85.7 - L.A.’s free throw percentage on 24-of-28 makes, including 9-of-9 in the overtime.
30 - Orlando’s third quarter scoring output on 11-of-19 shooting, including 5-of-6 from Hedo Turkoglu, which turned a 5-point Magic deficit into a 2-point lead heading into the fourth.
20 - Shots made by Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis on 38 attempts, including nine of Orlando’s 10 three-point makes.
20 - Shots missed by Orlando’s guards on 26 attempts, including Rafer Alston’s 1-of-8 and JJ Redick’s 2-of-9.
10 - Points in the paint by the Lakers in the first half.
7 - L.A.’s biggest lead in a closely-contested ball game that saw the Magic have no higher than a three-point advantage.
4 - Threes made by the Lakers in the first half, one more than was made in the entire Game 1.
1 - Shot taken by Courtney Lee before he found the ball in his hands with consecutive chances to potentially win the game in the final 10 seconds of the fourth quarter. He missed both looks from close range as L.A. sent the game into overtime.
LOS ANGELES(AP) Lucky to have a second chance, the Los Angeles Lakers grabbed it.
Kobe Bryant and Co. held on and are in control of the NBA finals - just barely.
Orlando rookie Courtney Lee missed a potential winning layup as regulation ended, giving Los Angeles another shot it didn't waste. Pau Gasol scored seven points in overtime as the Lakers, so dominant in the series opener, survived with a 101-96 win over the Magic in Game 2 on Sunday night.
"There is a sense of relief because they played very well,'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "There's no doubt they had every opportunity or chance to win.''
If Orlando doesn't come back and win this series, Lee's miss may go down as one of the biggest gaffes in finals history. He had a chance to give the Magic its first finals win.
"We missed it. I don't know what else to say,'' Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We executed well, Hedo (Turkoglu) made a great pass. I'm not trying to be a pain ... Hedo made a great pass and he just missed it.''
Orlando may not get a better shot to beat the Lakers.
"We blew a lot of assignments tonight - a lot of assignments - and we still managed to get a win,'' Bryant said.
When it was finally over, Derek Fisher and the Lakers jogged to the locker room, smiling and high-fiving fans along the way.
Turkoglu trudged through the tunnel dejected, a towel hanging from his head.
Bryant scored 29 points, Gasol added 24 and 10 rebounds and Lamar Odom 19 points for the Lakers, who won Game 1 by 25 but needed 53 minutes to put away the Magic.
Rashard Lewis scored 34 - 18 in the second quarter alone - and Dwight Howard had 17 points and 16 rebounds for Orlando.
Game 3 is Tuesday night at Orlando's Amway Arena, which will be hosting a finals game for the first time since June 9, 1995.
With the score tied at 88-88 in regulation, Lee missed the first of two late-game shots when he drove the lane and missed a contested layup with 10.5 seconds remaining.
The Lakers called time with 9.1 seconds to play, and after Odom caught the inbounds pass, he quickly gave it to Bryant, who drove into a crowd. Bryant attempted an off-balance 12-footer, but his shot was blocked from behind by Turkoglu with 1.8 seconds left.
The horn sounded, the clock expired to zeros and Jack Nicholson and the star-studded Staples Center crowd braced for overtime.
But the officials huddled at the scorer's table and decided to put 0.6 seconds back on the clock because Turkoglu grabbed the ball and called timeout.
Turkoglu couldn't find anyone open on the inbounds and was forced to call another timeout. On the Magic's second attempt, Lee got free on a perfectly executed play and caught Turkoglu's long lob pass as he neared the left side of the basket. But with 7-foot Gasol closing in on him, Lee's shot caromed off the backboard and front of the rim.
Howard dunked in the miss as Lee put his hands behind his head in disbelief and began a long walk back to the bench as his teammates tried to console him.
So close. So far.
The Magic, who looked more relaxed than in the opener, will head home thinking about what might have been. They could be tied 1-1, and with the next three games scheduled in front of their frenzied fans, they could have denied Bryant and the Lakers a 15th title.
Now, in a season of comebacks, they'll need their biggest one.
Bryant, who scored 40 in the opener, finished with eight assists and seven turnovers.
Lewis transformed into Orlando's version of Bryant in the second quarter, scoring 18 of the Magic's 20 points to keep them close. The 6-foot-10 forward's size and exceptional range make him an impossible cover, and the Lakers had no answer to stop him.
