I'm not the biggest NBA fan on the planet but I do enjoy the sport. Living in LA, however, has given me an interesting view of the Lakers and their fans. I have two main observations: 1) When the Lakers lose a game (any game) all the fans immediately ask for Phil Jackson to be fired, Lamar Odom to be traded, doubt Kobe's heart, etc, etc; and 2) At the start of every series Lakers fans overestimate their team, despite past performance. I'm not sure if this is a phenomenon that is common, but as a Cubs and Cowboys fan I guess I'm used to underestimating and giving the benefit of the doubt to everyone. I mean I don't want to be depressed all the time, since I love two losers!
Anyway, I think this series will be much tighter than most Lakers fans are expecting. The Lakers have the best player in the series in Kobe, their bench is deeper, and their coaching is better but the Magic have some important advantages as well. Namely, the Magic are tough, which has caused the Lakers trouble throughout the playoffs and regular season, and they have several guys who shoot the three well, including two who are 6'9" or above. If the Magic get their inside-out or outside-in game working, the Lakers will be in some trouble, especially since the Lakers three-point shooting has been less than stellar this post-season. One more thing, the Lakers are the favorites, while the Magic are hungry. These facts could be positives or negatives for each side.
My prediction: Magic in 7. If the Magic pull a win out of the first two games at Staples and then get two out of three at home, the Lakers would have to win both of the final two games at home. I'm betting that the Magic could steal one of those games! This is going to be an exciting series! We won't even remember LeBron/Kobe when this is over!