When you see the words “Varsity Shootaround” above a pregame article you have come to expect a certain tone: Light, airy, and irreverent.

I’ll probably make some joke about how Rajon Rondo looks like a kitty cat or how Doc Rivers’ face looks like it is made of a Fruit Roll-Up.

I will most likely write about Kobe and Phil. I’ll express my hope that Lamar Odom decides to play basketball on that given night. I will give you storylines. I’ll offer a silly prize for the winner of the trivia challenge.

I usually have a structure. A formula that I try to follow to provide the Lakers Nation with a pregame primer that may or may not provide some gem of wisdom that has not been spouted off about already. I try to convey hope and optimism to the people (I do not do this as well as Vic the Brick, but hell, I try).

Not tonight.

Not for Game 5 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

Not after the Boston Celtics “ruined rock and roll and strangled everything we love about it” (Lester Bangs said that in Almost Famous), coming from 24-points back to topple the Lakers championship hopes and dreams, in what may have been the biggest loss in Los Angeles sports history (I dare you to find a more crushing blow). And as the millionaires in Staples Center went on to Les Deux or their palatial estate, their Lakers were bleeding internally.

Their Lakers, who have shown remarkable poise and valor when faced with adversity this season, are now faced with the ultimate adverse situation: win, or go home.

Win, or go home. Win, or no parades. Win, or no ring. Win, or no glory. Win, or no car flags. Win, or leave the city in smoldering dust, with all Angelenos sitting on street corners in Thousand Oaks or in Compton or in Los Feliz thinking about what could have been. Win, or go home.

A staff member on a Celtic’s fansite called RedsArmy, much like TLN, wrote that the events of Thursday night made the rivalry real. He wrote that the old grainy video no longer mattered. The clothesline and the baby hook shot were just memories. This generation of Laker fans now have a galvanizing and crystallized moment to say when their hate for the Celtics began to simmer, not the hate of their parents or grandparents (seriously, that is how old this rivalry is). And so it begins, in Game 5. The Lakers chance to make this generation of Celtic fans hate them.

Is Game 5 the death rattle? The last gasp? The last grope? Or, is it something more than that? Is it the beginning of the grand-finale-super amazing- jaw dropping trick these Lakers have up their sleeve for this magical 2007-08 season?

If these Lakers are who I think they are, on June 19, I will proudly write the greatest words in sports: Game 7.

Win, and make history.

Television –

National: ABC (Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy & Mark Jackson)

Radio –

Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)

Boston: WRKO 680 AM (Sean Grande & Cedric Maxwell)

Injuries –

Lakers:

  • Out: A. Bynum (Knee)
  • Will Play: K. Bryant (Pinkie)
  • ab17

    beautiful
    we believe!

  • joseph

    man! im gonna play game 4 all the time in my tivo… the fakers thought they had this on the bag.. thought that this was a boston massacre in LA hahaha… during the first half sasha, walton and the rest of the bench we’re hugging and laughing with their 24 points lead but when its all said and done the celtics shut the staples and the fakers out the look on their faces was priceless…. fakers all the way baby!!! what a comeback. the fakers choke all the way! hahaha

    Didn’t i told you never ever underestimate these celtics because that is exactly how you get beaten!

    oh by the way this year the celts:
    were down by 22 and won the game against the spurs
    shutdown the rockets to halt their marvelous winning streak
    AND DOWN BY 24 AND WON THE GAME IN STAPLES SHUTTING DOWN THE CROWD THE FAKER TEAM AND BEST OF ALL IN FRONT OF THE VERY EYES OF MAGIC, KAREEM, WORTHY AND COOPER.. bwahahaha! priceless baby!

    tell your bunnies pau ga-soft and lamar and sasha to trade places with your laker cheerleaders man! they are soft

    its over! na-na-na hey hey hey goodbye!!!

    celtics in 5 baby! booyah! hibachi style…

  • ab17

    Ones best success comes after there biggest disappointments.(Quote from the banner up top haha)
    and it begins today

  • russher124

    ei joseph screw u get the hell outta hir its not over you hibachi your silly as outta hir when the lakers kills ur team in 7 you are gonna regret that you have ever came hir!!!!!!!!

  • Rpoc

    Let’s fraking do this.

  • I_BELIEVE!

    Simply beautiful….

    Lakers ARE going to pull this off. I have NO doubt in my mind the Lakers will prevail!

