LIVE BLOGGING: NBA Finals, Game One observations
* The Lakers open up using Option 1.
* Dwight Howard is not going to dominate the boards whenever Andrew Bynum is in the game.
* Neither is D12 going to be scoring at will vs Baby Huey, as Drew is a solid physical match-up with the Magic’s Superman.
Orl 14, LAL 14 … 05:30, Time-out/LAL [Full, 1st]
* Derek Fisher will have little difficulty staying with Rafer Alston on the defensive end of the floor. Alston does not have the type of quickness to shake Fisher.
* Given the versatility of these two teams, as JVG said, it will be fascinating to see how the respective benches get used in this series. Foul trouble will be absolutely crucial in this match-up.
Orl 19, LAL 20 … 02:56, TV Time-out
* Two bad plays by Lamar Odom. 1. Allowing an offensive rebound to Lewis. 2. Fouling Lewis unnecessarily.
* With Bynum & Howard each picking up 2 fouls in this opening quarter, that’s a trade which the Lakers should be happy to make all series long.
2nd Quarter … Orl 24, LAL 22
* Jameer Nelson makes his first appearance in the last 4 months, after undergoing surgery on a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
* 3 Assists in 3 minutes and 1-1/FGA-FGM for Nelson, matched-up vs Jordan Farmar. A terrific stretch for Orlando’s starting PG.
Orl 33, LAL 28 … 08:32, Time-out/LAL [Full, 2nd]
* Kobe [vs Pietrus] & Bynum [vs Gortat] return for the Lakers.
* Gortat is a solid rebounder & defender vs Bynum.
* Howard & Turkoglu are set to re-enter for the Magic … as LA is on a a 6-0 run
* When the Lakers go with Kobe … the Magic will need to respond with Hedo right away.
Orl 33, LAL 34 … 06:30, Time-out/Orl [Full, 1st]
* The individual match-ups look like this coming out of this time-out:
Nelson vs Fisher
Bryant vs Pietrus
Walton vs Turkoglu
Odom vs Lewis
Bynum vs Howard
* The Lakers run is now at 10-0 …
Orl 33, LAL 38 … 05:15, Time-out/Orl [20, 2nd]
* Bynum pickes up his 3rd PF vs Howard’s power move [R-Low Post]. Gasol subs in. A potentially big foul commited by Drew.
* Orlando has stabilized itself by going inside to Howard; and, then, with an open ‘Catch & Shoot, 3PT-shot’ [Pietrus, Assist/Nelson, drive & kick].
Orl 39, LAL 45 … 02:43, TV Time-out
* Ariza subs in for Walton.
* The Lakers are beginning to take control of the game by dominating the boards.
* Josh Powell is in for Pau Gasol to finish the half vs Battie [PF] & Gortat [C].
Half-time Score: Orl 43, LAL 53
* As expected, Los Angeles [7/24] is out-rebounding Orlando [4/17], while only being out-scored from beyond the arc by 6 points [LAL/1; Orl/3].
* Black Mamba’s individual line-score for the 1st Half, looks like this:
* The major advantage which the Lakers have in this series is their overall ability to neutralize each of the important cogs in the Magic’s offensive arsenal … and, thereby, allowing the best player in the world today to wreak havoc against Orlando’s guards with the pass or through his individual offense. It will be interesting to see what adjustments, if any, Orlando can make in the 2nd Half.
* Kobe scores twice, right away, to open the frame, sandwiched around a blocked shot by Andrwew Bynum.
* At the 09:38 mark of the quarter, Andrew Bynum picks up his 4th PF … Orl 46, LAL 57.
* Lamar Odom immediately picks up his 3rd PF vs Dwight Howard. This is a crucial stretch in this game, if Odom can play this quarter without picking up his 4th PF.
* Gasol did a terrific job holding his ground vs Howard [L-Low Post], forcing a kick-out pass.
* Gasol did a terrific job holding his ground vs Howard [L-Low Post], drawing an offensive PF
Orl 50, LAL 68 … 05:42, Time-out/Orl [Full, 3rd]
Mike Breen: He’s got that look.
Jeff Van Gundy: He’s got that game.
Kobe Bryant has 34 pts on 15-27/FGM-FGA with 7 Assists and 6 Rebounds.
Orl 55, LAL 75 … 02:28, Time-out/LAL [Full, 3rd]
* Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy are wrong when they observe that these are “good” shots that the Magic are missing in this specific game.
Against other opponents, this might be the case … but, against this groupf of Lakers, these normally “good” shot attempts are being hoisted over defenders with CONSIDERABLE length, unlike what Orlando has had to face to this point in the post-season.
Overall, it’s the calibre of the individual players on the Lakers that is making THE difference, so far, tonight.
Orl 58, LAL 82 … end of the 3rd Quarter
* When the Lakers are playing THIS way … i.e. playing with intensity, making shots, and sharing the ball … it’s a thing of beauty.
* Any thought of an Orlando comeback is now over.
Orl 62, LAL 88 … 08:54, TV Time-out
Stan Van Gundy: Get your heads up. We’re much better than this. It’s a long series.
* At the 07:16 mark of the 4th quarter, Phil Jackson sends Kobe Bryant back into the game … with the Lakers ahead by 25 points [89-64]. It seems as though the ZenMaster is intent on sending a serious message to the Magic in Game One.
FINAL SCORE: Orl 75, LAL 100
The key to this evening’s blow-out for Los Angeles was the play of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, defensively and on the boards versus Orlando’s Big Men.
From an entertainment standpoint, hopefully, Game Two will present more of a challenge for the Lakers.