They are the Great Mystery Teams of the 1977 playoffs. No one really knows for sure how good the Lakers are, or how bad the Golden State warriors can get when they really try.
The Lakers were not supposed to make the playoffs this year because giant Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was playing with 11 no name dwarfs.
And Golden State, with the infusion of a talented rookie center named Robert Parish and a horde of other runners, shooters and leapers, seemed a cinch to dominate the Pacific Division.
So what happened? Well, Jerry West turned into a coaching genius (with a lot of help from two anonymous assistants), the Lakers set a league record for home-court victories and finished with the best record in the NBA and the home-court advantage in every playoff series.
The Warriors sputtered and sulked. Rick Barry turned it on and off when he and Phil Smith weren't too busy feuding over possession of the ball. Jamaal Wilkes even talked seriously about giving up the game and surely will play out his option.
Still, the Warriors scored 150 points one nights against Indiana and seem capable of winning a second championship in three years if they can recapture that old team-concept philosophy that served them so well in 1975.
They also cannot afford to get involved in slow-tempo games against the Lakers. The Warriors scored less than 100 points in 15 games this season, and lost them all. They also dropped seven of their last eight games against conference opponents down the stretch, before turning it all around to defeat Detroit in a bruising playoff battle.
The Lakers will run when they get the chance and Cazzie Russel will throw it up from anywhere on - and perhaps off - the court.
The Lakers are a team of specialists. Russell is the designated shooter, Don Chaney is the big defensive-oriened guard, and, of course, jabbar is the man who does everything else.
He led the league in field-goal percentage, was second in rebounding anti-blocked shots and third in scoring. Ho hum, just pass the MVP trophy if you please, for the fifth consecutive year.
The Lakers are an-excellent permeter shooting team, and their defense went from 17th in the league a year ago to fourth in 1976-77. Rebounding has been a problem since Kermit Washington was hurt in midseason. Chaney is the third-leading rebounder.
The teams split their regular season games, 2-2.