Los Angeles Lakers Can’t Allow Boston Celtics Rivalry to Eclipse Suns

It's not like the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns haven't been trying.

The Lakers have been saying all the right things, talking about how the memory of their early exit in the Western Conference at the hands of the Suns during 2006 and 2007 playoffs still stings.

Of course, it was those early playoff exits that ushered in the Era of Bad Feelings, a time before Pau Gasol established himself as the shaggy but dominant inside complement to Kobe Bryant; when Kobe was pouting about the failure of management to surround him with players better than Smush Parker, instead of pouting for a photo spread; when the biggest offseason concern was whether the Buss family was going to have to blow up the team, instead of whether they would have to kick its favorite extended family member into a lower tax bracket .

That's the point. It was so long ago, it might as well be ancient history. You know, around the same time when Hubie Brown was coaching the Constantinople Spice to their first championship. 

Amare Stoudemire also did his part to re-stoke the rivalry that never was, calling out Lamar Odom as "lucky" after Game 1. Of course, it helps to back up that kind of trash talk in Game 2.

Even the municipal governments are getting into the act, with a Phoenix utilities commissioner threatening to cut off the power the city provides to Los Angeles over L.A.'s boycott of Arizona's immigration bill.   Our mayor, like our pro basketball team, can only scoff (even if he disagrees with our Coach ).

The fact of the matter is, this isn't a rivalry.

Maybe if Suns had taken it to the Lakers at Staples and wrested homecourt advantage away.

Maybe if they had more of the Celtics' swagger, LeBron's hubris, or the old Detroit Pistons' thuggery.

Instead, they're the nicest guys imaginable, singing "Kumbaya" around the campfire, and watching "Iron Man 2" together.

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