Heat-Lakers must-see TV, but not why you think

It happens in four days, but the idea of it alone is too delicious to wait.

Heat at Lakers.

It’ll be must-see Thursday night when these two teams meet for the first time this season, just not for the right reasons. Not for how you imagined.

Heat-Lakers was most everybody’s NBA Finals dream matchup before the season started. Well, commissioner David Stern’s anyway. And the TV executives already picturing those LeBron vs. Kobe T-shirts and envisioning the subsequent ratings bonanza.

The minute Los Angeles added Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, the defending champion Heat appeared to have its greatest challenge.

And then reality.

The Heat has struggled, relatively speaking, especially in rebounding and on the road. Two or three teams in the West seem better, and even the No. 1 East seed is no gimmie. Don’t discount Miami as a threat to repeat, but as a favorite to repeat? Well, let’s just say that bandwagon has good seats still available.

(I’d say there is no panic from the Heat, but then I saw they worked out Chris “Birdman” Andersen, a big man most known for tattoos and creative hair. Then I read of interest in Greg Oden, who has had more knee surgeries than points the past few years.)

Fittingly, during one of this week’s road losses, LeBron James’ streak of 20-point games ended at 33. That was the same night he referred to rebounding as Miami “Kryptonite.” Damn you, Lex Luthor!

With the Lakers, it’s far worse. Team Kobe is under .500 and might not even get to the playoffs, let alone breeze through them to the Finals.

The Lakers are under a ton of pressure and criticism, but James was moved this week to say the L.A. firestorm is “nowhere near what we went through” in 2010.

An oddly fitting prelude to this week’s Heat-Lakers meeting:

A debate on who has been more maligned.

Mario Cristobal Al Golden’s
Pete Garcia

• Interesting MVP vote at last week’s BCS National Championship Game here. I heard 33 voters picked Tide running back Eddie Lacy, 26 chose quarterback A.J. McCarron, and Brent Musberger voted for Miss Alabama Katherine Webb.

Micky Arison Jeffrey Loria Stephen Ross

Bill Parcells can Pat White

Lance Armstrong’s Oprah

Quentin Tarantino Wilt Chamberlain

Stephen Steven Jackson Michael Bloomberg

Phil Jackson Jeanie Buss

Carmelo Anthony Kevin Garnett

Parting thought:

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