Written by Graham Brunell

Chris "The Birdman" Anderson: the one that got away.

Three subplots from the Bronstrosity game.

Black Mamba totals 40+, Lakers come out victorious.

All season long, the Cavaliers have cruised through without an obstacle or a mere speed bump. Well, they finally met their match while playing the Orlando Magic, as the Eastern Conference Finals series is tied 1-1. Two games in a row have the Cavs jumped out to large leads, only to later relinquish the advantage. In fact, they even fell in a shocking game 1, and in game 2, they needed the best player in the game to step up and hit a miraculous three-pointer.

They head back to Orlando in desperate hopes of regaining home court advantage, as well as proving to the Magic that they will not concede to pressure or predicament. No, King James (that guy who hit the game-winning three) is determined not to fail this time. King James is certain to rally his teammates behind him to come out with a win tonight.

But hey, that doesn't mean the Magic won't continue to challenge Cleveland either. So what are those deciding factors that the Magic acknowledged at halftime in games 1 and 2 that inspired them to make a surprising comeback? And how about the Cavs? What can they utilize tonight to take back home court? Here are a few reasons why the Magic could upset these Cleveland Cavaliers... and a few reasons why it won't happen.

Reasons why the Magic will pull it off

  • They have the matchups in their favor. After watching two games of the Cavs-Magic series, it's pretty clear to me that the combination of the Magic's three-point shooting and Dwight Howard's post game can turn on and off at any given time. And if you're a Cavs fan or player, that's not a good thing. Across the blogosphere, people have been suggesting that LeBron double-team Dwight Howard to help slow down his dominance down low. But wait, who then would cover Hedo Turkoglu? And if Varejao switched over to Turk, who would take care of Rashard Lewis? You certainly don't want to leave him open.
When the Cavs are on offense, Magic players obviously know their role. Stan Van Gundy has strongly implied that they are not going to try to stop LeBron. Wise move by SVG, as no team really has the answer for James, unless you try to match him on offense by scoring 40 (that doesn't often happen). Nobody on the Cleveland squad can really create for themselves (other than the inconsistent outbreaks from Mo Williams and Zydrunas Ilgauskas) unless teams double LBJ.

  • They have a number scoring options. The Magic have multiple scoring options in both their starting line-up and coming off their bench. Every member of the starting five can score. Mickael Pietrus, Anthony Johnson, and J.J. Redick are some scoring options on the Magic's bench -- especially Pietrus, who was actually brought in to start but settled into the sixth man role quite nicely after suffering a couple of nagging injuries.
But on the Cavs, it's a different story. As I mentioned above, Van Gundy will rarely double LeBron, as he knows that James is close to unstoppable, no matter how many defenders are on him. The reason is because that James will dish the ball out to open teammates, who he is confident will score the ball when they have an open opportunity. However, when the Magic do guard LeBron one-on-one, the Cavs are limited outside of LeBron and Mo Williams, who hasn't been playing very well as of late. Zydrunas Ilgauskas is not much of a factor against Superman, and Anderson Varejao hasn't been scoring at all with his matchup against Rashard Lewis.

Reasons why the Cavaliers will hold off Orlando

  • Orlando's advantage can go in the Cavs favor as well. Sure there are some advantages by not doubling LeBron, but keep in mind, this guy has been compared to Magic and MJ -- guarding him one-on-one can still be costly. The time when the Magic double is when LeBron gets into the paint. And once he gets inside the paint, FORGET ABOUT IT. He either draws the foul, finishes at the basket, dumps it off to one of his big men, or kicks it out to fellow perimeter players for the open jump shot.
  • The Magic are inconsistent. I don't think I need to elaborate on that any further.
  • Three-point shooting is a must. Dwight Howard's success depends solely on the Magic's three-point shooting. And the Magic's outside game depends on Dwight's aggressiveness in the opening minutes of the game. If Dwight comes out ferocious and focused, his teammates will follow, proceeding to have a good shooting night. But if his mates aren't knocking down shots, Dwight's performance suffers. The Magic must hit their open shots, or Dwight won't receive any open opportunities down low. If they can't do that, the Cavs will have an easy night, as they didn't even have to work hard to slow down two things the Magic do best.
At this point, it could go either way. I'd say tonight's game is very vital to both teams, as with the series even, the Cavs could either reclaim home court advantage, or the Magic could take a decisive 2-1 lead and continue to cling on to home court.


Low price, available in multiple styles and colors!