The Lakers lead 53-43 at the half and look to be in control. Orlando has shown the ability to rally from big deficits, so this one isn’t over. Here is what I noticed in the first half:
– The biggest difference between Kobe and LeBron was very evident in the first half. Kobe’s mid-range jumper makes it tough for Mickael Pietrus to sag off him like he did against Bron. The result: 18 points and six assists.
– Jameer Nelson looked good early in the second quarter in his return to action, but I thought the Magic looked out of sync late in the quarter. He got a lot of praise for playing well from Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy. What you can’t ignore is Orlando was +2 when Alston was in the game and -12 with Nelson in the lineup. His return could throw the Magic out of whack.
– Derek Fisher and Andrew Bynum played well in the first half. Fisher quietly scored nine points, most of which came against Nelson.
– Rashard Lewis is struggling to get open looks against Lamar Odom, who has the quickness to stay with Lewis on the perimeter.
– In the always exciting world of NBA shoes, Dwight Howard is boycotting black shoes and sticking with his blue and white kicks.
– The NBA Finals logo looks even bigger than last year. Courtney Lee’s NBA Finals logo on his headband is absurd.
– Speaking of absurd, the sound on ABC’s broadcast has been messed up for at least a half an hour. I wonder if the problem will be corrected in the second half.
– Still waiting for an MVP puppets commercial – the LeBron puppet must be on vacation.
Stay tuned for postgame reaction and highlights.