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Orlando or Cleveland: LeChoice?

Question cartoon I've been anxiously awaiting a "no jinx" opportunity to ask a question that's piqued my curiosity of late.  And with the Lakers now officially in the NBA Finals, I have my chance.

Who would you rather face, the Orlando Magic or the Cleveland Cavaliers?

Let me say right from Jump Street that I don't believe a "right" answer exists.  There are legit pros and cons with either squad.  It's no longer an Eastern Conference where the crowned party wouldn't win 50 game in the West.  The Lakers won't be facing the 2009 version of the Kidd-Kenyon-Jefferson New Jersey Nets.  Both teams are very good, and will likely present challenges for the Lakers.  If you picked Orlando purely for the home court advantage (or to avoid a 2-3-2 structure that unfairly punishes the road squad), that's a valid enough reason in and of itself.  One of many, I'd say. 

I'm curious, though, how much varying opinions are fueled largely- if not completely- by the "Kobe-LeBron" thing. 

Debating who's the best between Kobe Bryant or LeBron James has become something of a 24/7 national pastime.  No, YOU get out of here, because it's true.  And maybe it's just me, but I get the sense that many a Lakers Blog reader feels like LeBron James has been shoved down his or her throats at the expense of Kobe Bryant.  They think ESPN pays more attention to LeBron than Kobe.  LBJ "took" Kobe's MVP award in a vote decided during the preseason.  James simply gets by on athleticism, size, strength and speed.  (I must admit, that one makes me laugh.)  He hasn't paid all the necessary dues.  His puppet gets better lines and slightly more airtime than Kobe's.  And yada, yada, yada, right down the line.  Because of all that "yada," Lakers fans would love to see James fail to even lead his best overall record, pre-game celebrating, Heineken commercial imitating, "anointed to be on a mission since December" team to the Finals.  The King falling flat on his face.  That would be awesome, no? 

Well, as the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for. 

Dwight-howard-superman-dunk1 While such a scenario would keep a certain degree of bragging rights on the west coast, it also leaves the Lakers squaring off against a very difficult and underrated Orlando Magic team that, in my opinion, presents more matchup issues. 

For example, Andrew Bynum, from a purely defensive standpoint, is a better cover than Pau Gasol against big man beast Dwight Howard.  Ditto Lamar Odom over El Spaniard in checking mobile PF Rashard Lewis.  But here's the catch.  Gasol has played consistently better than either one of them, and the Laker tends to occur with Pau on the floor.  How do you strike that balance?  Obviously, Gasol isn't incapable of checking Lewis in space and would likely find more success than Drew putting Superman in foul trouble, but you're nonetheless dealing with an issue not even remotely presented by Cleveland.  With all due respect to Zydrundas Ilgauskas, Joe Smith, Anderson Varajao and Ben Wallace, the Laker frontcourt has their counterparts beat on both sides of the ball. 

And who guards Hedo Turkoglu, drastically improved from his days as a Sacto supporting players?  He's great size at the three (two inches and ten pounds on Trevor Ariza), plus ball handling skills and speed (that could leave Luke Walton in the dust).  Depending on the floor combination, maybe LO shadows him in a cross-match of sorts.  Or, as is often the solution for "Situation X," you leave it to Kobe.  But unless the equilateral scoring during the WCF Games 5 and 6 is a sign of things to come, will that much time on Hedo leave Bryant gassed?  He certainly showed signs of wear during the Nuggets series.   The time off between series will help and Kobe only needs to go "huevos out" for seven more games, tops.  But still, it does raise valid concerns, as does Mickael Pietrus' ability to make James work for points, which could very well be a preview of what awaits The Mamba. 

In the meantime, playing Cleveland really comes down to neutralizing LeBron.  Seriously.  Dude is leading his team in points, three point accuracy, rebounds, assists, steals and minutes played.  To say he's not getting much help these days would be a massive understatement (and if James thinks it sucks now, wait until he's stuck carrying his team AND guarding Kobe).  Until those other cats show up, LeBron James drives between the Lakers' recent success slowing Carmelo Anthony and what I imagine will be more freedom for Gasol and Bynum to provide a final line of lane clogging, battling LBJ solo feels easier than battling the Magic roster 1-12.  Not "easy," mind you.  But "easier."  I'd even be willing to give up home court to work what appear to be mismatches in the Lakers' favor, especially since the Lakers have been good on the road.

Then again, those reasons I cited to play the Cavs may pale by comparison to simply the desire to watch Kobe get a title at the direct expense of LeBron.  To see LBJ pull his team out from a 3-1 deficit, spend the next couple of weeks hearing about the newest chapter of LeBron's "legend," then watch Kobe get the last laugh and raise the O'Brien.  The ultimate cruel tease perpetrated against James, his gang and the entire city of Cleveland.  If Lakers fans truly are that nauseated by LeBron, why miss out on the pleasure of seeing him look like he's about to puke?

So all things being equal, I'm choosing Cleveland.  Let me hear your call.  And whichever team you'd rather see come June 4th, I think we can all agree on one thing: Let's have that team emerge the victor of a SEVEN game series.

For what it's worth, if my fiancee gets a vote, the Lakers play Orlando and she gets at least four more games staring at Howard, the object of her drooling.  Apparently, he's somewhat built.  I hadn't noticed. 

AK

Photo: Dwight Howard as Superman.  Credit: Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Image
Photo: LeBron James drives.  Credit: John Biever/SI

 
Comments () | Archives (85)

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I really don't like that 2-3-2 format. I don't get why it suddenly changes in the Finals.

