In what has to be the NBA’s biggest choke since the Seattle Supersonics lost in the first round to the Denver Nuggets in the 1994 playoffs the Cleveland Cavaliers are on the Brink of elimination. Not any fault of the league’s MVP LeBron James. The fault lies with his team mates once again not being able to hit shots and poor ball movement after building another lead.
Once again, the Cavaliers blow a second game in this series. The Magic use the same screen and roll play with Hedo Turkoglu over and over again and the Cavaliers will not find a way to defend it. Orlando hits shot after shot and Cleveland cannot stop it to save their lives.
After building a four point lead after one quarter and sucking all of the energy out of the arena on the fast start by Mo Williams getting to the free throw line. Williams had 18 points in the game but again a poor shooting night going 5 of 15 from the field. The Magic get a big first quarter by Dwight Howard to keep the game close. Howard finishes the game with 27 points and 14 rebounds. The first quarter ends 25-21 in favor of Cleveland.
The Cavaliers are able to get James rest in the second quarter but cannot keep the lead as the Magic battle back. Orlando gets a better bench play for the third game in a row with Mickael Pietrus leading the way. Cleveland gets the lead back after James reenters the game. Playing well for Cleveland on the low post besides James is Delonte West with 17 points in the game. West has a better shooting game going 7 for 15 from field. Pietrus comes off the bench to score 17 points in the game. The Cavaliers push their lead to eight with a 58-50 score at halftime.
Orlando comes out on fire after the half and in minutes cut the Cleveland lead down to one before the Cavaliers take a time out. After the time out Cleveland pushes the lead back to six points.
The Magic will not go away with Rafer Alston having his best game of the playoffs. Alston’s best shot is a three-pointer banked in by over an outstretched LeBron James. Alston ends the game with 26 points. The Cavaliers get a nice game from Zydrunas Ilgauskas with 12 points and 9 rebounds. Orlando cuts the Cleveland lead down to one and the score is 79-78 after three quarters.
The fourth quarter has the Magic building a lead and the Cavaliers storming their way back in to the game. The game goes right down to the wire as both team battle back and forth. At the end of the quarter down by a point at 98-97 and twenty seconds left Rashard Lewis takes the inbounds pass and scores a three pointer to give the Magic a 100-98 lead. Lewis finishes the game with 17 points. Not to be out done LeBron James drives to the basket and is fouled by Pietrus with less than a second on the clock. James hits both free throws to tie the game at 100-100 and sending it to over time. James scores 44 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists in another great game.
James has a great game but also has eight turnovers as well. The biggest of the turnovers come in overtime as the Magic as Orlando builds a lead and Cleveland tries to come back in the game. The same high screen and roll play kills the Cavaliers again. Hedo Turkoglu runs the play to perfection over and over again. Turkoglu drives the lane and finds the open Magic player for big shot after big shot. Turkoglu finishes the game with 15 points, 7 rebounds, and eight assists for another solid all round game. The Magic are able to enjoy a win after LeBron misses a long three point attempt as time expires for the 116-114 win.
The Cavaliers now head home in a deep hole down in the series 3-1. After being the best team in the NBA for the regular season and their goal being a trip to the NBA finals. It looks like they will come up short with James once again not getting help in the big series when the games are on the line.
The Cavaliers coaching staff not coming up with a way to stop the bread and butter play of the Magic high screen and roll that has work to perfection. Orlando now has a chance to ruins David Stern’s ideal finals match up with Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. With the NHL looking at getting their dream match-up, how big would it be if both Kobe’s and LeBron’s teams both choke their way out of the finals. We will find out in game five Thursday in Cleveland.