With Howard unable to get open and Orlando's other shooters still searching for their touch, Lewis carried the scoring load. He made four consecutive 3-pointers to end the half and the Magic, despite shooting just 32 percent, were within 38-35 at the break.
If not for Lewis, Orlando would have been in big trouble because Howard was hopeless and helpless.
For a long stretch, Superman was more like The Invisible Man.
At times, it seemed as if there were six or seven Lakers on the floor as they swarmed Howard, who made just 1 of 4 shots and had four turnovers. On the rare occasion he caught the ball cleanly in the paint, he either didn't know what to do with it or made the wrong decision.
Unable to corral a rebound as the half expired, Howard grabbed the ball with both hands and slammed it off the floor. To that point, it was his most demonstrative moment of the series.
Before the game, Jackson predicted that Game 2 would follow a different script than the series' Hollywood premiere.
"This game is not going to be like the last game,'' said the nine-time NBA champion. "It probably won't resemble the last game at all except the players that are on the floor.''
He was so right.
Notes: Celebrities in the house included actors Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Warren Beatty, and Denzel Washington, who visited with former NBA stars Gary Payton, Chris Webber and Steve Smith. "We could compete with his team,'' Washington cracked to the aging trio. "For about a quarter.'' ... NBA commissioner David Stern announced that Los Angeles will host the 2011 All-Star game. ... The Lakers are 12-12 in Game 2s since moving from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. ... With his Game 1 performance, Bryant became just the fourth player to have at least 40 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in a finals game. Jerry West (1969), Michael Jordan (1993) and Shaquille O'Neal (2002) are the others.
Copyright 2009 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited
Lakers Assistant Coach Brian Shaw joined us to talk about what the Lakers must to during Game 2 of the NBA Finals to secure the win.
LAKERS - MAGIC PREVIEW
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) Behind Kobe Bryant's stone-faced mask and the icy grimace he's wearing in these finals, his eyes are laser locked on one target: His fourth NBA title.
His vision is so narrow, so sharp that he can't think about anything but a shiny championship trophy now close enough to touch.
To him, these two weeks are all that matters.
After that, it's anyone's guess.
As he and the Los Angeles Lakers practiced in advance of playing the Orlando Magic in Sunday's Game 2, Bryant, as few as three games from wrapping up his 13th season as a pro, said he has not given any thought about giving up what has been the driving force in his life.
"I don't know,'' he said when asked how much longer he'll play. "I just love the game so much still. "I just feel like there's still so much out there for me to improve on and work on. My body feels great. God willing, I stay healthy, I'll just keep going.''
Bryant, who will turn 31 in August, has an upcoming decision to make on his future. While he's under contact to make $23 million next season, he has an early termination option, which he can exercise if he so chooses this summer. The idea of a Bryant-less Lakers may be farfetched, but nothing can be assumed.
Michael Jordan was just 30 the first time he quit, stepping away to chase his dream of playing baseball.
Could Bryant, who scored 40 points in Game 1 and has been the closest thing to M.J. the league has seen, follow him and do something else?
His coach doesn't think so.
"Kobe is going to play it out for as long as he can,'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "He's just a player that is going to find a way regardless. When his skill level deteriorates, he's going to find a level to play at that his athleticism is going to allow. I can see him playing to 36, 37.''
There are no apparent signs that Bryant's wondrous skills are receding. In fact, and this is a scary thought for every other team in the league, Bryant may be just hitting his prime. He has become a smarter, more efficient player. He takes care of his body. His work ethic is unsurpassed. He is driven like never before.
Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy laughed when he was asked if he has seen any flaws or erosion in Bryant's magnificence.
"Yeah, I thought he dropped off quite a bit the other night,'' he quipped.
Van Gundy, who has spent the past two days devising a better scheme to slow L.A.'s No. 24, expects Bryant's game to evolve in the years ahead. Bryant won't be able to slash to the basket as often, but he'll figure out new ways of destroying defenses - just like Mike.
"That's what happened to Jordan,'' Van Gundy said. "So now even though at the end of his career he might have lost a half step or a quarter step, they get to the basket when they want to because you've got to take away that jump shot, and they just get smarter and smarter.
"Those guys get better and better.''