I'd like Orlando, because Dwight is isn't too overwhelming as an offensive player(we'll see some quality Mbenga time when Drew gets in foul trouble), and while Rashard Lewis will be trouble for Pau to defend, Pau will own him in the post. I think an Ariza/Kobe combo could do well on Turkoglu. Defending the perimeter should be a priority.

Cleveland. Period.

I think the Lakers do match up better against Cleveland.

cleveland. pj was right -- if i could pick any current player to build a team around, it would be howard. the only big body the lakers have that can play howard is bynum since mbenga isn't allowed to karate chop howard. and since bynum will inevitably get into foul trouble, that puts pau on howard and howard will kill pau and pau won't be as effective if guarded by howard since he will probably have to shoot more jumpers. although pau would score easily on lewis, i just don't see bynum staying out of foul trouble. lakers big guys should be able to have their way against the cleveland big guys and cleveland is still a one man show despite mo williams being named to the all star team. home court advantage is overrated. if a team can't play with intensity on a road game in the nba finals, then they don't deserve to be there.

Secret Agent El Guapo ready to debrief from trip into the heart of the Pepsi Center....

I would like to thank the Section 140 at the Pepsi Center for being good sports and awesome fans...
After catching all kinds of crap for 1 hour before the game started and then me and my buddy starting to crack back at them as the Lakers blew the game wide open... we both realized is was all in good fun and thats where the trash talking ended once the final buzzer went off.

I would also like to say that me and my friend got our very own Nuggets "Beat L.A. Shirt" which we wore all day today in Denver and on the Flight home...needless to say we got some drity stares but thats as far as things went.

Got some pretty awesome pics of the game...Including the dagger the Mamba drop with Carter up in the kool-aid..

All in all it was awesome fun and a great game.

And to stay on toppic....
I think its no secret that the Lakers can dominate the
Cav's down low...and that the Magic match up better against us than we do them....do I think either of them can take it away from the Lakers...nope...but I do beleive that Orlando can make it alot tougher than Cleveland can

Either team will be extraordinary difficult to defeat in the finals. Out of the 4 teams in the conference finals, Orlando is playing the best. They seem to get the least amount of calls from the refs as well. Their only weak point right now is coaching as displayed by the end of game 2.

The Lakers have a very difficult time guarding the inside outside game and guarding the 3. They also have trouble with dribble penetration. This is basically Orlando's game. Dump in down to Howard, wait to get double teamed and pass out for an open 3, or penetrate and dish or shoot by Hedo or Lewis. In the 2 losses this season, the Lakers were destroyed by Jameer Nelson who both broke down the Lakers defense and shot well from the 3. Although he's hurt, other players have picked up the pace from the 3 point line making them very dangerous.

Cleveland's game is to have James create off the dribble and dish for an open shot. Cleveland is the best in the league at this since James is probably the best non-guard passer in the league. The Lakers can try to force him away from the middle of the court limiting his options, but they have to concede the outside shot. If James makes his outside shots as he is doing lately, he is unstoppable.

So both teams present challenges on the defensive side for the Lakers.

On offense for the Lakers, there is no doubt that Orlando would be a much tougher challenge since Howard would essentially take away 50% of the inside of the paint scoring. Although Cleveland has great team defense, it is only effective against teams without a dominating inside game, like Detroit and Atlanta. Gasol, Bynum, and Odom likely would have a great series against Cleveland, but probably not Orlando.

If I had to choose, I'd still rather take the home court advantage and play Orlando. Still, overall, Orlando is a better team.

AK,

While you are certainly right that there is no correct answer to the question; there is a correct way of phrasing it.

The question is not "who would you rather play?" It is "Who would you rather beat?"

My phrasing represents a more realistic scenario; as the LAKERS WILL WIN. It also changes the answer.

In theory, I'd rather beat LBJ (aka El BJ). But, I don't want to see him get to the finals. That would be too much glory for him. If he gets to the final, his need to carry the team will make his numbers high. That would increase his praise at the expense of Kobe.

So, I'd rather beat Orlando. In defeating them El BJ will not have even gotten near the crown. His "reign of glory" will be beaten too.

GOOoooooOOOOOO LAKERS!!!!

The Los Angeles Lakers Championship Bus is making its rounds. In effort to gather as large of a fan base we can to give the Lakers the Larry O'Brien trophy this year, WE NEED TO FILL THE BUS!

So if your jumping on, let the Western Conference Champion Los Angeles Lakers know about it!

(Copy/Paste and add your name to the list)

1. Razdizzle

I would have to say Cleveland. The matchups are much better than Orlando, even if we don't have homecourt advantage.

That was Showtime!

They share the ball like that nobody is going to beat them.

That 12 minute mark during game 5 and now this game something has happened. It is clear they found something and exploited but what I am amazed at is how they were able to do it. Just like presto..they all shared the ball like the old days (Showtime)

My God! Luke Walton are you kidding me? I thought I was watching Larry Bird.

Ariza-Big Game Ariza!

Fish-glad somebody got to him and advised him to hold off on shooting. Great job Fish!

Pau and Odom---WOW!!! Great game guys!

Bynum-just watched the game again and folks he did a great job in the middle. Box score looks like crap but if you watch the game again you will see he makes it tough going inside. Yes the rebounds don't show on the boxscore but if you watch you will see he puts a body on somebody everytime and allows teamates to get ball.

Lakers 2009 World Champs!

BD

Aww c'mon we couldn't just celebrate the victory for one more day?

We match up better with Cleveland, there's no denying that, but home court advantagein the Finals is very important. So, as I've said before, it's a toss-up.

I don't care who we play. Either way we're gonna win. The Lakers will be the '09 NBA champs.

