Quote of the night:
How Stan Van Gundy motivated the Magic at halftime:
He told us we looked like we were all witnesses and we couldn't have that...He has a great way of motivating all of us. - Dwight Howard.
Post-mortem: Magic 107, Cavs 106
Sorry folks, this is the way it will be until the NBA gets some common sense regarding start times the way that Major League Baseball did earlier this week.
I worked on a running game story during the third and fourth periods, ugly sights though they were. The Cavs forgot who they were in this game allowing the Magic to shoot 55 percent for the game, but they shot a whopping 59 percent in the second half.
They also had some timely shooting - especially from the three-point arc - as they hit on 54 percent of treys in the second half.
This is either a wake-up call or a quick look of things to come in this series. They allowed the Magic to dominate in the paint, a problem that plagued them in three meetings with them this season.
The Cavs had a flashback offensively to the Cavs before Mo. Far too many times they stood around to watch LeBron James dribble the ball before taking a shot, never bothering to get into any offensive set. There are moments for James to take over, this wasn't exactly one of them.
They cannot go much further with their bench scoring a miniscule five points per game. That would be FIVE points. Not 25 but FIVE points. Orlando would be the team with 25 points in that category as Mickael Pietrus came out to contribute 13 points in the winning effort.
First half: Cavs 63, Magic 48
The Cavs defense went a bit south in the second quarter and don't think Coach Mike Brown didn't notice, but when you have Mo Williams tossing in 67-foot jumpshots to end the first half, what does it matter?
Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy took a calculated risk to start the game playing Dwight Howard the first 17 minute and it paid off for the Magic center with him hitting for 18 points in the first half. But the Cavs have been content to allow him to collapse on him late and in the process they got in a few blocks on him. What they have done is take away the Magic's outside presence - they only got off seven three-point shots, connecting on just two.
Someone asked the Cavs' LeBron James if he was feeling it during his pre-game interviews. Given that he's racked up 26 points on a variety of shots, it's safe to say that the smile he cracked in response to the question told the story.
The Cavs have allowed the Magic just four offensive rebounds, something that is key to the score thus far.
First quarter: Cavs 33, Magic 19
So much for rust - in this quarter at least. The Cavaliers secure a double digit lead going into the second quarter ats they shoot 46 percent, out rebound the Magic 15-12 and hold them to 36 percent shooting. Here's the impressive part: they secured their first double-digit lead without LeBron James having scored a point. For a while, until he got it going, he seemed content to play Magic Johnson for his teammates setting them up. But when he got it going, it came with light speed as he dropped 10 points on the Magic inside two points.
Something else to pay attention: there seems to be a conscious effort to get the Cavs' big men going as Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Anderson Varejao each scored six in the quarter and Ilguauskas grabbed six rebounds in the process.
The Cavs were also winning the battle in the paint 16-10 and second chance points 8-2.
Expect to see a lot of rookie guard Courtney Lee on LeBron James, primarily because he's the most athletic of all the Magic.
Cavs vs. Orlando Magic
TV: TNT. Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM).
Cavs: LeBron James (F); Anderson Varejao (F); Zydrunas Ilgauskas (C); Delonte West (G); Mo Williams (G). Magic: Hedo Turkoglu (F); Rashard Lewis (F); Dwight Howard (C); Delonte West (G); Mo Williams (G).
Magic: Jameer Nelson (out).
LeBron James on his team not being tested yet in the playoffs:
We’ve been in the post-season before. We’ve been tested in the playoffs before. Anytime you get in the playoffs, for someone to say you haven’t been tested, it’s the playoffs. Every team makes the playoffs for a reason. They want us to lose I guess, then they can say we’ve been tested. We’re trying to win every game.
Dwight Howard on making James a shooter:
You have to do that. You don’t want to allow him to get to the rim and make plays. I wouldn’t say give him jump shots, but I’d rather him shoot the ball rather than get to the rim where he’s dunking it or finding people and getting them involved.