Magic still believe despite Game 4 loss
On Friday, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy admitted that his team’s fumble of Game 4 with atrocious free-throw shooting, a hideous third quarter and questionable late-game strategy, kept him awake.
It may for many nights ahead.
With only a few hours to reflect on what went wrong Thursday night in Amway Arena, Van Gundy, who elected not to have his team foul with a three-point lead in the final seconds of regulation, was asked if a night’s rest had brought him any clarity.
“The assumption of a night’s sleep is way off base,” he said.
Leading 87-84 with 11.1 seconds to go, the Magic allowed Fisher, L.A.’s Mr. Big and Bigger Shot, to dribble into the frontcourt and hit a game-tying 3-pointer with 4.6 seconds left. Fisher, who would stick a fork into the Magic’s hopes—and in all likelihood their season—with another 3-pointer in OT, made his shot over Orlando guard Jameer Nelson, who was slow to react to Fisher’s pull-up.
During a timeout after Magic center Dwight Howard had bricked the two biggest free throws of his young career, Van Gundy had told his team, which went just 22 of 37 from the line, not to foul. Too much time left, Van Gundy thought. And not with Kobe Bryant around.
“I’ve rethought it and rethought it and rethought it,” he said as the team’s took a two-day break before Sunday’s Game 5. “It’s easy to say now do I wish we had fouled as opposed to giving that up? Yeah, but I still don’t think at 11 seconds to go in a game that we’re going to foul in that situation. I’ll put it this way: You always have regrets.”
Still, Van Gundy feels his squad, which has twice taken the Lakers to overtime and carried Orlando’s fans on a stomach-churning, turn-twisting journey this season as wild as any ride at Disney World, is capable of an historic comeback.
“It’s not like we’re in a situation where we feel like we can’t play with the Lakers and don’t have a chance to win or anything else,” he said. “Our confidence level will be high. Our guys have demonstrated incredible resiliency all year.”