The LA Lakers destroying the Orlando Magic in the Finals series opener was a complete surprise for a lot of people I know.
I was also surprised with the way the game went easily for the Lakers, who had to go through the wringer against the Houston Rockets and the Denver Nuggets during LA’s road to the NBA Finals.
And against the Magic, the Lakers were supposed to have found an even tougher assignment considering the presence of Orlando’s own “Big Three” version—Dwight Howard, Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis.
But Game 1 was a sleeper of a game, especially as the Magic appeared lost while playing before a Hollywood star-studded crowd at the Staples Center.
The 100-75 LA rout over Orlando was made easy through the explosive plays of Kobe Bryant, who finished the game with 40 points, eight rebounds and the same number of assists in his return trip to the Finals with the Lakers.
Some Kobe critics say should the Lakers go on to win the NBA title this season, this would officially mark his “first” league championship since his “professional breakup” with long-time partner Shaquille O’Neal after the 2004 season.
But even with all those criticism, Kobe and the Lakers have treated the NBA Finals with business-like attitude. Certainly, the 2009 NBA Finals edition gives LA a second opportunity to erase the stigma of its embarrassing championship loss to long-time bitter rival Boston Celtics last year.
That’s why it’s no surprise for Kobe and the Lakers to show what they can really do against a talented Magic squad. With a 1-0 Finals head start, LA is gunning for no less than a 2-0 lead as the series shifts to the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida for Games 3-5.
A 2-0 lead would be commanding at some sense, but for sure, nothing short of an NBA championship is what the Lakers will try to accomplish in the remaining days of the 2009 season.