That’s because the game, which will not be preceded by an Eastern Conference matchup, will begin at 7 p.m. in Orlando, site of the NBA’s restart. Throughout this postseason, the Lakers have always held the late slot on the schedule each night they have played, in an effort to maximize television ratings back in Los Angeles. The Lakers have played six of their eight playoff games at 9 p.m., and the other two have been at 8:30.
Some games have ended around midnight in the East, and by the time the Lakers are done with media obligations, having a bite to eat and returning to their Disney World hotel to get to sleep, the early birds are already chirping.
“Hopefully the NBA will give us a break sometime,” guard Rajon Rondo said after Game 3, according to ESPN. “They’re running us to the ground.”
James agreed, saying after the first game against Houston, “Win, lose or draw, I start my treatment already in the locker room. When I get back to the hotel, I’m going to do some more. I’ll be up pretty late tonight.”
Bayless: Lakers Are ‘A Bunch of Spoiled-Brat Whiners’
But Skip Bayless, the longtime anchor of all things anti-LeBron, does not want to hear any of that. He has been backing the Clippers, who also have had a night-heavy schedule—eight of their 10 games have been at 9 p.m.—as the future NBA champions.
Here’s what Bayless said on Fox Sports’ “Undisputed” Thursday morning:
What a bunch of spoiled-brat whiners are the Los Angeles Lakers,” “What a bunch of hard-to-digest bellyachers. … This is why the Clippers are going to eliminate the Lakers. The Clippers are the mentally, physically, tougher team. They don’t complain about squat. They look at the schedule and if it says 9 Eastern or 9:30 Eastern, or whatever, they just go play. You don’t hear a peep out of the Clippers.
Of course, that is not entirely true. The Clippers have grabbed some headlines this week for their own complaints, with guard Patrick Beverley complaining that Denver center Nikola Jokic “flails” too much to push refs to make foul calls—and that was after a game in which the Nuggets went to the free-throw line only 10 times, to 26 times for L.A.
Clippers’ Patrick Beverley on Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic after Game 3 win: “He presents the same thing Luka Doncic presents: a lot of flailing. He puts a lot of pressure on the referees to make the right calls.” pic.twitter.com/KB7Hs8dTsr
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) September 8, 2020
“[Jokic] presents the same thing Luka Doncic presents: a lot of flailing,” Beverley said. “He puts a lot of pressure on the referees to make the right calls.”
Lakers Coach Vogel Typically Up Till 3 A.M.
As for the Lakers, coach Frank Vogel indicated that the benefits of not having to travel for games within the Disney World campus are lost with so many late starts.
“A 9 o’clock start feels like we’re playing and traveling during the season,” Vogel told reporters. “You’re getting back to the hotel late, you’re up late. So you have got to make sure you manage your sleep the right way.”
Vogel was asked when he gets to sleep after a 9 p.m. game.
“Personally, I watch film before I fall asleep which is typically not before 3 but not typically after 5,” he said. “I would say between 3-4 (a.m.) is when I typically am getting to be after a 9 o’clock game.”
Bayless pounced on that comment.
“He’s complaining,” Bayless said, putting on a mock-whining voice. “I don’t get to go to sleep until between, he said, it’s somewhere between 3 and 4. Who cares? Nobody cares except Frankie V. and maybe [his wife].”
If you watch the press conference Vogel was in, it is clear that Vogel was simply responding to a reporter who asked him what time he goes to bed. Vogel was not bellyaching, only giving an answer.
It will be a moot point for the night, though. A 7 p.m. start will mean the Lakers get back to the hotel at a reasonable hour.