Eight Reasons the Magic Will Beat the Lakers

Do you remember the build-up to last year’s finals against the Lakers and Celtics?  The Lakers were the sexiest team because of their offensive firepower, the addition of Pau Gasol and their strong bench.  Kobe Bryant, coming off his first MVP season, was also a major factor.

This year, in my mind, is similar to last year. The Lakers are largely favored by the media because of Kobe BryantThe Magic have the Defensive Player of the Year, they are very physical (especially Howard and Pietrus) and space the floor beautifully.  As we inch closer to Game 1 of the NBA Finals, there are nine reasons I think the Magic will beat the Lakers.

  1. Andrew Bynum.  To beat the Magic, the Lakers will have to rely heavily on Andrew Bynum to guard Dwight Howard.  (Guard single-handidly and take a lot of fouls and limit offensive rebounds)
  2. The Lakers point guards and their bench (not including Lamar Odom) have been bad this entire playoffs.  This is one of the things that few NBA writers are ignoring.  Sasha Vuijic, Luke Walton and Jordan Farmar have all been terrible this post-season and don’t expect them to turn things around in the NBA Finals because of the pressure involved playing for a championship with Kobe Bryant as a teammate.  Their struggles puts a ton of pressure on the team’s top-six players, but especially Gasol, Bryant and Fisher.
  3. The age of the Lakers backcourt.  Because Jordan Farmar has struggled so much this season, Shannon Brown is going to have to play very well for the Lakers to stay close in the battle of the point guards.  Because Fisher is basically washed up and Kobe has played a ton of games since last season (The Lakers went to the Finals, he played with Team USA and now he’s back in the Finals), I think both players are going to struggle to keep their legs throughout the series.  Even though he used to be able to get into the lane, Bryant is getting older and he’s basically stopped being as aggressive throughout this year (look at his free throw average over the last three years).  Now, Bryant is a jump shooter and won’t be able to guard one of the Magic’s three best players because of his lack of size.  This is a huge disadvantage for the Magic.
  4. The confidence of the Magic in their three-point shooting and how it can bring them back from large deficits.
  5. The Lakers’ players, specifically their best three, aren’t big game players.  The Celtics proved this point in last year’s Finals when they were very physical with the Lakers and didn’t allow Kobe to get to the rim.  As a result, Kobe started hoisting bad shots and took his team out of the game.  Kobe also has the tendency to sulk in big games (remember when he didn’t break double digits against the Suns in the Game 7 where the Lakers were up 3-1?) and start yelling at his teammates too.  This undoubtedly destroys the confidence of mental midgets like Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol who were completely taken out of the Finals in 2006.  The Magic, specifically Dwight Howard, aren’t as intimidating as the Celtics (and Kevin Garnett cursing at the other team every posession), but Howard’s a dominating force and the Lakers certainly remember what happened last year.
  6. The defense of the Magic compared to the defense of the Lakers – The Magic have been a top-five defensive team throughout this year and have been very good throughout the playoffs.  The Lakers, on the other hand, don’t have a stand-out defensive player other than Kobe (and even he’s getting old).  That’s going to be a problem trying to guard Lewis and Turkoglu because they can shoot over practically anyone in the league and Howard is about 1000x more physical than Pau Gasol.  Gasol won’t be able to touch Howard in the post and if the Lakers double Superman, they’ll leave an outstanding shooter open for three (the Magic have shot 47% since Game 6 of the Celtics series).
  7. The most important thing is the state of the league and the strategy used when playing the game.  The NBA, more than ever, values quality three-point shooting.  Because of Howard, the return of Jameer Nelson and vastly superior point guard play, the Magic will be able to get into the lane more consistently than the Lakers throughout the series, which will allow them to shoot high-quality threes, which they are deadly shooting.  The Lakers, on the other hand, can’t get into the lane as consistently because the Magic are such a good defensive team (and very well coached), so they’ll have more constested shots by worse three-point shooters.
  8. Lebron James > Kobe Bryant – Though Kobe has more help than LeBron did against the Magic in the Conference Finals, Mickael Pietrus was able to guard James by himself.  He can do the same thing against Bryant, frustrating Kobe when he tries to drive.  As we’ve seen in the past, Kobe doesn’t do well when this happens.  He tries to take over games and make very difficult shots to prove that he can beat the guy defending him.  In essence, Kobe Bryant’s pride will be a huge detrement to the Lakers in the 2009 Finals, especially considering his career is winding down and he clearly isn’t the player he was when he was with Shaq.

Prediction: Magic in 6 games (I wanted to say five games, but six is safer) with the MVP going to Howard.

In addition, the Magic take a lot of threes and get a lot of second chance points because of Howard’s presence on the offensive boards and their overall length.  In the NBA, as we have seen with almost every game of the previous round, games can be decided by a couple of possessions.  The Magic with their second-chance points, especially the 3s, could win the series because of Dwight Howard.

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Bynum will not be a factor, Lakers PG suck, 3 point shooters won’t space for Bryant and won’t be on like they were,

Kobe is old with over 10,000 games on his knees. He didn’t get rest this summer and will certainly not enjoy playing defense against Pietrus, Lee and Lewis. Throughout this entire year, he has basically turned into a jump shooter who can’t get to the rim like he used to and, as a result, is doomed.

The Lakers also fall apart in big games. Kobe did it against the Suns (Game 7), against the Pistons after Shaq dominated the series and last year against the Celtics. The Magic, like the Cs, have a Defensive Player of the Year controlling the paint and will make Kobe take jump shots. I think Howard’s presence in the paint and the rest of the Magic defense collapsing on Bryant will make the Lakers’ three-point shooters beat the Magic. With Lewis and Turkoglu coming out to contest their shots, they won’t be as wide-open as against the Nuggets.

Kobe wants it too bad and sees his career winding down. This is one of his last chances to be the focal point of a championship winner and he realizes this. Don’t think his personality won’t change entirely once they get into the game. Odom will be scared of Kobe, as will the rest of his teammates because they don’t want to let him down.

Lamar Odom is inconsistent in big games and often can’t be trusted. Gasol can be muscled off of the block in the post and his presence down low will suit the Magic because they have the Defensive Player of the Year near the basket.

The Magic will space the floor for Howard, who can get Gasol in foul trouble

On the offensive end, the Magic can score very well. Cleveland was one of the best defensive teams in the playoffs and the Magic dominated them. The Lakers aren’t nearly as good on defense and Kobe, their best defensive player, won’t guard the best Magic offensive player.

In addition, the Magic take a lot of threes and get a lot of second chance points because of Howard’s presence on the offensive boards and their overall length. In the NBA, as we have seen with almost every game of the previous round, games can be decided by a couple of possessions. The Magic with their second-chance points, especially the 3s, could win the series because of Dwight Howard.


4 responses to “Eight Reasons the Magic Will Beat the Lakers

  1. Michael Jordan

    After last nights game. I think your wrong kid.

  2. We’ll see. It’s a long series.

  3. you are so bias. all your crap is completely stupid

  4. This is an opinion piece on an NBA blog, it’s supposed to be biased. How is this article stupid? I think I make some pretty good points, even though the Lakers are up 2-1 in the series.

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