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Thursday, May 28th, 2009 at 10:00 am  |  68 responses

LBJ and Cavs on the Ropes

Cavs still confident, even if fans aren’t.

by Marcel Mutoni

They won a team record 66 games in the regular season, were virtually unbeatable on their home floor, had the MVP and Coach of the Year, and breezed through the first two rounds of the postseason.

For the Cavs and their fans, much of the season played out like a pleasant dream. Things have changed, to say the least, and tonight it could all come crashing down.

Not too many folks in Cleveland expect their team to pull it off, but to a man, the Cavs are all saying the same thing: We can do this, we can win the series.

From the Plain Dealer:

If you think Brown and the Cavs, trailing, 3-1, in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals are ready to make wholesale changes or throw in the towel for Game 5 tonight at The Q, think again.

“I still have confidence and trust in this team,” Mike Brown said. “This team is together. They’re determined. I can’t knock the effort that I’ve gotten. They’ve played extremely hard. Orlando shot the crap out of the ball. This is about as even a series as you could expect. . . . They’ve just made one or two plays down the stretch more than us. I still feel the confidence. I still feel the togetherness. I still feel like we have a chance to win this.”

Added Cavs center Zydrunas Ilgauskas: “If anybody can come out of it, we can. Stick with us. Believe it, because we believe in ourselves.” Cavs forward Ben Wallace, who played on the 2003 Detroit Pistons team that came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat Orlando in the first round, told his teammates after a tough Game¤4 loss in Orlando: “I’ve done this before. We can do this now.”

It will take a monster effort for the Cavs just to win tonight, let alone to somehow come back in this series. And they’ll need their crowd to play a key role. The players sound like they believe, do the fans?

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  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Teams have come back from 3-1 often enough that it wouldn’t be all that shocking. And with two of the three games at home, the Cavs have a good a shot as anyone. That said, the 2003 Magic aren’t a very good example. That team had Tracy McGrady on it.

  • http://www.manutd.com/ Z

    Talk is cheap but it’s a good sign that they aren’t burying their heads in the sand. Orlando is a tough, match up for them. Z can’t guard Dwight on his own and the perimeter guys can’t rotate fast enough to cover the corner 3. Conventional wisdom would lead you to believe that eventually thoses 3s would stop falling. However, there is nothing conventional about this Orlando team. With all that said, eff it! Cavs got Bron. 3 herculean performances are not out of the question.

  • http://www.manutd.com/ Z

    Yeah, that’s wishful thinking and not rational at all. Hey, I’m just a fan!

  • neaorin

    Another fan here, I still believe. I’m not convinced LeBron’s entourage can possibly shoot any worse at this point, yet they had three games go to the final shot. Forget all about history, or Game 6, just go out and win this one.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    I’m cheering for LeBron to play hard, but cheering for the Magic to win the title…

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    LeBron’s just gonna say, “Fu(k it, just gimme the ball and get outta the way.” And scores 108…and they win 112-100.

  • knock knock

    When asked a question about how to win game 6 lebron answered: “If I can clone myself, we’d be alright.”

  • Max

    Moose, the problem is, that’s what Mike Brown and Lebron’s teammates have allowed Lebron to do in the second half of every game this series…and that’s why they’ve lost. Get out of the way and watch Lebron has been a recipe for failure.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    Max, LeBron dumped it off, but his teammates got fouled or didn’t finish. But I hear what you’re saying. I guess I was trying to say what knock knock was saying.

  • http://www.slamonline.com wayno

    I think this would be my favorite upset of all time is Orlando wins…I don’t think Cleveland will lose tonight in Cleveland, so Orlando MUST close it out at home. If it goes to game 7 Cleveland wins.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/fear/ Freedom Fries

    Do the fans? . . . HELL YE – uhhh nah not really.

  • AlbertBarr

    Mike Brown sucks.

  • http://www.ihatelebron.com nate the great

    iv been saying that for awhile Albert. Mike isnt that great of a coach. worst coach of the year ever.
    Haha i really hope Lebron tries to do everything by himself. Cause then they lose =D!
    Orlando in 5.

  • Sparker

    sam mitchell won coach of the year

  • Sparker

    and orlando is looking like the team of destiny

  • http://www.manutd.com/ Z

    His sub patterns are all over the place. Basically, there’s no one on that bench that is guaranteed to touch the floor in any given game. Wally, Sasha, Ben, Joe Smith and Boobie have all racked up DNPs or less than 5 mins in these playoffs.

  • a_whiteman

    Is a #2 seed beating a #1 an upset???

  • Stan

    Ben Wallace was DPOY when they came back 3-1 right? Sad to see that he has not been the same since getting out of Detroit. It’s a stupid question to ask the cavs if they could come back, i’ve never really heard of anyone say that they’re going to lose the next game, ever. Maybe Mo can guarantee on making 6 shots tonight.

  • Sparker

    they’re going to lose the next game

  • http://slamonline.com cb 34

    That’s right! They’re gonna win thursday, They’re gonna win on saturday and they’re gonna win on monday. And everybody’s gonna say what a great series it was.

