Well, that was one half and this is another...
To quote Rasheed Wallace: "Both Teams Played Hard." And they shot well, I add.
In the first quarter, Team Purple edged out to a little lead from the opening moments and more or less stayed about a bucket or so ahead of their foes for the whole of the 1st Quarter. Orlando snatched a quick lead or two, which was promptly erased.
Human Foul Machine Bynum got whistled twice, and Screamin' Stan put further scars on his long-suffering vocal chords. Yep, we've seen this before.
Kobe's 4 point play with about a minute left allowed the Lakers to end the 1st Q with a 31-27 lead.
Throughout the first half, Orlando was shooting lights-out: with 5:30 left in the 2nd, they had a 76% make rate showing, and that includes 5 missed 3-balls. They were shooting 44% from beyond the arc. One would normally expect the Lakers to be down about 15, but the game was tied — testimony to Kobe and his tight 20 on 8-for-11 shooting.
During a mic-ed time out SVG shrieked: "You're on fire — they're on fire..." Yep.
With 3 minutes left in the first half, Orlando was still shooting .............. 76% from the field. They were also out rebounding the Lakers 10-9. Somebody needs to explain to me how the game stayed even at that point.
The quarter ended with Lewis hitting a 3 over a late-closing LO (per usual), Fisher missed a 2, Howard was fouled driving the lane and hit 2, Lakers missed again — and they were down 5, 59-54.
P.S. By the way, Kobe — do you polish your rings? Do you have a ring polisher? And why'd you cut your 'fro? I liked your 'fro...