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6.12 The Cooler

Game 4: Derek Fisher plays Sniper, Lakers on brink of championship

By 06.12.09
Kobe and Fish (photo. Orlando Sentinel)

Kobe and Fish (photo. Orlando Sentinel)

About an hour before the Lakers and Magic tipped off Game 4, Dime reader “SparkyJ23” wrote us: “The Lakers have to win tonight or it all goes tits up for ’em.” Not quite sure what that means, but by the end of last night’s overtime nail-biter, Derek Fisher made sure everybody’s tits were where they should be. And when Orlando looks back at the 99-91 loss, there are a handful of sequences that will bug them all summer long. The Magic were up 12 at halftime and, bottom line, were busting L.A.’s ass like they were Tim Donaghy‘s cellmate. Rafer “Heat Check” Alston was sticking pull-up jumpers early in the shot clock and off-balance floaters he had no business taking, Hedo Turkoglu was throwing in his own patented bad/good shots, Dwight Howard was an absolute animal — he pulled down 11 boards and had three blocks in the game’s first nine minutes and might have literally eaten Andrew Bynum alive — and even J.J. Redick was having Duke flashbacks. It got so bad for the Lakers that Phil Jackson put Luke Walton and DJ Mbenga on the court in the first quarter just to get any kind of spark he could … But in the third quarter, when the Magic could have put the nail in the coffin and cruised to a blowout, they choked. Trevor Ariza got hot, scoring 13 in the quarter, and Orlando couldn’t stop turning the ball over. They lost all their momentum and offensive flow, and went into the fourth quarter trailing by four … Orlando regained the lead midway through the fourth when Mickael Pietrus got a layup plus-one — a surprise considering he’s missed like eight layups in this series — and Hedo later hit a ballsy trey (with the Jordan/Dirk tongue wag), and then a floater in the lane (Mark Jackson: “He’s showing off his DIAMONDS!”) to put them up five. After a Pau Gasol dunk, Dwight ended up at the line with 11 seconds left and a chance to put Orlando up by five. He bricked both shots, and when the Lakers broke Orlando’s press, Fisher (12 pts, 2 stls) stepped into a three in Jameer Nelson‘s mug to tie with four seconds left. Orlando ran a horrible play at the end of regulation where Pietrus had a clear lane and could have either scored or drawn Kobe away from Dwight (16 pts, 21 rebs, 9 blks) and hit Howard with a lob, but he pulled up to miss a jumper. … Rashard Lewis opened overtime with an impossible three, but Kobe responded with two jumpers to put L.A. on top. Dwight blew another chance for the lead when he split a pair of FT’s, and Fisher broke the tie by icing another three off a Kobe assist — after Kobe clobbered Jameer with an elbow, no whistle. Hedo (25 pts) missed an ill-advised three on the other end, leading to a breakaway dunk for Gasol (16 pts, 10 rebs), after which he chest-bumped a teammate so hard that he fell into Dwight and gave him one of those “I’m sorry” hugs. In the final seconds, Gasol put the icing on with another breakaway dunk despite Pietrus blatantly clubbing him in the back. Gasol bucked up, dropping some MF-bombs, while Pietrus looked like he said something about a “boyfriend” … Between the third-quarter collapse, Dwight’s missed free throws, Pietrus’ bad decision-making, and Jameer’s failure to step up on Fisher on that three in regulation, Orlando has a lot to kick themselves over. They easily coudl have been tied 2-2 right now; instead they’re facing elimination …

21 boards, 9 blocks, not enough

21 boards, 9 blocks, not enough

Obviously Kobe (31 pts, 11-31 FG, 7 rebs, 8 asts) gets a ton of superstar calls nine nights out of 10, but he had a legit gripe last night about the no-calls. Kobe took a lot of non-whistled contact going to the rack; the kind of contact D-Wade was getting free throws for every time in the ’06 Finals. In fact, L.A. didn’t take a single free throw for all of the fourth quarter and about 4:55 of overtime … Dime’s Aron Phillips is in France with the 2K Sports All-American high school squad (including Tristan Thompson, Josh Selby and Jared Sullinger), where Game 4 aired at 3 a.m. And of course AP stayed up to watch it. Here’s his pre-game e-mail: “Watching the game on Canal+ on this tiny TV in my hotel room in Douai. While I don’t know for sure, I suspect all the guys are doing the same. The two French commentators are ridiculous! Their pre-game interview (on the court no less) was with Florent Pietrus.” That’s Mickael’s brother, a pro ballplayer in Spain … Stan Van Gundy will have to answer the Jameer/Rafer question again. He played Skip for 27 minutes, Jameer for 25, and Skip was nowhere to be seen in crunch time. Jameer made some good plays, but he also was terrible during that third quarter where L.A. made its big comeback, and he blew the defensive assignment on Fisher … Celebrity roll call included D-Wade, Chris Tucker (Mike Breen had no idea that saying, “He’s a HUGE basketball fan!” has multiple meanings with Smokey), Rihanna and Tiger Woods. Somebody told us Chris Brown was at the game, too, but ABC must have given him the O.J. treatment. Forget all that, though: Who was the dude in the white-and-blue checkerboard zoot suit? That was crazy … Mid-game e-mail from Dime reader Michael: “10.6 left in the 4th and did you see that hot ass drunk [chick] fall behind Van Gundy?” Then there was this unedited clearly drunken e-mail from reader Lenny: “steve-o full-body-waxed looks like carlos arroyo, whereas ned bigby (gotta google) looks like harry potter i mean ricky rubio!” OK. Send us what you see at … One time when Kobe and Rashard were fighting for high post position when Mark Jackson said, “Let the big men battle!” Cool, except Kobe is a guard and Rashard is the skinniest power forward the League has seen since Keon ClarkJeff Van Gundy on how the Lakers feed off Kobe: “They play with his guts!” Wasn’t that a scene in Devil’s Advocate? … We’re out like Skip …

Top photo: Orlando Sentinel


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