The last time the Lakers were in Orlando, they were drinking champagne in the locker room after a 4-1 series win culminating in Game 5′s 99-86 victory. Here’s the running diary from L.A.’s 15th championship-clinching contest.
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 opened his presser by talking about Tex Winter, who he said is able to watch and enjoy the Finals from home but isn’t able to speak on the phone: “When I became the head coach of the Bulls, I asked Johnny Bach to be the defensive coordinator and Tex to be the offensive coordinator. Tex is obviously the innovator of the triangle offense … His dedication to it made him the drill sergeant to the team. He always encouraged team play and system play, so if it became too individual, he would always bring that to bear. But more than anything else, he kept a running score on the sideline, which is now done by Brian Shaw.”
- He also talked about how difficult it is to maintain a singular focus with all the outside distractions with just one more game to win. Ultimately, he said, it’s not about him and his 10th title: “It’s really about these young men and what they’re doing.”
- Finally, Jackson compared Jameer Nelson’s return to Orlando’s lineup to Andrew Bynum’s prior to the playoffs and explained that the team skipped the morning shootaround due to the time that would have been wasted getting to and from the arena. Instead, the team watched film at the hotel.
Stan Van Gundy Pregame
- “They’re prepared, they’re in a good frame of mind, it’ll come down to how well we play. I thought practice yesterday was very good, I thought the walk through this morning was good.”
- Van Gundy said he doesn’t worry about missed free throws, because they aren’t a lack of effort or execution. It just happens. He added that Dwight Howard’s improved considerably throughout the season … But just missed some shots.
- He doesn’t think Orlando is getting “badly outplayed,” but didn’t take the bait to say that the Magic should or could be up or even in the series, as an Orlando reporter suggested. “What it could be is basically anything, the reality is it’s 3-1,” he said. In other words, he said that the Magic had a chance to win two of the last three, and the Lakers had a chance to win Game 3, meaning the series “could” have been 4-0, 3-1 or 2-2. But it’s “not.”
Jim Cleamons Pregame Video
Lakers assistant coach Jim Cleamons joined us to preview the final game, and take a deeper look at the pick and roll, which has been critical for both teams in the series. CLICK HERE and scroll down to “Coach Speak” to watch.
12:00 The energy in the building for Game 5 is noticeably less than that of Game 4 … Will that seep into the Magic (or Lakers) players? One thing to keep in mind in the early goings: Bynum, Gasol and Odom all had two fouls after quarter one of Game 1, which in large part caused L.A.’s 12-point deficit at halftime.
11:25 Lee scored the game’s first points on a deep pull-up jumper after Bynum turned the ball over trying to find Gasol down low, but quickly made up for it by grabbing an offensive board and keeping it alive for Pau’s tip in.
8:17 Orlando was extremely active on defense as the Lakers struggled to get good looks, resulting in two deep jump shots from Bynum. At the other end, Turkoglu and Lee scored on consecutive drives to put Orlando up 11-6.
7:00 Phil Jackson called timeout after Bryant was stripped and Alston converted a layup at the other end, with Kobe coming up lame surely due to pain on his troublesome finger. However, Bynum grabbed a Fisher miss and stuck it back in, his first make in seven attempts after he was forced into some tough shots.
4:15 After Bryant stuck his second consecutive jumper, Bynum converted his second straight field goal in the paint, a dunk over Howard, to bring L.A. within four at 21-17. In essence, L.A. had survived Orlando’s initial burst.
2:21 At an extended TV timeout that only the Finals can provide, Orlando’s “Dancin’ Dads” performed a bizarre dance to “Ridin’ Dirty” and “Pretty Fly For A White Guy” that you’re glad you missed, though to be fair, they sort of redeemed themselves when my top-three rap song “Big Pimpin’” came on.
0:53.4 Bryant’s two free throws cut Orlando’s lead to just one at 27-26, getting him to 11 points to lead all scorers. On the next possession, Howard got to the free throw line and missed badly on the first in an interesting situation since the last freebies he shot allowed L.A. to tie Game 4. He made the second, however.
0:00 After a Luke Walton miss, Mickael Pietrus (who moments earlier had converted a driving layup after taking six steps) couldn’t convert a quarter-ending three, making it a 28-26 margin after one. In Game 4, L.A. had trailed 24-20.
9:55 Vujacic dunked … But a moving screen had already been called on Odom. Meanwhile, Bynum had scored on a nice baseline hook over Howard, but Dwight made his third straight hoop at the other end to put Orlando up 34-28 (he missed the and-1 FT).
