Hunting Lakers Games In Southern California

Thanks for nothing, Time Warner. If you have satellite TV in Southern California (DirecTV or Dish Network), good luck finding a place to watch the Lakers. Daily Girth tries to track L.A.’s game against the Pistons.




Businesses, bars and hangouts in Southern California beware: get used to life without the Lakers.

The Lake Show is the most talked about team in the NBA. Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash have formed one of the best collection of ballers ever.

Time Warner Cable was generous enough to dump $3 billion on the Lakers for the rights to broadcast their games. Good for the Lakers. But Time Warner needs to make that money back. National telecasts aside, that means Time Warner actually shows only 53 regular season games. And it wants to add its channel to cable and satellite for as much as $4 a month.

What expert robbers you are, Time Warner. You don’t even need ski masks. Keep in mind that Time Warner won’t have any Lakers games from May through September. For five months out of the year that’s four bucks extra you’d have to pay for nothing. Well, there will be Galaxy games televised, but millions of people don’t care about them.

DirecTV and Dish have played hardball. They won’t gut their customers for this insane price. Most bars have satellite with DirecTV since it has the most channels. Common sense would say that buying NBA League Pass solves this Lakers problem.

Nope.

For some stupid reason, League Pass blacks out Lakers games since it’s a local telecast. That makes sense if the game is being shown locally. But if your carrier doesn’t have that channel, why are you punished? That’s dumb. You paid for an all-access NBA channel, you should get all the games.

Sunday, Nov. 4 was the first Lakers game not televised on TNT, ESPN or NBA TV (which was blacked out). Me and three buddies were desperate to watch this Lakers game. We all had either DirecTV or Dish.

Our thirst for this game was similar to junkies trying to get their fix. First we brainstormed as to what establishment might have the game. All the bars we thought of had DirecTV. I even suggested the gym; that wouldn’t work since it closed at 8 p.m.

We called a nearby Mexican restaurant. No luck. “¿Por qué?,” my friend pleaded in an over-the-top tone.

Surely Chili’s had the game. Two calls were made to two different locales. Nothing.

Maybe BJ’s Brewhouse? Again, we placed two separate calls. Airball.

One of us saw an ad in the newspaper about some sports strip club. That place could have the game. The guy — possibly the manager — on the other line gave us some interesting insight.

Do you have the Lakers game? we asked.

Here Comes The Money

A look at Time Warner Cable’s deal with the Lakers:

Terms: $3 billion for 20 years

Channels: 2 (TWC SportsNet and TWC Deportes)

Teams: Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Galaxy, Los Angeles Sparks

Fee increase: As much as $3.95 extra in your monthly bill

“Nawwwwwwwww,” he said, sounding all resigned. The guy admitted that if there was no deal within the next 10 days with DirecTV then he would have to switch to Time Warner. Who knows how much that sports strip club would cost just to get in? With a $10 entrance fee (times four of us), the cost to try to see one game would almost be the annual fee for a Time Warner increase on a cable or satellite bill.

This was ridiculous. It felt like some important game to watch when it was actually just a blowout victory against the hapless Pistons.

The exclusivity of this game reminded me of that “Simpsons” episode in which Homer gets illegal cable and everybody goes over to watch the big Dredrick Tatum vs. world heavyweight champ Watson. It was The Bout to Knock the Other Guy Out and everybody crammed into the Simpson house. Even Mr. Burns showed up — “Smithers, the Chee-tos.”

My friends and I had no Simpson house to visit.

The four of us panicked. We saw NBA TV showing a game between the Raptors and Timberwolves. Desperation got the best of us; we didn’t notice it was previously recorded until about five minutes after we were watching it.

Calls went out to two local pizza joints; a bowling ally; a gay bar; a golf course/nightclub; and Buffalo Wild Wings. Meanwhile, we monitored the scoring updates on our cell phone apps. Detroit was getting hammered. It was the breakout game the Lakers had been waiting for. The game was so out of control, the outcome was never in doubt by halftime.

Flipping through the channels, we saw that Syfy was showing one of those awful original films starring D-list celebrities. That night’s winner was “2-Headed Shark Attack,” a ridiculous “Jaws” wannabe featuring Carmen Electra and Brooke Hogan.

Our despair drove us to watch this stinker. It was better than checking the app to fantasize huge Lakers plays. The score got more and more lopsided, we had to imagine the plays that happened as if we were reading a book. I would prefer something by Junot Díaz or a screenplay by Quentin Tarantino.

More inquiries were made. Outback Steakhouse, Havana House, Hooters and Applebee’s all received calls. None of them had the Lakers game. Even the big restaurants right across the street from Staples Center — ESPN Zone and Yard House didn’t carry the game.

No hope.

So we struggled through the brain dead “2-Headed Shark Attack.” Some notes from that movie: Brooke Hogan looks spectacular in a bikini.

A two-headed shark should swim very slow since it had so much resistance between heads (think of the lack of mobility in a three-legged race).

At one point, the hardbodies devise a plan to blow up the shark with a handy oil drum. The oil drum won’t light since they’re in the ocean. A bikini babe attempts to stick the oil drum in one of the shark head’s mouth. Naturally, she becomes an appetizer.

For some reason, the oil drum explodes. Why? Because the shark bites it? That’s bullshit. What would seem likely would be the shark swallowing the oil and dying because of poisoning. No living thing would be fine chugging an oil drum. One shark head’s busted off, yet 10 seconds later, it appears to be a regular great white rather than some gigantic shark with a mangled fucking head.

Believe it or not, a boat magically appeared, which gave Brooke and some random dude the smarts to blow up the now normal great white. They started the boat, hoping that the shark would chase it (it does). The normal shark take a big bite of the propeller and it explodes. I shit you not. Why in the fuck does it explode? Biting a propeller won’t cause an explosion.

It’s as if the writers thought, “fuck it, let’s end this movie.” There’s also an island and an unprovoked tidal wave that bombards said island. Where the fuck did a tidal wave in perfect weather come from? Those things don’t show up out of nowhere.

For hilarious reviews of this film I highly recommend imdb.com’s “2-Headed Shark” page. Comedy.

Now that this dogshit movie was over, we focused on the search of the Lakers game again. After some Internet research, we found out that Marie Callender’s in Chino had the game. My buddy called to check. “So you do have it?” he asked. “Do we have to order some oatmeal or something?”

Marie Callender’s was hardly the ideal location to watch the Lakers. By the time we realized this, the Lakers had a 30-plus point lead.

Judging by the reactions of the 20 places we called, they were not going to have the Lakers game any time soon. Only one admitted that he considered changing to Time Warner. Wise up, Time Warner, you’re asking for way too much money for not much programming.

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