It’s Out of the Question: The NBA puppetmasters have it half right so far

== Cleveland or Orlando? Rock n’ Roll or Mick E. Mouse? A team the Lakers toppled twice during the regular season, or a team that ate ‘em up twice in the same regular season? What do those pulling the muppetstrings say about it?

== Does this mean all those Nuggets that the Lakers fans put into bags and mailed off to Cash4Gold aren’t worth as much today as they may have been last week?

== Before running to the plane parked far away at the non-downtown airport, what does Kobe Bryant do for one last hurrah before leaving the greater Denver area for the last time this season?

== Does Lamar Odom get Chris Andersen’s headband as a souvenir?

== Is George Karl still looking at the end of the Lakers’ bench waiting for them to put in Coby Karl as the human victory cigar?

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== Will Ferrell, Colin Farrell or Phil Collin: Who gets the most ping-pong balls for the celebrity seat lottery draw that now takes place at the Laker exec offices for the first two games at Staples Center for the NBA Finals? Is Ryan Seacrest allowed to sit next to Ryan O’Neal? Andy Garcia next to Nomar Garciaparra?

== Would not the sight of D.J. Mbenga on the court, with or without his Lakers’ tank top, had been enough to thwart any thuggery that the Nuggets had intended to deliver during this series? Can that be part of the blueprint for the next round?

== How can you not say a few silent prayers in hopes of having Stan Van Gundy push Orlando’s magic ride all the way into the finals, to face the Lakers, just so we can hear brother Jeff Van Gundy try to defend his moves during the ABC telecast?

== What kind of shot does Jerry West, who once blistered the Bel-Air Country Club for a round of 63 at a time when he was a scratch golfer, have at luring Tiger Woods to finally come back to the thing called the NTO (Northern Trust Open, not some off-track betting site) at Riviera Country Club?

== As long as Ballpark Frank McCourt has no problem with it, why not punch up an online ballot 25 times to send Manny Ramirez to St. Louis as the starting left fielder for the NL All-Star team? But since Joe Torre apparently does have a problem with that — you could say he’s wigging out — why not type in on the online ballot 25 times the name Juan Pierre as the starting left fielder for the NL All-Star team?

== If you’re really able to muster the mental strength to log votes 25 times for Man-Ram online, do they waive the manditatory steroid test afterward?

== If Ken Griffey Jr. is fourth in the AL All-Star outfield vote — with a .218 average — what makes voting for Manny so crazy?

== What’s so horrible about David Ortiz’s .299 average? Oh, that’s his slugging percentage?

== Why doesn’t NBC just have Conan O’Brien drop the puck for the first two games of its coverage in the Stanley Cup Finals and see what kind of marine life they throw at him on the ice?

== How low a blow must the sport of boxing endure if it allows Jose Canseco, once knocked on his wallet by Danny Partridge, to find a pay-day in Japan only to get pummeled again, this time by a 7-foot-2 sumo champ, and not be DQ’d by a post-game urine test?

== Rachel Alexandra says she needs a vacation? Already? How do we nag her to change her mind?

== What kind of hurdles does Jim Tracy immediately face as the new Rockies’ manager, aside from altitude sickness from a sickening bullpen? If Colorado sinks any quicker in the NL West, think they’d be willing to deal Houston Street to the Dodgers for … James McDonald?

== As long as we’ve opened it up to Slater for first-ball duties, can we screech for Dustin Diamond to take a spot in the middle of the diamond next time?

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