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Nba Finals

Magic still can't point to a victory

Lewis and Turkoglu find their shooting eye after a poor Game 1, but

June 08, 2009|Kyle Hightower

During the Eastern Conference finals it all worked for the Orlando Magic.

Good half-court defense produced transition offense that, combined with crisp ball movement, equaled open shots and points.

And more times than not in that series, it was forwards Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu who were picking apart Cleveland with their barrage of three-pointers.

But in Orlando's Game 1 loss in the NBA Finals, that stream of points was reduced to barely a trickle.

Lewis and Turkoglu combined to shoot just five for 21, while as a team the Magic's 29% was the second-lowest field-goal percentage in a Finals game since 1967.

With two days to turn the page heading into Game 2 Sunday night, finding a quick answer was clearly Orlando's top priority.

It did, but it still wasn't quite enough to get the Magic out of Staples Center with a victory, falling, 101-96, in overtime.

A rocky first quarter Sunday resembled Game 1.

But then the Magic's forwards started to come alive.

Lewis had 17 points in the second quarter and finished regulation with 31. Turkoglu had a big second half and ended regulation with 22 points.

One of the remedies Coach Stan Van Gundy was looking at entering Game 2 and for the rest of the series was to make sure Lewis' looks were varied.

Lewis tried right from the tip to do that Sunday but was called for a foul one minute into the game as he tried to get post position on Pau Gasol. He stuck with it, though, and got Lamar Odom in foul trouble.

"Rashard was very active away from the ball moving around," Van Gundy said. "We moved him into some different spots on Dwight's [Howard] post-ups and pick-and-rolls. . . . They lost track of him a little bit."

But in overtime, Lewis managed only three points and Turkoglu was scoreless.

Lewis was able to pick and choose what he did last round against Cleveland opposite Anderson Varajao, whom he could drive on, back down and get separation on to get off his jumper.

Turkoglu had LeBron James on him last series, but with James often pulled away to help on other players, he was able to capitalize on his share of open looks.

Neither has it that easy against the Lakers' longer and quicker front court of Gasol, Trevor Ariza and Odom off the bench in Game 1.

Thanks to some better ball movement, though, they were able to open things up with the pick and roll and in transition.

They also took advantage of Lakers center Andrew Bynum's foul trouble, which forced Gasol to guard Howard. Lewis was able to drive more to set up his shot.

Turkoglu's improvements were overshadowed somewhat, however.

"Hedo made some nice plays on pick-and-rolls, which was good, but he had the five turnovers," Van Gundy said.


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