Trans. May 3 10:25 ET (May 3 10:25 ET ) I always feel a little dumb this time of year, because as someone who likes sports, I know I'm supposed to care (at least somewhat) about the annual running of the Kentucky Derby, because of tradition and mint juleps and fashion and the elusive Triple Crown and The Sport of Kings, and yet I pretty much never do. This year, though, I've got a slightly more vested interest, because there is a horse in the race that is named Palace Malice, which (as you probably know) has an NBA connection.
Sure, it's an awful NBA connection , relating as it does to the 2004 brawl between the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers that spilled into the stands, set the Pacers organization back for several years and indelibly marked Ron Artest/Metta World Peace and Stephen Jackson as Bad Dudes in the eyes of many NBA fans, but still: it's an NBA connection all the same, and is therefore something I'm interested in. Go, Palace Malice. Run like a fast horse.
It is, of course, worth clarifying that Palace Malice was not named for the infamous brawl, a question the horse addressed on "his" Twitter account:
@ simmonsclass My name andnickname for the brawl come from3 stooges short called Malice in the Palace. My mother is named Palace Rumor.
— Palace Malice (@PalaceMalice) May 3, 2013
("... a question the horse addressed on 'his' Twitter account." I love my job.)
With every season that ends, for the playoff teams at least, we felt it right to take a look ahead. TNT already has the rights to "Gone Fishin'," and because we're sure that someone, somewhere, still likes that Wyclef song, we're going with "Gone Till November." And, yes, we know the season starts in October. Today? The Los Angeles Lakers.
In terms of overall word count, the NBA blogosphere probably broke the all-time record this season when it came to the 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers. It’s true that the 2010-11 Miami Heat, fresh off of LeBron James’ annoying "Decision," really turned on the content providers, but something about this collection of stars hit home with both writers and readers.
It certainly hit home with me. The chance for the two greatest guards of their respective generation to mix with the NBA’s best center and most versatile big man had me salivating last summer. I didn’t appreciate Los Angeles’ borderline-cruel great timing as they seemingly fleeced both Orlando and Phoenix into acquiring the services of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. Even with the caveats — age, health, the presence of Mike Brown on Los Angeles' sideline — I assumed that an 82-game season would last long enough for the Lakers to figure it all out and start to find their groove just as they hit the postseason.
And I, like many others, was way wrong. To a degree nobody could anticipate, with Pau Gasol acting as the only active member of the Lakers in the second half of their final game of the season — one that was played in April, no less, and not mid-June. Metta World Peace's, Nash's and Kobe Bryant’s injuries paired with Howard’s Game 4 petulance to create a disastrous and fitting end to a terrible season. A sad season, really, for those of us who love to watch great basketball at its peak.
Just when you think Dwight Howard’s petulance can’t win him any more doubters, the Los Angeles Lakers center had to go and get himself thrown out of Sunday evening’s Laker loss to the San Antonio Spurs. The Game 4 defeat was well in the bag for San Antonio even by the 10-minute mark in the third, but that was no excuse for Howard as he moaned his way to a second technical foul in what everyone in the building knew was going to be the Lakers’ final game of a terribly disappointing season.
Obviously disgusted, injured Lakers star Kobe Bryant took the moment to make his way towards the arena tunnel while on crutches to join his team on the bench following Howard’s departure, a clear statement of displeasure. Pau Gasol stayed on to work against the Spurs, the only star amongst the Lakers’ hoped-for starting five (with Bryant, Steve Nash, Howard, and Metta World Peace) to stay active until the end, and he ended his final locker room session of the season by telling reporters that “I wish he didn't get ejected so ... he would have stuck all the way through with the team.”
Howard’s response to this bad taste? He logged into Twitter dot com , and apologized in 140 characters or less.
Im still upset about tonights game and the way this season ended. Im mad I lost my cool. Im sorry for letting my team and our fans down when
— Dwight Howard (@DwightHoward) April 29, 2013