Finals Game 1 Recap — The View from Orlando...

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Goddammit, Kobe — I specifically requested a 50 point game from you.

You have failed me.

Now crumple that one up and start over... Try again... I want FIFTY!!!

I  jest.

Actually, the Kobe lovers are lovin' loudly and the haters are hatin' silently and me, well I'm way more in the middle on this performance of his than any other Laker fan on the planet, I'm pretty sure. A couple nifty moves to the rack, sure, but mostly jumpshots, amazing though some of them were. Mr. McMamba hoisted 34 shots to score 40 points. That's high, high, high volume but just semi-okay efficiency. This was a really good Allen Iverson night for Mr. Bryant, let there be no mistake...

The coaching staff of Orlando can ultimately live with that. Allen Iverson can be beat. Heads Kobe made 'em, tails the Magic missed 'em. Same coin.

If they're gonna kick the Magic to the curb, Kobe has to anticipate the adjustments that "Squeaky Stan" Van Gundy will make in Game 2 and become Fancy Fred the Flashy Facilitator instead of A.I.24. If he goes for a repeat performance cranking the ball 30+ times when he's playing 1-on-3, it'll actually be 1-to-1 heading back to Central Florida.

On the other hand: a win by the Lakers on Sunday and Orlando will be in deep, deep shit.

Kobe & Ko. won by 25, but they weren't so much better. Here is the simple difference in this game: The Lakers made their midrange jumpers while Orlando missed their midrange jumpers. The Lakers made their bunnies while Orlando missed their bunnies. If you think those makes and those misses represent an unchanging and fundamental difference between these two teams, more power to you. But I don't think Phil and his boys are fooled for a minute about the magnitude of this win. It is not indicative of anything but a bad night from the field for the blue team. Hopefully the Lakers will dodge the complacency that has been their greatest foe in the second season when the teams next meet. Game 2 will be a critical moment.

Dwight Howard was 1-for-6. Orlando had nothing going on inside. They flung and chucked and gunned and heaved and cranked 'em up — at a 29.9% rate. That sounds horrific, but if you actually look at the stats the Magic men actually shot nearly 35% from the arc, so it wasn't really the bombs that were their undoing, it was the midrange looks that went clinkety-clack, clinkety-clack like the little train that couldn't...

Sure, the Lakers played some impressive defense here and there. And the energy was good, they hustled. Yet ultimately the story of this game was how smart Chuck "Twinkiebutt" Barkley was when he uttered the immortal words: "You don't live by the jumpshot, you die by the jumpshot." Jumpers are the Magic's gameplan. Thursday night, the fickle rims said no. They lost.

Orlando's press and blogging community will assess the damage. Lots of links to follow — it's always fun to read that stuff after a big win. But before I jam you full of empty calories, here are a few essential staples that will put some muscle on your bones: the game links for the NBA.COM BOXSCORE and POPCORN MACHINE and for the latest installment of The Greatest Thing in the World, THE BASKETBALL JONES, Episode 451.

Sunday the Orlando Magic will try again. It will be a very different game.

(Now click through for some swell Orlandoish things to read and watch... 1 - 2 - 3 - GO!!!)

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(1)

Los Angeles Lakers Crush Orlando Magic in Game 1 of NBA Finals

by Brian "Team Sources Say" Schmitz, Orlando Sentinel

LOS ANGELES - The Orlando Magic returned to the NBA's main stage for the first time in 14 years, but quickly learned the biggest star in Hollywood this time of year isn't named Jack or Leonardo or Denzel.

It's Kobe, and he only needs one name for identification.

Kobe Bryant welcomed back the Magic to their first NBA Finals since 1995, scoring 40 points to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 100-75 rout in Game 1 at Staples Center.

The Magic pulled out all the stops. They brought point guard Jameer Nelson out of mothballs and playing more than anyone could have imagined (23 minutes) after a four-month layoff, but it wasn't nearly enough.

The Lakers had been swept by the Magic for the first time in their franchise history this season, but they had the eye of Kobe. They fed off his talent and tenacity to overwhelm Orlando in the second half after taking a 10-point lead at intermission, building the margin to as many as 28 points with a 29-15 third-quarter display.

L.A. stifled Orlando's potent offense. Dwight Howard struggled to even get shots and make shots, finishing with just 12 points on only 1-of-6 attempts. Mickael Pietrus was the leading scorer with 14 points.

