Cleveland-Orlando Game Three Preview: Orlando Needs Magic To Stop LeBron

Kyle WilliamsCorrespondent IMay 24, 2009

CLEVELAND - MAY 22:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers handles the ball against the Orlando Magic in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2009 Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 22, 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 Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

If LeBron James would have missed that shot with one second left at the end of game two the Cleveland Cavaliers would be in a 0-2 series hole and we would not be afraid to predict the Orlando Magic the winners of the Eastern Conference Finals.

However, James did make that spectacular shot and saved Cleveland's season.

There is no doubt that this game three is crucial for Orlando. If the Magic play the basketball that they have been  in games one and two, they should have no problem in game three, especially with the extra boost from the home crowd.

If the Cavaliers get out to yet another early advantage, who knows if Orlando can persevere and make yet again another amazing comeback. Cleveland will try to take control of this series tonight if they win to go up 2-1 in the series.


Keys for Orlando

Contain LeBron James

Averaging 42 points a game during this series, The King will look to have another huge night. If Orlando keeps James in the 20-30 point range, they should control the game and win easily, mainly since the Cleveland supporting cast has yet to step up.


Get stars early touches

In game one, Dwight Howard was virtually unstoppable going against Zydrunas Ilgauskas. In game two, Howard was limited with only eight shots, which is a major problem.

If Howard gets his offensive game going early his confidence will boost tremendously, making his offensive flow less timid and he will be more relaxed with a lead. Rashard Lewis has been the definition of unstoppable during the series.

Matched up with Anderson Varejao, Lewis has a obvious advantage. With games of 22 and 23 points, respectively, Lewis needs to get the offense working through him.

Hedo Turkoglu also needs to get his offense going early against LeBron James. If Turkoglu can find his shot and make it consistently, Cleveland is in trouble.


Shoot the three-point shot with accuracy

The Magic three-point shot has been used to come back on the Cavaliers in games one and two, so in game three, the Orlando fire power must be displayed early.

If Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, and Rafer Alston start shooting from beyond the arc with success towards the beginning of the game, it will be a blow out in favor of the Magic.


Keys for Cleveland

Get LeBron help

In this series, the Cavalier bench has produced a lowly 19 points by two different players. The Orlando bench has produced 51 points from five different players. The Cleveland supporting cast must step up in games such as this one in order for some of the offensive load to be relieved from MVP LeBron James.


Defend the three point shot

Orlando shot nine-for-20 in game one and 10-for-23 in game two from beyond the arc. Cleveland needs to create tough shots for the Magic from distance in order to suck the life out of the home crowd.


Make offense work through the MVP

The basketball world is seemingly revolving around LeBron James lately. With games of 49 and 35 points, respectively, along with a game-winning 25-footer, James is riding on his high horse coming into game three.

James must get the ball throughout the game in order to break down Orlando's tough defense. James also needs to avoid foul trouble, being that Cleveland needs his for 40-42 minutes.



The Cavaliers have built substantial leads early in games one and two on their home court. Now, It's Orlando's turn to gain a sizeable lead on their home court in game three.

The Magic will use their three point shooting early and often to gain advantages of 10-14 points throughout the game.

Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, Rafer Alston, and rookie sensation Courtney Lee will lead the barrage of three-point field goals.

Dwight Howard will see the ball much more on his home court. Getting 10-15 shots and dominating Ilgauskas once again.

The Cleveland bench will also be exposed vulnerable to Orlando's. Mickael Pietrus will continue to get 25-30 minutes in game three, making him another key factor. Pietrus feeds off the crowd and has been a huge factor in this series thus far. Look for the Frenchman to have a big game.

Cleveland will begin to make a comeback of their own mid-way through the fourth quarter fueled by LeBron James himself, who will most likely finish game three with another performance of more than 30 points. The comeback, however, will be ended when Orlando blows it open once again late in the fourth.

Orlando: 92

Cleveland: 80