Not sure what to say. That sucked ass.
I know some people are gonna wanna blame the refs. And don’t get me wrong, the refs were not good. Those early fouls on Anderson Varejao really really (really really) hurt.
But the refs aren’t the guys missing free throws. They aren’t the guys leaving shooters wide open. And they aren’t the.. well, maybe they were standing around watching LeBron too.
The Cavs were out hustled, out rebounded and simply out played. Dwight Howard dominated (40 pts, 14 boards, 4 assists) and Orlando’s role players continued to step up. Mickael Pietrus continued to play out of his mind (14pts, 4-7 3pt).
Obviously, this was a bad matchup for the Cavaliers. Delonte West is simply too small to guard Turkoglu. The Cavs don’t have the low post presence to make them pay for playing a power forward who doens’t rebound. And when the fourth and fifth options are knocking down seemingly every shot, it’s gonna be hard to win.
I seriously thought the Cavs were gonna comeback with the way they started the second half. Mo and Delonte hit some shots and the Cavs had cut the lead to 10 about 6 minutes into the 3rd quarter. But they couldn’t get enough stops to make a difference. The Cavs shot 44% from the floor and 45% from behind the arc. The offense wasn’t great (LeBron had an off night) but it was passable. It was all the little things that beat ’em; they lost the battle of the boards 47-34, they allowed the Magic to shoot 46% from the floor and they shot a pathetic 11-22 from the foul line.
They flat-out got beat.
In the end, I have to wonder if dominating the first two rounds made a difference. On one hand, I think it’s fairly obvious that Orlando grew up over the course of these playoffs. This Magic team had an epic second round match-up with the Celtics that went the full seven. They blew out the Celtics at home.
The Cavs did not have the experience of playing in those late game situations. This was basically Mo Williams’ first real playoff series. He had the big Game 5 and he played pretty well in Game 6 too (17 pts, 6-12 FG, 3-4 3pt). Hell, I actually thought he should’ve taken the ball away from LeBron in the second half.
But at the end of the day, playing a few nailbiters won’t make Delonte West any taller or Zydrunas Ilgauskas any faster.
(I’m interested to see what Orlando does against the Lakers. The Lakers have Kobe, Ariza and Odom to harass Turkoglu and Lewis (they won’t be able to just shoot over ’em) and Pau Gasol could really punish Lewis inside. Plus, Andrew Bynum is big and quick enough (if anyone really is) to guard Howard one-on-one. One part of me would be pissed if Orlando got to the Finals and shot like shit. But another part would laugh my ass off.)