When near perfection is just good enough: Magic top Lakers in Game Three

 

The Louvre and Smithsonian both feature priceless works of art.  After last night, so does my DVR.

 

Game Three of the NBA Finals between the Lakers and Magic bordered on flawless.  One team, the Orlando Magic, shot 75% for the first half, making 24 of their first 32 shots.  To put things into perspective, that had never happened before… and the NBA’s been around for a while.  The other team, the Lakers, behind their superstar scowler Kobe Bryant, were also en fuego.  They took every body blow the Magic threw their way in perfect stride.  Despite Orlando’s fiery first half, Bryant answered with 17 points of his own, all within a five minute stretch.  It was a heavyweight fight of epic proportions and one of the most efficient games ever played.

 

NBA Finals Magic Lakers Basketball

Bryant’s hot streaks serve as a constant reminder that Orlando has to do everything possible (and sometimes impossible) to best Los Angeles.  This begs the question…  is the glass half empty or half full for Magic fans? 

 

The Lakers withstood an historical effort, the best the Magic could possibly put forth, and still only lost the game by four points.  Will the Magic have to duplicate this Herculean performance to win another game?  Or did the Magic finally execute like they’re capable and find a chink in the Laker armor?

 

While Nelson, Battie and Gortat saw minutes, Van Gundy held true to a six-man rotation, five of whom had 18 or more points.  Talk about balanced scoring.  Turkolgu and Pietrus finished with 18, Alston had 20 and Lewis and Howard scored 21 each.  And every single one of those baskets mattered.  Anything less and the Magic would be staring elimination in the face.

 

Game Three was the highest scoring game in the series so far, but what’s ironic is that good defense was actually being played on both ends.  Few shots went uncontested.  Players were just banging down next to impossible jump shots, rapture for the true basketball fan.  The Magic shot 62.5% for the game, another Finals first.  At one point in the first half, the Magic were 20-of-21 from 2 point field goal range.  20 of 21!!!  That simply does not happen.  Yet the Lakers would still not go away.

 

The biggest, and most overlooked, key to this game was Pau Gasol picking up his second foul in the first quarter.  Gasol is the focal point of the Lakers’ triangle offense.  Without him on the floor, the Lakers are prone to falling into a Kobe one-on-one game.  When Bynum was lost to early foul trouble in Games One and Two, Lamar Odom replaced him and was effective on both ends of the floor.  The Lakers don’t lose much with Bynum on the bench.  In fact, one could argue the Magic want Bynum on the floor.  With Gasol out, however, the Lakers are an entirely different team and Kobe is much less efficient.

 

Van Gundy once again proved he belongs among the coaching elite.  Throughout these playoffs, he has reminded his athletes not to hang their heads in the face of adversity.  Watching Stan Van pull aside players who just made mental errors and actually coach them, reminds us what coaching is really about.  There are no clipboards in SVG’s huddles, no x’s and o’s.  Just motivation and focus.  His Tuesday night game plan was flawless.  Barring a missed Courtney Lee lay-up at the buzzer in Game Two, Stan Van’s Magic could actually be up two games to one in this series, so yes, Magic fans, the glass is half full.

 

Three more performances like last night and Stan Van Gundy’s Magic might soon possess a prized piece of art of their own: an NBA title.

12 thoughts on “When near perfection is just good enough: Magic top Lakers in Game Three

  1. Lest we not forget the awe inspiring, record setting performance by the Magic, I am optomistic that Orlando will not repeat that shooting performance on a regula basis and the Makers will do better,(Kobe), at the free throw line.

  2. G Mony and the West coast bias…. very nice.

    Finished in 2nd place in the Lil’s golf tourney, bra.

    That being said… I contend that first half of basketball may have very well been the best ever played.

    Can I get a witness?

  3. Chris aka sportschump …

    It was a spectacular performance by the Magic ! We knew what this team was capable of. If only they could harness everything together with one big effort. And that was what they showed in game three for sure.

    Now as the series resumes there’s an ever growing expectation that something special could very well be afoot. And that now remains to be seen .

    I’d written my own piece with regard to the events that took place in the game along with the pics to go along with it as well. So should you be interested then just click on the text below to view. And as always I’ll look forward to reading your always insightful comments.

    When I Move , You Move ………

    As a reminder don’t forget that Luda’ and T-Pain are in concert after Saturday’s game ‘tween the Rays and Nationals at The Trop’ .
    I’ll be there with my boys as the better half is out of town on business.

  4. If the Magic take tonight’s game, I dare say, a la Kevin Garnett….. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!!

    Hey, Al. If you have an extra ticket to that game, let me know.

  5. Chris ……….
    Tickets for the game from what I understand have already in large part sold out. There may well be some available either via scalpers . Or quite possibly at the Trop itself.

    I’ll be watching closely tonight as the events unfold at the Amway Arena. As it’s now do or die for the Magic. They can ill afford to lose tonight. As the pressure’ll be brought back to bear on their shoulders once again.

    Hopes The Future And All Of The Nonsense That Comes With It All ………

  6. Chris aka sportschump ……

    Any truth to the rumor that after last night’s debacle. Van Gundy has demanded that both Nelson and Redick’ll share their very own Brokeback moment ? They’ll be confined to a tent and asked toss each other’s salads for good luck. They were both as useful last night on defense as a busted condom would be to a hooker .

    tophatal ………….

  7. Well Chris as you know when it comes to the Rays nowadays . The glass is never empty. As it’s always being viewed as half full. So more likely than not the concert itself may well prove to be a sellout and far more important than the game itself ‘tween the Rays and Nationals.

    tophatal …………

  8. Unfortunately, tophat, I picked up a side bartending gig for Saturdayu, so I’ll be unable to attend the T-Pain debauchery at the Trop.

    Please do represent.

    In the meantime, I’ll be helping Stan Van Pan try to regroup the troops.

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