by Jose Antonio A. Conde

This must be basketball’s most popular final in time! Two teams collide for the world’s greatest team in search for supremacy. One team will win, while the other team will lose.

That’s how the NBA finals are usually describes, this is where legends are born, from George Mikan to Bill Rusell to Wilt Chamberlain, to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Magic Johnson to Larry Bird, to Michael Jordan, to Shaquille ‘O Neal, to Tim Duncan, and many more to mention.

This year’s showdown is a must-watch. Think about Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic being in the finals, many analysts begin to express their predictions, the pros, and cons of the series. Let’s recap the season of both teams:

Lakers: Started the NBA having a good record, which happened until after the All-Star Break, making the chemistry of Pau Gasol, who was acquired last year from Memphis and Kobe Bryant bloomer than it is, despite having their first full season. But some upsets by Sacramento and Indiana began them to weaken up, making them lost battle for the best record. Apparently, they were the first team to give Cleveland Cavaliers its first home loss of the season. Going stronger than ever made the Lakers #1 in the West, and having a 65-17 record. Playoff time! First round had been easy for them by defeating Utah Jazz. But their other struggles began to show, in the second round, vs. Houston Rockets, who are hounded by injuries of key players, but the performances of Luis Scola and Aaron Brooks made them weaker, as Derek Fisher began to slow down and show his agem would be even suspended in Game 3 due to a hard foul on Scola. But they won the series in 7 challenging games. And as the Conference Finals began vs. the rising force of Denver Nuggets with Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, who was acquired by the Pistons during the first half of the season for Allen Iverson, and their fortunes began to change, from being a first-round playoff losers, Billups made them succeed in every step, advancing into the Conf. Finals, but they came short to the Lakers in 6 games. Now the biggest question for the Lakers is that can they win without Shaq?

Magic: The Magic weren’t even expected to go to the NBA finals or maybe atleast, they might have a decent finish. But Dwight Howard has improved a lot, thanks to his development coach, Magic assistant Patrick Ewing. And so Jameer Nelson has also improved a lot, which led him to his first all-star selection, but one injury could have prevent him which made him sit out the second half of the season. Some players began to emerge like Hedo Turkoglu and Courtney Lee.  But after the all-star game, new players began to appear in Rafer Alston (from Houston) and Tyronn Lue (from Milawukee) which gave them more chemistry, as they ended the season, 59-23, getting the #3 seed in the East, wherein they faced the improving Philadelphia 76ers, who have Andrei Igoudala, Andre Miller, and Thaddeus Young around with Coach Tony DiLeo (Who later returned to the front office, and made Coach Eddie Jordan his successor) in the first round. In the opening round, they were outrebounded by the Sixers in the first game, thanks to the buzzer beaters of Andre Igoudala. But this seres became a rollercoaster one, everyone would even thought the Magic would sweep them since they’re a weak team. Apparently, Howard won the Defensive Player of the Year, as they won the series in 6 games. Their next competitor is the defending champions, the Boston Celtics, who survived a 7-game playoff series without their superstar Kevin Garnett versus the Chicago Bulls. They started strong as they can, but in game 2, one player made headlines, Rafer Alston, yes Rafer Alston made hit Eddie House in the head after making a crucial shot, but the won the game. No Rafer, no problem, they won Game 3. But the 4th game changed the fortunes, wherin Glen Davis made a crucial shot, which made them won the game. But the bad news is that, he hit a fan, who formerly roots for the Celtics, the son of Ernest Provetti, Nicholas. And the hound for the Magic continues as Stephon Marbury made everyting better as they won the Game 5, making the spell of Magic lost. But they have bounced back the next 2 games, making Celtics realized all their mistakes they have done, and the faced the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have the 2 major awardeed in LeBron James (Season MVP) and Coach Mike Brown (Coach of the Year), the best record in the NBA in 66-16, and then still having a perfect 8-0 record in the Playoffs. But the Magic made them show all their disadvantages, and defeated them in 6 games, infact King LeBron even had poor sportsmanship after that sixth game, saying that he is a real winner. Well, they’re known to bounce back and have a rollercoaster series, can they do this vs. the Lakers? Let’s see.

Prediction: Lakers in 6

Seeing Lakers lost their last 2 trips seem to be a failure for the most popular coach-player tandem today in Coach Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant. But there are so many ways to make Magic weak, and never make any comeback, get the edge to win it, and Lakers have a taller frontline in Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. But the outside poisition goes to the Magic, with Turkoglu around. And the bench is just equal, but Laker have the slight edge in Shannon Brown. Expect Ariza and Kobe to perform well. My finals MVP is Kobe Bryant.

Oh well, this final must be exciting. Don’t get mad if I was biased, I’m just getting my nerves on, and let’s get going!

FOOTNOTE: Mico Halili and Andy Jao will cover the NBA finals. Game 1 is tomorrow on LA.

    • Clara
    • June 4th, 2009

    This year’s game is going to be very exciting. I wonder which players are going to shine? Like you said- legends will be born like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jerry West! Kareem and West will both be reunited at the Sports Legends Challenge this fall along with 23 other sports legends! Check out for more information.

    Can’t wait to see how the game ends up!

  1. I can’t wait til tonight!! Go Lakers

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