Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: April 23rd

What a night at Staples Center!

A tight game between the Grizzlies and Clippers in Game 2 of the First Round NBA Playoffs.   It came down to the last ten seconds and Chris Paul had the ball... he goes in and dodges his defender, rolls straight to the hoop, as if he created his *own* pick and roll with an invisible screen, then heaves a ball at the basket that connects with .1 sec left.   What a moment!  What a huge win for the Clippers.

...I was privileged to be in the building for this one.   Our story begins modestly, at the 'cow's Dining Room table.  I'm chatting with my buddies online and noticed that Stubhub had tickets listed at under 20 bucks.  For a playoff game, thats outrageously cheap.  I decided around 6:40pm -- I'm going to the game.   Watch out Clippers, here I come.

Took the car right down the road and then sat there on Bundy Drive for a good 20 minutes.  AFTER that, however, it was sublime.  Then I and a host of others waited an extra ten, maybe twelve, minutes for the next Expo Line train to arrive.  Finally, at roughly 20 after 7 we're on our way.    I had a limited window to work with, but I still decided to punt on the stubhub listings because I knew that the fees would make each ticket 30 bones.

30 bones is a great deal for a playoff game, even in the uppers, but I wanted to up the ante and go for a 20 dollar seat.  At 7:30 stubhub cut off ticket sales so I was on my own.   Train rolls into Pico Station at about 8pm and I head right for Barry's Tickets inside the Luxe Hotel on Figueroa.   I'm in their office, which they finally remodeled after about 18 years, and asked them for some cheapies.  No dice... they gave me some good deals, for instance, 10th row from the court for 100 bones and the 200  level section for 40, but I wanted TWENTY.  Barry's was doing nothing for me, so I left.

Then it gets interesting.  There's a rival ticket broker office called V.I.P. Tickets up one block on Figueroa and Olympic.  I go in and I can sense they're about to close, but I went to the door just in case.

I'm up against the door and I go "this is totally locked", putting a little tug just to confirm.   Lo and behold the door opened!  So I go in and half a dozen people putting their jackets on to leave asked if I needed help.  I said "yea, do you have any tickets to the game?  I'll take the cheapies."    They mentioned that they shut down the computers and everything so it had to be cash only BUT they had one seat in the upper level (first row of the upper concourse level, tremendous view).   It was 20 bones BUT I had to pay in cash, so I promised them to go find an ATM and return.

Anxiously, I went over to the adjacent restaurant and it had three people in it... and I shouted, "HEY!  DO YOU GUYS HAVE AN ATM?"  They said no, but there was one up the street.  I go up the street and find a stray ATM machine just sitting on the sidewalk with some hobo next to it.   I had to pass the hobo to get to the ATM and he does his usual "do you have any change?" routine.   At the ATM I noticed the fee was a whopping 3.50!  So I punted on it and went back the other way, but those guys at VIP Tickets were still looking out to find me.   So!  I looked over to the other side of the street and saw a Wells Fargo bank with two ATM machines.  I crossed over after waiting out an entire traffic light cycle and dozens of cars.   I felt bad the whole time too because all of these delays were keeping the ticket people waiting.   Finally I got some cash and brought it over.  BOOM, I slapped the bill on the counter and they gave me the ticket.  

That ended really well because I was close to settling for a 30 dollar seat, only to get a 20 dollar seat instead with no rows in front of you.  I tried to cheat and sit in the lower concourse to see if i could get away with it, but the Purple Shirts at staples had none of it.

I'm going in, and the lady asks "Do you need help finding your seat?"  and I say nah I'm fine don't worry about it, and I pretend to go find me seat.  Then the purple shirt comes *over* and says "Hey, let me help you find your seat, you got your ticket?"

At that point the jig was up so I pretended to not know where the seat was at all and handed her the ticket.... Kindly she directed me to the upper level.   Dang!   The Purple Shirts saw right through me!

So, with that done, I went to my actual seat: Section 323, Row 1.   Damn good corner seat in fact.  That was totally worth 20 bucks, especially since the game was so good.

Do you all think there will be a Game 5 at Staples Center for this series?  I think absolutely, but the Clippers still have huge control over these games.   The Grizzlies have a dismal team offense.  Tough spot.

That was a night at Staples to remember.   Good times had by all.  I could not believe how LOUD the Staples Center Crowd was that night.   Phenomenal!  Clipper fans need to give each other a hand.  Then the game continued, and it was halftime before we knew it.

We'll see how far the Clippers can go, but indeed, if you want to see an NBA playoff game, the Clips are the way to do it.  Who knew??

That's all from here... catch you all soon!

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