Matchup Game

OK, so it's a little early to declare the

21st Century Lakers the greatest team of all-time--even though they might already have been in Florida. So, for the sake of argument in trying to determine "The Greatest," here are the matchups of the "Baq to Baq" Lakers against the . . .

Team of the 1990s: Chicago Bulls

(6 NBA titles: 1991-93, 1996-98)

The sideline matchup of Phil Jackson vs. Phil Jackson would send Ahmad Rashad's head spinning. Triangles everywhere, but it's the Michael Jordan Bulls who would slide-rule. And, what about the battle of the network commercial stars, Air Jordan against

Did-Somebody-Say-Kobe-Bryant? Remember, Marv, it's not over until the

I-Want-To-Be-Like-Mike choir sings.

Team of the late 1980s: Detroit Pistons

(2 NBA titles: 1989-90)

Where are the cops when you need them? Bad boys Dennis Rodman, Rick Mahorn and Bill Laimbeer getting away with mugging Shaquille O'Neal, and that sneaky, underhanded Isiah Thomas pick-pocketing Kobe Bryant--and then all landing roles in the next Disney movie.

Team of the early-to-mid 1980s:

Showtime Lakers

(5 NBA titles: 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987-88)

The I-Love-L.A. Lakers have Magic, the

Big Fella's Sky Hook, Silk and Coop--and can Do-the-McAdoo for good measure. The

Staples Singers are a two-man rap show. High-octane Showtime outperforms Diesel Power in all road tests.

Team of the early 1970s:

New York Knicks

(2 NBA titles: 1970, 1973)

The flower-power Knicks have the best

sideburns, but Rick Fox can go off-Broadway in a "Hair" production. That string-bean hippie backup center from North Dakota, Phil Jackson, might protest for peace in the paint,

but Shaq Daddy will knock him into the

Bermuda Triangle.

Team of the 1960s: Boston Celtics

(Won nine of 10 NBA titles in the decade)

Get a load of this: 6-foot-9 1/2, 220-pound Bill Russell trying to pull his Sultan of Swat

routine on 7-1, 330-pound Shaq O'Neal. No Celtic Mystique is going to keep Shaq from pummeling him into the parquet floor. Only Rick Pitino could have spared Russell--by making him a shooting guard in the first place.

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