Dwight Howard puts up 40-14, sets up Magic/Lakers NBA Finals

05.31.09 10 years ago 139 Comments

Sometime during the third quarter, after Hedo Turkoglu banged home another three to fatten Orlando’s already comfortable lead, Marv Albert shouted: “It’s a three-point FESTIVAL!” The Magic didn’t just get a lot of threes in last night’s Game 6 series clincher over the Cavs — they got a lot of wide open threes, and made them at a clip that put Cleveland’s defense in a pick-your-poison impossible position: Either give up open treys, or let Dwight Howard go 1-on-1 with a rotating cast of dudes (Big Z, Varejao, Wallace) who can’t guard him. The Cavs had no answer as Orlando cruised to the NBA Finals, where they’ll begin against the Lakers in L.A. on Thursday … Dwight (40 pts, 14 rebs) was absolutely unstoppable in the first half, as the Magic built an 18-point lead at the break. They led by 16 after three quarters, and a 9-0 run to open the fourth pretty much ended it. With five minutes left, TNT started with the Sad Faces Montage on the Cavs bench — a stark contrast from the giddy, rowdy bunch we’ve seen all season — and with 1:50 left, the door was officially slammed shut thanks to the obligatory Cleveland Sports Disappointment photo reel … Like the Nuggets the other night, the Cavs just wilted as the game went on. They showed the most life during an 8-0 run to open the second half, but whenver they seemed to be thinking of gathering some momentum, somebody on the other side would hit a three, or Dwight would get a dunk or an and-one. And maybe it was just us, but it seemed like the Cavs threw up at least 6-7 airballs during the game. LeBron was missing threes by a mile, Mo Williams was catching oxygen on fadeaways, and even Wally Szczerbiak put up a 15-footer than traveled 13 feet … Overall, LeBron (25 pts, 7 rebs, 7 asts) just never seemed into it after his big first quarter, and by the time it became clear where the game was going, he was relegated to hoisting harmless jumpers off the high screen. Credit also goes to Mickael Pietrus, who according to Reggie Miller did the “best humanly job possible” defending LeBron (8-20 FG, 7-11 FT) … You have to wonder if ‘Bron eventually became resigned to the fact that his team wasn’t coming back from down 3-1, he just really didn’t want to eat that season-ending loss on his home floor. Do you have a problem with LBJ high-tailing it off the court as soon as the final buzzer sounded and not acknowledging anyone? We’re not sure if he was just following the rest of the team, but we did see Delonte West (22 pts) out there showing love to Jameer Nelson and Dwight (12-16 FT). And as the TNT broadcast went off the air, Pimpin’ Craig reported that, after addressing the Cavs in the locker room, LeBron no-showed the mandatory post-game press conference … Do you all realize what this means now? RAFER ALSTON is going to be the starting point guard of an NBA Finals team. Ask anybody who watched Skip coming up at the park in Queens, anybody who saw him at Fresno State, or anybody who remembers the whole Toronto debacle with him and Sam Mitchell, and NOBODY would have predicted this a few years ago … Does this also mean the Magic got their money’s worth when they signed Rashard Lewis (18 pts, 8 rebs) to that monster contract a couple summers ago? … Since every story line involving the Lakers and Magic is going to be picked apart and rehashed over and over again this week, hopefully somebody will delve into the true origins of Dwight’s “Superman” nickname. It’s gonna be like that Dave Chappelle bit where he talks about people figuring out what “skeet skeet skeet” means … Having Oscar Robertson present the Magic with the conference championship trophy was kind of random — perhaps the Big O owns a house down there — but this much is clear: Oscar could still give somebody like J.J. Redick buckets right now. Like wearing a suit and loafers and everything … If you haven’t heard by now, the Sixers hired Eddie Jordan as their next head coach. That’s a good move if you ask us. Jordan got a raw deal in Washington, getting fired early this season even though he can’t control the team getting killed by injuries. And remember that before Gilbert Arenas‘ knee destroyed the Wizards ’08-09 season, Jordan had taken them to the playoffs four years in a row. With Elton Brand coming back healthy in Philly next season, they’ll be automatically better under Jordan … We’re out like King James …

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