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Now that the NBA Finals are finally here, coming to you live from Houston tonight, you probably face the same problem a lot of people face who do not live in a) Houston; b) New York; c) Spike Lee's house.

You probably can't decide who you want to win, which of course is an essential part of watching a game. If you don't care who wins, you might as well be watching Where in the World is Carmen San Diego. Here are your choices: a) The New York Ewings; b) The Houston Olajuwons; c) That's it, sorry.This is like choosing between Roseanne and Tom; Bill and Hillary; a paper cut and a nosebleed; The Rangers and Canucks; Cameroon and Morocco; lacrosse and cricket.

We, your family newspaper, are here to help you decide. Here are a few of the pros and cons of victories for both sides.

Reasons to cheer against the Knicks:

- Pat Riley might write another book.

- The Knicks have a player from Nevada-Las Vegas.

- They also have a player from Georgetown.

- Spike Lee is pulling for the Knicks.

- John Thompson is pulling for the Knicks. He might actually smile and split his face if the Knicks win.

- The New York Knicks are, it is rumored, New Yorkers, which means they live in New York.

- Pat Ewing might write a book.

- They're called the Knickerbockers. (Just what is a knickerbocker anyway, and when's the last time you used the word in conversation? Please, pass me a bowl of knickerbockers. Or, Say, those knickerbockers look real smart on you. Websters says knickerbockers is, among other things, short, loose trousers gathered at the knees. In other words, this basketball team was named after a pair of flood pants. Nowadays the Knickerbockers are called the Knicks and the pants are called Knickers, which leads us to an important question: What happened to bockers?

- John Starks is a, oh, let's see, what is that special word, that certain word with just the right flare and meaning, jerk. Starks - rhymes with sparks - has a temper with a hairpin trigger. The Knicks should have been required to have a two-week waiting period before they bought him.

- The Knicks lead the league in trash talk.

- They lead the league in rough play. There are rugby teams that don't hit this hard. They are the '90s version of the Detroit Pistons, or the old Georgetown Hoyas. Meet the Laimbeer progeny, Charles Oakley and Anthony Mason.

- The national media, especially Sports Illustrated, covers all New York teams like they're the hometown team.

Reasons to root against the Rockets:

- They beat the Jazz.

- Hakeem Olajuwon sucker-punched Jazzman Billy Paultz. So what if it was nine years ago.

- They're from Texas.

- Vernon "Mad Max" Maxwell. Another hothead. Call him Mr. T, as in technical. The Rockets need a license to carry him on the roster. Hockey fans can hardly wait until Mad ("Don't call me that anymore") Max meets John Starks in the Great Potty Mouth Showdown.

- Mad Max (oops, Vernon) and Mario Elie said they don't like Salt Lake City, because they went to a mall and couldn't find a silk shirt. Like we care.

- They're from Houston (motto: We have silk shirts).

- They share the same city with the Heimlich Oilers, who allowed the Buffalo Bills to return to the Super Bowl. Twice.

- Rice University is now in the WAC.

If you need reasons to cheer for somebody, rather than against, well, you're probably out of luck. Maybe we can stretch to find a desperate few.

Reasons to cheer for Houston: Scott Brooks. Rudy T. George Bush lives there. Spike Lee doesn't.

Reasons to cheer for New York:

Enjoy the games.