Foam Finger: Scenes From a Very Scary Staples Center

The Halloween-night match between the Clippers and the Lakers made for an odd night

As if the Lakers and Clippers playing each other for the first time this season wasn’t exciting enough, Friday’s game between the two local NBA teams was held on Halloween; anything was possible. For Lakers fans, “anything” meant beating the favored Clippers. And for Clippers fans, “anything” meant losing to the Lakers.

The meeting was only the Lakers’ third and the Clippers’ second game of the season, but the contest could go down as one of the best of the year. While some spreads gave the Lakers as many as 11.5 points, the game was much closer, with the Clippers pulling away in the final minutes for a 118-111 victory.

Still, some really weird stuff did happen, and not just attendees showing up in costumes and face paint. Here, five other surprises from Staples Center:

The stadium was silent.
From the nosebleed seats, you could hear Clipper Darrell’s “Let’s go Clippers” chant. The dude was siting a few rows behind the Clippers bench. When a Lakers fan attempted a response of “Let’s go Lakers,” not one person in the sold out 18,997 crowd joined him. Then, when The Addams Family theme song played and the part when people are supposed to clap “duh-duh” came, people kept their hands apart, as if putting them together would have caused World War III. Those poor Laker Girls danced to a lifeless crowd more concerned with their smartphones. Things got a bit louder during the fourth quarter when Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” aired as part of the Noise Level test. Sure, that’s one of the greatest Angeleno-themed songs ever, but it was released in 1987. Are we so jaded that a 27-year-old tune is more exciting than the Lakers and Clippers playing a close game on a Halloween Friday night?

The Lakers wore black.
The Lakers wore their “Hollywood Nights” jerseys, which are black with purple lettering and gold trim around the letters and numbers. Purple on black is very Goth and this was Halloween, but Goths don’t care about basketball, do they? I heard they care about doing that spinning web dance they do, Bauhaus, and doing that spinning dance while listening to Bauhaus.

Fans went hungry (sort-of).
You know that promotion where fans in attendance get free Jack in the Box tacos if the Lakers win and give up less than 100 points to the opponents? Yeah, well, after the loss to the Clippers, the Lakers had given up 108 points to Houston, 119 to Phoenix, and 118 to the Clippers, which is frightening for hungry fans who can’t afford outlandish Staples Center prices but is excellent news for vendors selling hot dogs outside the venue.

The Kiss Cam was sad. Or maybe it was me.
A man placed his arm around the woman next to him, pulled her close and planted one right on her lips. Then a middle-aged couple laughed, smiled and gave each other the sort of peck that says, “We don’t need to make out in public because we are soul mates and our love is much deeper than a public display of affection.” Finally, a child lovingly smooched a parent on the cheek. It was all very sweet—until I realized I was alone at a basketball game on Halloween and the only heartbeats waiting for me at home belonged to two felines who care more about their nightly catnip treats than just how lonely and miserable Los Angeles can be.

Jordan Hill won “Player of Most of the Game”
The Lakers center had such a monster performance (23 points, five rebounds on 10-15 shooting) he was named player of the game. With 8:48 left in the fourth quarter. Call me crazy, but perhaps they should wait until, you know, the game is over—or at least close to being over—before announcing that? The defeatist move was reminiscent of something the Clippers circa 2002 (and 2003, 1986, 1998 and any other Clippers season pre-dating two years ago) would have done. And we certainly hope the Lakers aren’t entering pre–Blake Griffin Clippers territory.