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Clank goes the Magic's NBA title hopes

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard

The NBA Finals are all but over after the Los Angeles Lakers rallied to beat the bumbling Orlando Magic, 99-91, in overtime in Game 4. The Lakers lead the best-of-seven series 3-1, and to win the series the Magic would need to win three in a row, including Games 6 and 7 on the road, highly unlikely.

The Magic lost for a simple reason: they couldn't make free throws. They missed 15, including seven in the fourth quarter. The worst offender was Dwight Howard, who missed eight free throws himself and clanked two with 11.1 seconds left and the Magic up by three; if he hits one of those, the series is tied. On the flip side, Derek Fisher of the Lakers hit two clutch 3-pointers to lift the Lakers.

I am always amazed how poorly many NBA players shoot free throws -- they should be almost automatic, standing 15 feet from the basket with no defender in your face. But pressure gets to the best of athletes.