Confusion reigned at the Staples Center on Saturday night when concert promoters clashed with Lakers management over a surprise scheduling snafu, which inadvertently placed popular boy band One Direction and the Lakers in the venue on the same night. After a hastily-called boardroom meeting, a compromise was worked out in which it was agreed the UK pop stars would take on the Lakers on their home court, and ticketholders for both the concert and the game would be admitted into the arena.
The Lakers, whose on-court struggles this season are well-chronicled, predictably saw their woes continue as the Londoners outpaced them in the 2nd half, despite Kobe Bryant’s valiant 38-point effort to save his team from yet another embarrassing loss. Overall, the Brits shot an amazing 89% from the field, and thanks to some nifty defenses drawn up by their mentor/owner Simon Cowell, they held the rest of the Laker squad to a mere 12 points combined in the third and fourth quarters and won going away, 116-90.
Bryant, who normally is eager to snarkily throw his inept teammates under the bus for the awaiting media after such debacles, refused to comment on this night. He could only shake his head with hands on his hips and give the scoreboard a thousand-yard stare after the final buzzer sounded and the court flooded with screaming adolescent girls who could no longer contain their enthusiasm and puppy love for the wispy, slightly-built British cagers.
Laker teammate Metta World Peace, who received a flagrant foul call in the 2nd quarter after elbowing point guard/first tenor Niall Horan in the head while trying to wrestle the ball away from the curly blond dreamboat, showed grudging respect for his opponents.
“Man, if them kids sing half as good as they run the pick-and-roll, then they gonna bring home a boatload of Grammys this year,” World Peace said.
Meanwhile, the former X Factor finalists greeted their adoring fans with hugs and autographs and even a couple of sweat-soaked jerseys. Just before their handlers whisked them off to the next stop on their current world tour, a very excited Marv Albert was seen posing for a photo with the tween-hoopsters, after which he threw a triumphant fist into the air and was heard to shout his characteristically enthusiastic “YESSS!!”
Other fans weren’t quite as satisfied with the outcome, such as veteran Hollywood actor and long-time Laker superfan Jack Nicholson.
“Just wait ‘til Howard and Gasol are rested and healthy, then it’s a different ballgame, you weaselly little teeny boppers,” he said. “You want Superman?!? You can’t HANDLE Superman!!” Celebrity friend and fellow die-hard Laker fan Dyan Cannon tried to console the irate star as she led him down a private corridor toward the underground parking lot.