Lakers – Magic Running Diary 3

Pau GasolRead about the Lakers vs. Magic Game 3 as it unfolds. As always, feel free to refresh your browser for live updates throughout the game … On second thought, I guess they wouldn’t technically be “live” updates since you have to press refresh. But whatever.

Inactives
Lakers: Adam Morrison, Sun Yue
Magic: Tyronn Lue, Jeremy Richardson

Starters
Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Trevor Ariza, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum
Magic: Rafer Alston, Courtney Lee, Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis and Dwight Howard

Phil Jackson Pregame
Jackson responded to a question about Pau Gasol’s apparent basket interference play by citing a Dwight Howard goaltend that had occurred earlier in the game. As the discussion continued, Jackson said that he thought the play was in fact a violation, but the rule actually showed that it was not since the ball’s path was not affected. He added a line about his backup point guard: “Just giving them both a little feel for the game. Jordan can energize us with his speed, quickness, his offensive ability out there. Shannon a little more in the defensive aspect of the game.”

Stan Van Gundy Pregame
“They’re doing a very, very good job defensively,” SVG said of the Lakers. His focus is limiting the turnovers (20 in Game 2), but eight of them came in a first quarter after which the score was 15-all. He also explained that Courtney Lee took no heat after missing what was “not an easy shot,” and said that the Gasol rim-touching did not affect the shot. “Calls didn’t decide that game,” he explained.

Shaw Pregame Video
While the Magic were the team that made more adjustments heading into Game 2 (they had to after getting blown out of the building by 25 in Game 1) the Lakers feel like they’re the team that can change a few critical things before Game 3 in Orlando tips off at 6 p.m. CLICK HERE to check out Brian Shaw’s scouting report.

Follow Us On Twitter
In case there aren’t enough observations for you in the diary, feel free to follow us on twitter on @Lakers or @miketrudell.

57643338First Quarter
12:00 The Magic had six of its cheerleaders and their kind-of-bizarre-friendly-green-dragon mascot repel from the rafters to lead into introductions, which didn’t feature a video. As such, we can declare that Houston by far had the best pregame intros for any of L.A.’s playoff opponents.

Moments later, Howard won the tip for the third straight game, then received a pass from Turkoglu. When Ariza came to help, Turkoglu had a wide-open three that would have sent an already frantic crowd into a frenzy, but he missed, and Fish hit a jumper at the other end to start the scoring.

10:43 Gasol’s baseline spin move worked easily on Lewis, and a one-handed dunk ensued after Lewis had hit from the baseline. On the next possession, Lee missed an open three, and Bynum’s hook was goaltended by Howard. Lakers 6, Magic 2.

7:44 Howard hit 1-of-2 free throws after the first foul of the game (on Gasol) to cap a 5-0 Magic run, but Ariza ended it with a pull-up jumper from the top of the key. Both teams were getting good looks at the basket. Yet the Magic had actually missed three wide open jumpers, which to me is a product of the pressure of being down 2-0 with a frenzied crowd ratcheting up expectations. That’s a lot to live up to.

4:54 Five straight points from Bryant, the second on a pull-up three, gave L.A. a 17-13 cushion prior to Bynum’s foul of the Turkish Turkoglu, who’d go to the line after the first TV timeout. Here are a few things you could do during a Finals’ TV timeout: run around the arena; count to 1 million; text everyone in your phone book; check your running diary for grammar errors.

3:46 Rafer Alston was 1-of-13 heading into the evening, but nailed his first three to help the Magic tie things up at 21 before Bryant made the prettiest of moves to get a finger roll off a post up. Meanwhile, Bynum had amassed four points and four boards in nine minutes before Odom lined up to check in, giving the Lakers exactly what they wanted. Furthermore, he committed only one foul after being saddled with foul trouble in Game 2.

2:36 Odom put a deep J up immediately upon entering the game and missed, equaling the amount of shots he missed in Game 2, but Bryant nailed two more pull up jumpers, looking like he did in Game 4 at Utah in the First Round when he was taking shots really early in the clock and nailing all of them. He was 6-for-7 with 13 of L.A.’s 27 points to put his team up two.

0:30.0 Bryant was simply masterful in the first, nailing a silly 25-foot three-pointer on Pietrus AFTER the Frenchman jumped into him. Bryant went on to hit the free throw to get to 17 points in the period with his Lakers up 31-27. Thanks largely to Kobe, the team shot 58.3 percent, which actually paled compared with Orlando’s 11-of-16 (69 percent).

57643422Second Quarter
11:17 A great look from Luke “That’s what I do” Walton got Odom his first bucket, plus the foul, to put L.A. up by five.

9:41 Another solid possession from Walton started with his offensive board and finished with a tricky leaner in the lane that made it 36-31 L.A. At the other end, the bench wasn’t as good, as Sasha Vujacic, Jordan Farmar and Walton all committed touch fouls. Bryant checked back in at the 8:59 mark for Vujacic.

8:43 Howard’s first dunk of the game came off a nice alley-oop pass that got the crowd into the game … Until Farmar drained an open three. Yet the pendulum swung right back to the Magic when Turkoglu answered with his own three to get Orlando within two heading into a time out.

7:17 Pietrus hit a perimeter jumper to put Orlando at a ridiculous 77 percent clip (17-of-22), but Bryant picked up where he left off in the first with a corner three that had L.A. up 44-41.

5:31 Orlando’s bizarre stretch of not missing a shot continued with a Pietrus dunk and Turkoglu layup that had them shooting 76 percent (19-of-25), and since they’d missed five threes, meant they’d missed just one two-point field goal. The Lakers, however, were shooting well themselves, getting a Gasol hook that put them up 46-45 (after Turkoglu’s layup) on 58 percent shooting (20-of-34).

