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Lakers-Magic Match Up Is a Puzzling One

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Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol celebrate. AP Photo/Chris Carlson

There's a reason it's taken me this long to talk about the NBA Finals. I have no idea how this will play out.

When I made the proclamation last week that the Magic would win in five games if they faced the Lakers in the Finals, the Lakers didn't look to hot. They were in the middle of feeling out the Denver Nuggets tying the series two games a piece. But the Lakers brought down the hammer capped with a 27-point victory in the decisive Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals, and everything changed right there.

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The Lakers in the Game 6 not only showed the world what they could do but also played perhaps their best game since the great teams earlier this decade. Although I did proclaim the Lakers would win in six, that performance left my jaw on the floor.

But the Magic didn't do shabby job themselves. In the second round they won a game seven against the defending champs Boston Celtics, and in the Eastern Conference Finals they dispatched the anointed one and the Cleveland LeBrons in six.

And here we are.

This is going to be a great match up, much better than a Cavaliers-Lakers match up would have been. The Lakers will have trouble guarding Dwight Howard and the Magic will have trouble guarding Pau Gasol. Those Magic shooters are tough to guard, but if you live by the three you have to die by the three.

Yes the Magic have won both match ups against the Lakers this season, both when Andrew Bynum was full strength. But the Lakers proved in that game six against Denver that they can turn up the intensity notch now.

So can you see how I'm torn?

Ultimately this will come down to a game seven. Call me a band wagon fan, a flip-flopper, whatever. Because the Lakers have home court advantage, the Lakers will win in seven.

Game 1 of the NBA Finals at the Staples Center tonight. TV: ABC. Radio: AM 570 KLAC.