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MARK HEISLER / ON THE NBA

Lakers and Celtics fans unite . . . for the end is near

With Lakers down 0-3 and facing elimination against Dallas, and Boston trailing in series against Miami, the old rivals both are looking at the end of an era. Finally their die-hards have common ground.

May 07, 2011|Mark Heisler
  • Coach Phil Jackson and All-Star guard Kobe Bryant could conclude the end of a golden Lakers era if they can't make history by overcoming a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series against the Dallas Mavericks.
Coach Phil Jackson and All-Star guard Kobe Bryant could conclude the end… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

Bad day in Lakerdom/Celtic Nation.

Today, Lakers and Celtics fans are one.

Yeah, right.

As if we share anything with rage-displacing lowlifes within two degrees of separation from Archie Bunker . . . or front-running poseurs paying $200 for valet parking in the hope of being mistaken for Jack Nicholson?

I mean it as President Danny Glover did in the movie "2012," somberly informing Americans the world was ending:

"Today, none of us are strangers.

"Today, we are one family, stepping into the darkness together."

The TV networks then crash. The president winds up under a tsunami that dumps an aircraft carrier on the White House.

No, things aren't that bad for the Lakers and Celtics, yet.

Even after starting 0-2 against Miami, the Celtics could still hold back the clock.

After this season, however, good luck if the Heat merely upgrades to, say, Samuel Dalembert at center, in Zydrunas Ilgauskas' place.

The Lakers are down to a mathematically, if not actually, impossible feat, but as ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy noted: "If any team can come from 0-3, it's the Lakers."

Or maybe he was just cheering up ESPN execs, looking at Games 1-2 of Dallas-Memphis instead of Games 6-7 of Dallas-Lakers, now facing West and praying while sticking pins in a Mark Cuban doll.

The Lakers and Celtics coaches who put unmistakable stamps on their teams are on their way out.

In the next sexy rumor you'll hear . . . since I'm launching it . . . Doc Rivers could wind up coaching both teams — not at the same time — with Phil Jackson in New York?

As the mad prophet who forecasts the world's end in "2012" says, standing on the lip of an erupting volcano before he's atomized:

"Don't forget you heard it from Charlie!"

Doc is planning to knock off next season but if he's available, the Lakers might be interested.

General Manager Danny Ainge had to talk the exhausted Rivers into returning for this season, which turned out to be excruciating and now faces a bleak ending.

Rivers called the Kendrick Perkins deal "the most difficult thing I've had to do since I've been in the league . . . like trading one of your kids."

Making it a perfect disaster, with Shaquille O'Neal out, their Stampeding Buffalo front line went the way of the . . . uh, buffalo.

Teams backed off Rajon Rondo, even at the foul line, and there went the dynamic part of their offense.

Rondo fell from 12.2 assists at the All-Star break to 9.4 afterward. Their shooting fell from 49.7% to 46.8%.

Mike Bibby, who wasn't thought capable of guarding a fire hydrant, just held Rondo to 9.5 assists and 39% in Games 1 and 2.

With Rivers now looking like Gregg Popovich II, Doc's name now comes for every top job . . . like Miami if Eric Spoelstra comes up short this postseason.

Meanwhile, in what remains of Lakerdom, assistant coach Brian Shaw, the Kobe Bryant-endorsed candidate, is no longer considered a lock, which would have been the Old Laker Way under Jerry Buss and Jerry West.

Now they may go outside and pay up, the New Laker Way with Jerry and Jim Buss, who gave Rudy Tomjanovich $6 million per — what Jackson had made — in 2004.

One name that got out was Portland's Nate McMillan.

The Trail Blazers, who were casually letting his contract run out, immediately extended it.

Another name you heard was Rivers.

If Jackson isn't inclined to coach next season, or ever, he should have time to think it over.

Knicks Coach Mike D'Antoni is expected back but will need something on the order of the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, running his free-flowing offense through ball-stopping Carmelo Anthony.

Star-crazed as the Knicks are, their interest in Jackson would be a given.

With Jackson's love of New York and the possibility of getting Chris Paul or Deron Williams in a year, stranger things have happened.

Actually, in Phil's career, stranger things happen a lot.

It has been a four-year bonus revival for the Lakers and Celtics, emerging from the ashes of the 2006-07 season when Boston won 24 and the Lakers' first-round exit prompted Bryant's days of rage.

The NBA never had anything like Lakers-Celtics and now we have Bill Simmons!

The other day he tweeted that he's hugely enjoying my "goofy vendetta" against him.

Me, too!

Not that it's personal, much less a vendetta, since I couldn't pick him out of a lineup.

For someone trying to look at events in context, he's the pot of gold at the end of my rainbow, a prominent figure expressing the wildest, opponent-hating things anyone in Boston felt.

If everyone everywhere else feels the same way, what megastar broadcasts such xenophobia with such style?

Nevertheless, Bill's right. Answering my charge his Celtics stole Kevin Garnett as Miami stole LeBron James, he notes Minnesota does have something left from the trade, Jonny Flynn.

Personally, I'd still take Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom.

Bill and I are one today, too, or would be if I rooted for the Lakers.

mark.heisler@latimes.com

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