We had a game for about 18 minutes…. but then Kobe Bryant got into the zone, finished the first half with 18 points while shooting 9 for 18 and got even hotter in the second half, scoring 22 and finishing with 40. He shot 34(!!!) time from the field, hitting 16 of them.
The Magic just weren’t there. Not on defense, and got nothing offensively. Only 3 players scored in double figures, Mikael Pietrus (14), Hedo Turkoglu (13) and Dwight Howard (12). Howard got 15 rebounds but the Lakers did a good job on him in the paint. Gasol, Bynum and Odom played great in the middle on a night where their offense wasn’t very necessary. Gasol still scored 16 and Lamar Odom scored 11 while grabbing 14 boards.
Jameer Nelson made his comeback, but looked like a guy who hasn’t played in months. He shot 3 for 9 from the field and the Magic were -19 while he played and Alston was riding the pine.
Kobe looked on a mission and focused on the title like never before, becoming the fourth player to record at least a 40-8-8 in the NBA Finals. (Shaq, Michael Jordan and Jerry West are the other three). Mikael Pietrus couldn’t handle him and the Magic can’t count on him wearing down like Lebron did during the Eastern Finals. They need to find a way of slowing him down or this series will be over very quickly. That, and getting points on the board. 75 points might win you finals in Europe, in the NBA it’s a recipe for a sweep.