2008. A year that will live in infamy for all Laker fans.
We ditched Smush Parker for Derek Fisher. We swapped Kwame Brown for Pau Gasol. Sasha Vujacic was shooting out of his mind. All was well in Hollywood.
We swept an overrated Nuggets team that avoided defense like Sarah Palin avoids a textbook.
We muscled through a Utah team that just could not get it done in LA.
We cruised through the playoffs, until we met Boston. Hardened, wizened, and determined, Boston's defense was unlike anything LA faced that year. Kendrick Perkins had his way with Gasol. Kobe was trying to play three-on-one. Sasha Vujacic was our only productive bench player.
The Lakers were overwhelmed by Boston's physical game, and many Laker fans were overwhelmed by hatred.
These Boston Celtics always seem to get in our way, don't they?
Fast-forward to today. Instead of starting Luke Walton on Paul Pierce, we have Ron Artest to shut him down. Andrew Bynum tips the size factor to the Lakers favor. Odom off the bench is much more potent than what we had in 2008.
2008 was agony. Seeing your beloved team so drastically outmatched by a hated rival burns like a never-fading fire. And Game 6 was just too much. Having to watch your team thoroughly humiliated on the home floor of your most hated rival is beyond description.
Now it's payback time. The Lakers must not be out-muscled. The Lakers must beat the Celtics at their own half-court game.
Kobe, Pau, Derek, Ron-Ron, Drew, Lamar, Jordan, Shannon, Sasha, Luke, J-Powell, and DJ...for all the Laker fans who believe in you and support you to the very end...
Give them hell.