LBJ and Cavs on the Ropes

by May 28, 2009

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?