The hard fact is: The LA Lakers are soft
Memo to writers, reporters, critics, pundits, "Lakers Live" and Laker fans the world over:
Please spare us the endless talk and the annoying daily handwringing over the Lakers’ lack of defense or their failure to be aggressive. Don’t just read what I’m about to tell you, embrace it. Take it to heart. Accept it as an inalienable truth.
The Lakers are still softer than a Johnny Mathis love song. They're "Chances Are" in sneakers.
The Lakers are still softer than the baby powder Kevin Garnett claps into the faces of the Celtics’ courtside timekeepers.
The Celtics have the eye of the tiger, the Lakers have the eye of the pussycat.
For instance: When Paul Pierce goes out at night, he gets stabbed. When Sasha goes out, he gets his tips colored. Or buys a new headband.
Do you know what happened at a Celtics game the other night? Garnett screamed and berated Glen Davis, making him actually cry.
Davis is as big as your house and the Big Ticket is so mean, he made the kid cry like, well, a Big Baby.
Lamar Odom throws a pass to no one except Sasha Vujacic standing in front of the bench, they both have a good giggle over it. The Lakers are just cute.
There’s no crying in Laker basketball, just giggling.
When the Celtics squeeze something, it’s their opponents’ skulls. When the Lakers squeeze something, it’s probably the Charmin.
Lamar goes on the radio with Vic the Brick, you know what they talk about? Skin products! I swear to Jergens!
The Celtics want to tear your head off, the Lakers are looking for a nice moistening cream. Their power forward is an expert on Aloe and cocoa butter.
That’s why they should have gotten Ron Artest when they had the chance. I’m pretty sure the only skin products Artest likes are the ones Hannibal Lecter used.
The Lakers make a personnel move, they draft Sun Yue, a sweetheart from China. Sun Yue? I would have signed Charles Oakley, and I don’t care if he’s 50 years old! No one messes with the Oak.
Garnett is from the south side of Chicago, Pierce is from Inglewood. Tough places, mean streets. The Lakers? They come from Spain and Slovenia
and Serbia. The only streets the Lakers know are Melrose and Beverly Drive for shopping.
The Lakers have 3 soft Euros, a guy (Luke Walton) who lives at the beach and a guy who can tell you which is a better product, Nivea or Neutrogena.
Is it any wonder they got Ashton Kutchered, punked, in the NBA Finals?
When a Celtic has a fit of pique, he makes a teammate cry. When a Laker has a violent impulse, he throws birthday cake. Like Kwame Brown always said, watch out for that whipped cream and frosting, they're natural born killers!
All the Lakers hear for days on end, ad nauseam, is how they have to toughen up. How do they respond? Lamar and Trevor Ariza break out new bright yellow headbands! Then they give up 200 points to the Sacramento Kings. That’ll show em!
Who is the Lakers’ conditioning coach, Richard Simmons?
One of the Suns drove Wednesday night with Bynum, 290 pounds, bigger than an apartment building, standing right there. The lane opened wide, with the driving Sun followed by the Queen Mary. Did Bynum put the guy on his butt? Did he send a message that this is my lane and my house and no one dunks on us here?
No, he just watched him. In fact, Bynum stopped just short of clasping his hands together so the guy could jump off them like a trampoline, the way you boost a child over a fence. Or holding up a "10" card to praise the dunk.
Bynum offered less resistance than Oscar de la Hoya.
Look, the point here is, the Lakers are who they are. And their team is what it is. Asking them to be mean and tough and hard and nasty and physical is like asking Oprah to be thin or George Bush to be smart. It’s not in their DNA.
They’re not McFilthy and McNasty, they’re McWimpy and McSoftee.
The Celtics and Lakers can even be defined by their color analysts. Tom Heinsohn is a hulking beast who looks like a hitman. Mychal Thompson is from the Bahamas and wears sandals and puka shells. Heinsohn is Tony Soprano, Thompson is Bob Marley.
If the Celtics had Laker Girls, they would be Janet Reno and Madeline Albright.
The Lakers are fast and fun and athletic and entertaining and pretty as can be. I love the Lakers! I say, to heck with the tacos! Headbands for everyone! Or free passes to Lamar's favorite day spa.
Let them score 120, give up 110 and we can all all go home happy, without the angst.
As Paul McCartney was just telling me, Let It Be.
Think of it like this: The Celtics are Rottweilers, the Lakers French Poodles. The Celtics bite your arm off. The Lakers win Best in Show.
If the Celtics were a video game, they'd be Grand Theft Auto. The Lakers are Tickle Me Elmo.
In movie terms, the Lakers are Paul Newman, the Celtics Charles Bronson. Newman made better movies, aesthetically he was the one you wanted to watch and paid to see.
Except of course that it was Bronson who kills everyone in the end.
-- Ted Green
Ted Green used to cover the Lakers for the L.A. Times. He is now Senior Sports Producer for KTLA Prime News.
Photo: Luke Walton. Credit: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times