by Lang Whitaker

OK, so I’m in L.A., and right off the bat we have a bad omen: Checked into the hotel, sat down to check email and the internet connection went out after about 10 minutes. This after the internet went out at our hotel in Boston, and after the internet got about as much burn as Eddie House during Games One and Two at the FleetCenterNorthGardenBank. I would think that perhaps this was my fault, that I’d done something wrong or that my laptop was running Operation Shutdown, but Ben was having the same issues in Boston on his computer. So maybe it’s the NBA’s fault, or Kobe’s fault. I don’t know, I’m just looking to assign blame here. Obviously.

Whatever. I’m in L.A. and it’s wonderful out here, about 65 degrees, and considering I was in the pressure cooker in the northeast the last week, this feels like heaven. No more complaining from me. At least until Khalid gets here.

(Just called down to the front desk and in my nicest voice said, Hi, just wondering if there was something wrong with the internet? The woman said, “Yes, we have been having problems with the internet. It will be up. Give us…um, 15 minutes.” Their clock is ticking. The best part is that I’m in the official NBA hotel for the Finals, and guaran-damn-tee that if the internet’s down in the temporary NBA offices downstairs there’s going to be some heads rolling.)

And suddenly, the internet is back. But are the Lakers? The thing that struck me most about Games One and Two, but particularly Game Two, was the way the Celts just bullied the Lakers around. Sure, Boston got every call imaginable in Game Two, but LA didn’t seem to have much fire in their bellies, especially when it came time to rebound the rock. Garnett and Perkins were moving bodies inside, and Lamar and Gasol didn’t do much more than watch admiringly. The Lakers might not have gotten any calls in Game Two, and I understand how that could make them feel like packing it in, but that doesn’t mean they should pack it in, which is exactly what they did.

And regarding Paul Pierce’s knee injury, I think I know what’s up. Saturday afternoon I was sitting on the couch watching Euro 2008, and I bit into a pretzel and immediately felt a searing pain from one of my teeth down into my jaw. It hurt so bad that I immediately started thinking about calling a dentist or oral surgeon or something, because I knew I’d need to get patched up fast to get back on the road for the Finals. Then, just as quickly as the pain hit me, it started fading away, eventually leaving entirely. I was suspicious, however, so I sipped some water, swished it around, even poked the offending tooth a few times. Finally, the pain left completely. Maybe ten minutes later, I tried another pretzel, gingerly, and survived. That night we went out to dinner and I was careful with the tooth, but had no further problems. That’s what happened to Paul Pierce’s knee. Except a little bit different.

OK, Khalid just landed, so I better pack this up because I need to short-sheet his bed and put saran wrap over the toilet.

I’ll be back here on SLAMonline tonight to liveblog Game 3 from the Stapler. Later…