NBA Finals Preview: Lakers Vs. Cavaliers

Brandon Ribak@reebokforthreeSenior Writer IApril 10, 2009

With only four games remaining on the 08-09 NBA season schedule, fans worldwide are anxiously awaiting for TNT's premier of the NBA 40 games in 40 nights to finally kick off.

In my previous article, (the playoff preview)

I go in depth on what the playoff matchups would be if the season ended today.

The NBA Finals Preview will now introduce the Championship series and who will win it all.


Eastern Conference                                Western Conference

Cleveland Cavaliers             VS.                Los Angeles Lakers


We start off with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

With a 63-15 record, .808 win percentage, the Cavaliers are left with only four more games before the end of the season.

All four of these games should be a breeze for the Cavs as they face the 76ers twice, the Pacers once, and the Celtics at home.

If they win all four games they will hold onto the best record in the NBA and most importantly, win home court advantage come playoff time.

So they currently hold the best home record (38-1) and the best overall record in the NBA (63-15). But one thing that I have come to notice is that the Cavs are not as good when they battle against the top contending teams in the league.

The Cavaliers hold a lousy combined record of 5-7 against the Nuggets, Lakers, Magic, Celtics, and Rockets—the top three teams in both conferences.

They scored an average of 93 points against those five teams, nearly seven points less than their average 99.8 points per game.

They let their opponents score an average of 96.8 points per game in those 12 games, almost six points more than their league leading opponent average of 91.1 ppg.

The Los Angeles Lakers currently hold a record of 63-16 (one more loss than the Cavs), .797 win percentage, with three games remaining on the season—the Blazers, Grizzlies, and Jazz.

Assuming the Lakers win each of their last three games, they will only need the Cavaliers to lose one of their last four to tie for the best record in the league. Since the Lakers versus the Cavaliers season matchup is in favor of the Lakers 2-0, L.A will capture the best record in the league and ultimately take over home court advantage.

Unlike the Cavs, the L.A. Lakers have an outstanding combined record of 11-3 against the Nuggets, Cavaliers, Magic, Celtics, and Rockets (top three teams in each conference), averaging 102 ppg in those 14 games—five points less than their season average of 107 points per game.

Breaking down the rosters

Starting Five

PG- Mo Williams                                            PG- Derek Fisher

SG- Delonte West                                           SG- Kobe Bryant

SF- LeBron James                                           SF- Trevor Ariza

PF- Anderon Varejao                                      PF- Andrew Bynum

C- Zydrunas Ilgauskas                                    C- Pau Gasol


Cavs                                                                Lakers

Wally Szczerbiak, Ben Wallace,                     Lamar Odom, Luke Walton, Sasha Vujacic,

Daniel Gibson, Joe Smith, Sasha Pavlovic     Jordan Farmar


In the two games that L.A. has faced Cleveland this season, the Lakers have ended victorious in both.

LeBron James averaged only 19.5 ppg (28.35 ppg on the season) with 8 apg and 8.5 rpg in those two games.

In the first matchup James shot 9-25 from the field and 1-5 from beyond the arc, scoring 23 points along with nine boards, four assists, four steals, and six turnovers.

During the second game the King shot a horrific 5-20 from the field and 2-8 from three-point range, scoring just 16 points with 12 assists, and eight rebounds. (He also shot 4-8 from the charity strike).

In total, James has shot a whopping 31 percent from the field against the Lakers this season and a terrible 23 percent from three-point range.

Lakers starting center Pau Gasol averaged 20 ppg and 12.5 rpg during the two games, shooting slightly over 60 percent from the field.

Kobe Bryant averaged 19.5 ppg, 7 apg, and 4.5 RPG in the two game span, but the biggest problem for the Cavaliers was the Lakers forward Lamar Odom who dropped 28 points, and 17 rebounds, during the second game both teams faced each other.

Overall Analysis

The Cavaliers need LeBron James to produce in order to win games. They depend on him too heavily for them to win a title this season. If he is having an off game, the team expects him to snap out of it and capture a win for his squad anyway. There is no dominate player other then James on the Cavaliers roster that can take over a game and bring the team to victory.

The Lakers have made it evident that they can prevent James from scoring as much, resulting in forced and contested shots. They have proven that they do not need Kobe Bryant to drop 30 points in every game for them to pull out a win. The Lakers have many weapons on their deadly arsenal like Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom (even Andrew Bynum who just returned from injury, only to score 16 points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes of action) that can take over at any point in any game and most importantly get a victory for their team.


Regardless if the Lakers capture home court advantage for the playoffs, they will be crowned the champions of the NBA if they face up against the Cleveland Cavaliers. They are much smarter than the Cavs, they know how to play LeBron, and are virtually unstoppable this season.

Mark my words..the Los Angeles Lakers cannot and will not face defeat this season.






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