The last couple of Arsenal games have shown real signs of improvement. First of all, I think the team’s offense is finally on-track — there was much better ball movement and players moving without the ball in both games. Second, the defense has improved, with a lot more help and defensive pressure when appropriate. The difference between the most recent games and the pre-season is huge.
On Friday night, the Arsenal handily defeated the Jam 103-85 for their first win of the season. We actually got impromptu upgrades to courtside seating, which was really cool — I’ve never watched a basketball game (apart from stuff like intramurals) from the sideline, and it’s fun to hear all the communication on the court. And, of course, I felt obligated to help the home team’s cause by trying to sow confusion in the Jam where possible. Fun stuff.
Last night, though, the LA D-fenders came to town and won a close one 99-95. The Arsenal never let the game slip out of reach, but, at the same time, could never quite get a substantial lead going. They were in it down to the final ticks, thanks to some timely rebounding, but couldn’t sink the 3s when it mattered. The only major statistical difference was, once again, foul trouble for the Arsenal — almost every other category was tight. Coby Karl (son of George Karl) had a great, efficient game for the D-fenders, going 7-for-11 for 19 points, including 3-of-5 from downtown. The president of the D-League was in attendance — hopefully he’s not looking too hard at the attendance figures at Arsenal games, which have been lagging behind those for franchises that lack major sports teams in the area.
A recent fixture courtside at Arsenal games has been Clippers super-fan Clipper Darrell. He’s extremely energetic, has a bullhorn for a voice, and loves to get the crowd going. His car is decked out in Clippers red and blue, and his wardrobe includes a similarly-colored outfit reminiscent of Two-Face. Not sure if he came of his own accord or was invited by the Arsenal, but whatever it was, it was a good move — he really livens things up. I assume we’ll only see him when the Clippers aren’t in town — apparently he hasn’t missed a Clips home game since 2001…