Post Mortem: Magic 99, Cavs 89
Some of you will disagree with this, but I get the overriding impression that this on is over. The Cas possess no complete solution to stopping the Magic.
In a physical game that was also occasionally sloppy, the Magic put together a defensive gem, holding the Cavs to 37 percent shooting for the game. LeBron James outscored the rest of the starting lineup 41-40. That's not good.
Mo Williams said it best after the game, this team isn't playing the way they had throughout the season - with balance and a collective sense of purpose. This wasn't supposed to turninto the LeBron James show, but it quickly has.
Part of that is due to the Magic. They seem to have decided that they'll allow James his, but take away his teammates. We will dicuss the gory details tomorrow after I go over the numbers. While this wasn't a blow-out the Cavs have little that they can really take from this game other than knowing if they don't win Tuesday night, they go back to Quicken Loans Arena with Orlando having the opportunity to win the Eastern Conference title on Cleveland's home court.
First quarter: Magic 24, Cavs 17
Magic shoots 59 percent for the quarter, Cavs 42 percent. But where the Cavs have reason to worry is the number of turnovers they committed in the first quarter. Six Cavaliers turnovers led to 10 of the Magic's 24 points in the quarter.
So far Mo Williams continues to struggle as he's hit just 2-of-5 shots in the quarter. Magic players contest every shot while Cavs look disjointed.
Game: Cavs vs. Magic - Eastern Conference Finals Game 2
Broadcast: TV: TNT. Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM).
Starters: 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)
Injured-inactive: Cavs: J.J. Hickson, Lorenzen Wright. Magic: Jameer Nelson.
LeBron James said in his pre-game meeting with the media that he might need to clone himself to help his team keep up with the Magic. If only...
Here's the dilemma - and this was the one problem most everyone noted prior to the start of the series - Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu create matchup problems for the Cavs. For that reason, look for Mike Brown to go back to Sasha Pavlovic off the bench. At 6-foot-7, Pavlovic is long, athletic and negates at least some of that advantage these guys have. Performing as he did he at least earned some more playing time in the series.
Friday night saw the Cavs apparently have the right answer for Dwight Howard as well as the Cavs held him to just 10 points. Of course he had 18 rebounds, but he's going to rebound regardless. Each time he touched the ball, the Cavs got physical with him, harassed him.
Great. What do you do about the other two guys? Logically speaking, there's no way the Magic can keep hitting more than 40 percent of their three-point shots in this series. I could be wrong, but that is a torrid pace to maintain throughout the series. But if the Cavs are able to neutralize Howard again, Lewis is the next go-to guy and here's betting that he sees a lot more of James than in the prior to games.
How the Cavs play here tonight dictates how this series will go. Being completely honest, I'm not even close to liking what's been put on display in the first two games. While Mo Williams delivered 19 points the other night, it was on 7-of-21 shooting. Both he and Delonte West have to deliver offensively as well as defensively.