When taking a look at the Magic-Lakers Game Four box score, one might gather that the Magic were just outplayed. And while that might be true for the overtime period, in which the Magic were only able to score twice, the real point is that you cannot give up 30 points in the third quarter to the Lakers. The Magic lost the third 30-14, and that honestly lost them the game and put them on the edge in Game Five.
You can talk about the final shot of regulation: Derek Fisher drains a three to tie the game. Sure, you can blame Jameer Nelson for not being in his face like Shane Battier was with Kobe the entire Lakers-Rockets series. But there is more to it than that.
You could start by shooting your eyes over at Dwight Howard, who had to make one free throw to tie the series at two. Or you could take a look at Rashard Lewis, who is averaging 17 PPG against L.A. in these Finals but shot only 2-of-10 from the field and ended up with six points.
When it comes down to it, L.A. is just the better team. No matter what you think, they just outplayed the Magic last night.
Remember that the Lakers have been here before. Fisher's game-tying three was just another walk in the park; he only had a chance to show the ice in his veins because a rattled Dwight Howard could not convert one out of two free throws. Every starter for the Lakers (other than Bynum, whose only job in the series is to slow down Howard) scored in double digits.
Also, it's clear to me that Stan Van Gundy failed as a coach in Game Four. The skipper has to teach discipline to his team, but the Magic have been turning the ball over at an enormous rate. They had 19 TO compared to the Lakers' eight.
Phil Jackson, by contrast, does have his team under control. They understand that turnovers will lose a championship for them. The Magic gave up 16 points off their turnovers, which just adds to the reasons they're looking up at the Lakers from this deep hole.
When they reflected on the contest afterwards, the Magic were looking for where to point their fingers, but in actuality, each member of the squad should have been pointing their fingers at themselves. It is a team effort when you win, and the same goes for a loss. They have put themselves in a horrible position that's made even worse by the fact that even if they win Game Five, they have to go back to the Staples Center, where all of Hollywood will be waiting for Kobe & Co. to deliver.