Dwight Howard broke the 24 second clock in the first quarter and later on, with some help from Rashard Lewis especially late in the game, broke the Cavs perfect playoff record, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 107-106, giving the Orlando Magic a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Lebron James scored 49 points but seemed to be limping off the court, probably with some cramps, looking in total disbelief. Cleveland rocketed off to a 33-19 first quarter and holding a 15 point lead at half time. There was a certain point in the first quarter when it seemed the roof was going to be blown off. Joe Smith blocked a shot, setting Lebron loose on the fast break for a monster dunk. Lebron blocked Howard on the other end and hit a three on another counter. The Magic seemed to be falling apart. They didn’t.
They started matching up with Cleveland offensively in the second quarter, and stopped them in the third quarter. It went down to the wire in the end, until Rashard Lewis hit a three with 14 seconds to go and Cleveland missed two shots trying to win the game.
Orlando shot 55% from the field and 59% in the second half, something Mike Brown and the Cavs were clearly unhappy with. The best defense in the league just wasn’t there in the last 24 minutes. Dwight Howard was the one who kept Orlando from crashing in the first half, holding the fort until Rashard Lewis and the bench picked up with him. Howard finished with 30 points and 13 rebounds, but eventually fouled out.
Rashard Lewis scored 22, 17 in the second half, including 3 of 4 from long range. Hedo Turkoglu was so so in his shooting but he dished out 14 assists, playing the point-forward role perfectly. The bench was Orlando’s X-factor over the Cavs, scoring 25 to Cleveland’s 5 (Only Joe Smith scored off the Cavs bench), with Mikael Pietrus scoring 13.
Lebron had the amazing stat line, as expected, 49 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists and the rest of the starting five all scored in double figures but it seemed they were a bit undermanned, getting hardly any help from the bench. Mike Brown needs to see how he gets his bench much more involved in the game or his started will just crash as the series goes on.