When the NBA Playoffs first started, I, like most people, felt that the Eastern Conference was a one team race. The LeBrons would cruise through the first two rounds and face a real test, in Boston or Orlando, before taking on the Lakers.
I am an Orlando Magic fan but felt that they were a year away from true title contention. But as the playoffs have rolled on, the Magic have shown what they are truly made of.
There is no excuse for the Magic to drop two of the first three to Philadelphia but they got back on track and beat them in six. Let us not forget that Game 6 was played without Dwight Howard or Courtney Lee.
Then it was off to Boston to take on the defending champs, who were without their emotional leader and defensive stud Kevin Garnett. With or without KG, the Celtics are a good team that has a defensive philosophy.
Some people say now that that game should have never gone seven games and that the Celtics let Chicago take them to seven, so they really aren't that good without KG. Have we forgotten that Atlanta took them to seven last year and Boston won the championship?
The fact is Boston is not as good without KG. But they have role players that step up night after night. Eddie House, Glen Davis, even Marbury had some good contributions. Plus, Ray Allen hit some huge shots.
So when I hear people say that Orlando Should have beaten the Celtics in four or five games, I write that off as ignorance or people just not thinking about things before they say them.
Let's move on to the LeBrons now. They blew through the first two rounds in the minimum amount of games. They played Detroit, a team that went from on top of the world for the past seven years to nothing very quickly. Then they ran through a very young and talented Hawks team.
All of a sudden the LeBrons were apparently unstoppable. They were going to beat the Magic in four maybe five games. They were going to go to the NBA Finals and take on either the Lakers or the Nuggets.
Then Game 1 of the Eastern Conference happened, the unthinkable. The LeBrons lost at home for only the third time this season and the first time at all in the playoffs. It was all put on the fact that they had over a week off and were rusty.
I don't buy that. If Mo Williams' shot had gone in, they would have won because they were "well rested" and simply the "better team."
Better team? Are they? Orlando was 2-1 against the LeBrons during the season and 5-2 against the three teams left in the playoffs. Orlando’s record against the top teams this year was pretty darn good.
Top to bottom, the Magic are in fact better than the LeBrons. Orlando has three stars starting for them. Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu are obviously capable of hitting big shots at crucial moments. Turkoglu's passing ability is underrated and he can run the offense. Dwight Howard is the Defensive Player of the Year.
The LeBrons have LeBron, Williams, and Big Zeke. LeBron= MVP, enough said. Mo Williams was an all-star, but only because of an injury to Jameer Nelson. Big Zeke has a nice J for a big man and can help slow down Howard.
The biggest hole the Magic have is at head coach, and he really isn't that bad. He does panic too much when they are down and when they are up he allows them to relax too much to lose that lead. But he got them to the fourth best record in the NBA.
Overall the Magic match up well with the LeBrons. All they need to do is hit their jumpers and make sure Howard gets his touches on offense. On defense they need to do what they can on LeBron and shut down the rest of the team. LeBron cannot beat the Magic by himself.
So tell me now, if the Magic beat the LeBrons, would it really be an upset?