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Magic-Lakers: How Orlando Can Steal Game One

Brandon Ribak@reebokforthreeSenior Writer IJune 4, 2009

LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 16:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic jumps to the basket for a shot attempt during their NBA game against the Los Angeles Lakers on 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)

Stealing home court advantage in the playoffs is huge.

Now when it comes to the NBA Finals, relinquishing home court can be ultimate.

For those of you who were unaware, the NBA Finals is not like a regular playoff series, instead of the games going 2-2-1-1-1, it goes 2-3-2.

With that in mind, the first two games of the Finals will be played in Los Angeles.

Orlando will go into the Staples Center seeking two victories, but if they can pull out at least one during the next two games, they will do exactly what they came in LA to do, which is steal home court.

Grabbing Game One in Laker territory is not a necessity, but if Orlando can work their magic and pull out a W from their pockets, they will not only be one win closer to winning the title but will also make a serious statement to LA in this epic series to come.

So how exactly can Orlando steal Game One?

Well, the first answer to that question is rather simple...they just need to come out with more intensity then LA.

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If the Magic can come out hitting their shots and defending the basketball, they can get off to a quick lead early on in the game.

With the adrenaline on their side, one really cannot predict how deadly of a team Orlando can truly be.

I mentioned in my preview article of the series that Orlando is clearly the better team of the two in preventing their opponents from shooting well from the field and three-point line.

So the next answer to that question is defense.

Defense wins games, we all know that.

Throughout the playoffs, Orlando has held their opponents to shooting just 32.4 percent from the three-point line while averaging only 3.5 block and around 13.5 turnovers per game.

If they can force LA to have a mediocre shooting kind of night, they instantly have the advantage in capturing the win.

The final answer is preventing Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, and Trevor Ariza from posting their normal scoring averages.

Since Dwight Howard will be defending Bynum, there is not much to worry about with him on the offensive end.

With Rashard Lewis facing up against Pau Gasol, there is a possibility that Gasol can drop 20-plus points per night. If Lewis can attack Gasol and withhold him from scoring as much and Turkoglu can stop Ariza from knocking down his threes, the game will be a lot harder for Mr. Bryant to win.

Let's really think about it for a moment.

Instead of actually attacking and double-teaming the Lakers' primary scorer all night long, why not just defend every other offensive presence on the team and force the Black Mamba to do all the work?

Breaking down every other weapon that the Lakers have would require Bryant to produce more, use additional energy, and possibly get fatigued by the fourth or fifth game of the series.

If Orlando can do these three things during Game One tonight, they will come out victorious and make the biggest statement that the Magic have made in their entire existence.

Game Prediction: Orlando - 102    Lakers - 98

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