Extra! Extra! (1.17)
What a night! So much to talk about. Beyond all the drama, there actually was a game involved, one where the Lakers took down the Heat 100-92. And as far as the highlights, take your pick. You could talk about Kobe Bryant's 37 points, complete with the usual late minute heroics and buried jumpers. You could hit on Lamar Odom's near trip-dub. You could yap about Devean George's 17 bench points, which nicely complimented his D on Wade. But the big story was Andrew Bynum, whose three first half minutes stole the entire show. Matched up for the first time ever against Shaq, the kid bounced back from a serious posterization to fake the Diesel with a spin of his own, then exchanged elbows as opposed to backing down. Whether jousting with Shaq means the same thing now as then is up for debate (an argument Phil won't touch). But either way, Staples hadn't been that loud since that third title was won.
The box score don't lie. The "Miami Monkey" is officially off L.A.'s back.
Of course, there was also a pretty big subplot, as the Big Fella and Kobe finally made peace. Taking the advice of Bill Russell to heart, Shaq made the first move, extending his hand to Bryant during warmups. The two then hugged it out before the tip off, thrilling the fans in the process. Both seemed relieved to put the past behind them, with Kobe noting after the game how significant the fence mending was when it came to L.A. and its young fans.
Ronny Turiaf is expected to sign his contract today. Whether or not his Laker uni comes with a ticket to Ft. Worth and the D-League is still up for debate. But no matter how the scenario plays out, the kid's just stoked to be here.
(photo by Matt Sayles/AP)