So, the Lakers survive an improved effort from the Magic and go up 2-0. Orlando didn’t do itself any favors, turning the ball over 20 times for 28 turnovers.
It’s interesting to wonder what the outcome would’ve been had it not been for the sloppy ball handling and a 6-for-26 shooting performance out of the Magic’s guards. But, the Lakers found a way to prevail. The fact that Orlando came out with a better performance shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The sense was that they came out with a bad case of stage fright in Game 1, and the result was a 25-point defeat. Everybody in both camps expected a different Orlando team tonight.
The thing that was surprising, however, was how the Magic continue to shoot themselves in the foot. The weak second quarter, which saw Rashard Lewis score 18 of his team’s 20 points, was pretty bad. Lewis was hot, but you’ve got to get more out of the other four guys on the floor.
What does this tell us? That even on an off night, the Lakers are good enough to exploit the Magic’s weaknesses. It’ll be interesting to see how Orlando responds to being in an 0-2 hole.
But Stan Van Gundy, despite his obvious frustrations, reminded everyone that although it’s rare, teams can in fact come back from two games down to win a title.
“Now we have to go home and have a great Game 3. I’ve seen series turn, as I told them,” Van Gundy said. “I was still in Miami not doing a damn thing, but I was still in Miami in 2006 when they lost both games in Dallas and then were way down in the third quarter in Game 3 at home, came back and won that one, Dallas never won another game”
Van Gundy wasn’t doing anything in Miami because Pat Riley had relieved him of his duties, saying Van Gundy resigned to spend more time with his family, and Riley then guided Miami to it’s first title.
With the West Coast time difference and late game times, it’s tough to get quotes into the paper, but here are some sound bites from the portions of last night’s press conferences that took place after deadline…
Q: Kobe, do you feel like you all dodged a bullet tonight?
KB: “I don’t think we dodged a bullet, I think they played extremely well and we played well enough to win. You know, they bounced back like we knew they would, played extremely well, and we got out of here with a win.”
Q: Your gameface has been on the entire series. Still waiting for a big smile out of you. You’re up 2-0. What’s the story, are you not happy or only half happy?
KB: “WHat’s there to be happy about?”
Q: You’re 2-0.
KB: “The job isn’t finished yet. Is the the job finished? I don’t think so.”
On the Lakers’ energy after such a dominant performance in Game 1, then gutting out a victory in Game 2.
KB: We’re about to kick it up. So, there’s more to give? KB: You better believe it. We’re close. You see what I’m saying? This is the Finals. We’re going to be ready to go.”
On being down 0-2 in the past and how it helps now: DH:
“We’ve just got to go home and take care of business. The Lakers did a good job protecting their home, and now it’s our turn to do the same thing. We’ve been in some tough situations. We’ve just got to fight our way out.”
On Courtney Lee’s missed potential game-winner:
DH: “He had a close one. He had a chance to finish the game. It just wasn’t there for it to happen. There was nothing we could do about it. He missed the shot.”
On letting the Lakers off the hook:
DH: “We had our chances to win. You know, we turned the ball over too much tonight. That got them the win. … I expect all of us to play better. If we want to win, all of us got to step our games up.”