By enzian | Enzian Theater June 4, 2009 at 9:40AM
A longshot at best. No team has ever beaten three 60+ win teams on their way to the NBA championship. The Zen Master is 43 - 0 when winning the first game of a playoff series. They have the best closer in the game in Kobe (no argument there) and the athletes to match up with Turkoglu and Lewis up front (that would be Ariza and Odom). The Lakers have been to the finals 30 times (!), including just last year when they lost to Boston, while the Magic have been there only once before, 14 years ago, when they were seeded 1st but got swept by the Houston Rockets with Akeem. LA even has homecourt advantage, and the 2-3-2 format never favors the road team. The Magic beat the Lakers twice during the year, but that was with a healthy, All Star-quality Jameer Nelson at the point. Essentially, Orlando is just too young, injured, and inexperienced, and Dwight and Co. will have to wait their turn. Virtually everyone in sports media outside of Charles Barkley and Mike Golic are picking the Lakers in 6.
All of this makes perfect sense, yet the Magic have been defying expectations and bucking the odds all postseason. Crushing Philly in Game 6 on the road without Dwight? Beating the Celtics handily (even without KG) in a Game 7 in Boston? Coming thisclose to sweeping Cleveland and ultimately taking out Lebron and the Cavs in 6 games, the team with the best record in basketball that had destroyed its first two playoff opponents? Logic and match-ups say the Lakers should win this thing, but the Magic have shown a mental toughness and resilience to take on all challenges. We know the future is bright, but there's no time like the present. Let's see what happens...Go Magic!