I'm excited for tonight's game. I watched the Lakers 3-peat and I want to see Kobe win his 4th. Should be an intense game - Orlando has been outstanding at responding to must-win situations all these playoffs, and tonight should be no different. Check back, I'm not going to miss a second of this game.
Hey, they brought out that girl again to sing the National anthem. What are they, 8-1 when she sings? Awesome. Girl's got some pipes.
Too bad Orlando's intros are so lame.
---1st Quarter, 7:50
Sloppy play on both sides. Orlando has to start pounding it inside. Alston just gave up a wide, wide, wide open 3-pointer. Stupid turnover. Orlando shooters seem cocked and locked, but Howard has to start getting some touches. If they let Kobe run pick and rolls like that, this game is over.
---1st Quarter, 5:29
Orlando offense just clicking. Transition offence is running and gunning, flowing smoothly. Kobe is answering back though. Beautiful to watch.
---1st Quarter End
Each series takes on its own personality - that's such a cliché, but it's true. Against Cleveland, Orlando just couldn't start the game properly. These games against L.A. have been completely different. Up by 2. I like this start. Their offence is clicking, and guys are looking to attck the rim. Howard is showing some moves. Continue pounding it inside, look to exploit the double teams that Howard is seeing. Sooner or later, the perimeter is going to open up. Orlando's shooters have to be ready.
---2nd Quarter, 9:37
Howard just made two beautiful post ups in a row. Chance for a 3-point play. Gorgeous. Keep pushing the tempo. Howard has to run hard, establish position. If he can get deep enough every time down, Lakers are in trouble.
---2nd Quarter, 7:18
Is anyone playing any defense? Kobe dunking, Odom making transition threes, Marcin Gortat dunking off alley-oops? Come on guys, buckle down a bit. At least the refs aren't calling touch fouls. Let men play like men, and keep p*ssies like Varejao in the WNBA.
---2nd Quarter, 3:33
Lakers pulling away. Up by 9. Two 3's by Ariza, and Fisher with a wide lane to the rim. Completely left alone. Orlando burning two timeouts in less than a minute. Is this team slipping away? Or is it too early to determine. We'll see what Orlando's made of. If they can't get within 5 points at halftime, this game is over. The Lakers are no Cleveland - they will not melt down in the 3rd. Howard has to get the ball and hold onto it - no more turnovers. Lewis has to shoot the f*cking ball when he gets a look. What's with this silly hesitation? Drive and kick, drive and kick - that's their game. You have to be aggressive and shoot when you're open. Once the pace slows down, L.A.'s half-court defense will smother you.
---2nd Quarter, 3:03
My goodness. Three turnovers coming out of a timeout for Orlando. 16 straight points for L.A. The crowd is out of it, things are looking bleak for Orlando. They're not out, I still believe they'll make a run. You have to stick to your game plan, keep it simple. Move the ball, look for open shooters, no hesitation.
A crazy end to the first half. Orlando was successful in the 1st quarter going to Howard, but stopped doing it in the 2nd. Frustration evident. Defence has to be turned up. And have to take care of the ball, lots of silly turnovers. Be patient. But down by 10 at the half - I don't think L.A. is going to let this one slip away.
---3rd Quarter, 10:06
Orlando's offense is stalling. So many broken plays. Come on guys, go, run, move!!!!!
---3rd Quarter, 7:45
Excellent sequence by Orlando. Patient with the ball, moving it inside and out, leading to a wide open pocket 3 by Alston.
---3rd Quarter, 7:05
Two fantastic returns by L.A. Odom for 3 and then Gasol drawing an offensive foul on Howard. Wow, and then Odom for another 3! Is it too early to call this game? What heart, what drive by the Lakers. Every time Orlando rallies, L.A. responds, and then some. We're watching champions play.
---3rd Quarter, 6:29
I like that. Howard and Turk, pick and roll, forcing Fisher to switch onto Howard. Pound the ball in deep to Howard, draw the foul. Howard has to get going. I still can't believe he's only had, what, one dunk this entire series??!!
---3rd Quarter, 2:06
Jameer Nelson just subbed in for Alston, and you could see the look of frustration on his face. This is not going to end well. Alston has a year left on his contract, and he doesn't respond well to being a backup. I don't understand Van Gundy's decision to play Nelson so many minutes, and taking Johnson out of the lineup completely. This is the decision that cost them the series.
---3rd Quarter End
This is not looking good. The season is slipping away, fast, for Orlando. When Farmar makes bank shots with 2.8 seconds left on the clock.....hope fades, and resignation sets in. Lakers have been exceptional for 3 quarters.
---4th Quarter, 8:13
Kobe is just killing them. It's his time, he's single-handedly holding off any advance that Orlando is putting up. Lee can't guard him, Redick can dream on. This game is over.
---4th Quarter, 5:50
You can see it - Orlando knows that its done. Just play out the clock. A bright side in all this is the commentary from Jeff Van Gundy. Understated humour, quietly hilarious.
---4th Quarter End
What a great win for L.A. They deserved it - they were clearly the better team, and played this entire game masterfully. Kobe is the greatest player in the game. Can there be any more doubt? I've been an admirer of Phil Jackson ever since his first 3-peat, and with 10 rings, he's cemented his place as the greatest coach in history.
This is a beautiful game.