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Home magic as Orlando bids to defy odds again

THE Orlando Magic have defied the odds throughout the postseason and have every intention of doing it one more time in the National Basketball Association finals.

Orlando defeated defending champion Boston and Eastern Conference favorite Cleveland during the playoffs despite lacking the coveted home-court advantage.

Trailing 0-2 in the finals after losing their first two games away to Los Angeles, the Magic face an even tougher task to reel in the Lakers, but can breathe new life into their sagging campaign with a win in Game 3 at home today.

"The bottom line is we knew we were going to have to win here in LA in this series, just like we had to in the Boston and Cleveland series," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said after the Lakers beat the Magic 101-96 in overtime on Sunday.

"From a mental standpoint it was a little easier in those series because we won Game 1. Bottom line is we came here for two games and we didn't get the job done.

"Now we have to go home and have a great Game 3."

Only three teams have recovered from an 0-2 deficit to win the NBA finals, but the last time was only three years ago when Miami won four straight after losing its first two to Dallas.

A win today would at least guarantee the Magic two more chances to rebound against Los Angeles, with Game 4 and Game 5 also to be held in Orlando.

Magic guard J.J. Reddick said: "We can't rely on the crowd, we can't rely on the notion that we're going home so we're going to get Game 3.

"Let's be honest, the Lakers are going to be better, they're going to make improvements, they're going to make adjustments, so we've got to be even better just to be in the game."

Orlando forward Rashard Lewis said being down in the playoffs is just another day at the office. "This is nothing new for us. The next game is very important. It's a must-win. You definitely don't want to dig a three-game hole for yourselves."


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