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About as pleasant as Spurs in your side

January 24, 2008 | 12:18 pm

(Note: Sorry about the delayed post.  BK is in Colorado doing X-Games stuff for ESPN and I just moved with the girlfriend into a new place that became cable/Internet ready about 20 minutes ago.  I know y'all like your news ASAP, so apologies for the delay.  Anyhoo...)

Nobody expected a bout with the defending champeens to be an easy, peasy affair, which makes last night's 103-91 loss in San Antonio anything but outright shocking.  Not that the Lakers didn't have their shot at pulling off the upset.  In fact, the purple and gold's halftime chalk talk commenced with a nine point lead.  But an old nemesis, known in Laker Nation circles as "the third quarter," resurfaced to produce a frame where the visitors were outscored 31-12.  Kobe emphatically reminded his boys that the hometown soldiers weren't about to go down without a fight, a message they apparently took to mean, "I'll gladly do all the work for everyone."  From there, it was all about iso-born, highly contested shots and Mamba-assigned turnovers (which Phil Jackson felt reflected the ends, not the means) and tempers flaring a bit between young players- one of the pups being Jordan Farmar, otherwise enjoying a terrific sophomore effort- subbing in for ineffective vets.  Among the guilty is Luke Walton, whose bad ankle is affecting his ability to consistently contribute.  Sucks to be unhealthy, but according to Tex Winter, that's just tough noogies.  The Triangle guru feels its imperative for Walton and LO to step up their game during this Bynum-less period.  The Lakers will also need a steady dose of unwavering belief from Kobe.

If life is indeed one big popularity contest, then Phil Jackson is coming out smelling like a rose. 

More Bulls trade talk, this time not involving the relocation of #24 (although like those previous swap theories, this one could remain just as unlikely).