Comparing The Orlando Magic To The Historic NBA Finals Comeback Teams
After dethroning the defending NBA champion Boston Celtics in seven games and beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games, the Orlando Magic rightfully earned their spot in the NBA Finals.
However, the team sees itself in an 0-2 series hole to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Magic are the 31st team to go down 0-2 in an NBA Finals series. Out of the 30 teams that fell in that series hole, only three came back to win the NBA Finals.
Orlando has defied history once already this post-season, beating Boston at home in Game Seven, giving the Celtics their only Game Seven home loss ever (32-1). However, the Magic need to change history again to win their first NBA championship.
The 1969 Boston Celtics, the 1977 Portland Trailblazers, and the 2006 Miami Heat are the three teams that have fought back from an 0-2 Finals hole.
With its back against the wall yet again, the Magic, who are 0-6 all-time in the NBA Finals, can safely say history will be hard to overcome this time.
Each of these fantastic NBA teams that have shown persistence in coming back in the NBA Finals were led by each teams' respectable standout player, and were supported by the teams' consistent role players.
The '69 Celtics were fueled by the superb play of All Star John Havlicek, who averaged 25.4 points per game in that particular post-season. After Havlicek, the team was well-supported in the playoffs with six more players who averaged more than 10 points per game.
The '77 Trailblazers had a proven leader in Maurice Lucas. Lucas averaged 21.2 points per game in his teams' respectable playoff run. Five more players averaged over 10 points per game, including Bill Walton.
The '06 Miami Heat were led by Dwyane Wade, who was undoubtedly the best player in those playoffs, averaging 28.4 points per game. Shaquille O'Neal, Antoine Walker, James Posey, Gary Payton, and Alonzo Mourning were only a few players on the Heat's star-studded lineup that led Miami to the NBA championship.
The Magic relate to each of these teams by the amount of talent on its roster.
Dwight Howard, even regarding his woeful play in games one and two of the NBA Finals, is the leader of the Magic. Howard has averaged 21 points per game in this year's post-season.
Orlando has four more players that average over 10 points per game in the playoffs, including Rashard Lewis, who has played substantially well this post-season, averaging 19.5 points per game.
The Magic are in the top 10 of the league in both points per game and points allowed per game, relevant to the three teams that have made history.
The Celtics, Trailblazers, and Heat each had its own style of play, ranging from half-court offense to fast-break offense. The three teams also had amounts of chemistry topped off with experience, with the exception of the '06 Heat.
Orlando's style of play, chemistry, and experience are unlike each of the three teams to come back from 0-2, however, with the combination of Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis, and Dwight Howard, along with key role players, Mickael Pietrus, Courtney Lee, Rafer Alston and newly-activated Jameer Nelson, the Magic are not out of these Finals yet.
The Magic need a history lesson to lead them to play like they have all post-season: like a team.
Orlando's true style and tempo has yet to be witnessed in this NBA Finals series thus far, which proves that they are not done yet.
With Orlando shooting a woeful 35.9 percent from the field in its first two games against the Lakers, the only way the Magic can go is up as it begins a three-game stretch at home, where shots are sure to fall and role players are fueled by the home crowd.
Perhaps a fourth team will be etched in the history books following the conclusion of the Finals.
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