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On Christmas Day, the Lakers (20--3 at week's end) meet the Celtics (22--2) for the first time since the NBA Finals. SI.com has full coverage of the showdown, including a pregame writers roundtable with Jack McCallum, Chris Mannix and Ian Thomsen. Plus ...
• Paul Forrester analyzes forward Lamar Odom's move to the Lakers' bench
• Steve Aschburner on why not to overlook the Cavs
FOR MORE COMMENTARY, SCORES AND NEWS, GO TO SI.COM/NBA.
The winter meetings are over, but the off-season has barely begun
Inside the NHL
The plunge of the Canadiens' power play and more league notes
Inside the NFL
The Steelers are on the rise in this week's Power Rankings
This week SI.com has everything you need to know for all 34 bowl games: which players to keep an eye on, fast facts, analysis and picks. The coverage kicks off on Saturday with the EagleBank Bowl at RFK Stadium between Wake Forest, led by Butkus Award winner Aaron Curry, and Navy.
> More college football analysis on The Sweep blog at SI.com/cfb.
YOUR LINK TO SPORTS HISTORY
FROM SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
JANUARY 11, 1993
While gravely ill with cancer, former N.C. State basketball coach Jim Valvano spoke to SI writer Gary Smith.
I'M LOOKING for a reason to hope, a reason to live, and the only thing that helps me do that is my education, my mind. If I survive this, or even if I just wage this battle well, it will be because of what I grasped from reading, from understanding the world and my place in it, from learning to ask the right questions and to grasp all the alternative treatments for this disease—from academia, not from athletics. People think a sports background helps you fight death. Are you kidding? Athletes and coaches are taught that they're special. You're nobody when you're a cancer patient. You're nobody. I want to help every cancer patient I can right now. For some reason, people look to me for hope. I'm feeling half dead, and they're coming up to me in the hospital for hope. I don't know if I can handle that, but it's the only conceivable good that can come out of this.
> Check out the latest classic SI story at SI.com/classic.
> for your favorite stories and covers, go to SI.com/vault.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JOHN BIEVER
INSET PHOTO: Todd Bigelow/Aurora (Elvis impersonator)
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JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (GARNETT AND BRYANT)
REMATCH Kevin Garnett (5) and Kobe Bryant resume their rivalry.
AL TIELEMANS (CURRY)
MEL LEVINE (REITER)