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What They're Saying Before Game 2 Of The NBA Finals: Part I

  • Tickets to three Orlando games of NBA Finals sell out in an hour
  • Magic's Game 1 loss not a pretty picture

    George Diaz looks back at Game 1 of the NBA Finals for the Orlando Magic.

  • Length of Los Angeles Lakers' big men a large problem for Orlando Magic
    Heading into Game 2 on Sunday, the Magic — unlike in the Cleveland series — are the team that has to scramble to adjust.

    "I think their size — always a huge factor for them — and length bothered us, not only Dwight," Van Gundy said.

    "They deflected a lot of passes, and we threw passes off target. They contested shots at the rim. I thought all their big guys were all active, and that, combined with their size, made it very, very difficult for us."

    The Magic were out-rebounded by the Lakers 55-41 and were hammered in the points-in-the-paint department, 56-22.

    "We didn't make anywhere near a good enough effort on the glass to even say whether or not we can even rebound with them or not," Van Gundy said

    The matchup problem presents a challenge for Van Gundy.
  • Orlando has no Magic potion for cooling off Los Angeles Lakers' star Kobe Bryant

    Kyle Hightower notes that the Magic are trying to develop a gameplan to slow down Kobe Bryant in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

  • Magic Make No D efensive Adjustments in Game 1

    Coach Bruchu asserts that Orlando did not make any defensive adjustments in Game 1 and as a result, Kobe dropped 40 points. Bruchu breaks down the Magic's defensive strategy in that game with pictures & guesses what type of adjustments SVG will make in defending Bryant in Game 2.

    I think for Game 2, you'll see Stan Van Gundy go with more traps and double-teams on Kobe. The key will be how the weak side defenders zone up and close out on the other Laker players. That is what the Nuggets couldn't do, they doubled, but they couldn't properly defend on the weak-side, allowing players like Ariza and Odom to get off good shots.
  • Boxscore Breakdown: Finals, Game 1

    Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference examines Game 1 of the 'title bout' from a statistical perspective and the numbers aren't pretty, as expected.

    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.
  • Johnson Unhappy But Not Complaining

    Matt Steinmetz of NBA FanHouse gathers the thoughts of Anthony Johnson, who's been pushed back in the rotation with Jameer Nelson's return.

    "It's tough because I only missed two games during the regular season because of injury and just knowing I was going to get my number called every night, it felt good," Johnson said. "But now we're here competing for a championship, it's definitely tough. Making it to the Finals is a goal that you work for all year and then to play 95 percent of the way and not being able to finish the last five percent is difficult.

    "At the same time, this is no place to cause dissension. Jameer's been a great teammate since I've known him. All I can really do is support him and Rafer Alston and the rest of the guys and that we go out and get it done collectively as a team and win a championship."
  • Rafer Alston will continue to start for the Orlando Magic despite Jameer Nelson's return

    Chris Sheridan of reports that Rafer Alston will continue to start for the Magic, for now, and reveals Marcin Gortat and Dwight How ard may see time on the court together, according to Orlando head coach Stan Van Gundy.

    Van Gundy said he would alter his substitution patterns for Game 2, and -- in a shift from his statements of the previous night -- indicated that using a Twin Towers alignment of Dwight Howard at center and Marcin Gortat at power forward was an option if he feels the defensive boost wouldn't cause too many problems on the offensive end of the court.

    UPDATE: The Sentinel has some quotes from SVG on the subject.

    "We can't spread the floor out at all then. Maybe it's something we look at, but I don't know if it helps or hurts, to be honest," Van Gundy said. "It certainly would help defensively, but offensively ... we can look at some things in terms of just who plays. We'll at least have to look at.

    "Offensively it gets tough. We bring their big people into the lane even more. So it's sort of a Catch-22 there."
    UPDATE 2: Dwight Howard posts on his official blog, today.

    We watched the tape of Game 1 yesterday and we didn’t even look like the same Magic team that had been playing so well the last couple of weeks. I can’t really explain it, but we just didn’t have the energy that we needed to win this kind of game.

