Orlando Risks Screwing Up NBA, ABC’s Grand Plans

No one will admit it, of course, but the NBA and ABC are really, really hating the Orlando Magic right now.

Any hopes that the league and network have for a high-rated NBA Finals rest largely on a Lakers-Cleveland/Kobe Bryant-LeBron James showdown. Can you imagine the sound of air whishing out of the ball if the faceoff ends up being between Orlando — which has taken a 3-1 lead over Cleveland in their series — and Denver, which is currently tied 2-2 with the Lakers?

Granted, the best cure for ratings, even with a non-marquee matchup, is a close, seven-game series. And this year’s playoffs have been inordinately entertaining (see the earlier Boston-Chicago series), which has boosted tune-in for ESPN and TNT.

Still, it’s pretty obvious that the NBA has been salivating for LeBron-Kobe, along with all those sponsors pushing the two all-stars. If Orlando (a humid hell-hole in June, by the way) spoils those plans, then the home of Disney World will absolutely not be the happiest place on earth for ABC.

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