The Finals, finally. Get your last basketball fix until Summer League starts up in a few weeks.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS VS. ORLANDO MAGIC
Only one of you gets to taste gold this time.
DUBBS: Well, here we are folks. The beginning of the end of another long season. It all comes down to this, the matchup everyone’s been talking about the entire year: Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers versus Lebron James and the Cleveland – wait, what? THE ORLANDO MAGIC ARE IN THE FINALS?!?! How the hell did that happen? Somebody fucked up! Does David Stern know about this? He is going to have somebody killed. Seriously, Jewish Steel In The Finals of Chaos. What happens now? What about the the Kobe vs. Lebron Vitamin Water ads? And those awful puppet commercials they keep trying to force us into finding funny? WHO WILL SAVE THE RACIST PUPPET COMMERCIALS?!
BROKEASS: That awful puppet looks as much like Dwight as it does Lebron. That’s about poor puppetry. And you know I have no tolerance for poor puppetry. I also have no tolerance for how long these damn playoffs run. I can’t even remember what they’re fighting about anymore. I don’t want this series to be played. I want them to shake hands and call it a draw. Just give the championship ring to Lebron so he can stop pouting and shake somebody’s hand already.
DUBBS: You are racist because you think all Black puppets look alike. This series is going to be fun. Because it’s unpredictable. Everything was so predetermined for the Finals. Then Orlando won and suddenly it wasn’t. The matchups in this series are funkier than expected. Two very different teams are facing off. And we don’t have to listen to the announcers go on and on about Kobe and Lebron every minute of every game. This series could be a blowout or it could go seven. I have no idea. You need to get excited again. To flip the script on Steph’s sage words – You’re caught up in life. You need to get caught up in basketball.
BROKEASS: You wouldn’t know fun if it sucked you off at an amusement park. I’m caught up in a playoffs as old as time. Orlando making it to the Finals would’ve been exciting a month ago. Now, they’re just one of the last two teams awake. All the champion wins is the right to turn off the lights.
DUBBS: A month ago, Orlando couldn’t have made it to the Finals. That Magic team and this current Magic team are very different. This is a team that has become who they are during the playoffs; really, only a couple of weeks ago during the Boston series. A young team coming into their own versus a veteran team expected to be there. A young superstar trying to emerge as a dominant force and win his first championship versus an aging superstar trying to cement his rep as one of the greatest to ever play the game. If this doesn’t wake you up, I think it’s time for me to trace my penis on your forehead.
BROKEASS: I’m awake! I’m awake! Put your marker away. You could draw any penis, why does it have to be a self-portrait? The Lakers are awake, too. That Houston series guaranteed LA wouldn’t be sleepwalking through any more of the playoffs. Not discounting the Magic, LA is better. In retrospect, Orlando had clear advantages in the previous three rounds. Advantages that favored their best players. This time, far less so. Their positional advantages are no longer aligned with their positional strengths. If both teams play to the level of expectation, the Lakers will win.
DUBBS: But who knows what the expectations are for Orlando? The goalposts have shifted several times for them throughout the Playoffs. They could show up with a Just Happy To Be Here vibe and get stomped. Or they could show up and work hard and beat a team NOBODY’s giving them a chance to beat, just like last round.
BROKEASS: Is Orlando really better than we expected? Or are Cleveland and Boston worse? LA can’t be faulted for not exceeding expectations when expectations were for them to be fighting for a championship in June. They are. No one thought that Orlando would get this far and no one thinks they will win it. Sooner or later the critics will probably be right. This isn’t a challenge to the Magic’s resolve. They are the worse team in the series. If Dwight goes off like he did in the Conference Finals, sure, anything could happen. But the Lakers are younger, bigger, and healthier on the block than the Cavs. If Boston could curtail him, he will be truncated by LA. There’s a subtle difference. Orlando needs to pick a point guard before anybody starts worrying about them.
DUBBS: They need to stick with Rafer because he got them there and you don’t switch your lineup all around headed into the Finals. Rafer seems to be developing a taste for the big moments. And there’s no bigger moment than the NBA Finals. If Jameer is healthy and not too rusty (which is a big if), bring him in as a backup. But let Rafer lead the team. Still sort of a scary thought. That thing we complained about each round? That Dwight Howard should be unstoppable but wasn’t? Well, he is now. Dwight Howard is a man. Andrew Bynum is a boy. Pau Gasol is an old Spanish woman. And Lamar Odom is a Diabetic coma waiting to happen. Magic Shooters stay hot. Dwight manhandles. Stan Van keeps his cool (ha) and triumphs. Orlando in 7. Magic Fan, I’m with you!
BROKEASS: Not even Mighty Dwight can steal a rebound from LO on a Skittles buzz. Odom, Gasol, and Ariza counterpoint Lewis, Turkoglu, and Pietrus (that’s right, a Mickael Pietrus reference before a series. You growing up, Barefoot!) better than any team in the league. And Kobe hasn’t even been mentioned yet! I’ll give Counrtney Lee more credit than we have in previous rounds. But donning that mask will be the only thing that prevents Kobe from breaking his face. A rookie standing between Black Mamba and a Shaq-less championship? As the kids say, laugh out loud. I agree with you about Skip and think, no matter how you slice it, point guard is an advantage the Magic hold. It’s an important one, and coupled with this coming-of-age big man you keep talking about, worth about two games. Lakers in 6. Countless LA douchebags, I’m siding with you.
Every one of our predictions, even the ones we disagreed on, have come true. The Finals will be no different.
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