So I was wrong. Even in the weak Eastern Conference, LeBron James wasn’t enough to get the Cleveland Cavaliers back to the NBA Finals. Dwight Howard powered the Orlando Magic to a surprising NBA Finals where they will meet the Los Angles Lakers, but personally I have to wonder if the Magic deserves to be in the Finals. If Kevin Garnett had been healthy for the Boston Celtics, would the Magic have won that Game 7? However the fact is that it will be a Magic-Lakers NBA Finals and this is how I view the match-up.
Centre- It will be Dwight Howard against Andrew Bynum. Not really much of a contest in my view as Howard is a constant double-double player, at times a constant 20-20 player, while Bynum is just a promising player with great potential. I expect all of the Lakers big men to have to use their fouls on Howard and put him on the foul line. Thus far the only way to stop Howard is to get him into foul trouble, so the Lakers may have to attack him but I will say the Magic will win this match-up.
Forwards- The Lakers have Pau Gasol while the Magic have Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis (if he can get healthy). This is contest of styles as the Lakers will want Pau Gasol to go inside while Turkoglu will drain the 3 on the perimeter for the Magic. Both are really important for their teams but I will give the slight edge to the Lakers here.
Guards- For the Magic, Jameer Nelson is struggling to be fit for the Finals and Rafer Alston can be unpredictable at times. Add to the fact that the Lakers have Kobe Bryant on the team and you would think the Lakers will win the match-up of the guards, but I feel Derek Fisher will be a problem for the Lakers. Fisher seems to have lost a step this year and he is having trouble matching up with quicker guards. However the Lakers do have Kobe so I have to pick Lakers here.
Bench- Both benches don’t really do much for their teams outside giving rest time to their starting 5. However the Lakers have Lamar Odom on the bench while the Magic have…Courtney Lee? That swing it to the Lakers.
Coach- Phil Jackson been here before and is looking for his 10th NBA title but Stan Van Gundy did better than anyone thought possible by bringing the Magic to the NBA Finals. Jackson is known as the Zen Master while Van Gundy is all fire and brimstone. However Jackson got the-been-there-done that advantage so…Lakers!
Intangibles- The Magic has nothing to lose. After needing 7 games to beat the Kevin Garnett-less Boston Celtics, everyone was picking Cleveland to come though in the East. No one thought the magic had a chance, but they prove everyone wrong. All the pressure is on the Lakers so the advantage here belongs to the Magic.
Everyone is picking the Lakers to win the title and I’m no exception. Even U.S President Barack Obama, a keen basketball player, is picking the Lakers. It would be one of the greatest upsets in NBA history if the Lakers fail to win. I will say the Lakers in 5.