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REVENGE IS A USELESS SEVEN-LETTER WORD

When the Lakers beat the Celtics on Christmas Day (and again Thursday), people pointed to last year’s NBA Finals — trying to say Los Angeles succeeded in exacting some revenge.

Revenge for a playoff series loss is a dish best served in two regular-season games?

Not so fast.

The idea that the Lakers’ 92-83 and 110-109 wins in December and February help at all in relieving the pain of the NBA Finals loss is absurd. The Celtics have the 2008 championship rings, and the Lakers don’t.

But spinning this forward, it would be irrational to call even these games meaningless — especially Thursday’s overtime game in Boston. The Lakers can at least draw something from the fact that they can beat the Celtics, even without the services of stud center Andrew Bynum.

Bynum’s absence becomes the story for the Lakers the rest of the way. The Celtics will try to show the loss of James Posey hasn’t messed up their title recipe.

But even if it has — and even if the Lakers were to beat the Celtics in regular-season matchups for 20 years — the Celtics’ 2008 banner won’t lose any value.

TWT FIVE » OVERPLAYED SPORTING EVENTS

Some days in the sporting world deserve excitement; the first two days of the NCAA tournament come to mind. Meanwhile, others are given far too much hype. Here’s a look at some of those:

1. NFL Draft; The ultimate in everybody-goes-home-happy coverage. GMs and coaches might as well give their fans participation trophies.

2. National signing day; These are high school kids choosing colleges. Is it really worth THAT much attention?

3. MLB All-Star Game; The idea that homefield advantage in the World Series is on the line ramps up the buildup to this one.

4. Super Bowl; It’s an American institution, but even fans of teams can argue it’s overhyped by the time the game arrives.

5. Daytona 500; OK, this is Northeast bias, but having a sport’s big day at the start of the season — does that make a lot of sense?

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