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How Game 4 Was Lost

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The Orlando Magic are done. We all witnessed it Thursday night and saw them make many boneheaded plays in the last 30 seconds of regulation in Game 4 to cost them the game. Let’s break it down.

1. Dwight Howard should have never had the ball in the Magic’s second-to-last possession.

Howard was shooting 50% on the charity stripe obviously having problems. I can see what Stan van Gundy was trying to do, but Kobe Bryant made the smart foul on Howard tying him up to prevent him from making an easy basket. Howard would miss both free throws keeping the Lakers deficit at three.

2. The Magic shouldn’t have guarded the back court on the Lakers in-bounds play.

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The Lakers made the brilliant decision not to take the ball at half court, instead opting to take the ball full court in order to try and create a transition situation. The Magic should have sagged to the half court and guarded the three point line.

3. The Magic should have fouled.

I don’t care what van Gundy said after the game, but you’ve got to foul. If the Lakers make both free throws, the Magic still have a one point lead. Play the foul game and make sure you get the ball to Mickael Pietrus who had only missed one free throw.

4. Jameer Nelson should have at least pretended to play some defense.

Really. If you’re going to pretend the Grand Canyon sits between you and Derek Fisher, what do you expect him to do. Fisher, despite his 0-for-5 three point shooting in the game, will kill you beyond the arc if you let him get in rhythm and see the basket. Nelson did nothing to disrupt Fisher’s shooting rhythm and hardly got his arms up. Fisher hits the three to tie the game and adds one more play in his bank of playoff moments.

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5. With four seconds left, you can’t come up with a better play?

Four seconds is enough time to get off a play, yet the Magic couldn’t do it. In fact they couldn’t inbound the ball on the first try having to use up a time out. Once the buzzer sounded to end regulation it was over. Everyone knew the Lakers were going to win the game in overtime and go up 3-1.

With that said the Magic are cooked. I don’t see how they come back from yet another game they blew. The Lakers will win tonight, the looters will get themselves some new HDTVs and we can all wait on the sidewalks of Figueroa Street.

Catch my liveblog on the game later tonight.