Coming into Game Three of the NBA Finals, the Orlando Magic had its back against the wall yet again in this year's postseason.
Facing adversity, Orlando came onto its homecourt looking to use the crowd to fuel its play.
That is exactly what the Magic did as they beat the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday night, 108-104, to put itself right back in the NBA Finals.
Rafer Alston, who was just 3-of-17 from the field prior to Game Three, produced exceptionally well tonight, especially the first quarter. Alston had 11 points in the first quarter of Game Three. However, Kobe Bryant matched that with 17 points of his own in the first.
After the lowest scoring first quarter in NBA Finals history Tuesday, Los Angeles scored 31 points in the first quarter of game three, Orlando trailed with 27.
The Orlando homecourt really proved to make a difference for the Magic. Role players such as Rafer Alston, Mickael Pietrus, and Tony Battie stepped up substantially well in Game Three, especially in the first half.
The Magic are 18-and-4 in its last 22 home games dating back to the regular season.
In Game Two, Orlando shot 32 percent from the field in the first half. In Game Three, the Magic shot an unbelievable 75 percent from the field in the first half, the best percentage ever in any half of any NBA Finals game.
Nevertheless, the Lakers were still within five points of the Magic at halftime, 59-54.
Proceeding the superb shooting in the first half, the Magic went 66 percent shooting from the field after three quarters.
The fourth quarter is when things started to heat up.
Relevant to Game Two, the Lakers would not back down. Orlando led the entire second half prior to a late run by Los Angeles, to tie the game at 99 with 2:41 left in the fourth.
However, Kobe Bryant failed to come up big with under a minute left to play as he missed the front end of a pair of free throws.
With the score set at 104-102 in favor of Orlando, Bryant once again buckled under pressure with under 30 seconds to play as the Defensive player of the year, Dwight Howard, poked the ball loose from Kobe, resulting in a Mickael Pietrus steal and a Bryant foul.
Following the two made free throws by Pietrus, the Magic had a comfortable four point lead, which led to a four point win in game three of the NBA Finals.
Rafer Alston was asked to play more aggressive prior to Game Three. It is safe to say that "Skip to my lou" responded well by scoring 20 points in the contest, fueling the offensive push in the first quarter.
Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis also carried most of the load for the Magic, scoring 21 points each, respectively. Hedo Turkoglu and Mickael Pietrus, off the bench, contributed 18 points each, respectively.
The Lakers, now two-and-three against the Magic this season, including the playoffs, were led by non other than Kobe Bryant, who scored 31 points. Pau Gasol made 9-of-11 shots to score 23 points, and Lamar Odom and Jordan Farmar chipped in 11 respective points each off the bench.
A big story following this Game Three was Kobe Bryant's failure to execute down the stretch for the Lakers.
Bryant was hassled all game long by the combination of Courtney Lee and Mickael Pietrus.
Orlando, now seven-and-one in the playoffs when scoring over 100 points per game, undoubtedly shot its way out of its shooting slump in Game Three. In Game Two, the Magic shot just 35.9 percent from the field, and in Game Three they shot an NBA Finals team record 62.5 percent.
The Magic were able to down the Lakers while shooting so well despite allowing Los Angeles to shoot 51.3 percent.
The Magic (one-and-six in NBA Finals all-time) will now look to tie the series up on Thursday night and ultimately will look to become the fourth team all-time to win all three middle home games in an NBA Finals series.