It's almost pure shock and amazement that the NBA Finals presently see the Los Angeles Lakers sitting with a 3-1 lead. The Lakers have not earned these wins so much as benefitted from the Orlando Magic throwing away sure victories.
The end of the game collapse has now become the trademark of the Magic in this series, evident once again last night by not putting away the Lakers away in any of the opportunities presented in the dying moments of regulation. This allowed LA the shot to tie the game up, and to eventually beat Orlando in Overtime.
In many ways the Orlando Magic should have a 3-1 lead, they have been the better team. This series really is nothing short of shock and amazement to date. And to all who predicted the Magic up 3-1 I'm sorry for your disappointment all...well, I'm sure I can count the lot of your on both my hands (both my hands at most).
This Lakers team will be remembered for being the one where Kobe Bryant finally earned his ring without Shaq, and give him credit Bryant has put in some great performances (second half of Game 3 aside), so it is not like he's undeserving of the cresit. It will also focus on Phil Jackson emerging from his critics who claim coaching the greatest (Michael Jordan) and one of the greatest player tandems (Kobe and Shaquille O'Neal) is not that difficult. However while it likely will never effect them one has to wonder if there is any feeling of unease knowing how lucky they are to be ahead in a series where they've let the other team take control as of the second onwards.
It would be foolish to discount the Magic to make a run and force this to Game 7, they've proven they can play with LA. It would likely also be foolish to say they couldn't do that and win it all in the end, they have shown they deserve to be here. That series win over LeBron James and the Cavaliers was clearly no fluke, they are giving the Lakers more than they can handle just with unfortunate stumbles along the way that have kept them short of success.
However the mood that surrounded the Magic after Game 4 makes it seem that even this team, a team that could very well take this one to the limit, can't quite recover from the latest blow. It is too bad that this Orlando team is much better than they will ever be remembered for in Finals history. More likely than not when remembered it will be for allowing Kobe to win his solidifying ring, followed up by being the team with meltdowns throughout the whole series.
My suggestion basketball fans is to tune in for Game 5, it will take a lot for the Magic to summon up the strength to win on the road after that crushing defeat this may be the last basketball to come for some time. It's setting up for a night of mixed emotions, the shock and awe of the Finals being that the better team let this one go, and that the better team was the one nobody ever expected outside the boundaries of Disney World.