Dwight Howard controlled the paint with 15 points and 16 rebounds to lead his Orlando Magic to victory over the Los Angeles Lakers 96-94 Sunday at the Amway Arena. Vince Carter posted 25 poinst as Jameer Nelson contributed for 15. Kobe Bryant put up 34 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals, despite missing his final attempt at the buzzer for LA to suffer their third loss in a row.
Yesterday’s NBA Finals regular season rematch was full of emotion. It was evident that both teams were desperate to gain the extra edge heading into the last few weeks of the regular season. “You could see it in everybody’s faces and everybody’s demeanor,” said Carter. “Everybody on that floor wanted to win that game. It wasn’t just, ‘Yeah, OK, whatever.’ It was, ‘Let’s go get it.’ That game was Game 7.” The Magic are now set to play the LA Clippers while the Lakers host the Toronto Raptors this Tuesday.
Despite immense amounts of media hype, video game simulations, and commercials featuring everything from sports drinks to muppets; the NBA is not getting a Kobe/Lebron finals match-up. The Lakers/Magic finals series could be far more entertaining, as Orlando is a more well-rounded squad than the Lebron-centric Cavs. On the way to the championship series, the Magic eliminated the last two Eastern Conference Champions (including the defending NBA Champion Celtics), and beat a very capable 76ers team.
The Los Angeles Lakers were taken to the brink by a Tracy McGrady-less rockets, and traded licks with a very tough Denver Nuggets squad. While neither of the two teams have played as many as last year’s 7-game-series-heavy Celtics, both have been through multiple drawn out matchups with tough opponents. Expect Laker forward “Candy Man” Lamar Odom and his Magic counterpart Hedo Turkgolu to vie for most 3-pointers, as an undercard to the Kobe/Howard athletics.
The series starts on Thursday night, so get your 2009 NBA Finals tickets now!
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