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In response to a post I made last week about equating Peitrus’ decision to wear Kobe’s shoes to the French surrendering, I think it’s only fair that he be acknowledged for his “Actually, screw that ‘surrender’ talk” performance as his 18 points and 3 steals helped the Orlando Magic stay within reach of the Los Angeles Lakers. On the offensive end, Pietrus was smooth and efficient, going 7-11 from the field. Take away his three three-point misses and Orlando’s version of the Kobe stopper was almost perfect from the inside the arc, going 7-8.

Oh, and he had the dunk (Goaltending?) of the night as well — one that was big enough to be acknowledged by his coach in the post-game press conference.

It was on the defensive end, however, where Pietrus very possibly saved the Magic’s Championship chances with a huge — and by “huge,” I mean “absolutely massive” — steal when Kobe Bryant tried to split a two-man trap of Pietrus and Dwight Howard. Not only did Pietrus (with some help from Howard) remove the ball from Bryant’s possession, he repeated the feat when Pau Gasol recovered the loose ball and tried to pass it back to Bryant.

Pietrus’ resulting two free throws helped Orlando ice the game, while keeping their NBA Finals hopes alive. Going forward, if the Magic want to tie this series, or *gasp*, perhaps even take a lead on Sunday, Pietrus is pretty much going to have to deliver this same kind of performance from this point forward. For all you Orlando fans — and fans of the “Beat LA” meme — you should really hope his “No surrender!!!” attitude remains.

One more thing about Mickael’s performance: I absolutely loved his little “imitation” of Kobe’s turnaround jump shot.