By virtue of their win this year and loss in the previous year, this marked tenth occurrence that the winners of the NBA Finals were losers in the preceding year's Finals, previously the Detroit Pistons had lost and won the Finals in 1988 and 1989 respectively. In Game 6, Howard's stellar performance with 40 points and 14 rebounds helped the franchise earn its second Finals appearance (they were swept by the Houston Rockets in the 1995 Finals during Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway era). Head coach Phil Jackson captured his 10th NBA championship as a coach, surpassing Red Auerbach for most championships all-time by an NBA coach. As you will see in this list, the Magic haven’t been involved in many big-time superstar blockbuster trades.

It was a sleepy game on the West Coast, and the Magic were considered fringe Eastern Conference contenders at the time, behind star-stacked teams in Boston and Cleveland. The next day it was revealed that arthroscopic surgery would be required to repair the injury.
The Lakers were the favorite to emerge from the Western Conference, but their road to the Finals was a tough one.

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In the second round, the Magic overcome a 3-2 series deficit to beat Boston. ), In the conference finals, of course, they faced LeBron, who averaged 38.5 points a game, eight rebounds, and eight assists. Needing just one free-throw to make the game a 2-possession affair, Howard missed both shots.

Content ©2020 The Ringer All Rights Reserved, The 2009 Orlando Magic Are the Forgotten Innovators of the NBA’s 3-Point Revolution. Both regular-season games and three of the NBA Finals games were close contests, decided by six points or fewer or in overtime. The Lakers won Game 2 on June 7 101–96 in overtime. Dwight Howard set an NBA Finals single-game record with 9 blocked shots in Game 4. With a chance to take a 2–0 series lead, Kobe Bryant was blocked on a jumper by Türkoğlu, who gained control of the ball and called time-out with 0.6 seconds left. Then they won Game 4 on June 11 in overtime as well. However, replay showed that his foot was on the line, giving the Magic a 2-point lead. Having achieved three Game 1 victories throughout the postseason (first round vs. Utah, conference finals vs. Denver, and NBA Finals vs. Orlando), Phil Jackson-coached teams were now 44–0 in series where they win the first game, later improved to 48-0 by the time Jackson retired after the 2011 NBA Playoffs.

Kobe Bryant averaged 32.4 points and 7.4 assists in this series, which was the best combination of those categories since Jerry West averaged 37.9 points and 7.4 assists (1969).

However, despite the incredible shooting percentage, the Lakers managed to stay close for much of the game.

Lue and another backup point guard, Anthony Johnson were the only players on Orlando's roster with NBA finals experience.

With the game tied at 84, Rashard Lewis hit a jumper with 1:32 remaining to give the Magic a 2-point lead.

It’s been a dizzying decade of basketball since.

Leading by as much as 18 in the half, Los Angeles led by 15 going into the 4th quarter. Van Gundy regrets not drawing up a defense in which the defender of the inbounds pass ran to James.

With 31 seconds left, Kobe Bryant passed out of a double-team with the controversy of no called on Jameer Nelson after being knocked out by Kobe Bryant. However, coming back from a lengthy absence, his presence didn’t provide much of a positive impact for Orlando. Think of a higher-level Clint Capela playing with the Rockets.”, Adonal Foyle, the 2009 Magic’s reserve center, said the team’s reliance on the 3 was a function of running the offense through a big man as dominant as Howard. “You either had to give Dwight room to operate in the paint, or we were going to have opportunities for open 3s.”. The Magic double-teamed Bryant in the backcourt, allowing him to pass the ball up to Ariza, who in turned passed it to Derek Fisher on the right wing.

3 overall pick Penny Hardaway and two future first-round picks from the Golden State Warriors. Lewis later became a key piece in Orlando’s Finals run in 2009. They probably could have made more, but with the game firmly in hand, players like Tony Battie began chucking attempts simply to see whether they could make one.

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However, neither saw playing time during the series, as Lue was inactive with an injury and Johnson lost his minutes to teammate Jameer Nelson, who returned from a shoulder injury in time for the Finals, where he led the Magic to sweep the Lakers in regular season.