The Lakers thrilling 99-91 overtime victory over Orlando in game 4 of the NBA finals tonight puts a dagger in the hearts of the Magic. The Magic controlled the game throughout and held a 10 point lead into the 3rd quarter on a night where it appeared they would easily win to even the series, but the resiliency of the Lakers pushed the game into overtime and eventually enables them to come out on top.
The Magic were in control into the 3rd quarter, when a sudden barrage of offense from the Lakers turned it around and put them up by 6 points. However, Hedo Turkoglu and Dwight Howard developed a 2 man game that almost sealed the game. Dwight Howard had 2 key free throws that could have put the Magic up by 5, but instead gave the Lakers a possession to tie down 3.
All the credit in the world goes to Derek Fisher, the Lakers guard who had been shooting terribly prior to the end of the 4th quarter. He hit a three with 4 seconds left over Jameer Nelson (who was inexplicably playing back on Fisher, giving him plenty of room to shoot). Fisher hit nothing but net, and the game was sent into overtime.
In overtime, Kobe started out hot, but as Pietrus started to defend him well he used the aggressiveness of the Magic on defense against them as he distributed the ball to his teammates. Trevor Ariza and Derek Fisher made huge plays down the stretch, including Fisher’s 3 to put the Lakers up by 3 in OT.
After the Magic missed a shot, Rashard Lewis tried to swat the ball out to a teammate, but the big man Pau Gasol raced to retrieve it and dunked the ball.
On the last possession of the game, when the Lakers were running out the clock, Ariza found Gasol underneath for a put-away dunk. Mikael Pietrus raced from behind, and punched Gasol in the back with both fists in an incredibly dirty play. It was bush-league, and if David Stern stuck to his rule (and followed the ejection of Amare Stoudemire a couple of years ago), he would suspend Pietrus for game 5, but he’ll never have the guts to do it.
At the end of the night, the result was a Lakers come from behind overtime victory that left the Magic stunned. From a 2-2 series tie to a 3-1 deficit, it was the clutch shooting of Derek Fisher that propelled the Great Lakes to a victory and a commanding hold on the finals.