2:53 Ariza’s FT tied the game at 51 as Bynum replaced Gasol, protecting the Spaniard’s two fouls. After Bryant hounded Lewis into charging on Odom, Kobe drew a foul at the other end but missed the second as L.A. led by two.

1:49 Lewis hit his first three to put Orlando up two and incite what had really been a great home crowd all evening, then another triple after Fisher’s J.

0:09.1 Odom really thought he’d drawn his third charge of the half, but Howard got the call, and made both to give Orlando its biggest lead at 59-54, which stuck as Bryant missed a runner over Howard as time expired with the crowd as wild as “The Office” Andy acted on the night of the “Hangover.”

The Magic finished the half at 75 percent from the field on 24-of-32, while the Lakers were 22-of-41 (53.7 percent). Bryant finished with 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting, which included four straight misses to close the half.

57643329Third Quarter
11:10 Gasol’s baseline hook over Lewis countered a Turkoglu runner to keep the lead at five. You have to think L.A.’s coaching staff got all over its players with regards to Orlando’s offensive first half, but would that translate to the second?

8:30 Bryant earned three free throws on the old swing through move, taking advantage of Lee’s tight defense, though he missed 2-of-3 free throws allowing the Magic to keep a four-point lead.

6:10 As the game grew increasingly physical at both ends, Ariza hit a three, then grabbed a loose ball to get the Lakers possession down 67-64. That possession may have featured 47 fouls (roughly), resembling a WWE match (that wouldn’t be held in Denver).

4:34 One guy who’s not shy of contact despite his lack of girth is Ariza, who drove right at Howard for a layup that made it 69-66. Ariza also led the team in rebounding with six, many of which were long boards as the Magic didn’t miss anything from two. For evidence: Odom and Gasol had combined for just two boards to that point.

3:51 After getting literally nothing from him in the first two games, the Magic watched Alston go off in this one, as another driving make gave him a team high 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting.

2:39 Ariza missed a wide open three after Bryant dished, and Lewis nailed one at the other end to give Orlando its biggest lead at 77-69.

1:52 Farmar smartly put his body into a recovering Tony Battie after clearing a board thanks to Gasol’s good D, cutting the margin to give.

1:20 Bryant’s first field goal of the quarter was an important one, capping a 6-0 run to erase Orlando’s biggest lead almost immediately.

0:17.8 Howard connected on his jump hook that he takes while running right, and Bryant missed a good look at a pull-up jumper as the quarter expired to allow Orlando an 81-75 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Still, L.A. was in pretty decent position to steal a victory considering Orlando’s 65.3

57643422Fourth Quarter
11:15 Odom’s lefty layup off a nice drive erased a Battie jumper that opened the quarter. It was just the second make for Odom, who had five points with four fouls and two turnovers. Speaking of turnovers, Farmar and Walton couldn’t connect on a lob, and the Magic nearly went up by 10 … Instead, Odom swatted Marcin Gortat and scored at the other end to make it 85-79.

9:13 The Magic’s shooting was, well, magical, including a fallaway from Pietrus despite a hand in his face. L.A. refused to go away, however, as Farmar pulled up for a jumper with Bryant still on the bench.

7:23 Farmar did his best Kobe impression with No. 24 about to check in by nailing a highly-contested, hanging jumper off glass that preceded Odom’s second straight trip to the line. After missing one the first time, he again missed 1-of-2. L.A. was shooting just 59.1 percent from the line on 13-of-22.

6:23 Ariza stuck a much-needed three that pulled the Lakers within five after Pietrus hit his sixth shot in eight attempts.

5:25 Fisher’s three-pointer, from Bryant, cut the lead to just two, and it stayed there when Pietrus and Odom exchanged two-pointers. At this point, Orlando’s shooting percentage mattered not as much.

2:41 Turkoglu hit two free throws at the 4:36 mark and Bryant a jumper with 3:57 to keep L.A.’s deficit at two before Gasol drew a foul on Turkoglu at the other end. L.A.’d already missed nine free throws, but the Spaniard made both to tie the score at 99.

2:18 Not immediately, as Pietrus followed a Turkoglu miss with a dunk, and Bryant missed a three.

1:54 Alston drove past Fisher, drew a foul on L.A.’s co-captain but missed 1-of-2 to keep the cushion at three.

1:29 Gasol made a tough, tough, tough (enough emphasis?) running layup plus some contact, but didn’t get the call. Magic by one.

1:06 Lewis appeared to hit a huge three, as he’d done all postseason in this building and others, to put the Magic up four, but the play was ruled a two upon further review as Orlando led 104-101.

0:59.8 Bryant gave the Magic that point back by missing the front end of two free throws, L.A.’s 10th miss from the stripe as Orlando nursed a 2-pt. lead.

0:37.6 A huge defensive stop that gave the Lakers the ball back with a chance to tie ended up getting wasted as Howard got a hand on Bryant’s dribble, knocking it loose. Gasol gathered the ball, but threw it back to the Magic trying to get the ball back into Bryant’s hands. Pietrus gathered, and Bryant fouled him, leading to two free throws with 28.7 seconds remaining.

0:28.7 Pietrus sunk both foul shots to put his team up by four, 106-102.

The Lakers would go on to miss four three-point shots in an attempt to climb back into it, and the Magic ultimately left with a 108-104 victory to take the series to 2-1. More coming soon on Lakers.com.