Orlando Magic Blog

Group Blog talking about the NBA 2009 Eastern Conference Champions. Due to the amazing success of the 2009 playoff run comments are now frequently deleted to kill offensive comments, incoherence, or asininity. Comments can no longer be anonymous and require either a Blogger or OpenID account.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bryant on brink of fourth championship

Here are excerpts from a column by Johnny Ludden of Yahoo! Sports from Friday:

He missed 20 shots in the Lakers’ 99-91 overtime victory in Game 4, yet still totaled 32 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Two nights earlier, he had burned out after an explosive first quarter.

This time, his legs didn’t fail him when he needed them most. Bryant opened overtime with consecutive jump shots, then drew a double-team and fed Derek Fisher for an open 3-pointer. The shot pretty much pierced the Magic’s final hopes. It certainly taught them a lesson: Give Kobe too many chances and he’ll eventually find a way to beat you.

The Magic have two days to put themselves back together and recharge, and that will help. But the same holds true for Kobe. On his way out of the arena, he sighed at how tired he felt. The Magic have worn on him, but so have all those long playoff runs, those two summers playing for Team USA. His Game 3 struggles forced Lakers Nation to spend a restless couple days on Fatigue Watch.

Bryant delivered another memorable opening quarter in Game 4, but he, again, had to grind through the night. The fuel that carried him through was the same it’s been all week: He can’t stomach another empty trip to the Finals.

The Magic know how hot Bryant burns, and that’s why their Game 4 collapse stings even more. They had a chance to make Bryant and his Lakers feel some pressure. In the fourth quarter, they took 17 free throws while the Lakers shot none – and still they lost.

Now, barring an unprecedented comeback – no team has ever rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals – the Magic will look back on this series and wonder about what might have been.

What if Courtney Lee’s twisting layup in Game 2 had fallen through the rim?

What if Howard had made just one of his free throws with 11.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter of Game 4?

What if Hedo Turkoglu had made one of the four free throws he missed in the quarter?

What if Stan Van Gundy had told the Magic to foul the Lakers on that fateful final possession of regulation?

What if Jameer Nelson had realized that backpedaling on Mr. .4 wasn’t exactly the best defense?

The Magic have shown their resilience time and again in these playoffs, but they sounded like a tormented team afterward. Van Gundy said the decision not to foul Fisher will “haunt me forever.” Rafer Alston pouted over his lost minutes. Howard made sure everyone knew he wasn’t the only guy missing free throws. Turkoglu blamed himself for rimming out foul shots … and failing to call timeout on a busted inbounds play … and picking up a silly foul – a hat trick of mea culpas.

The game, Turkoglu said, “just kind of slipped away from our stupidness.”

******************************************************************************************

The Magic are 3 point favorites to keep their season alive in Game 5.



7 Comments:

  • At 3:33 AM, Blogger Mike from Illinois said…

    I like the Magic to bounce back tonight and take the series back to LA.

     
  • At 3:17 PM, Blogger Matt said…

    I am confident Magic is going to win tonight. This series is far from being over. We lost game 4 for missed free throws (a ton of them), Rashrad's disapperance act, and bad coachng decisions. Clean all that up and it translates to a win for the Magic. After tonight's win the pressure will be all on LA.

    GO MAGIC!!!!!!!!!!

     
  • At 4:38 PM, Blogger Big Figure said…

    Yea magic win with energy tonight. Hopefully SVG goes with RA down the stretch and use's jameer only as a back-up PG. Win or lose we're better defensively that way right now.

     
  • At 10:58 PM, Blogger NBA Fan said…

    Ooops, guess not!

    LA wins big.

     
  • At 11:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Purple Rain Purple Rain" Geezerly Celtics will be lucky to make the playoffs next season.

     
  • At 11:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Let's see, the Celtics have one 1 title in the last 22 years and the Lakers have won 6. Now I know people from Boston are stupid (Kennedys elected over and over)but even you guys understand basic math, right?

     
  • At 11:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yeah, Boston was a fluke. It will be 25 years before their next title. They peaked at the right time last year and are now, on the decline. KG is falling apart.

     

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