This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Halftime report sponsored by Lakers and Celtics in the NBA Finals, and isn't that just so convenient?
The two most storied franchises in NBA history.
Complete with all those historic battles from the 1960s and '80s. All those vintage clips.
And arriving just in time to save the league from another Pistons-Spurs ratings tanking.
Now, if you live in Utah or San Antonio, or even Detroit, this might be just a wee too neat for your tastes.
There, the conspiracy theories run rampant. Of course, if you live in Salt Lake City and San Antonio, what else do you have to do? Other than disavow Mormon extremists.
To think a billion-dollar enterprise like the NBA would actually be involved in any nefarious shenanigans is, naturally, absurd.
Destroying its credibility and free-flowing cash pipeline over an exposed scheme would not be smart business.
If NBA commissioner David Stern has proven to be anything, it's that he is one smart businessman.
Yet to the NBA's great dismay, curious evidence that something suspicious is afoot has been on the plentiful side this season. Particularly the postseason.
The Lakers' postseason journey has been, shall we say, fortuitous at times.
Unless you consider the Nuggets' bus catching fire on the way to Staples Center an everyday occurrence. Or the Spurs getting stuck on the runway until dawn a typical NBA episode.
"Every year they say that stuff," Lakers forward Luke Walton said. "They always say the NBA doesn't want the Spurs in the Finals, but they've been there every other year."
Everybody and his mother realize the Lakers caught a break in the last seconds of Game 4 in the Western Conference finals when Derek Fisher made like an MD-80 and used Brent Barry for a landing strip. And no foul was called.
Even the NBA found that a tad uncouth, and very uncharacteristically, released a statement announcing a two-shot foul should have been called.
Meanwhile, the Celtics are being pushed to seven games in each of their first two rounds. And then with Boston and Detroit tied 2-2 in the East finals, an NBA store in Orlando is reported selling "Celtics Eastern Conference Champion" T-shirts.
Truth is, things went strangely auspicious for both the Lakers and Celtics long before the postseason.
With Kevin Garnett on the market, and several teams in hot pursuit, Minnesota general manager Kevin McHale - the ex-Celtic clothesliner - gift-wrapped him to Boston. Not that that was suspicious. Of course not. Not after Seattle had sent All-Star guard Ray Allen to the Celtics essentially for a draft pick.
Not to be left out, after the Lakers lost center Andrew Bynum to injury, they picked up Pau Gasol for a couple of draft picks and change. Kobe Bryant has taken to calling the trade a "donation."
There are favorable winds, and then there is sailing in front of a high velocity industrial fan.
"You hear the conspiracy theories all the time, but you have the two teams with the best records in the Eastern and Western conferences," Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis said. "Isn't that the way it's supposed to work out?"
Sounds like a convenient theory. The Warren Commission will report back shortly.
Boston vs. L.A. Lakers
All games 7 p.m., Ch. 4
Thursday: L.A. Lakers at Boston
Sunday: L.A. Lakers at Boston
June 10: Boston at L.A. Lakers
June 12: Boston at L.A. Lakers
June 15: Boston at L.A. Lakers*
June 17: L.A. Lakers at Boston*
June 19: L.A. Lakers at Boston*
* - if necessary