Mentioned this on Twitter last night. No joke, I think my heart skipped a few beats as the Magic crumbled in OT to the Lakers. These playoffs have been as good as it gets. When the Raptors blew the season I went ahead and picked two teams to ride with through the playoffs – The Blazers and The Magic – and what a ride it has been. Truthfully, I believed the Blazers had a better chance of doing anything this year but with no real vested interest in either team, I have surprised myself at how emotional these playoffs have gotten me. Night after night of upsets, overtimes and buzzer-beaters have proven costly to my health and my wallet. I have been trying to quit smoking (yes ugggh I know) but all this stress isn’t helping the cause. Last night as Fisher drained a 3 with 4.6 seconds left, I picked up my pack of smokes and the warning was staring me right in the face. Instead of taking a cigarette out of the pack I tweeted – This years playoffs should come with a surgeon generals warning
Looking back at last night, we saw both teams play come out with more of a defensive mindset. The odds that the Magic would repeat their shooting performance were slim and though it was looking good for them in the first half, they ended the night shooting at a 41% clip. They didn’t do themselves any favors by shooting only 59% from the charity stripe and coughing up the ball 17 times. When your star player has more turnovers(9) than the entire Laker team(7) you better hope for everything else to fall in place, but as the time ticked down they were still “One errand elbow” away from tying up the series.
Gotta give props where they are due. Last night, even though it came ugly, the Lakers did what they had to in order to win a tough game on the road. Early on in the game the refs went whistle happy and most of the calls went against the Lakers’s big men causing Phil Jackson to reach way down his bench and give minutes to Powell and Mbenga. The Zen master must have poured on some wisdom at halftime because everything changed from there on out. The soon to be a lot richer, Trevor Ariza took over in the 3rd Q and almost single handedly outscored the entire Magic team. When it came to closing out the game the ball was put in the hands of the seasoned vets on the team. Phil Jackson’s 9 rings are no fluke and earlier in the series when people were calling for Fisher to be benched he didn’t flinch and on this night that same guy who was being thrown under the bus turned out the hero.
This series could very well be 3-1 in favor of the Magic but as we know, a few seconds is a lifetime in an NBA game and there is a reason you have to play all 48 minutes. The Magic have a lot of maturing to do but I have no doubt they will come back with vengeance next game.
I will leave you with this….