  • kobe4ever

    win or lose, it has been a real pleasure watching this Laker team this season and I couldn’t be more proud. With that being said, like Kobe said and I have said many times, 30 other f’ing teams would love to be in the position that we are in “3 cracks to win a Championship” anyone, anyone including you and me would die for a shot to win 3 games in a row for a Championship. I AM SO DOWN FOR THIS LETS GO LAKE SHOW!!! KB24EVER!!!!

  • kobe4ever

    btw you guys that have been replying on these message boards are some real fans. Good $h!t Laker Nation, Good $h!t!!!!

  • LAKER

    dammit joseph do you have nothing better to do with your worthless time than go on other fan sites and make a fool of yourself… at least go on your own fan site and make a fool of yourself there at least that’ll be less of a douche bag move on your part… well win or lose the trip to the finals was worthwhile… how’d your BULLS do joseph??? ohh wait you don’t know because they never made it to the playoffs… lakers in 7…

  • LAKER

    I do not know whether people are born great,
    or whether they have greatness thrust upon them.
    I do know that greatness is a certain characteristic
    that distinguishes them from others…

    i bleed the purple and gold… lakers in 7… greatness here we come

  • kobe4ever

    KB24!!! FTW!!!

  • http://- Kobefan11

    20+ Points: Kobe

    10+ Rebounds: Lamar, Gasol.

    2+ Blocks: Ronny

    3+ 3-Pointers: Sasha.

    Closest To A Triple-Double*: Pau

    Point Margin: Lakers by 17

    Make History,or be History!

  • http://www.deluxpro.com BuyLakersTickets

    If we believe, we can achieve!!!!

  • domz

    Boston fans are goin here coz their fan sites are so boring and I can barely count with my fingers how many persons patronize their fan sites.

    Lakers will WIN!!!

    Just 3 more games. We’ll have one game at a time. Take the pressure off. Man up. Be Strong. and Have FAITH!!!

    GOODLUCK LAKERS!!!
    BEAT BOSTON!!!

  • http://myspace.com/plummerrocks Machinehead18

    20+ Points: Kobe, Lamar.

    10+ Rebounds: Lamar, Gasol.

    2+ Blocks: Ronny

    3+ 3-Pointers: Sasha.(Get ready for the terminator of all terminators.)

    Closest To A Triple-Double*: Kobe.

    Point Margin: Lakers by 7

    Out On A Limb: Another Celtic gets hurt(hopefully Ray Allen)

  • Kobe8>24

    i gotta be honest, i’m scared to watch this game. i hope the Lakers can win coz for Boston to win the C’ship on our court is just plain old disrespectful..

  • Michael_23

    Ok, I have recovered from that loss. NOW …

    LET’S GO LAKERS!!!!!! I’M PUMPED.

  • Mon

    one game at a time.

    win game 5 as as revenge.
    win game 6 as a title clinching game.
    GAME 7…..anybody’s game and kobe will take charge

  • PauKobeBynumOdomDynasty

    alright guys…this is it! The Lakers have given us our fans worth of money and entertainment…Just look at this year! The Lakers have made feel happy and encouraged. This is the last home game…we have got to pay these guys back for what they did today. Usually, us fans ride on the Lakers back…but today, they need to ride on our back. They need help! Lets show them what kind of fans we are! WHO’S ENERGIZED?

    THE NBA….WHERE COMING BACK FROM 3-1 TO BEAT THE CELTICS HAPPENS!

  • Big Phil

    Time for Phil to shake things up….Start Ariza, bench Vlad, don’t play Fluke!

  • Nabil

    Rondo a kitty cat? LOL… I thought he looked more like a muppet. That would be good for Connan’s “what if they made it”. Rondo is the bastard child of a muppet and a lynx.

  • kPoAbUe

    joseph for all i can say i feel sorry for u

    and boston to cause you know who is coming.

  • Geloman

    Laker fans, I wana hear ya’ll scream:

    Let’s go Lakers, let’s go! Boston sucks. Boston sucks!”

    Make history baby. The greatest comeback in all of sports starts today.

    And it’s Father’s Day, do it for all the Laker faithful and particulary for all the proud Laker Papas.

