I’m feeling merrier already.

Pau Gasol and Lakers protect L.A.’s Record 33 Straight, by stopping Boston after 19, 92-83

The greatest Record in the History of Sports could be UCLA Basketball’s 88 straight wins.  But also right up there in the pantheon of Records that should never be broken is the 33 straight reeled off by the Fabulous Forum Lakers about 35 years ago.  This season, that mark was being threatened, by the World Champion Boston Celtics, but now you can call them the Boston Brakers.  That’s “Brakers,” as in grinding to a halt, NOT “Breakers,” as in breaking the Lakers’ much-revered Record   

The Celtics had been cruising along, winning 19 straight with relative ease, coming into Staples Center on Christmas Day with plenty of confidence.  Even though the Lakers were listed as 3-point Favorites, many Laker fans were expecting the Celts to roll right over the Jordan Farmar-less Lakes.

But even without Farmar, who is out for 2 months for knee surgery, the Lakers still outclassed the Celtics from start to finish.  The first thing you have to remember is that Andrew Bynum was not playing last June when the Celtics won the Finals over L.A.  Now that the Lakers have another huge threat underneath, they match up much better with Boston.  Bynum was a big contributor, as was Bruin-turned-Laker sparkplug Trevor Ariza, who made three spectacular circus plays including a save, and a Fast Break Reverse Slam Dunk.  Kobe led the team with 27 Points, but it was Pau Gasol that came up gigantic when it mattered most.

The Celtics were determined to make someone other than Kobe beat them, so on three separate plays in the final crucial minutes, Kobe was forced to dish the ball, and on all three, he found Gasol, who FINISHED on all three.  Add to those three Offensive gems, one crunchtime Defensive play, where Gasol charged out to block a perimeter shot, and you have a genuine basis for giving Pau the MVP.

The game was closer than the final score indicated, with Boston actually having the lead with just a few minutes left in the game, but the Lakers wanted it more down the stretch.  After the way the Finals ended, it makes sense that the Lakers are hungrier.  There are several other teams that could pull an upset in the Playoffs, but if the Lakers and Celtics get a Finals rematch, it should be a doozy.  With Bynum in there, and with Farmar healthy and back in the rotation, the Lakers just might be able to overcome Boston’s inevitable Home Court Advantage.

The best thing about it all is that L.A.’s second-nastiest Rivalry is back in full swing, reminding everyone that Rivalries are real, and that the hatred can be intense. 

And speaking of intense, here are nine more Cheer photos from December 6th.  Go ahead:  Be Merry.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…

…Jack Frost… should BE so lucky.

It is OKAY to “re-gift” this photo.

Jingle Bell Rox

“Put down the harmonica, come celebrate Hanukkah.  Have a gin & tonic-a…”

For a week, they are dealing with stockings, instead of stalkings.

’tis the season to be jolly.

Not a creature was stirring, except for your mouse (clicking on the photo to enlarge it).

“You’ll go down in History.”