A Thriller in Game 2 Sends the Series to Orlando
The Lakers snuck out of Los Angeles last night with a 101-96 victory over the Orlando Magic, giving Los Angeles a 2-0 series lead. This game contrasted the first game of these Finals in so many ways, yet the end result was still was the same.
The “Big Three” of Orlando bounced back from one of their worst combined games this season to score 73 in this contest, but the other seven players for the Magic provided only 23 points, and it wasn’t enough to win.
Kicking himself this morning is rookie shooting guard, Courtney Lee, who missed two potential game winners with 12 seconds and 0.6 seconds left in the contest. You don’t usually get two chances to be a hero, just ask Ron Artest.
This game was defining for several reasons. The Magic set the tone for what is closer to their real talent level as their main weapons finally came to play today. The Lakers (especially Pau Gasol) have been overwhelming expectations with their defense, getting important stops (credit to Trevor Ariza for two pass interceptions in the fourth quarter) and shedding their “soft” label.
Stan Van Gundy has little else to try, to find a way to get a definitive edge on the Lakers. He has tried goning very small, he tried going with no point guard, he tried shaving… nothing seemed to work. Combined with the fact that Kobe was a non-factor for three quarters, it’s hard to not to be frustrated as a Magic fan.
You can’t imagine that the Magic would lose more than one of their next three home games, but it’s not a given. Since the NBA switched to the two-three-two format in 1986, only two teams have won all three games at home. If the Magic don’t come out with guns blazing in Game 3, this might not go back to L.A.