Orlando goes up 2-1 despite LeBron’s 41

05.25.09 10 years ago 78 Comments

If there was a defining sound from Game 1 of the Cavs/Magic series, it was the crash of the shot clock hitting the basket support after Dwight Howard‘s dunk wrecked Cleveland’s gym. In Game 2, it was the roar of the crowd after LeBron‘s game-winner. What was the defining sound of last night’s Game 3 in Orlando? A whistle. Clearly not interested in that old saying, “Nobody pays to see the refs,” Joey Crawford’s crew sent both teams to the foul line 86 times — with LeBron (18-24 FT) and Dwight (14-19 FT) practically living there — and issued two technicals and one flagrant foul. Fittingly, the team that won the battle of the free throws won the game, as the Magic pulled out a double-digit win to grab a 2-1 series lead … The most controversial play came in the second quarter, when Anthony Johnson drove on Mo Williams and clocked him in the eye with an elbow, drawing a lot of blood and giving Mo an ugly bruise. Johnson was hit with a Flagrant-1, and LeBron later said he thought it was a cheap shot, but we didn’t see any intent to harm on AJ’s part. First of all, unless Johnson was exacting some kind of revenge for Mo throwing the ball at Dwight in Game 2, what would be the point? (Plus it’s not like Dwight’s big ass needs aging PG’s to protect him.) More likely, AJ was just driving reckless and Mo’s face got in the way … You knew the Cavs were in for a rough night on their first possession, when Delonte West and LeBron bricked a pair of threes, and Anderson Varejao missed a jumper on their third-chance opportunity. Rafer Alston (18 pts, 3 stls) hit a couple jumpers to help the Magic get out to an early lead, which they pretty much held throughout. Cleveland got to within four late in the fourth quarter, but in a key sequence right after that, Dwight (24 pts, 9 rebs) went to the line and made two in a row to extend the lead to six, then LeBron (41 pts, 7 rebs, 9 asts) got fouled and missed both of his. A free throw contest ensued, and Mickael Pietrus (16 pts, 6 rebs, 2 stls), Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu made theirs while Cleveland bricked shot after shot from the field and the stripe … For the second time in the series, Courtney Lee caught LeBron with a dunk in transition where LBJ whiffed trying to block him from behind … After the game, when Mo Williams said, “They create so many matchup problems for us. I know it. They know it. Everybody knows it,” do you think Varejao knew Mo was talking about his inability to guard Rashard Lewis, or did somebody have to tell him? … We saw the NBA’s example of a full solar eclipse, when Stan Van Gundy actually had Dwight and Marcin Gortat on the court together. Some of us in the Dime office have been saying for months that SVG should play his two best post players together more often, but throughout the regular season it only happened for a total of 39 minutes, and before last night, The Centaur and The Polish Hammer shared the court in the postseason a grand total of TWO SECONDS. True, putting those two out there means Orlando would only have three guys on the court who can hit a trey instead of four, but the defense/rebounding improves automatically, and with the way this series is going in terms of physical play, it makes sense. Surely we’ll see that lineup more if Orlando advances and has to play the Lakers … Spotted in the crowd: D-Wade, Carlos Boozer, Tiger Woods, Lil’ Wayne and Ray Lewis. Speaking of celebrity sightings, has anybody seen Boobie Gibson lately? Is he still on the Cavs? … We’re out like Boobie …

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