You know why you should never be allowed to access your eBay account while drunk on your birthday? Because you end up winning Kurt Warner signed mini-helmets for fifty bucks when you just think you’re making a bid that will probably be beaten. Yes I know that this seems like a very specific situation but I assure you that this has NEVER happened to me. Never.
Lakers 99 Magicians 91 – When the Rockets won back to back championships in the mid-90’s someone (I assume it was themselves) gave Houston the name “Clutch City” – I think this is an appropriate time to give Orlando the nickname “Choke City.” The Magic held an 87-84 lead with just 11.1 seconds left in the 4th quarter and Dwight Howard at the line – what could possibly go wrong? Oh, I guess everything could go wrong – and it did as Howard missed both free throws, Derek Fisher hit a game tying three pointer over Jameer Nelson, and the Lakers took the game to overtime where they dominated.
Los Angeles took advantage in the overtime period – scoring 12 points to the Magic’s 4. The 12 from the Lakers included yet another clutch three-pointer by Fisher – this time to break a 91-91 tie.
The Lakers got 32 from former Charlotte Hornets first round draft pick Kobe Bryant and 16 from both Pau Gasol and Trevor Ariza but it was the clutch shooting of Fisher that made the difference in the end. It has drawn the Lakers to within 1 game of their first NBA Championship since 2002 and Kobe’s first without Shaq.
Orlando actually held a 12 point halftime lead before being outscored 30-14 in the 3rd quarter. Yet, the Magic did in fact manage to rally and take the lead late before Howard’s free throws and Fisher’s three. Turkish Jordan led the way for Orlando with 25 points while Dwight Howard chipped in 16 points and 21 rebounds (although 11 of them were in the first 10 minutes of the game). However, the real story for the Magic was an astounding 15 missed free throws (22 of 37). Orlando actually shot a worse percentage from the free throw line in Game 4 (59.5%) than they did from the field in Game 3 (62.5%). I’m not a genius but I don’t believe that’s a recipe for success.
Game 5 is Sunday from Orlando since the Finals has that weird 2-3-2 structure for no apparent reason. At this point, the mental state of Orlando – who is a layup in Game 2 and a leaning three pointer in Game 4 away from being up 3-1 in the series – must be similar to that of an emotionally stunted 13 year old.