For all the premature suggestions of a dramatic Kobe vs. LeBron puppet show, Nike ignored a few things and left out a talented magic show that is looming quickly to a television near you. Just a few weeks ago, Detroit and Atlanta were belittled when Cleveland’s relentless dominance controlled the first two series in a lopsided fashion. It was easily considered as the pompous team in the league, after sweeping them embarrassingly.

But the Cavs aren’t puppets after all, and LeBron James isn’t the King that is used as NBA’s climactic publicity. Realistically, the Cavs are underdogs and deteriorated against a magical challenge, which killed overexposed propaganda and unmatched talent that dictated at least a Game 5 on The Shot in Game 2. That memorable shot was made by James for the biggest miracle shot in franchise history and saved a series from obvious agony and humiliation of avoiding a heartbroken sweep.

But overhyped marketing promotions are still overshadowed. The Orlando Magic, better than appraised, are earning cipher marketing ads. That’s because curses continue for the Cavs, while in a year it could have cured dreadful and long-suffering memories of The Shot, The Drive, The Fumble and The Choke. If so, it would have manipulated LeBron’s status in the near future, a year discussions escalated about a possible departure when he becomes a free-agent in 2010.

But this happens to be a year fans are in to witness humanity and rejuvenate from a depressing modus in a sports town, where indignities have shattered hearts. But this year, everybody believes it's the Cavs moment to win it all, a year James was named Most Valuable Player.

Foremost, all triumph is happening in a year when the Magic were clearly ignored and treated as underdogs. There's no belief, but doubts that mutated hasty into a magical story and was least expected and surprising. Which is why the NBA should consider renaming the slogan to Where Magical Things Happen? Sure enough, it has happened in Orlando, a magic show bigger than LeBron’s disappointing puppet show that should empower fans of Cleveland to ask for refunds. It's too bad, there are no cash returns just as there’s no hope for the Cavs, according to history in previous series.

With all the beautiful LeBron hype as if the league revolves around puppets and Kobe gulping on cookies, it wasn’t a bird or plane clearly discounted. It was Superman, a seven-foot specimen who prevailed in pivotal moments to avoid another upsetting buzzer-beater and inhibited the Cavs of prolonging the series, unless something weird and unbelievable happens.

In retrospect, LeBron’s Cavs need more than The Shot. They need three straight victories to overcome a heartbroken, upsetting and disgusting letdown. Each game comprises of different personalities that indicate more than heroics, which isn’t practicable of forming into legitimate champions. Instead a solid Magic’s bench, a three-point shootout and Dwight Howard creates a threaten force, only one win away from making a Finals appearance for the first time since 1995, when Shaquille O’Neal led the Magic as the league’s most dominant center.

But now, Orlando is made up of the newest dominant center, rising into a superstar faster than we can utter magic. He is, Super Howard, who’s more than just Superman. He's a physique magician with colossal wingspan and undeniable height advantage, barely having to leap for rebounds off a 10-foot basket and finishes with a ridiculous overmatched dunk. For the most part, his tallness has the Cavs frontline looking smaller and more vulnerable.

When the series began, talk was that the unstoppable force and most powerful dictator was LeBron, the King who’s a minus factor, except for The Shot that awakened fans out away from tension and back into fulfillment. It also erased lingering memories of Michael Jordan's demoralizing shot. Yes, it was a shot that abolished all aspiration.

And now bellyaches have resurfaced in a city that believed LeBron was the cure for reinserting happiness, you know that rock ‘n’ roll sensibility. Instead it turns out the Magic are just a better team, perhaps too overmatched, desirous and controls the magic stick with magical non-stop, three-point bombers and with a physical topflight Superman. All season, it has given Orlando citizen’s honest speculation that the Magic are championship destined.

Ever since Howard stepped up as a team leader in an incompatible manner by criticizing coach Stan Van Gundy in the Boston series for not getting enough touches, it has harmonized and inspired excellence. Since then, the Magic have played as the league’s most efficacious team with tenacity and presumption that any team is beatable.

And Stan Van could have qualified as Coach of the Year for his self-motivated personality and approach that has the Magic defacing the Kobe-LeBron dream matchup, with their finest defeat over Boston and now one game away from clinching the series on Thursday to advance into the Finals.

As it turns out, they are the most firmness and dangerous team, confirming a tangible story when the Magic put on their three-point shootout in front of a convinced crowd, believing in improbability. Courtesy of Howard’s pesky vehemence inside and his teammate’s rebellious aerial exhibit, the Magic are definitely an unstoppable force and should be identified as NBA’s deepest endowment. In fact, deeper than the one’s anointed, like the perplexing Lakers or the overhyped Cavs.

It is a matchup that would have increased revenue, it is a matchup that would have captivated fans to tune in and witness two marquee superstars of the league and it is a matchup that would have comprised of an epic series for an instant classic.

Yes, it would have been like watching the Lakers-Celtics, Yankees-Red Sox or Tiger vs. Phil, a perfect moment when epic rivalries defines this sports era. However, settling for the Magic will have to bear. And perhaps, props to them not only for gaining steps closer to an unimaginable narrative, but establishing toughness by outplaying and overpowering what everyone thought was championship compulsive.

