By Fran Blinebury, for NBA.com
Posted Jun 15 2009 9:39AM
ORLANDO -- 24 -- The Orlando Magic's ability to bounce back from disappointment has been on display all through the Playoffs. Now we get to see about the resilience of Gina Marie Incandela. The adorable 7-year-old had led the Magic to a perfect 7-0 record this season when she sang the national anthem. Until Game 4. So Gina Marie is back hoping to rediscover her magic and maybe Rashard Lewis' jump shot as well.
23 -- What's all this talk about Kobe Bryant being "The Closer?" In this series, Kobe's been much more "The Starter," scoring 17 in the first quarter of Game 3 and 13 in the first quarter of Game 4.
22 -- Everybody says that the Lakers' 21-year-old center needs more experience to grow into an elite level player. So maybe Andrew Bynum's 0-for-6 start is his way of extending the season and getting in a few more games of practice?
21 -- 7:00, 1st quarter -- With the Magic already off to a 15-6 lead, is it good news for Orlando that Kobe seemed to hurt that already sore finger on his right hand. Or is that bad news because it might only make him angry?
20 -- OK, I have to ask. During that last timeout interview on ABC, was Kobe wearing a purple Lakers Snuggie?
19 -- 1:40, 1st quarter: Rafer Alston goes to the bench with two early fouls. How long will it be until he's ready to wring Stan Van Gundy's neck again because he wants back into the game?
18 -- The Magic came out with the proper level of emotion and intensity to take an early 15-6. But a shabby effort on the boards at both ends of the court could be their undoing if it continues.
17 -- No complaints from Phil Jackson about "bogus calls" by the refs tonight during the between quarters interview. Nothing worth $25,000 to gripe about?
16 -- 6:27, 2nd quarter: It's official now, Magic fans. Kobe doesn't get every single call. He was absolutely clobbered by Rashard Lewis on the fastbreak and not a tweet from the officials.
15 -- 5:44, 2nd quarter: Who knew that Trevor Ariza spoke Turkish? Don't you figure he was wishing sweet nothings in Hedo Turkoglu's native tongue when they went head-to-head in front of the Magic bench?
14 -- 3:36, 2nd quarter: Derek Fisher makes like The Joker in beating Superman with a simple shot fake and his easy layup makes it a 13-0 Lakers run and this is the point where the Magic decide whether it's worth it to think they can win three in a row.
13 -- 1:43, 2nd quarter: Imagine Groucho Marx without the mustache. Imagine Madonna without the push-up bra. Imagine the Orlando Magic without a 3-point bucket. A completely different act. Rashard Lewis finally makes the first trey of the night (1-for-9) for the gang that couldn't shoot straight.
12 -- With all of the focus on Derek Fisher's 3-pointers and Dwight Howard's missed free throws in Game 4, the nifty work by Trevor Ariza in the 3rd quarter was overlooked. And here's Ariza as the fire-starter who turns the Lakers into a raging inferno in the second quarter of this one.
11 -- While his screeching voice and inspirational messages usually work wonders for the Magic, it might have been more important for Stan Van Gundy to spend halftime searching for Hedo Turkoglu (2-for-4, 4 points).
10 -- Kobe didn't want Lakers trainer Gary Vitti to treat his injured finger at halftime, because he wants to "feel the pain." Maybe he just wants to share Orlando's experience.
9 -- It was already a tough decision for the Lakers before. But considering the way they're both playing in Game 5, what's the choice you make on keeping either Lamar Odom or Trevor Ariza?
8 -- 5:53, 3rd quarter: "Mama, there goes that man." It's always fun to see when Mark Jackson will pull out his trademark line. Hard to believe any play will be more deserving than that double-pumping, off-balance, leaning fadeaway that Kobe banked in over a helpless Dwight Howard.
7 -- How does Stan Van Gundy spell desperate on the last night of his season? J-J R-E-D-I-C-K.
6 -- 1:14, 3rd quarter: Dwight Howard picks up his 5th foul. If that doesn't mean Orlando is going off the cliff, then the Magic at least have their toes dangling over the ledge.
5 -- Poof! There are still 12 minutes left to play. But it looks like the Magic have already vanished.
4 -- J.J. Redick guarding Kobe Bryant? Who is Van Gundy kidding?
3 -- Phil Jackson: 209 playoff wins, 12 Finals appearances, 10 NBA championships, all records. End of discussion. Greatest of all time.
2 -- Here's something to ponder. For all the accolades, all the headlines, all the celebrity, all the points scored, all the shots taken, all the criticism, it quite possible that Kobe Bryant is underrated.
1 -- How fitting. On Flag Day, the Lakers raise the 15th flag in franchise history. What could top this? How about Kobe and Shaq -- after the Big Itinerant is traded to Cleveland -- square off in The Finals (Lakers vs. Cavs) next June? Winner gets his 5th ring.
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