Jackson has seen it firsthand. He won six titles with Jordan in Chicago, and the gray-haired Zen Master is seeking his fourth with Bryant. As long as Bryant stays healthy, Jackson expects him to follow the same path toward retirement as Jordan did.
"All players that remain physically competent, as they get old, they just get better,'' Jackson said. "Their reactive ability is probably most noted on the defensive end. That's usually where they get hurt the most. But you saw guys like (Jerry) Stackhouse and Jordan playing past 35 with great ability.
"There's no reason why Kobe won't.''
With the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks opening their season at Staples Center, both teams had to work out at the Lakers' training facility on Saturday.
As the Magic shot around on L.A.'s practice floor, they could look up and see eight of the 14 Larry O'Brien Trophies won by the Lakers lined up side by side behind a second-floor window overlooking the court. It's an imposing sight for a franchise which has been to the finals just twice, has yet to win a game in either visit and got blown out in Game 1.
Van Gundy has reminded his players that they can get back in the series. Orlando shot just 30 percent from the field and center Dwight Howard made only one field goal.
The Magic have spent the entire season in comeback mode. It's time to rally again.
"We've been through it,'' said Van Gundy, who plans to keep his rotations intact for Game 2. "As the playoffs have gone on, I'm given them history lessons of just about anything that can happen in the playoffs, people being blown out at times. All of us were upset with our performances the other night; I wasn't happy with mine, I don't think they were happy with theirs. We're anxious to get back at it.''
So is Bryant.
He is consumed with winning it all, and although his body language says otherwise, Bryant insists he's having fun in his sixth finals.
"Just because you're focused on something doesn't mean you don't enjoy something,'' he said. "That's part of the fun is just figuring out how to focus and how to get ready. You can still do your job and have a good time.''
At various times, Bryant has been called aloof, selfish, moody, arrogant. Those he allows to get close to him, say he's different.
Jackson was asked the biggest misconception about Bryant.
"That he's a nice guy,'' Jackson said. "He's a killer. He's a gun slinger, and he's a guy that's going to take the weak and have no mercy on them.''
Bryant, whose obligatory news conferences have been painful because of his uptight demeanor and one-word responses, was told of his coach's portrait of him.
"He lied,'' Bryant said, smiling.
Copyright 2009 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited
LAKERS SCOUTING REPORT
NBA playoff series in general and NBA Finals in particular have a history of teams responding when being blown out in a game. We know Orlando missed some open shots that they expect to make tonight and they will definitely play with more energy. It is up to us to continue to execute and to play with the focus on both ends that is needed to win another game. There are some basic ‘adjustment’ questions that will be answered early tonight. Orlando has the ability to try and speed up the game and use their extensive menu of pick and roll options in order to create some offense. They also have the ability to make it more of a low post game by funneling the ball to Howard down low and forcing us to try and defend him without double-teaming or if we double they will try and move the ball around to the open shooter before we can rotate. It will be interesting to see if they try to go one direction or another or if they try to stay balanced in their attack. Either way we must be ready to defend both styles. We did the job on the boards in game 1 (winning that battle 55-41) and that will again be crucial tonight.
Another possible adjustment that we will be ready for is how they decide to play Kobe. In game one they played a type of defense on him in screen and roll situations where they had the big man “plug” the driving lane. In other words, the big man stayed off the screen and just tried to keep Kobe from penetrating. In response Kobe hit a number of mid range jumpers and found open teammates for easy looks at the basket. One possibility is that they will try to be more aggressive with Kobe. In screen and rolls they may try and trap him so he has to give the ball up earlier (and then try to deny him so he can’t get it back). In post up or isolation situations they may try and double team him sooner and more aggressively. They feel they operate better in transition and picking up their defensive intensity will help them get their transition game flowing.
This is the Lakers 24th trip to the NBA Finals since moving to Los Angeles (30th overall) and 15th since Dr. Jerry Buss purchased the team prior to 1979-80.
In 23 trips to the NBA Finals since moving to Los Angeles prior to the 1960-61 season, the Lakers are 9-14 all-time (14-15 overall) and 8-6 under Buss.
The Lakers are 82-86 all-time in the NBA Finals (62-71 Los Angeles, 20-15 Minneapolis).
Since the NBA went to the 2-3-2 format prior to the 1985 Finals, the Lakers are 6-4 overall & 5-1 when holding home-court advantage (1987, 1988, 2000-02, 2004).
