Posted by Neil Paine on June 5, 2009
Well, Game 1 is officially in the books, and it was a surprisingly one-sided affair:
|Los Angeles Lakers||86.2||100||115.9||87.0|
I mean, what can you say? It was a beatdown, the absolute worst-case scenario for the Magic: Orlando couldn't establish a thing at the offensive end, they were killed on the glass, the 3-pointer wasn't a major factor for them, and worst of all, they allowed both Kobe Bryant and his supporting cast to run wild on their defense. A D that allowed a league-best 1.02 points per possession during the regular season and 1.04 during the first 3 rounds of the playoffs yielded 1.16 to L.A. Thursday night, including 1.24 to Bryant despite Kobe commanding nearly half of the Lakers' possessions.
In fact, it was a virtuoso performance for Kobe at both ends -- in addition to his 40 points (vs. only 1 turnover), he also registered 2 steals, 2 blocks, 7 defensive rebounds, and he was a team-best +25 on the night. He and his teammates confounded the Magic defense again and again with a series of pick-and-roll plays that gave him extra space to shoot, and when Bryant wasn't finishing the play, it was Gasol or the previously-maligned Bynum delivering baskets. I'm sure Orlando will make adjustments to handle the P & R before Game 2, but all in all it was a performance that casts serious doubt on the Magic's ability to win this series.