Can Magic Turn the Trick or Will Kobe's Focus Be Too Much Again?

RD LockhartContributor IJune 7, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 04:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts in the second half against the Orlando Magic in Game One of the 2009 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 4, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

After the 25 point thrashing in Game One at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe "Bean" Bryant, the Orlando Magic players and coaches are telling anyone that will listen that they will rebound in Sunday's Game Two at the Staples Center.

The comeback kids from O-town have somehow been able to find their stroke all season after games when they have lost, only losing consecutive games twice all season with their longest losing streak stopping at three.  Unfortunately, the Magic franchise has an 0-5 losing streak in the finals. 

"Every team has nights, where you know, you just don't have it," said a confident yet repentant Dwight Howard who only managed a puny 12 points and 14 rebounds in Game One. "I'm pretty sure we'll bounce back with great energy and effort." 

Odds on, he is speaking the truth.  There is no way the Magic will shoot 29.9 percent from the field, eight for 23 from 3-point range and give up 40 points, eight assists, and eight rebounds to Kobe again.


When asked about playing point-guard Jameer Nelson, who has recently recovered from shoulder surgery, coach Van Gundy relented, "It was a mistake to play, in his first game back, to play Jameer 12 straight minutes.  I thought he played extremely well and that's what kept him out there, but I think we should have kept him to about six or seven minutes regardless of how well he played."

Ya, think?

Meanwhile, the veteran-laden Lakers, hardened by last year's defeat in their quest for championship gold, have their game faces on.

"Just can't wait," said an anxious Kobe Bryant to the media on Saturday speaking about his desire to play Game Two. "Been waiting for this moment for a while so, everyone's just anxious, ready to go for Game Two."

The Lakers know full well the caliber of opponent they are matched up against and have witnessed what the Magic have been able to do in the playoffs this season dispatching both the Cavaliers and Celtics en-route to claiming the Eastern Conference title. 

Orlando's accuracy from beyond the arc had been deadly, before Game One.

"This is a team that can get blistering hot," said a supremely focused Bryant who has now led his team to three consecutive wins.  "We understand that, know that, and we just have to be ready for it."

The Magic will undoubtedly perform better in Game Two, but don't expect the Lakers to notice. The Lakers will continue their dominating defensive performance against Howard in Game Two and take a 2-0 lead to the City Beautiful on their way to their 15th NBA title in team history.