Here it is the moment the Los Angeles Lakers and their fans have waited an entire year for, the chance to erase the mistakes of last season. Tonight the Lakers host the Orlando Magic in the NBA Finals also known as basketballs biggest stage.
This is exactly where the Lakers wanted to be, Los Angeles had several things that had to be achieved this year three of the season long goals were to have home court advantage, return to the Finals and win it all; the team is four wins away from accomplishing all three goals.
The Lakers are up against a formidable opponent in the Orlando Magic but far from a team without weaknesses. Just as the Magic were a bad match up for the Cavaliers the Lakers match up extremely well.
The Lakers have three defenders with size and athleticism to contain the Magic’s perimeter shooters. The Lakers could easily place Kobe, Trevor, Lamar, Pau and Andrew on the floor at the same time. This unit would be able to control Orlando’s perimeter players defensively and make them pay offensively.
It will also allow them to contain Hedo Turkoglu & Rashard Lewis. Turkoglu is Orlando’s decision maker at the end of games and needs to be shut down. The Lakers have shown excellent execution in the fourth quarter and possess the best closer in the game in Kobe Bryant.
I’ve mentioned all season that the Lakers need to rotate out to three point shooters defensively. This is one of the main weapons that the Lakers need to take away from the Orlando Magic. The Lakers will have they’re hands full slowing down Dwight Howard and need to mix up the way they’re going to defend him.
The Lakers need to start off by playing him straight up with Andrew Bynum having the assignment of slowing him down. There will be times that the Lakers will double-team him but the double team will have to come from different directions so he will have difficulty figuring out where it is coming from.
The Lakers can’t consistently double-team Howard due to the fact that when this happens it provides room for the three point shooters. I don’t want to see the team use the ‘hack-a-Howard’ technique but at critical times it might have to happen. DJ Mbenga & Josh Powell could be used to be physical with Howard as well as be used to wear him down and if nothing else provides the team with 12 fouls that can used.
The Lakers front line has to be active, aggressive and attack the basket. The front line has the skill and athleticism necessary to put Dwight Howard in foul trouble. This time last year Pau Gasol got pushed around that won’t happen this year. At times opponents have placed smaller defenders on Gasol and when that happens Pau needs to take his time and make the Magic pay for that decision.
This series has the appearance of a high scoring free flowing affair. I’ll describe it as a man and his moment. The man is Kobe Bryant his moment will be putting all of his skills on display while acquiring his fourth ring without you know who. Lakers in 6!
Tipoff: 6:00 PM PST
- Los Angeles: ABC
- Orlando: ABC
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Orlando: Newstalk AM 580 WDBO (Dennis Newman & Richie Adubato)
- None to report.
- Jameer Nelson – Out (Shulder)