And once the game started on the floor? This one felt even more like it was in Los Angeles. But not because of the fans.
The game officials (Joe Forte, Marc Davis, Phil Robinson) didn't wear Kobe jerseys themselves, but from start to finish they favored the Lakers. They were bad enough to make some calls that went in Milwaukee's favor too, but even if the score was tied after 48 minutes, nothing really evened out tonight.
The Lakers got the 50/50 calls, sure, but they also got 60-40 calls, 100/0 calls.
Just not good. The worst at the Bradley Center this season, and I've only missed a couple.
There are myriad specific instances, like when Bogut felt the slap heard 'round press row. No call. Or when Kobe got that and-one call on Bogut to bring the Lakers within one in overtime. You remember, the one when he may have traveled, may have charged, and definitely didn't get fouled.
"I don't think it was a foul on Bogut, or whoever they called the foul on. But he's (Bryant) a great player and he's going to get the benefit of the doubt," Charlie Bell said.
Nobody thought it was a foul on Bogut, except the onlybody who matters.
To make matters worse, Los Angeles felt entitled to get calls, you could see that, and despite the foul disparity in their favor, they still griped; both Ron Artest and Lamar Odom picked up technicals for dissent, and at (at least) one point Bryant gave the official the stare-down all the way down the court.
That call on Bogut was absolutely terrible, and the kind of call that makes the NBA so much less credible than the other major sports. What? A star got a questionable call that kept his team in the game? You must be talking about the NBA.
Note also that Brandon Jennings (who is certainly unafraid of taking the ball inside) can't get to the line:
One day, I will probably sit my grandchildren on my lap and reminisce about the 2009-2010 Milwaukee Bucks free throw differential. I will tell them the tales about a young Brandon Jennings who could not earn a whistle in his favor. Jennings’ per minute free throw rate ranks the second lowest among the 150 players with his 29.8 percent usage rate; only the immortal Freeman Williams toed the line fewer than 4.2 times every 36 minutes with a such large share of his team’s offense. In other words, Brandon Jennings should enroll in some acting classes so he can toe the line more and truly live up to the Allen Iverson comparisons.
Or maybe just learn to stare as hard as Kobe.
The NBA - The Professional Wrestling of the sporting world.