Eastern Conference Finals Preview: Based on the Match Ups, the Magic Should Defeat the Cavs, but Will They?

Dwight Howard is the only NBA player who might be able to consistently stop LeBron James at the rim.

Take that for what you will.

On paper, the Magic should win this series simply because they have more talent. Unfortunately, what some might consider such an outlandish statement means nothing.

But…

After all, the Magic did beat the Cavs 2 out of 3 this season and have won 8 of 11…one loss this year was by like 90 or something or other right?

OK actually it was 29.

This is different story, this is for the right to play whoever gets out of the West for June sunny time fun shine. The way the Cavs have quickly ascended to the top of the league, they must feel untouchable.

LeBron James is playing on the Bizarro side of Kypton…somewhere in a primitive dimension after the explosion. His Jimmy JJ Walker powers have long been out of sight while Dwight Howard seemingly sits in his Earth bound capsule/cradle gaga gooing awaiting blastoff to the theatre of Terra unknown.

His talent is almost illogical. 64% shooting in transition? That can’t be real. All this half court stuff is setting his range. His range is really unlimited. More kids should do this as long as they get there mid-range game down first.

LeBron is going to do some crazy things in this series. We all know that. Whether it be a cock back dunk over all five of the Magic…and Stan Van Gundy’s brother…or a two time wrap around his head drop off to Delonte West for two or a block that shatters the backboard, he’s gonna get his.

This might be the series he averages a trip dub. This might be the series he goes for 50….hell 75 if you listen to everyone tell it.

He’s shooting forty footers from behind the glass or half court shots from his ass because he’s so damn bored. There’s only so much practice a team could have.

Think about it…8 straight playoff wins by double digits. That’s sickdiculous.

The problem the Magic are gonna have is dealing with Cleveland in transition. Mo Williams is also ballin’, but now he’s got to deal with Skip…who is just as quick.

Cleveland wants to hold you to under 40% shooting.

I tell you what though, Dwight Howard better lay down the law like Tony Atlas if LeBron decides the lane is his to clown.

When Dwight Howard understands he has no peer instead of hitting inside the park home runs, he will be incomparable.

He’s become this ambassador for the league. Yeah that’s cool for the kids and their Pops who have autograph visions of sugar plumbs, but it’s time to put up or shut up.

Get 30 and 25 Dwight! Please!

Ok, ok, I’ll chill but damnit…why is 12 playing down to the metaphysical competition?

Straight up, the key to this series is Hedu Turkoglu. If I was Mike Brown, I’d put LeBron on him. Look at the closeout games for the Magic. When they needed a big bucket, who did they go to?

Hedu Turkoglu.

He’s 6’10”. When you are that tall and have a game that versatile, you cause match up problems for any team in certain situations.

He has to be consistent the entire series for the Magic to have a chance.

Obviously Orlando has the better front line because of the presence of Dwight but the Cavs are playing a cohesive ball you rarely see even in a high school team that chills together like most high school teams do.

Cleveland pros:

1. LeBron James (this could be all seven).

2. Hunger.

3. Mike Brown’s defensive coaching philosophy blended with a dynamic offense.

4. Cohesiveness.

5. Rest.

6. San Antonio memory (experience).

7. Timing.

Magic pros:

1. Dwight Howard maturing in these playoffs.

2. Shooting.

3. Versatility.

4. A pseudo swag that’s growing by the minute.

5. Van Gundy is good at adjustments it seems.

6. Skip.

7. Magic 96 crowd.

Cleveland cons:

1. Haven’t been tested.

2. Too much rest.

3. Having too much fun.

4. Not enough muscle down low.

5. Overconfidence.

6. Are they really this good?

7. All these reasons are BS.

Magic cons:

1. Inexperience.

2. Not rough and tough.

3. Timing.

4. Jameer is an assistant coach.

5. Team identity. What is it?

6. Does Dwight know how good he can be?

7. Attention to detail.

How will the Magic crack the Cavs defensive scheme? Are they just happy to be here? Will they stop LeBron from getting a head of steam from the top of the key or free throw extended?

Who will be Shaq’s Penny?

Delonte West will be a huge factor on both ends. I so wish Jameer was playing. A St. Joe’s battle it would be. Mo Williams should get off and Joe Smith is living in the moment. Big Z and Wild Thing are gonna have all of their hands full, but Dwight still worries me regarding basketball focus. He needs to understand he could be the baddest man on the planet right now. Does he? Is he cool with being the aforementioned ambassador for the league instead of banging the entire NBA though the rim?

Gortat will be capable in stretches. Pietrus as well. Anthony Johnson provides back court leadership and veteran experience off the bench. Courtney Lee again, reminds me of a young Rip Hamilton.

Cleveland can defend the three. They switch off with the best of them. Orlando again, has won 8 of 11 against the Cavs but they are definitively the better team.

