Lakers-Magic: The Deciding Game of the NBA Finals

Brandon Ribak@reebokforthreeSenior Writer IJune 11, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 09:  Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes after the ball in front of Rashard Lewis #9 of the Orlando Magic in the fourth quarter of Game Three of the 2009 NBA Finals on June 9, 2009 at Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida.  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 Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Flat out, tonight's game will ultimately determine who wins the NBA Finals this season.

Many people usually believe Game Five is the deciding factor on whether a team makes or breaks their opportunity at becoming royalty and being placed into the record books for all of NBA eternity.

But for me, I beg to differ.

If the Los Angeles Lakers capture a victory during tonight's game, they will then increase their lead, 3-1 on the Orlando Magic.

That said, there is no possible way that any team (not just Orlando), can comeback, tie, or defeat the Los Angeles Lakers when they only need one more victory to crown themselves the kings of the NBA.

Just think about it. If Kobe Bryant was up 3-1 against the Magic, don't you think he would come into the game with the mindset of absolutely terrorizing anybody in his path, and not let anyone physically hold him back from capturing his first ring without Shaquille O'Neal?

On the other hand, if the Magic do indeed tie the series up, that could mean serious trouble for the Lakers.

With the momentum obviously on Orlando's side and luckily having one more game at the Amway Arena, don't you think the Magic would come out and shoot even 80 percent if they had to, to grab that third victory in the series?

Since Game Four is clearly a series changing win for either team, let's dig into what both finalists have to do tonight to steal the win and give themselves the edge on winning the NBA Title.

Los Angeles Lakers

The defense has been there all series long, they just need to continue to bring it into tonight's game.

Bryant needs to score at least 20-30 points and distribute the ball effectively.

Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum need to prevent D-Howard from playing his true game.

The Lakers have been excellent at defending him and have really kept Howard from slamming the ball into the hoop.

Ultimately, Lamar Odom needs to produce for the Lakers to pull out a win tonight.

Orlando Magic

After shooting 62.5 percent from the field and breaking an NBA Finals' record for the best FG percentage during a single half (75 percent), the Magic will look to pick up right where they left off.

Orlando needs to continue to shoot at an effective percentage, 45 percent or higher.

Rafer Alston must score 15 plus points and knock down his open jumpers and make his easy lay-ups.

Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu need to get going early and continue their scoring throughout the entire game.

Mickael Pietrus has to pressure Bryant and hit the three-pointer consistently tonight.

Ultimately, if D-Howard can get the Lakers into early foul trouble, he will be able to get to the rack more often, giving his team much needed points and a serious confidence boost.


Orlando -  98     Lakers -  89


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