Believe it (even though I'll admit I'm a liiiiiiiitle biased =))

LG

I don't "wish" for either one.

We beat the Crabs this year, but Magic beat us. If I look at the record as the only criteria, we should want the Crabs.

I can't stand Crabbron. I can't stand the man-crushes on Crabbron by most of the pundits, announcers, media, etc. I hate hearing about his exploits on the court during OUR games and every other opportunity. I would love to see him humilated by the Mamba. I would love to see the LBJ-lovers eat their words. I would love the idiot Lebroniacs to crawl back into their holes. For these reasons, I would want the Crabs.

On the other (other) hand, I would also absolutely LOVE to see the Crabs humiliated by the Magic and not even REACH the finals. I think that would be a very sweet ending to the series tonight. It would probably do a lot of damage to their psyches as well - maybe even more than losing to the Lakers. Not even making it to the Finals??? Yeah - that would be good too! For this reason I would want to see the Magic on Thursday.

Regardless of who we get, nothing less than the Larry O coming home will do. As long as it's at Crabbron's expense - whether we nail his coffin shut or the Magic do - makes no difference.

GO LAKERS!!! WE GOT THIS!!!!!!!!!

Orlando. I'm scared of LBJ & cleveland. too unpredictable. LBJ is too good. He'd kill Kobe & the Lakers

Some signs & slogans seen before tonight's East Coast game 6:

LeGone

Magic Power! (Forget Lebron's powder)

WITNESS Lebron's playoff exit

LMAO!

Raz - I've always been on the Championship Bandwagon! Does that count? LOL!

My name is justanothermambafan and I'm a Lakerholic.

How do you stop a Lakers Freight Train?

You don't.

But Andrew Bynum likes the Home Court against Orlando. So I vote with Drew.

Bring on the Magic.

Go Magic, then Go Lakers!

Fatty - "And please, please, no body bring up the, "be careful for what you wish for!"

I think Gasol does a much better job playing Howard than Bynum.

Howard was so much quicker than Andrew when they played last it looked like Kwame going against Amare.

Maybe Bynum can do better this time, but from what I saw there is reason to fear the Bynum / Howard matchup.

I mean, it was eye opening. It was the turning point in Andrew's season, if I remember correctly. After the Howard beatdown he began playing much better. But make no mistake, Howard OWNED him.

I was embarrassed for Andrew, actually.

In comparison, Pau's numbers against Howard have been pretty good with multiple games where Pau out dueled him.

But we'll see.

I think I'd rather face the Cavs team, but I also want game one in Los Angeles.

So, I can't say.

Wes

I, myself, like LeBron. Don't hate hm one bit. I hate punks and gang bangers and he's neither.

He's smart, funny and talented. 100% likeable.

Wes

I'd prefer Cleveland. Orlando is pretty underrated, and we don't have the foot speed to cover all those shooters with both Pau and Socks in the game at the same time. We're much better against Cleveland - they don't seem to be a rebounding threat against us like Orlando.

The rationale for Orlando is that we have homecourt advantage, which would be key. Either way, I would love to close it out on the other team's floor.

Hope everybody is having a good day!

Watching Craig Sager interviewing Crabbron before the game.

Question: Why does the Crab refer to himself in the 3rd person?

"You guys are gonna just always see Lebron out there just trying to do what's best for his teammates, do what's best for himself, just try to put ourself in a position to win."

WTH??

There is something seriously wrong with a person who does that.

Street rat crazy if you ask me...

I'm done worrying about officiating, so I don't want the Lakers to go up against LeBron and his favoritism from the refs. It could get frustrating. Magic close it out tonight.

justanothermambafan,

"Question: Why does the Crab refer to himself in the 3rd person?"

Common disease suffered by wannabees. Its called Karl Malone-itis. Only known cure is winning the Finals.

I know this argument is discussed just for devils advocate sake. But really Cleveland doesn't stand a chance today. I think we all agree that they were very close to getting swept. Orlando is just a more complete team. So if I'm Laker staff I prepare for Orlando. I don't know who is going to guard turkolou (how do you really spell his name). And this pietrius guy is fantastic. But here's the flip side to that. Who guards Gasol? And more importantly who guards Kobe. You don't want to play the lakers without a guy who can at least stay up with Kobe. And gasol aint no slouch. I think its a wrap. Lakers in 6, maybe even 5.

I too think Cleveland is a better match up as I don't think they can handle a revived Odom. I also think we will beat either team. Cleveland dribbles too much.

p ang -

Well - that's not going to happen this year, so I guess we'll just have to put up with it.

Still - I'm quite sure it's a mark of insanity.

Mike Brown getting desperate... during the 1st-2nd quarter interview he started to lobby for travel calls on dwight.

Prefer Cleveland. Orlando is better coached and DHoward negates Pau's interior game.

LOL socal!

I was thinking the same thing!

How about he worry about the Crab Dribbler?

Kind of like "Hi pot. I'm kettle. You're black."

some fun comments from the ESPN blog:

"I just fouled Lebron by typing this"

LeDone

LeNone

Le'tDown

--------

"jimmy"

Q: who is jimmy

A: LeBrick. until he wins anything i will not call him James, just jimmy

----------

as i type, jimmy missed 2 FT


proud of the lakers by making 24-24 FT. is there a stat that shows how many teams had perfect/100% FT min games. and what is the number. thanks Stat guys

enjoy the weekend all

Justanothermambafan - the third person comment was great! The Bron definitely sees himself in an iconic light.

AK, my opinion's very influenced by the Kobe-LeBron thing, in as much as I'd love to see Kobe put an asterick next to this year's MVP.

