I doubt any of us figured it would be Dwight Howard, though.
Howard erupted for 40 points and 14 rebounds last night. He looked unstoppable on both ends of the floor, commanding double teams and creating open looks from three for his teammates.
What struck me about his performance, though, was how similar it looked to my own playing style in NBA Jam.
For those unfamiliar with the epic video game, the most difficult teams to beat are those with a strong inside presence and a dangerous outside shooter. The Orlando Magic were king of this game, having Nick Anderson to bully teams from inside and Scott Skiles to bury threes from outside. Strangely enough, watching last night's Game Six was a lot like watching a NBA Jam game.
Howard destroyed all comers in the paint. If they let him get free, he dunked it on their head. If they tried to foul him, he made the foul shots (12-for-14 FT shooting). If the double team came, he passed to an open shooter for three.
I couldn't help but think that was exactly how I would have done it...you know, if I were playing NBA Jam.
All of my championship teams featured a dominant big man who would run inside, get the double team, and kick it out to the open shooter for three. On defense, I stayed in the passing lanes and blocked shots to get the ball back. Four quarters of that style of play were usually good enough for a 15-20 point margin of victory.
If I remember correctly, Orlando was ahead by 15-20 points for most of the second half.
It's a good sign for a team if their style of play looks like a video game, one has to think. The Lakers had better take note.
If they want to prepare, maybe they should watch some old tape of Anderson and Skiles. I'd be happy to provide it for them.