SACRAMENTO — It's not Isiah and Magic, but it's sweet nonetheless.
Shaquille O'Neal and Hedo Turkoglu have hugged and touched both cheeks before the opening tip in every game of the Western Conference finals.
"It's not a French thing," O'Neal said, laughing. "It's a Muslim thing."
Turkoglu, from Turkey, and O'Neal share the Muslim faith, which they learned about each other during the past All-Star game in Philadelphia.
"Muslims respect each other," Turkoglu said Tuesday night. "It's nice, you know. It didn't surprise me when he did it, because Muslin people support each other."
Everybody else touches fists, or something similar.
The Lakers have worked out UCLA forward Matt Barnes, among a handful of other players in the last two weeks, according to those familiar with the Laker draft preparation.
Stanford guard Casey Jacobsen, Oregon guard Freddie Jones, Duke forward Carlos Boozer, Kentucky forward Tayshaun Prince and Notre Dame forward Ryan Humphrey also have performed for the Lakers, who have the 27th selection in the draft.
By the time Robert Horry reached home Sunday night, he had an estimated 75 telephone messages, all congratulating him on the shot that ended Game 4.
His favorite, he said, was from his father, Robert, who lives in Columbia, S.C.
The message: "I was wondering what took them so long to find you out there."
One of the best quotes of this series--and that's saying something--was uttered in Tuesday's Sacramento Bee by Jerry Westenhaver, the general manager of the Sacramento Hyatt where Kobe Bryant ate a bad cheeseburger.
When asked about juggling reservations in the wake of a possible NBA Finals here, Westenhaver said, "It's gut-check time, figuring out what you're going to do."
Bryant would agree with the part about the gut check.
The amazing thing about Samaki Walker's three-pointer at the end of the first half Sunday in Game 4 was not that the shot apparently was taken after the buzzer had sounded.
The amazing thing is that it went in.
Before that shot, Walker had made one three-pointer in his six-year career, while attempting only six.
It was his first three-point shot in more than a year.