By Hunter S. Thompson
Page 2 columnist

My own Marriage was the subject of extreme excitement and big news around here last week. It dwarfed everything else, including the NBA playoffs, the Kentucky Derby, Kevin Millwood's no-hitter, Naked Bowling, and the feverish search for Saddam Hussein in Iraq. A bold headline in the Aspen Daily News said "Congratulations to Woody Creek's Royal Couple," flanked by photos of me and Anita scowling and smiling out at the Reader.

Surprise surprise, eh?

It was done with fine style and secrecy in order to avoid the craziness and drunken violence that local lawmen feared would inevitably have followed the ceremony. I know nothing about planning even the simplest wedding, nothing at all, and neither does sweet Anita, who is now my Wife. So we did it the Bhuddist way. We drove straight to the County Courthouse on a stormy Thursday morning and were happily married by noon. Sheriff Bob performed the ceremony, his wife took pictures, and a black priest from Sicily handled the video camera. It was fun.

Our honeymoon was even simpler. We drank heavily for a few hours with Chris Goldstein and accepted fine gifts from strangers, then we drove erratically back out to the Owl Farm and prepared for our own, very private celebration by building a huge fire, icing down a magnum of Crystal Champagne and turning on the Lakers-Timberwolves game until we passed out and crawled to the bedroom. Amor Vincit Omnia.

The Lakers made another crude mess of the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night, as most of the home crowd left early because of the hopeless beating. San Antonio did the same thing to Phoenix, mauling the Suns in another one-sided game full of failures and errors and unacceptable botches.

So it is all but certain now that we will be watching some genuinely savage basketball between the Spurs and the Lakers next week -- along with what will no doubt be another epic series of battles between Sacramento and Dallas, seeded Nos. 2 and 3 on the betting charts in the West.

San Antonio should be favored by four or five, playing the first two games at home against the No. 5 Lakers. Derek Fisher and Robert Horry will have to be red-hot in that first game -- and the second -- for L.A. to come out of Texas with even a 1-1 split. With Rick Fox gone for the year, Phil Jackson will need all the karma he can crank up, if his defending NBA champion Lakers hope to come out of this one alive. Beating the Spurs four times in two weeks would be impossible for the best teams in the league -- especially for the shorter, slower Lakers, who played San Antonio four times this season, and lost all four.

So what the hell? I'll bet on the Spurs this time, and call it four games to one. I will go far out on the limb and say No FOUR-PEAT for Hollywood's team this year. I might even go so far as to predict an all-Texas (Western) final coming up, which would make the White House very proud. We would never hear the end of it: Texas Uber Alles.

The only way to avoid that nightmare lies with the high-powered Sacramento Kings whipping Dallas -- which will take seven brutal games, for sure, and leave the Kings so drained and exhausted that they will be helpless against San Antonio, losing in five games.

And so, at a glance, it looks like the Spurs whipping the s--- out of some laughable underdog from the East, which has never recovered from the loss of Michael Jordan.

The whole East Conference has been like a wasteland since Michael wandered away. It was the end of a glorious era. The East is a minor league now, flashy millionaire losers, roaming from coast to coast like rich gypsies fleecing the witless rubes in one town after another.

Click here to buy Hunter S. Thompson's latest book, "Kingdom of Fear."
But so what? Everything I say or predict tonight could be rendered meaningless by even a single cruel injury to any star on any team. Many will be blown away and doomed, as always, when a major piece of the engine explodes. That is a natural law.

Whoever wins the championship this year will be the team that suffers the least injuries in the next 20 games. That is what it will take to survive these playoffs -- and that team is probably San Antonio.

So, good luck, bubba. Every game from now on will have huge meaning for the Loser. Huge meaning. Thank you.

Dr. Hunter S. Thompson was born and raised in Louisville, Ky. His books include "Hell's Angels," "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72," "The Great Shark Hunt," "The Curse of Lono," "Generation of Swine," "Songs of the Doomed," "Screwjack," "Better Than Sex," "The Proud Highway," "The Rum Diary," and "Fear and Loathing in America." His latest book, "Kingdom of Fear," has just been released. A regular contributor to various national and international publications, Thompson now lives in a fortified compound near Aspen, Colo. His column, "Hey, Rube," appears regularly on Page 2.