Welcome to the Playoffs, Cavs

by May 21, 2009

by Marcel Mutoni

There’s an old adage about the postseason, and it goes a little something like this: A series only really starts once the home team loses. Obviously, that’s a whole lot of BS, but for the Cleveland Cavaliers, their postseason truly did begin last night in a lot of ways.

Despite LeBron’s superhuman effort (49, 6 and 8), it was the Orlando Magic — thanks to a barrage of threes, and clutch jumpers — who walked away with the enormous Game 1 win in front of a stunned Cleveland crowd. And just like that, the Cavs’ dominance (and playfulness) throughout these Playoffs came to a screeching halt.

Also gone was their homecourt advantage, as the Plain Dealer explains:

The Cavaliers and LeBron James, it turns out, are human after all. The Cavs got more than they could handle from the Orlando Magic in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. As expected, the Magic provided a demanding test due to their star center, their deep and talented roster and some awesome outside shooting.

What wasn’t expected was what happened to the Cavs when the heat turned up. They melted and broke down. As a result, so did their homecourt advantage. Showing the same poise and execution they displayed in Boston over the weekend, the Magic outlasted the Cavs, 107-106, to score a huge first blow. So the Cavs’ eight-game playoff win streak is over and so is their air of invincibility, against a team whose confidence is only continuing to grow.

“This is the first major adversity we have faced in the playoffs,” Mike Brown said. “I have confidence that we’ll bounce back, we didn’t expect to go undefeated and now we have our work cut out for us.”

The Playoffs are all about fighting through painful losses and making adjustments. Up to this point, Cleveland had only heard about these type of things through their television sets.

The question now is, How will they respond?