Anyone notice how Nike's desperately rolling out every Puppet segment that they had set aside for the Finals? I wonder what Adidas (Howard) has brewing.

Ultimately, I'm split, facing Orlando would be good for the following:

1. I want home court advantage.
2. Howard's a beast and I'd love to see our bigs step it up against him. What better way for Andrew to finish off the season?
3. Watching Stan Van Gundy cracks me up - he's constantly pacing and jabbering at everybody and his assistants just stand there with their arms folded and these stoic expressions, like they're wishing he's just shut the something up.

At this point, halftime, it might be pretty moot - Orlando is dominating.

buddy monk,

"I really don't like that 2-3-2 format. I don't get why it suddenly changes in the Finals."

You can thank a Celtic for that change, which began in the 1985 Finals:

"Although he's not here to defend himself and deny it, I tell you that Red said to me back in '84, 'This is too much. Play, travel, play, travel, play, travel,'" Stern said. "In subsequent years he said it was terrible that we changed it to 2-3-2, but a young commissioner was motivated by the father of us all."

dave m - Thank you. Thank you very much. I'm here all week.

ouchhhhhh - too funny! Jimmy - lol! Get me on the "Get Jimmy more Vitamins" bandwagon HAHAHAHA!

I guess now I'll get the answer to my question "Just exactly what is Jimmy the king of??"

Answer - King of planning fishing trips.

I hear there's some good king crab fishing up near the Arctic circle somewhere....

THE ONLY TEAM THATCAN BEAT US IS THE LAKERS!

END OF STORY!!

LTLF,

>>> Okay, I'm already bored waiting for the next round of the
>>> playoffs to begin.

>>> So I think starting point guard is the biggest chink in the Lakers
>>> armor going forward, especially since D-Fish will be a year older
>>> and a step slower next season.

I’ve also been bored and thinking of the Lakers point guard situation the last few days but from a totally different angle. Your post gave me the perfect segue to see what you think about my latest wild and crazy idea…

(1) Kobe Bryant as the Lakers next point guard.
(2) Trevor Ariza moves to shooting guard.
(3) Lamar Odom becomes starter at small forward.

Two of the main reasons the Lakers dominated the Nuggets last night were their relentless pounding the ball inside and Kobe Bryant’s masterful orchestration of the Lakers offense. It was the Lakers realizing that they play their best and smartest when they play inside-out basketball and when they put the ball and decisions in Kobe Bryant’s hands ala LeBron. Last night’s game was not only a statement to the Nuggets and the rest of the NBA but also a preview of how the Lakers offense and Kobe’s role in it are dynamically changing.

As the team’s offensive focus shifts from a perimeter-oriented often Kobe-dependent style to a low post power-oriented player-independent scheme, Kobe’s role as the Lakers’ top scorer will evolve more and more into that of a facilitator, defender, and team leader. Why not take the next logical step and make Kobe the team’s starting point guard? After all, he not only has what we need at the point in the Triangle Offense – great ball handling, smart playmaking, sure 3-point shooting, and lock-down defense – but is also already doing it!

Moving Kobe to point would also open up the shooting guard position and finding a good shooting guard is a hell of a lot easier than finding a good point guard. What if the Lakers could pull off a trade for a veteran shooter like Ray Allen to play along side Kobe? That is a more realistic task than trying to trade for a Deron Williams, Chris Paul, or Derrick Rose. Shooting guard is probably the easiest position on a basketball roster to fill. Word is that the Warriors are shopping Monta Ellis. How about a Kobe and Monta Ellis backcourt?

Psychologically, moving Kobe to point guard is the perfect answer to easing the team’s transition from a perimeter-oriented to low post-oriented offense. Give Kobe the chance to replace shot attempts with defensive plays and assists. Even more importantly, give him a chance to handle the ball even more and to level the playing field in the media’s eyes between him and LeBron. Hell with MJ, let’s release the Magic in Kobe Bryant. From a PR standpoint, the league, the media, his fans, and his teammates would all love it.

What I would like to see happen in my fantasy scheme, however, would be the Lakers committing to Trevor Ariza as shooting guard. That would give us a starting backcourt duo with great size who could score inside and out but even more importantly who could defend like a pair of Dobermans – or deadly snakes – the Mamba and the Cobra. Kobe and Trevor would lead the lead in steals and the passing lanes would become freeways. Look for the Lakers to consider this option and start tinkering with it next season.

Finally, moving Trevor to shooting guard gives the Lakers the opportunity to start Lamar Odom at small forward, giving the Lakers a most potent and unmatchable starting five. The team could then focus in the offseason in bringing in a veteran front court player who could provide valuable minutes at power forward and help replace Lamar’s loss from the bench. It could be a player like Powell but who plays better defense and is tougher.

(1) Kobe Bryant 6-7
(2) Trevor Ariza 6-7
(3) Lamar Odom 6-11
(4) Pau Gasol 7-0
(5) Andrew Bynum 7-1

Could this be the Lakers starting lineup next year? What do you think?

Tom

I don't really care who we play. I just care that by mid June, there's another Championship Banner in Staples.

On a purely b-ball level, in terms of talent and matchups, I don't have a preference between ORL and CLE, but like Drew, gotta go with HCA everytime.

How could you not want home court?

Additionally, after Game 4 in the ORL-CLE series, it occurred to me that the Cavs could be even more dangerous if they successfully came back from a 3-1 deficit in the ECF, but that was a passing thought, I'm all about HCA, and expect us to be able to win it all either way.

the reason I want to face orlando is because we have home court and esentially in order to be a champion you want to go through the best team that comes out of the East. With that being said, Orlando seems to be the best team.

