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It's still a Lakers world

Before the Celtics pummeled them in last spring's Finals, the Lakers were favored.

Before the Celtics got off to this season's 27-2 start, the Lakers were favored.

With the Celtics on a 19-game winning streak, they were still the ones who had to fly here Christmas Eve to play the Lakers.

"When you're in your [hotel] room, by yourself, and you know your family's back in Boston, having Christmas Eve dinner . . . that's tough," said Coach Doc Rivers.

"You're in your room, thinking what the hell can you do, sitting there watching bad TV."

Rivers is proposing a rule giving the NBA champion a home game on Christmas. The way it's going, it will pass and the Lakers will then beat them in the Finals.


Et tu, Cooz?

Even former Celtics great Bob Cousy thought the Lakers were "obviously" the favorites last spring, noting they had Kobe Bryant ("the game's best player") and a high-scoring offense.

However briefly.

"I hadn't seen them play all year long," Cousy told's Amy Loughlin, "and after the first game, I did a flip-flop and said: 'Oh, hell, this'll be over in five games or six because L.A. couldn't play any damn defense.'

"I wrote to my friend, [Lakers consultant] Billy Sharman. . . . [I] said, 'Billy, that bunch of turkeys you had couldn't have guarded you and me.' "


All part of the master plan

Heckled by Nets fans chanting "Thank you, Cu-ban!" for trading Devin Harris for Jason Kidd, Dallas owner Mark Cuban, who's never at a loss for words, explained his reasoning:

Harris couldn't have gone on a scoring binge with the Mavericks, who have Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard as the Nos. 1 and 2 options.

The Mavericks weren't going to win a title last season with Harris.

With Kidd and Harris off their books in 2010, Dallas can be a player in free agency.

Graciously, Cuban also said Harris "is turning into Allen Iverson with a great attitude."

Let's just say that if that wasn't a mistake, you'd hate to see a mistake.


Best team we'll never see (cont.)

There are several things NBA fans have been able to count on hearing about, whether they wanted to or not:



Lakers and Celtics.

Stephon Marbury.

Houston injuries.

The Rockets went 24 games before Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest played together and 28 before seeing their entire rotation as Rafer Alston and Brent Barry joined them in Cleveland.

McGrady then took himself out in the fourth quarter with the Rockets trailing by one point, saying he was "sore."

Houston lost, 99-90.


Better late than never

The Memphis Grizzlies finally landed Steve Francis, their No. 2 pick in 1999, when they were in Vancouver and he forced them to trade him, saying he wouldn't go there.

Known as "Stevie Franchise" in his first five seasons in Houston, he has bounced around since, playing three games for the Rockets last season.

Actually, the Grizzlies agreed to take his $2.6-million contract for $3 million in cash and a second-round draft pick they had traded to Houston.

"We get our pick back," said General Manager Chris Wallace. "We make some money off it and we'll get a shot at a vet and see what happens."

-- Mark Heisler

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: December 29, 2008


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