LOS ANGELES Paul Pierce opened the door at the far corner of the visitors' locker room, surveyed the phalanx of reporters camped in front of his locker and receded behind the gray metal door.
It was easy to understand why, after the Celtics handed a 97-94 victory to the Lakers, Pierce wasn't yet in much of a mood to face the uncomfortable questions that follow the decaying Celtics these days.
Down the hallway, the erstwhile Ron Artest long Pierce's foil and in recent years, his purple-and-gold antagonist had a reprieve from similar questions. He sat comfortably at his stall, a stylish English flat cap atop his head, and rhapsodized about the latest edition of the NBA's most storied and probably still fiercest rivalry, once again jousting with Pierce.
"It's that competitive nature, where everybody is trying to back up what they were saying," said Metta World Peace, the former Artest. "So today everybody was going to back up what they were saying. It was good fun."
Yes, the C...