Pietrus will probably be guarding Kobe but I thikn kobe will have an easier time with him because once again he is no Shane battier.

Orlando also tends to do stupid things sometimes, they give up huge runs.

Cleveland. We will win in Cleveland if we play them.

Orlando can beat us at Staples.

Justa

just for you, someone posted

Le Fishin'

As I type this, Marv Albert just made his o-face as he screamed over a standard LeBron lay-up and 1. I can't imagine what he would have done if he'd have called the finals between the Lakers and the Magic; the guy just can't take the LeBron Fan Club t-shirt off in the booth. I swear, the LeBron overkill this year has made me hate the guy, and I actually like him. Frigging sports media kills you with the overhype!

Go Lakers!!!!!

AK,

Damn, you have become so completely thorough when you analyze something that there often is little left of significance to add other than props. And I admit, you sure do know your Kobeholics. But your attempt at reverse psychology to get us to root for Cleveland was doomed to fail. As for me, I not only do NOT want LeBron to win championships but I also do NOT want him to even sniff one, which is what getting into the Finals is all about. Better that he fall on his face and become the Wilt to Kobe’s Russell who couldn’t get past Dwight and the Magic to even get into the Finals. Superman trumps the King. I love it.

Meanwhile, what can you say about this team that has not been said. If Pau and Lamar play the way they did last night, it really doesn’t matter which team we play. Hell, we could probably even win without Drew, which we practically did last night. But strategically, I worry greatly about the NBA’s desire for LeBron to live up to his legend. We could end up seeing another Finals like the Miami – Dallas Finals where the refs gave Wade the series. Additionally, I want to beat the best, which is Orlando. No excuses and no regrets.

Personally, I would also like nothing less than a 7-game series matching up Drew against Dwight Howard. Not saying that Drew is up to that task as it is still obvious that he does not have his normal hops or quickness, which unfortunately are Dwight’s exact strengths. But I think that Andrew could use the challenge and we might see a mini-beast emerge to confront the Beast of the East. Through his career, Drew has shown great competitive fire and I think the way you become a great player is by playing great against great players.

Finally, with home court, I like the Lakers to prevail in 6 or 7 games over Orlando. I think the 2-3-2 format will benefit them in that they finish the first 5 games with a 3-2 lead, they will then be headed home with 2 games at Staples to finish off the Magic. And we already know how this team deals with close-out games. Anyway, Orlando is handling Cleveland so it looks like the King will have to wait another year before he can be crowned. Can’t wait to see the puppet version of this one. Maybe Kobe gives LeBron free tickets. LOL.

Tom

We are 0-2 against the Magic, we lost to them by 3 points and 6 points respectively. So it's not like we lost to them by double digits and with both games, we had a chance to win down the stretch. So although it doesn't matter to me who we play, by the looks of things (70-91 Orlando in the 4th) we getting Orlando and I like our chances against them.

Whoever wins the Eastern Finals.

If we play like we did last night, it won't matter if Michael Jordan goes into a time machine comes back and the 1990 Bulls come back, we'll beat whoever shows up. We don't have any matchup problems, whatever points given up can be made up with offense. We play D like last night for 48, this is a done deal.

The Lakers were sick last night, they moved the ball almost the ENTIRE GAME. KOBE MOFO BRYANT. ANybody not heaping a 1,000,000 pounds of praise on him today is taking him for granted. Every time he went up, the ball went it it seemed. Have a hope, have a prayer Denver NOT! SWISHH. The more Denver wanted him to miss, the more cleanly his shot went in. 24 for 24 free throws, are you kidding me? on the road? SOLID D FOR 47 minutes? ARE YOU KIDDING ME, THE LAKERS???

COME ON LAKERS, LETS FINISH THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Orlando has more free throws and fewer fouls than Cleveland, Howard didn't pick up his 2nd foul until 32 minutes into the game, and Lebron's only shot 7 free throws. Clearly another fixed game, right?

Orlando with no home court advantage in Boston or Cleveland controls both series.

Very impressive.

Howard probably gets his 7th T by game 4 and miss a game. Homecourt is always good thing. Lakers are more flexible than Cavs, so they will match up better vs. Orlando, so they'll put more pressure on which in turn takes way from what Orlando wants to do.

This sorta is akin to the ol' Denver/Adam Morrison philosophy of "outscoring the other guys", but it isn't always what they will do to you, but what will you do to them. To state the obvious, the Lakers have won the West by executing their game, playing their strengths (contrary to some who believe they won because Denver couldn't inbound).

With 6 minutes to go in the Cavs game, looks like it will be Orlando on Thurs.

let's don't forget that in Orlando, kobe gave the last shot to sasha to tie or win the game and the ball rimmed out. so that was long time ago and it was part of the learning process.

and in game 2, orlando shot the lights out and we did not have shannon to use him on nelson.

at this moment, both hedo and raf r kinda like Farmar, hectic and spastic, just better shooters

and SVG is a drama queen. ,it worked with Brown, who is a total moron, but not with PJ

Beware Lakers ! You're biggest nightmare is about to come to Hollywood.

I am very nervous to play Orlando. Obviously regular season doesn't matter (see 4-0 against Denver) but we'll need Andrew to play exceptionally well in the series to beat Orlando and that's not happening.

ouchhhh - classic - LeFishin' HAHAHAHAHA!

I'm not sure which blogger posted their version of the new MVPuppet commercial, but it was basically Crabbron cowering in the living room talking about how something was flying around with a red cape on and it was scaring him. Kobe says "don't worry LeBron, I'll take care of him for you".

THAT should be on TV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WE GOT HOMECOURT ADVANTAGE!

WE GOT HOMECOURT ADVANTAGE!

