Well the NBA Finals is only a few hours away from starting. Coming up I will reveal my predictions for the finals as well as preview it giving my keys to a Lakers victory. However before I begin that I would like to quickly recap the Western Conference Finals.
Game 1- Game one saw Denver come out on fire as Denver looked very much like the team they have looked like all post season. Their trip to the Western Conference Finals had been a fairly easy ride however the Lakers would quickly show Denver they were in for a far tougher fight in this final. The Nuggets ran out to a double digit lead after the first however the Lakers came back with an equally as impressive second quarter. As they would come all the way back to take the lead on a Derek Fisher’s buzzer beating three pointer. After falling behind again in the second half the Lakers were able to hang tight and fight. Eventually sealing the victory when Trevor Ariza stole an inbounds pass in the closing seconds to essentially win the game. Lakers win game one by a final of 105-103
Game 2- Game two saw the exact opposite of game one. In this one the Lakers ran out to the same exact lead as Denver had after the first. The Lakers were dominate for much of the first half and appeared headed to a comfortable lead at the half. However Denver was able to rally and cut the lead to just one at the half. In the fourth quarter of still what was very much a tight game Denver was able to make just a few more plays then the Lakers to ultimately steal a 106-103 victory from the Lakers.
Game 3- Game three was a another classic as Denver seemed poised to take a 2-1 lead in the series late in the third quarter when they went on a run to end the third and go up by 8. However a big technical foul by JR Smith after his buzzer beating three to end the third set things in motion for the Lakers. The Lakers used an incredibly strong fourth quarter to steal a victory in Denver. Pau Gasol hit two key turn around jumpers in the closing minutes and Kobe Bryant carried the Lakers to the finish line scoring 41 points to help lead the Lakers to the comeback. Lakers would win 103-97.
Game 4- Game four was one Lakers fans prefer not to remember as the Lakers got out played and out worked on the glass. The Lakers looked lethargic as the Nuggets pounded them inside grabbing 58 rebounds of which 20 of those were on the offensive end. Denver’s bench showed up led by JR Smith who had a monster night. Denver won a big game despite getting nothing from a sick and hurting Carmello Anthony. Denver romped the Lakers 120-101. As the questions from many of the skeptics out there began to run wild again.
Game 5- Game five saw an even battle between two teams all the way until the fourth quarter. The Lakers went on a run to end the third that got them back to a tie and in the fourth they used 11 straight missed shots up Denver to build a lead and pull away. Shannon Brown came up huge hitting a big dunk over Chris Anderson that was the catalyst to the Lakers rally. The Lakers pull away as Kobe shows his facilitator side. Kobe needs only 22 points as he gets plenty of help especially from Lamar Odom who was a no show much of the series. The Lakers cruise past Denver to a 103-94 victory.
Game 6- Game six was complete and utter Lakers domination as they had a total team effort. Pounding Denver early and often. The Lakers built a very comfortable 13 point half time lead and would never look back. In what was their most impressive peformance of the playoffs the Lakers obliterate Denver 119-92. Answering many of the skeptics questions empathically. As the Lakers had now positioned themselves as the favorites heading into the NBA Finals. So now that brings me to my NBA Finals preview and predictions.
NBA Finals Preview
Well the NBA Finals is finally here and Thursday has finally arrived. The Lakers have been waiting much like their opponent the Orlando Magic quite awhile now to get started. This match up is not the match up most people wanted however I think it will produce one of the best NBA Finals we have seen in awhile. The Orlando Magic come in red hot as they have been playing some great basketball these past two series to get into the finals. The Lakers have a tall task in front of them this series with a few key questions.
1. How or what will the Lakers do to defend Dwight Howard?
Well the Lakers are certainly in for a test in their front court as they will be facing by far the best player they have seen down low all playoff long. However Dwight Howard will be seeing by far a much tougher front court then the one he saw in Cleveland. The Lakers have plenty of bigs to through at Dwight Howard. It will most certainly start with Andrew Bynum who will be called upon to one on one guard Dwight Howard. It is key for Andrew to hang tough and to try to stay out of foul trouble. Pau Gasol will be called upon to do some one on one work against Dwight. I also expect to see a heavy dose of DJ Mbenga who can also guard Dwight one on one and most certainly can pick up some fouls for us at the very least.
The ultimate key to this series is likely how the Lakers defend Dwight and they need to make it one on one. Let Dwight go off on you. Let him score 50 points on you if he even can? Boston and Cleveland tried to double Dwight which led to wide open 3 pointers. Knowing the Lakers issues with perimeter defense this season we can ill afford to do this.
2. Can we contain Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu?
The other key to this series is very much how can we slow down the Magic’s other two best players Rashard Lewish and Hedo Turkoglu. The Lakers are in much better position to do this then was Cleveland. With Trevor Ariza, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, and Kobe Bryant all to throw at these two. Trevor Ariza has a great shot at stunting the effects of Hedo as he should be able to defend him much better then he did Carmello in the last series. Lewis might give Gasol problems however there is no doubt Gasol should give him these same problems right back. I think the Lakers have a great shot at containing the damage done by these two and if they can limit it they should win this series.
3. The Magic live and die by the three?
In order of the Magic to win this series they are going to likely have to shot close to 40 percent from the 3 point line. That is going to be a tall order especially against a team that is better positioned to defend them then the Cavs were.
4. Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol we need you?
The biggest thing in this series is the fact that Kobe Bryant has nobody really to defend him. Kobe Bryant ultimately can be a free lancer in this series as well helping his teammates defend whoever they need help defending. Kobe Bryant will be carrying us big time on the offensive end as you can expect many 30+ point nights from him. Simply put he has an advantage over the two guys who are going to likely try to defend him Courtney Lee and Mickeal Pietrus. Look for Kobe Bryant to have a gigantic series and there is little doubt if the Lakers win this series he will be the MVP.
Pau Gasol we really need you man. Pau Gasol was pretty much a no show in the two defeats to the Magic this season. Many people wonder just how this is possibly because the Magic really have nobody that can defend him. Pau Gasol should be able to have his way inside and should have a big series right along with Kobe.
Simply put in the finals you call upon your best players to lead the way. Kobe and Pau need to show up and lead the Lakers to the title.
Prediction: Lakers in 6
Analysis: I really don’t see anything other then the Lakers themselves keeping them from winning the title. The Lakers have home court and are primed for a big series. I think the Lakers showed us in the closing quarters of the Denver series that this team is back to the great play that we saw much of the regular season. I expect to see this in the finals in what should be full of very good games that will come down to the wire. However if the Lakers let Dwight get his and contain the rest they should be in very good shape.
I say the Lakers hold serve in the first two at home. They will take either game 4 or 5 in Orlando. They will then come home and finish the series in game 6. As Kobe Bryant will have his fourth title getting the monkey of his back and giving all the haters something to suck on. Also Phil Jackson gets his long awaited 10th NBA Title cementing himself as the greatest all time NBA coach.
Let’s Go Lakers!!!!!!!!!!!!
WCF Recap + NBA Finals Preview & Prediction
Posted on: June 4, 2009 7:13 pm