After the Magic set a Finals record by making 62.5 percent of their shots in Game 3, yet only won by four points, it's been tempting for Lakers fans to be dismissive. No way they'll stay that hot, right? When the Magic miss, they'll be finished. But it's not like Orlando's players were hitting a lot of crazy or contested shots, In fact, they made just five of 14 treys, far fewer than normal. What the Magic did was attack the basket and hit open midrange jumpers, going 35 for 50 from two-point range, or 70 percent. If the Lakers don't do a better job of cutting off penetration, rotating on double teams, defending the pick-and-roll and getting back in transition, the Magic may scorch the nets again in Game 4. VIDEO: Game 4 preview | Complete playoff coverage | Finals schedule | <a href="htt
Who will show up? Skip or Rafer?
After watching him go 3-for-17 in the first two games of the NBA Finals, Rafer Alston's coaches and teammates told him to be himself. That is, his old self, the cocky, flashy "Skip To My Lou" who was a streetball legend before transitioning to the NBA. Coaches have generally tried to repress that side of Alston, or at least rein it in, because he's been prone to turnovers and bad shots. But when Rafer wasn't getting it done, Skip was unleashed in Game 3, and, indeed, he started the game with a skip in his step. He ended it with 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting, four assists and three turnovers. Significantly, he attacked the basket rather than launching a bunch of threes, and that assertive mentality is something he needs no matter which persona he's inhabiting in Game 4. VIDEO: Game 4 preview | Complete playoff coverage | <a href="http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/94
Are the Lakers going to try to slow things down?
The Lakers have the athletes to run with anyone, but their biggest advantage over any opponent is their size and halfcourt execution. The Magic had success pushing the pace in Game 3, running even off L.A.'s made baskets. The Lakers struggled in defensive transition and occasionally rushed shots while playing at Orlando's tempo. When they've been patient, running the triangle offense and going to Pau Gasol (pictured, far right), they've been nearly unbeatable. Gasol has made at least half his shots in 10 straight playoff games, but he hasn't taken more than 14 shots in any of the past nine. With apologies to Keyshawn, give Pau the damn ball. VIDEO: Game 4 preview | Complete playoff coverage | Finals schedule | N
Can Dwight Howard keep dominating the glass?
The Lakers have largely frustrated Orlando's All-Star center on offense, limiting him to 11 field goals in three games. But Howard has managed to make a sizable impact in other ways by blocking shots (8), making steals (7), passing out of double teams and, most importantly, grabbing rebounds. With totals of 15, 16 and 14, Howard has been the game-high rebounder each time in this series. And while the Lakers won the battle of the boards in Game 1, the Magic have controlled the glass in the last two. In Game 3, in fact, Howard had five more rebounds than Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom combined. VIDEO: Game 4 preview | Complete playoff coverage | Finals schedule | NBA Playoff Central
Will Kobe have enough energy in the fourth quarter?
One reason the Magic knocked off the Cavaliers in the East finals was LeBron James' fatigue. Forced to carry his team throughout each game, LeBron often was operating on fumes in the fourth quarter. (Remember his cramping in Game 1?) The same thing happened to Kobe Bryant in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. With his teammates struggling, he scored 17 points in the first quarter but noticeably tired as the game went on, uncharacteristically missing five free throws and failing to make winning plays in crunch time. Orlando's physical defense and the quicker pace of play also may have worn him down. Kobe's generally at his best at the end of games, but only if he's able to conserve his strength and doesn't have to shoulder too much of the burden early on. VIDEO: Game 4 preview | Complete playoff coverage | Fina