The Lakers hate Boston. The Celtics add to his pain


Cynthia Amerio knows better. she swears

Hate is not a positive emotion: empty calories for the soul. But you have to know that you shouldn’t be obnoxious and know that the Boston Celtics are playing for their 18th NBA championship.


“I don’t like the uniform. I don’t like having anything to do with them,” said Amerio, a 55-year-old man from Sierra Madre. “…If Boston was the last team in the NBA, I would choose cricket.”

It’s been a torturous few months for Lakers fans like Amerio, the team’s bitter rivals who are creating a Finals run built around a likeable core of players. If they wore different colors and just played in a different zip code, Amerio would be rooting for them, especially against a Bay Area team like the Golden State Warriors.

But instead, they are condemned to the coldest corners of his heart.

“I don’t like Golden State that much, but Boston can’t get No. 18. They can’t,” Amerio said. “It took us years to get to No. 17 and I can’t see this two years later, them getting 18 and us sitting on the sidelines.”

It’s a strange time for the Lakers-Celtics rivalry. Boston star Jayson Tatum is a disciple of Kobe Bryant who even wore a Bryant bracelet for Game 7 in the Eastern Conference finals. Rajon Rondo won titles in both cities. And Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and Boston owner Wyc Grousbeck are partners in a tequila brand.

Fortunately for fans of Amerio and the Lakers, the happier times for the rivalry on the championship court are well documented, happier times that HBO’s “Winning Time” has enjoyed recreating based on two iconic words in the history of the game. equipment.

“To hell with Boston.”

The show used the phrase at crucial moments, making it a key motivational point for the Lakers. (The show also included a memorable scene with Jerry West driving through Boston, wishing Paul Revere had fallen asleep.)

Max Borenstein, the Valley-born showrunner for “Winning Time,” said the phrase became a rallying cry for the first season. It was originally written sparingly on a couple of scripts, but one of the show directors, Payman Benz, saw its potential.

“It took us years to get to No. 17 and I can’t see this two years later, them getting 18 and us sitting on the sidelines.”

— Cynthia Amerio, Lakers fan

“It hadn’t occurred to me, and I don’t know why, but it hadn’t occurred to me that it was a memorable moment. And Payman… he really loved it.

“He got the actors into more than what was in the script, and that was really cool. He knew. He was like, we should put more “F—Boston.” And I was like, ‘Hell yeah!’ ”

You didn’t need to convince Borenstein. He still bears the bruises from the Celtics beating the Lakers in 2008. The 2010 win helped (sweet redemption, Borenstein said) but it wasn’t enough to keep him from holding off on “Winning Time.”

Kobe Bryant celebrates the Lakers’ Game 7 win over the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center.

(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

Michael Chiklis, the actor cast to play Red Auerbach, provided the necessary balance: a die-hard Boston sports fan from Lowell, Massachusetts, who staffed the Red Sox fan bar with a broken heart the night Bill Buckner saw a baseball break up his grounds.

Now he is laughing. He talked about the current state of the two teams: one in the Finals, another facing so many questions.

“But you know what I would love more: if the Lakers were good right now. … It’s just not that fun,” Chiklis said. “It’s so much more fun when they’re both cool and at war with each other.

“There is a hole, a gap, with the Lakers struggling. As much as I can’t stand them, I’d rather watch them on the hunt and watch us fight them. … It’s fun to grind it in the faces of my Laker fan friends who suck. But at the same time, I would prefer them to be better.”

If that sounds like the high road, it’s very temporary.

“It’s so much more fun when they’re both cool and at war with each other. There is a hole, a gap, with the Lakers struggling.”

— Actor and Celtics fan Michael Chiklis

“Yeah, I hate the Lakers. I mean, yeah,” Chiklis said. “I went to Boston University from 1981 to 1985. I screamed until I lost my voice on that team. And yes, I called James Worthy “Worthless.” We yell at all these guys.”

Marcus Smart, who watched “Winning Time” and laughed at Boston’s smears, said the team feels that energy every time it leaves Boston Garden.

“Wherever we go, people are always talking,” Smart said. “It’s really not towards you. It’s just the name of Boston. We are a storied franchise and a franchise like the Boston Celtics, that comes with it. When you’re doing something bigger, you’re part of a bigger culture. Happens. You take it and run with it.”

Whatever happens Thursday in Game 6, it’s going to ruin someone’s night.

It could be like it was in the early ’80s when Amerio sat outside a San Diego bar, sobbing on the sidewalk. Or when Borenstein thinks of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. Or when Chiklis yelled at James Worthless and Tragic Johnson.

Hopefully it’s only temporary.

maybe not

“I hated [Kevin] McHale. And I am a lady,” Amerio said. “But if I saw him on the street today, I would punch him in the nose.

“…Now that I have my three children, they don’t like Boston. And that’s all thanks to me, I hope.”