Read about the Lakers vs. Magic Game 4 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.
Lakers: Adam Morrison, Sun Yue
Magic: Tyronn Lue, Jeremy Richardson
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’s response to a reporters relation of Alonzo Mourning’s quote that suggested Kobe Bryant was doing most of the work: “I’m just here kind of sitting on my chair.” His sarcasm suggested that he’s really not concerned about his coaching legacy, and need not seriously address such a claim. The argument suggesting that Jackson’s only won his nine titles because of stars is absurd … What NBA coach has ever won without star players? Jackson also said that he liked the NBA’s decision to allow for more movement on the perimeter by cutting down on hand checking: “It’s promoted cutting and more driving and less stagnation.” Finally, when told that 60 percent of the starters (6-of-10) in the NBA Finals did not play in college, Jackson said that he hopes they make it two and done, suggesting that the NCAA would be happy with that and that it could help players. “I’m a big proponent,” he said. “That being said, talent is talent, a lot of these young players have jumped from high school to the pros … The creme rises to the top.”
Stan Van Gundy Pregame
Interesting comment from SVG to open: “I don’t think there’s any question that it’s a tougher game for post players than it was with the old rules, and I don’t think many coaches, players or post players would dispute that.” Van Gundy added that high schoolers should have the right to “earn a living,” and had a problem with the one and done because the players (like Carmelo Anthony, O.J. Mayo, etc.) aren’t really going to school for school. That led to this quote: “I don’t want to get going on the NCAA in this press conference, because I think that’s about the worst organization going.” Solid.
Josh Powell – Rasheed Hazzard Pregame Video
We had forward Josh Powell grab the mic to interview assistant coach/advance scout Rasheed Hazzard, and you can CLICK HERE to see what happened.
12:00 The Magic again had Gina Marie sing the National Anthem, as she did before Game 3. She’s 7-0 on the season, but I’m not a superstitious kind of guy. Cute story nonetheless.
11:40 Ball movement got Ariza a wide open look at three on L.A.’s first possession, but he passed it up, drove and missed over Howard. L.A. tried to get Gasol the ball, but Lewis did a good job of fronting.
9:51 Bryant was giving Lee open threes to start the game, and after missing his first two, he converted from the top of the key. Bryant had L.A.’s only bucket at the other end until Fisher pulled up to put L.A. up 4-3.
8:41 Bryant quickly goaded Lee into two personals, bringing Mickael Pietrus into the game for Orlando … Remember, Pietrus was terrific in Game 3. On the other end, Bynum’s second personal brought Lamar Odom in, which could help Odom. In Game 3, he didn’t check in until the two-minute mark or so of the first. And indeed, he made his presence felt early with a put-back of Gasol’s miss.
6:45 L.A. wasn’t doing a good job of getting to Orlando’s shooters, and Alston made them pay with an open three that made it 12-8 for the home team, though Bryant answered moments later with an and-1 drive (3-for-3 on FT’s after going 5-for-10 in Game 3).
4:48 Just like in Game 3, Alston made L.A. pay for going under the pick and roll, pulling up for his second make, then using Howard’s block of Ariza to score in transition at the other end. Responding for the Lakers was Odom with a hook over Howard to make it 16-13 Orlando.
3:44 Gasol’s second foul brought D.J. Mbenga onto the floor at the earliest point in the season to my memory, but Howard’s two missed free throws made him 1-of-4 for the quarter.
2:48 Odom was whistled for his second as he joined Gasol and Bynum on the bench, with Luke Walton in to play the four alongside Mbenga. That hadn’t happened in the playoffs.
0:57.7 Alston really likes being in Orlando, apparently, making his fourth shot in five attempts to get to nine points to put L.A. in a six-point hole. However, Mbenga made a great play to swat Alston’s next attempt, and Bryant hit a jumper in JJ Redick’s face after Bryant drew Pietrus’ second foul minutes earlier.
0:00 The aforementioned Redick missed a three over Bryant as time expired, and L.A. trailed just 24-20 despite playing much of the quarter without Bynum, Gasol or Odom, getting 13 points from Bryant on 4-of-7 from the field and 5-of-5 from the line.
