I’m going to make a prediction for tomorrow’s Lakers/Celtics game. My prediction? Pain. Specifically the hernia I experience after a crushing 96-90 loss.
Normally, I wouldn’t care. I mean, why should I? I’m a Laker fan living in Los Angeles. My existence largely consists of double-fisting supermodels and championships while searching for acting roles that do not damage my artistic credibility. The Lakers are the NBA’s premiere franchise and defending champions. I should be biding my time, sharpening my claws and licking myself in preparation for the playoffs.
Unfortunately a problem has arisen in the form of the Boston Celtics. I remember them vaguely as the franchise also once considered the league’s best, before years of ineptitude and Pitinotude wiped them from our public consciousness. They had become like eating liver, offensive and disgusting to be sure, but no one under the age of fifty five ever thought about them. The Lakers in turn moved on to trendier rivals, like the spunky Kings and those delightfully charming Spurs. And I smugly pressed the advantage of the Laker historical dominance to brush off playoff losses, because no matter what happened, we were the Lakers and they were not.
Then 2008 happened. The Celtics arose from the dead with some shrewd trades and ripped out my heart in the NBA Finals in truly hateable style. Paul Pierce rode his exercise bike right off and back on to the court. Ray Allen ran his jaw. Brian Scalabrine looked like Eminem with a soul patch. And Kevin Garnett taught us that if we want something, if we truly believe we can do it, then anything is possible. What a dick.
All of a sudden the Celtics and their fans were back on top. And I don’t even get to talk about history because they have more titles. 2008 left me with nothing except an empty hole in my chest that I would have to wait until 2009 to fill.
Only it never happened. An injury plagued Celtics team could not get past the Magic, and I never received the glorious catharsis I needed. The only bullets in my chamber were the two regular season wins the Lakers had over Boston. I could wrap myself in the flag of “yeah, well, the Lakers would have won anyway.”
But really, that isn’t good enough. It is only what I tell myself to get up in the morning. It is what lights the sidewalk as I walk around, thinking of the mothers that claim false paternity. And now, as the two teams prepare to meet for the first time this season, I need them to come through again. Because I am not sure the Celtics can pull it together in time to make the Finals. And if they dont, I need two regular season victories to brag about.
The problem is I don’t know if the Lakers care as much as I do. Phil Jackson sees this as the seventh game of an eight game road trip, when he should be looking at this as the first game of a one game Boston trip. Rajon Rondo will run circles around Fisher and Kendrick Perkins will push Andrew Bynum around like a high school janitor with a mop. I can only hope Kobe takes it upon himself to score the 48 points he needs to pass Jerry West as the all-time leading Lakers scorer. To do it against the Celtics would taste that much more sweet. Artest seems to finally be recovering from his foot and brain issues and he might be able to use these newfound feet to smother a scorching Paul Pierce. Maybe a miracle can happen, Ernest saves Christmas and the Lakers win an important road game against a title contending team. After all, anything is possible.