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Boxscore Breakdown: Finals, Game 3

Posted by Neil Paine on June 10, 2009

With the series shifting to their own building for Game 3, the Orlando Magic knew they absolutely had to get a win by whatever means necessary if they wanted to have any shot at the NBA title. The Lakers' defense had ruled Games 1 and 2, holding the Magic below 100 points/possession in each of the matchups at Staples. While Rashard Lewis had still managed to play well, getting Dwight Howard, Hedo Turkoglu, Rafer Alston, and Mickael Pietrus going offensively would be a must for Orlando in Game 3. So did they get the job done at home, or did L.A. take a commanding 3-0 series lead?

Name Tm Pos Min Poss PProd ORtg %Pos Floor% Stops Stop% DRtg
Trevor Ariza LAL SF 41.5 12.5 13.6 109.0 16.8 0.479 6.2 0.420 125.2
Pau Gasol LAL FC 39.8 12.0 19.5 163.4 16.8 0.800 6.0 0.422 125.1
Andrew Bynum LAL C 23.3 6.7 5.4 81.0 16.1 0.395 3.3 0.399 126.0
Kobe Bryant LAL SG 40.3 29.2 32.6 111.9 40.5 0.510 3.8 0.266 131.6
Derek Fisher LAL PG 32.1 7.5 9.4 124.7 13.1 0.559 4.1 0.355 127.9
Lamar Odom LAL PF 32.4 9.0 10.4 116.0 15.5 0.593 4.6 0.399 126.1
Jordan Farmar LAL PG 15.9 7.4 9.2 125.3 25.9 0.548 1.7 0.295 130.4
D.J. Mbenga LAL C 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.000 0.0 0.235 132.9
Sasha Vujacic LAL SG 3.2 0.7 0.0 0.0 11.7 0.000 0.3 0.258 132.0
Luke Walton LAL SF 11.3 3.7 3.4 94.5 18.1 0.452 1.2 0.294 130.5
Los Angeles Lakers 86 104 121.3 125.9
Name Tm Pos Min Poss PProd ORtg %Pos Floor% Stops Stop% DRtg
Hedo Turkoglu ORL SF 42.2 14.7 20.9 142.1 19.5 0.672 6.6 0.440 120.9
Rashard Lewis ORL PF 41.5 16.6 21.1 127.2 22.4 0.549 5.3 0.360 124.3
Dwight Howard ORL C 43.1 13.0 21.0 161.0 16.9 0.818 9.8 0.639 112.4
Courtney Lee ORL SG 19.9 4.1 3.2 78.1 11.5 0.391 3.1 0.431 121.3
Rafer Alston ORL PG 36.7 14.9 18.5 124.5 22.7 0.592 4.1 0.310 126.4
Mickael Pietrus ORL SG 31.2 12.0 16.9 141.0 21.5 0.667 6.4 0.575 115.1
Tony Battie ORL C 9.5 2.6 3.7 144.0 15.3 0.712 1.5 0.439 120.9
Jameer Nelson ORL PG 11.3 4.4 2.8 64.5 21.7 0.313 2.0 0.507 118.0
Marcin Gortat ORL C 4.7 0.7 0.0 0.0 8.9 0.000 0.5 0.302 126.7
Orlando Magic 86 108 125.9 121.3

Finally, an offensive explosion for the Magic, who had been held in check for the majority of games 1 & 2 by L.A.'s stifling defense. Although, strangely for a team whose M.O. is knocking down perimeter J's, Orlando did the majority of their damage from inside the arc -- they drained a Finals-record 75% from the floor in the first half and a record 62.5% overall, but only 22% of their attempts came from the outside and they only made a paltry (by their standards at least) 35.7% of them. So that must mean Dwight Howard got loose, then? Uh, yup... Superman tied Lewis with a game-best 21 points and a +5 plus/minus, snagging 14 boards and recording an incredible 161.0 offensive rating, miles better than the 101.2 & 93.1 he put up in games 1 & 2, respectively. But it wasn't just Howard who shined offensively: just as literally every Orlando player not named "Lewis" suffered through a rough game on Sunday night, every member of the Magic (save for Courtney Lee & Jameer Nelson, both of whom logged less than 20 minutes) was on fire Tuesday. Together, Turkoglu, Lewis, Howard, Alston, Pietrus, and Battie used 86% of Orlando's possessions and combined for an insane 138.4 (!) offensive rating. This time, it was Los Angeles that had no answer for the Magic's offensive onslaught.

