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Attention, does anyone know the Heimlich Maneuver?

The undefended, consecutive bricks by Dwight Howard with 11 seconds remaining are going to be the ones that every person talks about on Friday morning; and possibly for days to come. However, it must be noted that they were not the lone reason for Orlando’s failure to keep victory in its grasp. In fact they were far from it.

The entire Magic team shot a deplorable 59.5% from the line. Hedo Turkoglu, one of the NBA’s “premier” shooters missed three in a row with five minutes remaining.

Had Turkoglu and Howard made anywhere near a decent percentage of their free throws, the game would have been decided in 48 minutes. Derek Fisher’s heave would have been three moot points on the scoreboard as opposed to the equalizer and eventual wrecking ball.

The awful display from the line overshadowed a record breaking night by Howard. He blocked a new NBA Finals record 9 shots while scoring 16 points and grabbing 21 rebounds. There were clear shades of Bill Russell– except for when he stepped up to the charity stripe.

“I’ve been working on my free throws. They just weren’t falling tonight. There’s no need to get down on myself. I think I did a lot of good things tonight, just my free throws weren’t there,” said Howard.

Well, at least he isn’t getting too down on himself. Don’t worry Dwight, the morning papers and talk shows will do that plenty.

Also to be noted is the fact that Howard, Turkoglu, and Mickael Pietrus combined to shoot all but three of Orlando’s free throw attempts.  Rashard Lewis, a shining star in the Game 3 victory, did not shoot one. He was passive and went largely unnoticed. His absence was painfully obvious. In Lewis’ 45 minutes of play, the Magic were -13. They were +7 with Tony Battie on the court. Absolutely ridiculous.

Orlando is clearly the inferior team at this juncture. Dwight Howard is a freak and will be a legend some day; just not today. His team is incapable of taking a game that is handed to them and does not have a chance to win unless they shoot an astronomical percentage from the field (see Game 3 stat sheet). Before tonight I was pulling for them. Their performance, however, convinced me that the Lakers are entirely deserving of the title. Congrats Kobe.

And for the record, J.J. Redick knows how to shoot free throws. He was 1 for 1 Thursday night. Maybe his teammates should grab a pen and paper.

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