I can admit when I was wrong. And I was. The Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA Finals in five games.
However, there weren’t flaws in my arguments. The Magic had, to that point, played better when no one believed in them (see Games 2-4). And, with the exception of the first and last games, the Magic were not adversely destroyed by poor matchups against the Lakers. The Orlando Magic were not beat by the Los Angeles Lakers, though the Lakers helped some. The Orlando Magic beat themselves.
I didn’t realize the Magic’s lack of an ability to finish games. If the Magic had the ability to close out when given opportunities, the series would have been 3-1 Magic going into Game 5 in Orlando. In that situation, I would have been right and the Magic would be celebrating.
However, the Magic apparently can’t finish games or capitalize on fourth-quarter closing-seconds opportunities. In nearly identical situations, games 2 and 4 were tied with mere seconds on the clock and the Magic had the ball. Game 2: In-bound to the only person I wouldn’t in-bound the ball to. Lee misses the game-winning layup, Lakers win in overtime. Game 4: With four seconds to work with, the Magic couldn’t get a crucial shot to tie the series up. Lakers win in overtime.
Maybe it was the Magic’s inability to finish games that The Oklahoman’s NBA Finals predictors saw that I didn’t. Maybe it’s because I’m an intern and they’ve been doing what they do a long time. Either way, I was wrong. They were right. And the Magic disappointed me.
Wow. Did I grab your attention?
Yesterday The Oklahoman’s top sports writers told who they like in this year’s NBA Finals. Watch and read content here. But I think they are all wrong.
All five writers chose the Lakers in either five or six games, meaning they think the Magic will win only one–two at most–game in the series. And I don’t think that will happen.
If I’m not mistaken, wasn’t Boston supposed to deal with Orlando in five? Or Cleveland. “The Chosen One.” Wasn’t Lebron supposed to easily hurdle over the minor roadblock that was the Magic?
The entire postseason people have been second-guessing the Magic. Even when they took a series lead against Boston, analysts and experts said the Celtics had their wake-up call and would respond by winning the series. Remember all the talk after Game 2 of the series with Cleveland? That RIDICULOUS 3-pointer Lebron hit to put the Magic away (on my birthday)? People said King James would take control of the series and Orlando’s magic run in the playoffs was over.
But here we are. Magic and Lakers. NBA Finals. Guess who is the underdog for the third straight series in the postseason?
But I think it’s OK. I’m glad the sports writers chose the Lakers. I don’t think the Magic would win it otherwise.
The thing about the Magic is that they play best when few believe in them. They’re the NBA’s “Cinderella” team. But anyone who’s seen them play cannot discount the fact that Dwight Howard, Hedo Turkoglu, Rafer Alston, Mickael Pietrus and the rest have played ridiculously incredible basketball the last few weeks, even without Jameer Nelson.
They took the Boston series and won the conference title against Lebron and the Cavs while the Lakers limped through the playoffs, a meltdown game coming every two or three contests.
The whole time, as no one has believed in them, the Magic have been playing better and better and better. The Lakers, as everyone believes them destined to win, have been playing sloppy and lackadaisical basketball.
My point is that no one believes the Magic have a chance. That’s why MY prediction is Magic in six.
The Oklahoman sports columnist Berry Tramel likes to give nicknames.
I learned this my first day on the job. When I arrived in the press box at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium to cover the Women’s College World Series, writers Berry Tramel, Jenni Carlson and Scott Wright were already there. I was a little nervous (my first day and all) and a little intimidated (I’ve been reading those writers’ work for years), so I listened a bit to see what I could pick up.
It didn’t take long before I discovered Berry likes to give nicknames. A few examples: MKB, Miss Saigon and, my personal favorite, J.G. Whitfield.
Each nickname makes sense when you get him to explain the thought process that went into it and each is acceptable in all references to the person for Berry. I wondered how long it would take before I received a rite-of-passage nickname from Mr. Tramel.
I arrived at the stadium on Sunday and was greeted by a shiny new nickname: Corleone. The nickname makes sense in and of itself to anyone who has seen Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” because my last name is Corley. But the explanation goes deeper, like it usually does with Berry. Apparently–and I have yet to check this out for myself–on the first day my work with The Oklahoman went in print, there was a column in the paper that mentioned either the Godfather or Don Corleone himself. It was meant to be.
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