Thursday, June 4, 2009

How Important is Game One of the NBA Finals?

If you listen to ESPN, they love to tell you all these obscure statistics that you never thought of asking, such as "over 90% of the teams that win game one of an NBA playoff series win the series." A statistic such as that leads you to question how important the first game between the Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Lakers actually is.

With the way both teams are playing, it's difficult to make such a prediction.

The Orlando Magic are 2-0 versus the L.A. Lakers in the regular season and the Magic went 3-0 at home in the Eastern Conference Finals. With that said, L.A. lost one game at home to the Denver Nuggets, but went ahead and took two in Denver later on.

What does all this tell you? Don't expect a predictable series.

There are already plenty of position-by-position analysis articles out there touting L.A.'s overwhelming advantages over the Magic. If anything, you have to give more credit to the Magic than the Lakers.

The Lakers might have a legendary coach, the experience of being in the Finals a year before and the all-star that is Kobe Bryant, but the Orlando Magic have formidable match-ups in those areas as well.

Stan Van Gundy has already outcoached Doc Rivers (last year's championship coach) and Mike Brown (this year's Coach of the Year). The Magic team as a whole has gained experience throughout these playoffs similar to how the Celtics gained experience during last year's championship run. As for Kobe Bryant, Mikael Pietrus could give him some fits on defense (i.e such as he did against a much larger LeBron James) while Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu will give him some problems on offense (i.e. isolation switch-ups against a much shorter Kobe Bryant).

All of this still may not give Orlando the edge over L.A., but it does even things out and settles the score on all these "L.A. in five" predictions. Quite frankly, many analysts thought that the Cleveland Cavaliers were going to trounce the Magic in five or six games, instead the result was the opposite.

These playoffs have left everyone in a bit of a surprise, from Denver's Western Conference Finals appearance to Houton's seven game series versus L.A. to Orlando's dominance over Cleveland. Don't sell yourself just yet because the NBA Finals will be quite a spectacle to watch.

1 comment:

threio said...

First, there is nothing wrong with giving a young person an opportunity to try and pay back his student loans by going blind crunching numbers 24/7.

Between the over-stat emphasis and the "lity" of every analyst to add --- abilty to the end of every english word I barely watch ESPN anymore.

"His atheleticism and fartability make him the best post man on the planet. He's un-stoppabale--just look at his leapabilty as he slams on the Lakers inability to defend the lane."

I would rather have Wolf Blitzer give me the scores.

No LeBron and Kobe hype, back to baseball for me!

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