Sunday, June 14, 2009
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ORLANDO, Fla. - Like any couple, they've had their fair share of ups and downs. They've feuded publicly and fought privately. They separated for a year and reunited with an understanding that it was best for both of their careers. They've grown older together.
Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson have endured.
Bonded by basketball, the superstar and his contemplative coach are on the cusp of another NBA title.
For Bryant, No. 4.
For Jackson, No. 10 - and one for the record books.
Today, the Los Angeles Lakers, seeking their 15th championship and first since 2002, will try to put away the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of a finals in which every game but the opener has been decided by one or two key plays in the closing seconds.
After a day to decompress following L.A.'s 99-91 overtime win in Game 4, both teams practiced Saturday at Amway Arena, which because of the 2-3-2 format, will be hosting its final game of the season. The Magic, who have been written off several times in these playoffs, have faith that they can become the first team in finals history to overcome a 3-1 deficit.
The first 29 failed.
'We know what's ahead of us,' said Orlando's Dwight Howard, whose frightful free-throw shooting (6-of-14) in Game 4 hurt the Magic. 'We know what's been said and the situation that we're in. We won't stop believing.'