WE GOT HOMECOURT ADVANTAGE!

NAH NAH NAH NAH! NAH NAH NAH NAH! HEY CLEVE---LAND..............GOOODBYE!

In regards to the Finals format, it does have to do with the travel. Leave it to a C*ltic to complain about it. But with all 7 game series the best team does win and with the Finals format it makes that point even more apparent.

LakerTom,

I love the idea of your fantasy lineup. Actually I question PJ's choice not to use that lineup at all right now during these playoffs. He did tinker with said lineup during the preseason but I remember him saying that it didn't work to his liking due to the spacing problem with 3 big men in the lane. But at that time he was using LO as the point to alleviate the conjestion. So I dont know, that's just PJ being PJ I guess. On paper the lineup looks great. But we still have to wait and see what Mitch does this offseason in regards to the expiring contracts of LO and TA.

Top excuses that will be forthcoming from the "professional" analysts, as to why Crabbron isn't heading to the Finals - in no particular order. Feel free to add your own.

1. He's tired from playing too many minutes in the playoffs.

2. He doesn't have any help from his teammates.

3. He's not getting the calls from the refs.

The King is dead. Long live the King.

the Cavs practiced too much a new version of their dance on the bench and spent too much time on team photo sessions and making tricky shots from the middle court, from the floor and behind the board.

The King is dead. Long live the King.

4th Q.

Le Choke

Orlando eliminates Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Championship!

This is one of the reasons why I stated earlier on why LeBron James cannot be considered the best player in the league.

Please to make any excuses about not having the supporting cast to make it to the finals. Lets not forget, Cleveland did carry the best record in the NBA this year.

But this doesn't mean I dislike LeBron. With that being said.................

I am campaigning for Kobe/Lebron 2010

Go Lakers!

Le Head just lost his head band

Wow, I don't think LeBron even gave Howard props after the game. Dude just walked off the court, I thought all the team USA guys were tight.

Alright,
No more of the lebron (Clanker) James vs Kobe because the clanker will not be there. The media made Cavs and Lebron are who us laker and magic fans thought they were. Overrated and given the league and championship titles before winning it. Mo williams made the all star team because of media lobbying because he was ridiculoulsy mentioned in the same breath as scottie pipen at one point with of course Lebrick being said to be the best in the league totally disrespecting kobe and insulting our intelligence. Don't start making excuses for lebrick ESPN, just give Howard, the real MVP credit...congrats magic. The media can take thier savior lebron and wait til next year, thats if he doesn't leave cleveland. What will they do about the puppet commercial? Put howard in it now? What poor sportsmanship shown by the cavs and thier leader lebron. he didn't have the decentcy to congratulate the magic...No more lebrick talk of being like jordan, ever, please. Until Kobe retires, he is the best in the league and don't U forget it.......

We get O-town, nuff said lets focus on this and win this mofo...I want the 15th ring...I want the DVD's, I want the t-shirts, the hats, and the parade...And I want "Black mamba" to strike and win his ring...Nuff said!!!!

The choice has been made and it's the Magic. I think they are the more difficult matchup for the Lakers. They spread the floor and have multiple 3 pt shooters. There is also the tough inside presence with Howard.

It's over for Cleveland

We play Orlando. We have home-court.

Waiting for next Thursday

Baywood

I hope the lakers were watching the amount of 3s the magic take. Lakers don't leave your man open for 3s like you have all year, if you do, the magic will be the champs...

Buh bye lbj!!!! I laugh at how they were saying everyone was picking the Cavs over Orlando? Are you kidding me? Have they seen both teams actually play? All you have to do is take lbj out of his game and you win. Especially a team like Orlando, dhoward, with a bunch of great shooters....going to be hard for the Lakers to beat but if our beloved team plays like they did in this past game 6 - we will win the ring!!!!

Actually, like others already said - we want to beat the best. We beat 2 great teams to make it to the finals - beating Orlando would really prove the Lakers are the best. No one could question that.

So now it is official - we're going to play the magic. It's too bad that the media has sooooo overhyped lbj that many people just hate him already. I can't even imagine what espn and tnt are going to report that the cavs are out of the playoffs. They'll definitely spin it so that he comes out looking great - sickening!!!

Oh well - Lakers need to take care of business and now we'll see what PJ really has. Can he win this one? Does he have the right strategies to beat Orlando?

Come on Lakers - this is going to be a tough series but this is a great time to peak!!! Win 4 more and the ring is yours!!!!!

So it's Orlando. LeBron couldn't produce another monster game
like game 5 on the road. And I don't want to hear about his
teammates not giving him enough. Delonte West 9-19 for 22 points,
Mo Williams 6-12 for 17 points, Andy Varejao 7-12 for 14 points.
Of the starters, only Ilgauskas was a letdown (2 points).

People always talk about clutch performances. Usually they
talk about shooting in the last couple minutes of close games.

But in the playoffs, EVERY MINUTE of a closeout game should
be considered clutch time. It doesn't matter what side of the
game you're on, it's important to play at your best in closeout
games.

Yesterday, Kobe played solid in his closeout game. Today,
LeBron had perhaps his worst game of the playoffs in his closeout
game. One player came through when it mattered. And he
LED his team - did you see Kobe coaching his teammates on the
court and on the bench? Where was LeBron's leadership?

LeBron may have won the MVP award, but before anybody
starts claiming he's the best player in the league, you better
look to the players who came through when it really mattered:
Kobe and Dwight Howard. When the cards were dealt and all
the chips were on the table, the MVP folded.

Jonathan,

"Orlando has more free throws and fewer fouls than Cleveland, Howard didn't pick up his 2nd foul until 32 minutes into the game, and Lebron's only shot 7 free throws. Clearly another fixed game, right?"

