Magic-Lakers: Five Questions Whose Answers Will Decide the NBA Finals

Sam Tastad@@samtastadCorrespondent IIIJune 2, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 16: Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers holds the all away from Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magicon 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)

The 2009 NBA Finals will start in Los Angeles on Thursday, and the Orlando Magic will visit the Lakers for the biggest showdown of the season.

In the regular season, the Magic beat the Lakers both times they faced them, but Jameer Nelson was healthy, and scored the most points of a Magic player against the Lakers.

There are five questions that need to be answered going into this series.

1. Can the Magic win Game One or Two at Los Angeles before going home to play three games?

If the Magic were to win all three games at home, and steal a game Staples Center, they would NBA champs. This is an ideal situation for the Magic.

Do the Magic really want to go back to L.A. for Game Six or Seven, knowing that they could close out the series at home if they could win one of their first two games? I don't think so.

The Magic should come out with intensity against the Lakers, and try to steal some momentum heading back to Orlando.

2. Can the Lakers sweep the Magic?

If the Lakers win both Games One and Two, it would get easier.

In order for the Lakers to sweep the Magic, Kobe Bryant must play well on all cylinders. He also must get the help he needs from his teammates. Remember when he had Shaq helping him win championships? He hasn't won a championship without Shaq yet, but this could be the series.

Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum have to step up in the paint. They have to score points, and guard Dwight Howard. Derek Fisher, Trevor Ariza, and Lamar Odom also have to be a force in this series to help Kobe out.

3. Can the Magic continue their hot three-point shooting?

The Magic will be going up against better defenders, but they just have to create openings for themselves to shoot the long ball. If the Lakers double Dwight Howard, it will create an open man on the wings, and a chance to shoot the three.

Phil Jackson will have to decide how he wants to guard Dwight Howard—just like Stan Van Gundy will have to decide how he wants to guard Kobe Bryant.

4. Will Jameer Nelson play?

Nelson wants to play, and coach Van Gundy said that Nelson will practice with the team yesterday on Sportscenter. If Nelson plays, the Lakers will have another weapon to focus on—but if he doesn't then they can focus more on Howard, and the rest of the starters.

5. Who will come out on top? 

I see this series going at least five or six games, maybe seven. It will be a fun series to watch to see how the Magic match up against Kobe, and how the Lakers will match up against Superman.

Coaching will be key in this series too. Both coaches have won NBA championships, and know the ingredients to win a NBA championship. In fact, a few years ago, Van Gundy led the Heat to a comeback in a series victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Every starter will be key to each team, too, and it will be interesting to see how this series finishes.

Be sure to tune into Game One at Los Angeles to see how all the action unfolds.


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