11:23 No one needed a three to go down like Sasha Vujacic, but his attempt banged off the back rim after Jameer Nelson got to the hoop for a layup. Nelson then air balled a perimeter shot, but Vujacic missed again after a double down on Gasol. Howard was still in the game for Orlando despite not resting in the first quarter, perhaps to try and get Gasol’s third.
8:56 Shannon Brown became the 12th Laker to check into the first half.
7:40 Lewis’ first three pointer gave Orlando it’s biggest lead at 37-27. On the next possession, Bryant dogged him all over the court and didn’t allow him to catch a pass.
6:22 Gasol’s bucket in the lane cut the lead back to eight as L.A. continued trying to recover from its foul trouble, which took another hit as Odom was called for a bump of Turkoglu, his third, bringing Bynum back into the fold.
5:30 An immediate contribution from Bynum came as he first grabbed an offensive board, then stuck in a baseline hook over Marcin Gortat.
4:24 Phil Jackson, who doesn’t believe in coaches getting technical fouls, was so mad about the early discrepancy that he basically asked for a tech, and got one. Yet on the next possession, Bynum was whistled yet again to put him back on the bench with Odom, three fouls apiece.
1:52 Howard scored on back-to-back moves with Gasol defending to push Orlando’s lead to 12, though Powell answered the second with a baseline jumper to make it 47-37.
0:43.5 L.A. was doing all it could do to keep its composure after Howard tied up Ariza, won the jump and sent Pietrus the other way. Fisher was claiming that he tried to get out of the way, but a foul was called and two free throws taken to put the lead back to 12.
0:00 For some reason, Orlando kept Turkoglu and Lewis on the bench for a half-closing play that saw Alston miss a long jumper. Still, Orlando was up 49-37 as the Lakers managed just 14-of-42 field goals, 33.3 percent.
11:35 Fisher, after nicely forcing Alston into Gasol’s help to force a miss, stuck a deuce to get the lead under 10 right away.
9:15 Bryant’s triple cut the lead to seven, as he remained the only Laker to hit a three on 11 attempts (he’d hit one earlier). After Fisher took a good foul and Lee missed 1-of-2, Ariza’s runner made it 52-46.
8:16 L.A. had cut into the lead with its defense, and after another solid defensive possession, Turkoglu managed to hit a very difficult runner near the end of the shot clock. Ariza, however, answered with a three at the other end to cut a 12-point halftime lead down to just five.
6:42 IN the first half, Ariza was 0-for-6. In the third quarter, try 4-of-4, with two threes and a free throw, to lead L.A.’s 18-5 run culminating in two Bynum free throws that put the Lakers up 55-54. What a run.
5:17 Alston finally got a hoop to go down for the Magic, but Bynum answered with a jumper at the other end to keep L.A. on top. Also shoring up the paint defensively for the Lakers was an active Bynum, which is why a tough call on a loose ball produced the kind of look that Frank the Tank’s wife offered after seeing him streak on “Old School.” Still, L.A.’s run was 20-7, and they had the ball with Odom in the game.
3:52 A defensive possession that forced a three-second call on Howard typified L.A.’s fantastic D in the period, but Bryant’s turnover at the other end allowed Orlando to tie the score at 58 on a Pietrus layup.
2:17 Redick’s three answered Odom’s to maintain the tie, and Ariza finished a nice lead pass from Kobe to put L.A. back on top. Bryant had five assists along with his 22 points achieved after two more free throws followed his strip of Howard (who reached in).
0:04.7 Bryant hit an extremely tough shot in the lane to cap a fantastic 30-14 quarter that turned a 12-point deficit into a four-point lead. L.A.’s defense forced the Magic into a 6-of-18 (33 percent) quarter, and Jackson kept his starters in (Odom stayed in for Bynum) to begin the final quarter.
11:46 A great backdoor alley-oop play got Odom a layup that gave L.A. its biggest lead, and Odom cleared a defensive board at the other end before Gasol missed a desperation three at the end of the shot clock. Still, the Lakers were getting it done on defense.
9:54 Yet another good defensive possession turned sour when Odom bit Turkoglu’s shot fake from three, putting the Turk at the line for three shots, though he missed the second.
