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NBA Finals Preview: Who Has the Advantage?

BOSTON - JUNE 17:  Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics holds up the Larry O'Brien trophy after Game Six of the 2008 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers on June 17, 2008 at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the Lakers 131-92 to win the NBA Championship.  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 Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jacob KerrContributor IJune 3, 2009

There has been talk about who has the advantage in the NBA Finals.

In the season series, the Magic held a 2-0 record over the Lakers.

But the Magic had Jameer Nelson, and so some believe that the Lakers will win with him out of the lineup.

Even though the Magic might have Nelson back, he missed a lot of games. Giving him minutes could cost the Magic.

Here are some head-to-head comparisons from the games during the season to see who really does have the advantage. 


1. Field Goal Percentage

In the season series, Orlando averaged 46.6 percent from the field with a three-point average of 41.45 percent.

The Lakers averaged 40.6 percent from the field with a three-point average of 33.95 percent.

The winner here is Orlando because they have been able to show better consistency from the field than the Lakers.


2. Free-throw Percentage

During the season series, the Lakers averaged 85.05 percent from the free-throw line while the Magic averaged an awful 64.55 percent.

The winner here is Los Angeles because they are converting on their chances to get easy points.


3. Rebounding

The Magic were able to average 47 rebounds against the Lakers, while the Lakers averaged 40 rebounds.

The winner here is the Magic because if they control the boards, they can get a lot of second-chance opportunities and limit the Lakers to one shot per possession.


4. Passing

The Magic were able to average 19.5 assists per game, while the Lakers only averaged 16.5.

The winner here is the Magic because they able to build better team chemistry with having more assists.


5. Defense

The Magic were able to average seven steals and five blocks per game, while the Lakers averaged 7.5 steals and 2.5 blocks per game.

This one is a tie because the Lakers better the Magic in steals but the Magic better the Lakers in blocks.


6. Turnovers

The Lakers averaged just 10 turnovers per game, while the Magic averaged 15.5.

The Lakers take this one because they have been able to take care of the ball and not commit as many costly turnovers as the Magic.


7. Scoring.

The only real determining factor is who wins.

The Magic averaged 107.5 points per game, while the Lakers averaged a consistent 103 points per game.

The Magic win this one because they were able to outscore the Lakers.

Now let's review: The Magic clearly have an advantage over the Lakers from the comparisons. The Magic won this comparison 4-2 (with one tie) over the Lakers.

These comparisons factor Nelson being in the lineup because he could suit up for the Magic in these finals.

The only concern for the Magic is that they need to find someone to contain Kobe Bryant; if he gets it going, the whole Lakers team gets going. Given some momentum, the Lakers are a hard team to stop.

For the time being, the Magic hold an advantage.

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