It’s About Damn Time (NBA Finals)
Yeah, I know we’ve only been waiting since last Saturday for the NBA Finals to begin, but I’m simply tired of waiting. Thank god that wait comes to an end tonight. You know the match ups, you know the players, you know the storylines — the question is, who wins? Superman or Mamba? Phil or Ron Jeremy’s twin? For those that love foreign basketball players, is it Gasol or Pietrus? What else can we look forward to? Defensive match ups for one. Can Bynum and Gasol contain Howard? Some say yes, I think not and Phil isn’t too high on the idea either.
The match up problems don’t end there either. If Bynum gets stuck with Howard, that means Gasol and Odom are going to have to deal with Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu. Again, some think this won’t be a problem. I, however, do. Both Magic players do not play on the interior, meaning both Laker defenders will be forced to guard the perimeter — never an easy task for a player used to mixing it up in the post.
Of course, the Magic have match up problems of their own — namely, one Kobe Bean Bryant. With Kobe, you have the “will Pietrus wear Kobe’s shoes or won’t he” discussion, but the thing is, Pietrus doesn’t start. This means Kobe will probably have Courtney Lee on him when the game begins. If he gets out to blazing-hot starts, will Stan Van Gundy change his line up?
Essentially, this series is going to come down to LA’s big three (Kobe, Pau and Lamar) versus Orlando’s big three (Dwight, Rashard and Hedo) — and on paper, it looks like a push. People are hyping the Lakers bench, but ask Cleveland about Orlando’s bench and I’m sure they’ll have plenty of stories to tell about Pietrus and Marcin Gortat.
With no disrespect to either Derek Fisher or Rafer Alston, who I didn’t mention but they will, of course, play huge roles as well. With that, it’s prediction time:
For some reason, I can’t get past LA’s home court advantage; although, I still like the match up problems Orlando brings. If the Magic continue to shoot from the outside like they have been, Kobe might still be looking for his fourth when everything is said and done. Conversely, if the Magic don’t guard like their lives depended on it, the Lakers offense could very well take complete control of the series. And with that, I’m calling for …
… Wait for it …
The MAGIC in seven. I just like the way they are playing too much to pick against them.