New Year, Lakers Still Winners to Vegas Fans
by: Helen Yee @HelenYeeSports
Las Vegas is home to many fans in the city who support the Lakers and are proud of the purple and gold, regardless of a win or a loss. Prior to the game, many fans stared at the Staples Center with glistening eyes, anxious to get a glimpse of Lakers' superstar legend, Kobe Bryant. The fans were dressed from head to toe in the famous Lakers colors. They eagerly waited nearby for the game to start, whether it was sipping on a caramel latte at the Starbucks across the street, or walking to Yardhouse to have a drink before the game.
The Los Angeles Lakers went into the first game of 2015 by hosting the Memphis Grizzlies, who have been a dominant team in the western conference. The Grizzlies are currently ranked third in their conference with a 24-9 record, behind Portland Trailblazers and the leading Golden State Warriors. While the Lakers have had their struggles this season which they have not been shy about voicing, they went into the night looking to win their second straight game.Tip-off began to a full house of Lakers fans who cheered on their home team. The fans' cheers echoed throughout the Staples Center as the intensity was high throughout the close game.
"My husband and I are from Las Vegas and we always save up money to go to one game a year, and that's usually the first game of the new year." Theresa explained, as her husband grinned from ear to ear with pearly white teeth, like it was almost from a Colgate commercial.
"We brought our daughters with us," Lisa, another Lakers fan, said. "Usually we go alone but they wanted to take the road trip this time, from Las Vegas." The family of five were lightly sun-kissed and their daughters were all wearing the same Kobe Bryant jersey, which they chanted, "Go Kobe! We love Kobe!"
"This is her anniversary present. We come from Vegas and love coming to this game, this one especially because it's like a New Year celebration and anniversary at the same time. Go Jeremy!" Brian stated. He had his wife wrapped in his arms in the cold weather, protecting her from the slight breeze. Needless to say, he was representing Lakers gear as well.
"It was a great game, very close, and we had such a good time. It was our first experience, from Las Vegas." Mary was shaking because she was so happy she and her husband witnessed the couple's favorite team play.
"We came from Vegas, too!" which was a common response amongst fans throughout the night, whether it was pre-game to post-game. All fans smiled and were delighted to come experience the live atmosphere of the game from a city who hosts the preseason Lakers' game.
It came down to the wire, the very last second…so close where fans held their breath and did not blink their eye as Lakers' Ed Davis made one of two free throws at the line with 1:04 remaining. With their last possession of the game and 0.6 on the shot clock, it looked as if it was going to go into overtime. Then, what many fans from Las Vegas wanted to witness live occurred; Kobe Bryant taking the last shot. They valued the moment as goosebumps rolled down their spine. The ball hit the rim and just missed….109-106. Final score. Win went to the visiting team. Though the outcome was not what they had hoped, there was more to the game than a turnover, blocked shot, and the score; the fans' support, especially from Las Vegas.
Las Vegas fans love to make the drive to support their purple and gold, and are thrilled to do so. As one could describe, Lakers are still the Grand Marnier on a Cadillac margarita, the cream cheese frosting on a moist red velvet cupcake, and the fluffy whipped cream on a slice of pumpkin pie. Despite win or loss, they were all joyful to be at the Staples Center, watching their favorite players. With these loving fans, at the start of the new year, can Lakers really lose?