Written By: Graham Brunell

As the time slowly ate away at a devastated Cleveland Cavaliers team, we began to think that all of their achievements this year meant nothing. Why? Simple: they didn't win a championship. Scratch that: they didn't even advance to the Finals.

You couldn't help but feel sorry for LeBron James, Most Valuable Player and All-NBA Defender, as he dragged himself off the court without even shaking Magic players' hands or speaking to the media.

You couldn't help but feel sorry for the 2008-09 Cleveland Cavaliers as Marv Albert remarked multiple times that "time was (or at that point in time, "is") running out on the Cleveland Cavaliers."

And as Mo Williams began to chuck up desperation jumpshots, we knew it was all over. From the time LeBron kept trying to move the ball into the paint to draw the foul on Dwight Howard, we could sense the upset Magic fans had dreamed of was becoming a reality.

When I and the rest of TNT's viewers saw that Mike Brown just chuckled at every foul call in the closing minutes (most of which involved Anderson Varejao), we knew that he was feeling some disappointment. But he knew that he had a task at hand as coach: to put together a better team next year.

Sure the Cavs held the best record in the regular season, and yes, they were an undefeated team heading into the Orlando series. But the fact is, the only reason the Magic won was matchups. What matchups hurt them? Perimeter and post players, most of which falls on the forwards and the rest of the frontcourt, something the Cavs never had even after the acquisition of Joe Smith.

(From Cavalier Attitude)

One of my best friends from back in Ohio (who is not a Cavs fan, by the way) sent me a series of texts last month after the Cavs wrapped up homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs:

"Sooner or later, the Cavs organization will be exposed for having convinced people and themselves that they actually built a well-constructed team around LeBron. Ferry f***ed up big time with the Larry Hughes signing, and why the hell did he give Gibson close to the [midlevel exception] for four or five years? This team will be exposed sooner or later. I don't know how the hell you all won 66 games, but you are not even close to being the best team in the league. Your team is a sham. And [your guys'] frontcourt is old and decrepit and if you still think that [Anderson Varejao] deserves $7-8 million a year [then] you should stop watching basketball."

I laughed at the time. I'll never forget it. I texted him back and told him he knew nothing about hoops and was just jealous because his Knicks had no shot in hell at LeBron.

Oh yeah, and I threatened to curbstomp him. Just kidding.

That may have been the only human being on Earth that thought the Cavs were a sham. What kind of person (who is right in the head) thinks that the team with the best record, the MVP, an All-NBA Defender, and the Coach Of the Year is a sham? Yes, from the beginning all of us had wondered how LeBron needed so little to do so much. But a sham? No, and don't even try to say you thought that before this Orlando series.

And why would we? I mean, LeBron James IS compared to Michael Jordan (much to some people's dismay) right? He finished the regular season averaging 28.4 points per game, 7.2 assists per game, and 7.6 rebounds per game. In the playoffs, he performed above what were already enormous expectations, averaging 35.3 points per game, 9.1 rebounds per game, and 7.3 assists per game.

And Mo Williams did transform into an All-Star, correct? Williams came up big for the Cavs during the regular season, averaging 17.8 points per game and 4.1 assists per game. He also averaged 16.3 points per game in the playoffs, and exceeded his normal production during the Conference Finals, averaging 18.3 points per game and 4.2 rebounds per game. All of this came alongside of LeBron.

And Mike Brown was Coach Of the Year, am I wrong? And am I seeing things, or did the Cavs have one of best defensive teams in the league? The Cavs let up just 91.35 points per game, first in the league ahead of the Celtics, San Antonio Spurs, and the Portland Trail Blazers. The Cavs also averaged 100.28 points per game, which was 12th in the league.

I could go on, and on... and on. The fact is, by midseason, we all had acknowledged that the Cavs were contenders, and most if not all of us were not going to doubt King James' Cavs. We can only applaud the Orlando Magic for being possibly the only team in the league (although Boston did not have Garnett and Powe as you all know) that had the firepower to take down the Cavs.

So congratualations to the 2008-09 Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that gave Cleveland hope this year. A team that most Cleveland fans will be excited about for next year once they get over last night's loss.

And LeBron, maybe you'll get 'em next year (that is, if the Celtics... oh fine I won't ruin it).


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