Friday, May 29, 2009

Living to fight another day

The Cavs accomplished part one of their three-step comeback plan last night with their 112-102 (highlights) victory in Game 5 over the Magic. LeBron put up a ridiculous triple-double line of 37/14/12 in 45 minutes. And finally he got some much-needed help from Mo, who chipped in 24 points, including 6 from deeeeeeep in the Q. Other key contributiouns came from Boobie (11 points), Z (16 points), and Andy, who put up a mind-boggling +24 on the night in just 28 minutes of action. Delonte was of course his usual versatile self with 13 points and his constant energy on defense. Of immediate concern with him is the fact that he suffered a hip pointer late in the game. Let's hope that doesn't linger for Game 6, although I have a feeling he'd be playing with a broken leg tomorrow night if he had to...

What bothers me after this game is not so much that the Cavs blew another big lead (this time a 22-point first quarter advantage), but rather the fact that no one seems to remember that they managed to shake off Orlando's comeback and close out the game the right way. A lot of teams that watch a 22-point lead evaporate and become an 8-point deficit would just pack it in, especially down 3-1 in a series. But the Cavs fought back and made this a series again and shifted the pressure back onto the shoulders of the Magic. Orlando makes runs, it's just how they play. But the important thing is having the ability to counter those runs and not panic. The Cavs were able to do that last night.

LBJ and the Cavs look to force Game 7 with a win tomorrow night

There are still some things that need to be tightened up defensively. The way the Magic were able to waltz into the paint for much of the second quarter was troubling. It certainly led to Ben Wallace's staggering -19 for the game (in just 16 minutes). And watching Z and Andy nearly foul out of every game is getting a bit old. I know that Howard is a load in the paint (swinging elbows and all), but the Cavs need to find a way to get Joe Smith on the floor for more than 3 minutes. The fouls need to be spread around among our big guys because having Andy sit for nearly half the game is a recipe for disaster in this Cavs fan's opinion. And maybe the Delonte hip injury will be a blessing in disguise in that it forces Mike Brown to keep LeBron on Turkoglu for the entire game, while switching Delonte onto Alston.

So what can we expect in Game 6? I don't know, but I do know that this is probably the biggest game in the history of this franchise. I know we went to the Finals in 2007, but did anyone realistically expect the Cavs to walk away as champs then? They have a chance to earn real redemption tomorrow night in Orlando. It is basically a must-win for Orlando and already a can't-lose for the Cavs. I expect it to come down to the wire again, I just hope my heart can still take this abuse. Come on Cavs, be ready. I expect to see you again Monday night at the Q.