The Los Angeles Lakers and the Orlando Magic will square off in the NBA finals this June 4. Many thought this would be an easy route for the Lakers but Orlando has been proven and tested after thrashing the defending champions Boston Celtics to seven games and erasing doubts when they handled the Cleveland Cavaliers in 6 games. They deserved to be on the top with the Lakers and they can very well score an upset winning 2 games to none on their season meeting with the Lakers. The Lakers will have to answer two questions if they want to succeed… Can they contain Dwight Howard? Can they play defense? The Lakers were criticized last year for being soft but they were quick to admit that it’s a different team now beating a rugged Houston Rockets and disposing the physical Denver Nuggets. The Lakers are no push over and the Magic are real title contender Black Mamba against Superman, the team who wants it more wins it all.
Kobe Bryant – Courtney Lee/Mickael Pietrus
There are no Kobe stoppers and there are no Lebron stoppers either but the Magic on their Cavaliers series was successful in giving Lebron some problems. Let James score but not his teammates but that could be a problem when you’re up against Kobe, Lee and Pietrus could make Kobe a shooter than a slasher, make his shots difficult and when Kobe goes for the drive Dwight Howard can make him think twice about it. Unfortunately the Lakers have a deeper bench compared to the Cavaliers, anytime Kobe can pass to an open team mate and the Lakers surely can capitalize.
Dwight Howard – Andrew Bynum/Pau Gasol
Dwight has Shaq’s dominance, Amare’s athleticism, Dennis Rodman’s defensive presence and the versatility of a young Tim Duncan rolled into one. Pau and Andrew will have their hands full against Dwight. They will have to play him very physical and not allow him to be close to the basket so that includes pushing and shoving a big or I may rephrase it a gigantic task to do. Pau who was labeled soft last year will now have to prove how tough he is this year this would be his biggest acid test of his career.
Lamar Odom – Rashard Lewis
Rashard leads Odom in three point shooting but Lamar is clearly the more athletic between the two. Odom has to play the way he did on their Nuggets series and their won’t be any problem the key word would be consistency and while Rashard is consistently the Magic’s scoring weapon Lamar had to be the Lamar who played against the Nuggets not the Lamar who is consistently inconsistent.
Hedo Turkoglo – Trevor Ariza
Ariza is very athletic and can guard 4 positions but Hedo is an inside outside threat and plays the pick n roll very well. Ariza will just have to make Hedo’s life a bit harder no open looks, no open shots just pure hard nose defense.
There is no underdog in this series and this might go beyond 4 games or even to a do or die game 7 match. But experienced always plays a vital role in this series while Orlando went all the way up to the finals but their roster has no finals experience with only Turkoglo went on to play for the conference finals against the Lakers.
Kobe has been on this stage a lot of times and their return isn’t even a smooth sailing. The Lakers knew what is at stake and these time its make or break for them. The Magic has turned this season a magical one if they could make the Lakers disappear that would be great cause that’s the only thing they could win this series. But we never know when we thought Boston and Cleveland win their series the Magic just pop-out of nowhere like I said it’s the NBA baby… it’s where amazing happens.