I've talked to a dozen experts in the last hour and there is nothing remotely close to a consensus about what's going to happen. On the one hand is the argument that Kobe Bryant's veteran poise will rule such a high-pressure game. On the other is the assertion that the Lakers have not really solved the Magic so much as dodged their bullets, and surely the Magic will be in full devil-may-care swashbuckling mode.
We'll see who's right.
Game time is 8 p.m. ET.
Henry Abbott Kobe starting to smile just a little. Hugs.
Henry Abbott If the Magic could end their little 3-point barrage, it would be much easier for the media to book their flights home.
Henry Abbott Second wave of Magic fans exiting.
Henry Abbott Kobe doubles Dwight, forcing pass out. Then sprints to far corner forcing a bad Lewis miss. Good help D.
Henry Abbott The first wave of Magic fans streaming for the exits. More than eight minutes left, but they don't want to see this.
Henry Abbott Thorpe on Nelson's 3: "These are called death spasms."
Henry Abbott RT @espndb Largest 4th qtr deficit overcome in Finals is 15 pts ('92 Bulls vs Blazers). @Lakers currently lead @Orlando_Magic by 15 pts.
Henry Abbott RT @espndb Bad news for @Orlando_Magic: @DwightHoward just picked up his 5th foul. Strangely, ORL is 3-1 in postseason when he fouls out.
Henry Abbott RT @RicBucher SVG to Hedo: "You've got to fight (Ariza) off. You're letting him body up on you."
Henry Abbott Looks like the Magic picked the wrong night to stop hitting 3s.
Henry Abbott Thorpe: Lakers are "bluing" every ball screen. Means 'Shard could get Fisher in the post, or Hedo could fight over. Hedo is not exploiting.
Henry Abbott @LostJello 21 points on 13 shots.
Henry Abbott Kobe has five assists, just one turnover, and four blocks.
Henry Abbott Wonder what it'll look like when the Lakers are pouring drinks on themselves? TrueHoop reader Noah found this: http://tinyurl.com/lo62vu
Henry Abbott @brianmccormick Guess I'd go into knitting or water-skiing or something.
Henry Abbott Big Lamar Odom 3. Was a five-point game, Magic fans tuned in again. But then it got quiet again.
Henry Abbott Two of twelve.
Henry Abbott Magic have made one of their 11 3-pointers.
Henry Abbott Thorpe: "Get in the post, Rashard. You've got Derek Fisher on you."
Henry Abbott You know how bartenders dip the glass in salt before pouring the margarita? 'Shard dips the ball down, in imaginary salt, before shooting.
Henry Abbott This is a tamer version of the half-time show, with mats. No mats today. http://bit.ly/Ky1cJ
Henry Abbott I left my laptop next to Kelly Dwyer for a few. Came back, and it said this in the Twitter window: "My word, Kelly Dwyer smells good."
Henry Abbott My word this half-time show is something wholly new and different. Honestly.
Henry Abbott Thorpe posits the Magic have not made an end-of-quarter shot all series.
Henry Abbott RT @RicBucher SVG as hot as I've seen him: "this group right here, you're not fighting now. You've got to f***ing fight!"
Henry Abbott Trevor Ariza is feasting on half-awake Hedo.
Henry Abbott Hedo looks spent.
Henry Abbott Laker fans filled the arena with a "Let's go Lakers" chant. Magic fans joined, saying "Magic" instead. Not enough, though, to convince.
Henry Abbott The Magic are facing a very dangerous moment. Last year about now, the Lakers gave up.
Henry Abbott Amazing how many Laker fans are in this arena. Honestly, I think it speaks to the economy a little: Magic fans outbid.
Henry Abbott @gabefarkas Agreed, that was the premise. If Kobe hits four straight contested jumpers, you praise the Orlando D, or change it?
Henry Abbott Stan Van Gundy shoved Hedo away from yelling at Trevor Ariza. Ariza stepped in, and Ariza and Van Gundy shoved each other a little.
Henry Abbott WOOOOOW. Kobe Bryant certainly is no quitter. Gutsy, headsy, killer drive.
Henry Abbott Kareem: @kaj33 I'm impressed with Magics determination while trailing 3-1
Henry Abbott Sasha Vujacic just had a basket withdrawn by a ref's whistle. Sucks for him -- would have been his first of the Finals.
Henry Abbott New Tweeter: @coachthorpe He's all talk about how he's going to kill it in Summer League.
Henry Abbott Mike Moreau says Pietrus now has the most obvious double dribble and the most obvious travel of the Finals. Neither were called.
Henry Abbott Pietrus is in the game, but Lee is still on Bryant.
Henry Abbott Dwight Howard is the only Magic starter without at least two field goals. He's one of four. Magic also haven't hit a 3 in five tries.
Henry Abbott @gabefarkas Get out of here with your neither. You're in the good D camp.
Henry Abbott Magic shooting 55% from the floor, Lakers 40%. Magic have more assists, steals, blocks and fouls. Lakers more rebounds.
Henry Abbott New stuff: Bynum averaging more than a shot a minute. Lee already has more minutes than all of game 4.
Henry Abbott Hoops strategy: Contested jumpers are lowest percentage shots in hoops. If teams make them, is that a sign of good D or bad D?
Henry Abbott Pinkie background: http://bit.ly/kjId0
Henry Abbott Looks like it's the pinkie, which has been messed up. Not sure if you're seeing that video, but it's a pure expression of pain.
bbott Rashard Lewis hit Kobe Bryant's hand hard. Thorpe just saw Laker trainer pull Kobe's finger back into place. That hurts.
Henry Abbott ESPN Stats and Analysis: In Game 4, Bryant missed 17 of 24 shots vs Pietrus. He missed just 3 of 7 shots vs other Magic defenders.
Henry Abbott Phil Jackson making fun of Assistant Brian Shaw's penmanship. Funny: http://tinyurl.com/nrlf2q
Henry Abbott Thorpe says Magic were "virtually unguardable in the first half on ball screens" last game. http://tinyurl.com/lopopr
Henry Abbott Liveblogging 2009 NBA Finals Game 5 - http://tinyurl.com/m9l7sr
Henry Abbott RT @RicBucher in huddle outside lockerroom: "Let's cap this the right way! Let's go get what's ours! What time is it?" Team: "Gametime!"