Suffice to say that each team is sure it can beat the other.
The Lakers are twice-defending NBA champions, looking to become the fifth team to three-peat.
The Sacramento Kings are Pacific Division champions, certain that they have arrived after more than two decades of failure.
Rick Fox sort of guaranteed victory, Samaki Walker seconded it with a well-placed shot at the Kings' recent habit of collapsing. Vlade Divac all but wrote off the Lakers months ago, and all of Sacramento said, "Hear! Hear!"
It wouldn't be much fun otherwise.
After practice on Thursday, Fox spread his arms and raised his eyebrows in defense of Walker.
"Once again, here comes the truth," he said. "They can't run from the truth. The truth is, what's happened in the past is a characteristic of theirs. They know that."
Shaquille O'Neal removed his own stitches--seven from his right index finger--before Tuesday's game against San Antonio, and then team medical personnel sealed the wound with glue.
"I was in my bathroom and, miraculously, in my drawer there were some scissors and some tweezers," he said with a mischievous grin. "I don't know how they got there. There was a little gold light saying, 'Take the stitches out.' I just wanted to touch the ball the last time. With the stitches in there I really couldn't touch it.... So, I just took them out."
The voice in his bathroom also requested noise, apparently. O'Neal said he'd like more for Games 3 and 4, which will be played at Staples Center.
"Bring what you want to bring, except weapons," he said. "You can bring instruments. Bring pots and pans. Bring what you want to bring. Cell phones. Video cameras. Bring everything."
Sacramento guard Bobby Jackson on Kobe Bryant: "He scares us the most of anyone in the league. He's so athletic, and he always wants the ball. Doug Christie will guard him. It's going to be extremely important how that plays out. Doug can't get into grabbing and holding him. He has to make him work for everything."
In two playoff games at Arco Arena last season, Bryant scored 36 and 48 points.
Derek Fisher, after King co-owner Gavin Maloof was seen dancing with the King dance team Monday night: "It's probably human to celebrate when you've done something good. But we learned that you can't do that, because they really haven't done anything."
The Lakers will televise Games 1 and 2 on the Diamondvision screens at Staples Center. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children, with proceeds going to the Lakers' Youth Foundation and Staples Center Foundation.... Games 3, 4, 5 and 6 will be delayed on KWKW, the Lakers' Spanish language station, because of conflicts with the Dodgers. The games will be broadcast live in Spanish on KIRN (670) and KWKU (1220).