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It pains me to say this, but what can you do but tip your hat to them?  The Lakers have almost as many championships as the Celtics.  Phil now has more titles than Red (albeit with 2 teams).  Kobe now has to be considered among the best ever.  Since the 80's ended, the Lakers have maintained their dominance better than the Celtics have.  They are a worthy rival.

I'll say this though: It makes our crushing victory over them last year that much more sweet.  It makes me want the next title that much more.  And really that's what rivals are for.  I hate the Lakers but I have to respect them.  See you next year.

Beat L.A.! Beat L.A.! Beat L.A.!

Update: In somewhat related news, the Shaq to Cleveland rumors are heating up.