This isn't a post about cockiness, or being a homer. I'm a Cavaliers fan, which is obvious since I run a Cavaliers fan site. I consider myself a realist, however, in everything I do. I try not to get to high or too low in life, especially about my sports. Perhaps its because I have young children.
Before, if one of my teams lost, I could yell combinations of vulgarity never heard of, or throw the cat. My 5 and 2 year old daughters appreciate the cat flying across the room, my wife wouldn't like the profanity. So I have learned to internalize, and this blog, of course, is great therapy for me. I can get everything off my chest right here, instead of yelling at her about it, or sitting up all night festering.
By now you are wondering where the hell I am going with this. I just wanted to give you a little background on me. I don;t drink the kool-aid all the time, and I can be critical. It's called tough love, and we all need it sometimes.
What the Cavs have in front of them is the hardest task they've seen. After 5 games, there aren't going to be any miracle adjustments, no secret formula to fix the Cavaliers' vulnerabilities that have been exposed. I'm not a huge stats guy, either. Sure, they tell some of the story, but numbers can be presented in any way'd I'd like to suppoprt a certain argument. No, the most important stat is the most basic - the final score, and through 5 games, the two teams are seperated by 2 whole points.
Tonight is going to come down to execution and efficiency. Like the first 5 games, expect the Cavs to look good at times tonight, and expect them to look awful. It's been the case the entire series and will be that way tonight. They are going to struggle at times with Dwight Howard, and Orlando's perimeter players are going to get open looks. Just expect it to happen.
Now that you know I am a realist, and you know exactly what to expect tonight - a close game, that will come down to the 4th quarter, let's get to how I feel heading towards tip-off. I feel great. I feel confident. I feel like the Cavaliers are going to be ready and that the best player on the planet will find a way to get the job done.
LeBron James, like all generational players, were born and bred, from day 1, for these moments. They aren't like us normal folks. Tiger, Jordan, LeBron - they all have that certain something, an innate ability to always be bigger than the moment. Few have it. Orlando has some great players, but do any of them have 'IT'?
Before the flaming starts, I'm not saying Dwight Howard doesn't, or that Rashard Lewis or Hedo don't either. I can say LeBron does, and we've seen it in action. Game 5 the other night, Game 5 against Detroit, at the Palace, in 2007. LeBron James fines a way when the way is needed the most.
There will come a time tonight when a play will need to be made. A big shot, a huge free throw, maybe just a loose ball or rebound. Who makes that play will possibly, in large part, decide the game. Credit the Magic, they have made most of those plays this series, until the 4th quarter of Game 5. A shift in momentum? Maybe.
Could the fact the Orlando has had to play 5 more games than the Cavaliers starting to take its toll? Possibly. I know that those jump shots start coming up a little bit short when the legs get a little tired. If the layoff hurt the Cavaliers early in the series, the length of the series, and the intensity, could start to wear on the Magic a little bit.
All I know is I feel as good about the Cavaliers as I have the entire series. Yes, they blew a big lead on Thursday. Orlando came back from 22 down to lead by 8 in the 3rd quarter. Unlike the other games, however, the Cavaliers took the Magic's shot and hit back. They won going away. They won as a team.
No matter what happens tonight, I'm proud of the Wine and Gold and proud to be a fan. I'm not guaranteeing a win, or taking the Magic lightly. The Cavs have had a look in their eye since Game #1 when they watched Boston get their rings and raise their banner. That lit a fire that is still burning bright. Put all of that together and I say we'll be talking about a Game 7 come tomorrow morning.