Quantcast 2009 Cleveland Cavaliers: 2009 Cleveland Cavaliers lose their first playoff game


Unbeaten No More!



This just in...The Cleveland Cavaliers are human after all!  The Orlando Magic came into Cleveland, off of a grueling 7 game series versus Boston, and stole Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.  Rashard Lewis hit a three pointer, with about 13 seconds to go, which ultimately became the game-winner.  This was a great game as it continued on, with Cleveland leading by a significant margin to start.  The Magic slowly chipped away at the Cavs' lead, and it eventually became a back and forth battle between two very strong teams.  This series features the reigning M.V.P. in LeBron James, as well as the Defensive Player of the Year, Dwight Howard.  James and Howard are sure to make this an incredible series, with this 107-106 Magic victory, just the tip of the iceberg.  James led the Cavs with a masterful performance, totaling 49 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 3 blocks, however, this just wasn't enough in the end.  Howard paced LeBron, with a double-double of 30 points, and 13 rebounds. 

The Magic looked to be in trouble, as Howard fouled out late in the fourth quarter, after LeBron drove to the hole, ultimately baiting Howard into his 6th foul.  With Howard out for the duration of the game, the Cavs seemed likely to attack the basket.  With some help defense, it forced LeBron James to pass the ball out for a 3 point shot, versus a two point layup to take a one point lead.  In the heat of the moment, one would assume James to take the final shot, but it was Delonte West who gave the Cavs the late game lead on a similar 3 point shot, that he missed in the final moments.  The help of the supporting stars of each team came through with solid performances also.  Rashard Lewis chipped in 22 points and 7 rebounds, Turkoglu added a double-double, of 15 points and 14 assists.   All of the Cleveland starters hit double figure scoring, with Mo Williams pacing James, with 17 points, and Illgauskas added 10 points and 10 boards.  In the end it was the match-up problems that Orlando presents, with starting both Lewis and Turkoglu at the 3 and 4 positions, which present a clear advantage to the much less athletic Cleveland big men.   




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If the Cavs are to realize their dream, in reaching the NBA Finals, major adjustments will have to be made for Game 2.  There were hints at a lineup change, with Joe Smith starting over Varejao, in order to attempt to slow Rashard Lewis.  Lewis, who stands at an athletic 6'10 inches, poses match-up problems with most teams in the league, except for a team like the Lakers, who could feature versatile Lamar Odom against him.  His ability to spread the floor and hit the outside shot, is in need of immediate attention if the Cavs are seeking a different outcome to Game 2.  I imagine that the Cavs took this loss very personally, and will come out firing on all cylinders in Game 2, as they look to even the series at 1 game apiece.

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By: Steve Rivers
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer

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