Monday, June 8th, 2009 at 1:25 pm  |  58 responses

Courtney Lee and His ‘Nick Anderson Moment’

by Marcel Mutoni

Lee’s miss at the end of regulation, though certainly heartbreaking for the Magic and their fans, was not the reason the Magic are now staring down a daunting 0-2 hole in the NBA Finals.

But don’t let that stop sportswriters from trying to paint him as the ultimate goat, and gleefully digging up the corpse of one Nick Anderson and his blunders in the Finals over a decade ago.

Several outlets brought it up, but we’ll place special focus on the Tampa Tribune:

He missed the shot and that was that. You only get so many opportunities like this. The Magic had their chance and couldn’t capitalize. After five minutes of overtime, the Lakers had a 101-96 victory and a 2-0 stranglehold on this series. Since 1985, when the NBA went to a 2-3-2 format for the Finals, teams with a 2-0 lead have won 11 of 12 times.

The timing was eerie, too. It was 14 years to the day that Orlando’s Nick Anderson missed four free throws late in the opening game of the Finals against Houston. The Magic lost 120-118 and went on to be swept. Lee’s miss could soon rival Anderson’s on the Orlando misery meter because this game – and perhaps the series – was there to be had.

I wonder what other devastating moment from the not-too recent past Lee’s other crucial miss in the fourth quarter (the blown floater on a broken play) reminded sportswriters of?

I overheard Rashard Lewis — playing the role of leader in the dejected Orlando locker room following Game 2 — saying some encouraging words to his teammate. He unfortunately forgot to add that Courtney should also avoid reading most newspapers and sports websites today.

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  • Khalid Salaam

    anybody who thinks that Lee’s shot last night equates to nick anderson missing 4 straight free throws has a vagina. for real.

  • jay

    whats wrong with having a vagina Kha??? this time u did’nt even slyly(?) mention “not that there’s anything wrong with it”. dont upset your female fans mister.

  • Statik

    cosign Khalid…obviously that applies to guys, unless you like that sort of thing

  • niQ

    i still think dwight should have tried tipping in. Even if he was being defended at the jump, a foul would have (or should have) been called.

  • Statik

    Having what seems like an eternity to collect yourself and hit free throws is in no way comparable to coming off a screen just right, timing a jump in the air to meet the ball, knowing theres only enuff time to do little more than tip the ball in, while seeing defenders coming at you out the corner of your eye…why are these sportswriters such effin idiots, especially when it comes to comparisons that aren’t even close?

  • Jackie Moon

    That was not as bad as missing four free throws. It was a tough shot, tough angle, catching it in the air. Not the same as standing fifteen fit from the rim, no one guarding you.

  • Jackie Moon

    The conversion is one fit = one foot

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Nick Anderson only had 0.6 seconds to take his free throws with a seven footer contesting them? Golly, thats hard.

  • http://www.myspace.com/linkstigatorkevin Kevin Wilson

    I’m totally with Khalid on this one. Nick Anderson had four chances, in front of a home crowd, to hit a free throw. And then Orlando had to defend the 3-point line. Courtney Lee missing on an off-balance alley-oop that should have been for Howard (except L.A. actually scouts their opponents) aren’t even close.

  • http:///www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    I hope Ryan Jones does all the stories for next year’s finals, to hold the status quo of reporters with an acting interest.

  • Tommy Patron

    Lee makes that with a slightly better pass.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/users/42594-Hoops4life- Overtime

    A rookie comes this close to closeing out a game 2 they had no business being involved in and he becomes a scapegoat? Very clever.

  • Teddy-the-Bar


  • WhaHuh

    can you say exaggeration?

  • http://myspace.com/mavus15 Mavus

    This wasn’t Nick Anderson.. John Starks missed 3s.. none of that. They had a whole overtime to get that game, and they blew it. And I still don’t understand why they didn’t run the play for one of their big 3.. that’s crazy…..

  • http://blogs.myspace.com/originadro Witness

    ily courtney lee :]


  • Sparker

    first the swine flu. now vaginitis.

  • bike

    I can’t believe they keep referring to the miss as a layup. A layup? More like an off-balance alley oop contested by a talented 7-footer. Cut the guy some slack…

  • ka

    i know they were tough shots but still…two opportunities. he was THIS close. TWICE.

