ORLANDO -- It's hard to know which was more unlikely: a team shooting 75 percent for a half during an NBA Finals game (as Orlando did in the first half of Game 3, setting an NBA record) or that in doing so, that team could only be up five points (as the Magic were, clinging to a 59-54 lead at intermission). It was also hard to tell: Was this a good sign for Orlando (it was shooting the lights out, after all)? Or a bad omen (because if you can't pull away from the Lakers while hitting three of every four shots, it doesn't bode well for your chances of ever doing so)?
In the end, perhaps it was a bit of both. The Magic players finally found their shooting range, without which their four-out, one-in offense becomes little more than an NBA version of a pickup game down at the Y, with everyone taking a turn chucking a brick from the outside (hey, look, I can miss that shot too!). Surely, this shooting revival had nothing to do with the Magic being back home. Just as no doubt it's mere coincidence that during the conference finals and Finals,
On the other hand, if you're the Lakers and you know you nearly beat a team that shot 62.5 percent for the game, you have to feel pretty confident about your chances in Games 4 and 5. As
It's part of what makes shooting such a tricky art. If you want to see an impressive display of perimeter marksmanship, show up an an hour and a half early to a Magic game some time and watch
Compare that to
That's because those guys -- Lewis and Miller -- believe they are going to make the shot. When Redick gets the ball out there, I'm not sure he really thinks he's going to make it. Same goes for Alston and, on the Lakers,
It's part what makes the Finals so fascinating to watch: seeing who wants that shot and who starts to dread it. It is said that pure shooters are born, not made. In the postseason, however, anyone can be one for a game. Or, as the Magic are hoping with Alston and