For some reason, Kobe only gets a lukewarm reception from the L.A fans during pregame introductions. I don't understand this at all.
Mike Breen declares the Lakers are tougher than last year's team that lost to the Celtics... tonight will prove to not be enough evidence to determine this. Within two weeks we should have a definitive answer to this question.
Adam Morrison is in street clothes. I wonder if the Lakers would rather have Radmanovic right now. More importantly, I wonder if Morrison will be in the league next year.
Andrew Bynum gets the best of Howard on the first two possessions. Bynum has six points and three boards in the first three minutes. This is a very bad sign for Orlando.
5:30, first quarter. This is the first stoppage in play. The refs are letting them play so far. Bynum is absolutely owning Howard.
Tony Battie just shot two 17 foot jumpers. If this is in the Magic gameplan, someone needs to lose their job. If it's not, Battie should lose his. No way this should ever happen. Ever.
Howard, Battie and Gortat are getting away with the same moving screen on the wing every single play. This would be an issue if the Magic could hit an open jumper.
End of first quarter, Orlando leads 24-22.
There is a WNBA commercial reminding us that their season is starting soon. This raises the age- old question: if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?
As I say every game, interviewing coaches between quarters is wrong, ridiculous and stupid on so many levels I don't even know where to start.
The second quarter begins with Lamar Odom running free to the rim for an easy put- back dunk. No Magic defender is within five feet of him.
The Magic are getting good, open looks from beyond the arc and are doing a decent job on the offensive glass. If this continues, it could be a problem for L.A.
8:32 left, second quarter; Magic lead 33-28. The Lakers take a rare timeout.
ABC's coverage of this game leaves something to be desired. I just had to wait four minutes to see the score. This is insane.
4:21 left, second quarter: Bynum gets called for a foul on Howard. By itself this isn't noteworthy, except that on the previous play at the other end Howard was not called for a foul on nearly the exact same play.
3:48 Howard gets double- teamed on the block and goes right through for an easy dunk.
2:50 Kobe is heating up. He has 16 points and made the last three scores. Pietrus is defending him as well as any human can. He is all over him and has a hand in his face every shot he takes. It makes no difference, as Kobe is “not human, he is like a piece of iron.”
1:49 Lakers lead 45-39. The intensity is rising and the Lakers defense is suffocating. There is blood in the water.
Odom has a 6/6 at the moment and is all over the offensive glass.
Jameer Nelson is playing ok, but Alston was doing just as well in the first quarter. I don't really see that Nelson is adding anything to his team.
Lakers lead 53-43 at the half. Orlando can do little right. Bynum is outplaying Howard. The Magic can't make a three- pointer. Lewis and Lee have been invisible. Kobe is running an 18/6... other than that the Magic are in great shape.
I have to admit, I was impressed with Kobe in his interview with Magic Johnson.
Early into the third quarter, the Magic are getting to the rim frequently, but can't finish anything.
9:38 Bynum gets called for his fourth foul. Odom comes in and the Lakers actually get better.
6:49 The Magic are 5/16 from the three-point line. Considering that their only chance in this series is to dominate from there, this is VERY bad news.
The Magic bigs are still getting away with that same illegal screen, but it doesn't matter since they still can't make a shot.
6:13 Kobe and Odom make consecutive three-point plays on ridiculous conversions. The lead is 16 and the Magic are close to done.
The Magic are just standing around watching Howard go one on five in the post. They have bad spacing and bad shooting to boot. This is no way to get back into a game.
5:48 left, third quarter. The Lakers lead by 18. The Magic take a timeout. If they are going to have any chance at all, they better do something drastic immediately.
The Lakers are now on a 40-17 run, going back to the second quarter.
3:17 Kobe is out of his freaking mind. He is getting double- teamed every play and still getting to the rim and converting. The lead is now 23.
The Magic are shooting so bad now that they are passing up open looks and seem to be afraid to shoot. This is like the '03 Sacramento Kings where Chris Webber literally refused to make eye-contact with his teammates in crunch time to avoid getting the ball.
End of the third quarter, Lakers lead 82-58. Kobe had 18 points in the quarter and now has 36 for the game. It doesn't matter what the Magic do, Kobe is out to prove something and won't be stopped.
During the break they show a commercial featuring Magic's running baby hook over the entire Celtics team in the classic finals game. Has anyone ever noticed that on that play Kareem is standing under the rim wide open?
Did I mention how ridiculous interviewing coaches between quarters is? It makes no sense whatsoever.
Jeff Van Gundy is talking non-stop about how Kobe has destroyed the Magic in every way and that the game is over. He has taken the liberty of promoting Verizon on his own in an attempt to avoid their commercial. He seems to be the most lucid person in the building.
10:13 left in the fourth. Gortat is no match for Gasol... or Bynum... or any other big man on the Lakers... in a month he will somehow get the midlevel exception from some desperate team. I love this game!
Every loose ball is going to the Lakers. The lead is 88-62.
Jameer Nelson had an ok first half, but is now really hurting his team.
7:20 We have a J.J Redick sighting. This is like being struck by lightning while being attacked by a shark during a solar eclipse.
5:13 The Lakers are finally having a cold streak... if only they weren't up by 24 points this might mean something.
The Lakers close it out and win 100-75.
Kobe finishes with a line of 40/8/8 and didn't play much in the fourth quarter.
This is just one game, but it was ugly and exposed the Magic as mismatched pretenders. Their only hope of winning even one game in this series is to get hot and make a lot of three's in one of these games. I'm gonna say the Lakers end this thing in five games.