Behind a staggering performance from Lamar Odom, the Lakers brought the Nuggets to the brink of elimination with the former’s 103-94 victory in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals last night, a result at least one unidentified member of the losing side figures was influenced by Phil Jackson’s complaints about the officiating in Game 4.  The Denver Post’s Dave Krieger while noting such conspiracy theories, is more fixated on Hollywood, or to be specific, his claim that “the Western Conference finals are now the template for the modern sports movie.”

The Lakers have played in the NBA Finals 29 times. The Nuggets never have. If you were trying to create an arrogant favorite and a plucky underdog, you couldn’t do much better.

How arrogant are the Lakers? Thanks for asking.

So arrogant that they feel free to change the lyrics of the national anthem.

Now, fans cheer different parts of the anthem for partisan reasons all over. In Baltimore, they cheer the “Oh” in “Oh, say” because of the Orioles. In Houston, they cheer the rockets’ red glare because of the Rockets. But in Los Angeles on Wednesday night, singer and actor Tyrese Gibson changed “our flag was still there” to “our Lakers were still there.”

I think we can all agree that’s just not right. Up the road, on the sound stages of Hollywood, such arrogance is guaranteed its comeuppance, but not until the last 10 minutes of the movie.

It would appear as though pissing on the flag is something of a new tradition at the Staples Center.