Westside Agony: Payback Time For the Lakers

Ryan SkolnickContributor IMay 30, 2010

BOSTON - JANUARY 31:  Kobe Bryant  #24 the Los Angeles Lakers attempts to block a shot  by Ray Allen #24 of the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden on January 31, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts.  The Lakers won 90-89. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim Rogash /Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

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 ran circles around the San Antonio Spurs, as the youthful Lakers were just too much for the aging Spurs.

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.

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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.