Courtney Lee and His ‘Nick Anderson Moment’

by June 08, 2009

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.