Orlando Magic Drop Game 5; How about a Double Team on No. 23?

Ray StoneCorrespondent IMay 29, 2009

CLEVELAND - MAY 28: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers handles the ball against the Orlando Magic in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2009 Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 28, 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 Elsa/Getty Images)

LeBron James dominated the basketball for the final five minutes of the fourth quarter.  His performance was impressive as the team’s back was against the wall.

What I don’t understand is the Orlando Magic’s approach on the defensive end. 

They let him keep the ball while the fans and everyone on the court stood around and watched him go one on one with Michael Pietrus or whoever switched onto him. 


The Magic could have at least sent a double team at James a couple of times, forcing him to get rid of the ball and make someone else beat them. He often held the ball until late in the shot clock playing one on one. 

That is something that can be taken away.

Making him get rid of the ball would force someone else to hit big shots down the stretch. The Magic can afford to give someone else an open shot. Live with that.

The rest of the Cavs team has not been playing that well.

As it was, they let James hold the ball and take his sweet time. Pump faking, and sizing up his defender in a game of one on one.   

I don’t understand that philosophy at all.

Here you have a team on the ropes,and a guy maybe losing a little faith in his supporting cast. Why let him take things into his own hands and operate methodically like that? 

He took his sweet time like Adrian Dantley used to do! 

You want to see a Wally Szczerbiak or some other Cavalier taking the big shots down the stretch. No other Cleveland player is going to score consistently in the last minutes.

Not one time did they force him to pass the ball.  n fact, Cleveland didn’t even have to execute an offense at all. They simply gave the ball to LeBron and spread the floor. 

And Orlando let them do it.

James ended up with 17 points and four assists in the quarter. The press is going to talk about how he willed his team to victory and wouldn’t let them lose.

I have to question Stan Van Gundy and the Magic coaching staff. They have to make someone else be the hero. Whose idea was it to let LeBron stare down a helpless defender while his struggling teammates got to chill out and watch the show like I did?

They volunteered to be witnesses.

The series and the pressure shifts back to Orlando on Saturday night. Hopefully the Magic won’t decide to let LeBron do what he wants to do in the fourth quarter.   

If they make any Cleveland player not named James or Williams take most of the big shots, they have a really good chance of playing for an NBA championship.

It's really nothing Magic about it. 


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