Barnes had defended Bryant all game, had watched him score 34 points and now was left alone on the Lakers' guard with Orlando holding a 96-94 lead with 9.7 seconds left.
Bryant pulled up for a 20-foot jumper for the tie that missed as time expired.
Barnes raised his hands.
"I knew he wasn't going to pass it, so I just really tried to square him up," Barnes said. "There really wasn't enough time for him to get me up in the air on a pump fake. I knew once he made a move he was going to have to shoot it so I just tried to jump with him and hope he missed it.
"He was talking the whole time, ‘You better double me.' That's what he does. He's the best so he's got to think that way."
Jameer Nelson collects nine rebounds and adds seven assists to help the Orlando Magic defeat the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday
Josh Robbins asserts that Jameer Nelson is proving that he's fully recovered from injuries that have slowed him down the past year or so. Nelson's in better shape, too, losing eight pounds and weighing in at 198.
On Sunday, Nelson provided one of his most energetic performances of the season and routinely outfought much taller Los Angeles Lakers players for rebounds. The diminutive point guard scored 15 points, collected nine boards and dished out seven assists to help the Orlando Magic defeat the defending world champs 96-94 at Amway Arena.
"There's no way we win that game without the plays he was making," Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said. "He was phenomenal. To get nine rebounds in a game like that against the biggest team in the league, and Jameer's the smallest guy on the floor . . . he's in there fighting the entire time."
More after the jump.
Lakers, Kobe Bryant aren't feeling so bubbly after 96-94 loss to Magic
Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Time elaborates that Bryant is satisfied by what he saw from his team in yesterday's game, but Pau Gasol chimed in that he'd like to see more offense generated from the inside-out. Boy, that statement seems familiar.
Orlando showed balance from inside and out, with all five starters scoring in double figures, led by Vince Carter's 25 points. The Lakers had only three players in double figures, and Andrew Bynum, limited to 19 minutes because of five fouls, had five points on one-for-five shooting.
It led Gasol to question the team's imbalance, as he has done periodically the last two months.
"Kobe's a great player and probably the best offensive player out there and we understand that," he said. "He's aggressive and he's competitive and we understand that that's going to happen. But at the same time, we need to find that balance.
"We need to find balance with our interior game, developing it a little more and using it a little more and moving the ball and changing sides of the floor because the triangle [offense], that's what it does. It gets open shots to guys no matter who they are. With the kind of guys we have, everybody can knock down shots."
Gasol Has Inside Perspective on Lakers' Recent Woes
Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse says the Lakers' Gasol points to the Magic as an example of a team that runs its offense inside-out. Povtak notes that Gasol has gotten 38 shot attempts during the Los Angeles' three-game losing streak, compared to 79 for Kobe Bryant.
Despite third consecutive loss, Kobe Bryant happy with teams effort agains the Orlando Magic
Tania Ganguli reports, also, that Bryant is content with the effort from his teammates.
Orlando Magic notebook: GM Otis Smith expects some interest this offseason in J.J. Redick
General manager Otis Smith chimes in on J.J. Redick's future.
Orlando Magic General Manager Otis Smith said he expects some offseason interest in SG J.J. Redick, who can become a restricted free agent after the season.
Smith said before Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers that he's been impressed with Redick's improvement since the club drafted him in 2006, but added, "I'm not going to bid against myself" to retain Redick.
Lakers/Magic: Lakers Fall In Familiar Fashion
Darius Soriano of Forum Blue & Gold says, among other things, that the Lakers struggled to defend the pick and rolls - the team's achilles heel on defense, according to him - initiated by Nelson and Carter.
1. Barnes Brings Edge To Orlando
Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles writes that Barnes was a difference-maker in Orlando's victory against Los Angeles. Lamar Odom, on the other hand, wasn't impressed by Barnes and the way he played.
Barnes, known primarily as a shooter in the first six years of his career with six different teams, is in his first season with Orlando after signing a two-year deal for a scant $1.6 million per season this summer. But it was his defense that made you wonder how different last year's Finals could have been if the Magic had him on the floor rattling the Mamba's cage. [...]
"If I get in trouble or get a technical, than I am hurting the team," Barnes admitted, but when he brings the intensity just enough as to control the frenzy, he gives the Magic an edge that it was missing before.
Said Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy: "The thing with Matt is, you know he's going to battle. He's going to get up and try."
If the "Matt-sysical" Magic keep playing like they did on Sunday, they could start playing the part of Finals favorites rather than just Finals contenders.
Lakers lose in Orlando: One moment
Brian Kamenetzky of the Land O' Lakers blog believes that the Lakers' issues against the Magic had mostly to do with its offense, not its defense.
The Lakers pressured the ball, blocked shots, and forced turnovers. After a bad first quarter, they held a red hot Orlando team to 65 points over the final three quarters. The defense was more than good enough to win.
Except the Lakers were held to 37.5 percent from the floor, 29.4 percent from beyond the arc. As has too often been the case of late, their offense devolved into a series of quick shots or one-on-one isolations. Ball and player movement were rarely to be found. In the fourth quarter, the Lakers were completely Kobe-centric. A loose count of trips says 16 of 22 trips saw Kobe take the first shot. He made a lot of them, including some tough ones. Classic Kobe. But it wasn't enough, and put the Lakers in a position where he was either going to win it or not. The supporting cast can't be expected to support when so rarely made part of the process.
