After a 25-point blowout in Game Two in Los Angeles, the Orlando Magic were still looking for their first NBA Finals win in franchise history.
It looked like the Magic would have to wait until their next Finals appearance, since it seemed they were heading for a sweep once again.
The trend continued in the first quarter as the Lakers were able to start fast on the road. Orlando, playing just their third Finals home game ever, came out fast as well.
Los Angeles was able to build a slight four point lead of 31-27 after the first quarter. The Magic kept the game close and shot much better at home than in the first two games of the series.
Trevor Ariza got off to a good start and scored 13 points in the game for the Lakers. The Magic got a better shooting effort from Rafer Alston who added 20 points to the Magic's score.
The Magic came back in the second quarter as Mickael Pietrus, who had 18 points, came off the bench to spark Orlando, along with Hedo Turkoglu, who quietly put together another solid game with 18 points, six rebounds, and seven assists.
As Orlando got back in the game, the Lakers kept close, with Lamar Odom off the bench with 11 points. The Magic took a five point halftime lead of 59-54.
Orlando stayed ahead in the third quarter as Rashard Lewis added 21 points in the game for the Magic. The Lakers stayed on their heels with 23 points from Pau Gasol, who does not yet have a double-double in points and rebounds. Orlando extended their lead to six with a score of 81-75.
The fourth quarter saw the Lakers making a comeback of their own. Jordan Farmar added 11 points off the bench for Los Angeles in the game. Dwight Howard had another Superman-like performance, adding 21 points and 14 rebounds.
The Magic shot 62.5 percent from the field, and to go along with 76.7 percent from the free throw line.
Orlando needed the good shooting since they needed a very un-Kobe like performance to win the game. With the game close in the fourth quarter, Bryant missed the front end of two free throws and several open shots from the field.
Bryant had 31 points in the game but shot only 50 percent from the free throw line, making only five of the 10 attempts he took. The Magic took advantage of Bryant’s poor fourth quarter for their first win in the Finals in their history.
With the 101-96 win, the Orlando cut the Lakers lead to 2-1.
The Magic get a chance to tie the series at home in Game Four on Thursday.