Loss? What Loss? Lakers Still Ooze Confidence

Throughout the season, when fans were wailing, talk show hosts were calling for the apocalypse and media were pressing Lakers players about what happened in the latest loss (or blown lead where they hung on), the team always took things in stride. They were calm, confident and pointed to their record (65 wins) and place in the standings (first, always first). They had the demeanor of their coach.

So, it is no shock that after their first loss of this Finals — 108-104 in game three, cutting their lead to 2-1 — they were calm and confident.

And just like during the season, they have real reason to be — the Lakers just took Orlando’s best punch and still almost won. Orlando shot an NBA Finals record 62.5%, Kobe missed shots at the end and — gasp! — free throws and the Lakers could have stolen a game anyway.

“It was still a two point game, a one possession game at the end,” said backup point guard Jordan Farmar (who likely will see more minutes on Rafer Alston in game four). “It’s about continuing to do what we do.”

Phil Jackson said the same thing about the first half.

“I thought we controlled the tempo of the game, the way we wanted to play the game,” Jackson said,  “They were able to come up with some plays at the end of the half to take that lead, but we told the guys at halftime we're playing the way we want to play.”

Kobe Bryant echoed those same thoughts.

“Defensively some of the shots, (our) close outs were there, they just knocked them down,” Bryant said. “We ran them off the three point line, they converted inside the arc.”

We could play this same quote game for the entire Laker team. They were not shaken by the loss. They thought they played pretty well but lost to a team that played very well at home.

So while some in Los Angeles will be wailing and saying the team isn’t that good after all, the Lakers will go about their business. They know if they win just one of the three games in Orlando, this series is all but over. Which led to the other theme that came from every Laker player after the game.

“You've just got to bounce back and be ready to go,” said a scowling Kobe Bryant. “This one was a tough loss for us, and we feel like we can play much, much better.  So tomorrow just make the adjustments and get ready to go.”

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