The rest of the Magic starters also had dreadful nights as the club shot a frigid 29.9 percent and 34.8 percent from 3-point range. * * *


(2)

No More Magic Fantasyland as Lakers, Kobe Dominate

by Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel

* * *
Let's face it, now more than ever, the Magic are going to be counted out. They will hear how Lakers Coach Phil Jackson is 43-0 when he wins the first game of a series. Of course, they have heard it all before. They heard it when they were facing the defending champion Celtics in Game 7 in Boston. They heard it when LeBron hit his miracle shot in Game 2 in Cleveland. And they will especially hear it now that Kobe Bryant made the Magic defense look like Jack Nicholson trying to guard the Chief in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

At least the last time the Magic were in the Finals in 1995, there was something to remember from Game 1. After watching this debacle, you have to wonder if the Magic got a bad case of Hollywood stage fright in their first Finals appearance in 14 years. The team's three stars — Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu — combined to hit just 6-of-27 shots, including Howard going just 1-of-6 from the floor.

Even Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy, at least publicly, seemed unsure of himself. Over the last few days, he has hemmed and hawed on whether injured point guard Jameer Nelson would even play during this series. Nelson not only played in Game 1, he played nearly as much as starting point guard Rafer Alston.

There will be critics who now question whether Van Gundy has upset the postseason mojo by throwing Nelson into the mix. After all, the Magic led by two points when Nelson took the floor and were outscored by 27 the rest of the way.

This is silly. The Magic didn't lose because Jameer Nelson was on the floor. They lost because Kobe Bryant and his 40 points were on the floor. * * *


(3)

Jeff Van Gundy Puts Spin on Magic Loss

by Shannon J. Owens, Orlando Sentinel

Maybe having Jeff Van Gundy in the announcers booth is good for the Magic and Jeff's brother, Coach Stan Van Gundy, after all.

It likely prevented commentators from giving the verbal slaughter any other team, in analyst Mike Breen's words, getting "shellacked" would.

Breen and fellow commentator Mark Jackson layered on thick the words of condolences for the Magic getting "kareemed" in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Of course, it helped that Jeff was sitting right next to them.

"If you're a Magic fan and you're thinking 'Man, my team's getting whacked,' it's happened before in the finals," said Breen, who also reminded viewers of the Magic's comeback in the Philadelphia series. "Of course, the most famous Game 1 blowout in the Finals happened in 1985 when the Celtics beat the Lakers by 34. They called it the Memorial Day Massacre. But the Lakers came back and won that series in six games."

Added Jackson, "But Stan knows this is a team that will get better."

Cue the sound of crickets chirping. After an uncomfortable silence, which seemed like an eternity, Jeff Van Gundy finally added his words of encouragement for the Magic.

"Sometimes you just have to take your lumps and figure out a plan." * * *


(4)

Title is Key to Kobe Bryant's Renown

by George Diaz, Orlando Sentinel

Kobe Bryant is a charmer, fluent in English, Italian and Spanish. Witness a recent conversation with a Hispanic broadcaster, ending with a friendly shout-out to abuelita (grandmother).

Kobe Bryant is a family man who loves his wife and two daughters.

Kobe Bryant is an adulterer who managed to skirt rape charges after an infamous encounter in the summer of 2003.

Kobe Bryant is a great teammate who will frequently take the guys out to dinner on the road and pick up the tab.

Kobe Bryant is a jerk who screams at his teammates in practice, his ego and status so large they are afraid of him.

Labels dangle everywhere from Bryant's sweat-stained No. 24 jersey, reflective of the hardest-working man in the NBA. But the truth is, there's no easy way to define Bryant.

He is the NBA's most enigmatic superstar, personable yet prickly, a man whose competitive fire will ignite the NBA Finals.

On paper, it's all about the Lakers vs. the Magic. But the most compelling story here is All About Kobe.

Can he win a ring without his alpha-dog sidekick, Shaquille O'Neal?

Can he silence the doubters who now hail King James from Cleveland as the best player in the league?

Will he flip that scowl into a smile, and come to embrace his brilliance without that chippy edge?

Bryant wastes little time with any of this psychological mumbo-jumbo. The Lakers need four more victories or else their season gets reduced to rubbish. His words, not mine. * * *


(5)

Jameer Nelson Postgame Interview— AUDIO FILE

posted by Orlando Sentinel Magic BasketBlog

Nelson says the shoulder felt fine, he didn't know how many minutes he was going to play or even if he was going to play, and that his teammates have been supportive of him coming back, etc.

