Lakers-Magic: The Magic Has Not Run Out Just Yet

Brandon Ribak@reebokforthreeSenior Writer IJune 8, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 07:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic dunks the ball over Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Two of the 2009 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. 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 Mark J. Terrill-Pool/Getty Images)

Yes, another Magic article and yet again, very controversial.

As we all know, the Lakers are now up two games to none on the Magic.

After a tough overtime loss in Game Two, the Magic are headed back to Orlando for some serious home cooking.

Since the next three games (if the series goes to a Game Five) will be played at the Amway Arena, the Magic still have a golden opportunity to make a historic comeback, or do they?

There has only been 30 teams in NBA history that have been down two games to none during the NBA Finals and of those 30 teams, only three have come back and won the Title, coming out to a whopping 10 percent.

So the real question is, do the Magic have it them to make history in the playoffs once again?

Before entering the NBA Finals, Orlando shot near 45 percent from the field and around 36.5 percent from beyond the three-point line.

You can state that it was due to the lack of defense by the opposing team or you can say that the Magic simply shot the ball to perfection.

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In the two games played against the Lakers thus far, the Magic have shot a dreadful 35.9 percent from the field and 34 percent from the three-point area.

So is it the Lakers defense that has caused Orlando to miss so many shots or are the Magic just not hitting their jumpers?

To be honest, it is a mixture of both.

The Lakers ranked third in the NBA during the regular season in opponents three-point shooting, forcing them to shoot 33.9 percent from beyond the arc (.1 percent off from what Orlando has shot so far in the two games).

LA also limited their opponents to shooting 48.6 percent from the field, which ranked seventh in the league.

On the other hand, the Magic have missed more uncontested shots during the two games played against Los Angeles than they have all playoff long.

Rafer Alston has been the worst of all the players on Orlando's roster, shooting a repulsive 11.2 percent from the field and literally 0 percent from the three-point line (0-for-8 3PTM).

X-factor Mickael Pietrus has been extremely unproductive on the offensive end as well, averaging just 8 PPG on 37.5 percent shooting from the field.

D-Howard has clearly had a tough time during the Finals to go along with the other two, shooting a career-worst 33.4 percent from the field, with only 14.5 PPG and a terrible 4.5 turnovers per game.

What does Orlando need to do?

First and foremost, Rafer Alston needs to be benched and replaced by Jameer Nelson.

Nelson was the difference maker throughout the regular season series when the Lakers lost both games to Orlando and he can be that guy once again in the NBA Finals.

Nelson has now averaged just under 20 PPG during his first two games returning from a torn labrum in his shoulder, which forced him to miss four months of the regular season and all of the playoffs up to this point.

GM Otis Smith and the entire Magic organization made it clear that they would not play Nelson unless he was 100 percent healthy and physically ready to go.

Since Nelson looks good on the court and is obviously 100 percent healthy, the Magic NEED to start him if they want to win their first W in Orlando's history in the NBA Finals.

In addition, the Magic must give Howard the ball as much as possible during the next three games so that he can return to his true superman form.

When Howard is at his best, he forces his opponents into quick foul trouble, sets up his teammates up for the open three-pointer, and owns the defensive end of the court.

If Orlando was capable of making it all the way to the NBA Finals, than their magic has not ran out just yet...

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