Monday, June 8, 2009

Orlando's Worse Nightmare: Nick Anderson or Courtney Lee?

Last night, the Orlando Magic lost their sixth straight NBA Finals game ... and they've only played six in their history. The sixth one is about as heartbreaking as the first one. With the game on the line late, the Orlando Magic clutched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Last night with 0.5 seconds left in regulation of a tie game, Courtney Lee caught an alley-oop on an inbounds pass and missed the layup. The game would go into overtime where the Lakers would end up winning.

In Game 1 of the 1995 Finals, Nick Anderson toed the line with a three point lead and would miss four straight free throws. Four. The Rockets' Kenny Smith would dump a three-pointer to tie the game. It went to overtime where Houston would go on to win.

So which was more heartbreaking? That's easy.

You can debate which shot was tougher ... a wide open layup or free throws. To me, it is the layup. I've never seen Lee make that play all season long (I've seen Dwight Howard do it) and with 0.5 seconds left, Lee had no time for any adjustment. That was his only shot.

Anderson had four shots. If he hit any of them, Orlando would have won that game and who knows what would happen after that? Anderson shot that shot 266 times during the 1994-1995 regular and post season. He had four chances at a 10-foot shot with no one guarding him and making whatever adjustments he needed.

It is no solace, however. Lee must now know what Anderson felt like.

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