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Trust me, we really don't want to play the Lakers...

I'm still blogging from LA these days, and God bestowed good fortune upon me last night as I received a last-minute invite to Lamar Odom's season-ending party at the Cabana Club in Hollywood. I don't want to over-analyze one party too much (plus, it's not like I ever get to go to these things), but what I observed last night told me a lot about this Lakers team. Trust me when I tell you this: we Nuggets fans should be very, very, very fearful of a matchup with the Lakers.

First off, no matter what I say about the quality of the girls at this event (nevermind the healthy girl-to-guy ratio), I won't do them justice. Let's just say that if reincarnation is in fact true, I want to come back as a Laker player. There, I got that out of the way.

Second, let me preface what I'm about to say by stating that I hate the Lakers. I've hated them since they waxed the Nuggets in the 1985 Western Conference Finals and will always hate them.

Now for the observations...

-Even though there were champagne buckets everywhere, I never saw one of the players really drinking. Odom - the host - nursed the same glass of champagne for about an hour or so, and waved people off offering him refills. I never saw Ronny Turiaf, Derek Fisher, Pau Gasol, DJ Mbenga, Vladimir Radmonovic, Sasha Vujacic, Luke Walton, Coby Karl or Jordan Farmar drink anything. Trevor Ariza was a frequent visitor to the bar and drank bottle after bottle after bottle...of water. In light of Carmelo Anthony's potentially pending DUI charge, this was incredible.

-None of the players walked in with an entourage of more than two or three friends. In most cases, they just showed up solo or with another teammate (Gasol with Radmonovic, Turiaf with Ariza). The guy with the biggest entourage was Coby Karl, and believe me - his three friends aren't capable of getting him into any trouble.

-All the Lakers players exhibited real affection for one another. I saw every possible combination of teammates hugging each other, shaking hands, high fiving, swapping stories, etc. Their camaraderie was authentic.

-Most of these guys don't lie about their height, and if anything, they under-list themselves. I'm 6'5" and change, and I felt very short. The only guys whose listed height I'd question were Walton and Ariza, who might be off by an inch from their listed height (it must be a PAC-10 thing).

-Derek Fisher - the veteran and de facto godfather of the team - showed up last and was wearing a suit and tie. Meaning, he clearly had another engagement, but made sure he showed up anyway to support Odom and you could tell Odom was genuinely touched.

-I didn't see any Laker legends or celebrities other than Jimmy Goldstein, and I'll forever regret that I didn't talk to him. I totally pussed out, but I can assure you he had "better company" than me hanging around him.

-The biggest disappointment - and it's a big one - is that Kobe Bryant didn't show up. At least not while I was there, and I stayed until 1:30am. On our way out, we asked someone "in the know" as to why Kobe wasn't there and he said, as if it's well-known in LA, "you can't expect Kobe to show for these things."

Again, it was just one party that I fortunately stumbled into. I'm in no position to say it represents the Lakers or NBA players in general. But from what I gathered and already knew about this year's Laker team, this is a collection of professional basketball players who take their job seriously, genuinely like each other and are primed for a long postseason run. You add the best player and the best coach in the league on top of that, and if you think our beloved Nuggets are beating these guys in a playoff series, you're absolutely nuts.

And one more tidbit from the party. At one point I was hanging out with my friends and I get tapped on the shoulder. I turn around to see a super cute blonde coming by to say hello to me, and it was none other than Masha Kirilenko! Whenever you get two Masha sightings within five days, that's never a bad thing.

You better start praying for the Mavericks to lose tonight!