The Finals are set, and much to ESPN and Nike’s dismay, it will be the LA Lakers versus the Orlando Magic.Â Lets break down the series by the 5 positions, the respective benches and the coaches and see what we have:
PG – advantage: wash.Â The Lakers biggest issue has been their inconsistent guard play.Â This was the one area teams could force LA into defensive sets they did not want to use; doubling off picks, help side pressure, etc.Â Unfortunately for Orlando, they do not have anyone who can take advantage of this area.Â Skip to my Lou is a nice player but he cannot take over games and i think will struggle at times with Derek Fisher.Â Now, if Jameer Nelson can somehow play, this changes things.
SG – advantage: Lakers.Â Courtney Lee looks like a young Rip Hamilton, and is nailing jumpers.Â But Kobe is, well Kobe.Â I expect Kobe to win at least 2 games for LA this series.
SF advantage: Magic. Hedu Turkoglu has been playing lights out these playoffs, while Trevor Ariza is a streeballer who gambles, dunks and some how has hit 3 point baskets at a decent clip. He is a career 29% 3point shooter, and somehow he is hitting half of his treys these playoffs.Â That won’t continue.
PF advantage: Lakers.Â Pau has been playing amazing over the past month (hell the entire year).Â He’d be playing better if the Lakers ran their offense through him more, as he has some of the best footwork in the NBA, and he passes like a young Vlady Divac.Â This match up will be very interesting, as Rashar Lewis can hit the 3 ball and extend Pau from the basket.Â I will be very interested to see how the Lakers match-up.
C advantage: Magic.Â Dwight Howard is physically dominating the NBA.Â His moves and basketball ability has not caught up to his super-human physique.Â I think he will do a very good job against Bynum, however if he goes to double team on Pau and tries for a blocked shot, Gasul will eat him alive with the dump-off dunk to Andrew.
Bench advantage: Magic.Â This could be a wash, but The Frenchman has been playing out of his mind defensively, and has show flashes of good offensive moves at times.Â With the Lakers, the biggest X-factor is Lamar Odom.Â If he can stay on his sugar high, and play consistently, this swings greatly to the Lakers.Â But, since he is a rather unknown at this point i have to give the advantage to the Magic.
Coach Advantage: Lakers.Â I know Stan Van Gundy has had a lot of leading roles and been around the limelight enough that he should be comfortable come crunch time.Â Hell, if you can make his movies with a production crew, camera men, and 30 other people standing around, you should be able to coach and perform in any situation.Â I just think that Phil will use enough sarcastic after-game remarks and half time interview comments to get the officials to lean his way a bit.
Outcome: So we have a 3-3-1 breakdown.Â The Lakers have home-court advantage, so they win the time breaker.Â I just don’t believe the Magic are going to continue to hit 40% of their 3point baskets.Â They are the Duke of the NBA, they rely solely on the 3ball, and if it is not falling they have a tough time creating their own shot.Â As much as it pains me to pick L.A. i think they will win easily:
Ryan: Lakers in 5
I polled the rest the writers here at The Drubbing:
Colin: Magic in 6
Rodney: Lakers in 7
Nate: Magic in 7
Joe: Magic in 6
Ron: Magic in 6
Brad: Magic in 6
Jordan: Lakers in 3
After telling Jordan that this is a best of 7 series, his response was:
“After Kobe whoops them for 3 games, they won’t even come out for the 4th one.”
So there you have it 3 votes for the Lakers, 5 for the Magic.Â Let’s hope our NBA Finals picks are closer than our NCAA predictions.