8:32 An absolutely beautiful up-and-under layup from Odom, plus the foul, got the Lakers within three again. Sometimes we forget how many things Odom can do with a basketball because he sees less of the rock than he would on really any other NBA team. L.A. was shooting just 35.5 percent to 50 percent from Orlando, but eight offensive boards helped, including four from Bynum.
7:22 Speaking of L.O., he’s such a better shooter when in rhythm, which is exactly what his three-pointer was. Six points in less than a minute for Odom and L.A. was within two again.
5:52 The other reason L.A. was still in the mix aside from offensive boards was three-point shooting, as Fisher hit the team’s third in six attempts, while the Magic had missed all six of theirs. Into a timeout, Orlando led 40-39.
5:05 Ariza was the next Laker to nail a three, and that one preceded a Bryant pull-up in traffic…
4:08 … And another from Ariza, this time from his same favorite spot on the wing. With Orlando on its heels, Odom stripped Turkoglu, and Fisher eventually ended up with the ball and an open lane to the hoop, which he gladly took for a layup to cap L.A.’s 10-0 that produced a nine-point lead. After Stan Van Gundy took a timeout to try and stop the bleeding, an impromptu “Let’s Go Lakers!” chant rang out … in Orlando. Impressive display from the traveling Lakers fans.
3:03 Another pretty reverse layup from Odom came courtesy of Ariza’s second straight steal, putting L.A.’s run at 16-0. Alston finally scored at the other end, but Gasol quickly countered to keep the lead at 12.
1:46 Lewis hit a three, his first, to breath a bit of life back into Orlando (who seemed dead), and Phil Jackson was not happy about the lack of defensive rotation that cut L.A.’s lead to eight.
0:00 Ariza had capped a terrific quarter with a jumper to get to 12 points (11 in the period) as both teams missed their respective final attempts, resulting in a 56-46 lead for the Lakers. In firm command after a 23-10 run to close the half, the Lakers made 12-of-19 shots in the quarter (63.2 percent) including four three pointers.
10:14 The first bucket of the second half came after three misses, with Lee finally converting a drive.
9:01 Bryant’s pull-up jumper was answered at the other end by Lee (12 points), but not before Bynum had picked up his second foul of the quarter and fourth overall to send Odom into the game.
7:42 Alston’s three-pointer gave the arena temporary life, at least for a few seconds, before Odom’s three took it right back out. Then, on the next possession, Odom daggered from the same exact spot 24 feet from the rim to put L.A. up 64-53. Talk about a building killer. Amway dead.
5:54 The Lakers section of the crowd went wild when Bryant hung in the air for a while before dropping a silly J over Howard’s hands and off the glass. Fisher backed that up with a jumper on the next possession to put L.A. up 68-55.
3:39 Bryant’s free throws brought the margin up to 16 as the Lakers absolutely swarmed about on defense … The championship scent was overtaking their collective nostril. Four Lakers were in double figures at that point, led by Bryant’s 21 and 14 off the bench from Odom.
1:14 Gasol got to a 10-and-10 point-rebound double-double on a free throw. He’s good.
0:02.6 The Lakers continued to get contributions from here, there and everywhere as Farmar hit a tough running jumper, off glass, that put L.A. up 76-61 heading into the fourth quarter as the Magic looked all but dead.
11:00 After a pretty move from Pau (how good is the Spaniard offensively?), Bryant nailed an end-of-clock jumper that put the lead at 16. Jackson, who rested Bryant briefly to end the third, obviously wasn’t taking any chances.
9:45 Nelson did what he did in the regular season, nailing a three, as the crowd tried to get back into things down 80-67.
8:19 Dagger three from Kobe to answer Nelson’s, with Turkoglu all up in his face. That was 26 points for Kobe on 9-of-18. Arena dead again.
7:09 Walton’s alley-oop to Ariza was a bit of salt in the wounds for the team that traded him to L.A. for Brian Cook and Maurice Evans.
4:27 Odom’s two free throws got him to 16 points with nine boards off the pine just before Gasol’s put-back layup brought his numbers to 14 and 12.
2:35 Bryant’s layup got him to 30 points on the evening, fitting for the sure NBA Finals MVP.
2:03 Redick’s three was Orlando’s sixth of the quarter, but obviously they waited far too long to start hitting. It cut L.A.’s lead to 11, but after a Bryant miss, Gasol swatted away Lewis’ attempt at a leaner, his fourth block of the game (same total as Bryant).
1:12 Ariza drew a shooting foul as the championship trophy was buffed in the underground.