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The Oklahoman's NBA writers lay down their Finals predictions

Oklahoman Modified: June 4, 2009 at 3:53 pm •  Published: June 4, 2009
Mike Baldwin
The Magic swept the season series, is 3-1 against the Lakers the past two seasons and overcame home-court disadvantage against Boston and Cleveland.

But the same type of mismatches the Magic exploited against Cleveland will be the type of mismatches that make the Lakers the favorite.

Orlando won’t be able to rely on its pick-and-roll, firing-up-3’s strategy that was successful against the Cavs.

If the 3-balls are falling, the Magic can become the first non-No. 1 or 2 seed since 1996 to win an NBA title.

The Lakers win because of a slight edge in talent and home-court advantage.

Prediction: Lakers in six.

Darnell Mayberry
Here we’ll have yet another example of experience winning out in the NBA.

Anthony Johnson and Tyronn Lue are the only Orlando players who have been this far in the playoffs.

The Lakers, on the other hand, are a veteran and battled-tested bunch that knows what to expect at this point in the postseason. Add that to the advantages they already hold when it comes to matchups, home court, talent and coaching.

And if somehow Orlando does manage to overcome the aforementioned obstacles, the Magic still must find an answer for Kobe Bryant, who isn’t about to lose in the Finals for the third time. Bryant is a man on a mission. And nothing will stop No. 24 from winning ring No. 4.

Prediction: Lakers in five.

Berry Tramel
Strange but true. In these playoffs, the Magic had an easier time with 66-win Cleveland than it did with 69-win Boston and just as easy a time as it did with 35-win Philadelphia. Meanwhile, the Lakers struggled most against Houston, even though the Rockets played half the series without Yao Ming.

What gives? Matchups. The NBA is a game of matchups.

Cleveland, with a roster full of big guys and little guys and LeBron James, had no answer for Orlando’s tall, perimeter shooters like Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis and Mickael Pietrus.