  • flash

    theyre gonna get to the finals, and david stern’s gonna make sure of that! he’s the puppet master

  • niQ

    when a team has two 6’10 perimeter players. that would present match up problems for anyone.

  • DJR

    You could technically say 3 because Pietrus isn’t that far off Hedo & Lewis. He has been the difference I think this series – when you get to the one and two seeds, LeBron will be LeBron, Dwight will be Dwight, it’s the other players that make the difference. And for me, this series has been Pietrus…everyone is saying how Mo and D-West aren’t hitting anything, but they’re still averaging close to their season averages…Pietrus is more productive than the entire Cavs bench himself. He is playing out of his mind…just wish he stop running down the court like he is on fire after he makes his first three every game…

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    The enemy outnumber us a paltry 3 to 1, good odds for any Cavalier. This day we rescue a world from mysticism and tyranny and usher in a future brighter than anything we can imagine.
    Stan Van Gundy: I see I was wrong to expect Cleveland’s commitment to at least match our own.
    Mike Brown: Doesn’t it?
    [points to Courtney Lee]
    Mike Brown: You there, what is your profession?
    Courtney Lee: I am a rookie… sir.
    Mike Brown: [points to Rafer Alston] And you, Skip, what is your profession?
    Rafer Alston: Street baller, sir.
    Mike Brown: Street baller…
    [turns to Tony Battie]
    Mike Brown: You?
    Tony Battie: Former Cavalier.
    Mike Brown: [turns back shouting] Cavaliers! What is your profession?
    Cavaliers: HA-OOH! HA-OOH! HA-OOH!
    Mike Brown: [turning to Stan Van Gundy] You see, old friend? I brought more soldiers than you did.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    ^Sweet.^

  • http://sdklf.com Jukai

    DJR: They’re averaging close to their season averages with a shooting percentage FAR lower than their season average. Try looking at the entire box score.

  • http://www.slamonline.com wayno

    Maybe if the Cavs work on another “awesome” pre-game dance routine they’ll win game 5…

  • rabn21

    @cb 34 loved than line from Westphal!!!

  • J-rell

    Mike Brown is the worst!his defensive matchups dont make sense at all!and y do they leave 3 point shooters open?there is no need to double d12 at all!he cant beat u by himself!and lebron should be guarding hedo or rashard!he’s def not the real mvp!!!

  • http://slamonline.com cb 34

    Exactly! I was waiting for someone to remember the westphal guarantee. Good call rabn21.

  • rabn21

    Anybody else scared of how tonight is going to be officiated?

  • Babygab

    I love the Cavs but, hey ! 3-1 ? I got the feeling that tonight’s game is still gonna be a close one. That was actually the problem of this entire series. Down the stretch with a tight score the magics were just better. The Cavs need to take an early control of the game taking a big lead, lets say in the 2nd or 3rd quarter, and then keep the pressure on Orlando not allowing them to come back, by getting stops and by keeping their scoring up. The Nuggets have exactly the same problem with the Lake Show. In a tight situation the Lakers and the Magics have just been better !!! So Mike Brown and coach Karl better find a solution because I’m getting pissed to see the same script go down again and again !!!

  • Mitch

    Anton FTW!!!

  • Jackie Moon

    Russ – you’ll love the whowins.com site. It shows the historical probabilities of winning and losing based solely on past examples in the same situation (win and loss order in a series, and Site order in a series). For example, for teams that have won-lost-won-won at visitor-visitor-home-home, such as the Magic have done, in the past those NBA teams have won Game 5 at the visitors only 25% of the time (7 wins, 21 losses), and they’ve won the whole series 86% of the time. So the Cavs still hold a 14% chance of pulling out the series, if history means anything (it may or may not, but you got anything better?) and that’s more than once out of 10 tries, so it’s unlikely, but not impossible! There’s a reason they play the games!

  • niQ

    well, if the cavs can actually crawl out of this hole, then they should definitely make a commercial with the script from Anton xD haha

  • messofelegance

    no chance. Kobe would never let this happen.

  • tealish

    Hey, maybe if the Magic win tonight they might get into the Latest Features section on SLAMOnline or will we see a “LeBron did all he could” piece?
    I’m just playing, SLAM.

  • http://slamonline.com John D

    I’m willing to bet the officiating is gonna make me throw up tonight.

  • BigMoney

    Why is this considered an upset? Is it cause everyone is all over Lebron? As far as I can remember Orlando is a great team and dwight howard is arguably the most dominant big man in the nba right now.

  • matt d

    It ends tonight.

  • http://http//www.youtube.com The Promise

    I say Orlando loses this game, but closes it out at home in game 6.

  • Flight

    Cavs in 7. Why we’re all witness’!!

  • boogster

    hey, why do you guys keep talking about cleveland, not to mention cavs themselves like to bragg, excessivly. the magic is clearly being the better team. and they need some attention. there are many kings and no body likes them. whereas there is only one superman whom everybody likes. C’MON SUPERMAN, DETHRONE THE KING, except he has none.

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    who do? HEDO!!!!!!! the magic have 3 players that there is no matchup for. everyone is handing lebron the keys to the league, dwight says not so fast

  • http://twitter.com/TH3_R3AL_CHRIS Young Chris MP3

    If the Magic can’t close tonight or Sunday, they are in trouble. But I’m hoping it ends now.

