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Magic look to bounce back (again) from buzzer-beater


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#1 Makaveli

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Posted May 23, 2009 - 08:52 PM

ORLANDO -- It's happened too many times before. The Orlando Magic want to make sure it doesn't happen again.


On Friday, LeBron James' miracle rainbow 3-pointer that gave the Cleveland Cavaliers a 96-95 win in Game 3 was the fourth buzzer-beater to punch the Magic in their collective gut this postseason.

"What's up with us losing all of these buzzer-beaters?" Dwight Howard wrote on his blog Saturday morning. "I mean, dang, Philly got us twice in the first round, Big Baby hit that crazy jumper from the wing against Boston and now this from LeBron?

"I guess when you think about it, we won a couple of games at the end with Turk in Philly and Rashard here in Game 1."

That level of perspective from Howard may be the biggest difference between the Magic teams of the past and the one that takes a 1-1 series tie into Game 3 Sunday at Amway Arena in Orlando (8 p.m. ET, TNT). While previous Magic teams would have had a "woe is we" type of attitude after tough losses, this edition uses each one of these tough defeats as learning experience.

Even coach Stan Van Gundy knows what the Magic will do differently. Just don't expect to hear it from him.

"No, not going to get into it," Van Gundy said. "It may come up again, so we are not getting into that."

One NBA scout thinks he knows what Orlando will do differently next time.

"The guy taking the ball out of bounds is not a threat," the scout said, "not with one second. You can't catch, throw it back and have him get a shot off in one second. What the Magic will do is they'll deny the basket cut, like Turkoglu did last night, and then they'll make a second guy force James away from the basket and deny him the pass.

"There's probably a handful of guys in the NBA who can do what LeBron did last night -- Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade. Maybe Ray Allen. That's about it."

Turkoglu defended the play perfectly, but Orlando had no one to take away the entry pass. Forward Rashard Lewis played off the Cavs' Mo Williams, who inbounded the ball, and was guarding any cut to the elbow on the short side.

Van Gundy took the blame for poor Xs and Os. He also took the blame after the Game 4 loss to the Boston Celtics. Van Gundy can fall on the dagger James unsheathed on Friday all he wants, but he's forgetting the bromide he's provided all postseason long: Great players make great shots.

Lewis made a great shot in Game 1, and in Game 2, LeBron made a hell of a shot, a shot that won't haunt the Magic as much as it will be a constant annoying reminder.

"Now, you have to watch that shot over and over again on the TV and there's no getting away from it," Howard wrote. "But we've got to bounce back from this, and I know we will because we've done that all season."

More specifically, it's what they've done this postseason.

In Game 1 against the Sixers, Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala hit a game-winner after Orlando squandered an 18-point lead with 13 minutes to go. The Magic won Game 2 by nine.

After losing Game 3 against Philly on a late runner by Thaddeus Young, the Magic found themselves down 2-1. They won the next three games to take the series, including Game 6 without a suspended Dwight Howard.

The situation looked even more dire in their conference semifinals series against the defending champion Celtics. After Davis' stunning game-winner in Game 4, the Magic blew another double-digit fourth-quarter lead in Game 5 in Boston.

But again, Orlando bounced back by closing out that series with two wins, including a Game 7 in Boston and by winning Game 1 against the Cavs on Lewis' 3-pointer.

That improbable conclusion came after the Magic had to show as much resiliency in a game as they had all season. The Magic found themselves down 15 at the half in one of the more daunting places to play. And of course, they wouldn't be the Magic if they didn't find themselves down by as many 23 in Game 2, only to have a 95-93 lead with one second to go in the game.


Orlando realizes it needs to stop digging gigantic holes in the first 12 to 18 minutes of the game.

"We have to learn to match their intensity and match their energy at the beginning of the game and play 48 minutes," Lewis said. "Both games we've only played in the second half."

And still, they have taken home-court advantage away from the Cavs. Now, the Magic want to use Amway Arena as a springboard to squelch any momentum Cleveland may have gained from James' shot.

"We've come to their home court and we got a win," Magic guard Courtney Lee said. "It's good for them to get that win. That's what they're supposed to do, protect home court.

"But we're going back to Orlando and we have two games there. The two times we met in the regular season we took care of home court."


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#2 kb24_lakers

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Posted May 23, 2009 - 09:18 PM

well they already went thru it like 4 times in the playoffs
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#3 last stand 2.0

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Posted May 23, 2009 - 09:30 PM

they are the most resiliant team in the NBA they will be fine
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