From the looks of things, the Magic put an end to the Cavs dream season in Game 4. At least, that’s how history tells it. Teams with a 3-1 lead are 182-8 in a series dating back to 1947, so all you could say is good luck to the Cavs. After all, anything weird can happen, which means anything is possible.

Remember, the NBA is “Where Amazing Happen.” But more amazingly are the Magic, who could sort of exhale for a moment and breathe relief, still knowing a mission isn’t complete. It certainly seemed as if their magical mission was accomplished in Game 4. Their body language, fatigue and rejoicing scenes illustrated a different scenario as Amway Arena in Orlando exploded into exhilaration. There was confetti falling from the ceiling, fans shouted ridiculously and for a moment you would have assumed that the roof top would explode.

Not the case, with one more game left to clinch. But the idea is that the Magic are one game away. In this series, they've pressured the Cavs, a team that has frozen mightily in producing, putting together rhythm and answers to spoil a magical exploit.

Now, the premature marketing hype revolves around the Magic. Shouldn’t Nike have had courtesy to create a Superman puppet? That is who dominates these days. And by facing reality, there won’t be Kobe-LeBron meetings anytime soon. So you might want to adapt to Howard, a powerful center who's as good, if not better than Kobe and LeBron combine. Time to admit its Super Howard’s turn for jumping into spotlight and contending for a title as supporters who advocated the obnoxious ads realize it was rudely a guarantee to anoint Kobe and LeBron. But no one ever worshiped Howard, who could have easily taken home MVP honors.

Remember, this was a monster that led the league in double-doubles, amassed rebounds and dunked with powerful strength. He's a menace that has intimidated the Cavs big men in the middle, as if they were the softest big men this entire season. Understand Howard is the one player who makes a difference, transforming an average team into playoff magic, a ruling force inevitably ebullient and dynamically unstoppable.

All you need is Howard to create Magic.

See, a primary factor to this magical scene is the Magic’s supporting cast, a much-solid bench and starting unit than the vanishing Cavs. Mo Williams, LeBron’s invisible sidekick, should have taken minutes to think carefully before guaranteeing a Game 4 win, especially shooting a horrific 18-for-56 before shooting a more efficient five-for-15 with 18 points Tuesday night. But a huge part of the Cavs problems matching up against the Magic’s deeper unit, has been the sudden disappearing of Williams. In fact, everyone has left the scene and the only thing exciting and worth cheering in Cleveland is The Greatest Shot in Cavs History at the buzzard to save the series.

The King’s supporting cast has bailed out, adding a prodigious burden on James. Zydrunas Ilgauskas hasn’t contributed much in the series as he’s capable of knocking down midrange jumpers, a method that could force Howard to defend him outside and would clear space in the middle for LeBron and Williams to create. It’s not the same team noticed in the regular-season, when a dangerous, long-range shooter from all angles of the floor in Delonte West, who has struggled finding shots in the series, drained outside buckets.

It’s not the same team that won 66 regular-season games for the first time in franchise history, earning the best record in the league. The Cavs are just not the same dynamic force that finished as the best team in the league, now relaying solely on LeBron. They have succumbed defensively after establishing a brilliant defensive foundation, inserted by defense-first coach Mike Brown. But it has all somehow and somewhere disappeared as the Magic brings back memories of The Shot, The Drive, The Fumble, and The Choke. And now, The Magical Shooting Touch will follow, adding to the Cavs sporting debacles.

As magical as the Magic have played in the playoffs, it’s the Magical Shooting Touch that pillages the Cavs title dream, disassembles LeBron’s inclusive season of dreams and deprives a city of capturing resiliency. This was a game the Cavs desperately needed for survival. But instead the Magic put themselves closer to splendor, silencing hype with an entertaining shooting spectacle and seized another win. Before the deciding shot came, James almost replicated Game 2 heroics with another near game-winning shot, but missed it and settled for 44 points, his third 40-plus game in the series. Meanwhile, Orlando’s Rashard Lewis, who converted on 1 of 2 free throws for a controllable lead with 3.2 remaining in a dramatic overtime, Howard added the finishing touches and dictated the outcome, fiercely salvaging a 116-114 win in a thrilling overtime to capture a 3-1 commanding lead.

Three pointers rained for much of the fourth quarter, completing a magical tale. Rafer Alston, a quick and streaky shooter who's difficult containing scored 26 points, and finished 6-for-12 from beyond the perimeter. With the poised shooting of Mickael Pietrus, he scored 17 points and made five from downtown.

It's a supporting cast that has showed up and outplayed allegedly NBA’s prosperous team, which haven't predicated the same type of productivity that they have transacted in the entire season. And now, they're choking when wins are pivotal as the Magic are magically engendering supernatural powers, in which they are NBA’s most deepest and talented team.

Sorry, but the hype is over for LeBron.

Rightfully, the hype belongs to Howard.

So much for puppets, how about a Superman uniform, a cape, too.

Believe in Magic.


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