Inside the Lakers' locker room: confidence at a premium, even after tough loss
Written by Woody Wommack on .
It was an interesting scene inside the Lakers' locker room following Game 3 on Tuesday night. As expected, the media hoard almost doubled in size for the third straight series, and even resulted into a South American soccer type situation as everyone tried to shove into the door at the same time. Once we all made it inside, it was the usual suspects providing post-game commentary, and unlike the Cleveland series, I actually believed what the Lakers players were saying after the game. "This is a confident team," Lakers forward Trevor Ariza said. "I think they gave us their best shot and we only lost by four." That last sentence by Ariza struck me as shockingly accurate. After all, the Magic shot an NBA-record 62.5 percent from the field, including 75 percent in the first half, and if it weren't for two free throws by Rashard Lewis the final deficit would have been just two points. On the other hand, a win is a win, but I almost feel like the Lakers gained confidence from losing. "You are talking to a confident group," Lakers forward Lamar Odom said. "We played everything to win this year and we are gong to lose some. Tonight we got out-played for a long period of time. If that game had two more minutes on the clock, it could have gone either way. We have to play a lot better." While the impressive offensive numbers from the Magic seem to jump off the page, the Lakers also did a great job on the offensive end - primarily of poor Orlando defense. L.A. shot 51.8 percent from the field, a number that is usually enough to earn a victory. If Orlando is going to even the series, defense - rather than great shooting - will be the deciding factor in Game 4. "The bad thing is we shot 62.5 percent and almost lost the game," Magic point guard Rafer Alston said. "We've got to find a way to defend these guys."