- The Washington Times - Friday, June 12, 2009

ORLANDO, FLA. (AP) - It was a minor deal that sent Trevor Ariza from Orlando to Los Angeles in 2007.

It’s now a major reason the NBA finals have swung back in the Lakers’ favor.

Ariza rejuvenated a team that was lifeless in the first half with 13 points in the third quarter, then hit a tying 3-pointer with 2:37 left in regulation as the Lakers rallied to beat the Magic 99-91 in overtime Thursday night and move a win away from a championship.

“He just made big plays,” Kobe Bryant said of Ariza. “He kept the floor spaced and knocked down shots.”

Ariza was scoreless in the first half, continuing a disappointing finals on the offensive end, then nearly outscored the Magic by himself over the next 12 minutes as the Lakers surged into the lead.

The forward has mostly been known for his defensive abilities since Los Angeles acquired him the first month of the 2007-08 season for forward Brian Cook and swingman Maurice Evans.

But they couldn’t have won this one without what he did on the other end.

No longer just a slasher, he’s developed a fairly reliable jumper _ he shot 50 percent from 3-point range in the Western Conference playoffs _ and his perimeter shooting turned around a game that was all Orlando after the Magic opened a 49-37 lead at the break.

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