    We didn’t get loose balls, we didn’t rebound, we were late on our rotations and we just didn’t fight the way we should have. Our energy and effort just wasn’t there. We know how to play basketball an d it doesn’t matter who is playing against us. But as a team our effort wasn’t there. When we’re playing hard and aggressive, we can do a lot of different things.

    We have to want it in Game 2. For whatever reason, we didn’t play like we wanted to win. It’s fun being here, but as a team, we’re not happy just being in the Finals.

    We know what happened to the Lakers last year. A lot of their guys were just happy being in the Finals. We’re fighting for a championship here. I let the guys know last night that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Nothing is ever promised to anybody and we have to take advantage of this moment.

    I think we’ll play a lot better tomorrow night. We’ve seen the tapes of what went wrong, especially on defense and rebounding, and every body knows that we wi ll shoot the ball better. Kobe is going to make shots for them, but we have to close out harder to him and take away his rhythm shots.
  • Saturday Bullets
    UPDATE 3:
    The Magic's Adonal Foyle: "This team has a lot of qualities that I really like. One of them is that we are determined. We lose a game? The mood is OK, let's win the next one. We're stubborn, and I think that's wonderful."
    I spent a little time recently re-reading Phil Jackson's 1995 book "Sacred Hoops." Orlando nightspots, don't expect to see a lot of late night Laker action next week. Phil Jackson is wise to your ways. Jackson says his first real tirade as a Bulls coach -- he kicked a soda can which shocked the players -- came after his Bulls had been partying too much in Orlando. "The players had been hanging out in Florida all week, chasing women and partying every night. I was angry because we had blown a 17-point lead, and it was clear that the players' extracurricular activities were sapping their energy."
  • Orlando Magic vs. Los Angeles Lakers scouting report, Game 2
    UPDATE 4: Mike Moreau and David Thorpe, both of Scouts Inc., provide their scounting report for Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
    The Magic have had their Finals baptism. Now that they have experienced all the hype that comes with the Finals, expect them to bring the same grit that they displayed as one of the best road teams in the NBA during the regular season. They have already won in Staples this year, they have won a Game 7 in Boston, and they have taken down the team with the league's best record. That's the team that must show up in Game 2.

    The Lakers' swarming defense must be even more active, and L.A. has to get contributions from everyone on the offensive end. Expect Game 2 to be physical and hard-fought and come down to some key fourth-quarter possessions.

    Thorpe: Magic win Game 2

    Moreau: Lakers win Game 2
    UPDATE 5: Chris Webber gives Dwight Howard words of encouragement before Game 1. Click on the link to check out the video.
  • Game 2 is all about adjustments
    UPDATE 6: Sean Deveney of The Baseline lists the adjustments the Lakers are anticipating to see from the Magic in Game 2 ...

    Magic's Lewis Talks About Coping with His Daughter's Illness
    UPDATE 7: ... and also speaks with Rashard Lewis about dealing with the illness of his 1-year old daughter during the regular season.

  • Life as a dominant big man can be a lonely one
    UPDATE 8: Johnny Ludden of Yahoo! Sports gathers the insight from Hall of Famer and Lakers all-time great, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, about the current landscape for centers in the NBA and what it means for them.
  • GM Smith defends use of Nelson
    UPDATE 9: Brian Schmitz reports that GM Otis Smith remains confident that activating and playing Jameer in the NBA Finals was the right decision.
    "I consider the chemistry question in everything that I do. So it’s not necessarily just this," Smith said. "I consider it in everything that I do. You take a chance knowing that it will have some effect on [chemistry]. But you’re in the NBA Finals. And last I checked we’re going to do everything we can to win it."

    He said he wasn’t overly concerned about Nelson aggravating his shoulder.

    "I don’t think his shoulder has anything to do with it," Smith said. "I think it’s more of his endurance, his conditioning and all of that. I think the longer the series goes, the better he will start to feel…It would have to be something really, really freaky to aggravate it."

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