Yep. Have fun watching the finals!

Can we finally put to rest the " Kobe vs Lebron " debate?
It's not even close yet. Not only does KB have 3 rings to zero for LJ, but these palyoffs have proven the difference. While the Cavs had an easy time of it through the first two rounds, LA was challenged and had to dig deep to prevail. When the going got tough, Kobe pulled 'em through. Lebron? He's going fishin.
And I don't wannna hear that Kobe had more help. Great players...Jordan, Magic, Bird...ALL made the players around them better. That's what Kobe has done this season. Lebron just isn't there yet. He will be...but not yet. Now give KB his props.
Finals? LA in 5.

Orlando has a much better inside and outside game than Denver.

But they don't have a penetrator like Melo.

Lakers clinch in 6 on the home court at Staples.

See you on Figueroa

Beware Lakers ! You're biggest nightmare is about to come to Hollywood.


Posted by: The Magician | May 30, 2009 at 07:51 PM

Really! Is there a new Nightmare on Elm Street coming out?

Oh Wait! I get it.

Orlando's coming into this series to get swept! Yea, that would be a nightmare. But this is a Laker blog, backed by the best Laker fans in the world HOMIE..... So for us, watching Orlando getting swept would be SSWWWWWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!

Bring it!

>>>We are 0-2 against the Magic, we lost to them by 3
>>> points and 6 points respectively. So it's not like we
>>>lost to them by double digits and with both games, we
>>>had a chance to win down the stretch.

Very true. Here are some more things to consider...

game 1: Dec 20, 2008.

Lakers traveled to Miami on Friday, played the Heat, then
played Orlando back-to-back on Saturday night.

Bynum played Dwight pretty well, holding him to 18 points,
including 10-15 free throws. On the offensive end, Drew
didn't do very well though, with only 3 points.

Farmar was injured & they didn't have Brown yet, so Sasha
played all the backup minutes at PG & shot 0 for 6.

Odom shot 1 for 7. Pau was 4 for 9 for 11 points.

And even with everyone but Kobe & Fish having below average
games, they got an open shot with 3 seconds left that would
have won the game for them. On that shot, Kobe kicked out
to Sasha & he missed the shot. In the finals, Kobe would no doubt
take that shot himself and make it.

I'll do a separate post about the second game...

game 2: Jan 16, 2009

Kobe had a triple double. Bynum scored a little better, but so
did Dwight. Pau had a week shooting night at 5 for 13. Rad scored
15 points, but played his traditional matador defense. Both Luke
and Farmar were out with injuries and they didn't have Shannon
Brown yet. Sasha the backup PG went 0 for 3. (not to mention
Fish the starting PG went 3 for 11).

And even with those things going against them, the Lakers
had a 2 point lead with a minute left.

In BOTH games, it was one player who really beat the Lakers...

Jameer Nelson. He led the Magic's scoring in BOTH games,
27 in the first game and 28 in the second game.

They won't have Jameer for the finals.


Okay, so what do the previous two games tell us about the
Lakers vs Magic matchup.

The Magic's biggest weapon against the Lakers (Nelson) is gone.

Bynum can't shut down Dwight, but he can slow him down
a whole lot better than Varejao or Ilgauskas.

Orlando cannot stop Kobe. He had two of his best games of
the season against them.

-----

What are the unknown factors?

Alston and Pietrus. The Magic didn't have Alston when they
played the Lakers during the season, and Pietrus wasn't playing
as many minutes.

Lakers backup Guards - How much better will the Lakers be having
Brown & Farmar as backup PGs instead of Sasha? Not to mention
the fact that Sasha has shot 50% in the last 3 games -- can he
keep it up?

Ariza starting. Ariza did play a lot of minutes vs Orlando, but
now he'll be starting & playing more minutes.

I think the rotation of Odom, Ariza, Kobe, and maybe a few
minutes of Luke &/or Sasha will do much better defending
Lewis & Turkoglu than 6'3" Delonte West & 6'1" Mo Williams.
(LeBron was guarding Alston most of the ECF).

My prediction...

I honestly want to say Lakers in 4. That's right, a sweep.

Orlando is coming off a series where they beat the team with
the best record in the league & they beat the Lakers twice during
the regular season, so I think they will come into the finals with
huge heads, much like the Lakers were last year when all the
reporters were picking the Lakers to beat Boston.

I think the Lakers will beat the Magic SOUNDLY in Los Angeles,
much to the surprise of Orlando and their fans. Most of those
wide open 3's are going to dry up, and they aren't going to devastate
the Lakers offense by shutting down Kobe like they did to LeBron
(even if they COULD shut down Kobe).

After that, it's up to the Magic. If they're resilient and work hard,
I could see them winning 2 of the 3 in Orlando and making the
Lakers bring it back to Los Angeles to close out the series.
But they don't have a single player who's been to the finals
before, so with the shell shock from the first two games, the
Lakers may go to Florida and beat them into submission.

I've gotta show some respect to Orlando for what they just
did to Cleveland, so I'm going to say Lakers in 6 for my prediction.

Cleveland would be easier for us to beat.

Orlando is good. Extremely good. Better than Denver.

We need Andrew Bynum to win this series.

Period.

WE ARE THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS AND WE RISE!!!!

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

Before I knew that it would be Orlando, I still wanted them as the opponent. Short answer is that the Lakers will have home court advantage. The Show's role players are much better at Staples than on the road. Plus, the hype of Kobe vs. LeBrawn would be too much for me, with the ESPN/NBA marketing machine in full throttle. It's gonna to be a tough series, but I feel that the Lakers will be the ones kissing the O'Brien after all is said and done.