Orlando Magic hold off L.A. Lakers 96-94 in NBA Finals rematch
Head coach Phil Jackson provides his thoughts on Orlando.
Are the Orlando Magic better than they were last season and can they win the NBA title this time? [...]
"I think they're as good, maybe better, a little better than they were last year," Jackson said.
Despite new hairstyle, Ron Artest's defense didn't cut it
Bresnahan notes Ron Artest's struggles on defense, particularly when matched up against Vince Carter, and asks the following question.
Are the Lakers better with Artest?The numbers support Bryant's claim. Last year, Los Angeles were third in Offensive Rating and sixth in Defensive Rating. In the same categories this year, the Lakers are 11th and second, respectively.
"The blueprint's a little different," Bryant said. "Last year, we were just a really, really efficient offensive machine. This year, it's a little more smash-mouth kind of basketball. Our defense is phenomenal. To win championships, defensive rebounding is what gets it done."
Lakers' 96-94 loss to Orlando Magic points more to execution than effort
Mark Medina of Lakers Blog explains, in excellent detail, that Los Angeles lost to Orlando due to a lack of execution.
Denton's Notebook - Sunday, March 7
Head coach Stan Van Gundy proclaims he'll stick with the Magic's 10-man rotation in the playoffs.
While most coaches shorten their rotations for the playoffs, Van Gundy said that won’t necessarily be the case for the Magic because of the design of the roster. Van Gundy said because the Magic don’t have ``a combo guard,’’ he’ll likely stay with a rotation that includes Jason Williams, J.J. Redick, Mickael Pietrus, Marcin Gortat and either Brandon Bass or Ryan Anderson. Said Van Gundy: ``Ideally you would play eight guys (in the playoffs), but I really think we’ll play 10. That’s just the way our roster sets up.’’
Denton: Magic-Lakers Postgame Analysis
John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com analyzes Orlando's win against Los Angeles and gathers quotes from several players, especially with regards to the atmosphere at the Amway Arena.
``I think we’re on the right track. We’re doing all the things that we have to do to get back to The Finals,’’ Magic star center Dwight Howard said. ``All you hear is people talk about the Lakers and Cleveland. People can talk about whoever they want to see in The Finals, but it’s going to come down to the team that wins the most in the playoffs. Hopefully that will be us.’’
``This is the playoff intensity that we’re going to face in the playoffs and this was just what we needed,’’ Barnes said. ``We can’t be the hunted anymore. We’ve got to be the hunter and go after people. That’s what we tried to talk about early in the season. We have to be a family and have each other’s backs.’’
``It was a battle, but these games are fun to play,’’ Carter said. ``It was very much a playoff atmosphere out there. It was two great teams going at it. But the funny thing about it was it wasn’t even a playoff game. You could just see it on everyone’s face and everyone’s demeanor that they wanted to win this game.’’
Magic Show Their Grit in Topping Lakers
Philip Rossman-Reich of Orlando Magic Daily keys in on the fact that Barnes was not afraid to mix it up with Bryant.
Lakers Poking Fun at Barnes on Bryant
Povtak says that the Lakers poked fun at Barnes after the game was over.
Baseline to Baseline, your game recaps
Matt Moore of ProBasketballTalk recaps the Thrilla in the ... O-Rena?
Orlando is a just a better team when the offense is running through a finally healthy Jameer Nelson. His stats were not spectacular, but he set their offense up and it flows when he does it. Vince Carter showed why the Magic wanted him as he used the pick-and-roll to slash into the lane. The Magic played great defense to set up the win, and they pounded the boards hard. This is a team that now has beaten the Lakers and the Cavaliers in recent weeks. This is a team that after a slow start is looking like a serious title contender heading into the playoffs.
Lion Face/Lemon Face 03.08.2010: The I’m Going to Fake Fight You Edition
Zach Harper of Hardwood Paroxysm likes, amongst other things, Barnes' toughness, Carter's aggressiveness, but dislikes the officiating in yesterday's contest.
The Magic game was a cavalcade of bad calls. Dwight Howard was getting called for fouls he didn’t commit. The Lakers apparently fouled Vince Carter enough to get him 10 free throw attempts… in the first quarter. There was an offensive goaltending call against the Magic when there was no goal to tend on the play.
Behind the Box Score, where the Magic are for real
UPDATE: Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie touts yesterday's game as "a reminder that the Magic are more than championship caliber. This is a team that can go all the way, and if the others don't play up to par this spring, the Orlando Magic is a team that should go all the way." Oh, and Dwyer thought Barnes should have been ejected from the game but does credit him (and Mickael Pietrus) for his defense on Bryant.
The Road Trip Went Really Well - Silver Screen and Roll
UPDATE 2 (from Ben): Dexter Fishmore of Silver Screen and Roll says the Lakers' road trip has exposed their lack of outside shooting, which in turn makes the "'flip the switch' hypothesis" problematic.