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Thank you for trying, Bulls

Staff writer Mike Bresnahan ties up some loose ends on days of Lakers playoff games.

Moment of silence

For the Chicago Bulls, who almost thrilled countless numbers of Lakers fans by upsetting Boston in the first round. The Orlando Magic now becomes the second-favorite NBA team in L.A. for the next two weeks.

From the message boards

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Posted by user name “Game-speed” at chron.com, the website of the Houston Chronicle:

“The Lakers are overconfident. They have not had to deal with adversity like the Rockets have. They will get introduced to it this series. Yao is the key here. He has to play like a champion and get 25 and 12 on average. It will send a message and plant seeds of doubt in [the Lakers’] heads. L.A. is a national media favorite, living off their history as a champion. They get the big buildup because of it. It also means network ratings. They are in for a surprise.”

Right. Let me know when all of that happens.

Q&A; of the day

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Question: I’m going to put you on the spot here. Will Lamar Odom re-sign with the Lakers? And what about Trevor Ariza? I would surely like both of them to return, as I feel they play key roles.

--Javier Cossio

Answer: Hey, I’m supposed to be the one putting people on the spot. But I’ll play along this time.

I’d be surprised if both Ariza and Odom return to the Lakers. The Lakers have already earmarked $74 million for only eight players next season.

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If the two free-agent forwards command, say, $15 million a year in combined salaries, the Lakers would be pushed pretty deep into the luxury-tax stratosphere, where nobody seems to want to be in this economy.

In other words, it’s probably going to be one or the other. Odom, 29, will be more expensive and more versatile. Ariza, 23, will be younger and cheaper. To be continued in July.

Best-case Lakers tonight

Ron Artest opens his mouth. Kobe Bryant hears what he says.

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Final thought

The Lakers swept the Rockets during the regular season, so I’m going to pick a sweep in the playoffs. Almost. Lakers in five.

--

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

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