  • TexMex0

    That shot was tuff for Courtney, he’s no Kobe or Dwight and didn’t have much time in the air to tip it in the right way. I’m sure if Pietrus had been on the court at that very moment, if he hadn’t been called for his fifth imaginary foul, he would have made the same play as Courtney ( the play was designed for the shooting guard to cut to the basket, either Pietrus or Courtney, no difference for me, except for the conclusion) and would have hit it.
    But i’m french so Pietrus is my man in this Finals, and with a lot of “if”, you can rebuild the whole world…

  • underdog

    Lee got all my respect for playing in crounch time in the Finals as a rookie. Plus, the Master of Panic gave him heavy minutes, while names like Skip and Jameer are sitting on the bench. I hope he won’t play his entire career in that mask though, like Rip.

  • TexMex0

    It was hard for SVG to decide which guard to put on the court, Rafer wasn’t on fire… ( wide open airball…), Jameer’s just back from injury and has trouble getting back his 3pt range, i think he would rather have on the court than the rookie Lee…

  • nate the great

    I agree, Courtney lee did good in my eyes. im not a fan at blaming one person on a team. they all had part in lossing. like JJ redick missing his first fight shots, hedo shoving his defender to get a gay call. turnovers late in the game. missing easy freethrows.
    it all has a part in the Loss. but Lee did good. im not going to blame him.

  • nate the great

    and i think they are comparing the magic heart break with anderson and lee. not the shot, just lossing late in the game. lee missed 2 shots, and 4 points, and anderson missed 4 freethrows, = to 4 points.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    What Khalid said.

  • http://sdfjklf.com Jukai

    Is there anyone who DISAGREES that people should give Courtney Lee some damn credit for even being close to getting that tough-ass tip in?

  • kobesbestfriend

    who cares?did any1 really think the sorry magic stood a chance of beating the best player in the world?i mean its not like they r playing that loser queen james!its kobe bean bryant suckas!!!

  • Mike

    Kobesbestfriend your my kind of guy. No Homo. And to Jukai I disagree to hell with his effort, Game 3 next!!!

  • Ro

    Perhaps if Orlando hadn’t turned the ball over so damn much it wouldn’t have
    Made a difference. Seriously, you can’t have that many lazy turnovers against a team like the lakers.

  • http://Didyouknowthelakerssigntherefschecks?.com nbk

    hey kobes best friend where did the nickname kobe “bean” bryant come from? if your his best friend…… its not kobe orlando can’t beat, its Phil.

  • foolio_iglesias

    C’mon,dude had like,no margin for error ,he almost had it,I also think he was caught off guard that he caught KOBE off guard….

  • http://www.galatasaray.org madamerica

    It’s hard to blame the rookie for costing Orlando the game, but let’s face it. Lee will not make (or miss) a bigger shot in his life. Correct me if I’m wrong, but since Jordan, there’s been only one game winning shot in the NBA Finals: Horry’s 3 in Game 5, 2005. Lee had a great chance to make one of the biggest plays in NBA history, and he blew it.

  • http://www.galatasaray.org madamerica

    And the pass by Hedo was perfect, Lee didn’t even need to reach for the ball, it caught him in stride.


    That was actually jus terrible the freakin rim was rite there he deserves all the criticism he gets

  • kidcatastrophe

    Thanks, kobesbestfriend for giving the rest of us rational and logical Kobe fans a bad name. I’m a huge Lakers fan, and I’ve gotta give credit to Courtney Lee for this one. It gave me chills to think we could be heading to Florida tied at 1. Yeesh.

    Oh, and Bean is Kobe’s middle name. Not his nickname.

    P.S. Let’s go, Lakers!

  • http://slamonline.com blaze

    I have always been a laker-hater. But like it or not, the magic will be lucky to win a game. they just dont have the experience or killer instinct to win this series, only eastern teams that would have had a chance are the cavs or a healthy boston.

  • bren

    yea, dwight could have been up there to try tip it in. Reshard Lewis carried that team last night with a little help from hedo. By the way WHATS UP WITH PIETRUS?

  • bren

    Yea lee should have put that in but he’s a rookie and this is Orlando we’re talking about they’ll craw themselves out of the hole. Just cut the guy some slack. every one misses a shot once and a while.

  • pollyserial

    Any of you guys co-signing Khalid (and esp. Khalid): good luck with your gay lifestyle, cuz you’re sure not going to be getting with any ladies with that attitude. and to the mods: nice. i’m out, for good.

  • http://www.myspace.com/weezyleezy337 Weezy F. Leezy

    yo y’all trippin. why u guys defending courtney lee when this dude jus caked the two biggest layups of his life??? he is not clutch..

    no really…u guys are all missing the point..he choked just like nick anderson..i like the comparison even tho yea..it was tougher..so what..he caked 2 layups!

