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Lakers-Magic: After Courtney Lee Miss, Magic Might Already Be Asking, "What If?"

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Lakers-Magic: After Courtney Lee Miss, Magic Might Already Be Asking,
(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Every NBA Finals has its "what ifs."

Usually these come up in retrospect.

What if Magic Johnson and Byron Scott had played in the 1989 Finals versus the "Bad Boy" Pistons?

What if the officials had called Michael Jordan for pushing off the Utah Jazz's Bryon Russell in the deciding game of the 1998 Finals?

What if Trevor Ariza and Andrew Bynum had played in the 2008 Finals versus the Celtics?

But this year's "what if" has already been asked.

What if Courtney Lee had made that alley-oop layup as regulation expired and tied the Lakers-Magic series at a game apiece with the series heading back to Orlando for three games?

If Thursday's 25-point drubbing was a punch in the face, Sunday night's five-point overtime victory was a knee in the groin.

The Magic aren't dead yet, but they are on the floor groveling in pain.

The Lakers played their worst game since Game Four in Denver. The offense was out of sync, Kobe Bryant kept getting himself in trouble and finished with seven turnovers, and aside from Lamar Odom, the bench was virtually nonexistent.

Still, the Magic couldn't win.

Rashard Lewis got hot. So did Hedo Turkoglu. Heck, J.J. Redick even hit two shots. Sure the Magic guards haven't shown up, but that's what Lakers fans hoped would happen when Jameer Nelson announced he'd play in the Finals. The Magic defense held the Lakers to 88 points at the end of regulation.

Still, the Magic couldn't win.

What adjustments will they make for Game Three? Shoot more threes? Hope that the home crowd gets the team pumped? Pray that Bryant won't adjust to the swarming Magic defense like he didn't in Game Two?

Or will they be sitting at home thinking, "What if Courtney had made that shot?"

 

Other Notes

It seems as if Phil Jackson has decided to put his foot on the gas and not take it off until this series is decided, as for the second straight game Bryant has rarely come off the floor. Sasha Vujacic, who had been struggling before the series, has played a total of nine minutes in two games. Bryant has played 87 minutes.

Andrew Bynum continued to find himself in foul trouble, but in limited minutes he gave the Lakers a boost with five points and two blocked shots. However, the Lakers seem to be playing better with an Odom-Pau Gasol frontcourt anyway.

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