If you haven’t seen the epic Mark-Paul Gosselaar/ Jimmy Fallon interview – in which MPG portrays his Saved by the Bell character Zack Morris – consider yourself as owing ol’ Scott Howard a favor. I have immense respect for anyone with the balls to revisit an old and beloved character. If you grew up with Saved by the Bell please watch all 9 minutes of what is sure to be an all-time classic. When you wake up in the morning and the alarm gives out a warning it means just one thing – Nightcap.
Magicians 108 Lakers 104 – Hey Orlando – welcome to the NBA Finals! After losing six straight games in their 2 Finals appearances the Magicians finally got into the win column – and all it took was the greatest shooting performance in Finals history. The Magic shot 62.5% for the game and 75% in the first half – both records – and avoided falling into the depths of a 0-3 hole.
I bet you’ll never guess what the difference was in this game. OK I’ll tell you – the Magic shot the basketball really really well (I believe that’s called hard-hitting basketball analysis). After shooting just 29.9% in Game 1 and 42% in Game 2 – Orlando got acquainted with basket making. One of the main reasons for this change was likely Stan Van Gundy opting to ride the horses that got him to the Finals in the first place.
Although the reappearance of All-Star guard Jameer Nelson appears to be a good thing on the surface, all it did in the first two games was throw Skip to my Lou into a total funk. Although Nelson played just 23 and 17 minutes respectively in the first two games – it was clear that his appearance affected Alston as he shot just 3 of 17 in the first two games. However in Game 3 Alston was back to playing 38 minutes – with Nelson as the established back-up – and he showed up for the first time all series , scoring 20 points on 8 of 12 shooting.
Another excellent rotation decision from Van Gundy was NOT to play J.J. Redick. After inexplicably playing Redick 27 minutes in Game 2 – J.J. found his ass completely back where it belonged in Game 3.
Outside of Alston and Redick – the Magic were led by 21 from both Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis, with 18 each from Turkish Jordan and the French guy who would probably steal your girlfriend if given the chance (Pietrus). Did I mention J.J. Redick didn’t play? I can’t emphasize how key that was.
For the Lakers, former promdate of Brandy Kobe Bryant led the way with 31 while Pau Gasol chipped in 23. Considering they surrendered the highest field goal percentage of any team in Finals history, it is actually pretty impressive that they only lost by 4 and were in the game until the bitter end. If you’re Los Angeles it’s this simple – win one of the next two games and you’re probably going to end up as the champs.
It’s probably not a good sign that it took a 62.5% shooting percentage for the Magic to win – and they still only won by 4 – but they’ve got a game and we MIGHT have a series. The crucial Game 4 is Thursday evening – until then bemoan the loss of your youth.