win, Rondo’s performance was encouraging for a team playing without the injured Paul Pierce and boasting Jermaine O’Neal as the starting center.

Lamar Odom:  Adding insult to the injury of his new team being humiliated by the Heat, Lamar Odom got himself tossed out of his first game playing for the Dallas Mavericks.  Coincidently, the ejection was the second in as many games for Khloe’s husband dating back to last season when Odom was ejected in what would be the Lakers final playoff game after being swept by the Mavs in Dallas.  This time around, Lamar got tossed because he barked at the referee about a foul call in the third quarter, or as my Mom explained to my Dad, “he sassed the ref.”  Looks like L.O.’s track record in American Airlines Center could use a turn-around real soon. 

Dallas Mavericks: The reigning NBA Champion Mavericks were god awful in their season debut leaving a sellout crowd disappointed in Dallas as last season’s finals foe, the Miami Heat trounced the home team 105-94.  The game was nowhere near as close as the final score with the Heat leading by 35 points midway through the third quarter.  We’ll address the Heat in the “nice” section, but the Mavs, while still reigning champs, lost several vital pieces of the title-winning team, such as J.J. Barea and Tyson Chandler.  The addition of Sixth Man Of The Year Lamar Odom is fantastic, but with Vince Carter and Delonte West also new to the roster, Rick Carlisle, Dirk Nowitzki and the gang have a lot of bonding to do in order to find the right team chemistry. 

Dwight Howard:  The Orlando Magic big man had a less than Super performance on Sunday as the Oklahoma City Thunder held Dwight Howard to only 11 points.  Thunder bigs Kendrick Perkins and Nazr Mohammed did most of the damage on Howard helping OKC to a 97-89 win.  Sure, it was an ugly team effort for the Magic as only three players scored in double figures, but as the leader of your team, trade talks or not, Howard needs to shoot better than 4-12 from the field (he’s 7 feet tall, c’mon now) in 38 minutes.  Howard grabbed 15 rebounds, so I’ll give him credit for that, but if nobody on the team can convert rebounds into points, why bother? Meanwhile Kevin Durant balled out, dropping 30 on Orlando in a solid overall team win by the Thunder at home.  By the way, if you folks haven’t checked out Kendrick Perkins on Twitter (he recently joined), you are missing out big time.  He is one of my favorite athletes I’ve covered as he is sweet, sincere and brutally honest.  Follow him on twitter for some good laughs and Perky knowledge bombs at @KendrickPerkins

Drunk Santa Harassing LeBron James:  A lovely man dressed as Santa Claus heckled LeBron James with an alcoholic beverage in hand as the Heatles star shot free throws during Miami’s shellacking of the Mavs.  Santa, clearly a Dallas homer, shouted to James, “What do you want from Santa? A ring?”  I would give this guy props if he had anything original to say to James, but not only was he boring, but his team was getting hammered which makes heckling a bit pointless.   

NICE

Carmelo Anthony:  On a day where the New York Knicks led by 17 points and trailed by 10 in the same game, Carmelo Anthony provided the only real consistency for the home team in MSG.  Anthony scored 20 of his 37 points in the second half and sunk two free throws which proved to be the game-winning points for the Knicks.  After trying to pull a Sprewell on former teammate Billy Walker after the game, Celtics big man Kevin Garnett told reporters, “They seem to have a little swag and confidence behind them.  It’s good for the city. It’s good for the Knicks. I’m going to see how consistent they are with that, but for the most part Carmelo played really well.”  When KG shows you love after you beat him, that is saying something.

Los Angeles Clippers Swagger:  There was no shortage of confidence among the Clippers starting lineup; Caron Butler, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Chauncey Billups and Chris Paul took the court at ORACLE Arena in Oakland beaming with pride and a sense of belonging as they faced the Golden State Warriors.  While the Clippers performance was far from perfect and the 105-86 win over the Warriors was closer than the score indicates, the Clipps season opener was encouraging as the guys demonstrated noticeable differences from Clippers past.  As an L.A. native and long time Clippers fan, I have never seen a Clippers team with this kind of swagger.  There was a time when a young run & gun  collection of guys like Darius Miles, Quentin Richardson and Lamar Odom got cocky after doubling their win total one year after a 15-win season.  Once Blake Griffin took off last season, the Clippers showed more and more confidence with each game they played, but this season, that positive attitude is on a different level.  Now watching the Clipp Joint play with legitimate energy and boldness from the opening tip (backed up by their play in the preseason and down the stretch vs. Golden State) until the final buzzer sounds is really refreshing. 

Miami Heat: Yes, it was only the first game of the season but it was important for the Heat to get off to a good start this year, especially given the time and place of their 2011-2012 debut.  Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra kept his team sequestered as the Mavericks unveiled their championship banner and celebrated last season’s finals win over Miami on the court before the game.  It was a small gesture that sent a strong message that their finals failure was in the past and it was time for the uber-talented Heat to start anew.  That they did as Miami scored at least 30 points in each of the first three quarters, and at one point, held a 35-point lead en route to smoking the Mavs 105-94.  LeBron James and Dwayne Wade scored 37 and 26 points respectively as the Heat finally got the better of the Mavs; at least for one game. 
 

