Do The Orlando Magic Have Enough Tricks Up Their Sleeve to Beat LA?

Brian HutchisonCorrespondent IMay 31, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - MAY 30:  An Orlando Magic fan holds up a sign during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic during the 2009 Playoffs at Amway Arena on May 30, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. 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)

The Orlando Magic have been the surprise team this year in the NBA. But, do they really have enough firepower to upset the almighty Los Angeles Lakers?

This series will be all about the matchups. I would be surprised if the Lakers played the same starting five they used against the Denver Nuggets.

Andrew Bynum has been getting the start at center, moving Pau Gasol to the power forward position. That would mean Gasol would cover Rashard Lewis, which would be a mismatch on both sides of the ball.

Lewis is far too quick for Gasol to come out to the perimeter to cover, and Lewis would get eaten down low trying to cover Gasol.

I think the better matchup would be starting Lamar Odom at the power forward position. Odom and Trevor Ariza will take their turns trying to guard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu.

I wouldn't even be surprised if Phil Jackson gave Kobe Bryant some time guarding Hedo or Rashard.

Although he doesn't have the size they do, you can't deny his aggressive defense and will to win. Jackson had him covering Carmelo Anthony last series because it appeared no one else wanted to.

Derek Fisher vs. Rafer Alston will be an interesting matchup. Alston is quicker, but Fisher is stronger. Due to Fisher's experience and ability to lead, I give Fisher the slight edge.

Stan Van Gundy might also alter his starting five. Mickael Pietrus is a better defender than Courtney Lee and is a better player to cover Kobe Bryant. Pietrus might not get the start, but I'm positive he will play more minutes.

The Lakers have better matchups against the Magic than the Cavs did, with Odom, Bryant, and Ariza all capable of guarding Hedo and Rashard. The key matchup to this series will be Dwight Howard in the post.

Gasol is an above-average defender, but I don't think he is big enough to keep Howard away from the basket.

I already discussed the mismatches if they brought in Bynum, but when they do I still don't believe he will be able to contain Howard.

Howard will come out to the top of the key to set high pick and rolls and Bynum simply doesn't have the speed to help fight off the screen and then get back to Howard.

This will be a great series. I don't really see any team with an obvious advantage. Kobe will be Kobe and Superman will be Superman. The Lakers are the more experienced team, but Orlando is quicker and is deadly behind the arc.

I think Kobe knows his chances of winning a ring with out Shaq are running low. If he wants to carve his name into the ultimate tree of greatest players ever, he needs to win it all this year.

Related

    DSJ 360s Like It’s Nothing 👀

    Featured logo
    Featured

    DSJ 360s Like It’s Nothing 👀

    Zac Wassink
    via Bleacher Report

    Can the Bucks Be Saved This Season?

    Featured logo
    Featured

    Can the Bucks Be Saved This Season?

    Dan Favale
    via Bleacher Report

    B/R's Latest 2018 Bracket

    Featured logo
    Featured

    B/R's Latest 2018 Bracket

    Kerry Miller
    via Bleacher Report

    B/R Staff Picks NBA Awards at Midseason

    Featured logo
    Featured

    B/R Staff Picks NBA Awards at Midseason

    Bleacher Report NBA Staff
    via Bleacher Report