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Time to remove the "like" from "playoff like atmosphere"

April 20, 2008 |  9:06 am

Because the Western Conference has been more crowded than a New York subway at rush hour, the Lakers have been forced to endure playoff-esque games for the last month or so.  Today, though, the simulation ends and the real postseason begins.  And given where they were only a few months ago and the improbable path they took to get here, to enter the playoffs as a real, live #1 seed is quite an accomplishment, one the Lakers feel they're well equipped to handle going forward.   LA knows they have a challenge facing the fast paced Nuggets, and Denver knows they have a challenge facing Kobe Bryant, who is itchin' to win in the postseason again.  Of course, the Lakers go deeper than 24, whether it's Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, playing for things far bigger than himself, or Sasha Vujacic, who played well enough this year to earn a nickname... or at least one that didn't poke fun. 

The Lakers hope to limit the Nuggets attack to Melo and AI, keeping guys like JR Smith and Linus Kleiza from heating up

Brian Shaw talks about nearly getting the head coaching gig in Sacramento that eventually went to Reggie Theus.

As a reminder, Nene isn't expected to play for Denver.