If you’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it a hundred times. A team is protecting a 3-point lead with time running down in a crucial NBA game. Despite the situation, the team trailing finds a way to get an open look and nails the shot.

Van Gundy and the Magic gave Fisher the chance to be a hero. He gladly took it.

Van Gundy and the Magic gave Fisher the chance to be a hero. He gladly took it.

Look no farther than Game 4 of the Bulls/Celtics series. The Bulls were up 96-93 with 10 seconds left in regulation when Ray Allen cans a 3 to send the game into OT. Later in that same game, the Celtics are up 110-107 in OT and Ben Gordon buries a 3 with 6 seconds left to send the game into Double OT.

In Game 6 of that series, the Bulls led 118-115 in double OT. With 7 seconds left Allen drained a 3 to force Triple OT.

Boston coach Doc Rivers finally learned his lesson. Protecting a 3-point lead against the Magic with 6 seconds left in Game 5, Rivers didn’t allow the Magic to tie things up. The Celtics fouled Dwight Howard with 5 seconds remaining, made it a free throw shooting contest, and held on for the win.

Stan Van Gundy should’ve taken notes.

With 10 seconds left in Game 4 against the Lakers, the Magic led by 3. Everything was on the line. The Magic had a chance to tie the series at 2-2 and put all the pressure on the Lakers.

Van Gundy opted not to use the foul technique and prevent the equalizer. The rest is history. Fisher hits a 3, sends the game to OT, Lakers win, thanks for playing Magic.

Van Gundy’s errors go far beyond not opting to foul the Lakers. The Lakers inbounded at 3/4 court and Kobe Bryant received the pass near the far baseline. For some reason the Magic double-teamed him about 90 feet from the basket, instantly creating a 4-on-3 when he passed out of it.

Another head-scratcher was the fact Van Gundy had Jameer Nelson on the court. Visibly exhausted from playing a ton of minutes, Nelson – not known as a great defender – seemed clueless. He watched as Fisher approached the 3-point line and drained the game-tying 3, seemingly concerned that Fisher would go around him for some unknown reason.

Meanwhile, veteran point guard Anthony Johnson – who is a solid, battle-tested defender – watched from the bench. In fact, he hasn’t left the bench all series long.

While it’s inexplicable that coaches don’t use the foul technique in these situations, it’s for the best from a spectator standpoint. Buzzer-beating 3-point attempts are far more entertaining than free-throw shooting contests.

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