Lakers Crush Magic in NBA Finals Opener

Bryant dominates as Lakers overpower misfiring Magic
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2009 1:23 AM CDT
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) reacts during the second half of Game 1 of the NBA basketball finals against the Orlando Magic in Los Angeles last night.   (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – An unstoppable Kobe Bryant powered the Los Angeles Lakers to a 100-75 win over the Orlando Magic in Game 1 of the NBA Finals last night, the Houston Chronicle reports. Bryant started slow but turned a 5-point deficit into a 26-point lead after taking control, finishing the game with a Finals career-high 40 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists.

The Magic, boosted by the return of Jameer Nelson, started strong but soon began misfiring. Orlando's leading regular season and playoff scorer, Dwight Howard, nailed only 11 points. "We've got a long way to go to get back into this thing," Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy said after the game. "We've got to play a lot better."