It didn’t exactly go as planned, but the result was expected and we even learned a thing or two.


Yeah, right, as if these guys are going to miss a chance to let down, and put anyone away on their first try.

So, it was no surprise to see the Magic jump on the Lakers in Sunday night’s first quarter, scoring 15 of the game’s first 21 points en route to. . . .

Oh, the Lakers won?

Are they great or what?

It wasn’t the postseason they planned, but it turned out the way they hoped it would, and when they put their latest Larry O’Brien Trophy in the window of Jerry Buss’ office, overlooking the court at their El Segundo practice facility, it will look just like the others.


This just in:

* Kobe Bryant is once again the game’s greatest player!

Remember LeBron James?

He’s on the Cavaliers. They didn’t even make the Finals.

* Bryant wins first title without Shaquille O’Neal!

“It was like Chinese water torture, just keep dropping a drop of water on your temple,” said Bryant, breaking a long silence on the subject.

“I would cringe every time. I was just like, it’s a challenge I’m just going to have to accept because there’s no way I’m going to argue it.

“You can say it until you’re blue in the face and rationalize it until you’re blue in the face, but it’s not going anywhere until you do something about it.”

* While reporting Bryant just won a title without O’Neal, the national media discover Kobe was on those three championship teams with Shaq, and now has four titles, just like Shaq!

* Phil Jackson wins 10th championship, passing Red Auerbach, and now has no peer, officially!

Unofficially, of course, we’ve known there was no one like Jackson for years.

“Oh yeah,” said Orlando Coach Stan Van Gundy, asked whether it’s fair to call Jackson the best ever.

“Hey, listen, some of the stuff is almost incomprehensible, OK?

“I think if I’m right, the guy has won 51 playoff series now. Check your record book and see how many coaches have even won 50 playoff games.

“It’s fewer than 20, and the guy has won 51 playoff series. It’s incomprehensible.”

* Pau Gasol is no longer soft!

When you lose, you’re soft. When you win a title, you’re a highly skilled player with wiry strength, who stepped up to the challenge.

* Lamar Odom is no longer automatically out of here!

Despite speculation that the Lakers will choose between Odom and Trevor Ariza, they may now bring both back -- if Odom will take less than his current $10 million salary.

Oh, and Odom has said he would.

* Derek Fisher is still Derek Fisher!

Had the Lakers lost, with Fisher struggling in the second and third rounds at 34, there would have been an outcry for a new point guard . . . such as, say, Jason Kidd, a free agent who has tried to join the Lakers for years, and says he’ll take less to play with a contender.

With Fisher turning back into Big Shot Derek Fisher, a.k.a. the Fish Who Saved L.A., shooting 54% and making the biggest shot of the Finals, the Lakers are now less inclined to pony up to replace him.

* Lakers are now the overwhelming favorite to win the title next season too!

Spent after a long post-season, not to mention the seven years it took to get back here, Bryant was asked what lay ahead for this team. He answered, laughing, “Vacation.”

Fisher, being Derek Fisher, said, “You know, it’s easy to shy away from expectations, but at the point in my career, where I am, why run away from it?

“Definitely when we start training camp next season and we have our ring ceremony at Staples Center . . . our first home game, all thoughts will be on winning another championship.”

Isn’t this where we came in?