Sunday, June 14, 2009

Force Game Six!

It appears as though the Magic took to heart what the experts and couch-side coaches have been saying since the conclusion of Game 3. Play defense, stupid!

They were able to do this for the most part, and it worked, relegating the Lakers to play from behind for much of the game and holding them to 87 points in regulation. The Orlando offense was not what it was in Game 3, nor did it live up to the high standards the Magic set for themselves throughout the playoffs. But it was adequate despite missing God knows how many free throws.

This leaves many to question how, with the fate of the game in their hands and an evenly matched series within their grasp, the Orlando Magic allowed the Lakers to send the game to overtime. The answer is pretty simple actually, and it does not exclusively involve missed free throws. Why would you not foul the Lakers when they are down by 3, putting them on the line for two shots? Insanity!
Bet On Game 5 Now

Jameer Nelson invited Derek Fisher to shoot the game tying three-pointer. Instead of playing him behind the line, he played the drive, believing, for some reason, that it was in Fisher's best interest to extend the series to at least six games.

As the Lakers began to catch up, the Magic began to fluster, throwing up bad shots and trying to force things to happen when they just were not there. Magic fans began to worry as they saw Kobe and the Lakers slowly begin to creep back into the game. They must have known what was to come.

So with the Lakers making a push, the Magic had two options: stave off the comeback/ride out the storm or get worried, throw up poor shots and play into the Lakers' hand. They chose the latter, and even gave them a little extra boost for good measure with ten seconds left.
Live Odds- NBA Final, Game 5

What's for sure is that the Lakers did not win Game 4. The Magic handed them the victory. Not to take anything away from the play and will of Kobe Bryant and Fisher, but if the Magic foul with under ten seconds to go, the game is likely over. And thus, we would have an even series and would be guaranteed at least one more game until the long two and a half months we must face with nothing to look forward to but the Homerun Derby in July. No NBA and no NFL combined with midseason baseball 'action' makes sports fans' skin curl. (The NFL preseason doesn't count. It's worse than no football at all.)

So please Orlando, for the sake of sports fans everywhere, force a Game 6 and preferably a Game 7 so that we may delay the inevitable reality of listening to an endless newsreel covering the progress of a Baltimore Orioles rookie catcher and the tired will he/won't he saga of Brett Favre.
Free Picks

One last thing. Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who won the Stanley Cup on Friday night in Detroit with the city of Detroit and dozens of Canadian ice fishermen watching. The Penguins climbed their way out of a 2 game hole after losing the first two games of the series.

Here's hoping that the exciting series will fetch some interest in the sport. Hopefully with young, talented players such as Sidney Crosby winning a championship, the NHL will hit its stride in the near future. Or at least avoid slipping further into mediocrity. But I'm rooting for the former.
Written By Danny Hobrock