Okay, okay: I get it. After watching LeBron James' epic performance during the fourth quarter of Cleveland's 112-102 victory over the Orlando last night, when he essentially schooled the entire Magic squad singlehandedly, I understand why the NBA, Nike and assorted TV networks would like to see him and Kobe Bryant go at it head to head in the championship round. And while I don't necessarily subscribe to the officiating conspiracy theory, which holds that referees are consciously using their whistles to guarantee such a matchup, there's no doubt that both players have been receiving the benefit of the doubt whenever someone in a different color jersey has the bad taste to try and guard them.
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Not that this fact will justify a Nuggets loss tonight, in game six of the Western Conference finals. They should have won games one and three despite unkind reffing -- and their disappearance during the opening minutes of game five's final quarter was about as ill-timed as imaginable. They've got some amends to make, and given the energy that is sure to emenate from the Pepsi Center crowd, there's no reason why they shouldn't be able to do it, despite dreams of a Kobe-LeBron faceoff currently being entertained by most non-Nuggets fans across the globe.