Only three teams have ever come back from an 0-2 deficit to win the NBA Finals. In 1969, Boston rallied to beat the Lakers and in 1977, Portland rallied to to beat Philadelphia. In 2006, the Miami Heat was down 0-2 before coming back to beat Dallas.
Derek Fisher came up big late in the game tonight, especially with a steal he got against J.J. Redick with 1:56 left in overtime.
He drove the lane with 5:27 left in regulation, split two defenders and made a layup to tie the game at 77. He had the assist on Pau Gasol’s layup that tied the score at 88 with 33 seconds left and insured the Lakers would get to overtime. There was the Redick steal and the ensuing free throws. And then with 26 seconds left, Fisher caught the inbounds pass and brought the ball up the floor and got it to Lamar Odom, who was fouled and made two free throws in the bonus situation.
Tiger Woods is always spotted at Orlando Magic games, but he grew up a Lakers fan in Cypress. So whose his pick? He’s on the fence. Here’s what he said in his newsletter that just came out today:
“I’m really torn about the NBA finals,” Woods wrote. “I grew up a die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan but have season tickets to Orlando Magic games. Hopefully, it will be a great series.”
Here’s a followup of Jerry West’s reaction to the reaction of his Kobe-LeBron comments in an interview I had with Jerry West today.
Chauncey Billups was off to a good start by making all three of his shots and scoring nine points. Kobe Bryant took just two shots. The physical play that has defined the series has marked this game, too. Denver outrebounded the Lakes, 14-9.
Lakers 25, Nuggets 25
The Lakers bench was solid as it made 5 of 12 shots. Bryant took just two shots again. Carmelo Anthony scored 10 points, but the Nuggets had just two offensive rebounds. Sasha Vujacic made a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left to tie the game.
Lakers 56, Nuggets 56
Shannon Brown made two consecutive baskets, including an unbelievable one-handed dunk over Chris Anderson. Lamar Odom, who played extensively at point guard, followed the dunk with a 3-pointer. The Nuggets squandered a six-point lead. Pau Gasol took and made just one shot.
Lakers 76, Nuggets 76
The Lakers dunked over the Nuggets at will and won the physical battle. Kobe Bryant was whacked in the face by Carmelo Anthony, then calmly made both free throws. The Nuggets made just four field goals in this span.
Lakers 103, Nuggets 94
Odom had a double-double with 19 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and four blocks. Odom was in a groove. The highlight of the night was Odom’s dunk over Chris Anderson to give the Lakers an 81-76 lead. Odom even showed his versatility by playing a little point guard in the second half.
The Nuggets coach said before Wednesday’s game that it’s difficult for the team that loses Game 5 to overcome it. Asked what his team would think if they lost and heard he said that, Karl stammered that his players don’t know what he says in the pre-game chats. Hellllo, George! There’s this thing called the Internet.
The number of shots Kobe Bryant took in the first half. Bryant had two in the first quarter and two in the second. This was a good thing in that the bench was more involved and made 5 of 12 shots in the second quarter. And Bryant did his thing in the third quarter, making two shots in the first three minutes.
“Somewhere over the last six weeks, we’ve become the bad boys of the NBA … I think we want to play aggressive basketball. What was Phil’s term? Unsportsmanlike? I don’t think we’re unsportsmanlike.”
– Nuggets coach George Karl on the physical nature of his team
The Lakers were down by seven points midway through the fourth quarter, but Kobe Bryant took over the game. Bryant scored 18 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter. He made all nine of his free throw attempts, including six in the final 30 seconds. He also had the rebound on a missed free throw in the game’s waning seconds.
Trevor Ariza had the play of the night. The Lakers were nursing a two-point lead with 30 seconds left, and Phil Jackson put Ariza back in the game for his defense. Great call. Ariza stepped in front of Chauncey Billups and stole Anthony Carter’s inbounds pass. On that possession, Kobe Bryant was fouled and made both of his free throws with 10 seconds left to give the Lakers a 103-99 lead.
The quarter started with Kobe Bryant missing a long-range jumper and Andrew Bynum fouling Anthony (for his fourth foul). It didn’t get much better as the Lakers had embarrassing miscues with 8-second and 3-second violations and were booed during a turnover-happy stretch.
Nuggets lead 76-74