Orlando Magic Steal the Throne: Capture Game One in Cleveland

Brandon Ribak@reebokforthreeSenior Writer IMay 21, 2009

CLEVELAND - MAY 20:  Rashard Lewis #9 of the Orlando Magic celebrates after hitting a shot late in the game giving the Magic the lead against the Cleveland Cavaliers 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 Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Best game that I have ever seen. Plain and simple. A historic game for years to come.

The Orlando Magic did what they came out to do.

Analysts did not believe they could and opposing NBA fans sure as heck did not believe so either.

But the players on the Orlando roster did (along with my man Stan Van Gundy) and that is all that counts.

They came out with heart, they came out with intensity, and they came out and captured Game One!

To start off the game, the Cleveland Cavaliers came out absolutely firing from all angles, ending the first quarter with a score of 33-19, and shooting nearly 52 percent from the floor.

With the energy on the Cavaliers side, they continued their surge, ending the first half with 63 points and gaining a 15 point lead on Orlando after Mo Williams' full court three-pointer buzzer beater.

Dwight Howard scored the Magic's first eight points of the game with two emphatic dunks (one which literally knocked down the 24 second violation clock).

Superman was virtually unstoppable, leaving Big Z with absolutely no chance of prohibiting him from attacking the rim. He finished the game with a team-high 30 points, and a game-high 13 rebounds on 14-of-20 shooting. (The Cavaliers will have to create a game-plan to prevent Howard from scoring so easily or they will have a major problem on the defensive end).

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While Howard got going during the first half, Magic's forwards Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu heated up during the second.

Turkoglu ended the game with a game-high 14 assists, including 15 points and six rebounds. Hedo hit a few big free-throws and one huge three-pointer during the closing minutes in the fourth quarter.

With only 14.7 seconds remaining in regulation and the Cavaliers leading by two, forward Lewis knocked down the most clutch three-point shot of his career, which gave Orlando the one point lead and ultimately won them the game. ย 

Both forwards combined to score the Magic's last 17 points of the game and were ultimately the deciding factors in this outstanding game.

As I stated in my preview for the series, Turk and Shard needed to step up for the Magic to end the game victorious.

I also went about to discuss how Orlando needed to prevent LeBron James from attacking the rim and instead, forcing him to shoot the jumper.

Even though James went a phenomenal 20-for-30 from the field, most of his field goals were jump shots, as opposed to slam dunks and lay-ups. The King finished the game with a playoff career-high 49 points including eight assists, six rebounds, two steals, three blocks, and three three-pointers made.

Players like Turkoglu, Courtney Lee, and Mickael Pietrus constantly stuck onto James and made sure he would not get to the rim. What I realized during this game was LJ would reside to the jumper when D-Howard was on the court, but when No. 12 was on the bench, James aggressively attacked the rim. (Someone know's better than that!)

I also discussed how incredible the Magic have been shooting as of late. I mentioned how if they wanted to win Game One, they needed to come out shooting a high percentage and execute the ball effectively.

The Magic shot a fabulous 55.1 percent from the field, 45.0 percent from beyond the three-point arc (9-for-20), and 85.7 percent from the charity stripe. After the first quarter, the Magic shot close to 65 percent from the field throughout the rest of the game. They pushed the ball, ending the game with 32 assists on 43 field goals made.

With homecourt advantage now favoring Orlando, they will head into Game Two with all the confidence in the world to improve the series to two and zero.

Orlando-107, Cleveland-106

Magic lead series one game to zero.

Note: For Orlando fans not aware, Jameer Nelson is cleared to play if the Magic make it to the Finals!


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