If not for Mickael Pietrus, I would look like I know what the hell I'm talking about. When this series began, I expected the Lakers to sweep the Magic on their away to the title. I hate the Lakers, but I just saw this as a mismatch. I was wrong.
In a must-win game 3, the ex-Warriors guard's contribution were the most underrated in the 108-104 victory for Orlando. Stan Van Gundy chose to give Pietrus most of the minutes at two guard over rookie Courtney Lee, who has been likened to a poor man's Monte Ellis by Bob Fitzgerald. Lee is quick, athletic, and get to the rim as easily as he can pull up and nail a mid range jumper. Lee was very effective against the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals, but now Pietrus is the two guard who gives the Magic the best match-up against the Lakers.
In the Cleveland series, Pietrus was assigned to guard LeBron James. He fared pretty well, playing smart, and never backing down. Now his defensive assignment is Kobe Bryant, an opponent more equal in size, but no less of a challenge than containing LeBron. Van Gundy likes Pietrus for the length and athleticism he brings, rather than the smaller Courtney Lee. An advantage to having Pietrus on the floor offensively is his knack to hit the sideline three and spread the floor for the pick and roll. Lee can shoot the three, but not at the high percentage that Pietrus does.
Watching Pietrus hit sidelines three pointers has been a surprise to everyone outside of Oracle Arena. Its a small victory to see an ex-Warrior playing at a high level on basketball's biggest stage, especially if it leads to thwarting the Yankees of the NBA: The evil empire known as the Lakers and Darth Kobe.