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Bresnahan's take

Staff writer Mike Bresnahan ties up some loose ends before each Finals game.

June 12, 2008|Mike Bresnahan | Times Staff Writer

Q&A of the day

Question: Any chance that Sasha Vujacic replaces Vladimir Radmanovic in the starting lineup for Game 4?

--Jonathan Ekweozor

Answer: Interesting concept.

Vujacic would open up the Lakers' post game with his outside shooting. Radmanovic would be relegated to the bench. Even the nicknames improve, from the Space Cadet to the Machine.

Makes sense.

Wait, I just checked with one of the Lakers' coaches. It's not going to happen. Vujacic couldn't supply the rebounding that Radmanovic could. And the Celtics would pound the ball down low because of the size difference.

Never mind. Sorry to waste your time, Jonathan. Any other suggestions? Maybe cheaper parking at Staples Center? Filet mignon instead of free tacos if the Lakers win and hold the Celtics under 100? I'm here for you.

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Worst-case Lakers scenario

Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol again fail to make a basket until the third quarter. Vujacic doesn't score like he did in Game 3. Kobe Bryant stands alone on the island of offense.

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Best-case Lakers scenario

Odom and Gasol each score in the first quarter! Radmanovic follows Vujacic's lead as a reliable three-point shooter. Series tied, 2-2, and the NBA can't wait until Game 5 rolls around . . . ratings, baby!

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Tell us, Doc

When Celtics Coach Doc Rivers talked about the biggest play in Game 3, it wasn't Bryant's leaner in the lane with 38 seconds left or any of Vujacic's three-pointers.

He pointed to a drive by Luke Walton, who then kicked the ball out to Bryant for a three-pointer with 6:55 to play. The Lakers took a 69-68 lead and never lost it the rest of the way.

"I think that was the single biggest play of the game," Rivers said.

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Final thought

I still don't get oddsmakers establishing the Lakers as 9 1/2 -point favorites in Game 3 and 7 1/2 -point favorites in Game 4, though they're moving a little closer to reality. I'll stick with the Lakers winning by only a few points, maybe as many as five.

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