Rashard Lewis has to continue his hot play for the Magic to have any shot.

What’s Wally gonna do?

Cleveland is on a damn mission. Doesn’t seem like anyone can stop them, but I’m glad they are finally playing. All this marketing of a team that hasn’t won anything yet is absurd.

Van Gundy has earned another year coaching this team, but will he step his game up enough to nip at the heels of the mighty Cavaliers?

Dwight Howard is gonna be monster and will win a couple of games by himself. LeBron will get all his teammates ready and score in bunches.

This isn’t going to be that easy.

I think it’s going 6 folks. Yeah 6 because the Magic have too much versatile talent but ultimately the Cavaliers will survive and move on the the NBA Finals.

11 Responses to “Eastern Conference Finals Preview: Based on the Match Ups, the Magic Should Defeat the Cavs, but Will They?”

  1. Temple3 says:

    Mizzo:

    That’s good stuff. LeBron looks like he contemplates when Howard is waiting for him. Can’t go over him — can’t go through him. Deception = concession. What to do? What to do?

    Cleveland can win these series, but I believe they have to figure out a way to get points from a Big Man other than LeBron James late in the game. Big Z isn’t going to be a reliable scoring option on the road. Varejao is a junk baller. Ben Wallace isn’t that guy. To my mind, the Cavaliers best hope for good looks lies with Joe Smith. That’s a scary thought. Joe isn’t a kid anymore. I think that weight falls squarely on his shoulders.

    Cleveland’s under-sized guards will do one of two things late: jack from beyond their range OR get their shit stuffed en route to the lane. That’s a problem that only Joe Smith or gimmicks can fix.

    If they win this series, it’s truly going to be about one of two stories: the Joe Smith Miracle or LBJ playing out of his mind. He’s already having an incredible game and the game is tied. It’s going to be tough sledding. My new “theory” says Cleveland wins by the thinnest of margins.

  2. Temple3 says:

    To clarify: Cleveland’s under-sized guards face those two limited options when they try to get their own shot; they have great looks at open shots when LBJ creates the shot for them.

  3. Temple3 says:

    Dwight ain’t stoppin’ nuthin’. Not tonite. Wow.

  4. HarveyDent says:

    Lovin’ the Tony Atlas reference…

  5. Patrick says:

    Dwight Howard may look like he is joking most of the time, but he is serious player on the court.

    Here is a quotable from Dwight:

    “He said we’re all witnesses,” Howard said, referring to the James catchphrase. “That’s what he said to us. ‘You’re playing like you’re witnesses, watching the man dunk.’ That brought some fire out of us.”

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/2009-05-20-cavaliers-magic_N.htm

    Dwight was all jokes after he called out his coach after the Magic clinched against Boston.

    “We’ve got the new ESPN stat. We are now 3-0 when we call out our coach.”

    Dwight Howard is quickly becoming Shaq-like in regards to his quotes, and seems like he is coming into his own as a more vocal leader…

  6. Patrick says:

    Orlando has a great chance to win this series, especially if Rashard Lewis and Michael Pietrus step up like they did in Game 1. Pietrus hit a couple of impact jumpers and Rashard Lewis made things difficult for the Cavs and was the difference when Dwight fouled out late.

    Detroit played like a defeated team, and Atlanta just didn’t have enough talent or confidence to overcome the Cavs. The Hawks needed the 6’9 Marvin Williams and/or the 6’8 Joe Johnson to play like Rashard Lewis did in the second half. Orlando has the ability to spread the Cavs out and make them pay.

    When the Magic beat the Cavs by 30 earlier this year that wasn’t an accident. The Cavs have a less athletic front line with Ben Wallace, Joe Smith , Big Z and Varejo and are not willing to guard Orlando’s three point shooters, the 6’10 Rashard Lewis or 6’10 Hedu, consistently.

  7. TC says:

    I think Cavs in 6, maybe 7. Yeah, they might need a big guy to make a shot or two, but Z can make some shots, Joe Smith can, and Daniel Gibson has been scoring some. I think if they need a couple scores late, obviously it’s LBJ, but if the aforementioned get enough earlier in games, it shouldn’t be so close late. I think putting LeBron on Hedo is a great idea. I think he’d relish that challenge late in games.

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  9. GrandNubian says:

    I like the Cavs in six.

  10. Temple3 says:

    Patrick:

    I think you’re right about Howard’s evolution.

    Also, Pietrus is going to be just fine. He’s used to performing well in the playoffs. He was on the Warriors when they knocked off Dallas. He’s not the least bit intimidated by anyone on the Cavs roster.

    Mizzo:

    The Cavs blew an opportunity to get in the heads of Hedo and Rashard. They’re going to have to pay the price. The Cavs don’t have bigs that can match up with those two. They can still win – but it’s going to be a GRIND. They’ve released the Genie from the Bottle. Gotta let Howard score and lock down on Hedo/Lewis.

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