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Running Blog for Game 5 of the NBA Finals

Are you ready for the end of the 2008-09 season? I am, so follow along with this blog of game 5 of the finals.

7:45 p.m. – As I said, I believe that this series ends tonight. I think what you saw with Mickael Pietrus pushing Pau Gasol in the back at the end of Game 4 just all of the frustration that the Magic are feeling right now. There is a legitimate argument to be made  that they should be the team up 3-1 heading into tonight’s game.

I predict Lakers by seven, 96-89. What do you think?

7:46 p.m. – Of course, I’ve been 0 for 4 on my predictions in this series so far.

7:53 p.m. – Gina Marie Incandela’s undefeated streak came to an end on Thursday … but that doesn’t make her any less adorable.

7:56 p.m. – I’ve heard some people call this a guarantee.

What do you expect him to say? “Oh, we’re so going to lose game 5.” Of course not.

7:58 p.m. – What would you have to be given to agree to be dropped from the top of an arena in a harness? I would need some serious cash.

And I think the Dwight Howard “BOOM!” pryo malfunctioned. Not a good omen.

8:01 p.m. – Rafer Alston is begging to play more than Jameer Nelson. And from the looks of Nelson on the court, Rafer deserves it.

8:02 p.m. – I love it when they introduce Stan Van Gundy on the PA system, then they show him on TV and it just looks like he is lounging on a couch at home. Jacket all open, arms spread across chairs, slouching in his seat … classic.

8:03 p.m. – Mark Jackson looks like a mafia hitman in the dark blue, white pinstripe suit.

8:08 p.m. – Courtney Lee had a tough start to game 4. He hits his first shot attempt tonight.

8:10 p.m. – Kobe obviously shoots a lot, but he was killing the Lakers with some of his shots in game 4. He is still getting a lot of assists, but he has to feel that he doesn’t need to carry the load for his offense.

But, it is Kobe Bryant and he is one win away from a championship. He’ll probably put up another 30 shots.

8:12 p.m. – Very fast-paced right now. You can’t expect anything less with how much the Magic need this game.

8:14 p.m. – Rafer Alston gets a little too fancy and causes a turnover … GET JAMEER NELSON IN THERE!!

Not, not really.

8:15 p.m. – It looks like Kobe may have aggravated that dislocated pinky on his right hand. That probably won’t affect him much, still.

8:16 p.m. – The Magic are doing exactly what they needed to do: Run at all times to get easy, transition baskets.

8:18 p.m. – Wow! What a tremendous smock or something that was worn by Kobe in that interview.

And that may have been Andrew Bynum’s most authoritative move all series. The Lakers hope to see a lot more of that next season.

8:21 p.m. – Yeah, I think that finger is OK.

8:23 p.m. – Great action so far, but you are obviously more pleased if you are the Magic. The passing is effective. They are getting a lot of open shots and, most importantly, they don’t look like a team that is one loss away from losing an NBA Championship.

8:26 p.m. – I like how the most aggressive players in this game so far are Courtney Lee, Rafer Alston and Andrew Bynum. It is just the first quarter.

8:30 p.m. – That’s two fouls on Alston. Here comes Nelson … oh boy.

8:32 p.m. – The Magic have been very effective this first quarter on offense. This probably should be more than just a one-point game if you are Orlando.

8:34 p.m. – So far, these teams have combined to hit 10-of-12 free throws. Basketball purists smile abundantly.

It’s obvious, but those will always be something to track.

8:36 p.m. – I wonder if Phil Jackson will say something during this between-quarter interview to cost him another $25,000. Probably not.

8:40 p.m. – Bynum and Howard with some moves out of them that we don’t see often.

8:42 p.m. – Dwight Howard taking over in the early part of this second quarter. The defense isn’t bad, but he’s moving smoothly and, as Jeff Van Gundy just said, he’s keeping the ball higher than usual. He has had way too many turnovers in this series. That will be cut down if he keeps the ball up.

8:45 p.m. – As much as I joke on Jameer Nelson, Sasha Vujacic has to get out of there. He looks so panicked every time that he handles the ball. “The Machine”, he is not.

8:47 p.m. – The atmosphere inside Amway Arena was tremendous when I went to game 4. There were constantly loud. There are a lot of bandwagon fans, but at least they were very supportive.

8:51 p.m. – The referees are laying off their whistles more in this game, but they are also missing some calls. I guess you can’t have it both ways.

8:52 p.m. – The Magic are 0 for 6 from 3-point range. You just know that’s going to change soon.

8:55 p.m. – Ariza-Turkoglu: Just good NBA Finals fun.

8:57 p.m. – Can’t like that rushed shot by Turkoglu.