  • kPoAbUe

    lol geloman mi daddy aint proud of what he saw on thursday lol

  • 123KID

    its no longer one game a time, but one quarter at a time now. i still believe strongly the lakers can win, especially with the best player on earth as the captain. we’ve gone through so much adversity and with the type of season the nba has had, anything is possible!

    im tired of all of sudden seeing more boston fans around so cal then i have ever seen after game 4, but now its time to set the bandwagoners from the true fans!!! IM STICKING WITH MY TEAM TILL THE END!!!

  • Lakers 24 7

    [Comment ID #39939 Will Be Quoted Here]

    they might have done all that, but, its not gonna matter when the Lakers take the championship

    L.A. ALLLLLLLLLLL DAY

  • ab4sure

    This game is a gut check. For the Lakers to see if they can move past last game and play the way they are capable of that first half. For the celtics too… to see if they can close it out today. If the lakers win, we will have more confidence in Boston and perhaps alittle momentum. Celtics lose, they will be more tired, perhaps injured and have a slower ability to recover as the turn around time is real quick for tuesday with a flight and all. This ain’t over… remember the Red Sox beat the Yankees when down
    0-3.

  • gugy

    Go Lakers,

    Let’s win tonight! Let’s play with vengeance. Let’s give our hearts. Even if in the end we lose, at least we will lose with dignity.

  • http://www.myspace.com/koberules01 Edwin

    I dont know how game 5 will end but i know the Lakers will come out with a bang

  • DCLAKER

    ARIZA WILL BE THE REASON THEY WIN TODAY,PERIOD!

  • http://myspace.com/loosecannonn V-Money

    were taking this series in 7, one game at a time.

    its been a phenominal season so far, but its not over just yet.

    and gugy, i totally agree with what you just said.

    were making history this year, were gonna come back and beat boston.

    GO LAKERS!!!!!

  • berks24

    ABS4SURE
    This game is a gut check. For the Lakers to see if they can move past last game and play the way they are capable of that first half. For the celtics too… to see if they can close it out today. If the lakers win, we will have more confidence in Boston and perhaps alittle momentum. Celtics lose, they will be more tired, perhaps injured and have a slower ability to recover as the turn around time is real quick for tuesday with a flight and all. This ain’t over… remember the Red Sox beat the Yankees when down
    0-3
    we dont have any time for this if your so called lakers are beaten at home for blowing out 24 points because they are so scared and waiting for kobe to work.there is only one sure thing kobe to go for 50 and the others to play pure defense.or kobe to play teamball and wait for others to pick-up their balls..kobe needs support not kobe to support…don’t you get it?kobe is the lakers!next to magic johnson!if kobe don’t go for the shot WE WILL LOOSE.

  • BERKS24

    and AB4SURE
    THIS AINT BASEBALL THIS IS BASKETBALL WHAT HAS YANKEE THING HAS TO DO WITH IT?

  • FINALSTATEMENT

    i’ll be fine if lakers wins game 5 and 6.it means to me that they won the championship coz you know what happen to game 2 it should be are game!but for phil,kobe n fish it’s their reputation whos on the brink of criticizm.they must redeem theirselves.

    PHIL JACKSON-(9RINGS) VS DOC RIVERS(0)
    KOBE BRYANT -MVP(3RINGS,5FINALS)VS PAUL PIERCE(0,1ST FINAL)
    DEREK FISHER-(3RINGS,5FINALS)VS RAY ALLEN(0,FINALS)
    PAU GASOL -FIBA CHAMPION N MVP VS GARNETT 1 MVP(O CHAMPIONSHIP)

    DONT LET THIS THING TO EAT YOUR REPUTATION……

  • THENEXTMOVE

    have read on yahoo that josh smith will be a free agent i like his defense and athletisism he could be fit.or jo for pau more muscle n defense.but im ok with pau with bynum just get rid of vlad n luke…

  • One game at a time

    I think the baseball reference is very relevant. I know the sport is completely different, but the common ground is the fact that no one had come back from 0-3 (I’m not sure of this, but at least it was VERY rare), and everyone counted the Red Sox out. No one has come back from 1-3 in the NBA finals. The game is different; the obstacle is the same. It has never been done, but it can be done. Why not us? Why not now? I believe in Kobe, and, more importantly, I believe in the Lakers.

