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Rest Reared Its Ugly Head For the Orlando Magic In Game 1 of the NBA Finals

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The Los Angeles Lakers, for lack of a better word, pummeled the Orlando Magic last night in Game 1, with a 100-75 victory that may have some people thinking that the Lakers are in the driver's seat to bounce the Magic out of the NBA Finals quicker than you can say hocus pocus or a pun appropriately centered around magic. But when taking a look at some of the numbers, Los Angeles winning in the fashion it did over Orlando should not come as much of a surprise. This is not an excuse, mind you.

 

Just an observation.

 

If you've hung around Third Quarter Collapse long enough or if you're aware of the rest days efficiency statistic, then there are some trends I'd like to show that can explain, a bit, the Lakers dominating performance against the Magic last night. 

 

It's important to note that a.) this stat was during the regular season and b.) the sample size is small but nevertheless, it's a good way to start painting the picture and explain what went right for Los Angeles and what went wrong for Orlando. 

 

Aside from Kobe Bryant going into beast mode.

 

Efficiency Differential When Playing With At Least 3 Days Rest
Los Angeles was 1st in the NBA in efficiency differential (6 games)
Orlando was 27th in the NBA in efficiency differential (3 games)

 

That's a big discrepancy. 

 

Some 'experts' may rationalize the Magic's loss yesterday as "stage fright." An assertion that carries legs because the Lakers have experience playing on the biggest stage in the Association, while Orlando is the new kid on the block. 

 

However, that's not the case in my opinion. Instead, it's as simple as this. The Magic don't play well with extended time off (on offense or defense, but I want to concentrate solely on the former in last night's game). If you think about it, the idea makes sense because Orlando is a team that relies, partly, on perimeter shooting to win games. It's no secret that the Magic were in great shooting rhythm during the Eastern Conference Finals and any extended time off would put a halt to that consistent play. If you watched the game last night, you would note that Orlando had a good number of open looks against Los Angeles and the players simply didn't knock them down.

 

Nevertheless, credit should go to the Lakers defensively for not letting the Magic execute some of the offensive sets (4-out/1-in, pick & roll variations, etc) people have grown accustomed to watching throughout the regular season and postseason.

 

But a little bit of the poor shooting can be referenced to the rest day efficiency stat.