The Orlando Magic gave the Los Angeles Lakers new life in this one.
Not a good idea.
They blew a 12-point halftime lead and then after failing to close out the Lakers in regulation, the Magic lost Game 4 in overtime, 99-91, in the NBA Finals on Thursday night in Orlando.
With a commanding 3-1 series lead, the Lakers will try to close out the Magic in Game 5 on Sunday night in Orlando. The reason the Magic are playing their third consecutive home is because in the NBA Finals, it’s a 2-3-2 series format.
Derek Fisher’s 3-pointer with 4.6 seconds left forced overtime and then he hit another one off a Kobe Bryant assist to break a tie and put the Lakers up for good with 31.3 seconds left.
The Magic could have avoided all of this had Dwight Howard made at least one of two free throws with the Magic up, 87-84, with 11.1 seconds left.
Although Superman has shown improvement at the free-throw line in the playoffs, he’s been a mediocre to average free-throw shooter for most of his short, but stellar NBA career.
So when he missed those free throws, that opened door for Fisher to knock down his clutch 3.
Many will blame Jameer Nelson for playing off Fisher. It will be well deserved, but Fisher was so casual before taking the shot.
I think in some way, that lured Nelson to sleep. Besides, Fisher was 0-for-5 from 3-point range before making that shot.
So he was chilly before launching the 26-foot shot.
Then on Fisher’s second clutch 3, Nelson went down to double Bryant to leave Fisher open.
Now Bryant caught Nelson with an elbow to knock him down before kicking the ball back out to Fisher. Could have been called a foul, but Nelson wouldn’t have gotten out to Fisher to contest the 3 even if he hadn’t gotten elbowed.
Will the Lakers close it out Sunday?
After losing a game like that, the Magic may not have much life for Game 5. A slow start Sunday will spell doom for the Magic.