  • LakersAllDay

    20+ Points: Kobe

    10+ Rebounds: Gasol, Odom

    2+ Blocks: Turiaf

    3+ 3-Pointers: No One

    Closest To A Triple-Double*: Gasol

    Point Margin: Lakers by 6

    Out On A Limb: Game 7

  • ab4sure

    [Comment ID #39990 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Don’t be an idiot. Kobe going for fifty almost a for sure loss. Did u see last game? We were up by 24 becuz we played as a team and not a one man show. We didn’t do that the last 17 minutes of the game. Also, look up the word analogy. It is in the dictionary. My yankee/red sox comment was an analogy stupid.

  • Big Phil

    HERE WE COME 2ND QUARTER…MELTDOWN OF THE YEAR #2 COMING … F@CK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! STOP SHOOTING FROM THE OUTSIDE DAMNIT…ATTACK THE BASKET! ATTACK THE BASKET! ATTACK THE BASKET! ATTACK THE BASKET! ATTACK THE BASKET! ATTACK THE BASKET! ATTACK THE BASKET! ATTACK THE BASKET! ATTACK THE BASKET!ATTACK THE BASKET!ATTACK THE BASKET!ATTACK THE BASKET!ATTACK THE BASKET!ATTACK THE BASKET! STUPID A$$ SASHA STOP SHOOTING FROM THE OUTSIDE…WHY THE F*CK IS WALTON IN THE GAME. HERE WE GO AGAIN…BAD DECISIONS, NO DEFENSE, NO LEADERSHIP!

  • Big Phil

    Pierce keeps driving in…he gets layups and foul points…STOP SHOOTIN FROM THE OUTSIDE U F’IN MORONS…get layups…get the freethrow line! Phil is doing a crappy job at coaching again.

  • Go Lakers

    Halftime now…Another frustrating game to watch…what’s really disappointing is that the Lakers are making the same mistakes as they did when they withered away in Game 4. Crappy defense from the bench guys…again, I just don’t understand why Walton is in the game…well, his Dad is at the game I suppose. Lakers shooting too many jumpers and not getting to the free throw line. It’s clear to me the Lakers need some slashers. Space Cadet is Space Cadet as usual…unbelievable how lazy this guy is on Defense…just stands there and lets opponents drive in for open layups. Get Artest. Flush Walton and Vlad.

  • Big Phil

    This is so F IN sad…getting outhustled on your own home floor. No energy no hustle…so F IN sad…and Phil just continues to sit there…

  • gugy

    TAKE VLAD OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    put Ariza!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Big Phil

    Why Phil so damn stubborn…how many times do you have to get burned by Pierce before taking Vlad out.

  • Big Phil

    Oh God…why is Fluke the Puke in the game?! Stop shooting from the outside DAMNIT!!!!!

  • DingleBerry

    what did ariza and turiaff do to phil? phil must have caught them double teaming jeanie!!! the only reason why i see mimh and walton play before them….

  • Big Phil

    The Black Mamba is taking some really bad shots…he’s getting outplayed defensively and offensively by Pierce. Kobe, stop settling for jumpers man. Sasha needs to work on this mid-range and drive-in abilities over the summer. Live by the jumpshot…die by the jumpshot.

  • Big Phil

    Get it together here in the 4th damnit…DON’T UNRAVEL…DON’T GIVE IN TO THE PRESSURE DAMNIT…TAKE SMART SHOTS AND PLAY D FOR CHRIST’S SAKE.

  • Go Lakers

    This is the Pau that I’ve been waiting for…I’m soooo happy the Hulk broke out of Pau…this is what we need from him. I’m still very worried though…Lakers D was borderline pathetic, especially defending the pick n roll…giving way too many layups to Pierce. Also, not good when Kobe has two consecutive bad games overall. I don’t know why commentators are criticizing Kobe for dumping the ball to Gasol in the 4th. Gasol was eating up Garnett the whole game, and he has been doing that the whole series.

  • Shakobe22

    anyone notice the total bias given to the celtics by the announcers,
    even wen the lakers were owning?

  • http://lakers.com stop_paul_perice

    SOME STOP PAUL PEIRCE>>PUT IRA NEWBLE ON HIM…

    A good win…but cud do alot better..again 19 point lead vanish..got to stay focus lakers in 7!!!!!!!

  • LakersFirst

    [Comment ID #39939 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Hibachi Style – God you’re such a f*g. LOL

    The Lakers beat Boston, “Hibachi Style” (to use your f*ggy reference).

    Pressure is gaining on Boston. You better hope your p*ssy Celtics team win Game 6 or then the pressure will really be on them (LOL).