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Lakers Move Closer to Another Title

Jun 7, 2009 – 11:45 PM
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Tim Povtak

Tim Povtak %BloggerTitle%

Kobe BryantThe Los Angeles Lakers moved another step closer to what is looking more and more inevitable – another championship – by beating the Orlando Magic, 101-96, in overtime to take a 2-0 lead in this best-of-seven NBA Finals.

The Lakers' victory Sunday put a likely stranglehold on the series. Teams that have started the NBA Finals with a 2-0 lead have won 38 of 39 times.

The Magic won earlier rounds against Philadelphia and Boston after falling behind, but the Lakers look like too much to handle, playing with an obvious urgency and determination.
L.A. Lakers vs. Orlando Magic
Lakers 101, Magic 96: Recap | Box Score
Blackistone: Magic Prove They Don't Belong
Mariotti: When Lee Missed, Magic Lost Series
Lakers Lead 2-0 | Next: Tues. @ Orlando, 9 PM ET


The NBA Finals move to Orlando for Games 3, 4 and possibly 5, offering the Magic some hope but not unless they find a way to play with a consistency they lacked in the first two games.

"There won't be a letdown now,'' said Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who had 29 points and eight assists. "We know how to play close games. We did a good job down the stretch tonight. We blew a lot of assignments, but we still managed a win.''

The Magic played better in Game 2 than they did in Game 1, but it still wasn't good enough against a team that is filled with much-more big game experience. And it showed again.

Bryant was the leader, but it was the front court of Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom that bothered the Magic more than anything in Game 2. They scored at one end, then took the Magic out of their offense at the other end.

The Magic had the wrong people taking the key shots down the stretch. Instead of putting the ball in the hands of Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu or Dwight Howard, it was rookie Courtney Lee or J.J. Redick taking and missing shots at the end.

Turkoglu, whose forte never has been on the defensive end, blocked Bryant's 12-foot jumper from behind with :01 remaining in regulation. After a quick time out, they had 0.6 remaining for an in-bounds alley-oop, but Lee missed a close one at the buzzer. Redick missed a pair of 3-pointers in overtime and committed a key turnover.

Latest NBA Finals Photos

    LOS ANGELES - JUNE 7: Courtney Lee #11 of the Orlando Magic goes up for the shot at the end of the fourth quarter against Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers during Game Two of the 2009 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 7, 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Courtney Lee;Pau Gasol

    NBAE/Getty Images

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 07: Singer Rihanna gives a hug as she attends Game Two of the 2009 NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Orlando Magic at Staples Center on June 7, 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 Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Rihanna

    Getty Images

    LOS ANGELES - JUNE 7: Hedo Turkoglu #16 of the Orlando Magic shoots against Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers during Game Two of the 2009 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 7, 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Hedo Turkoglu;Pau Gasol

    NBAE/Getty Images

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 07: Head coach Phil Jackson of the Los Angeles Lakers smiles as he stands with Derek Fisher #2 in overtime against the Orlando Magic in Game Two of the 2009 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 7, 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 Liscense Agreement. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Phil Jackson;Derek Fisher

    Getty Images

    LOS ANGELES - JUNE 7: J.J. Redick #7 of the Orlando Magic passes against Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers during Game Two of the 2009 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 7, 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** J.J. Redick;Pau Gasol

    NBAE/Getty Images

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 07: Rashard Lewis #9 and J.J. Redick #7 of the Orlando Magic look on after losing to the Los Angeles Lakers 101-96 in Game Two of the 2009 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 7, 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 Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Rashard Lewis;J.J. Redick

    Getty Images

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 07: (L-R) Lamar Odom #7 and Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers go up for a rebound against the Orlando Magic in Game Two of the 2009 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 7, 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 Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Lamar Odom;Pau Gasol

    Getty Images

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 7: Singer Rihanna (C) attends Game Two of the NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Orlando Magic at Staples Center on June 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Rihanna

    Getty Images

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 07: Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic boxes out Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers in overtime of Game Two of the 2009 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 7, 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 Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Dwight Howard;Pau Gasol

    Getty Images

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 07: Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers is fouled by Hedo Turkoglu #15 of the Orlando Magic in overtime of Game Two of the 2009 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 7, 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 Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Pau Gasol;Hedo Turkoglu

    Getty Images



It was Lee, in his first playoff run, who also missed a shot with :09 remaining in regulation that could have won the game.

After both of them struggled in Game 1, Lewis came alive in the second quarter with 18 points. Turkoglu waited until the third when he scored 17, giving the Magic a 65-63 lead going into the final period. They finished with 34 and 22 points, respectively, but they struggled to get shots when it counted most.

The Magic countered the Lakers size with an unusual lineup for parts of the game, using backup center Marcin Gortat alongside Howard.

The Magic didn't get their first fast-break basket of the Finals until early in the third quarter of Game 2. Howard didn't get his first dunk of the Finals until a few minutes later.

Lakers center Andrew Bynum found himself in his typical spot – foul trouble. He got his fourth early in the third period, but it was a blessing for the Lakers because that meant Odom would play more.

Odom was huge for the Lakers, coming off the bench quickly with Bynum in foul trouble. He stole a sure layup away from Redick in the second quarter and did the same to Rafer Alston in the third with blocked shots.

Odom hit eight of nine shots for 19 points. Gasol had 24 points and 10 rebounds.

The two teams set a Finals record for futility by combining for just 30 points (15-15) in the first quarter, fewest in the shot-clock era.
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