LABJ FORUM: It's Nervous Time

After defending their World Champion title for the past three years, the Lakers disappointed fans with a sub-par season that leaves them without home court advantage for much of the playoffs. With previous wanabees like Dallas, Sacramento and San Antonio thirsting to eliminate the purple and gold, the Business Journal asks:

How far do you think the Lakers will go in the playoffs?

Stephen Francis Jones
SFJones Architects Inc.

I think they will have an easy time with Dallas and whomever they face in the first rounds and will be tested if they end up playing San Antonio for the Western Conference Title. If they win the Western Conference then I think they should be able to repeat as world champs.

Peter Skourtis
Production Assistant
Extraordinary Events

I think the Lakers are going to go all the way this year again. They have a relentless team that has proven to step it up when it counts. And they've got the triangle offense Kobe, Shaq and Phil. I'm really annoyed with some of these fair weather fans we have in L.A. When the Lakers had that bad start this year, everyone counted them out. Well look where they are now. They have a chance to take home court advantage.

Gretchen Goldsmith

I have to admit I haven't caught Laker fever this season. In the past few years, I flew not one, but two purple flags on my car, passed up the beach to watch the finals from a hotel bar in Hawaii, and went to as many games as I could. But I could care less this time around. They played so terribly this winter and acted so badly off the court that I stopped cheering for them. I see no great miracle in their strong finish at the 11th hour. It's just like the U.S. military sweeping into Baghdad after a few setbacks early in the war. Just as the world's most powerful fighting force should be able to prevail against a corrupt dictatorship, a team with the immense physical talent and brilliant coaching of the Lakers should win basketball games.

Harris Tulchin
Tulchin Entertainment Law

Well I'm originally from Massachusetts, so I'm a long time Celtics fan. But the Lakers have grown on me because I've been here for about 30 years. How far they go will depend on who they play in the first round and on the health of Shaq. If Shaq is healthy, they'll prevail. If they make it through the Western Conference, they'll prevail against any Eastern Conference team, including the Celtics.

Dino Carlaftes
Head of Literary Metropolitan Talent Agency

It depends as much on their tenacity as it does the tenacity of teams like the Clippers to beat their opponents and help pave the way for the Lakers. That said, the Lakers are champions and they'll find a way to make it an interesting run.

Pierrette Tierney
Investor Relations/Marketing
Cypress Funds LLC

They will still be the favorite because of the legacy they've created over the last three years. They also tend to step up their game under playoff pressure. But I think teams like the Kings and Mavericks have a very good chance of knocking them out of contention because they pass the ball more and emphasize teamwork rather than individual play. I think this will give them the edge over L.A. when it comes down to the wire. Go Kings!

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