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Los Angeles Lakers 99, Orlando Magic 86: The Morning After

  • Orlando Magic's beautiful playoff runs ends with loss to L.A. Lakers in NBA Finals
    Brian Schmitz recaps the Orlando Magic's final loss of the 2008-2009 season against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

    On the closing night of the season on Sunday, Howard witnessed something that also unnerved him — a celebration on an elevated stage by the Los Angeles Lakers at Amway Arena.

    The Lakers defeated the Magic 99-86 to win the NBA title, their 15th as a franchise, but Howard and the team came away feeling they had sprinted past expectations.

    "We had a great season," Howard said. "Nobody thought we'd get this far."

    Howard wanted to stay on the bench and watch the Lakers' group-hug around the trophy, asking point guard Jameer Nelson to join him.

    "Dwight wanted me to sit with him and let it soak in. To get that feeling, like, let's remember this," Nelson said. "It hurts, but you got to take something from this and come back stronger." 
  • Magic's bid for NBA title ends as Lakers win Game 5
    Mike Bianchi chimes in with his thoughts after last night's game.

    This is not the last the Lakers will see of the Magic. Howard is only 23 and already the most dominant big man in the league.

    He's going to get even better -- frighteningly better. And he is surrounded by a young, championship-caliber team.

    "Orlando is very capable of coming back to the Finals with the youth they have," Jackson said.

    It's OK to be downhearted the Magic didn't win the title, but there should be some giddiness, too, that they played for one. It's like Van Gundy said the other day: Every loss gets magnified so much during the Finals that teams who lose at this level "end up getting ripped more than teams that win 20 games.

    Somebody has to win, somebody has to lose.

    Somebody is joyful, somebody is sorrowful.

    But no matter what, the storied Lakers know they have been in quite a torrid affair with a Magic team they most likely will see again.

    Same time next year.
  • Face it, Orlando, we're lucky to be here
    George Diaz talks about the aftermath of yesterday's matchup. 

  • Alston brushes off controversy
    Josh Robbins touches on the point guard issue that plagued Orlando throughout the series against Los Angeles. 

  • Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard can't get it going in Game 5 against the Lakers
    Kyle Hightower elaborates on Dwight Howard's struggles in Game 5.

    He was stifled almost from the opening tap, with just three points, four rebounds and an assist in the opening 12 minutes.

    He picked it up some before the break, adding six more points (3-for-3 from the field) and two more boards, but was tormented down low by the Lakers' big men as the Magic fell into a 56-46 halftime pit.

    "They made a run and instead of playing like we did all season, we kind of put our heads down," Howard said.
  • Magic G Mickael Pietrus insists life is good, despite losing bid for NBA title

    Mickael Pietrus insists he has no regrets.

    Pietrus didn't flash his thousand-watt smile minutes after the Magic fell 99-86 to the Lakers and Los Angeles clinched the NBA title on Sunday night, but he still managed to put a positive spin on Orlando's playoff run.

    "It was a wonderful experience," he said. "I always dreamed about making it to the NBA Finals and this team worked very hard together. It was very special for us. I wish we could have won the championship, but we learned a lot as a team."

    Pietrus is one of many Magic players who has displayed a remarkable ability to shrug off adversity. [...]

    "The Lakers played very well and we hope to do the same thing they did next year," Pietrus said. "They went to the NBA Finals and lost last year. This year, they came back stronger and they are champions. We will work hard this offseason and want to become champions." 
  • WE'LL BE BACK!!!!!
    UPDATE: Dwight Howard posts on his official blog, today.
    It was hard to do, but I stayed out there and watched the Lakers celebrate. Nobody wants to see another team celebrate on their homecourt, but me and ‘Meer stayed out there because we wanted to see it to make us hungrier the next time around.

    And yes, there will be another time in the Finals for us. The NBA ain’t heard the last of the Magic in the Finals. I know nobody ever expected us to get this far at all this season, but maybe now people will see that we’re for real and we’re going to be good for several years to come.

    Losing to the Lakers will hurt me for a long time. It might take me all summer to get over this one. But it will be fresh in my mind as soon as I get back in the gym and start working on my game. I know I have to get better and I’m going to do everything in my power to make myself a better player this summer.

    To all you Magic fans out there, thanks for your support. We wanted to bring ya’ll a title, but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be this year. We’ll be back again, and ya’ll have my promise that we’ll do this in Orlando real soon.

... and here's what the national media had to say.

  • Finals Musings: In Praise of Odom, Gasol, Ariza
  • Jackson: Magic Set Up For Return Trip
  • Van Gundy Fights Against Howard Criticism
  • Trevor Ariza Haunts Magic in NBA Finals
  • Jameer Nelson Never Delivered a Spark 
  • A Humbling NBA Finals for Howard 
  • Lakers Crush Magic for 15th NBA Title 
  • Sometimes You’re Just Better Than Everyone Else
  • Nine Things to Remember About the 2009 NBA Finals 
  • Boxscore Breakdown: Finals, Game 5
  • Behind the Box Score, where we have a champion
  • Champions
  • Kobe named MVP as Lakers win NBA title 
  • Why Phil Jackson reigns as the game's greatest coach
  • Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson better together
  • What's next for the Orlando Magic?
  • While Lakers celebrate, Howard watches and learns
  • Kobe savors taste of title without Shaq
  • Jackson leaves Auerbach in the past 
  • Ariza, Odom relish Hollywood ending 

    Make sure to check out this post every few hours for updates.