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Lakers-Magic: Huge Second Quarter Gives Orlando Game Three Victory

Jo-Ryan SalazarSenior Analyst IJune 10, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 09:  Mickael Pietrus #20 of the Orlando Magic gives Rafer Alston #1 and Hedo Turkoglu #15 a five in the fourth quarter in Game Three of the 2009 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers on June 9, 2009 at Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER:  User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

At Amway Arena in Orlando, the Magic were keen to make the 2009 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers a true series. 

With their players' backs to the wall, 17,461 blue-and-white clad supporters—including super fan Dennis Salvaggio (also known as "The Fat Guy")—were intent on seeing Stan Van Gundy's club rebound from their pratfalls in Games One and Two.

In another close affair, they delivered in the clutch to justify home-court advantage and give their fans a sigh of relief.

A balanced scoring attack from the front five, led by Hedo Turkoglu, Rafer Alston, Dwight Howard, and Rashard Lewis, paced the Magic to a 108-104 victory over Phil Jackson's Lakers on Tuesday evening.

Take away what was a horrible second quarter for Los Angeles (in which they were outscored 32-23) and Orlando should have been in a deeper hole now than where they were before tipoff.

Then again, it wasn't just a nightmarish second quarter that doomed the Lakers.

The switch that activated the Magic's shooting touch was turned on (63 percent FG shooting [a NBA Finals record high], with 77 percent FT shooting) to give Orlando its first-ever Finals victory.

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Both Lewis and Howard dropped 21 points on the Lakers. Howard himself crashed the boards with a game-high 14 rebounds, and Lewis exploited the Lakers' poor perimeter defense from downtown (50 percent three-point shooting).

Alston scored 20 points and Turkoglu added another 18 to go with seven assists in the victory.

A big contributor off the bench for Orlando was Mickael Pietrus. He delivered with 18 points and was perfect from the charity stripe going 4-of-4.

For the Lakers, the production was there...for three quarters.

Kobe Bryant led all scorers for the Lakers with a game high 31 points, but could not succeed in tuning out the home crowd, shooting only 50 percent on free throw attempts. 

Pau Gasol added 23 points but was out-muscled in the post, grabbing only three rebounds for the contest.

Further complicating matters was the lack of consistency from Trevor Ariza and a subpar performance from Derek Fisher.

Ariza scored 13 points, but shot a dismal 29 percent from beyond the arc. Fisher was a non-factor altogether, scoring nine points the entire game.

Off the bench, Lamar Odom and Jordan Farmar each scored 11 points in the loss.

One quarter can be the difference in a game, no need to ask the Los Angeles Lakers about that.

With La's series lead cut down to 2-to-1, the question of producing for all four quarters instead of just three will be asked on Thursday in Game Four.

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