More than a decade has passed since these teams tangled in one of the most theatrical and controversial Western Conference finals (2002) in the NBA modern era.

Remember the mysterious room service cheeseburger? The flopping, trash talking and horrific officiating in Game 6? Consumer advocate Ralph Nader smelling something fishy and taking up the Kings' cause? The sensational passing, the last-second surprises and that freak Rob- ert Horry sequence in Game 4?

Around here, this was "Les Mis" without the uplifting ending. Down there in Southern California, these were the Lakers playing familiar roles and sticking around for yet another curtain call.

"I don't know how we didn't win this series," a visibly dejected coach Rick Adelman had said moments after his Kings lost the series and missed out on an inaugural appearance in the NBA Finals. "I guess our time has to come some other year."