1. Goodbye, Mismatches.
Dwight Howard vs. a Blue-and-Wine colored corpse.
6'10" Hedu Turkoglu vs. a 6'3" shooting guard.
Rashard Lewis vs. The General Motors version of Dennis Rodman.
These are called mismatches. The NBA is full of them. Most games hinge on these specific match-ups. Ask Mark Cuban how much he dreads playing New Orleans each and every year. Or ask any coach from the 2001 playoffs about playing against Shaq in general.
Mismatches are how this game is played and won.
These mismatches are no longer prevalant in the NBA Finals. Rashard Lewis faces off with a Forward as equally athletic and long as he is. Hedu Turkoglu squares off against a defender who won't be staring into his lower stomach for most of the evening.
Most importantly, our big men have pulses and lateral movement.
Is Dwight Howard still going to be a force, yes. Will Rashard Lewis and Hedu still make shots, yes. Will they come as easy or often as against Cleveland, no.
2.Not Even Pac-Man Could Make It Rain Like That!
45 percent on 20 shots.
44 percent on 23 shots.
45 percent on 38 shots.
As a long time fan of the NBA, which I expect most of you are, these numbers are utterly ridiculous—for the regular season. For the playoffs it's just absurd.
45% three-point shooting on 38 shots. Repeat that to yourself. It gets more audacious each and every time you do.
There's no way they can do that again. Excluding the fact that Phil won't double Dwight Howard off of hot shooters(ever think of that Mike Brown), history shows there's no way the Magic can keep that kind of shooting streak up.
3. 43 and 0.
The most underrated, untalked-about record in sports. When Phil Jackson wins the first game of a series he has never lost. Ever. In 18 years. I have knocked him for his reliance on a far past his prime Fisher over the super-hot Shannon Brown. I have knocked him for not giving Bynum enough time. I have knocked him resting Kobe too much. I have knocked him for his lack of half-time adjustments and detrimental hubris.
And all of these don't matter because he wins the next game.
4.Mickael Pietrus Won't Outscore the Lakers' Bench
Odom. Farmar. Brown. Vujacic. Walton.
One of them is usually on. Vujacic caught on towards the end of the Nuggets series. Brown has earned himself a nice contract. Farmar always is inconsistent, but shows flashes of brilliance.
And when Odom comes to play, the Lakers are nearly impossible to beat.
5.Kobe Bryant Plays for the Lakers.
Kobe wants this. One more ring and he will have carried his team to a title. He will have carried his team to a title without a future Hall of Famer (Pau is too soft and Odom is too inconsistent). He will have four titles like the other greats of this era—Shaquille and Duncan. He will be one title closer to being the greatest Laker ever.
Most importantly, he will be one title closer to Michael Jordan's six.
He wants this. He wants this more than the Magic want the title. He wants this more then anyone in the NBA wants anything.
And that's enough to win.