This is a great timeout by Van Gundy. You’ve played well so far, and yet, you are trailing. You know what’s on the line tonight and that past shot looked forced. Take a timeout, talk it over and calm down.

8:59 p.m. – But no timeouts are going to help if Ariza keeps hitting big 3s. Lakers on a 13-0 run. This could get ugly.

9:00 p.m. – Another quick timeout by Van Gundy. Those last two possessions looked like a team begging for halftime.

9:01 p.m. – Please, for the love of everything made with atoms, stop with the puppet commercials, Nike!

9:03 p.m. – The Magic only have six turnovers so far. But, this score is separated by the stats from 3-point range.

Make that seven turnovers.

9:05 p.m. – With deficit such as this, it hurts the Magic to not have a guy who can really create his own shot. The close person they have to that role is Turkoglu, and he’s just got four points so far.

9:07 p.m. – Can Phil Jackson’s and Stan Van Gundy’s coaching styles be any more different? One is going to lull me to sleep; the other is going to make my ears bleed.

9:09 p.m. – The Lakers are just on fire. The defense hasn’t been very good from the Magic in this quarter, but the Lakers can’t miss right now.

9:11 p.m. – The Magic get four chances before the halftime buzzer sounds, but they can’t get any to drop. Regardless, they have to be better than 1 for 9 from 3.

9:12 p.m. – Coming up at the halftime: Pau Gasol and Placido Domingo. I really hope they are going to sing together. That would be swell.

9:14 p.m. – The skies just opened up down here in Orlando. This type of weather is a good representation for the Magic at this half.

9:16 p.m. – This noise about Shaq to Cleveland is so pointless. How does he make Cleveland that much better. He doesn’t make him going to be a championship-caliber team. If he was in this series, on the Cavs with LeBron, the Cavs would still get beat by the Lakers.

9:17 p.m. – I bet Jeff Van Gundy would ask what does “scurred” mean.

9:23 p.m. – Is this Gasol-Domingo feature just a wee-bit awkward?

9:24 p.m. – The Lakers would absolutely not be here without Gasol. Nice obvious observation there, Ervin.

9:31 p.m. – The Magic were up by double-digits at halftime in game 4, but the Lakers came back. Can the Magic pull off  the same trick? And will they be more enthused than they look at the start of Thursday’s third quarter.

9:32 p.m. – Thanks to Jeff Van Gundy for giving me two more reasons to think about how G. Gordon Liddy was an idiot.

9:35 p.m. – Turkoglu may not be healthy, but realistically, neither is anyone else in this series right now. He has to persevere and make something happen for Orlando. He has been too quiet.

9:39 p.m. – Rafer Alston with a 3. Arguably, he has been the best Magic player tonight.

But, Lamar Odom comes right back. That’s tough to take if you are Orlando. If Lamar Odom is going to beat you shooting threes, there’s not much you can feel bad about.

9:41 p.m. – Orlando is in a real bad way right now. The Magic aren’t hitting 3s, Howard and Turkoglu have been limited factors and the Lakers’ confidence is sky-high right now.

9:43 p.m. – Do you think if Lamar Odom got to carry the NBA Championship trophy, he would take a bite out of it to see if it was made of chocolate?

9:47 p.m. – What a ridiculous shot by Bryant. Straight up ridiculous.

9:48 p.m. – That was a ridiculous shot by Gasol, but for a completely different reason.

9:49 p.m. – The Lakers just look so professional, very workman-like right now. The Magic are showing signs of who they are: young and inexperienced on this type of stage.

9:51 p.m. – That’s an absolute bailout by the scorers. That was a foul on Howard and he’s very lucky. He just didn’t care what his foul situation was right then.

9:52 p.m. – By the way everyone, in case you didn’t know, the pound-for-pound best boxer in the world is “Manny Pacquiani.” Thanks, JVG. You can be so smart about basketball sometimes, but when you try to be funny, you are one of the worst announcers in basketball.

9:54 p.m. – This is a tough situation for Stan Van Gundy. He has got to get his team’s morale up. They look like they are down on themselves right now. But what can he do? He can’t yell at him, and that’s too bad, because that’s really all he’s got.

9:57 p.m. – Howard has four fouls, but he has to come back in. He is their main man, even if he has hardly played like it in this series.

The Magic need to cut this lead down to at least nine by the end of the quarter.

10:01 p.m. – The Magic are now 2 for 16 from 3-point range in this game.

10:02 p.m. – I know the Magic haven’t given their crowd much to cheer about, but this crowd also hasn’t done anything to even try to energize their team in this quarter. That’s sad.

10:03 p.m. – Oh, man! I can’t wait for this Jeff Van Gundy interview inbeween the quarter. This is going to be so awesome! And it will also let you know, depending on his attitude, if this game is over or not.

10:06 p.m. – The man speaks the truth.

