I think the conversations about whether the Orlando Magic can finish can be put to bed. We also are well aware that the Eastern Conference Finals are likely to go the distance. That all said, we now have seen three games where the Cavaliers have some serious questions to answer.
Tonight's game was once again sloppy, filled with needless whistles and lacking of any kind of rhythm. I never blame officiating, and I won't tonight, but for the record, to all the Magic fans that think the Cavaliers get the benefit of the calls, the foul disparity tonight was 34-23, the disparity from the free throw line 51-33. I think the numbers kill your case.
As for the game itself, Dwight Howard was dominant, but also got himself into foul trouble again. That is why this game is so troubling to me. With Dwight Howard on the bench for most of the first half, only playing a total of 28 minutes, the Cavaliers took 25 threes. The Magic took only 17. That should never happen. Remember, the Magic is the team filled with three-point shooters. The Cavs game is drive and kick, and sure, the three ball is part of it but it cannot be the main ingredient.
Mo Williams and Delonte West struggled once again from the field, and it is obvious that the Magic defense, specifically the size of the Magic backcourt, is really giving the Cavaliers trouble. West and Williams combined to go 10-27 from the field, a continuation of what we saw through Games 1 and 2.
It looked as though Mo was going to get his shot back until he was bloodied by an elbow from Anthony Johnson. Johnson was levied a flagrant-1. It didn't appear to be on purpose, but it seemed to have a lasting effect on Mo.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas has also been a non-factor, and his shot selection, going 0-3 from behind the arc, is simply unacceptable.
As for LeBron, there is little more he can do to carry the Cavs. Tonight was the night James struggled from the field, going 11-27. He was able to go to the free throw line 24 times, hitting 18(75%), but his 5 misses in the 4th quarter were crucial in a series where every point has counted.
Conversely, Dwight Howard was able to hit his free throws, going 14-19.
The Magic now lead the series 2-1. Game 4 is Tuesday Night from Orlando. The only real must-win game comes after three losses, but for Cleveland, getting Game 4 to take home court away from Orlando is huge.
It's a race to 4 wins, and the Magic are half way there. Something tells me this series is far from over, but the Cavaliers need to get some of their mojo back. During the Mike Brown era, that mojo has come from the defensive side of the floor.