The Eastern Conference Finals was supposed to pit the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Orlando Magic in a rematch of last season's fantastic series.
However, after the Boston Celtics spoiled the party, NBA playoff betting fans will instead get a chance to dig into a replay of last year's epic seven game Eastern Conference Semifinal duel instead.
NBA Playoff Odds
Boston Celtics +210
Orlando Magic -280
1: Can Dwight Howard be a major force in the middle? After watching the big man carve up the Atlanta frontcourt with ease for four games, there's no reason to believe that Howard can't do the same to the C's. After all, if C Shaquille O'Neal was capable of having games of 17 and 21 points against Boston, why can't Howard do double that much damage?
The only thing that will hurt "Superman" is his problem staying on the court with foul trouble, but that difficulty seemed to subside a bit in the second round.
2: How will the Magic handle adversity? Maybe the better question is whether they'll face any or not! Orlando is a perfect 8-0 SU in the playoffs and is 7-1 ATS against the NBA playoff betting lines. This team hasn't lost a game since April 2nd, and it hasn't been defeated twice in a row since January 15th and 18th. That's right.
It's been four months since Orlando has lost back-to-back games. If Boston jumps out in this series though, the Magic are going to have to regroup in a hurry, because even a 2-1 or 3-2 series deficit isn't the end of the world.
3: Does Boston really have enough left in the tank to pull off another upset? Probably not. The C's looked like a dominant team during Games 5 and 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Cavs, but there's a saying that it takes everything you've got to beat the champs.
In this case, Cleveland wasn't the champion, but it was the team with the best record in the NBA, and it was most certainly the squad with the biggest bulls-eye on its back.
4: Can Jameer Nelson hang with Rajon Rondo? If the answer to this is yes, Boston is going to be finished and finished early.
No one has had a bigger rise to stardom in these playoffs than G Rajon Rondo, who has averaged 18.0 points, 11.1 assists, and 6.3 rebounds per game for the C's, but G Jameer Nelson has put together 20.5 points per game in his own right as well.
5: Bottom Line: Who will win this playoff series? The Magic are just playing too well right now to be denied. The only chance that we think Boston has of really taking it to Orlando in this series is immediately on Sunday, as the rest that the Magic had since May 10th may prove to leave a bit of rust on them.
Still, this is series that has the real potential to get ugly in a hurry, especially if Orlando can impose a faster tempo and frustrate the Celtics. Take Orlando in five games to march on to its third NBA Finals in team history.
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