The Magic rolled over a despondent Celtics team to earn a date at the dance with our footloose Cleveland Cavaliers. A stellar three-point shooting performance led by Hedo Turkoglu's 4-5 from behind the arc helped the Disney darlings demolish the defending champs. Boston's injuries caught up and their luck finally ran out. Despite a good game by Ray Allen, Paul Peirce laid a satisfying egg and will be joining the rest of his team on the links shortly. Given the ugliness of the series, it's hard to say Orlando has "earned" a matchup with the Cavs but reagardless, here we are. And you know what? It's not gonna be another cakewalk for LeBron and the Horsemen of the Basketball Apocalypse.
I'm not wont to make predictions, but this series is certainly going to be tougher than the previous two. Let's get something clear up front: the Magic are no joke. If we get lazy on the perimeter, their shooters can bury us. Likewise if we focus too much on Turkoglu and Lewis and leave a dominant Howard open under the hoop. We were 1-2 against Orlando in the regular season, and they handed us our most lopsided loss of the year. But if 2007 showed us anything, it's that the regular season doesn't mean jack.
This Cleveland team has always taken it to another level in the playoffs, and this year is proof of that. I don't see the Cavs rolling through the Magic like we have the Pistons and the Hawks. Even with Mo Williams and Delonte West having great years, I don't think we're going to outgun these guys. But, if we play our game the way we're meant to, if we get the defensive performance we've come to expect, then we can shut them down on one end and exploit their defensive ineficiencies on the other. Oh. And we have some guy named LeBron. I hear he's decent.
Furthermore, Game 7 was the first time the Magic really looked like they were playing up to their potential and even then, they beat a broken Boston team running on fumes. It's possible they could beat us, sure, but they'd have to do it in our house -- and that doesn't bode well for Orlando.
Remember fellas, One Goal -- this is just the next step.