NAUGHTY & NICE

The final minutes of the Bulls/Lakers game played out like a poetic Wagner opera, full of surprise, joy and heartache.  My eyes began to water and butterflies took over my stomach after Chicago’s defense forced a turnover resulting in a gorgeous Derrick Rose floater good for a one point Bulls lead with 4.8 seconds to play.  The beauty of DRose’s shot coupled with the anticipation of watching perhaps another Kobe Bryant game winning shot was a bit overwhelming for me on Day 1 of the NBA season. 

While the home team Lakers started strong despite a torn ligament in Kobe’s shooting wrist as well as being without  center Andrew Bynum (who is serving a four game suspension), L.A. let it all slip away in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.  The Bulls fell flat for a good chunk of the game, seemingly unable to hit air with the basketball or play anything resembling defense.  But that all changed when Chicago woke up as  Rose went down with 3:34 left to play after the league MVP took a shot to the head, care of teammate Luol Deng’s elbow, as he landed a pretty up & under for two points.  Rose hit the deck shortly after, and clutching his head, the Bulls took a timeout to make sure he was okay and had not received a concussion.  Rose stayed in the game and from that moment on, Chicago’s offense and defense were synchronized enough to dig them out of an 11-point hole and lead them to a one-point, 88-87 win over LA.

For the Lakers, they have to be pleased with the play of Kobe as well as Pau Gasol, despite the drama surrounding a failed trade that would’ve sent the Spaniard to Houston for Chris Paul.  Role players (aka guys you probably didn’t know existed) like Josh McRoberts, Devin Ebanks and Steve Blake were impressive in running Mike Brown’s new offense as well as variations of Phil Jackson’s old triangle.  The Lakers defense was also spectacular until the final minutes.  It is not encouraging for LA that they had the Bulls down in the dumps and couldn’t keep them there, at home, on opening day, with the Staples Center going crazy.

As for the Bulls, they struggled to shoot and rebound for much of the game, despite having scoring ability and being one of the league’s top rebounding teams last season.  The defense was non-existent which was shocking as the Bulls had the top defense in the league last season.  Despite a long rough patch in this one, the team managed to turn water into wine, pulling the win out of nowhere.  As usual, DRose did his part but Deng was also sensational, playing stellar defense down the stretch and scoring 21 points, second only to Rose’s 22 for the Bulls.   I think this young Bulls team started slow and just needed a while to realize the lockout truly is over, for real, and no, they weren’t playing in a charity game or Vegas league contest.  The Bulls are incredibly talented and fun to watch, thus I wouldn’t anticipate too many more slow starts like the one we witnessed against the Lakers on Christmas.  

Charles Barkley sure had a lot to say last week when he called into the Rich Eisen Podcast.  As usual, he was funny, informative and interesting but he said something that really struck me. 

Talking about the NBA lockout, Chuck said that he doesn’t feel sorry for the owners, or even the players.  Instead, he is concerned for those who will be hit hardest by the feud between the owners and the players association; team and arena employees.  Not billionaires or millionaires, but your working class, average Joes.    Thousands of people on the periphery, working inside the arenas and for outside contractors. The front office receptionists, video guys, ushers, security, box office workers, janitors, salespeople, food service workers, team store cashiers, etc. The list goes on and on. 

Jim Peltz of the LA Times wrote an article detailing the potential affects of a long term lockout on these employees using NBA arenas in California and Phoenix as examples. 

Take the Staples Center in Los Angeles, which, unlike the other 28 NBA arenas, has 81 home games a year, hosting both the Lakers and Clippers.  Peltz says the Staples Center employs 700 food service workers alone, not counting any of the other hundreds of positions in the arena.  Not only will these workers miss out on paychecks, but they could lose their health insurance too. 

Missing several games would prevent Staples Center employees (who are members of the SEIU-United Service Workers West union) from working the minimum number of hours to qualify for health insurance benefits. 

Canceling pre-season games alone will do significant damage.  Take Ontario, California, where the Lakers and Hawks are scheduled to play a pre-season contest.  Between the city, arena and local businesses, the event is expected to bring in $1 million.  No game, no money. 

Peltz also explains how teams who play in city-owned arenas must pay rent to the government, regardless of whether or not any games are played. 

Barkley’s sentiments reminded me of something Tom Brady said when I was covering the Patriots training camp in 2010.  This training camp preceded the final season before the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement was to expire, and Brady was also in the last year of his contract with the Pats.  In his first interview of training camp, he fielded questions about the CBA and his own contract by saying he didn’t think fans at home wanted to listen to people complain about making millions of dollars. 

Both Brady and Barkley hit the nail on the head.  The real losers here are you and me.  Not only do we miss out on entertainment and a hobby that brings us such joy, but thousands of people will lose their livelihoods if this dispute isn’t resolved soon.  The owners and the players will be able to pay their bills at the end of the month and have roofs over their heads at night.  But many arena workers might not be afforded the same luxury.  While employees with paychecks on the line probably won’t find any comfort in Barkley & Brady’s comments, I think we can all appreciate their recognition of the true lockout victims.

To read Peltz’ article, click here. http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-nba-arenas-20110928,0,7995187.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fsports+%28L.A.+Times+-+Sports%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher