by Craig Kwasniewski
Take heavily liquored up USC fans after a blowout win in a rivalry game, mix in a "Big Game Package" sellout, splash in equally liquored up bitter UCLA fans, add in LeBron James and mix it up with the growing bandwagon that is the Clippers and you have one very strange night. Here are some highlights:
-Cleveland must have gone hookering last night with grungy/caffeinated/suicidal Seattle chicks. How else do you explain the 1-14 start from the field. The game looked like a blowout as the Clippers were up 20 to 4.
-Cleveland's slow start enabled the liquored up USC fans to heckle the Cavs (especially LeBron), carpet bombing them with hundreds of absolutely senseless remarks like, "Hey Lebron, Kobe likes McNuggets!"
-Larry Hughes was an absolute no show for the game. 3 for 11 from the field in 40 minutes.
-Cleveland guard Damon Jones spent the whole evening jawing with the crowd. It was all good natured stuff. At one point during a timeout, he tried to playfully flip a baskeball at a kid on her father's lap. He ended up hitting the kid in the face. Jones was apologizing to the family throughout the game.
-Chris Kaman was a monster on the boards, grabbing a career high 19 rebounds. With Cleveland behind throughout the game, Donyell Marshall was playing power forward. Marshall, a one-dimensional three point shooter, did absolutely nothing to keep Kaman off the boards.
-Sam Cassell became one of my favorite player of all time tonight. I was sitting under the basket for the game. (I took the above picture from my seat. I got the tickets for free...believe me there's no way in hell that I can afford these seats.) Anyway, after turning the ball over and leading to a break away from Cleveland, Cassell tried to throw the ball into the basketball pole/base. Most players do it after a bad play with a quick/fast throw into the padding. Well, Sam had no control on the throw and....oh shit he's throwing the ball right at....my face!!!!!
Believe me, the thing was flying at my face in slow motion...I was able to put my hand up and deflect the ball over my head and back a few rows. WOW!!!! SHIT!!!! WOW!!!! SHIT!!!! My heart was pumping and I see Cassell try to apologize through his mouthpiece which came out like, "I'm splrushshy!"
During the halftime warmups, Cassell actually came up to me, shook my hand, hugged me and apologized. Very cool guy. I wished I could have said something cool, but I get a little star struck when I see pro athletes.
-Toward the end of the game, one of the drunk fans threw a balled up t-shirt (the type that the Hoop Troop throws into the crowd) over 4 sections and hit the Cavalier bench. The ENTIRE bench stood up a leered at the guy who threw the shirt. Always funny seeing the, "After the game your mine" looks coming from the likes of Sasha Pavlovic, Zendon Hamilton and Luke Jackson.
-The Clippers held off late Cleveland rally and closed the game winning 102-90. Elton Brand and Corey Maggette carried the Clippers offensively tonight combing for 54 points. Brand seemed to hit every shoot he took inside 12 feet.
-The game ended with the drunk fans behind me getting into a fight. (See picture below, the guys in the red coats are breaking up the fight) They were ejected along with some crazy fans trying to bum rush Chris Rose of Best Damn Sports Show. How drunk are you when you are calling out C-Level cable TV celebrities?
-Before we left the game, my friend (we will call him Person X) walked by the press table and stole a Cavalier Media Guide. Classy move for the guy's first courtside experice. Just another Saturday night at the Clip Joint.