I am hoping that the excitement generated in this year's NBA playoffs, by the Bulls against the Celtics, the Rockets against the Lakers, the Celtics in both their series, the Nuggets before they forgot that they'd forgotten how to forget to play defense, and, surprisingly, the Magic, not to mention LeBron, doesn't dissipate entirely during the finals. But if the referees call the game the way they did tonight, with Dwight Howard getting hacked by three defenders on almost every play, it will likely be a short, boring series. The Lakers are a lot better than any team on paper, given their bench and the skill set that Bryant, Gasol and Odom bring to the hardwood. They just haven't played as a unit as much as they should have for as long as they should have. If they move the ball on offense like they did against Denver and are allowed to play rough on defense, Orlando has little chance of winning more than a game. The President said Los Angeles in six, though, so perhaps the basketball gods will act through their representatives on Earth, a.k.a. the men in vertical stripes, to make it possible for him to match his NCAA Men's pick.