Playoff afterthoughts

What follows are some random observations on the National Basketball Association's just-completed championship series:

* Los Angeles fans were uncommonly vocal in rooting the Lakers on to the title-clinching victory Tuesday night. Their exuberance, however, lapsed into mob surliness after several disputed calls, when they protested with a chanted obscenity. This reaction, unfortunately, has been repeated in many other arenas and stadiums, both pro and college, in recent years.

* Hats off to the referees who did a superb job under challenging conditions. In addition to keeping up with the two fastest end-to-end teams to meet in the final, they also managed to spot violations of the NBA's no-zone rule, a tricky assignment indeed.

* The Lakers, some feel, are about the only NBA team that could win on automatic pilot. After all, they have won championships under two different head coaches in three years, and neither present mentor Pat Riley nor 1980 winner Paul Westhead began his championship season as LA's bench boss.

* Magic Johnson was named the playoff MVP, but the 76ers obviously were more concerned with containing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. His contributions may not be as flashy as Magic's, but his impact is generally far greater. Like a nuclear threat, it influences actions in many ways.

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