Game 4 of the NBA final series was thrilling much like all the others: a close game, in which it appeared the Magic were going to win, suddenly shifted in the last seconds of regulation time that tied everything up and forced an overtime. Sports bettors who had the Magic in Game 4 were probably cursing their luck, but as the minutes passed in OT, it became clear the Lakers had the stamina to pull it out.
How did this happen? Introducing Derek Fisher. The starting Guard for the Lakers looked a little lame missing 5 for 5 3 point attempts throughout the game. It was even questionable whether he would continue to play in the last crucial moments of regulation time. Phil Jackson had faith: Fisher’s rough start suddenly came to a halt as he nailed 2 key 3 point shots that led the team into overtime and eventual victory. The 34 year old point guard, a 13 year+ veteran in the NBA, came up big and then bigger when push came to shove.
The Lakers can also thank Kobe Bryant for a game leading 32 points. As usual, Bryant shined throughout the game, continually producing for the Lakers. Forwards Pau Gasol and Trevor Ariza weren’t too shabby either, contributing 16 points a piece to the final tally. Center Andrew Bynum appeared to struggle a bit offering 6 points for the Lakers. Bynum was the only player in single digits, but he also played the least minutes of all starters: just 15:40 compared to the others who clocked well over 40 minutes a piece.
Things were solid over on the Magic bench until the closing moments of the game. Forward Hidayet Turkoglu led the team with an impressive 25 points, second to Kobe Bryant when considering all players in the game. Center Dwight Howard had 16 points, doing much better than his Lakers counterpart. Meanwhile, Rafer Alston put away 15 points in just 27 minutes, which wasn’t bad all things considered.
In the end, all came down to quality shots and aggressive play in Overtime, and Phil Jackson’s Lakers proved they were the tougher team.
What can be expected in Game 5, this Sunday June 14 at 8:00 PM on ABC? The fact that the Lakers now lead the series 3-1 certainly puts them in a great position. The Magic are now on the edge of elimination, the clear underdog at this point. The most important factor for the Lakers will be mental: the team will need to remember that it just scraped by in Game 4, and that their opponents are worthy adversaries. In all honesty, the Lakers should just go for the win and seal the deal, which would be coach Phil Jackson’s 10th career NBA championship.
If the Lakers can’t get the job done Sunday, we move into Game 6, which means its a totally different ball game.
Watch the game on ABC, Sunday at 8:00 EST.
Good luck !