2nd round Record: 3-1
Overall Record: 9-3
#1 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. #3 Orlando Magic
One thing I can guarantee is that the Cavaliers won't sweep the Magic. The Magic present a lot of matchup problems for the Cavs. They are very similar to Lakers they have a lot of size up front, there forwards are long and athletic and their point guard play is a little shaky.
The Magic have the personnel to beat the Cavaliers, but do they have the playoff intensity to beat them? I give them credit for beating the Celtics, but to be honest that series should not have went more than five games as the Magic were clearly the superior team personnel wise.
The Cavs come in with extreme confidence and have been playing the best ball of anyone in the playoffs. With that being said there sweeps have been against far inferior teams.
They have the best player in the league and they have the home court. They are playing with a chip on their shoulder as if they are a team of destiny.
I think it is going to be a good series, but Cleveland mentally is focus on a championship whereas I think Orlando is just happy to make it to the conference finals.
Which Lakers team will show up that is the big question. It is seems so simple for the Lakers if they play even respectable defense they win and they usually win easily. When they are indifferent in their defensive intensity they lose. Luckily for them the Nuggets defensively are hit and miss themselves and would prefer a game in the 120s than the low 90s.
If you are having a hard time wrapping your mind around the fact that the Nuggets could make the NBA Finals you aren't the only one, but it is definitely a possibility. They can beat the Lakers especially if the Lakers aren't focused, but the way for them to do it is to beat them up. The question begs will the league allow rough house play against its "Glamour"
It is one thing for the Nuggets to beat down the Mavericks because David Stern doesn't like Mark Cuban, but the Lakers are different and I get the feeling if things get chippy it will be the Nuggets getting punished.
The Lakers are lazy, but they have home court and an entire league wanting a Lebron vs. Kobe matchup. I think that will be enough for them to squeeze out this series barely.