As Dyan Cannon's beautician could tell you, there's more than one way to put on a game face, especially with a championship at stake.
So, while Pat Riley worried about the Lakers' place in the history books Saturday, the Detroit Pistons turned on the cartoons. Riley spoke of his fear of extinction and insignificance. The Pistons sang the theme song to "The Flintstones."
Which is more Looney Tunes? That answer should come this afternoon at the Forum in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, when the Pistons--leading the best-of-seven series, 3 games to 2--attempt to win their first title ever, while the Lakers try to survive as an endangered species one more time.
While the Lakers are toting a burden of history, real or imagined, in their bid to become the first team in 19 seasons to repeat as champions, the Pistons are carrying on as if this were the time of their lives, which it is.
"We won't feel any pressure," said Piston center Bill Laimbeer, the Palos Verdes rich kid who never has had to worry about where his next Porsche would be coming from and isn't about to start now.
"Boston was our pressure," Laimbeer said. "Every game with them was like the end of the world for us.
"This is great. Our team loves the media attention, we like being on national television. Prime time is fun for us."
Besides, Laimbeer added, even if Detroit Coach Chuck Daly decided to try a little Freud or even Dr. Joyce Brothers on the Pistons, it wouldn't work.
"You can't use any of that psychology stuff with this squad," Laimbeer said. "Anybody who tries to get inside our guys' heads is going to have problems.
"Now, we've got smart basketball players. I'm not saying we're stupid or anything. We just have a lot of guys that are hard to figure out."
Laimbeer just laughed when someone suggested he belonged on that hard-to-figure list. It was Laimbeer, after all, who inspired the "Meet the Flintstones" chorus from his teammates--including Rick Mahorn and James Edwards--when he walked out for practice Saturday.
"They call him Freddie," said John Salley, whose own nickname (Spiderman) comes straight out of the comic books.
And what does Salley call the 6-foot 11-inch Laimbeer?
"Bill," Salley said. "Or Mr. Laimbeer."
Laimbeer wouldn't mind the tune so much if there was anybody on the Pistons capable of carrying one.
"We really don't have any singers," Laimbeer said. "Isiah thinks he's the best, but at the All-Star game a couple of years ago, he really choked up."
The Pistons, however, have been ready to show the world from Day One this season that they deserve to be here.
"As Chuck Daly said at the start, our No. 1 thing was to make an assault on the championship," Laimbeer said. "In the past, at the start of the year we weren't thinking about a championship. Last year, at the start of the season, we didn't even know what we had.
"This season we didn't talk about winning 50 games, or winning the division. Our only goal was to win the championship. Case closed."
Laimbeer noticed that the book is still open on the Lakers--at least when it's in Riley's hands--despite their four titles in the 1980s.
Riley predicted Saturday that the Lakers won't be weighted down this afternoon by their predicament. They are, after all, home.
"There's just 72 more hours," he said, referring to the need for a Game 7 Tuesday night should the Lakers win today.
"They should feel fresher and more alive than they've ever felt. They worked like hell to get here, and we're here, at home."
Yet, it was Riley himself who suggested that everything the Lakers have accomplished would be diminished if they come up short this time.
"Somebody rolled their eyes when I said that but I am concerned about how this team will be looked at," Riley said. "One of man's greatest fears is the fear of extinction, and extinction with insignificance.
"You look at our age. This is a bunch of proud warriors, But I've always been concerned that 'Showtime,' the lack of substance, the Hollywood glitz, has gotten in the way of what they are."
Riley said he's not trying to make a case that the 1987-88 edition of the Lakers is the greatest team in any given season. It isn't, he said.
"My whole contention about greatness is longevity," he said. "The Boston Celtics of the '60s were the greatest team ever because they did it every year.
"And this is an opportunity for us that can't happen again. You think of the Yankees--those names just roll off your tongue. (Vince) Lombardi's teams, the Montreal Canadiens. This isn't a hockey area, but there are only three teams that have won five championships in a decade."
True enough, but Salley, for one, was rolling his eyes, too, when told of Riley's fear that the Lakers will someday be forgotten.
"Man, they got three numbers up there," said Salley, gesturing at the retired uniforms of Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain hanging on the Forum walls. "They got more banners up there than we have in all of our places."