Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Lights Out At Staples

LA's home playoff record of 8-0 this year is well documented. Most attribute this advantage to a marked increase in effort from the Laker players, and to a lesser degree, more advantageous whistles from the refs.

But maybe there's more to it. Maybe it has something to do with the court itself, or more specifically, how it's lit.

Before the 2006/7 season, the folks at Staples Center decided to emulate the lighting plan used at MSG. Thus began the Lights Out era. If you're not familiar with Lights Out, the basic premise is that once the game begins, all lights in the building dim except for those focused directly on the court, giving the game a very dramatic vibe, almost like a concert or Broadway play.

Time after time, opponents have wilted under the spotlight.

In that inaugural season, LA went 25-16 at Staples despite starting Kwame Brown and Smush Parker. Conversely, they were a dismal 17-24 on the road. In 2008, aided by the Pau Gasol acquisition/pillaging, the Purple & Gold improved their home record to to 30-11. Last year's title team went 36-5. This year's squad? 34-7.

Recently, we've seen the Thunder, Jazz and Suns tighten up when the lights go down. Boston could be next.

Ever shoot a J with no depth of field?

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