LA Lakers vs Houston Rockets Experience

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During my recent visit to the Los Angeles, CA area for a work conference, I was fortunate enough to get tickets to the LA Lakers vs Houston Rockets game at Staples Center in Downtown LA.

This was my first time to LA, apart from going through LAX on a connecting flight once before, so I was excited to head to see the Lakers play despite them probably having one of their worst seasons in their history. Going to the game with a colleague who is an avid Rockets fan was of course going to be a challenge but that’s part of all the banter right!

Getting to the Staples Center

The conference was in Anaheim which is about 35 miles from the arena so the first thing worth noting is that trying to get to an evening game with tip-off at 7:30PM (Pacific Time) is a little tricky trying to deal with LA traffic. Public transportation in the LA metropolis for the most part is NOT a strong point so we made the decision early in the week to rent a car. Kudos to Budget Rental Cars because we picked up a car for 3 days for $62.

LA Lakers Staples Center

The drive from Anaheim to Downtown LA took just over a hour which was pretty reasonable given that traffic was frequently just crawling along across the 5 lanes of freeway. Once we arrived in the vicinity of the arena, the next challenge was finding a parking spot but I will say that this is one of the positives of the downtown area because there are plenty of options available. Please be aware that you will likely spend in the region of $15-25 but we found a secure parking garage on LA Live Way just a few minutes walk from the arena.

Pre-Game Experience

We walked around the arena to get a feel of our surroundings and given that we hadn’t eaten we decided to find a place to eat. There are various options available in the nearby Nokia Plaza and it really does depend on your preference. We opted for the Yard House which is a relatively upscale restaurant but predominantly is famous for having well over 120 draft beers and ales. The wait was relatively short and the atmosphere was great with a host of Lakers and Rockets fans mingling here having a beer and food prior to tip-off.

Yard House LA Lakers

If you don’t mind spending $20-30 for dinner, then I would highly recommend the Yard House. The Pepper Crusted Filet was amazing just in case you need a recommendation here.

Lakers vs Rockets Game

Our seats inside the Staples Center were really good, especially given that we only paid $50 dollars each for them. We were seated in Section PR1 which is the ‘Premium Seating’ section. The view was good if not spectacular but for that price you can’t complain! The game for the most part was entertaining and despite the Rockets pulling out to an early lead, the Lakers managed to keep in touch by half time and only trailed by 5.

LA Lakers

However, the second half was much more disappointing if you are a Lakers fan because the Rockets led by James Harden and an inspired display from Terrence Jones ran away to a 145-130 victory which in reality could have been a much wider margin had it not been for the Rockets pulling their starters in the final quarter.

One memorable moment for the avid Lakers fans was seeing Steve Nash move into 3rd spot in the all-time career assists list with 10,335 to his name. It really was a honor to be in the Staples Center to see the rapturous and much-deserved applause given to Nash by everyone present.

LA Lakers

Summary

If you are ever going to visit a NBA game, there are probably not many other teams you would choose first ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers. Added to this the opportunity to see the Lakers at their home arena, the Staples Center, it was a no brainer for me and I really enjoyed my experience there. Sure, the final score wasn’t the desired outcome but it was a memorable game for many reasons, none more so that seeing the legend Steve Nash make history in moving into third spot on the all-time assists list.

Ticket Cost – $53

Parking Cost – $15

Dinner Cost – $30

Total Cost – $98 (of course, you can do this much cheaper without dinner or cheaper tickets)ย 

31 COMMENTS

  1. Great post! I know almost nothing about basketball, but I’ve always thought it would be cool to see a game next time I’m in the states – it’s such a big part of the culture over there. Nice to see it wouldn’t cost me too much ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Cheers Emily, yes it was a little more expensive than it should of been, I wasn’t planning on the cost of dinner to be so high but honestly the Yard House was worth it! Everywhere we go (though unfortunately Heather wasn’t able to be here for this experience) we look at what sporting events are taking place in the area and try to visit a live event.

      You are correct that the NBA, NFL and MLB are the major sports here in the States and folks are obsessed just like we are in England with football!

  2. I’ve never been to a big sporting event. Infact the only event I’ve ever been to was a cricket game in the grounds of Arundel castle. It was a glorious sunny day in a beautiful parkland setting with the castle as a backdrop. The castle’s team were playing against India! I particlarly remember Imran Khan was playing for the castle. A wonderful day despite not having a clue what was going on in the game!

