By Tom Waterman, WSOE Sports
In what has definitely been one of the most exciting NBA Playoffs since the days of Jordan, Ewing, Stockton and Malone, the playoffs have now reached its pinnacle with the historic match up of Kobe vs. LeBron. Oh wait…you’re telling me that the LeBron’s didn’t advance to face Kobe and the Lakers? Finally, and personally not unexpected the Cav’s were defeated by a team with a much deeper bench and an overall better collection of talent, two keys in the Playoffs. So what exactly is there to look for in this series?
– The Lakers frontcourt vs. Dwight Howard
Can the combination of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol defend the super athletic Howard in the post and prevent any more of those 40 point performances.
Key stat: The Magic are 6-2 in playoff games when Dwight Howard shoots at least 70% from the free throw line.
– How will the Magic defend Kobe Bryant?
The Magic are going to get burned repeatedly if they attempt to use Hedo Turkoglu to defend Kobe. There best option is to bring in super-sub Mickael Pietrus who played fantastic against both the Celtics and the Cavs.
-What impact would the return of Jameer Nelson have to this series?
As well as the Magic have been playing lately I cannot see how adding Nelson would benefit their chances in this series. He has not played in almost four months. I think rushing Nelson back to play in this series will negatively impact the Magic more so then helping them.
Prediction: I think the size and athleticism of the Orlando Magic’s frontline with Turkoglu, Howard and Rashard Lewis just being way too much for the Lakers. Kobe will assuredly still get his points, much like how LeBron did in the conference finals. However, I see the Magic pulling this one out in 6.