Lakers Dismantle Magic
This certainly was not what I had in mind coming into this NBA Finals. The Lakers were led by Kobe Bryant scoring 40 points and getting eight rebounds and eight assists. This was the first time Kobe has scored 40 or more in the NBA Finals in his career.
The game started out with both teams feeling each other out in the first quarter. The Magic took a five point lead at the end of the quarter. But in the second quarter despite surprisingly good play by Jameer Nelson, the Lakers started to pull away taking a 10 point lead into the half.
Defensively the Lakers were able to contain Dwight Howard to 12 points. Howard made great outlet passes to shooters on the perimeter throughout the game, but the ball would not go into the basket for the Magic.
Throughout the playoffs the Magic were able to play strong third quarters to crawl back into games no matter the deficit they faced. The Lakers played a strong third quarter extending their lead to 24 points. And that was the game right there.
As great as Kobe was, the Magic were just awful. They shot a woeful 29.9% from the field and allowed 56 points in the paint. While the Laker defense did a good job at times, most of those misses were just that. The Magic had plenty of open-look shots that they just plain missed.
Phil Jackson after the game noted that the Magic couldn't play any worse than they did in this game. If the shooters were able to knock down their shots, the whole complexion of the game would have been different.
Remember the 1985 finals. The Lakers were thoroughly annihilated by the Boston Celtics in game one to the tune of 148-114 where Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored only 12 points and Magic Johnson grabbed only one rebound. The Lakers went on to win the series 4-2. So before we dismiss the Magic, let's just be very wary.
Having said that, this was a great win for the Lakers in the opening salvo of the Finals.