Yes it was frustrating, yes it was very disappointing—it was even down right pathetic, and maybe it would not be to out of line to say disgraceful.
If you happened to be under a rock and do not know what I am referring to, I am talking about the 16 point 63-48 lead the Cleveland Cavaliers had at half time over the Orlando Magic, only to let it slip away in the second half. This left Cavaliers fans to be shocked, frustrated, and down right angry about the 107-106 loss as they made their way out of Quicken Loans arena on Wednesday night.
Those who were not at the game were left to have to go to bed frustrated by the mouth of Charles Barkley (who, after the Magic defeated the Boston Celtics in game seven of their series Sunday night, predicted the Magic to beat the Cavaliers in this series) and his delight that the Magic stole game one and the home court advantage from the Cavaliers.
For all of you Cavaliers fans who may by waking up this morning, not that you have had a chance to sleep—I want you to do just one thing for me, OK? On the count of three let's all take a big breath, ready? 1,2,3...breathe deep! Now on the count of three I want you to exhale. Ready?...1,2,3.
Now don't you feel at least a little bit better? Now, if you did not participate, let me just say, in the words of one of America's most beloved cartoon characters, Bart Simpson, "Cool Your Jets Man!" It is one loss! Given, it was a very frustrating one and one that is hard to swallow, but relax.
This series is not over, and if you think for one second that Coach Mike Brown, LeBron James, and the rest of the Cavaliers are going to walk into their practice facility ready to pack it in and say "Well, we tried, but the Magic were just that much better then us and had more of an answer for us then we did them", then you are very sorrowfully mistaken.
If it was anything at all, it was a dose of reality. What reality am I talking about? The one where if you want to be the best you have to beat the best. The Orlando Magic did not end up here with us because they sleep walked their way through the playoffs.
The Orlando Magic are here in the Eastern Conference Finals because they are truly one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference and the NBA. They have a terrific head coach, they have one of the best young players in the NBA, and they have players that are perfect for their style of play.
It is not a joke that they are here. Anyone who thought or had any idea of a sweep or a five game series in their head obviously had no idea or even paid much attention to the Magic-Celtics series or the NBA at all this season.
Simply said, anytime your opponent can shoot 55 percent from the field that is normally not a very good sign for your team. Can you beat a team that shoots 55 percent from the floor? Sure, if your team shoots 56 percent. In fact, it's the only time your team will win in that scenario!
The Cavaliers simply had no answer for the adjustments that the Magic made at halftime of the game. The Magic found away for there big three point shooters in Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis, and Mikael Pietrus, as well as took advantage of Zydrunas Illgalskus's slow feet guarding Dwight Howard.
While the Cavs simply went from coming out and hitting the Magic in the mouth offensively and even defensively, they switched after the half to having a hard time knowing what was going on when the played defense, and doing their usual ball watching while LeBron was driving the lane and getting hammered on offense.
By the way, nice offensive rebounding in the second half guys. Let's not forget that the bench did not offer any relief either, only five points at one point? What's worse was they were not there late in the game when you really needed them.
Bottom line here, folks—this was a big wake up call for both the fans and the team. What is encouraging is that with this team, when they get embarrassed once, very seldom do they get embarrassed the next time out. I would expect to see a very big improvement form this team on Friday night, and I think that you will see them play a good four quarters of basketball and even this up, having said that.
This is just a reminder to one and all that no team can win a championship without facing some adversity first. Remember what Stan Van Gundy told his team late in the fourth quarter during one of the timeouts? We have been here before, we know what this is about, they don't. Well now, the Cavaliers, and us the Cavaliers fans know what the grind of a long hard playoff series is about.
This is about us getting the testing in the playoffs that we need. Every team that wins a championship goes through it—Boston did with us on their way to a championship last year, if we are going to win one this year we must go through it also.
This is about us being part of a battled tested playoff series and the one with the most will and desire will survive! This is going to be hard fought series and folks, more frustration is to come, but if we can endure it all the better the team and us as fans will be. Oh, by the way, LeBron is not very happy either which spells bad news for the Magic!
Ladies and gentlemen, this series is a long way from being over. It looks to be a classic and let's be proud to be part of it. If you cannot appreciate or enjoy that then at least be thankful that you are alive and getting to see a run that hopefully will still end in a special way for us Cavaliers fans!
So, to all of you in Cleveland this morning, have a great day and enjoy the beatiful weather we will have this weekend!
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