June 14 - ARMWAY ARENA - ORLANDO.. The Lakers returned to the top of the NBA world with a 99-86 victory over the Orlando Magic on game 5 of the 2009 NBA Finals.
It's the 15th championship for the Lakers franchise, the fourth for Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher. It is also the fourth for Phil Jackson as Laker coach and his 10th overall to break a tie with legendary Red Auerbach as the winningest coach in NBA history.
Kobe Bryant, the leader of this championship team, ended the game with 30 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks, got a well deserved Finals MVP award and finally got rid of the shadow of Shaquille O'Neal.
This time, instead of sharing the team with big figure like Shaq, Kobe was surrounded by many talented and determined players, starting with Pau Gasol who turned out to be the complement Kobe was needing and continuing with Lamar Odom, Trevor Ariza and Derek Fisher. And game 5 was the perfect end for a great season, with the Lakers being the excellent defensive team they can be when they are in the mood, moving the ball to involve everybody and giving all they had for 48 minutes, decided to return to L.A. with the NBA trophy.
The Magic, trying to become the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the finals, started the game with an early 15-6 lead but confronted with their inability of making their 3-pointers and L.A.'s defensive pressure they collapsed as soon as the second quarter when the Lakers, who were trailing 40-36 started a 16-0 run that was the beginning of the end for the Orlando's season. Ariza scored 7 of his 15 points in that run, Derek Fisher 5 of his 15 and the Lakers went to the halftime rest up by ten, 56-46.
And things only got worst for Orlando. With Pau Gasol dominating the paint (he ended with 14 points, 15 rebounds and 4 blocked shots) Dwight Howard got his 5th foul with 1:14 left in a third period where the Lakers led by as much as 16. In the fourth and despite having thing under control the Lakers never dropped their guard and didn't give Orlando a chance. Lamar Odom contributed 17 points and 10 rebounds to L.A.'s balanced offense while the Magic once again struggle with one of their specialities making only 8 of their 3-point attempts (.296). Rashard Lewis led them with 18 points but was 3-for-12 from beyond the 3-point line