By Hunter S. Thompson
Page 2 columnist

    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.

    -- Hunter S. Thompson, April 30, 2003

Not everybody is happy with the NBA championship being decided in a showdown between New Jersey and San Antonio. It looks a little weak, for some reason. Or maybe it's just me, and these really are the two best basketball teams in the world.

Or maybe they are only the two toughest teams in the world -- the only teams that made it this far in the Playoffs without crippling injuries to de-rail them and kill all their hopes. Consider that the East final and the West final were between a healthy team and a crippled team that simply couldn't compete.

Some people will tell you that surviving the NBA playoffs is the most difficult feat in Sports, and I think they are right. Surviving the NFL playoffs is like watering your lawn, compared to the stark brutality of playing 28 savage basketball games in five weeks. Have a look at what happened to Dallas, and Sacramento, and Detroit, etc. etc. They all failed, because they were not the same teams in the playoffs that they were at the end of the regular season.

It would be like playing in the Super Bowl without your all-pro running back, or the Stanley Cup finals with a 15 year-old substitute goalie. You are doomed to run out of gas before you get there.

On any given night, the Kings -- with Chris Webber healthy -- are simply a better, faster and smarter team than Dallas, or the Lakers, and even the powerful Spurs. They are definitely fun to watch, and also the most reliable team to bet on -- as long as you bet exactly like I do. That is the law of nature.

Dallas is the same way. They could no more whip the best teams in the league for five straight weeks, without their leading scorer and rebounder, than I could, if I cut off my right hand.

Wow! That is an impossibly stupid thing to say, at this point in time, isn't it? You bet it is, and I am now apologizing for it. Or maybe I am just too lazy to fix it, eh? How many players in the NBA worry constantly that they are simply too stupid to ever be a winner? I don't think Chris Webber feels that way -- or Dirk Nowitzki. No. They were trying to play championship professional basketball on only one Leg, and that is impossible.

Click here to buy Hunter S. Thompson's latest book, "Kingdom of Fear."

Ah, but I have said those things long before tonight, eh? Yes sir. It was somewhere back in April, as I recall, that I predicted, with great confidence and accuracy, that San Antonio would win it ALL, including an all-Texas final in the West. But so what? The White House won again, and now it will be Texas against New Jersey for the big Kahuna, starting on Wednesday night on the Spurs' home court, with 30,000 whooping Texas people watching. Ho ho ho. Guess who will win, in five evil games -- or 4-1 on the books, unless Tim Duncan gets hurt. And then it would be a whole different gig.

The Spurs are not going anywhere, without Duncan. Period. If the Spurs lost Duncan, the Nets would probably reverse those numbers. They are too small to win legitimately. But remember that they are extremely fast, like waterbugs, and they are definitely good enough to beat cripples -- even Texas cripples.

It is horrible to think about Jason Kidd and Tim Duncan on the same team next year, and especially on the defending NBA champions. They would be unbeatable. Unless they get their legs broken, or get run over by a speeding Hummer in some dark and lonely Parking facility by a hit-and-run drunk driver who flees the scene and disappears forever.

Okay, okay, Yes, here it is. Send it. That is what I am saying to Anita, right now. She is getting aggressive about this deadline. So that's it for tonight -- and beware of speeding Hummers in the darkness. The end.

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.