LINK


(6)

Dwight Howard in Awe of Kobe, But Not Finals Scene

by Brian "Some of My Best Friends Are Unnamed Sources" Schmitz, Orlando Sentinel Magic BasketBlog


Magic center Dwight Howard just had to shake his head, marveling over Lakers star Kobe Bryant.

Bryant scored 40 points in the Lakers 100-75 victory in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night.

"We only made 23 shots and Kobe made 16 by himself," Howard said. "With Kobe, we have to get up into him more. He got a lot of rhythm jump-shots -- just like he was coming off a sceen and wide-open shots.

"It's tough. When he's got everything going, every shot in the world, nothing we can do about that." * * *


(7)

Terrified

posted by "Black and Blue" to Magic Madness message board

Wow, this might be the toughest game of the season to watch so far, just because it is so obvious we have packed it in.

The team looks TERRIFIED out there. People are afraid to shoot. No one wants to drive. It's like they all got neutered. This isn't the Magic team I'm used to seeing.


(8)

Howard: "Our effort, it just wasn't there." Why not?

by Andrea Adelson, Orlando Sentinel

I headed out to watch last night's game on Wall Street in downtown Orlando expecting to see the same fiery, passionate Magic team that dismantled LeBron James and his Cavs teammates.

Instead, the Magic showed up like they were at a casting call for "Night of the Living Dead." I take that back. The Magic didn't show up, and hearing this quote from Dwight Howard afterward was simply mind boggling.

"Our effort tonight, it just wasn't there,"Howard said. "Nobody's effort was there. We didn't go for any loose balls, we just weren't fighting. That's not Magic basketball."

How was the effort not there in Game 1 of the NBA Finals? Can someone please explain that to me? Were the Magic psyched out? Intimidated being in LA-LA land? Trying to figure out who the heck was sitting next to Jack Nicholson? Scared by the new Kobe scowl?

It's one thing to get embarrassed in front of the entire country, which collectively probably wished they were watching James out there instead of Howard making ONE field goal on only six attempts while the rest of his teammates launched brick after brick. But it's another to completely embarrass yourselves by not putting in the requisite effort on the biggest stage of your lives. * * *


(9)

Los Angeles Lakers 100, Orlando Magic 75

by Ben Q Rock, Third Quarter Collapse (SBN)

In a 100-75 blowout, the Los Angeles Lakers jumped all over the Orlando Magic to take control of the 2009 NBA Finals.

The score might as well have been 1000-7, though. Kobe Bryant had the best game of his NBA Finals career, with 40 points on 16-of-34 shooting to lead all scorers. As Zach Harper of talkhoops noted on Twitter, Bryant had more field goals in the second and third quarters (11) than the entire Magic team did (10).

He was, despite the scoring, not the only reason the Lakers won this game. Their defense held Orlando to 29.9% shooting from the field — the worst Finals Game 1 shooting performance of the shot-clock era — and limited Dwight Howard to 1 field goal in 6 attempts. Their 55-41 edge on the boards helped keep the ball out of the Magic's hands, either by ending Orlando's possessions after 1 miss with a defensive rebound or by prolonging their own with an offensive rebound.

From top to bottom, every Laker played great, and Orlando must improve in every facet of the game if it hopes to muster a comeback in the series. * * *

There are just so many hideous statistics I can point out from this game. The Magic and the Lakers, for instance, each had 3 players in double figures. However, the Magic's three leading scorers — that'd be Mickael Pietrus with 14 off the bench, Hedo Turkoglu with 13, and Howard with 12 — managed to combine for 39 points, which is one short of what Bryant produced himself. * * *

There are a lot of things for coach Stan Van Gundy to sort out in the next two days. He'll certainly be busy. There's the issue of finding better — but not necessarily more--touches for Dwight Howard. Decry his getting only 6 shot attempts all you like, but he still shot 16 free throws and committed 2 turnovers. He had his share of touches.

