by user David J. Cohen

The L.A. Lakers beat the Phoenix Suns 109-89 Sunday afternoon, clinching a spot in the playoffs. This caps a surprising run by a team slated to be out of the postseason at the start of the season. It just shows you how powerful one player can be in the NBA.

All odds point to a first round series between the Lakers and Suns. Kobe should hit 50 at least twice during the series. In three total meetings between Kobe and the Suns, Kobe has averaged 42.3 points per game. Also, Kobe has averaged more per game in the 1st half against the Suns than against any other team in the NBA this season. Add to it the fact that the Suns should set the tempo in the series and Kobe might be knocking on 70 if he really gets into a zone. He’ll need to scorch the nets for the Lakers to have a chance.

But that’s not what the fans were worried about. The loyal fans that came to the game on Easter were just hungry and wanted…tacos. During the first quarter it was announced that if the Lakers kept the Suns under 90 points everyone in the stands would get a taco on the house. Apparently this promotion has been going on for a while. Shortly after the announcement I left my house to go back to college in Gainesville.

When I get back I turn on the TV to see what’s going on. There’s a little over a minute left and the game is well in hand for the Lakers. They’re making the playoffs. But something larger is at stake. The Suns 7 foot backup (and I mean way down the bench) F Tskitishvili is at the line (the P.A. speaker wanted to call him Mr. T but was denied his request for not using 1-800-COLLECT). It shouldn’t be a big deal, except for the fact that the Suns are on the verge of getting 90 points and making the Lakers fans go home hungry. The free throw clanks off the rim and is rebounded by Lakers F Luke Walton. After the Lakers bring it up court some of the crowd begins to chant “We want tacos, clap, clap, clap-clap-clap, we want tacos…” The Lakers get a shot off and miss, but keep possession on a rebound by young C Andrew Bynum. Now the whole building is chanting for tacos. They can almost taste ‘em. Then Walton makes a lay-up and the drama continues, as the Suns have one last possession to ruin the afternoon. With the fate of thousands of drooling fans on the line Phoenix 7 foot C Pat Burke (apparently the Suns have the tallest garbage time roster in the NBA) shoots a turnaround jumper. It misses and Lakers G Sasha Vujacic gets the rebound. The crowd goes nuts and everyone in the building cheers for tacos as the buzzer sounds.

And everyone in L.A. went home happy. And everyone in L.A. just went on the john.


Sun 04/16/06, 8:10 pm EST

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