not in this town you won't...

Tuesday, May 11, 2004, at 07:10PM

By Eric Richardson

Kobe Bryant can never leave the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant can never find another Shaq. This is where Kobe is the man. Yeah, Shaq's the man too. LA's big enough for two teams, so the Lakers are big enough for two stars.

2-2. Next game's Thursday at 5.

Kathy and I headed downtown tonight, driving by Staples Center around 7:35 and seeing all the people with tickets finding their way inside. We didn't have tickets, so we headed for a sports bar. We parked at my apartment and then headed west on sixth. First we tried the Grand Ave. Sports Bar, in the Biltmore Hotel. It was packed. We couldn't find a single open seat.

So we took to the road again.

We ended up at the Bonaventure, taking seats at the Bonaventure Brewing Co. They normally close at 9, but they kept things open late for the people watching the game on their 6 or so tvs. After the crowd at Grand Ave, it was great. Plenty of open seats at the bar, $4 pints, and a really good stout brewed in-house.

Kathy's sandals were bothering her feet, so we took a cab back to the apartment. That pretty much evened out the $5 or so we saved parking at my place, but you can't beat the flexibility of just walking around downtown to find a place.