Orlando have to work Magic

Without a doubt this year’s NBA Finals match-up is a shocker.

Hardly any pundits expected the Orlando Magic to be anywhere near ready for a championship series.

But here they are, set to take on an overwhelming favourite in the Los Angeles Lakers in game one of the NBA Finals tonight at the Staples Center in LA.

The Lakers have earned the right to be considered favourites. This year they won their division and the number one seed in the West in impressive fashion.

In the playoffs they rolled with the punches and found a way through. They took down a dangerous Utah Jazz team in five games, got pushed to seven games by the Houston Rockets and slugged it out with the Denver Nuggets in six games.

Kobe Bryant has shown no sign of age or decline a year after winning the league MVP last season. His shots continue to fall at will and he is arguably the league’s most explosive offensive weapon.

Yet the Magic are far from out of it in the series. They have the league’s most dominant big man in Dwight Howard and arguably two of the most lethal jump-shooters in the game in Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu waiting in the wings.

The bench should be huge in this series. The big three in Gasol, Odom and Bynum will be huge for LA but Mickael Pietrus and Courtney Lee make a load of difference for Orlando.

Although it seems to be LA’s year, look for the Lakers to fight hard to win in six games.