The Timberwolves managed to last longer in the playoffs than ever before, but finally fell to — who else? — the dread Lakers, in six games. If not for Sam Cassell’s bad back, they might have managed to grind and scrap their way to victory. No matter how big they step up, though, plucky role players like Mark Madsen and Fred Hoiberg just aren’t enough to make up for the absence of your #2 offensive weapon and most clutch (clutchiest?) shooter, especially against L.A.

In the Eastern Conference, we have the pleasure of trying to ignore the Indiana-Detroit series. In game 3, the Pistons actually managed to score 85 whole points! Personally, I hope Detroit wins the series, because with two Wallaces and a handful of backup post players, they’re the only team that has a chance of containing Shaq in the finals.

Either way, I get to enjoy another season of watching the most smug (smuggest?) team on earth play for yet another set of rings to add to its collection. Oh well — the nice thing about sports is that hope springs year-round: I can go straight from rooting against the Lakers to rooting against the Yankees. I suspect it might be healthier to root for the teams I like instead of against the ones I don’t, but where’s the fun in that?