  • http://www.slamonline.com wayno

    LeBron ain’t a king until he gets his crown…This is an upset because EVERYONE thought the Cavs would kill Orlando, seeding doesn’t make a difference.

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    for those without the luxury of cable and stuck with horrible streams from justin tv, check USTREAM.TV out. There’s a livestream (from AndyR) of Cavs-Magic game 5 right now, which is crisp, has no lag and good sound. You are welcome.

  • http://www.galatasaray.org madamerica

    Orlando is spotting the Cavs points so that games will be interesting. This is humiliating for the Cavs.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    rabn21 Posted: May.28 at 1:12 pm
    Anybody else scared of how tonight is going to be officiated?
    ________________________________________________
    The refs?

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Hedo Turkoglu is the Orlando’s best player.

  • youngmuggsy

    I wish the refs would keep an eye on Lebron’s pivot foot. He should have about 5-6 travelling violations in the second half alone.

  • riggs

    why are they still trying to give lebron the game?!?

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Ahhh, there’s the rumoured “help” Lebron’s been asking for all series long. See, Mo? No guarantee crap, and your stroke reappears. Good long range shooting, man. Good thing Iglauskas was lively too, that flush he had in the second quarter was the first Dunk i’ve seen him attempt in months. and there was a BOOBIE sighting too. LBJ had a solid game (HA!! understate much?) and Sideshow keeps being intent on doing stupid stuff than playing for real. What’s up with the brazilian ballers this postseason.. Nene is crapping his pants on the left coast and Anderson keeps trying to get Dwight his 6th technical by provoking him and still doing stuff after the call’s been made. Childish.

  • http://slamonline.com cb 34

    Dark: Not childish at all. He can’t match up with dwight mano y mano. Andy is just trying to get any edge. Rodman did it constantly. Artest was doing the same thing up to two seasons ago. If he manages to get the technicals on dwight. Who’s to say it wasn’t effective?

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    Darksaber: Z had a sweet slow-motion dunk against the Hawks, it felt like it took 2 minutes haha

  • Nawlins Realest.

    Darksaber, what is this boobie sighting you talk about??

  • thegman8

    know what you get when you turn 23 around? triple double. all the time. all the time.

  • http://Www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    haha @ gman. So on point. They need pumping out new MVPuppets episodes before the constant airings start irritating humankind.

  • http://Www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    1st: thanks guys for reading my comment and mentioning stuff in it. First time 3 people in a row have done that, kinda cool.
    @cb34: Rodman was the king of agitators, but he more often than not used physical intimidation and incredible Defense to get under the skin of opposing SF’s-C’s. Although he headbutted a ref once, and was very theatrical when he flopped, can’t remember Worm yapping away at refs after EVERY call, or using that pained facial expression Sideshow always does.
    @Anton: haha, indeed. I nearly spilled my coffee when Z bolted to the hoop and jammed it.
    @Nawlins: i said that cause Gibson finally contributed in game 5. You know his nickname, right?

  • http://gmail.com KB24

    mike brown is not the coach oh the year…. lebron james is… lebron did everything for that team. they only reason they are down 3-1 is because mike brown doesnt know how to close games and lebron cant do everything…

  • BostonBaller

    boo hoo Let the excuses begin. The obese lady has sung

  • BostonBaller

    Gone Fish’n, LeBron must of been in a hurry since he got dressed and left the building w/out speaking to the media. Every other star on the other losing teams spoke. hhhmmmm

  • Jackie Moon

    Start spreading the news, Im leaving today
    I want to be a part of it – new york, new york
    These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray
    Right through the very heart of it – new york, new york

    I wanna wake up in a city, that doesnt sleep
    And find Im king of the hill – top of the heap

    These little town blues, are melting away
    Ill make a brand new start of it – in old new york
    If I can make it there, Ill make it anywhere
    Its up to you – new york, new york

  • http://groups.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=groups.groupProfile&groupID=104091021&Mytoken=DDF795E1-BAA9-4AA4-A658D26EF5D70607132654176 clapzilla

    Stay Classy, Queen James.

  • Scruffz

    uhhh, ok? How can Mike Brown close out a game when he isn’t on the floor? Regardless of what kind of play he might draw up, the players have to execute.

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Well, the “script” for the next MVPuppets skit should be hilarious. And we thought the 3 rings one was funny? Wait till Nike shows us a depressed, gloomy Lebron in a sitting in the living room watching re-runs of the finals, when Kobe get’s home and rubs it in, and we then see a half open fed-ex box on the floor…with a Knicks #23 in it!

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    What an inglorious exit from one of the game’s major ambassadors. Dude was HEATED! Betcha Cleveland fans are scared stiff.

  • http://www.slamonline.com potapenko

    Let’s see here.. Delonte West, Mo Williams, Slow-gunas Ilgauskas, Ben Wallace? Hmmmmm…. Carlos Boozer, Darius Miles, Desagana Diop, Chris Mihm, Ricky Davis… That’s All I can say!!!!!!!!!!

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