GO SHOW!!

Well, Orlando has taken the East so its moot to discuss who I prefer the Lakers playing against for the championship. Against Orlando, I strongly believe that just being able to control Howard - as in not letting him get easy points, disrupting his line of vision, getting him in early foul trouble - which is easier said than done, will be the key. If Lakers can do this consistently, Rashard or Turk cannot beat them from the outside.

The king is dead. Long live the EMPEROR!

Orlando better hope they can recruit Jesus, otherwise they are going to have some match up problems of their own!

LET GET THIS DONE LAKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DEFENSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I've seen the Lakers make a lot of bad 3 point shooting teams look like great 3 point shooting teams and a lot of good 3 point shooting teams look like they couldn't hit the side of a barn. Don't think Orlando is

Howard isn't going to be able to mow through Bynum, Gasol, and Odum. KOBE IS A NIGHTMARE there is no answer to. And last time I checked, there wasn't much altitude in Orlando so plenty of air to breath to keep Kobe going. Ariza, Kobe, Brown, Fish, Sasha can be like glue to a shooter when they are on their A game. If the big men come through with swats and blocks, this is a done deal. Contrary to what the AK says the 2-3-2 can quickly turn into a home court disadvantage if you don't come out strong and take care of business at home. That's exactly what the Lakers shall do. Both teams with a long lay off, but a lot easier to get back into the funk at home.

TIME TO EXECUTE LAKERS! FINISH THESE BOYS!

LTLF...

I agree with you that clutch moments happen throughout games and not just at the end of close games.

Kobe was clutch in the final few minutes of the first half in Gm. 6 in Denver. He made some great shots and helped to up the lead to 13. IMO, that's when that game was won. Those few minutes put the fear of the Mamba into the Nugs and set the stage for the second half beatdown.

The key to this series is the first two games. If the Lakers win both, they are winning this series.

A split could mean a 7 game nailbiter. Orlando has the characteristics that chill me to the bone. Mad 3 pt. shooters who all seem to go lava hot at the same time OR totally cold. The best young center in the game who is improving on a game by game basis. LBJ had a terrific series but I was more impressed with Howard who is realizing his vast potential before our very eyes.

This is a team that will test the new found defensive tenacity the Lakers displayed in the last 2 games of the Denver series. That inside /outside thing they get going is very hard to defend. And you have Hedo dribbling around and hitting 3's at opportune times. THIS is an impressive team folks.

So are the Lakers. If they bring their A game..and we know how much of a rollercoaster this team can resemble in terms of bringing effort...they can win a championship.

I see Kobe having a series for the ages...I really do. But it's no guarantee they will win. The will have to earn it with cohesive team play and iron clad discipline.

How they come out of the gate will tell us all we need to know about this series.

Orlando scares me. I would say Cleveland but I can already envision all the over exaggerated calls and Lebron loving that has been so abundant this year. I am giong with mambafan on this one and am glad lebron didnt even make it.

Thanks Orlando for the ammo for my "lecrabwalker didnt/couldnt even make it to the finals for that dream matchup so he sucks" argument. I have developed a new habit this year which I dont like. I sometimes find it hard to watch the games as I dance around them checking the score every so often ala jerry west. There is tremendous nervousness built up each game and I find myself not being able to take the things that go wrong as well as i used to. Every possesion is giving me a heart attack. Playing Orlando is not going to help. They have alot of weapons, are much more dangerous than cleveland, shooting the 3 well and like fatty said, they havent had home court advantage since round 1 so they are experienced in dealing without it and not panicking. (I hope you are right Shaq but it seems like he is shedding that M.O.P label). They immediately took game 1 from boston and cleveland. Phil Jackson is 43-0 in series which his teams win game 1 so that makes game 1 the most important game in the world.

I still dont have an answer for that question but all i know is i am glad to see lebron go. After knowing our guy has been the best player in the world for the past 8 seasons and not getting that recognition and barely having 1 stinking mvp trophy, it infuriates me to see them just try to hand that title to lebron. If players had to go through waht kobe went through to get the recognition, then I dont think 1 of them would make it to the top.

"No more lebrick talk of being like jordan, ever, please. Until Kobe retires, he is the best in the league and don't U forget it......."

Posted by: 70slakersfan | May 30, 2009 at 08:11 PM

For all his skill and physical attributes, maybe the most that LeCrab can be compared to is the Big O, who averaged a triple-double but only won 1 ring (with Kareem no less). Granted he's still young but I feel that there's something lacking. Anyway, he can't escape the Cleveland curse and will always find Dwight Howard blocking his way to the title.

Hi, Lakers fans, will wish luck and let the best team win, im all about orlando but i like the lakers on the west, i think kobe is a phenomenal player, and your team is well coach as well,this will be certainly the best teams facing each other on the finals... keep the class act. however im a magic fan the 2-3-2 format give orlando a chance to be up at orlando and maybe just maybe we can take 1 game in LA. DWIGHT HOWARD IS REALLLY UNSTOPABLE , THINK ABOUT THAT GUYS , WE JUST COME FROM A SERIES WERE LEBRON SCORE 38.5 RPG. AND ORLANDO STILL WINS , YES THEY DIDNT HAVE PAU OR LAMAR OR BYNUM , BUT KEEP IN MIND, WE DID THESE DAMAGE AGAINST THE BEST DEFENSIVE TEAM OF THE LEAGUE, THE ALSO HAVE A GUY NAME BIG BEN WALLLACE,, EX DETROIT. I TAKE ORLANDO ON GAME 6 AT STAPLES.


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