NBA Finals Betting Preview
Orlando Magic at Los Angeles Lakers
Staples Center, 8:00PM Sunday
Betus.com betting line – Lakers -6.5, O/U 202
Lakers lead series 1-0
The opening round of the 2009 NBA Finals was expected to be a slugfest between two of the NBA’s finest heavyweights. As expected the first half lived up to the hype as the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers traded the lead in a back and forth game. However, in the 2nd half the Lakers 3 time NBA Champion Kobe Bryant exploded in the 3rd quarter dropping 18 points and Los Angeles went on to a convincing opening victory. Orlando appeared stunned in the defeat as they were held to one of the worse offensive performances of the season. The Magic only managed to tally in 75 points in a horrific 29% team shooting effort. Orlando must find a way to regroup this Sunday night and avoid Los Angeles taking total control in the series. The Lakers on the other hand could nearly end any dreams the Magic may have at their first ever NBA Title with another victory. However, expect the Magic to come out hungry to even the score after a dreadful performance in Game 1.
Orlando suffered one of their worse performances not only of the playoffs in Game 1, but of the season. The Magic’s 29.9% shooting effort from the field was among the seasons worse performances. Dwight Howard was held to a mere 12 points, and the only person that could find any rhythm was Mickael Petrus. Pietrus was 5 of 13 from the field which is definitely not much to brag about, but was the best among Orlando’s scorers. The starting 5 for Orlando could only manage to post 46 points on the evening. To put in perspective just how bad things were among Orlando, Kobe Bryant was a mere 7 points away from outscoring the Magic’s starters. In our last preview, we mentioned how important it was for the Magic to win the glass game. However, the Lakers also out rebounded Orlando 55-41 which is a rather sizeable margin. Orlando must return to the basics that got them here in Game 2 and not get caught up in trying to keep pace with Los Angeles fast pace tempo. Orlando must grab control of the boards and get some bigger help from their scorers this Sunday night if they are to even the series.
Los Angeles not only came out in the 2nd half red hot, but they also put together some nice adjustments defensively that Orlando could not overcome. The Lakers put together a 46% shooting performance from the field which is about what they have averaged throughout the post-season. The real difference in the first game was Bryant’s 18 point surge in the 3rd quarter. The Lakers opened up a 26 point lead by the time the 3rd period had ended. Bryant ended the night with a NBA Finals career high 40 points and the Lakers cruised to a 100-75 win. Lamar Odom had an effective performance against the boards grabbing 14 rebounds. Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum combined for 17 more rebounds and the Lakers controlled the glass against Orlando which is huge considering the Magic really feed off controlling the boards. Los Angeles appeared to simply have too much fire power offensively and Orlando did not do a good job at defending. The win was the first for the Lakers’ over the Magic this season as they lost both regular season match-ups. However, nothing from the regular season matters at this time and the Lakers have the upper hand on the series. Also not to mention the coach Phil Jackson has never lost a playoff series where his team has won the first game.
Pick – Lakers – 6.5