Commentary

Magic backcourt off the mark

The play of Orlando's guards in the NBA Finals could cost it a championship

Originally Published: June 8, 2009
By John Hollinger | ESPN.com
Rafer Alston and Mickael PietrusAllen Einstein/Getty ImagesRafer Alston and Mickael Pietrus were a combined 2-for-11 from the floor in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

LOS ANGELES -- It was the defining play of the game, and it may go down as the defining play of the Finals: The Orlando Magic designed a perfect play for Courtney Lee to get a game-winning layup at the buzzer ... and Lee missed it.

It's par for the course for these Finals so far. Through two games, the one constant has been the inability of Orlando's guards to make shots, and it appears it may cost them a championship.

Orlando's five guards -- Lee, Rafer Alston, Jameer Nelson, J.J. Redick and Mickael Pietrus -- shot only 6-for-26 from the floor on Sunday, including 1-for-12 in their alleged specialty of 3-point shooting. This was the same group that went 14-for-43 in Game 1's blowout defeat; in total, the five players who manned the two guard spots head home to Orlando shooting a composite 29 percent for the series.

"We missed it. I don't know what else to say," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said of the final play in regulation on Sunday. "We executed well, Hedo [Turkoglu] made a great pass ... and he just missed it."

Lee scored only one basket on the night and is now 4-for-13 in the series, but he has plenty of company. Everywhere Van Gundy has turned, he has been rebuffed. And in Game 2, he turned a lot of different places.