Like an oasis in the desert – the Nightcap is back. I missed you. I really did. Now bring that sweet ass up to my place…
Lakers 100 Magicians 75 – In their first Finals appearance since their 1995 sweep at the hands of the Rockets, the Magic started about as well as they finished. Joe “Jellybean” Bryant’s son scored 40 to lead the Lakers as LA cruised to a 25 point Game 1 win.
It all started so promisingly for the Magic – All-Star guard Jameer Nelson was appearing in his first game since February, the Magic were 2-0 against the Lakers in the regular season, and they even had a 33-28 2nd quarter lead. (Cue E! True Hollywood Story Music)…then it all went awry. The Lakers closed the first half on a 25-10 run, and controlled the third quarter to run away with the biggest Game 1 NBA Finals blowout since the Bulls 33-point Game 1 win over the Blazers in 1992. If this is going to be what the rest of the Finals are like, I may as well quit writing the Nightcap.
Orlando had just three players – Mickael Pietrus, Hedo Turkoglu, and Dwight Howard – score in double figures – led by Pietrus’ 14. As if 75 total points and a leading scorer putting in 14 points isn’t enough, the Magic shot 29.9% from the field. Really Orlando? 29.9%? Stuff the Magic Dragon has better odds of not haunting my dreams than you did of making a basket Thursday night. It got so bad that J.J. Redick actually played for the first time since Game 2 of the Cavs series.
As much as it pains me to say – Kobe was so damn good in this game that he didn’t need a supporting cast. Pau Gasol chipped in 16, while Lamar Odom put together a nice 11 point, 14 rebound performance but besides that it was pretty much the Kobe show for the Lakers. Bryant became just the 4th player in NBA Finals history to record 40 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists – joining Shaq (2002), MJ (1993…sigh), and Jerry West (1969…chuckle).
A couple of damning facts in the wake of Game 1:
- The Lakers have won 16 straight 7-game series’ when winning Game 1 of a series.
- Phil Jackson is 43-0(!) when his teams win Game 1.
- The Magic are now 0-5 in the NBA Finals.
Good luck with all that Magicians. Game 2 is Sunday night – and if the Magic would like to show up we’d all appreciate it.