We got to see what Antawn Jamison will bring to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Unfortunately, the Orlando Magic reverted to the form we got so used to in the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals as the Cavaliers lost their third straight game, 101-95.
Jamison had 19 points and 8 rebounds, and sparked a second-half surge by putting the first 8 points of the second half through the rim. However, frequent foul trouble plagued the newcomer, as he fouled out in 31 minutes of action. Jamison and Shaquille O'Neal were frequent victims of the whistle as they struggled to defend against Magic center Dwight Howard.
Howard finished the game with 22 points and 16 rebounds. O'Neal had 20 points on 9-of-10 shooting.
LeBron James, despite having a stellar game of 33 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists, failed to deliver down the stretch. He scored only one point in the fourth quarter until he secured a meaningless layup with 12 seconds left.
The final 6 minutes of the game was a nightmare, with nearly everything being thrown at us went in favor of Orlando. During that span, the Magic shot 6-for-6 from the field and 4-for-6 on free throws, turning an 85-80 Cavalier lead into the final score of 101-95. The 21-10 run was an eerie reminder of what ousted the Cavaliers prematurely last year.
But for everything that Orlando did well down the stretch, none of it would have mattered if the Cavaliers could have seen halfway decent play from the guards. Mo Williams, Anthony Parker, Daniel Gibson and Delonte West went a combined 4-for-23 from the field (17 percent) and ended up teaming up for only 15 points in 95 minutes of action.
Orlando started strong and burst out to a quick 7 point lead at the end of the first quarter. The "who is Superman" sidestory began taking shape early with Shaq and Howard battling each other in the paint. Shaq won the battle far more often, but Howard ended up dominating Anderson Varejao when Shaq took his rest periods. The trade for Jamison certainly helped with his production, but the lack of Z as a backup loomed large.
The second stanza was a back-and-forth game which saw the lead grow and shrink from between 3 and 11 points, but it ended the half with Orlando up 6, thanks to an outstanding and-one from LeBron.
Then came Jamison's heroics, with which he easily silenced his critics of Thursday night, followed by the Magic uprising to finish off the day.
Still, the Cavaliers have now seen the first 3-game losing streak of the season, and their first since December of 2007 when they lost 6 straight.
Cleveland returns home Tuesday night to face the New Orleans Hornets at 7pm, and all indications are that Leon Powe will be activated for the game. The Cavs were holding Powe out for one more practice, which will take place tomorrow.