Even so, the Lakers managed to keep the game close late. Aside from another pair of rough offensive performances from Bynum and Walton, L.A.'s scorers played well, with Gasol posting his typical monstrously efficient 23 points (on a 163.4 ORtg -- he now has a 139.2 ORtg on the series!) and Bryant leading the way with 33 points produced on 40.5% of Laker possessions when on the floor. Defensively, though, neither team could really shut down the other until the end of the game, when a series of uncharacteristic miscues by Kobe (a missed free throw, one of 5 for Bryant on the game, and a backbreaking turnover on consecutive possessions with under 1:00 to play) marred Los Angeles' chances of eking out a win even in spite of Orlando's historic shooting performance.

So while it was a tough loss for the Lakers, the fact that the Magic only narrowly escaped with the victory at home even while shooting an unsustainably high % from the floor and seeing Kobe Bryant commit a number of out-of-character mistakes in crunch time has to give L.A. confidence that in a 7-game series of attrition, their superior weapons will give them the edge in the end. Congratulations are in order to Orlando for snapping their 6-game NBA Finals losing streak (dating back to 1995), of course, but while they won the battle for Game 3, the odds are still heavily on the Lakers' side in the war:

Scenario Prob
Lakers in 5 23.2%
Lakers in 6 33.8%
Magic in 6 8.7%
Lakers in 7 23.2%
Magic in 7 11.1%

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6 Responses to “Boxscore Breakdown: Finals, Game 3”

  1. steve norris Says:

    I thought it was amazing that they shot a finals record 62.5% and the lakers had a chance to win. orlando will not shoot that great again.that was like nova beating georgetown. nova shot lights out and they barley won. this is a seven gamer not a one and done so i dont see the same thing happen. what do you think neil?

  2. Anon Says:

    "I thought it was amazing that they shot a finals record 62.5% and the lakers had a chance to win."

    That yes, but I also find it amazing that with a great supporting cast around him and a great player in Pau Gasol Kobe still has to take on 41% of his team's offensive load anyway. He was still plenty efficient, but I think that if he feels he has to take on that burden against the best defensive team in the league and Pau doesn't have some more of the offense go through his hands, this might play right into the Magic's hands. It will be interesting to see what happens.

  3. Jason J Says:

    Looking at those numbers and the regular box score, it's tough to tell how LA stayed in the game. They shot 0.615 from the free throw stripe with Kobe missing 5 of 10. The turnovers are identical. LA scored 3 more points from the free throw line but took 9 more threes to do it. The Lakers' only definitive advantage is on the offensive boards, where they pulled down 6 more than the Magic.

    I agree w/ the above that Gasol could use more touches. He and Bryant are connecting beautifully on the pick and roll, but Howard has yet to really prove that he can handle Pau one on one. A few more touches in the high and low post for Gasol might be the difference in these close games.

  4. Jeremy Gibbs Says:

    I am going to predict that Orlando wins again tonight.

  5. Tim D. Says:

    One thing that gets overlooked is that the Lakers had their best offensive production of the series in this game, yet they still lost. So the kind of logic that speaks of "Orlando's 62.5% shooting yet they barely won" can work both ways. While it was not Kobe's best game of the series (which is all the media focuses on), it could be argued that it was the Lakers best game of the series, yet they still lost. It was unquestionably the Magic's best game of the series.

    I do still think the Lakers will win in 7, but this series is going down to the wire.

  6. Jeremy Gibbs Says:

    Fisher is the hero; Howard is the goat; Pietrus is a punk!