After playing 17 of their first 21 games at home, the Lakers were due for some adversity. This wasn't the kind they were looking for, however.
Things didn't get dicey until after the defending champs won their second straight road game in Milwaukee Wednesday night, thanks to Kobe Bryant's buzzer-beater in overtime. After the team's equipment truck broke down four times on the drive from Chicago earlier in the day, things only got worse on the flight from Milwaukee to Newark, N.J.
"The plane is shaking, and seems to be blowing all over the place," team broadcaster John Ireland wrote in his blog. "The worst turbulence we’ve had in three years. People are saying things like, 'I love you, man,' and they’re only half-kidding. All of the traditional in-air card games are stopped, and Lakers PR Director John Black blurts out: 'I want to apologize to everybody that I’ve yelled at during my career.' If you know John Black, you know this is something he would absolutely never say unless he thought that plane was in serious trouble."
The plane eventually landed safely in Newark at 2:30 a.m. ET Thursday. For believers in the supernatural, this transpired after the team had spent a grand total of three hours in the Pfister Hotel -- the oldest hotel in Milwaukee, which also is rumored to be haunted. At 3:15 a.m., the Lakers checked into their hotel in Manhattan.
"Three cities, two games, six bus rides, a haunted hotel, a broken luggage truck and near-crash landing," Ireland wrote.
Wisely, Phil Jackson gave the players Thursday off.