  • http://www.myspace.com/weezyleezy337 Weezy F. Leezy

    i say again..why yall defending him now??? feelin bad for the kid? lol they coulda won!!

  • Diane

    Of course this wouldn’t even be a discussion if the Magic had made their free-throws and cut down the turnovers. That alone GAVE the Lakers 28 points. It’s not Courtney’s fault the Magic lost and it’s foul that Van Gundy and other critics are calling him out. Missed free-throws and turnovers killed their chances. It’s that simple. Period.

  • http://mynameinblue.blogspot.com Hisham

    Weezy F. Leezy has a vagina


    I’m sorry 4 the guy, because he’s getting all the blame now but apart from Lewis, Hedo & the coach, the whole other Magic are 2 blame 4 the loss, they had chances 2 close early b4, but the polack big man and Jameer missed 4 free trows early in the game plus all of Dwight turnovers, Mike getting fouled out…
    but it’s clear that the guy missed his momentum 2 enter the legend of the nba finals, 2 bad but not much of a big deal

  • larrylegend

    it broke my heart when nick missed 4 in a row…and he never recovered from that for his whole career. when you think of nick, you only remind the 4 misses, not the great game-winning steal against mj. damn. still nick is one of my favourites.

  • vanya

    give this guy a break! Courtney Lee is a rookie, psychologically so strong – I hope this doesn’t fcuk him up (I don’t believe it will), because he is such a mature player at this point already. Already against Boston and especially against Cavs he showed he’s a clutch player – hitting 3pointers in a situation when missing a shot could mean “a point of no return” for the Magic. It is no coincidence that Van Gundy picked Lee to make that final shot – because he has the mental stability to make it. It just didn’t go this time…
    I’m simply impressed by this rookie, his maturity, his defense…he is on the start of a beautiful career.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    Bah. Courtney Lee’s missed layups are the least of their concerns. At least he’s getting to the rim, unlike JJ Redick who slow mo drives with zero to-the-rim intent.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    @Weezy: How about Kobe’s umpteen missed 3 pointers against Utah a decade ago? “He is not clutch”.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    @Weezy: How about Kobe’s umpteen airballs a decade ago against Utah? “He is not clutch”, you say?

  • JoeMaMa

    Is no one talking about how Kobe got blocked by Hedo on what everyone thought was the game deciding shot?
    Blocked. By Hedo.
    So if you’re going to castigate Lee for missing a fading, quick release tip (didn’t Duncan miss one in Game 5 of the series against the Pistons? Greatest PF ever), do the same to Kobe for getting stuffed. That’s basketball. People miss.

  • jdubbs29

    1. Kobe held him on the way to the hoop
    2. Gasol did a great job of recovering and contesting the shot
    3. Lee threw it higher off the backboard than he normally would because of Gasol.
    4. If Lee had layed it up at the normal level, the refs would have had to call goaltending on Gasol since his hand was through the basket.

    5. The play was a brilliant call and a couple of unlucky breaks for the Magic.

    6. I’m going to the game tonight in Orlando and will report back.

  • http://www.myspace.com/weezyleezy337 Weezy F. Leezy

    @joel….no those 3 pointers were not clutch! and neither was courtney lee…but u can defend him all u want.

    @hisham…see the difference between u an me is i get vagina..and i dont think u do lol

  • Bruno, RJ

    its just dumb and stupid to compare this to the 4 FT missed by anderson.
    that would go well in a magazine for ppl that doesn’t live for basketball, as I assume most of us do.
    guy had .6 on the clock, gasol coming towards him to block it… he is a rookie AND, press is saying the pass was that good, but it wasn’t.
    he was already under the backboard and had to adjust it mid-air and fast, worried by the clock.
    tough, tough play.

  • http://www.myspace.com/weezyleezy337 Weezy F. Leezy

    tru dat bruno the pass was tuff for him to finish it

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    He’s a ROOKIE for heaven’s sakes. Don’t you guys have better things to do than to make yourselves feel good inside by killing him so prematurely? Keep your bloody daggers.

  • Jay-G

    Nick Anderson moment? Really? Do people realize that C Lee didn’t get his hands on the ball until he was under the backboard? It was a great effort for him to even get a shot up.

  • JoeMaMa

    End of Game 3: Kobe had his “Michael Jordan gets stripped by Nick Anderson” moment.

  • Chad Nothe

    Nick Anderson I can’t believe you threw him under the bus. THey had Penny and Shaq an still got swept so his free throws didn’t matter much