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Article:Orlando Magic: Masking Its Fear or Rising to the Top?

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As the Orlando Magic knocked off the Cleveland Cavaliers in 6 games, they now turn their attention to facing the Los Angeles Lakers. In trying to prepare for the daunting task of shutting down the Lakers, they are looking at every possible scenario. The most talked about scenario is bringing back an All-Star point guard: Jameer Nelson.

I can understand why they would want to do this: he was the leading scorer in Orlando's 106-103 victory against the Lakers on December the 20th and once again in a 109-103 victory. In those respective games, Nelson paced the way for the Magic with 27 and 28 point performances.

However, Nelson is the same player that went down on February 2nd with a supposedly season ending injury, a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He is the same player that received 8 anchors when the normal for the injury is 4. The Magic is either trying to mask their fear or rise to the occasion. Either way, they must understand 3 things.

1) This isn't the regular season.

There are times when the postseason can emulate the regular season, but many times the teams that have made it to the Finals have fixed their problems that caused them to lose in previous match ups. Therefore, the times the Lakers lost to the Magic are pointless. The same key ingredients that led to their victory in the regular season are moot talking point to make them believe they have to do something more to win because they are missing the key ingredient.

The Magic have been superb. They are clicking on all cylinders. Don't tweak something that isn't broken because you think that the bully might want to break it. Let him try to break it before you go tweak it. That way you'll know what the problem is before you go engineering a new, injured solution.

2) They haven't been there before. (Experience)

Experience can win championships. It keeps players cool and poised. They never lose sight of the goal. They lose a game at home and they come back to win the next two games. The pressure is on the Magic, but they shouldn't panic. They should continue to do what they have done to find success. Use the pick and roll. Use every player. Find Dwight "Superman" Howard in the paint. And, 'NEVER ' think for one second that what they had to get them to the Finals isn't good enough to win it all.

3) Kobe Bryant

The Black Mamba is a different person in the Finals. He's not LeBron James. More times than not, he will make the game winning shot to punish you and to win the Finals. He hungrier for this ring without Shaq more than the entire Magic roster. That is not to slight them, but it is to indicate how much he really wants it. Boston stopped him and the Lakers last year because they were tougher than the Lakers. This entire season Kobe and the Lakers have been out to prove that this team isn't the same team that lost in the Finals last year.

If the Magic want to win, they better stop Kobe from scoring and passing because that's the only chance they have. They have to stop him from getting his and allowing his teammates to get theirs through his assists.

Anyhow, it appears that Orlando is trying to do everything conceivably possible but they are forgetting that this isn't the regular season and that Nelson isn't the same player from 4 months ago. Let Nelson come back next season at 100%. Let the Magic roster that has fought so hard in the playoffs remain the same at its core. Though almost impossible, suffocate Kobe's entire game and let the other Lakers beat you.

It's going to be one hell of an NBA Finals.


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