On the same day that Rondo predicted his Celtics would win the NBA Championship this season, the Los Angeles Times published the results of a series of poll questions posed to Lakers fans. Out of that not-at-all-biased demographic, almost nine out of 10 respondents believe the Lakers will with the title in 2013.
In the wake of the trades that added Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to a squad that already included Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, 87 percent of L.A. fans say "the Lakers' title chances are already a foregone conclusion," according to the Times. Half of the fans predict the Lakers will win 64 to 72 games and threaten the 1995-96 Bulls' record for victories in a single season.
As usual, the confidence comes with a caveat that should make Lakers head coach Mike Brown uncomfortable.
The overwhelming talent in the Lakers starting lineup will be most responsible for the team's success, according to 38 percent of respondents, while 17 percent believe that Brown's ability to capitalize on that talent is the biggest obstacle to raising a 17th NBA championship banner at Staples Center.
Who do Lakers fans expect to see in the Finals? Not the Celtics. The only thing Lakers fans are more sure about than their team winning the title is who they will have to go through to get there. The Thunder will be the Lakers' top competition in the Western Conference, according to 89 percent of those polled, and the same percentage anticipates a Finals matchup with the Miami Heat.
The only advice we can give Rondo and the Celtics is this:
Step 1: Print out this story.
Step 2: Tape it to the wall in the locker room, trainer's room or anywhere else Celtics players will see it often.
Step 3: Read it.
Step 4: Seethe.
Step 5: Take out that anger on the opponents.