Lakers-Magic: Keys to Winning

Charlie JonesContributor IJune 2, 2009

LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 16:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks to make a play to the basket against Jameer Nelson #14 and Hedo Turkoglu #15 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)

This Lakers-Magic series is going to be a great one, especially when you break it down and look at all the fine details each team must pay attention to.

Each team has had lapses of focus. Each has had some high intensity defensive games and each have had high-powered offensive games. What will this series boil down to? Coaching? Rebounds?

While it remains to be seen, we figured we’d say our piece and give you a chance to say yours!

The Orlando Magic are competing for their first ever NBA title. How unfortunate for them they have to face one of the most experienced franchises in the league in the Los Angeles Lakers. With 14 titles the Lakers know what it takes to win in this situation while the Magic must play catch-up.

If the Magic feel like their two wins against the Lakers during the regular season is a factor, they will be sorely mistaken. This Laker team has no memory when it comes to failure and rightfully so. The Lakers have battled against the best teams in the West in the Rockets and Nuggets and were faced with great adversity that they overcame.

The Magic’s only true test was the Cavs. Their focus faltered during the Boston series but, without Garnett, the Celtics looked dead in the water.

With one of the best big men in the game today down low in Dwight Howard, the Lakers are going to have to go inside hard and often. There is no letting Dwight “get his” in this series. If he goes off, watch out Laker fans because he truly inspires his team. If Howard can be effective on the inside defensively without fouling, the Magic will have a huge advantage over the Lakers.

The Lakers will have to go deep into their fouls when guarding Howard, but the Lakers have that covered as well. With Bynum, Mbenga, Odom, and even Powell, the Lakers have a lot of fouls to give. While Odom may want to stay out of foul trouble, expect him to work on Dwight if his offensive game isn’t working one night.

The Lakers must get all their gears going early if they want to stay ahead of a very talented Magic team. But the key is really in Lamar Odom. Since Bynum is still being effected by the injury to his knee (at least mentally), the rebounding department has suffered in their loses in previous series.

Lamar Odom better eat his candy (which he says his best games are where he eats it for breakfast) and crashes those boards, especially offensively.

Both teams will be able to score from outside. Turkoglu for the Magic has been on fire and brings back those old memories of the Sacramento Kings battles with the Lakers. Sasha, Fisher, and Farmar must hit their outside shots to loosen up the inside by bringing the Magic defenders out as well as to take some pressure off of Kobe.

Ball movement is also key as both teams are very effective when passing the ball around to find the mismatch/open shot.

All in all, this series is shaping up to be a great one. Granted we don’t get to see (boo-hoo) LeBron go up against Kobe, but this looks to be a great series in itself.

Prediction: Lakers in Six. The home court advantage will be too much for the inexperienced Magic to overcome.

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