Understanding basketball the way I do, I always thought that the Magic had a better chance than the Cavs against the Lakers in the Finals. Living in LA, nobody likes this opinion but like it or not: the Lakers are 0-2 against the Magic. I took this stance before I even knew that.
Its not that the Magic are better than the Lakers, they just match up better.
(Remember, the alligator always eats the bigger end.)
1. Derek Fisher < Raefer Alston or Jameer Nelson
Fisher is overrated. He isnt that great of a defensive player. Leadership is not talent. Alston is one of the few guys who I would feel comfortable telling him to shoot from anywhere on the floor.
2. Odom/Ariza/Walton > Hedo
Ariza has a bone to pick, Odom is equally as talented as Hedo even when he disappears, and Walton…no comment.
3. Kobe Bryant > Courtney Lee
4. Pau Gasol < Rashard Lewis
Against any other team, I would put Pau as the better player. But, Lewis is not a normal PF. Orlando plays him as a guard. I am doing this grade based on shooting. I think Lewis will outscore Pau every game of this series and in this series, that matters.
5. Bynum < Howard
Howard has something Bynum doesnt, muscle. They both tend to disappear for stretches at a time. In fact, I think that the Magic loses against the Cavs were Howard’s fault more than Van Gundy’s. A superstar does not disappear for the last quarter. A rebounder never disappears, you have to try to not touch the ball if you are Howard to do that.
The lakers have Sasha, Farmar, Shannon Brown, and whoever doesnt play from the 2 spot. I dont think the bench will play a big role in this series. Pietrus will come off the bench and kill Kobe.
Van Gundy really ticked me off against the Cavs. I dont like his brain farts.
I give it to the Magic in 6, but if the series goes to 7, its the Laker’s series. I believe the Lakers will have a hard time outscoring the Magic. Pietrus is too good of a defender to let Kobe go off for 50 a series. Either way this should be a really solid series, you got the Lakers defensive game against the Magic’s offensive fire power.