Kobe Bryant, The Black Mamba, is ready to strike as his LA Lakers get ready to host the Orlando Magic tonight, June 4, in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Orlando won both regular season meetings over LA. NBA oddsmakers at Sportsbook.com have the Lakers as -6 point home favs over the Magic with the over/under listed at 206 points. Be sure to get your Lakers vs Magic NBA Finals Game 1 Prediction in now at Sportsbook.com
The Magic defeated some of the toughest teams to get to the Finals and they aren’t about to roll over for the Lakers. On their way to the finals, the 3-point-happy Magic, made 62 3-pointers against the Cavs and are averaging 8.6 per game in the playoffs after knocking off the favored Celtics, Cavaliers and can now dispatch the Lakers. The Magic are making their first appearance in the finals since 1995, they won both regular-season matchups against the Lakers and are capable of an upset. " They've beaten us three of the last four times," Bryant said. "So we're very, very concerned." The big reason for Orlando’s success is Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard, who is the new Shaq of the NBA. He can bend backboards and take over a game at both ends. Howard averages 21.7 ppg, 15.4 rpg and is shooting 62% from the field in 18 playoff games. The Magic might get an extra boost tonight with the return of Jameer Nelson who injured his shoulder in February. Van Gundy was still weighing whether to play Nelson, who averaged 27.5 points in the two wins over Los Angeles. Orlando won both games over the Lakers as underdogs. Stopping or slowing down Bryant weill be top priority for the Magic. Expect the Magic to use rookie Courtney Lee, reserve Mickael Pietrus and Hedo Turkoglu on Bryant throughout the game.
The Lakers walked away from last year’s Finals as losers, this year it has been Kobe’s main goal to get his fourth title and 15th Championship for the Lakers. "My next goal is winning the NBA championship," he said. "We don't want to fall short of that." The Lakers have won 61 Finals games and when Phil Jackson has won Game 1 he is 43-0 with nine rings. The overriding theme during the Lakers' post-practice availability on Wednesday was how last season's finals lessons will help them this time. A year ago, many of Lakers younger players got swept up and overrun by the Celtics. They learned from their mistakes and they’re ready to get the show started. "We're upset about losing in the finals," forward Pau Gasol said. "We should have given it a better shot than we did. It didn't happen, and now we're here again and we can give it a much better shot and really get it done." Kobe Bryant is averaging 29.6 ppg, 4.9 assists per-game in 18 playoff games. It’ll be up to Andrew Bynum to stop Howard, Howard has had his struggles this season against bigger, stronger centers. Bynum kept him away from the rim and in foul trouble in December as Howard managed just 18 points and 12 rebounds and played just 31 minutes because of his five fouls.
Recent Trends to Consider:
- Under is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings in Los Angeles.
- Magic are 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
- Road team is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings.
- Underdog is 6-0 ATS in the last 6 meetings.
- Magic are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record.
- Magic are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Lakers are 1-10-1 ATS in their last 12 NBA Championship games.
Lakers vs Magic NBA Finals Game 1
When: Thurs, June 4, 2009 9:00 PM ET
Pick: Magic +6
Point-Spreads.com Lakers vs Magic NBA Finals Game 1
The Bottom Line: The Magic might just be the team that has destiny on their sides. They have the shooters and strength under the basket and off the boards. Be sure to get your Lakers vs Magic NBA Finals Game 1 Prediction in now at Sportsbook.com and receive a 10% sign-up bonus on your initial deposit.