Philadelphia at Los Angeles Lakers (9 p.m. EDT). The 76ers begin the NBA Finals as the final obstacle to the Lakers retaining their championship and becoming the first team to make it through the NBA playoffs undefeated.


Lakers coach Phil Jackson has won 19 straight playoff series, dating to his three consecutive championships with Chicago. The last team to beat a Jackson-coached squad in the postseason was the 1995 Orlando Magic, who lost to Houston in the finals that year. Los Angeles has won 19 straight games overall.


While Philadelphia and Los Angeles had identical 56-26 records during the regular season, the 76ers are 11-7 in the playoffs, while the Lakers are 11-0. Philadelphia needed two consecutive Game 7 victories to advance to the finals, while Los Angeles has won in the playoffs by an average of 15.4 points. The teams split regular-season meetings.


Forward George Lynch, the only member of the 76ers to play all 82 regular-season games, hopes to return from foot surgery to play in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Lynch was cleared by doctors to shoot the ball Tuesday when Philadelphia practiced at Staples Center for the first time. Sixers forward Matt Geiger, making a slow recovery from a leg injury, said he will be in uniform for the entire series.


The NBA fined the Milwaukee Bucks $50,000, coach George Karl $25,000, and guard Ray Allen $10,000 Tuesday for remarks about officiating during the Eastern Conference finals against the Philadelphia 76ers.


``They're confident, they haven't lost a game. They're supposed to feel that way. There's a flip side to that _ we didn't come all this way to roll over and die. We're going to play every game like it's our last, we feel like we can win. Once they throw the ball up, that's when the party starts.'' _ 76ers star Allen Iverson on facing the favored Lakers in the finals.