AOL News has a new home! The Huffington Post.

Click here to visit the new home of AOL News!

Hot on HuffPost:

See More Stories

Lakers Crush Magic in Game 1

Jun 4, 2009 – 11:55 PM
Text Size
Tim Povtak

Tim Povtak %BloggerTitle%

Kobe BryantOnly one team – the Los Angeles Lakers – looked like they belonged Thursday night on a stage as big and as bright as the NBA Finals. The Orlando Magic looked like a bad case of stage fright.

Maybe the Magic -- surprise winners against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference final -- are in over their heads, as some had suggested before this began.

The Lakers, seeking their 15th NBA title, blasted the Magic, 100-75, making a Game 1 statement that should have scared the neophytes right back to Orlando. Game 2, if the Magic still show up, will be played Sunday in Los Angeles.
Lakers 100, Magic 75: Recap | Box Score
Lakers Lead 1-0 | Next Game: Sunday @ Los Angeles, 8 PM ET



Latest NBA Finals Photos

    Actors Leonardo DiCaprio (L) and Kevin Connolly attend Game 1 of the NBA Finals basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic in Los Angeles June 4, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES SPORT BASKETBALL ENTERTAINMENT)

    Reuters

    Olympic gold medalist and WNBA star Lisa Leslie waves during Game 1 of the NBA Finals basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic in Los Angeles June 4, 2009. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES SPORT BASKETBALL)

    Reuters

    Dwight Howard (L) of the Orlando Magic shoots over Pau Gasol (R) of the Los Angeles Lakers during Game 1 of their NBA Finals basketball game in Los Angeles June 4, 2009. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES SPORT BASKETBALL)

    Reuters

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 04: Rashard Lewis #9 of the Orlando Magic goes up for a shot against Andrew Bynum #17 and Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half of Game One of the 2009 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 4, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. 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 Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Rashard Lewis;Andrew Bynum;Pau Gasol

    Getty Images

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 04: Head coach Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers stands on the side line in the second half against the Orlando Magic in Game One of the 2009 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 4, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. 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 Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Phil Jackson

    Getty Images

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 04: Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic goes up for a shot over Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half of Game One of the 2009 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 4, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. 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 Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Dwight Howard;Pau Gasol

    Getty Images

    Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant (C) celebrates with teammate Pau Gasol (L) after they scored a basket against the Orlando Magic during Game 1 of their NBA Finals basketball game in Los Angeles, June 4, 2009. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES SPORT BASKETBALL)

    Reuters

    Los Angeles Lakers Pau Gasol celebrates a basket against the Orlando Magic in the third quarter during Game 1 of their NBA Finals basketball game in Los Angeles, June 4, 2009. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES SPORT BASKETBALL)

    Reuters

    Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant celebrates a basket against the Orlando Magic in the third quarter of Game 1 of their NBA Finals basketball game in Los Angeles June 4, 2009. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES SPORT BASKETBALL)

    Reuters

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 04: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts in the second half with teammates Derek Fisher #2 and Trevor Ariza #3 against the Orlando Magic in Game One of the 2009 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 4, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. 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 Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Kobe Bryant;Derek Fisher;Trevor Ariza

    Getty Images



The Lakers played like a team on a championship mission, with all the urgency, focus and intensity that the Magic obviously lacked. This was a beat down of severe nature.

The Lakers smothered center Dwight Howard with good muscle around the basket. And they harassed Orlando's 3-point shooters into a terrible night. Although the Magic battled through the first quarter, they shrunk quickly in the second, falling behind quickly and never challenging again.

Kobe Bryant came to the game with a seriousness that was almost frightening, dominating almost every offensive possession. He had a career Finals high of 40 points, eight assists and eight rebounds, literally intimidating some of the Magic starters.

In the Eastern Conference final, the Magic withstood a Herculean performance by LeBron James to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers. They stood no chance against Bryant and his much-better supporting cast. It was like a spanking.

Magic coach Stan Van Gundy used Game 1 to activate All-Star point guard Jameer Nelson, and the strategy may have backfired. Nelson had not played since Feb. 4 because of a shoulder injury that required surgery, but had been pestering the staff for a chance to play again. Although he looked fine when he played, his team did not respond to his entry. His insertion at the start of the second quarter coincided with the Magic collapse.

Rafer Alston remained the starting point guard, and the Magic led 24-22 when he left the game after the first quarter. By halftime, with Nelson playing the entire second quarter, the Lakers led, 53-43, riding the hot start of Bryant and his well-focused teammates.

Howard, who had 40 points in the close-out game against Cleveland, hit just one of six shots for 12 points. The Magic managed to shoot a woeful 30 percent from the field. The Lakers also outrebounded the Magic, 51-40. Howard had 15 rebounds, and his backup Marcin Gortat had eight, but no one else came close to the basket.

Bryant got 16 points from Pau Gasol and 11 from Lamar Odom.
Filed under: Sports

ON FACEBOOK