Thursday, June 04, 2009


I have no magical potion to figure out what will happen in this series, though I think the Lakers will win.

I do, however, feel pretty strongly about a few statements, and the result of the series won't change my mind.

For a basketball fan, this isn't a bad series at all.

I heard Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio talking about this. He made -- hark! -- a really good point. The idea here is that the Cleveland-San Antonio series a couple years ago was a bad matchup for the league. It was a one-man team against a heavy favorite that lacked a serious personality. Remember, the media was so hell-bent on finding a storyline with that Spurs team that they were screaming every five minutes about Bruce Bowen being a dirty player. That's all they could come up with.

There is likely no shortage of entertaining basketball coming in this year's Finals. The Lakers can run the floor with the best of them, and Orlando will push the tempo and take a lot of shots.

There are superstars on both teams, with Kobe for the Lakers and Dwight Howard for Orlando. Not only that, but for Howard, this is a chance to make some noise as a mainstream star, something that hasn't really happened because everyone is too busy fellating LeBron he plays in Orlando.

Orlando has a chance.

Any team that has beaten the likes of Boston and Cleveland has to be given a real shot to win a best-of-seven. You know they'll have at least one game where they shoot lights-out and can't be stopped. That leaves them to get three wins in six games, and I believe this Orlando team is good enough to go 3-3 against anyone in the league.

That said, it's too hard to pick a team like Orlando to win. They don't have the talent to match up with Los Angeles, and they have to rely on the sly coaching of Stan Van Gundy and their long-range shooters.

Oh, and they have to hope the refs don't screw them. There, I said it.

If nothing else, the Van Gundy storyline adds intrigue.

My background in broadcasting makes me naturally interested in something like this. I thought Bob Griese was borderline terrible when he called his son's games at Michigan. Almost like he was trying too hard to hide what everyone knew.

Jeff Van Gundy offered to be taken off the ABC broadcasts of the NBA Finals when Orlando made it. He thinks he can fairly call games coached by his brother, but he didn't want anyone to think he was pushing an agenda.

ABC declined, trusting he would be a professional. While I think he will do a good job, the bottom line is that Jeff Van Gundy is a human being. His presence has helped ABC immensely, and I think it will help them in these Finals, as people will be waiting for him to slip up and start cheering from press row.

The Magic don't need Jameer Nelson.

Don't get me wrong. I'm sure they'd love to have him. But putting a player who is rusty and possibly not 100 percent on the floor isn't going to help you beat a team like the Lakers. Stan Van Gundy has set a rotation, and he's worked it well during his team's playoff run.

The last thing they should do right now is mess with that rotation to put an injured player on the floor. Yes, Nelson could help the Magic. He also could hinder them, and it's not at all worth the risk involved.

I won't be watching very much.

It doesn't help that I'm not an NBA fan. It also doesn't help that I get up for work early in the morning. 8pm Central time starts just don't agree with my schedule.

But I know I don't matter to the NBA. Neither does anyone in the Eastern time zone. Instead, they set a start time that caters to -- of all things -- the West Coast.

It's one thing that the NHL does more right than the NBA. It might be only one thing, but for the NHL, it has to be considered a start.

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