We were listening to a sports-radio roundtable recently, and the panelists were picking their faves to win the NBA title. Boston again. Good bet. San Antonio. Yeah, but only if Manu Ginobli gets healthy and back to full speed. New Orleans. With Chris Paul in charge, check. Here’s where it gets weird. Two pundits picked Cleveland -- Cleveland! Even with King James at the helm, ain't gonna happen. But not one picked the Los Angeles Lakers. To us, they're the ultimate slam dunk.
Kobe and crew made it to the NBA Finals last season without Baby Hulk. That's Andrew Bynum (pictured above; think Shaq as a strapping young man), who was injured most of last season, but is now back and punishing the boards. True, the Lakers had traded for 7-footer Pao Gasol by the playoffs, but there's no way they're not better this year than last. They've got Pasol and Bynum. Given the ease with which these L.A. fools have mangled opponents, you don’t have to be an expert to know that the aforementioned experts are fools.
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Non-nincompoops will pick the Lakers to win against the Suns tonight, and to hoist the metal at season’s end. We pray for a miracle (like that Shaq will take Baby Hulk to freakin' school), but we're not drunk enough to bet on that happening. Tipoff's at 8:30 p.m. at U.S. Airways Center, and the game will be broadcast on TNT. See Phoenix Suns. -- Clay McNear