Cleveland 96, Orlando 95

Wow. Just fucking wow. Down two, with exactly one second left, LeBron James hit a 3 pointer from the top of the arc to give the Cavs the lead and the game. Series tied 1-1. See you in Orlando. We’re gonna be seeing that shot for the next 25 years. Not clutch, eh?

I’ll be honest, I thought they were toast. This type of stuff doesn’t happen to Cleveland. Cleveland teams blow that game and go down 0-2. This game was a mirror image of Game 1. The Cavs jumped out to a big lead (43-20!!!) and looked to be in complete control of the ball game. But Orlando kept creeping back… hitting shot after shot and the offense bogged down… and Orlando tied the game and eventually took the lead.

LeBron James = Beast. 35 points, 5 boards, 4 assists and a steal. He hits the game winner, he dominates inside and he feeds his teammates for open looks. I’m not sure what else I can say about the guy. He’s simply amazing. He ended up shooting 10-12 from the line, but he easily could’ve gotten 8-10 more free throw attempts.

Hey, where the NBA love when you need it? LeBron and Mo got pounded inside and recieved little love from the refs. You could look at the final tallies (Orlando had 25 FTA, Cleveland 26) and say the fouls were even… but the Magic are a jump shooting team. They weren’t going inside. The Cavs were and got no love. Hell, Lebron got called for a travel late in the 4th period (I mean, sure, he did travel, but when the fuck is that called?! At home? In the playoffs?!). The touch call on Pavlovic with 13 seconds left was the killer. It allowed the Magic to have the final shot (without the call, the Cavs would’ve had the final shot with about 4-7 seconds left). LeBron gets mugged… no call. Turkoglu gets bumped? Whistle. I don’t get it.

I’ll be honest, I’m just in awe of LeBron’s shot. Sure, there was more to the game. Z played well (12 points, 15 boards), Mo seemed to find his shot near the end of the game and the Sasha Pavlovic experiement went fairly well (bullshit foul not withstanding). Mo still didn’t shoot well, going just 7-21, but Delonte West shot a more than decent 4-7 to give LeBron some relief. Four out of five Cavalier starters finished in double figures and Pavlovic finished with 9.

This Orlando team is good. I’ll be honest, I underestimated this team. Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu hit some big time buckets and Courtney Lee is gonna be a player in this league for a long long time. They don’t back down. The Cavs can’t continue to build big leads and let them sneak back in. They have to keep pushing and not letting themselves get taken out of their game plan. Turkoglu tied the game off a somewhat broken play by hitting a wide open 3 pointer with 48 seconds left. That can’t keep happening; you gotta stay home.

How big is David Stern’s boner right now? Both conference finals are tied at 1-1. He has a game winner by LeBron. He’s got Kobe and Melo going head-to-head in an epic series (which has just been glorious). Also, the defensive player of the year (and Slam Dunk Superman) is pushing LeBron to his limit. You couldn’t script this shit any better if you wanted.

and finally…

Whew… 1-1. Sure, I dunno if you can be really confident after these two games, but while the Cavs could easily be down 0-2, they could just as easily be up 2-0. Orlando is a great road team, but you can beat ’em at home. The Cavs got their work cut out for ’em, no doubt. But they still got LeBron. And that guy may have saved the entire city of Cleveland on Friday night. If they go down 0-2… just put the whole city on suicide watch. But we got LeBron. And he hits 28 foot game winners at the buzzer. Thank the lord.

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