If the NBA Finals are to be the spectacle that NBA fans, including myself, would like for them to be, then the Orlando Magic are going to have to hit their jump shots. It sounds simple enough, but in game one they shot just 29.9 percent from the field and as a result lost by 25 points to the L.A. Lakers.

It was not as if they just had a bad shooting night, but the Lakers seemed to step up their defense to the point that Orlando had to take bad shots. Part of the reason was that the Lakers shut down Orlando’s All-Star center Dwight Howard (12 points, including just 1-6 from the field), which resulted in the outside shots not being as open as they were in the Cleveland series.

One positive thing Howard did do was rebound the ball well, as he usually does. However, besides Howard’s 15 rebounds the rest of the team managed just 26. The Lakers finished the game with 55 team rebounds; 14 more than Orlando.

This has got to change for Orlando to have a chance to get back in the series.

To remedy the bad shooting, the Magic have to be able to get the ball inside to Howard and let him go to work. As Howard gets going it should open things up for the outside jumper from the likes of Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis. The two combined for just 21 points on 5-21 shooting in game one.

Another thing that hurt the Magic in game one was the disappearance of Rafer Alston, who had been hot coming into the series. Alston came into the finals averaging 12 points and four assists a game. In game one against L.A., he had just six points and one assist. Part of the reason for the slip was the return of Jameer Nelson, who got 23 minutes in game one. The fact that Alston brought his lack of playing time up in an interview with ESPN probably shows that there is a bit of a chemistry issue in the locker room.

One thing is certain; if Orlando does not get better play from one of them at the point guard position it will be a quick series. Coach Stan Van Gundy has to find a way to work Nelson into the rotation without disrupting the success the Magic had in the earlier rounds of the playoffs. This task may prove to be impossible.

As bad as the Magic played in game one, the Lakers looked nearly as good and impossible to beat. It is hard to imagine that L.A. can keep up the defensive intensity they had in game one for the rest of series. Once they have a bit of a let up, Orlando will quickly get back in the series.

Though they got demolished in the first game, I think the Magic will still make this a series and go at least six, if not seven games, with the Lakers.

The things I saw in this team when they ran Lebron and the Cavaliers off the floor are too much for me to forget about with one bad game.

Plus, Orlando did win both regular season games against the Lakers, which is a feat that was accomplished by just one other team, the Charlotte Bobcats. So they obviously know what they need to do to win, they just have to go out and do it.

The bottom line is that the Magic will come back, but will go down in L.A. in the seventh game.


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