9:09 Gasol drew Howard’s fourth foul on the offensive end, but Odom was somehow called for his fifth foul on a rebound attempt after Bryant’s driving miss. That brought Bynum back into the game, which could be a boon for L.A. if he resumes his strong paint presence of the third quarter…
8:12 After four Lakers swarmed Howard and forced a turnover, Walton hit in the lane at the other end, but Pietrus hit a triple at the other end to cut a six-point lead in half … At least until Bryant nailed an end-of-shot-clock jumper that made it 75-70.
6:52 After Bynum picked up his fifth foul to give Pietrus two freebies, Gasol was whistled for his fifth on the offensive end. At the other end, Farmar wrapped up Howard, who hit both after missing five of his first seven from the line to cut L.A.’s lead to two and bring the crowd to its feet.
5:38 Speaking of the crowd, it really went nuts when Pietrus scored in transition, plus the foul on Bryant, to get Orlando the lead back.
4:45 Bryant capitalized on two Turkoglu free throw misses (that was 11 for the Magic) with a turnaround in the lane to put the Lakers back up three after Gasol had converted a hook on the previous possession.
3:31 Pietrus left Kobe (as in Bryant) to double Gasol, but Bryant missed a wide open three. Wow.
3:02 Big swing in the game’s momentum came as Fisher’s drive was swallowed up by Howard, who then went to the other end and converted plus the harm to put Orlando up
2:33 Ariza, seriously? The star of the third quarter improbably hit an end-of-the-shot-clock three to tie the score, but Turkoglu answered with a three of his own to put the Magic up 85-82.
1:34 After Howard blocked Gasol’s baseline attempt, Turkoglu struck again, this time from 12 feet, to put the Magic up five, in solid command of the game.
1:14 The Magic weren’t yet in the penalty, meaning a block on Bryant didn’t result in free throws. Bryant then missed a three pointer as Amway Arena went nuts.
0:31.9 Bryant found Gasol in transition for a slam to bring L.A. within three, meaning the Lakers needed one stop for a chance to tie the game…
0:11.1… But Howard was able to catch the ball right under the hoop, where he was immediately swarmed. He missed the first, collected himself, and then missed the second. L.A. would have the ball with a chance to tie, unless Orlando took a foul to make it a foul-shooting contest.
0:04.3 Incredibly, Fisher pulled up after a nice inbounds play to advance the ball and NAILED a triple to tie the score. Again, incredible. Orlando, of course, had a great deal of time to get a good look…
4:35 A really solid defensive possession didn’t matter as Lewis somehow got a contested three to go down from the corner with Odom draped to him, but Bryant was able to answer with a pull-up two pointer.
3:30 Another big pull-up from Bryant with Pietrus attached to his hip gave L.A. a 91-90 lead.
2:34 Howard followed a Kobe miss in the lane with one of his own, and the Lakers managed to get the board after an offensive board led to Lewis’ miss.
1:57 Bryant, claiming Pietrus got a piece of the ball, didn’t get the call and an air ball gave the Magic possession. Things getting juuuust a bit tense.
1:27 A personal foul on Fisher away from the ball after Turkoglu’s miss put Howard back at the line, and again, he missed the first with his team down a point. The second? A make. Tie game at 91.
1:02 Ariza grabbed his own miss to give L.A. another shot at taking the lead, and the Lakers called time out. What would Phil draw up?
0:31.3 Clutch three pointers, thy name is Derek Fisher. Another one, from the top of the key, put L.A. up 94-91. Just incredible.
0:21.6 Turkoglu missed a three badly, and Lewis tipped it waaay up the court … Who got it? A streaking Gasol, who took a few steps and threw in a dunk before being mobbed by his teammates on the bench after Orlando’s time out.
0:03.4 More Pau Gasol. Fisher gathered a loose ball and flung it up court. The ball eventually ended up in Gasol’s hands after Ariza fed him, and the Spaniard drew a really hard foul on Pietrus (Flagrant 1), then made the second of two before L.A. inbounded to win the game.
0:00 Fittingly, Fisher’s teammates sprinted to midcourt to embrace him as the final buzzer sounded. Game over, Lakers up 3-1. What a comeback, what a game.