A Magic Win Means The Lakers Are In For The Long Haul

Walter SimonsenCorrespondent IMay 31, 2009

LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 16:  Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives baseline against Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic during their NBA game on January 16, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Magic won 109-103.   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 Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

While the Western Conference finished as to be expected, with the Lakers coming out on top, the Eastern Conference outcome was a little different.

The Lakers-Celtics rematch which seemed to be the talk of the sports world at the beginning of the NBA season, then led to a Lakers-Cavs match-up, a battle of MVP's.  

No doubt you've seen the weird puppet commercials for Nike, you know where Kobe and LeBron battle it out in a comical, Sesame Street sort of way.

Now it's time for Nike and T-mobile to team up. The only problem is, can Nike build a puppet tall enough to be Dwight Howard, and round enough to be Charles Barkley on the other line.  Maybe this is an idea for another article...

With the Magic win, the Lakers find themselves in a interesting situation.

First, since the Lakers had the second best record in the NBA this year they will have home court advantage, and as we have seen the Lakers have been much better at Staples this year (although that game 6 in Denver maybe proved the best road team in the NBA title).

Also, the finals format of the 2-3-2 should prove to be advantageous to the Lakers.  If they can hold home in the first two games, then taking just one game in Orlando should allow for the Lakers to come out ahead.  

The Lakers are not going to loose back to back at home, so having the series open and close in LA should be to the Lakers favor. Not to mention that home court is always nice to have.

However, the problem now becomes Superman himself. He's dominant and the defensive player of the year.  Although the Magic don't match up well on the perimeter, the Lakers don't match up well in the post, or at least have yet to prove it against the Magic.

The Lakers lost the two games against the Magic this year and that was certainly more about Howard than it was about anything else.

Also, expect to see the Magic throw up a lot of threes.  In fact, I would expect to see more in this series that in the past since the Lakers do not expend much energy defending past the three point line.  

It should be an interesting finals series.  I'm know that there was a huge push to see Kobe and LeBron go at it, but it should be even more exciting to see the battle in the paint between Bynum and Howard.

My prediction: Lakers in 6.