June 12, 2009
A heartbreaking, and possibly series-defining loss for the Orlando Magic in Game 4.
For the Los Angeles Lakers? A tough, defensive-minded win that helped to put the Magic on their absolute heels, taking 3-1 lead.
Defense was the story in this one, as both teams struggled to shoot well just 48 hours after putting up potent percentages from the floor during Orlando's win in Game 3. The Magic struck first defensively, forcing Pau Gasol(notes) out of his comfort zone in the low post, and crashing the three-point line.
The Magic slowly built up a strong lead, 12 at the half, before relenting as Trevor Ariza(notes) scored 13 points in the third quarter, with the Lakers scoring 30 overall. With Hedo Turkoglu(notes) out with four fouls, the Magic offense only managed 14 points on 7-20 shooting from the floor.
Upon Turkoglu's return, the Magic's offense didn't exactly set the world on fire in the fourth, but they did come back to take a three-point lead into the final 11 seconds.
With all eyes (and two defenders) focused on Kobe Bryant(notes), the Lakers surprised Orlando by taking the ball out in the backcourt, taking time off the clock, and Derek Fisher(notes) hit a three-pointer (after missing his initial five attempts from long range) to send the game into overtime.
Orlando's poor shooting kept up in overtime, the team missed six of seven attempts, as the Lakers kept up an impressive defensive display from start to finish. Most devastating may have been Los Angeles' vaunted free throw defense (the Magic missed 15 of 37 looks), and 17 turnovers in a slow (96 possessions in 53 minutes) game hardly helped.
We'll have more (much, much more; we promise) on this contest, Behind the Box Score-style, early on Thursday morning.