ORLANDO, Fla. - Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson delayed watching the entire tape of Game 3 of the NBA Finals, preferring a few hours of sleep over reliving the misery of Tuesday night.
When his players watched the film yesterday morning, something about the 108-104 loss to the Orlando Magic immediately jumped out at them: a series of defensive lapses, mostly minor, some larger, but all correctable for tonight's Game 4.
"There were some little things defensively, which every time you watch film, even when you win, there's just always some things you see that you can do better," guard Derek Fisher said.
"So there were just small things . . . a rotation off here or there, defensively letting guys get back to the middle when we try to keep everything out of the middle," he said.
The Lakers started to slip on the defensive end in the second half of Game 2, then played some of the worst defense in NBA Finals history Tuesday night. They still lead the series, two games to one.
Orlando shot 75 percent in the first half and 63 percent for the game, both Finals records.
All-stars Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis each scored 21 points and Hedo Turkoglu had 18, but Jackson seemed more concerned with the way the Lakers covered Rafer Alston and Mickael Pietrus, who had struggled in the first two games. Alston finished with 20 points and Pietrus with 18.
"We have to defend those guys," Jackson said. "I thought that we were playing a little bit lax."
The Lakers seemed to have solved Orlando's offense through the first six quarters of the series. The Magic shot just 30 percent while dropping Game 1 by 25 points, and scored only 35 points on 32 percent shooting in the first half of Game 2.