10:08 p.m. – I am not sure if the Magic can even score 17 points in this quarter, much less without the Lakers scoring.

J.J. Redick answers with a 3. The Magic are going to need a LOT more of that.

10:10 p.m. – It should be obvious, but Redick was not a good defender in college. Now he’s guarding the best clutch player in the NBA? That has to change or else the Lakers will go to Kobe every time and he will make Orlando pay.

10:11 p.m. – Congrats if you have Cliff Lee on your fantasy baseball team. He was nasty for the Indians tonight.

Oh, basketball …

10:13 p.m. – True dagger by Kobe? Probably.

10:19 p.m. – So what else is there to talk about in the final 6 minutes of this game? Phil’s place as the best coach ever? Kobe’s legacy as a champion? A possible Laker dynasty, considering the team’s depth and age? An Orlando Magic comeback in game 5?

OK, maybe not that.

10:22 p.m. – The Magic will be back next year. This, to them, could represent what happened to the Lakers in 2008. But, they have a big problem with re-signing Turkoglu.

10:27 p.m. – These 3s are a little too late for Orlando. The Lakers are just too good.

10:30 p.m. – As you watch Kobe Bryant in this game, think about how Brendan Malone, the creator of the Jordan Rules back in the 1980s, is an assistant coach for the Magic.

They were hope he could implement his rules on Kobe. It didn’t work this year.

10:31 p.m. – Poetically, Pau Gasol, the missing piece, blocks a Lewis floater to seal any doubt.

10:33 p.m. – That’s it, ladies and gentlemen! I think we have seen our last Kobe-LeBron puppets commercial of the season. REJOICE!

I have seen three new commericals tonight alone. It seems like Nike was just unloading whatever they had in case the series was clinched tonight. At least it’s over.

10:35 p.m. – This has been a long climb back for the Lakers. Kobe wanted to be traded. Phil left. Kwame Brown and Smush Parker were big players. But, Mitch Kupchak, the Lakers’ general manager, got it turned around with the trade for Odom in the Shaq deal. He traded for Gasol in a robbery of a deal. He drafted Bynum and Farmar and traded for Ariza, in another great deal. Now, the Lakers are back on the mountain top for the 15th time …

10:37 p.m. – To the Magic fans who stuck around, thanks for being classy fans.

10:39 p.m. – And the Lakers win! 99-86! As a Lakers fan, I am going to go call some family and celebrate a little bit. I will be back later to finish this blog. Thanks to all of you who followed along!!!

Some wrap-up thoughts on game 5

11:53 p.m. – Just talked to my father, who is in Los Angeles. He said there is a little bit of in-the-streets partying in Downtown LA, but not much. Of course, how much can you riot after a championship when it’s only 8 p.m?

With this victory tonight and the parade on Tuesday, you can expect the work force of Los Angeles to plummet drastically in the next two days.

Great embrace between Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant at the end of the game. They have been through a lot and obviously have had a rocky road to get here. But now it’s all worth it.

I am sure Phil’s family is great, but that “X” hat that his kids made for him is just flat tacky.

Does Phil come back next season? This team isn’t going to be much different. Fisher will probably retire. They will re-sign Ariza and probably let go of Walton or Vujacic. Other than that, no productive players are going to be leaving. Can the Lakers continue this into a dynasty?

Bryant is 31. Odom and Gasol are 29. Ariza is 23. Bynum is 21. This is a young, talented team. Do they have the passion to win, say, three championships in the next five years? It’s possible here.

Right now, no one cares. Congratulations to the Los Angeles Lakers, 2008-09 NBA Champions!

  1. pinstripes61
    June 14, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    The crowd is dead – what can you expect for such fair-weathered fans? I would guess that those who actually did support the Magic throughout the season could not get / afford tickets to the NBA Finals.
    But I agree, this is awesome for the Magic to be here and the fans should give them their due respect and support. I would be interested to see how many leave with 5 minutes left in the game

  2. Ruzzo
    June 15, 2009 at 2:00 am

    I think you missed the most important story here…Adam Morrison is getting a ring! Good thing, too. I don’t know if I could stand to see him cry again.

  3. June 15, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    ” how much can you riot after a championship when it’s only 8 p.m?”

    Enough to mess up some street apparently. Good to see L.A. is just as bad as Philadelphia when it comes to destroying their own city whether they win or lose.

  4. spokes310
    June 15, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    At 8 p.m., when it’s still light out, it just isn’t a good setting to riot in the day time about a sports championship.
    Don’t be fooled: L.A. is one of the kings when it comes to sports rioting. I wasn’t surprised that 18 people got arrested. It would have been more if the game had ended later and those people had been in the bars a little longer.

  5. June 16, 2009 at 1:30 am

    Stay classy Los Angeles.

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