Cavaliers Must Rebound or Else This Season Will Go Up in Smoke

Bruce BostwickContributor IMay 21, 2009

CLEVELAND - MAY 20:  LeBron James #23 reacts after a play with teammates Zydrunas Ilgauskas #11, Mo Williams #2 and Delonte West #13 of the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Orlando Magic in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2009 Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 20, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

When the Cleveland Cavaliers lost the first game of the series to the Orlando Magic, fear came about.

Going into the series, I expected it to be a close series and it can still be that.  However, with the game one loss brings about the ugly stat that needs to be remembered.  In every series that the Cavaliers have had with Mike Brown as coach, after losing the first game, they are 1-3.  That is not a good sign and it does have the recipe for disaster.

LeBron James had a great game scoring a playoff career high with 49 points. But that means nothing when the Cavaliers lose 107-106, thanks to a game winning shot by Rashard Lewis hitting the three.  It really didn’t help that the Cavaliers missed out on opportunities such as Delonte West’s missed attempt to take the lead late in the fourth quarter, and then Mo Williams missing on a chance to win the game.

What we saw was not Cavaliers basketball, but instead, a one-man show.  You cannot win that way and the worst part was seeing what looked like LeBron limping at the end of the game. Hopefully LeBron will be ready to play in game two, where it is going to be a must-win for the Cavaliers, as they cannot let this series get away from them.

Orlando is a three-point shooting team and that is their forte.  They wouldn’t be in the Eastern Conference finals if they weren’t good enough in the first place.  Everything went right in the second half and that three-point shot really picked up some steam after the first half.  The defense stepped it up and allowed only 43 points the entire half.

Cleveland on the other hand went to a formula that just did not work.  You cannot go to LeBron James and expect him to do everything. It seemed like no one else would contribute.  When that has happened, it almost translates into a loss.  At least during this season anyway.  The defense was thrown out the window and it just seemed like every single time Orlando went to the basket or was going for a three, they capitalized. What happened to blocking the shots and getting stops?  Was it too much to ask?  It is simply inexcusable.

With game two in Cleveland, they have to win no questions asked.  As for the city of Cleveland and the fans, it seems like the disappointment will be rising if they lose this one as well.  The first loss is one thing but another would start the talk of failure once again if it hasn’t already.  All season long the Cavaliers have been the best team in the NBA clinching home court throughout the playoffs assuming they make it to the Finals.

Mo and Delonte have to do their part because you cannot expect LeBron to do everything by himself.  If you go in with that mindset, you are going to lose without question.

The bench has to play a better role and they’ll have to see production from other players aside from Joe Smith, who scored the Cavaliers five woeful bench points. Daniel Gibson, Wally, and everybody else on the bench needs to contribute too because then it would help give them options to score and also keep the Magic on their toes.

If they lose this series, then this season has been a failure and there may never be another chance to win a championship with any of the Cleveland teams.  That is all that can be said.

I knew Orlando would be tough.  That doesn’t make it any easier.  If they lose the second game, there will be a new title given to Cleveland; it would be named self-destruction because that is exactly what it would be.  I hope to be wrong on this, but this loss at home really is damaging.