I know it has been forever since I've posted, but this is the first time in the entire NBA playoffs that I've watched an entire game, and I'd like to share my thoughts. I'm going to go basically from the later parts of the game since those are the most important.
1. There is absolutely no excuse for LeBron having 8 turnovers, 5 or 6 of them coming in the fourth quarter or overtime. King James, you're the MVP. Are you kidding me?? I understand that you're trying to create, but you do your best creating by driving to the hoop and trying to score. Which brings me to my next point...
2. There is absolutely no excuse for LeBron not hitting free throws in the fourth quarter. Yea, I know he hit the two most pressure-packed free throws of the games, but that doesn't take away the misses...and that goes back to his five misses in the fourth quarter in Game 3 too.
3. Delonte West is the truth. For anyone who saw West go head-to-head under the basket with Dwight Howard, fall hard to the floor and bounce right back up after a necessary hard foul on Mickael Petrius and repeatedly hit fall away jumpers from the post, you know what I'm talking about. In my opinion, the Cavs can't win if West isn't in the game.
4. Dwight Howard stepped up big in overtime, putting his back to the basket and dunking almost at will. And don't say it was because Verejao fouled out. He was still in. Here's my question. Where was Dwight late in the fourth quarter when his team needed him to get the win?? A weak fourth quarter effort for Superman II, but a great effort when it counted most.
5. Rashard Lewis, Courtney Lee, Rafer Alston, Hedo Turkoglu, Michael Petrius...how can the Cavs expect to win when every one of these guys can and will hit a three whenever they have a speck of light between them and the basket. Better turn up the perimeter D Cleveland, or you'll only play one more game.
6. 4.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter: Mike Brown, you proved once again that you are not a great coach by putting Ben Wallace on one of the Magic's best perimeter shooters. Put the injury plagued, old post player on one of Orlando's stars?? Brilliant plan coach. By the way...was that really a 3 that Lewis hit?? I wasn't so sure.
7. 0.5 seconds left in the fourth quarter: LeBron, you got a gift of a foul call that gave you the chance to send the game to overtime. James and whoever it was that fouled him (Petrius?) hit legs against each other, and LeBron went down. In my book, it's a travel and the game's over, but it is what it is. Just another reason for fans to wonder if the league is trying to do their part to see a Kobe-LeBron final.
8. 0.0 seconds left in the fourth quarter: Get over it Dwight Howard. You weren't fouled, and if the refs wanted to, they could have called you for over the back.
9. Apart from LeBron's turnovers, Cleveland really didn't play a bad game. Orlando was outrageous beyond the 3-point line, and sometimes there just isn't a lot you can do about that.
10. One thing you can do Cleveland...keep Z out of the game if Orlando is hitting from the perimeter. Period. Ilgauskas is older and slower and just can't keep pace, especially if he and Verejao are in the game together with Anderson on Dwight Howard. I was that tonight, and it made me sick.
11. Skip to my Lou, Rafer Alston, whatever you're going by these days...you were clutch to the 10th power tonight, and have been for most of the series.
12. Bottom line for Cleveland...you're a miracle shot, one of the best shots in NBA history, from being swept after winning every game in the first two series of the playoffs. I know that there are serious match up problems with a deep perimeter team with a huge post threat like the Magic, but you have to find a way to win. You just have to do it.
13. Finally, for anyone who watched a Cavs game this season, what was one of the most evident things?? They were having fun. They're not having fun anymore. It's all business now, and some teams just can't do both. The Magic are hitting shots, laughing, giving high fives and having a good time (minus their perpetually constipated coach), but the Cavs are serious all the time in this series, and they need to get back to having fun or this series is over.
Prediction Time: The Magic are hungry for their first NBA finals appearance since 1994, but the Cavs will come out strong behind a desperate home crowd in Game 5, winning by about 12. I would be surprised if Cleveland gets another home game this season, though. Mike Brown, I have no faith in you to make the necessary adjustments. Prove me wrong.