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One down, 81 to go

October 31, 2007 |  9:28 am

33565998PROGRAMMING NOTE:  Don't forget to tune into today's webcast of "Purple, Gold and Blue."  Noon.  Click the NowLive widget on the side of the page to listen, and if you're feeling particularly frisky, log on to the site and join the live chat that goes on during the show.

Don't freak out, but if the season ended today, the Lakers would be a lottery team (and a lot of people would wonder why they spend so much on season tix).  Fortunately, Tuesday's opening night 95-93 loss to the Rockets at Staples was just the first of many opportunities to get it right.  This one, however, went wrong on a few levels, on what was an odd night off Fig.  It included boos for Kobe Bryant in the pregame introductions, the rare basketball "own goal" from Luke Walton and Kwame Brown, some lackluster effort from the purple and gold before a furious late fourth comeback ... all scuttled by a clutch Shane Battier rainbow three with 2.5 seconds to play. But the box score reveals that, despite a rough shooting night from Kobe (13-32) and the Gang (19-44), what really cost the Lakers was a collective failure from the free-throw line: 27-45.  That's 18 misses from the charity stripe. 

Go ahead and kick that gift horse smack in the kisser.

Just the first day of what is shaping up to be a typically dramatic Lakers season, with fans on edge and Kobe in limbo.

Once it was over, there's no question that the fairly icy reception Kobe initially received from fans was a hot topic.  Clearly fans have some lingering animosity toward Bryant over this summer's events and his trade demand. And it's probably a good thing that Mitch and Dr. Buss didn't find their faces up on the Jumbotron at any point during the evening's festivities.  And of course, by the end of the game, after Kobe provided a multitude of Kobe Moments, it was all cheers (and probably will be, assuming the dust stays reasonably settled, going forward).  A "six-minute" revolution.  A mini-uprising from the man on the street.

After all, there are still a lot of things to like about the guy, despite some shaky PR skills.

Could this, combined with the activities down at the Ravine, signal a shift in the city's core loyalties? 

Hey, it's just the first day.  Nothing much to do but speculate.