1. The Los Angeles Lakers. The No. 1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs has officially cleared the field and been crowned conference champions. It is an accomplishment to win the championship of one's league in any season but to do so this year when the competition was so very good ranks even higher. I hope that Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak send's on of those goofy-looking conference champion hat and a nice bottle of champagne to his counterpart in Memphis Chris Wallace, who made this all possible by handing over Pau Gasol for forty cents on the Euro.
2. Kobe Bryant. You can say what you want (and trust me I often do to the dismay of my Lakers-fan-housemate) about this enthusiast of forcible as well as consentual adultery, but the guy can sure as hell (likely a place he will eventually also hoop it up, except with my skillset) win a ballgame. Kobe was as dominant as ever last night in the conference-championship-clinching win over the San Antonio Spurs.
3. The National Basketball Association. One down. The Lakers in the Finals. One to go. I'd imagine David Stern readying his KG jersey for tonight's game. At this point I'm officially pulling for the Pistons to pull this Series out, if just so I don't have to watch the referees confuse themselves by trying to fix games for both the Lakers and the Celtics simultaneously.
4. David Wright. His two home runs off Brad Penny lifted the Mets back to .500 and kept Willie Randolph's job safe through the weekend.
5. Jack Nicholson's agent. Whomever holds down this gig has to be thrilled that his/her client's visibility is going to be threw the roof for the next few weeks as telecasts of the NBA Finals inevitably cut to Jack after ever third possession and every borderline officiating decision that goes against his Lakers. Could the script for The Bucket List 2: Sky-Diving in Hell be far off?
Benched. Sasha Vujacic. This guy is an ass. Michael Finley essentially told him as much when after launched and canned a three-pointer as the clock ran out in last night's game. The contest was over. The Spurs weren't going to foul and the Lakers just needed to let the final few ticks tick off the game clock. Simple. Not quite. Vujacic launches the aforementioned three, breaking of the many unwritten rules of the game. However, not overly concerned with whether or not Kurt Thomas was going to punch this kid in the face my first thought was the point spread. Had A Boy Named Sasha just wrecked the spread with his unsportsmanlike heave? Yup. It was a 7.5 spread and even though the Spurs were losers they were going to cover, which makes them winners to most. Well, they were going to cover until Jerkacic hit that three, bumping the final tally to 100-92. That's an 8-point margin of victory and a really tough way to drop a bet.