NBA: Magic hands Lakers 2-0 lead
LOS ANGELES ó Lucky to have a second chance, the Los Angeles Lakers grabbed it.
Kobe Bryant and Co. held on and are in control of the NBA finals ó just barely.
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.
If Orlando doesn’t come back and win a game in the 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, but misfired.
“We missed it. I don’t know what else to say,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. “We executed well, Hedo made a great pass. I’m not trying to be a pain … Hedo (Turkoglu) 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 ó a lot of assignments ó and we still managed to get a win,” 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 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 ó 18 in the second quarter alone ó 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. Bryant attempted an off-balance 12-footer, but his shot was blocked from behind by Turkoglu with 1.8 seconds left.
But the officials huddled at the scorer’s table and decided to put 0.6 seconds back on the clock because Turkoglu grabbed the bal land called timeout.
Turkoglu couldn’t find anyone open and was forced to call a 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 7-foot Gasol closing in on him, Lee’s shot caromed off the backboard and front of the rim.