A week ago the sky was falling on the Lakers. One week later they’re parading to a title. Today in the Sunshine state the Orlando Magic rained on the Laker parade.
Reminiscent of the unfocused efforts in recent weeks, the Lakers were flat and faltered in all aspects of the game. Looking very tired from their travels the intensity necessary to pull off a 5th straight road win just wasn’t there.
Dwight Howard was a filthy beast today. The size advantage that has helped to resurrect the Lakers’ championship ways was a non-factor as DH owned the paint. You know it’s your day when Gilbert Arenas throws up a desperation shot to beat the shot clock only to have Howard bail him out with a dunk. Of course Arenas was out of bounds when he threw the lob…er…shot up but that part of the play is not up for review and the officials confirmed the hoop. A loophole the league will have to look into.
None the less that play about summed up the afternoon for the Lakers. The Magic didn’t play great either but they hustled and gave maximal effort.
On offense L.A. was just terrible. Kobe never got into a rhythm, Pau was highly inefficient and aside from Odom the bench contributed next to nothing. The sum of all those bad part was a paltry 75 points. Andrew Bynum asserted himself early but disappeared late.
Drew’s 17 and 9 were good but Howard’s 31, 13 and 3 blocks were infinitely better. So much better that Dwight alone carried his team to victory. Jason Richardson was the only other member of Magic in double-figures and he inched over with just 12 points.
This loss doesn’t signify much else other than the Lakers being tired and just not ready for an early tip. Not making any excuses or giving them a pass but their recent form indicates they’re rediscovering the ways of a champion. But how they bounce back from this loss will tell us much more.