Cleveland Cavaliers-Orlando Magic Game 6: Running Diary

Jay KingCorrespondent IMay 30, 2009


  • The Cavaliers enter a must-win game in an arena where they are 0-4 this season (including the regular season).
  • Two questions about how the Cavaliers play tonight. 1) Do they single or double Dwight Howard? Singling him will allow him to score a lot of points tonight. The Cavs don't have any single defender who can even slow Howard down. Doubling him, on the other hand, leads to open shots for their deadly host of shooters. 2) Do they go to their small lineup early and often? Their small lineup has clearly been their best lineup against the Magic. Mike Brown seemed to figure that out towards the end of Game 5, but will he continue to utilize that lineup tonight?
  • Two keys for the Magic: 1) Rafer Alston must play well. In Game 5, he was just 1-10 after a huge 10-17 performance in Game 4. If he can shoot well, the Magic are extremely difficult to match up with, but his play has been very inconsisent. 2) Can the Magic continue to keep Mo Williams and Delonte West from affecting the game? The Magic cannot handle Lebron, but they can still win this game if they keep the rest of his supporting staff in check, like they have this whole series.
  • I just saw something I never thought I'd see in my life - Charles Barkley said no to a Krispy Creme donut. I knew he'd stopped gambling and drunk driving, but wow, even eating donuts? It's a new, improved Chuck.
  • Prediction: The Cavaliers will come away with a close win. Lebron will be enough to lead his team to victory. (Note: My brothers predict Cavaliers in 7)

First Quarter:

  • Ben Wallace comes in after two early Varejao fouls. Could be good for the Cavs, Wallace has done a great job so far this series.
  • Rafer with an early three. I would be very good for the Magic if he heats up.
  • Ben Wallace with two offensive rebounds. He continues to be very active.
  • Mike Brown goes to the small lineup early. We'll see if it pays off again today.
  • Craig Sager is dressed the most normal I've ever seen him. For anyone else, his attire would be flashy, but for him, it looks like he's going to a funeral.
  • Daniel Gibson hits a three from the corner. Lebron for three. The small lineup paying dividends again.
  • Pietrus never misses. Not in this postseason.
  • Wally for three.
  • Lebron with an amazing follow of his missed three to end the quarter. 30-25 Orlando. Orlando is playing well. Cleveland will have to pick up their defensive intensity and limit Howard's easy baskets to get back into the game.

Second Quarter:

  • Hedo gets called for a charge a full second after he passes the ball and barely makes contact with Gibson. I hate that charge call.
  • The big lineup comes back in for the Cavs and Rashard Lewis immediately takes advantage with a bucket over Varejao.
  • Pietrus again. His three-pointer makes it 40-31 Magic.
  • The Cavaliers' offense, as normal, looks incredibly stagnant. They have not had much movement at all. Jack Ramsey said their offense looks like something from the 1950's, and I've got to tell you, I wasn't around in the 1950's but I doubt they had this little offensive movement back then.
  • Gibson stepback fadeaway off one pass. Magic dunk at the other end. Things are falling apart for the Cavs. 49-34 Magic. We'll see what King James and co. are made of now.
  • Lebron James just drove to the hoop, and Rashard Lewis clearly hit the ball out of his hands and out of bounds, but the Magic keep the ball. Horrible call.
  • Lebron just shoved Howard in the back to prevent a Howard Dunk. Good foul by Lebron James on Dwight Howard, but Howard never should have been so open in the first place. The Cavs' defense has been horrible. How do you come out so poor in a must-win game?
  • 58-40 at halftime. Magic look like they're 24 minutes away from the NBA Finals.

Third Quarter:

  • Mo Williams for three, Delonte driving layup, Lebron for three to start the third quarter. Game on, ladies and gentlemen, the Cavs aren't done yet. 59-48 Magic.
  • The Magic answer right back with a run of their own. When they are playing well offensively, their ball movement is really a beautiful thing to watch.
  • The Cavs have gotten nothing out of their big guys all series. They've gotten torched by the Magic frontcourt on both ends of the floor.
  • The Cavs cannot get any stops. When Howard isn't scoring down low, the Magic are getting great ball movement and wide open shots.
  • Wally subs in for Varejao with two minutes left in the third and the score 82-68. Getting to be desperation time for the Cavs and they've run a ton of plays for Delonte West. Why?
  • 86-70 Magic at the end of the third. I can't believe the Magic are going to be in the NBA Finals. The Orlando Freaking Magic. They've earned it, though.
  • As a Celtics fan, I can't help but think the Celts would have steamrolled either of these teams with a healthy Garnett.

Fourth Quarter:

  • Lebron starts the fourth off with a bad turnover. He has really disappeared at times during this game. Very surprising.
  • Mickael "The Most Surprising Player of the 2009 NBA Playoffs" Pietrus hits a three to go up 19, and Howard hits a running half-hook to go up twenty-one. Get the champagne ready.
  • The Cavs are missing so many free throws. It's almost impossible to come back when you miss the freebies.
  • Wally with his second airball. So much for me talking about how much he spreads the floor during the last game. The Cavs are throwing a stinker at the worst possible time.
  • MVP chants reign down on Dwight Howard as he hits two shots from the line. The MVP chant has gotten out of control. In Game 4, I half expected the Magic crowd to break out an MVP chant for Rafer Alston. Dwight Howard in now way should have been considered for MVP, so they shouldn't chant it.
  • the Cavs couldn't even mount a charge in the second half. Unbelievably, Lebron completely disappeared after the first quarter. In a must-win game, you expect King James to dominate. I guess not even Lebron can score 40 points every single game.
  • Dwight Howard has been a man among boys in this game, and for most of the series. The Cavs had nobody who could come close to handling him.
  • Where was Joe Smith today? I don't remember him playing a single second. Was he hurt? Sick? He couldn't have done a worse job defending Howard than the other Cavaliers big guys, even if he was in a wheelchair.
  • "Nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, goooodddbyyeeee." The whole crowd just broke out in that song. I loved that. They definitely redeemed themselves for the MVP chant.
  • Rashard Lewis just told Craig Sager, "We're on our way to the Eastern Conference Finals". Actually, Rashard, you're going to the NBA Finals. Congratulations.
  • The Magic put on an absolute clinic. I still doubt them, but they are doing a great job proving me wrong every time they play. Their ball movement is superb, they have a big man down low who is playing great, a good set of shooters, and they are tough defensively. I don't know why I continue to doubt them, but I do. As far as the Cavs go, I am disappointed in their whole team. They didn't show up at all and didn't compete, almost from the opening tip. Lebron came out on fire, then disappeared as soon as the first quarter was over. I expected a lot more out of the Cavs, especially Lebron. They were the best team in the league in the regular season and the first two rounds of the playoffs, but certainly didn't play like it during the ECF.

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