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The 2009 NBA Finals: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Orlando Magic

BOSTON - MAY 12:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic reacts after he is called for a foul in the second half against the Boston Celtics in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden May 12, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the Magic 92-88.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Michael SippContributor IMay 16, 2009

Let me guess: Right now, you are saying, "What? The Magic in the Finals? That would mean they beat the Cavaliers!"

Yeah, I know, but I like the way Orlando is playing right now, whereas I do not like the way the Cavs are sitting on their butts, doing God-knows-what. It's anything but basketball.

Cleveland is going to come out cocky, overconfident, and are going to get a crash-course in what Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic can do. There is no way the Cavs won't come out too sure of themselves; they have King James and the league's best record.

But will their regular-season mark mean anything? Chicago, Philadelphia, and Detroit did not even have winning seasons, and they were playoff teams. There was a dramatic drop-off from the top three teams in the Eastern Conference (in order, Cleveland, Boston, and Orlando) to the No. 4 seed (Atlanta Hawks).

The Cleveland Cavaliers need to buckle their seat-belts; they are going to have a long 14-day, seven-game ride against the Magic.


And as for the Western Conference? Will it be any surprise when the Lakers win the conference? Kind of.

Let me be the first one to tell you, if the Lakers play the Nuggets like they did Houston, Carmelo Anthony & Co. will have a field day against L.A.

But I believe that Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant, and Pau Gasol will help the Lakers settle down, take a deep breath, and beat Denver in five. They'll then have plenty of time to prepare and practice for Dwight Howard and the Magic.

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