The Lakers are 11-3 all-time in the NBA Finals when holding home court advantage (7-3 Los Angeles, 4-0 Minneapolis).
The Lakers are now 15-15 in Game #1 of the NBA Finals (11-13 Los Angeles, 4-2 Minneapolis).
When winning Game #1 of the NBA Finals, the Lakers are 9-5 all-time (5-5 Los Angeles, 4-0 Minneapolis).
Game 1 winner in NBA Finals history is 45-17 all-time … In 2-3-2 Finals format, Game 1 winner is 18-7 all-time.
The Lakers are 13-16 in Game #2 of the NBA Finals (11-12 Los Angeles, 2-4 Minneapolis).
When winning Game #1 and #2 of the NBA Finals, the Lakers are 4-1 all-time (3-1 Los Angeles, 1-0 Minneapolis).
When splitting Game #1 and #2 of the NBA Finals, the Lakers are 10-8 all-time (6-8 Los Angeles, 4-0 Minneapolis).
40 POINT GAMES IN THE FINALS
With Kobe Bryant’s 40-point effort in Game 1 of the 2009 NBA Finals June 4, there have now been 46 40-plus point games in the history of the NBA Finals, 26 of which
have been accomplished by Lakers. Jerry West leads all Lakers with 10 40-plus point performances in the NBA Finals, followed by Shaquille O’Neal (5), Elgin Baylor (4),
George Mikan (2 with Minneapolis), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1), Kobe Bryant (1), Wilt Chamberlain (1), Magic Johnson (1) and James Worthy (1). Elgin Baylor holds the
NBA Finals record for most points in a game (61), established 4/14/62 @ Boston.
40-8-AND-8 IN THE FINALS
With 40 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, two steals, two blocked shots and just one turnover, Kobe Bryant became the fourth player in NBA Finals history to post at
least 40 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in a single game. Bryant joins Jerry West (1969 NBA Finals: 42 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists), Michael Jordan (1993
NBA Finals: 42 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals, 0 blocks, 5 turnovers) and Shaquille O’Neal (2002 NBA Finals: 40 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists, 0 steals, 1 block,
4 turnovers) as the only players to accomplish this feat.
40-POINT GAMES IN THE POSTSEASON
With 40 points on 16-of-36 shooting (8-8 FT) in Game 1 of the 2009 NBA Finals June 4, Kobe Bryant posted his 4th 40+ point game of the 2009 Playoffs. The 40 points
marked the 10th time in his career that Bryant has scored 40+ points in a playoff game, with the Lakers going 9-1 in those contests. Bryant’s 10 40+ point playoff games
rank 2nd among active players (Shaquille O’Neal (12) and Allen Iverson (10)) and now rank 4th in team history behind Jerry West (20), Elgin Baylor (14) and Shaquille
O’Neal (11). Bryant’s 40+ point playoff games in chronological order are as follows: 48 points 5/13/01 @ SAC (W), 45 points 5/19/01 @ SA (W), 42 points 5/11/04 vs. SA
(W), 50 points 5/4/06 vs. PHO (L), 45 points 4/26/07 vs. PHO (W), 49 points 4/23/08 vs. DEN (W), 40 points 5/6/09 vs. HOU (W), 40 points 5/19/09 vs. DEN (W), 41 points
5/23/09 @ DEN (W) and 40 points 6/4/09 vs. ORL (W).
Additionally, this is the 4th consecutive postseason in which Bryant has had at least one game with 40+ points. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only four other
players in NBA history have had 40+ points games in each of four straight playoff years: Michael Jordan had an eight-year streak (1985-1992) and a four year streak
(1994-1997) while George Mikan (1948-1951, Elgin Baylor (1959-1962) and Allen Iverson (1999-2002) also had four year streaks.
During the regular season, Bryant has scored 40+ points 96 times in his career. Last season, Bryant’s 46 points February 1 at Toronto moved him past Elgin Baylor (88 40-
plus games) for third all-time. In the history of the NBA, only two players have more career regular season 40-point games: Wilt Chamberlain (271) and Michael Jordan
(173). The Lakers are 65-31 in games that Bryant has scored 40-plus points. This season, the Lakers were 2-2 when Bryant scored 40-plus.