The NBA Finals tip off Thursday, June 4 at 9pm ET on ABC, with Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic taking on Kobe Bryant and the L.A. Lakers. It’s not the Kobe vs. LeBron series we were all expecting, and it’s likely a lot of viewers will dismiss it. Nobody even seems to care about this matchup — they’re all still fixating on LeBron’s media and handshake snub. Obviously, the “Can Kobe win one without Shaq?” storyline will dominate. There’s also debate about ESPN/ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy being on the broadcasts with his brother Stan being the Magic’s head coach. But if those are the only things that can generate any interest, then … yawn.
But really, the matchup is intriguing, even if the storylines really aren’t. The Magic dispatched both the Celtics and the Cavs to get here, and they’re not to be underestimated. That said, I’m taking the Lakers in seven games.
Full NBA Finals schedule after the jump.
NBA Finals On ABC (HD)
Thursday, June 4 at 9pm
Game 1: Orlando at Los Angeles
Sunday, June 7 at 8pm
Game 2: Orlando at Los Angeles
Tuesday, June 9 at 9pm
Game 3: Los Angeles at Orlando
Thursday, June 11 at 9pm
Game 4: Los Angeles at Orlando
Sunday, June 14 at 8pm
Game 5*: Los Angeles at Orlando
Tuesday, June 16 at 9pm
Game 6*: Orlando at Los Angeles
Thursday, June 18 at 9pm
Game 7*: Orlando at Los Angeles
* if necessary
Photo: Credit: Rafael Suanes/MCT