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Wednesday, January 7, 2009
ESPNTheMag.Com Presents: All-World Power Rankings


"Here we go, sir."

WHEN IT COMES TO THE BEST POTENTIAL NBA FINALS MATCHUP AS OF EARLY JANUARY, WE'RE GOING TO TAKE LAKERS VS. CAVALIERS

What is "All-World Power Rankings?"

Looking over the NBA schedule for tonight, and while this whole Dick Vitale calling a pro game thing is pretty cool (ESPN, 9pm for Nuggets/Heat), we're struck by two games: Hornets/Jazz (watch this), which could be a Western Finals preview and Rockets/Celtics, which could be…wait for it…a NBA Finals preview. Scoff all you want about H-Town's inability to escape the first round, because it's a legitimate argument. Still, to quote the kid in Angels in the Outfield: "Hey, it could happen." It's only early January, but we decided to make a list of NBA Finals showdowns we'd be excited to see.

TOP 5
RANK (YESTERDAY) WHAT WHY
1 (14) LAKERS VS. CAVALIERS This probably wouldn't settle the Kobe/LeBron argument once and for all, but if Kobe were to drop two straight Finals, it might officially put a nail in the coffin of the Kobe/MJ argument, assuming last year didn't do that for ya. The Lakers have more pieces than the Cavs, so this one might not be competitive overall, but you know those dudes would put on at least one fireworks show.
2 (410) LAKERS VS. CELTICS This is still an interesting battle with a classic amount of history. Lakers took the season series 2-0, and there's this whole argument, so it could be a different story than last year.
3 (21) HORNETS VS. CAVALIERS What do you think CP3 vs. LeBron would do to the rap industry for that week and a half?
4 (127) CELTICS VS. SPURS Argument against this is likely "potential boredom," but we like these factors: (a) "The Big Three" vs. "The Big Three" and (b) fundamental basketball with fiery dudes all around.
5 (899) CAVALIERS VS. NUGGETS This would get won and lost in Chauncey Billups vs. Mo Williams, but wouldn't a Bron Bron vs. Carmelo head-to-head be fun?

HONORABLE MENTION
RANK (YESTERDAY) WHAT WHY
18 (144) LAKERS VS. MAGIC We wanted to create a potential match-up for the Magic, and at first we thought (far-fetched): "Blazers." Oden and Aldridge vs. Howard? Could be fun. Then we remembered the ol' "Kobe posterizes Dwight" dunk and realized that watching a Lakers four-game sweep in which Dwight keeps trying to get 18 million viewers style revenge would be cool.
28 (701) HORNETS VS. PISTONS We like this for "the old school PG has his final shot at a ring vs. the new generation of point guard." Guess Jazz vs. Pistons would work that angle, too. It could be an evenly-matched series, also.

RISING AND FALLING
MOVEMENT WHAT
HAWKS VS. BLAZERS (Would never happen, but two young and dynamic teams would be sweet.)
THUNDER VS. PACERS (Heh.)