I suppose a relative blowout to end a series that started with a blowout makes sense.
Honestly though, I must admit that watching Orlando just make a token effort in the game seemed almost an insult after their effort in the previous three games.
Orlando started with energy and looked sharp early, but then LA took over in the second quarter with a 16-0 run. It became obvious that Orlando wasn’t going to fight in the second quarter when Courtney Lee was the only thing keeping the Magic in the game.
For the final time, Dwight Howard was still not unstoppable
In the third quarter, the frustration of the young center started becoming glaringly obvious. Midway through the third, Howard was on the bench with four fouls and a look on his face of resignation.
Howard finished the game with 11 points and ten rebounds.
The Laker big men were active the entire game, comfortably controlling the paint. Dwight Howard looked lost and confused out there for long stretches of the game, including the entire fourth quarter.
Howard’s lack of composure gave the Lakers a 47-36 rebounding edge.
The Lakers devastated the Magic from the three-point line
At one point in this game, the Magic were one for 11 from the three-point line. They finished shooting .296.
Meanwhile, the Lakers shot .500 from the three-point line. Overall, the Lakers had 11 less threes and made the same number of them as the Magic.
The Magic were getting called for fouls when they committed them
Give Phil Jackson credit.
He got fined again for complaining about the referees, but, for the first time in the last four games, the Lakers got more free throw opportunities than the Magic.
I don’t think so.
Why the Lakers won this series
Orlando had a great run this season and really stepped it up in the postseason. The problem is that Orlando was heavily dependent on a couple of key matchup advantages, namely Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu.
They were able to let Howard just rebound, play defense, and get his points in the middle off of putbacks because they could count on teams not being able to cover one or both of their forwards.
The Lakers won this series because they had enough size to compete with Howard for rebounds and keep him from getting putbacks and enough versatility between Gasol, Odom, Ariza, and Walton to cover the Magic forwards.
Lewis couldn’t take advantage of his perimeter play, which resulted in his shooting poorly in all but two of the games in the series. Hedo was craftier but had to work hard for his offense which caused him to disappear late in games.
Offensively, the Lakers just had too many options for the Magic to deal with.
Lewis’ defense was a liability against Gasol and Odom. Turkoglu was abused by Ariza in the last two games either from downtown or, when Hedo tried to play close, on the drive.
Fisher made key shots, Walton was tough in the post, and Kobe just kept scoring.
Orlando did well to compete hard in the middle three games of this series, but at the end they just didn’t have enough.
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