Tuesday, June 14, 2011
On This Day, June 14th: Farewell To The Finals
Yes, this is another one of those sad days for Orlando Magic fans across the globe. Starting with our first NBA Finals trip ending in a sweep to the back-to-back champion Houston Rockets. At least they didn't hoist the trophy on our home court.
After the Game 1 collapse, Brian Hill's squad just couldn't get a grasp of how to be competitive in the series. Rudy Tomjanovich was too good of a coach for B-Hill's staff. I guess the youth of a 6-year-old franchise finally had caught up to the roster as well. The team didn't quit on the road though, even to the bitter end of the Game 4.
Those "sweep" chants and Hakeem Olajuwon's 3-pointer didn't help the situation. Still, Magic fans and the team itself had to have been optimistic for the future. Oh what could have been.
Game 5. This season stings double. First obvious reason is that it occurred on our home court. We were hoping that the series would at least be extended to a Game 6 back in Los Angeles. But, the Amway Arena faithful had to swallow the pain of seeing the Lakers lift the Larry O'Brian Trophy in our town. The other reason is that this could easily have been Orlando up 3-1 with a chance to lift the trophy in front of its fans.
Other than Game 1, this was a very tight series where Orlando let Game 2 and Game 4 slip away in overtime defeats. That 16-0 L.A. second quarter runwas just too much to overcome. It would be the Lakers' 15th championship, Kobe's 4th ring and first without Shaq, as well as Phil Jackson's 10th as a Head Coach. I always say there's some form of luck involved in a matchup of two very close teams that separate the two.
Let's hope we don't have to wait another 14 years to get to that 3rd Finals. If you do get there, hope that the third time really is the charm. I'll say this, the images of guys like Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson's reactions of anguish will be imprinted in my mind forever.