Game 2 Rewind

Game 2 Rewind

Game 2 Rewind
By Brian Edwards

Los Angeles took a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals by beating Orlando 101-96 in overtime Sunday night at Staples Center. The Magic nearly pulled the upset at the end of regulation, but rookie guard Courtney Lee couldn’t finish a perfectly-thrown lob pass from Hedo Turkoglu off an in-bounds play from half-court with 0.6 seconds left.

Turkoglu, who was brilliant in the second half, had given Orlando a chance by swatting away Kobe Bryant’s potential game-winning attempt moments before at the other end. Prior to Turkogu’s block, Lee had missed a runner in the lane with 9.1 ticks remaining.

The Magic covered the number as a seven-point underdog. Even though the game went to overtime, the 197 combined points stayed ‘under’ the 202-point total.
   
The Lakers led by a 40-35 count at intermission, hooking up their backers for first-half wagers as four-point favorites at most books. The 75 first-half points easily fell ‘under’ the 101-point tally.

In the second half, oddsmakers made the Lakers 2 ½-point ‘chalk,’ equating to a 7 ½-point spread. Therefore, Orlando hooked up its backers for second-half bets. The total (100, equating to 175) went ‘over’ in the second half and did so in regulation.

Rashard Lewis kept Stan Van Gundy’s team in the game in the second quarter, scoring 18 of the team’s 20 points. He was sensational all night, scoring a game-high 34 points, including a crucial 3-pointer late in overtime that was probably the difference in the Magic taking the cash.

For the winners, Kobe Bryant had a team-high 29 points. He also had eight assists and seven turnovers. Pau Gasol came up big with 24 points and 10 rebounds, while Lamar Odom finished with 19 points and eight boards on 8-of-9 shooting from the field.

Turkoglu had 22 points and Dwight Howard became the first player in NBA Finals history to produce 17 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, four steals and four blocked shots. However, Howard committed seven of his team’s 20 turnovers and squandered a number of scoring opportunities with tentative moves in the lane.

Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened Orlando as a four-point favorite for Tuesday’s Game 3 at Amway Arena. The total was 198 ½ on the send-out. As of early Monday morning, most spots had the Magic at 3 ½ with a total of 199 ½. The Lakers are plus-145 on the money line (risk $100 to win $145).

ABC will have Tuesday’s telecast at 8:05 p.m. Eastern.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--Gamblers backing the ‘over’ for Howard’s rebounds (15) cashed tickets when he pulled down 16 boards. He had 11 at halftime.

--Kobe was in vintage clown mode throughout much of Game 2. When he made a terrible decision and threw the ball out of bounds early in the fourth quarter, he immediately showed up his teammate, Shannon Brown. When Bryant made a spin move off his defender and went up, Brown wisely cut to the basket to hit the offensive boards. While in mid-air, Bryant inexplicably opted to throw the ball to the corner and out of bounds. First of all, Bryant was obviously at fault on the play. Secondly, with Brown playing extremely limited minutes, why would you want to throw the ball to him for a perimeter shot when he hasn’t taken a shot all night? Nevertheless, Bryant adamantly gestured to Brown that he – not Kobe – was mistaken and should have stayed in the corner to set up for a trey. Say what? Memo to Kobe: It’s ok to accept blame for a bad play. You don’t have to incorrectly throw your teammate under the bus like a chump.

--Mickael Pietrus was limited to 21 minutes of playing time and just two points and two rebounds. His fifth and sixth fouls in the fourth quarter against Bryant were clearly phantom calls, as replays pointed out.

--Seriously, how many bail-out calls to Bryant get in Game 2? Five? Six?

--Bryant’s scoring total for prop bets was 31 ½, so gamblers going with the ‘under’ cashed tickets.

--Some books had a prop for first points scored in the game. Although Lee was the goat at crunch time, he hooked up bettors with a plus-800 payout for getting the game’s first bucket (paid $800 on $100 bets).

--Orlando has lost all six of its games in NBA Finals history. Lee's misses had to evoke memories of Nick Anderson's missed free throws against the Rockets in the 1995 Finals.

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