LA Lakers’ Bright Spots Are Few and Far Between, but Very Appreciated

LOS ANGELES — It was just one voice in a crowd that sold out Staples Center, making it feel like the good ol’ days of a big game and a resounding win, if only for one night.

The matchup Tuesday night between the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers was well-decided, with Phil Jackson and Jeanie Buss’ first head-to-head presidential showdown going so shockingly in Buss’ favor that the couple skipped the fourth quarter to drive home early to Playa del Rey.

And then the one voice yelled out in a quiet moment:

“Phil Jackson sucks!”

Sure didn’t expect to hear that one going into the game.

It was a reminder, same as that weird Feb. 5 game against the Cleveland Cavaliers—where the Lakers ran out of eligible players but still won—that you never know what you’re going to get.

For Lakers fans, you might still get something good.

Here was Jackson, so celebrated by both organizations these days that he felt obligated to seclude himself in a luxury box instead of using a public seat at the arena, and here was Carmelo Anthony, potentially having his pick of the two teams come free agency this summer.

Both were on the Knicks’ side here, New York having won eight of its past nine, and a depleted Lakers team offering Jordan Hill ($3.5 million) as its highest-paid player while Mike D’Antoni was booed upon being introduced as Lakers coach.

Yet out of nowhere came this night of resounding Lakers pride.

Of course, it doesn’t really matter for a team out of the playoff picture, but it absolutely matters for a franchise trying to maintain its dignity.

For the Lakers’ previous game Sunday night against the Orlando Magic, the attendance was 17,803. Staples Center holds 18,997 for Lakers games.

No, it wasn’t the smallest crowd ever fo...

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