Lakers at Magic Game 4
Game 4 of the NBA Finals in Orlando – Lakers leading 2-1 .
Tough contest so far – hard to predict if the Lakers can go ahead decisive considering that they show some sign of fatigue.
Bryant came out intent to land a knockout shot in Game 3. He eased into the offensive flow, but then went on a tear, scoring 17 points in the final 5:41 of the first quarter. At halftime, he had 21 and although the Magic were shooting an unconscious 75 percent, the Lakers trailed by only four points.
In the second half, Bryant shot just 3 of 10 from the field and missed four free throws. In the fourth quarter, normally his signature time, he went 2 of 6, missed all three 3-point attempts and had the ball stolen on a crucial possession in the last 30 seconds.
It should be noted that the Magic screen/roll game was much more effective due to the referees calling more fouls on tight defensive pressure behind the three-point line, forcing the Lakers to play a bit softer.
Also, Turkoglu did a better job of driving his defender (usually Trevor Ariza) into screens, while Howard did a better job of setting them. And on the occasion when the screen/was denied, Turkoglu would simply go left and try to get to the rim or uncork his step back jumpers.
From there on, it was just a matter of whether or not the Magic supporting cast would respond. And unlike the initial two games, the supporting cast came up huge.
Rashard Lewis proved big early (ten first half points) and late (a huge jump shot with a minute left that extended the Magic lead to three). As in Game Two, he warmed up in the post hitting a pair of nifty jumpers over Pau Gasol, and his three-point shooting followed suit.
I see a more careful approach by both teams and overall a low scoring game. Excepting the overtime in game 3, all the games went under 200 points.
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