Orlando Magic Defeat Kobe & Co. – Game 3

Kobe Bryant:
31 points, 8 assists, 11/25 FGM/FGA, and 5/10 FTM/FTA

This was the sweep Orlando had waited to see for 14 years.
On their seventh try, the Magic, swept in four straight games by Houston on their previous visit in 1995, got their first win in the NBA finals.
Shooting a finals record 63 percent from the field and clamping down on Kobe Bryant, the Magic closes within 2-1 in the best-of-seven series with a 108-104 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 3 on Tuesday night.
After two straight cold performances in L.A., the Magic were more accurate than any team in NBA finals history.
“They pretty much made all their shots,” Lakers forward Trevor Ariza said.

Pretty much.
The Magic shot a blistering 75 percent (24 of 32) in the first half and cooled off in the second half when they were only 16 of 32.
The basket looked big, and Orlando hardly missed it. With a loss, the Magic would have fallen into an 0-3 crevasse – a hole no team has ever crawled from. Now, they have a chance to become the fourth team in finals history to come back from an 0-2 deficit and win it all.

“Why not?” Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu said. “We believe in each other and as long as we’re playing our game, our system and fighting for 48 minutes – why not?”
In the series opener, the Magic couldn’t throw it in the Pacific Ocean. They made only 29.9 percent and were blown out by 25 points. In Game 2, they were only slightly better, shooting 42 percent in an overtime loss. But back on their home court, they shot themselves back into this series.

Note: K. Bryant, seeking a fourth title and his first since 2002, scored 31 points for the Lakers but the superstar, widely considered the game’s best closer, was awful in the final minutes. He scored just 10 points in the second half, went only 4 of 15 from the field after the first quarter and looked tired in the fourth.
He also missed five free throws, points that could have given the Lakers that 3-0 lead.
“It was a bad night,” he said.

With their season 48 minutes from all but disappearing, the Magic had five players score at least 18 points. Lewis and Dwight Howard had 21 apiece, Rafer Alston, who was just 3 of 17 from the field in the first two games, had 20 and Turkoglu and Mickael Pietrus 18 each.

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