No LeBron? No problem for NBA Finals
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?
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