"We haven't lost in weeks," said head coach Mike D'Antoni. "And if you look at the Western Conference, we're in as good a shape as almost anyone. I'm not counting us out until the season is over."
The presumed Western Conference champion, the Oklahoma City Thunder, is on the brink of elimination thanks to Russell Westbrook's injury, the Spurs are as old as the Lakers, the Warriors are inexperienced and star guard Steph Curry is battling injury, and the Memphis Grizzlies are led by Pau Gasol's little brother.
"I like our position," said Lakers point guard Steve Nash. "I'm getting healthier every day and Kobe should be able to walk in a few weeks. We can do this."
"J.R. did a lot of great things for us during the regular season and there were times I thought maybe he should be in the game right from the opening tip as a starter," said Knicks head coach Mike Woodson. "But now I am positive he is a bench player. In fact, he's the kind of player I'd like to have as a twelfth man."
In addition to missing almost every shot he takes, Smith has also come off the bench to provide the Knicks with turnovers, fouls and mental mistakes.
"I just try to fill up the stat sheet any way I can," said Smith. "I have to make the best of the limited opportunities I have to play. Especially now because I feel like my opportunities to play are going to become increasingly limited."
"It's just the dearest thing," said Stern. "I almost want to pinch Marc Gasol's fat cheeks."
Despite Memphis looking like the clearly superior team through the first four games of the series, Stern says he has put out the order to his officials that "under no circumstances" are the Grizzlies to close out the series.
"Both Los Angeles teams lost in the first round, Brooklyn lost, Boston lost, Chicago is on the way out, the Knicks are losing. I can't lose all of those big markets and a star of Kevin Durant's caliber," said Stern. "I mean, let's be reasonable here. I didn't build this league to where it is by giving people NBA Finals featuring the Memphis Grizzlies and Indiana Pacers. Nobodies versus nobodies. Not a chance."
"I felt it was unprofessional for the lake to be there," said Garcia. "That water could be anywhere. Water covers two-thirds of this planet, yet it had to be there on the final two holes of a tournament I'm playing in? Come on. It's not the nicest lake on the earth."
Garcia was especially miffed because the lake didn't swallow any of Tiger Woods' shots.
"I don't want to make a big deal out of this, but it does seem like there is preferential treatment on Tour for Tiger," said Garcia. "He hits shots and they just happen to land on the green. But I hit shots and there is a big tree trunk in the path of my ball or a bunker or some water. I mean, at the very least it's suspicious."
The 55-year study, the longest running study in history on sports team and referee interaction, was a joint effort conducted by Harvard, Stanford and Oxford universities.
"The shittier the team, the more it tends to believe the refs are against them," said Roger Vance, a Harvard professor who announced the study's findings. "It was like this across all sports, and all levels of play, and every country. While good teams sometimes feel targeted by officials, shit teams inordinately blame refs for everything that goes agains them."
Fan behavior was also tracked by the researchers.
"As much as shitty teams complain about officiating, the fans of shitty teams complain exponentially more," said Vance. "In fact, we almost quit doing the study several times because we found these people to be so annoying."
"Dan Snyder is well known as a loathsome person and incompetent team owner," said Jeff Snyder, of Peoria, Ill. "Every day he does further damage to the Snyder name. When most people hear the name 'Snyder' now, they think of assholery and failure. Today we say enough is enough."
The petition demands that Snyder officially change his last name within 72 hours, or be slapped with a defamation lawsuit.
"He has done great damage to everyone named Snyder," said Sara Snyder, who owns a flower shop in San Diego. "Even though I live thousands of miles away from Washington, D.C., people regularly ask me if I'm related to that 'prick Dan Snyder.' I know I have lost business because of my name a name that he has ruined."
"My kids are going to love this little fella," said James, feeding Robinson bits of food he grabbed from the post-game, locker room spread. "Look how tiny he is. He's adorable."
James then called his kids and told them he had a surprise for them and that he'd be home soon. He then quickly dressed without showering, picked up his bag with Robinson inside it and exited for the players' parking lot.
"They're going to love playing with him," said a smiling James, on the way out. "I just hope they don't get too attached. I can't keep him. He has a home in Chicago."
"I'm so proud of Nathan," said his mother. "We just did a month-long unit on fighting the sin of pride I decided to do that instead of one on geometry and he really exhibited humility today by not going for 150 on me. He is growing into a fine young man. And I'm sure if he knew geometry he would have acted like a real wiseacre out there today, so I obviously made the right decision."
Lippman says he has been working tirelessly at his game during his daily hour-long gym period his mother schedules for each weekday afternoon, which comes right after a two-hour class on the founding fathers and just before a five-minute science class.
"I was really in a zone," said Lippman. "I don't know how to describe it. I guess it was a combination of factors. Hard work. Prayer. The purity of not being tainted by public schools. I would even say there was a little luck involved, but then I know that luck is the sort of thing that only people who are involved in witchcraft or consumed by the sin of gambling believe in. So scratch luck off the list of factors. Mostly I'd say, though, my point total was due to playing against my mom. Mother stinks at basketball, but she's the only person I can play against other than my nine younger brothers and sisters because I am not allowed contact with children outside of our family."
"I personally know of six columnists working on that story already," said a Yankees media relations staffer. "Three local guys and three national guys. They all asked me individually how Derek is single-handedly willing this team to victory and I told them that he isn't at all. That he isn't even around. That seemed to disappoint them. But I know the columns are still in the works. They'll just pull some stuff out of their asses like always. I bet it's something like 'the standard of excellence he demanded inspires the team even in his absence.'"
At the start of the season, when the Yankees were expected to be awful and then got off to a slow start columnists were racing to publish pieces that made the case that the Yankees simply could not win without Jeter in the lineup. As though his absence alone would bring down the historic franchise. But then they started winning, forcing a different angle.
"It doesn't matter if we went 0-162, 162-0 or 81-81, Derek was going to come out of this smelling like roses," said the media relations staffer. "That's just how it's been for 18 years and nothing will ever change that. I mean, the guy has been surrounded by top talent for the last 12 years, yet he got just one World Series title in that time. Still his 'leadership' and 'winner' credentials remain flawless in the eyes of the media. No doubt he's an all-time great, but this team hasn't missed a beat with Eduardo Nunez and Jayson Nix in his place. So, yeah. Derek's reputation is set for life and nothing will ever change that. Especially not when there are dozens of writers who always count on mailing in 'Derek Jeter is awesome' columns three or four times a season."