And the defense definitely needs work, particularly on the interior. Odd as it sounds in a game in which they only mustered 75 points, their defensive effort and intensity might be the bigger problem than their offense. Consider that the Magic were +6 on free throws and +15 on three-pointers. That means the Lakers outscored them on two-pointers by a staggering 46 points. * * *


(10)

OK I Need to Reword Something: To any Laker fan who might be interested

posted by "RatherFantastic" to Third Quarter Collapse

* * *
Yeah, so in the game thread, in which I try to be a cool head with no caps, no cussing, and all the other ingredients to be a classy poster, I made a bad comment towards the Lakers fans saying in short, I hate them.

Let me evaluate why I made that comment. Simply enough the game was frustrating me. We got the crap beat out of us, I expected more, so there were many reasons to why I was upset. And so I go and post that comment.

A few of the Laker guys responded well after I'd left the thread and I know they probably wouldn't go back to read anything I posted there, so I want to apologize here and hope they read this. I know Laker fans get crap for rooting for the Lakers even if they are nice, educated people which is the majority. It's only a game, but when a team wins a lot on a regular basis, year after year, and other teams just get squashed by the dominant team, you know that the bandwagon of haters will grow as fast as the bandwagon of supporters. It's just natural to either root for the big dog, or root against them, especially when your real team of choice is not playing in something as big as the Finals.

I know it's gotta be as hard to root for a big winning team because of the backlash fans of other teams give, and besides the Magic in more recent years, I've rooted for the opposite of Laker-esque teams. The Kansas City Royals and Chiefs? Obviously this man love a winner. Mizzou? Football has been great but should decline with the loss of it's senior class and Basketball was stellar after a major slump, but then there are Laker-esque teams like Oklahoma and Texas in football and Kansas in basketball to root against (especially Kansas). Orlando has obviously got tons better in the D12 Era, but are still seen as underdogs in many people's eyes (mine included). * * *

So all in all, I never was meant to enjoy Laker-esque teams simply becaue I've grown up rooting for the more underdog type teams, especially as of late. And if you've read all of this, which I don't think even I would, just remember that if I had stayed at that game thread, it would have been boiled down to this: "I'm sorry, I overreacted, no harm meant and I know you guys get a ton of crap for rooting for a great team." And if you've read this whole thing, wow. You have a gift, you reader you :)


(11)

Orlando Magic Come Crashing Down, Fall to Lakers in Game 1

by Zach McCann, Orlando Magic Daily.com (TrueHoop)

After five days of partying, the city of Orlando suffered a torrid hangover on Thursday night. I'm talking blurry vision, pulsating brain, never-ending taste of vomit — the kind of feeling that makes you never want to party again. Maybe the city of Orlando's unanimous call for respect came four victories too early.

The Lakers showed how good a team can be when its dominant superstar is surrounded by a variety of complementary scorers, role players, and hustlers. These are no Cavaliers. There's no letting Kobe score 40 points and stopping the other guys. You can't shut down Pau Gasol like he's Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Lamar Odom is no Anderson Varejao. There are no glaring weaknesses coming off of L.A.'s bench.

Against L.A., the Magic are going to earn their shots, earn their stops and earn their wins. And they didn't tonight.

Kobe Bryant, after a relatively slow start, was absolutely deadly. He scored on a variety of mid-range jumpers, runners and floaters from all different angles and lengths. Bryant's game is so much more aesthetically pleasing than LeBron James' — he scores so many ways and doesn't initiate contact the same way James does.

Bryant almost single-handedly turned the game around in the second quarter with a barrage of mid-range jumpers, all while Mickael Pietrus played pretty good defense and consistently put a hand in his face. The Lakers were down 33-28 with 8:32 left in the second quarter with Kobe on the bench. The Lakers then called a timeout, inserted Kobe into the game and went on a 25-10 run to close out the half. Kobe had 12 points and three assists during that stretch. * * *

All hope isn't lost, though. It's just one game, and the Magic can still even things up on Sunday night. But one thing's for sure: the Lakers hold their liquor better than Jack Nicholson.


(12)

Finals: Game 1 Reaction

by The Big Train, The Puns are Starting to Bore Me (Bloguin)

Well, Orlando is now 0 and 5 in the NBA Finals. There isn't really much to say about this one. LA looked faster, stronger, and better in every way. Kobe was amazing, Orlando couldn't hit a shot, and the Lakers kept D12 in check. Perhaps the brightest spot for Orlando was the return of Jameer. He didn't exactly light it up out there (6 pts, 4 ast in 23 minutes), but you have to love his desire.

