Friday, June 5, 2009

Watch Online: Los Angeles Lakers wins Game 1 NBA Finals

The Lakers dominate NBA Finals, Game 1, besting the Magic 100-75 to take the early series lead. They blew it open in the second quarter by thwarting the Magic on 10 of 11 possessions in one stretch, turning a five-point deficit into a seven-point bulge. By the end, Orlando shot just 29.9 percent, the lowest rate for any team in any game during this year's postseason.

It's easy to point to live-by-the-three, die-by-the-three as the reason for the letdown. Bt Orlando finished 8-for-23 from downtown. That's 34.8 percent -- just a shade off its 38.1 clip in the regular season.

It was actually the twos that hurt them. The Magic shot 27.7 percent from inside the arc, as the Lakers were able to unhitch Dwight Howard's anchor in the middle. If you cut the head off the beast the rest of its body will flail.
The Magic scored less than 80 points just once before all season -- an 82-73 loss to the Nuggets back in February. Some of the numbers from that game are eerily similar to Thursday; Orlando was 22-for-29 from the foul line and shot 30.4 percent from the field overall. But the glaring difference between that stinkfest and Game 1 was that Orlando had 23 turnovers, so the point total was self-inflicted.

Orlando took care of the ball on Thursday but couldn't match the Lakers' effort. "We played with a lot of energy," Kobe Bryant said. "Guys are working hard. That's all you can ask for when you played against the Orlando Magic."

Jackson said L.A. was able to stop penetration and limit the drive-and-kick opportunities for Jameer Nelson, Rafer Alston and Hedo Turkoglu.
Their second-leading scorer was even worse. Rashard Lewis shot just 2-for-10. Gasol owned the power forward matchup with 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks compared to eight, five, zero and zero for Lewis.