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Lakers Crush Magic for 15th NBA Title

Jun 14, 2009 – 10:55 PM
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Tim Povtak

Tim Povtak %BloggerTitle%

Kobe BryantORLANDO – This NBA championship run for the Los Angeles Lakers didn't start when they opened training camp back in October. It started a year ago with the embarrassment of a 39-point, Finals-ending loss in Boston when they trudged off the famed parquet floor while being taunted by Celtics fans.

From the depths of that humiliating defeat came the single-minded determination to make things right.

The Lakers culminated that quest Sunday night in Orlando when they pummeled the Magic, 99-86, to capture the 15th title in franchise history, winning the series 4-1.
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The Lakers, who won 65 games during the regular season, used the Magic like they were movie extras, just there to help with the rightful coronation. They beat the Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets on their way to this final stop.

They crushed the Magic in Game 1, much like they crushed them in Game 5. There were three close games in the middle, but rarely did this title run ever seem in doubt. "We used last season's finish as motivation. This year we just worked so hard, as a team, as a group, as individuals to make it happen. It's such a great feeling now."
-- Pau Gasol


Kobe Bryant was the ringleader from start to finish through the playoffs, getting 30 points, six rebounds, five assists and four blocked shots, making sure he brought everyone along for the ride.

It was the 15th NBA title in franchise history. For Bryant and point guard Derek Fisher, it was the fourth, tying them with Tim Duncan and Shaquille O'Neal for the most since the Michael Jordan era.

For coach Phil Jackson, it was his 10th championship, making him the winningest coach in league history.

"We used last season's finish as motivation,'' said Lakers forward Pau Gasol, who had 14 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. "This year we just worked so hard, as a team, as a group, as individuals to make it happen. It's such a great feeling now.''

For the Magic, it was a cruel ending to their finest season in history. Although they fought through the middle three games of these Finals, they stopped playing long before the last one was over, giving up to the strength of the Lakers, on their home court.

It was never close in the second half. Magic center Dwight Howard left with his fifth foul late in the third period, but the Magic already were beaten. He returned in the fourth, but he didn't change a thing. He finished with just 11 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.

The Lakers used a 16-0 second quarter run to take a 56-46 halftime lead that was never challenged. They hit eight consecutive shots in the period, including three by Trevor Ariza. The Magic were buried by their seven turnovers and a surging Kobe Bryant, who had 15 points in the period.

Ariza's role in the win was particularly haunting to the Magic, who traded him to the Lakers early in the 2007-08 season for Brian Cook and Maurice Evans, two long-gone players. The Magic didn't think he could shoot well enough for their new style of play.

The Lakers started the game slowly, falling behind by nine in the first period when they let center Andrew Bynum take too many shots. Although Bynum took only 22 shots combined in the first four games, he took nine in the first period, throwing their offense out of rhythm.

The Magic, who relied so heavily on their 3-point shooting all season, struggling from long distance. Rashard Lewis hit their first and only 3-pointer in the first half with 1:45 remaining in the second period. By intermission, this one was over.

Latest NBA Finals Photos

    ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 14: Hedo Turkoglu #15 of the Orlando Magic shoots against Pau Gasol #16 and Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers during Game Five of the 2009 NBA Finals at Amway Arena on June 14, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. 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 Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Hedo Turkoglu;Pau Gasol;Lamar Odom

    NBAE/Getty Images

    ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 14: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots against Rashard Lewis #9 of the Orlando Magic during Game Five of the 2009 NBA Finals at Amway Arena on June 14, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. 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 Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Rashard Lewis;Kobe Bryant

    NBAE/Getty Images

    ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 14: Chris Brown attends Game Five of the NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Orlando Magic at Amway Arena on June 14, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Chris Brown

    Getty Images

    ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 14: Chris Brown attends Game Five of the NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Orlando Magic at Amway Arena on June 14, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Chris Brown

    Getty Images

    ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 14: Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic attempts a shot against Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Five of the 2009 NBA Finals at Amway Arena on June 14, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. 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 Credit: 2009 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Dwight Howard;Andrew Bynum

    NBAE/Getty Images

    ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 14: Chris Brown (L) and friends attend Game Five of the NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Orlando Magic at Amway Arena on June 14, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Chris Brown

    Getty Images

    Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant reacts late in the fourth quarter of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals against the Orlando Magic Sunday, June 14, 2009, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

    AP

    Orlando Magic's Courtney Lee looks on during the fourth quarter of Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals against the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, June 14, 2009, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

    AP

    Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant celebrates after scoring a three-point shot against the Orlando Magic in the 4th quarter of Game 5 of their NBA Finals basketball series in Orlando, Florida, June 14, 2009. REUTERS/Hans Deryk (UNITED STATES SPORT BASKETBALL)

    Reuters

    ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 14: Rashard Lewis #9 of the Orlando Magic attempts a shot against Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Five of the 2009 NBA Finals at Amway Arena on June 14, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. 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 Credit: 2009 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Rashard Lewis;Pau Gasol

    NBAE/Getty Images

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