Orlando Magic Blog

Group Blog talking about the NBA 2009 Eastern Conference Champions. Due to the amazing success of the 2009 playoff run comments are now frequently deleted to kill offensive comments, incoherence, or asininity. Comments can no longer be anonymous and require either a Blogger or OpenID account.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

No LeBron? No problem for NBA Finals

Here are excerpts from a column Wednesday from Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel:

ORLANDO, Fla. – Kobe Bryant let out a long, tired sigh as he took a seat in the interview room on Wednesday.

He looked exhausted, although he wouldn’t admit it. He had no such hesitation in acknowledging his wariness of the Orlando Magic as they try to square the NBA Finals at two games apiece in Game 4.

“This team can stay hot for weeks,” Kobe said of the Magic. “It’s not something that is just a fluke.”

Three games into the Finals, two of them down to the wire, and the look on Bryant’s face and the tone of his voice said it all.

Who needs LeBron?

The season was supposed to come down to a predestined clash between Kobe and King James, the two best players in the league on the two best teams during the regular season. It was going to be a renewal of the practice duels of last summer’s USA Basketball team.

Two separate companies created advertising campaigns around the matchup, one even made puppets.

Then the Magic came along and ruined the plans and, now, thanks to Tuesday’s energy-inducing victory, they’ve turned this into every bit of a series worth watching. The strong TV ratings prove nearly 14 million fans got the message that the marketers didn’t.

Who needs LeBron?

So here are the Magic, proving not just that they belong; they did that by LeBrooming the Cavs out of the Eastern Conference finals in six games. Here are the Magic proving they can deliver the kind of dramatic Finals these playoffs deserve.

The Magic lit it up from the floor in Game 3, hitting a record 75 percent of their shots in the first half. Their inside-outside game is so strong that Phil Jackson called it “extreme” and declared it “the most threatening” he’s seen. Meanwhile, in an effort to remain multidimensional, the Magic have run some of the most creative offensive sets in recent memory.

The Magic may not win this series, but they haven’t lacked for providing colorful story lines and inspired play. There’s no denying they’re wearing Bryant down and leaving him wondering what’s next.

The NBA didn’t get the megastar matchup it no doubt craved. Nike and VitaminWater were forced to scrap their big-money commercial campaigns. And fans that wanted to see the two best players square off will have to wait.

But a funny thing happened on the way to disaster – an intriguing series was born.

Everyone realized: Who needs LeBron?

For the complete column, click here

Here is the game preview from Yahoo! Sports

The Magic are 2 1/2 point favorites



8 Comments:

  • At 4:40 AM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    Excellent column I thought.

    The whole country, in addition to the Lakers, is finding out what an outstanding team the Magic have, and these last two games have been great to watch for any NBA fan.

    Just ask Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson if the Magic are for real.

     
  • At 4:49 AM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    It's funny...

    The Magic shoot just 42% in Game 2 and commit 20 turnovers along with a bunch if missed free throws, and they take the Lakers to OT before losing.

    In Game 3, the Magic shoot nearly 63% and commit just 13 turnovers, yet win by just 4 points.

    My worry for Game 4 is that Bryant will defer to Pau Gasol more; Gasol was outstanding in Game 3, making 9 of 11 field goals.

    Bryant was gassed at the end of Game 3 because he tried to do too much; I'll be surprised if he takes as many as 25 shots again.

    Bryant admitted the Magic defense was great on him the second half, saying that the Magic "threw the kitchen sink" at him.

    It'll be interesting to see how the Magic shoot coming off their record-setting performance in Game 3.

    If they can get contributions from so many players like they did in Game 3, I like the Magic's chances of evening the series.

    Rafer Alston is really key; let's hope he stays as aggressive and plays as smart as he did in Game 3.

     
  • At 10:38 AM, Blogger Ken said…

    The rest of the country is finally waking up to the fact that Orlando has a team..

    Most of the talking heads predicted they would finish at the bottom in the East. Just another reason to tune out the Lame Stream Media..

    I read that Kobe said something to the fact of.. "when this team (Magic) gets hot, they can stay hot for weeks". Let's hope their hot shooting streak continues tonight.

     
  • At 12:41 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    That bandwagon stuff is old and childish,if thats the one thing your gonna always say then just leave the board. Here's a thought,instead of being bitter because lebrick is no longer playing how about focusing your attention on what moves need to be made to get him some help. The magic and lakers arent any of your business,remember your a cleveland fan and anytime your reference a game or score from this series YOU ARE JUMPING ON THE LA BANDWAGON!!! Where im from if your team is out,then keep your mouth shut.

     
  • At 1:43 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    Ken, I'm sorry I killed your fan. He really has a big crush on you. Just think how obnoxious he'll be next year when LBJ becomes a Knick.

     
  • At 1:50 PM, Blogger WeRDevos said…

    Heh: Hollinger at ESPN ranks NBA teams historically from 1 - 30.

    Orlando comes in 15th. Currently playing the #1 Lakers. Beat the #6 Sixers, #2 Celtics, and Cleveland who is 19th. That's damn funny.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/playoffs/2009/columns/story?columnist=hollinger_john&page=FranchiseRankings-Intro

     
  • At 2:16 PM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    I decided to leave the previous post up just for laughs. Dwight Howard getting swept? Lakers in 4?

    Umm... excuse me... the Magic won Game 3. The Lakers can no longer win the series in four games.

     
  • At 4:34 PM, Blogger Ken said…

    LOL.. That's ok WRD, no need to apologize, I was getting annoyed with him anyway. I almost left him a comment but then thought better of it. He doesn't deserve our time or interest...

     

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