NBA Finals 2009
Orlando Magic are back in the NBA Finals for the first time since 1995—the only other time they have made it this far.
This squad has a different look in 2009, but the players still fill similar roles.
Nelson was having an All-Star caliber season, and Orlando found the perfect guy to fill his shoes until he can return healthy next season.
Mickael Pietrus reminds of Dennis Scott. He catches the ball on the wing and he just lets it fly. If there’s a hand in his face, he is likely shooting it anyway. If he doesn’t shoot it, he is trying a pump fake and attempting to go down the baseline to the basket.
It’s obvious that Dwight Howard and Shaquille O’Neal could be compared. They have very similar styles and are sharing similar success for their Orlando careers. Shaq went to the NBA Finals in his third season. Dwight Howard did it in his fourth.
Howard struggles with free throws. Shaq struggles with free throws. Dwight has a dominant presence in the post. Shaq has a dominant presence in the post. They have both broken things attached to a backboard.
Rafer Alston has more flash and flare than Penny Hardaway did, but he also plays with more reckless abandon. This can be good and bad. At times, it appears that his shot selection might hurt the flow of the team’s offense.
Then you realize that this is Stan Van Gundy’s Orlando Magic. They want to shoot three point shots as much as they can. Playing from the inside out is too easy for them, I would guess. Maybe they want a challenge.
Whatever it is, the nights that Dwight Howard gets 40 points, as he did in game six, are very rare.
You can’t really compare Rashard Lewis to Horace Grant, because their styles are so different. Grant’s role was strictly to be a defender and get rebounds. He could hit the mid-range jump shots, but it wasn’t asked of him all that often.
Lewis, on the other hand, is part of Orlando’s three-point arsenal. They have seven guys on the current playoff roster who can make three-point shots on a regular basis. All of them are trying to shoot the three point shot when they are in the game as well.
Orlando has never had a player like Hedo Turkoglu before. He is a “point forward.” This means he plays the forward position, but he plays like a guard.
Orlando likes to let Turkoglu control the ball and come off the high screen to become a passer or take a jump shot. It is perfect for setting up their three point shots to other players and in return it gives him relatively high assist numbers.
Courtney Lee is an unsung hero. He has played with a fractured sinus cavity and looks like Rick Hamilton wearing that mask. He is still hitting big shots for Orlando when he is called upon.
Orlando was 2-0 against the Lakers this season. Nelson was Orlando’s leading scorer in both those games, averaging 27.5 points. He has been trying to convince the Magic for a chance at playing since the playoffs began, with each round the team advances the idea — and the talk — of him returning growing.
“I’m a competitor. I want to play,” Nelson said Tuesday.
The Magic’s title hopes took a major hit after he was injured. A trade-deadline deal that brought Alston from Houston largely saved the Magic’s season, allowing the rotation to remain the same and Johnson to continue to provide solid play as Alston’s backup.
The Magic are hoping Nelson can only add to that success.
Van Gundy, perhaps trying to keep his coaching strategy a secret, again expressed doubt Tuesday whether Nelson could seriously return for the Finals. But he also said that even if Nelson doesn’t play in Game 1, he could play later in the series.
This current rotation can put up 100 points a night with regularity. The Lakers can as well. This series may not’ve been what the NBA front office had initially hoped, but I do not think it will disappoint them too much once it is over.
Our free tip for the NBA Final is :
Lakers to win in 6 games .