You know things are bad in Staples Center when the NBA’s media darling, the Los Angeles Lakers, get bumped from a national television appearance. While it’s not unheard of — ESPN and NBA TV have done it in the past — it’s definitely unheard of when it comes to the Purple & Gold. And doubly unheard of when it comes to the all-important TNT lineup (not to mention this is part of TNT’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day lineup).
Fans moaned when the Kobe Bryant/mostly-talent-less Lakers were originally blessed with 25 nationally televised games this season, tying them with the Knicks (lol) and Heat for most in the league. That number would most certainly increase thanks to NBA TV Fan Night on Tuesday, when Lakers fans stuff the ballot box to get yet another nationally televised game. But the NBA has decided to kick the Lakers to the realm of local television for the second time in the span of a week.
NBA announces the Lakers have been bumped from national TV again. TNT will show POR @ HOU instead of LAL @ CHI on Jan. 20
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 2, 2014
First, the league switched from Lakers-Rockets in Houston on January 8th — a game televised on ESPN — to Suns-Timberwolves in Minneapolis. Today, the league announced Bulls-Lakers game on January 20th has been bumped in favor of Blazers-Rockets. The first switch was kind of puzzling, considering the new teams involved, but the second one is a no-brainer. No Kobe, no Derrick Rose, a lifeless and unexciting Bulls team, and a suddenly very lifeless Lakers team (they just dropped three games at home to the three worst teams in the NBA).
Turns out, there are some things the powerful Lakers’ audience can’t do.