Times Staff Writer

Q&A; of the day

Question: Even though it's far too early to see the Lakers making it past Utah and New Orleans (San Antonio will win a game or two but will go down), I've gotta wonder about the Eastern Conference representative. After watching Boston in its series with Atlanta, and Cleveland against the depleted Wizards and now the Celts, I'm beginning to form the impression that it's very possible neither the Cavs nor Celts will make it to the Finals.

--David Spellman

Answer: Just what the league wants -- Detroit in the Finals!


Worst-case Lakers scenario

The Utah mascot, a furry bear named Bear (no joke), creates an extra 30 seconds of motorcycle exhaust in front of the Lakers' bench during pregame festivities after Phil Jackson complained about it this week.


Best-case Lakers scenario

Carlos Boozer continues to play like the present-day Mailman (age 44) and the Lakers take an all-but-done 3-0 series lead.


Is there a student section too?

Lakers forward Luke Walton said Utah's home-court environment brought back not-so-fond memories.

"It kind of reminds me of college days when they sit right on the court. If you dive for a loose ball, you're diving into their crowd. It does make it more difficult to play and win [there]."


Final thought

Utah is obviously a tough place to play, but the Lakers were dominant there in a March game without Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. Boozer will play better, almost guaranteed, but the Lakers will win a squeaker.

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