by Toney Blare

Pre-game

– You know how a lot of people are talking up Jordan Farmer? Think this is related at all to him getting his hair game right?

– Sun “Monkey King” Yu gets bodied up repeatedly by Brian Shaw. After about four of these, I’d call it a draw.

– In the seats behind each hoop, where you’d usually find thunder stix, there appear to be Geico cavemen head-on-sticks. A bit shameless.

– Gumbo is aiight. Hey, and big up to the ladies at the loading dock and the food line.

– No Aggrey tonight, and no grape soda on tap. “Toney’s his name…he lives on his own…the undisputed champion, ohhh…”

– So tonight, when it’s time for Hornets’ intro, a section of the lights in the rafters refuses to go out. This gives the entire place an eerie look, like that scene in “The Last Boyscout” where the running back pulls the gun? This lasts for about seven minutes, and at one point, I think they might just tip it off that way, which would’ve been dope. I blame Hugo.

First quarter

– Bynum blocks T.C. on the first possession. Lot of cool match-ups in this one: Bynum/T.C., Pau/DWest, Peja/Vlad. See, that’s the kind of thing you pay more attention to, very professional-like, when the other half of your clique isn’t there to compare notes on the new Honeybee squad.

– Fisher drops a three when C.P. helps on Kobe. C.P. comes down with a floater in traffic, hits another the next time down and Fish responds with a second three. The triangle then manifests beautifully with Gasol under the hoop for 15-9 L.A.
A loss, but more history for Paul.
– Timeout, and Pau has words for CP3, who is always one for words, but is quickly replaced in the conversation by Posey, whose words include “I remember you from the Finals, do you remember me?” Dub techs.

– Chris is taking his dance-in-the-paint moves to new heights, to the point that I can’t think of anyone to compare him to. He’s then hit in the mouth and gets himself a tech and so it is time for another unclassifiable…

– Mike James! Mike dribbles off his foot and T.C. picks up a second foul. Aggrey texts “That’s the game.” Maybe. 20-10 LA. Kobe is 0-for-3.

– Mike loses it to Ariza on an attempted dunk, comes back with a wild layup attempt, and Farmer hits a buzzer beater for 28-17.

Second quarter

– Mike gets his shot blocked, comes down the next time to spot up for a wide-open three…which is called a two. Things are bad enough now that even when he looks down and sets up, he steps over the line. That is the name of this last Mike James movie: “Over the Line.”

– Rasual loses the ball and Bynum dunks on the break to make it 36-19. Right now, these teams don’t belong in the same conversation. Posey does stop a 4-on-1 and deliver a forearm to KB24’s chest. During a break, the jumbotron shows Byron, and behind him, a decidedly pensive John Hollinger sits with his chin on his fist, numbers running through his Malkovich-ian mind.

– Hey, Friday night is “American Bible Society Night” vs. the Blazers. Five years ago, that would’ve been high comedy. The night’s entertainment will be a band called New Method. I wonder if New Redman will cameo.

– DWest now shoots techs (this one on Bynum) for the Hornets. Um, isn’t Peja, like, the best free-thrwo shooter of all time or something? Is this a sign of chemistry issues?

– Hornets getting killed on the boards and so: Hello Honeybees, with their new belly dancer outfits. Right here is where Aggrey would suggest some Go-Go music.

– Here’s a jumper for Kobe, might be his first shot in 10 minutes. Half ends, 51-30.

Halftime

– Cyril Neville is the entertainment tonight. Interesting, as Cyril took a lot of heat for comments immediately after the storm that shit heavily on the city. Hard feelings all around, and the Neville Brothers didn’t even perform here for 2 years. No one boos or nothing, which is good. I’m the only one who cares about this shit, huh?

– My man Niall and I compare worries and agree that we’re not even mad at Mike James right now, we just wish he could ride off quickly into the sunset he deserves.

Third quarter

– Peja hits threes on consecutive possessions and then CP3 and Tyson hook up on the alley-oop known locally as “The Crescent City Connection,” named after the bridge to the West Bank. Yeah, we have a West Bank here, too, and rappers who rep the West Bank. All feels like Gaza to me, oi!

– DFish drops a three and then a long two and with seven minutes to go, 65-44. I would rest Chris right now. I would give the ball to Julian Wright or Devin Brown, whatever. You’re down 19 to a team with Kobe Bryant and two very good, young bigs and a thousand sharpshooters. Meanwhile, no one on the Hornets seems willing to even take a shot, Chris has four fouls, and it’s freaking November.

– Hugo has a new Rocky video where he runs through the French Quarter and then suspiciously grows muscles. I know someone who would be bennnnt right now at the Philly biting.

Fourth quarter

– Chris still out there. DWest has his inbounds picked off by Sasha, and so fouls him and is then pissed at the foul. Um, that’s your bad, Dave.

– I feel someone crawling around, hey WTF?! The rather large man two seats down from me decides this is the time to unplug his laptop and is on his hands and knees under the table. Coulda said something first, perv!

Beans– A cat walks down the aisle with a Braylon Edwards jersey. Drops his beer, gets caught between Will Leitch and Buzz Bissinger, is told there’s no hurry by Romeo Crennel.

– Kobe decides to score, grabs a fumbled rebound from DWest, drives, changes hands in mid-air and banks it in, 77-63. Kobe is like playing ball control in football with a big running back: once you have the lead, you let him take time off the clock and he just smashes the defense repeatedly, wears ‘em out. You listening, Mike Tomlin?

– Hornets try a run, and when Chris hits Posey for a three, it’s 20/10 for the Olympian for the seventh game in a row, a record streak. 81-70. He then takes over the game for a few minutes, hitting T.C. under the hoop and yelling “Dunk that shit!” after Tyson gets fouled trying to lay it in.

– CP3 then takes it to the hole.

– Great L.A. ball movement, Pau chip shot.

– C.P. from the top of the key. Then rebounds LA miss, fouled by Kobe.

– C.P. hits DWest under the basket, 83-78.

– Mamba miss, Chris hits another runner, 83-80. Huh.

– Posey is all over Mamba, who says F*ck the world, this is the end, and bangs a three. 86-80, minute left.

– David West loses the ball and Pau gets fouled on the break. DWest had a good stat night but not a good IQ night. Looked slow and disoriented several times. After Chris is fouled and misses his second shot, LA loses it out of bounds. DWest gets it again, and again loses it. Game. 93-86.

Post-game

– In the tunnel, Phil Jackson wears no mustache. There might not be a more empty conversation than an undefeated-in-November Phil and a gaggle of reporters. 7-0? “If this season ends like this, then that’s different.”

– As for the Hornets, Byron is somber. They’re healthy but not as deep as you’d like. I smell a trade and one crazy goodbye party for a certain back-up point guard/former advice columnist. Out.