  3. Sporting events can be quite expensive but you got quite the deal with regards to the seating and price. I have never been to a NBA game but I have watched a Rays baseball in Florida and some NHL games in Toronto. The atmosphere is electric that you just can’t help to get into the game!!

  4. I think you might have a little disagreement about this statement, “If you are ever going to visit a NBA game, there are probably not many other teams you would choose first ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers.” But otherwise a nice description of your experience.

    • You are very welcome and thank you for the positive feedback. Any sporting event around the world is a great experience in my eyes, each for very unique reasons whether it is related to the actual event, atmosphere or just being there in person to see some spectacular encounter. I bet experiencing the Superclasico would be awesome in Buenos Aires – hopefully one day we will head there and see for ourselves!

  5. Looks like a pretty good view for $50! On my visits to the US, I’ve yet to see a basketball, baseball or (US) football game… that’s something I’d like to do one day. Recently got to go to an ice hockey match in Finland and that was certainly an experience! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • The view really was good Paul and the images probably don’t do the view justice given that I was just using my iPhone. If I was going to recommend folks from across the pond visiting any of the ‘Big 3’ sports here in the States, I would recommend the NBA rather than NFL or MLB because both of those in my opinion are spoiled by the commercial breaks and delays that take place. I bet the Ice Hockey experience in Finland was really cool, the NHL is one that I haven’t experienced yet since being in the States.

  6. So cool that you got to experience an NBA game. Yes, the Lakers are having a wretched season, but it’s still quite the scene at a Lakers game. You’ll have to treat us Americans to a look through your eyes of a Man U vs. Man City game when you get back to Manchester. Lol!

  7. What a great experience for you. It would have been tough to pull me away from the “over 120 draft beers and ales” when the game began though. ;P I like beer better than basketball!

    • It was pretty tough Erin and we were both excited about heading to the Lakers game!! So if basketball really isn’t your thing, I think you could certainly spend a great evening in the Yard House sampling the various brews from around the world. Prices were reasonable as well, with three different sizes available on each beer!

    • You are not too far away from the Memphis Grizzlies, I have been there several times but I have to admit that visiting the FedEx Forum isn’t the same as the Staples Center in LA or Madison Square Garden in NY City! But all of them are a really cool experience that I would recommend to everyone, at least once in their lifetime even if sport is not their thing.

  8. Oh man I miss basketball games! I went to a couple before the Sonics moved but I bet going to a LA Laker game is a lot more fun. Did you see any celebrities?? I always read about celebrity sightings at LA games haha

    • Unfortunately not Sam, I was hoping we would catch a glimpse of Jack Nicholson or another familiar face but not sure if they were even present. Maybe as the Lakers are doing so bad this year they have given up going until next season! It really was a cool experience, this is the fifth arena that I have been to now watching NBA (NY, Memphis, Philly, Denver and LA).

  9. Sounds like an amazing experience. I went to see a knicks game when I was in NY the last time, amazing feeling and great vibe you get from the crowd ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Glad to hear you actually made it to the game through that LA traffic. A night at the bball is always good fun! Years ago I tried to make it out to the Staples Center to watch a game, but couldn’t navigate public transport in time and gave up. Luckily I’ve had a chance to check out games in SF. Go Warriors!

  11. I haven’t watched basketball since high school. Attending a professional game would be exciting. I’m surprised the tickets are so cheap. The last time I checked the price of tickets for a hockey game in Montreal I almost passed out! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Great post! Watching basketball in the US must be so different from in the Netherlands. Quite an experience. I actually played myself for 10 years, but never made it to a US game!

  13. I haven’t been to an NBA game since 1995 or ’96 and really only have two venues I’d still like to visit: LA and NYC. This looks like it would be extremely entertaining.

  14. Being from California it is pretty sad that neither Alex or I have ever been to a basketball game! We also have never been to the Yard House although our friends in Socal go all the time! It looks like a great place. Glad you enjoyed the game!

  15. Haven’t been to a basketball game before but it looks fun! One of the things I’m looking forward to most about going to England is going to a Premier League game (Everton Vs Liverpool) – and anyone who travels in New Zealand should try and see an All Blacks game at least once.

  16. Looks like you got some great food along with your NBA experience. It’s so nice that the US sports areas have really stepped it up in terms of the dining/drinking options. We’re a long way from the days of soggy hot dogs and watered down light beer. Also glad that you got an entertaining game – the NBA players make it look so easy!

    • It was a perfect combination of excellent cuisine and a great game. Ok, the Lakers suck at the moment and it was pretty much offense vs offense and there was only going to be one winner but it was very memorable especially seeing Steve Nash in action.

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