Since the preseason, most people have assumed that L.A. and Cleveland would face off in the NBA Finals come June. Given the two teams’ respective records (and the way they’ve dominated the competition), plus some of the moves made by the front offices, there’s been little indication that the Finals forecast won’t come true.
Jameer Nelson, following yesterday afternoon’s Magic win over the Cavs in Orlando, said that his team is ready to prove everyone who penciled in a Kobe/LeBron final wrong. Nelson doesn’t forsee anyone but the Orlando Magic representing the Eastern Conference in the championship round.
FanHouse has the quotes:
“You look at the commercials now, and you’d think Cleveland and the Lakers already were in the championship [series]. I guess that’s what the fans want to see,” Nelson said Sunday after his Magic beat the Cavs, 101-95. “But I think we’re here to spoil it for the fans.”
Nelson and the Magic toppled the Cavaliers Sunday, casting some doubt into the inevitability of that Lakers/Cavs Finals, reminding everyone again that they — and not the Cavs — are the defending Eastern Conference champs.
“This [victory] means a lot,” said Nelson, who had 18 points and eight in the decisive fourth quarter. “We know we can beat them now.”
Nelson will likely get a chance to test out his theory, in the Eastern Conference Finals when both the Magic and Cavs are expected to face off in an epic duel.
Whether or not Nelson is right about spoiling the dream Finals matchup remains to be seen, but yesterday’s victory showed that his team will have a meaningful say in who gets to play for the title.