Lakers 101 Magic 96 (OT)
LOS ANGELES — Orlando rookie Courtney Lee missed a potential winning layup as regulation ended, giving Los Angeles another shot it didn’t waste. Pau Gasol scored seven points in overtime as the Lakers, so dominant in the series opener, survived with a 101-96 win over the Magic in Game 2 on Sunday night.
“There is a sense of relief because they played very well,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “There’s no doubt they had every opportunity or chance to win.”
If Orlando doesn’t come back and win this series, Lee’s miss may go down as one of the biggest gaffes in finals history. He had a chance to give the Magic its first finals win.
“We missed it. I don’t know what else to say,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said.
“We executed well, Hedo (Turkoglu) made a great pass. I’m not trying to be a pain . . . Hedo made a great pass and he just missed it.”
Orlando may not get a better shot to beat the Lakers.
“We blew a lot of assignments tonight — a lot of assignments — and we still managed to get a win,” Kobe Bryant said.
When it was finally over, Derek Fisher and the Lakers jogged to the locker room, smiling and high-fiving fans along the way.
Turkoglu trudged through the tunnel dejected, a towel hanging from his head.
Bryant scored 29 points, Gasol added 24 and 10 rebounds and Lamar Odom 19 points for the Lakers, who won Game 1 by 25 but needed 53 minutes to put away the Magic.
Rashard Lewis scored 34 — 18 in the second quarter alone — and Dwight Howard had 17 points and 16 rebounds for Orlando.
Game 3 is Tuesday night at Orlando’s Amway Arena, which will be hosting a finals game for the first time since June 9, 1995.
With the score tied at 88-88 in regulation, Lee missed the first of two late-game shots when he drove the lane and missed a contested layup with 10.5 seconds remaining.
The Lakers called time with 9.1 seconds to play, and after Odom caught the inbounds pass, he quickly gave it to Bryant, who drove into a crowd. Bryant attempted an off-balance 12-footer, but his shot was blocked from behind by Turkoglu with 1.8 seconds left.
The horn sounded, the clock expired to zeros and Jack Nicholson and the star-studded Staples Center crowd braced for overtime.
But the officials huddled at the scorer’s table and decided to put 0.6 seconds back on the clock because Turkoglu grabbed the ball and called timeout.
Turkoglu couldn’t find anyone open on the inbounds and was forced to call another timeout. On the Magic’s second attempt, Lee got free on a perfectly executed play and caught Turkoglu’s long lob pass as he neared the left side of the basket.
But with seven-foot Gasol closing in on him, Lee’s shot caromed off the backboard and front of the rim.
Howard dunked in the miss as Lee put his hands behind his head in disbelief and began a long walk back to the bench as his teammates tried to console him.
So close. So far.
Now, in a season of comebacks, they’ll need their biggest one.