OAKLAND — Two of the hottest bands around played within a couple hundred yards of each other here Saturday night, and of this you can be sure: The members of U2, the Irish rock group, know a lot more about the Lakers than the other way around.
While U2 rocked outside in the Oakland Coliseum, the Lakers rolled inside the Coliseum Arena, drumming the Golden State Warriors, 118-110, to run their record to 5-0.
That matched the best start ever for the Lakers, one of only two unbeaten teams remaining in the National Basketball Assn. after Chicago was beaten by Indiana Saturday night. The Boston Celtics are also 5-0.
When U2 was in Boston last year, they worked out with the Celtics. But they haven't made the play list of too many Lakers.
How about it, Byron Scott? Got any U2 albums in your collection?
"Never heard of them," said Scott, who played lead gunner for the Lakers with 27 points, 19 coming in the first half.
Surely, Michael Cooper, you know of lead singer Bono.
"You mean Bono, as in Sonny Bono and Cher?" asked Cooper, who was more concerned with keeping Sleepy Floyd from producing any more hit records like the 29-point fourth quarter he had en route to 51 points on the Lakers' last visit here, during the playoffs in May. Floyd finished with 21 points and 15 assists.
Mychal Thompson at least could come up with the name of one U2 song: "In the Name of Love."
"But hey, that's not reggae music so it's not real music," said Thompson, who picked up the beat for a struggling A.C. Green (2 points) by scoring 19 points and pulling down 9 rebounds in 28 minutes off the bench.
Wait a minute, Kurt Rambis has several U2 compact discs in his private collection.
"But it's kind of hard to rock out when you've got a little kid trying to go to sleep," said Rambis, who came back to play on a sprained right ankle while Golden State center Joe Barry Carroll hobbled off on an injured foot with four minutes to play in the second quarter and didn't return.
Talk about getting off on the wrong foot: Carroll came into the game shooting a pathetic 33.7%, which includes such gems as a 5-for-17 night against Sacramento and a 6-for-21 night against the Clippers. And you wonder why the Warriors are off to a 1-5 start?
Carroll blamed his bad eye on his bad right foot, but when he was examined Saturday, all a team doctor could find was a "congenital anomaly." Come again?
Apparently, that's doctorspeak for an abnormal condition he's had since birth, but it was bad enough for Carroll to excuse himself just when the Lakers were making their first move of the night, outscoring the Warriors, 10-0, to break a 46-all tie.
Without J.B.--whose no-show in the second half was cheered by the sellout crowd of 15,025--the Warriors drew within 76-72. But Golden State scored just four more points in the last 5:42 of the quarter, the Lakers had a double-figure lead again, and the Warriors were not a worry the rest of the way.
That's not to say that Golden State Coach George Karl isn't worried.
"J.B. is down and J.B. hasn't been in shape all year," Karl fretted afterward. "Is he going to get in even worse shape?"
The Lakers, meanwhile, are in fine form, even though Coach Pat Riley says the offense is still only running at 70% of capacity.
"Our ball movement isn't that sharp, and our floor balance is out of sync," Riley said. "Our defensive rebounding is what's carrying us."
The Lakers outrebounded Golden State, 38-35, the fourth time in five games they've beaten the opposition on the boards.
There was nothing out of sync about Scott's shooting: He made 12 of 20 shots, including one three-pointer.
"They were playing a little zone," Scott said, "and Sleepy was staying in the middle so he could go double down. I was just running around and finding the open spot, and Magic was finding me."
"I look at (Magic) and read his eyes, and those eyes get real big when he sees someone doubling and you floating."
There was no way Cooper was going to let Floyd float around the way he did last May, when he wound up by pointing his finger at the defensive player of the year and crowing: "Coop. Coop. For you."
Said Cooper: "It's something I'll have to live with . . . But it's not something I'm going to lose sleep over. If I let it get to me every time someone scored 30 on me, I'd be in a nuthouse somewhere."