It was the Orlando Magic’s bread and butter play feeding Dwight Howard in the post and kicking it for wide open jumpers but this time the Lakers length and experienced prevailed in game 1. Hedo Turkoglu who was red hot from the first quarter was only 3 out of 11, Courtney Lee was 3 out of 10, Rafer Alston 2-of-9, Mickael Pietrus 5-of-13 and Jameer Nelson was 3 out of 9 a dismal 29.9 percent from the field. When the shots are not going Orlando is in big trouble. Howard was only 1-of-6 and was being defended well by Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, Rashard Lewis couldn’t find his groove when an equally talented and long defender Lamar Odom is giving him some trouble.
Kobe Bryant scored a career-final high with 40 points and was aggressive the whole time attacking on a smaller Courtney Lee and dazzling Mickael Pietrus with some unbelievable shots. He was more relaxed in offense since he doesn’t have to guard the three best players of Orlando with Lee and Pietrus not commanding the offense of the team. The Lakers who suffered a humiliating defeat against the Boston Celtics last year made a motivating experienced from their humbling 131-92 game 6 loss.
“Our bigs were very active, and that’s what you have to do against a team like Orlando,” Bryant said.
Pau Gasol stood his ground while Howard’s elbow went straight to his ribs an offensive foul was called and Pau clinched his fist taking Dwight’s hard shots with conviction. If that was last year Dwight would have all day taking the Laker’s big men to school. But Pau Gasol learned from that experienced. They are not the soft Lakers anymore and even if the self proclaimed Superman can score and dominate them he will have to dominate them with contested shots. Kobe might have scored 40 points but unlike last year this is not Kobe’s team anymore this is the Lakers and the Orlando Magic who lives and dies on their perimeter shots will have to double their effort if they want to make this a series. Their resiliency is tremendous all throughout the year and game 2 is still anybody’s ball game. Will they find the solution to the Lakers aggressiveness? The Lakers who waited a year for this knew what they will have to do to win the championship and if the Magic couldn’t stop the 25 point outburst in game 1 even if they have Nelson back in the point even if they have superman in the middle I don’t know what else will.