Thursday, June 4, 2009

NBA Playoff Predictions: The Finals

It was supposed to be inevitable, Kobe and LeBron were going to square off in the NBA Finals. Nike certainly thought it, as did most NBA experts and even many bloggers like myself. Well, funny thing happened along the way, the Orlando Magic turned out to be the best team in the Eastern Conference. The Magic exposed nearly every weakness the Cavs had and would have even swept the Eastern Finals if LeBron hadn't made that miraculous shot in Game 2.

So, now we are left with an NBA Finals that doesn't feature the best two players in the game, but it does feature two teams playing their best basketball at the right time. The Lakers finally pulled it together near the end of their series against the Nuggets, and the Magic, after barely squeaking past the Sixers in the First Round, have kicked it up a gear. It may not be the matchup everyone wanted, but this could still turn into a great series.

After going 1 for 2 in my Conference Finals predictions, here is my pick for the NBA Finals:

NBA Finals
Lakers vs. Magic

Lakers in 6
I know that this is the safe pick, the pick that nearly everyone is going with, but it also makes the most sense. The Lakers are simply better than Orlando in nearly every facet of the game, except three point shooting. L.A. is better defensively, which they will need to be when they try to guard Dwight Howard, who figures to average 20 points and 20 boards this series. The Lakers also have much better complimentary players to their superstar, as Kobe Bryant has been routinely getting help from Pau Gasol and even Lamar Odom pitched in a good game or two. Besides, who for the Magic will even have a chance at slowing Kobe down?

As much as I really don't like the Lakers or Kobe Bryant, they are the better team in this series. Kobe will make it his personal mission to win this series and prove that he doesn't need Shaq to win a title. I see the Lakers winning the first two games, then the Magic winning Games 3 and 5 before the Lakers close things out in Game 6. It should be a nice ending to a very entertaining NBA Playoffs.

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