LOS ANGELES - Lucky to have a second chance, the Los Angeles Lakers grabbed it.
Kobe Bryant and Co. held on and are in control of the NBA finals - just barely.
Orlando rookie Courtney Lee missed a potential winning layup as regulation ended, giving Los Angeles another shot it didn't waste. Pau Gasol scored seven points in overtime as the Lakers, so dominant in the series opener, survived with a 101-96 win over the Magic in Game 2 last night.
"There is a sense of relief because they played very well," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "There's no doubt they had every opportunity or chance to win."
If Orlando doesn't come back and win this series, Lee's miss may go down as one of the biggest gaffes in finals history. He had a chance to give the Magic its first finals win.
"We missed it. I don't know what else to say," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "We executed well, Hedo [Turkoglu] made a great pass. I'm not trying to be a pain. ... Hedo made a great pass and he just missed it."
Orlando may not get a better shot to beat the Lakers.
"We blew a lot of assignments tonight - a lot of assignments - and we still managed to get a win," Bryant said.
When it was finally over, Derek Fisher and the Lakers jogged to the locker room, smiling and high-fiving fans along the way.
Turkoglu trudged through the tunnel dejected, a towel hanging from his head.
Bryant scored 29 points, Gasol added 24 and 10 rebounds, and Lamar Odom totaled 19 points for the Lakers, who won Game 1 by 25 but needed 53 minutes to put away the Magic.
Rashard Lewis scored 34 - 18 in the second quarter alone - and Dwight Howard had 17 points and 16 rebounds for Orlando. Orlando's Jameer Nelson had four points in 16 minutes, 40 seconds of playing time off the bench.
Game 3 is tomorrow night at Orlando's Amway Arena.
With the score tied at 88-88 in regulation, Lee missed the first of two late-game shots when he drove the lane and missed a contested layup with 10.5 seconds remaining.
The Lakers called time with 9.1 seconds to play, and after Odom caught the inbounds pass, he quickly gave it to Bryant, who drove into a crowd. Bryant attempted an off-balance 12-footer, but his shot was blocked.
Lakers 101 Magic 96
Lakers lead series, 2-0.
Game 3: Tomorrow in Orlando, 9 p.m.