NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Game Four Predictions

Abc DefContributor IMay 26, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - MAY 24:  Rashard Lewis #9 of the Orlando Magic looks to pass against Tarence Kinsey #8 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the the Amway Arena on May 24, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. 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)

Getting tired of those magic tricks yet, Cavaliers?

It is obvious that the Magic are the perfect anti-Cavaliers team.  Anyone who has been watching the NBA season closely knows that the Cavaliers struggle against the Magic, because of the mismatch threats that the Magic continue to exploit in the series.  

Not to mention that the Magic do not care about stopping LeBron James because they know that it is almost impossible, but instead...

Stan Van Gundy, the Magic's head coach, came up with a great gameplan that most coaches would find odd: Do not bother trying to stop LeBron James, instead, shut out his supporting cast.  

It seems to be working well because they are up 2-1 on the heavily favored Cavaliers, despite the fact that LeBron is averaging 41+ points per game.

Game four is where the Cavaliers will have their backs against the wall. Will the Cavaliers succeed similar to how they did in game two, or will they fall into a huge hole of 3-1 going back to Cleveland?

Cleveland's Four Factors and the X-Factor

  • Have consistent ball movement and limit turnovers
  • Do not become stagnant with "LeIso" offense
  • Take away the 3 point line from the Magic
  • Force more shots from mid-range
  • Mo Williams has to contribute efficiently with 20+ points

Orlando's Four Factors and the X-Factor

  • Get hot from downtown and deliver a knockout punch
  • Continue to exploit mismatches: Varejao on Rashard, West on Hedo
  • Look for quick transitions on offense off Cavaliers' long shot attempts
  • Get Rashard involved more, with hopes to get at least 20 points out of him
  • Dwight Howard to shoot 70%+ from the line 

The Prediction

Expect the Cavaliers to quickly come out of the gate to get a fast start.  Expect Cleveland to be up by the end of first quarter, then struggle to contain the Magic in second quarter to have their lead trimmed down to single digits by halftime.

Cleveland will have a big quarter in either third or fourth to have that edge to win the game.  In first three games, Cleveland lost every quarter after halftime to the Magic, so expect them to improve on their second half in order to win another tough game against the Magic.

This game should be much loosely called in terms of fouls than game three, which will allow the Cavaliers to play more physical on defense.  Expect Mo Williams to show up and help the Cavaliers break their losing streak in Orlando.

97-93, Cavaliers.

Also, everyone will get the feeling that it was rigged by Stern, due to heavy pressure from Nike and vitaminwater. The Cavaliers might get some favorable calls from one particular referee who has the responsibility of calling tonight's game: Joe DeRosa, who was born in Youngstown, OH and resides in North Canton, OH.