I could go on and on breaking down the game, but it's actually pretty simple. When you shoot 29% you are not going to win. * * *


(13)

NBA Finals Game 1: Lakers 100 Magic 75

by Mike from Illinois, Orlando Magic Blog

Despite the return of Jameer Nelson for the first time in four months, the Magic played their worst game of the playoffs and possibly their worst game of the season, as the Lakers were led by Kobe Bryant's 40 points in a 100-75 rout over the Magic. The Magic could only shoot 29.9% from the field, with Dwight Howard making just one field goal.

Things actually started off relatively well for the Magic, as the Magic led 24-22 at the end of one and 33-28 with 8:39 remaining in the second quarter. The Lakers came back to lead 53-43 at the half, as Nelson played the whole second quarter in his first game since February 4th.

The closest the Magic could get in the second half was 59-50 with 8:20 remaining, as the Lakers poured it on from that point. The Lakers led 82-58 going into the fourth quarter, and saw their lead swell by as much as 88-60 before cruising to the final. * * *

Other game notes and stats:

  • The Magic, after leading 33-28, were outscored 72-42 the rest of the way
  • The Lakers outscored the Magic on two point baskets 76-30
  • The Lakers' starters outscored the Magic starters 77-46
  • The Magic starters combined to shoot 11 of 46 from the field * * *


(14)

Just an Off Night

posted by "Pittbullz EP" to Magic Madness message board

...[T]hey just caught us on an off night. Those open looks fall and it could be a different ball game. I know you cant do anything about that now and really there's no way of telling wether the out come would've been different, but I know we wouldn't have lost by as many.

SVG should double team Kobe in the post and make the other guys beat us IMO. LA has some talented players unlike CLE who you could let LBJ do what he wants and keep the other players in check. Odom is a difficult match up for Lew and/or Hedo depending on what position he's playing, and Pau can post on LEw all game. He should also play Jameer less minutes. Dont try to fix whats not broke SVG!!!

Regardless, I think the team bounces back well from losses and we can steal on in LA.


(15)

Embarrassed

posted by "dxwwf3" to Magic Madness message board

One of the things that bothers me the most about tonight is this is the first time a lot of people have seen us play this year. We were embarrassed in the biggest stage in the world. This is not the Magic team we've seen this year. I don't know what this is, but this better be the last time it shows up.


(16)

WFTV.COM  Channel 9 Eyewitness News 

Team coverage of the loss, as seen on Orlando TV. Running time: about 2 minutes.

LINK


(17)

HAW HAW HAW!!!

Congresswomen Maxine Waters (LA) and Corrine Brown (ORL) do an impression of Timbo & Marie.

Mandatory viewing for all political junkies!!!

 

 

(18)

Game One: Los Angeles Lakers 100, Orlando Magic 75

by Philip Rossman-Reich, The Curse of the Big Aristotle

At the beginning of the second quarter, Jameer Nelson checked into the game for the first time since injuring his shoulder in the first week of February. After four months, the Magic were finally complete and had their leader on the court.

And Nelson quickly made an impact. He scored four points and had four assists very quickly as the Magic took a five-point lead in the early second quarter.

But something was off. Nelson lacked the aggression he had the rest of the season. He was not looking to score and deferred to teammates. Maybe it was the glorification of his play from the beginning of the season, but something seemed off.

For his first game back, Nelson played pretty well. He scored six points and had four assists in 23 minutes. But like the rest of the team, something was missing despite getting some good looks offensively.

Orlando shot 29.9 percent (read that again, please because you will never see that again in an NBA game) and got beat by a more aggressive and determined Los Angeles team, dropping Game One 100-75 at the Staples Center last night.
* * *

t was a gap built by Kobe Bryant and pretty much Kobe Bryant alone. Bryant scored 40 points, 18 in the third quarter, and despite pretty decent defense took it to the Magic and got whatever he wanted.

The Lakers outscored the Magic 29-15 in the third quarter, expanding a 10-point halftime lead. Los Angeles' defense started shutting down Orlando's drives and continued to chase the shooters off the arc and back into the traps in the middle.

That is really all that needs to be said about this game.

 

The Bottom Line:

1. Ouch... That Kobe guy is good.

2. We know that making 3-pointers is the key to the Orlando offense, but a 2 -point bucket every now and again would be nice for a change of pace.

3. Game 2 is looking bleak. But we aren't this bad and they aren't this good, right?

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