Wednesday, May 20, 2009

NBA Playoffs, Eastern Conference Finals Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Orlando Magic

Point guard: Mo Williams vs. Rafer Alston
Williams and Alston have one thing in common: they’re inconsistent. Orlando will be Cleveland’s most difficult matchup so far, and it’s important for those teams that both players step up their game, and just make their shots. I know it sounds a bit simplistic, but this is what their respective teams need from them right now. Since the Cavs need slightly more offense from him than the Magic need from Alston, I’m saying: Advantage: Cavaliers.

Shooting guard: Delonte West vs. Courtney Lee
This is easy. I think it’s time to put Courtney Lee back into the starting line-up. But for now: West plays D, passes, rebounds, scores, does everything. A great player in the Cavs’ system. Advantage: Cavaliers.

Small forward: LeBron James vs. Hedo Turkoglu

Turk played great in game 7, but he’s going up against the MVP now. Let’s keep this one short, shall we? Advantage: Cavaliers

Power forward: Anderson Varejao vs. Rashard Lewis

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Lewis play against the Celtics. A true scorer, and seems to be the number one offensive option for the Magic. Varejao is a scrappy defender and a great actor, but he can’t stop Lewis. Advantage: Magic.

Center: Zydrunas Ilgauskas vs. Dwight Howard

Two completely different players. One, a crafty veteran with a deft shooting touch, the other a brute force with unmatched athleticism. Z can lure Howard out of the paint, creating space inside for LeBron to drive, but on the other end, how the hell will Z stop Howard? Advantage: Magic.

Except for Ben Wallace and Joe Smith, I have never been impressed by Cleveland’s bench, but Orlando on the other end has Michael Pietrus, Anthony Johnson, J.J, Redick and Marcin Gortat to give the starters a breather (and sometimes Tony Battie is thrown in there, too). Pietrus can score in bunches, and even finished some of the games against the Celtics. Advantage: Magic.

Coaching: Mike Brown vs. Stan Van Gundy
I’m not a big fan of either, but while watching Orlando battling Boston, I can understand Dwight Howard’s frustrations more and more. There are some decisions when the game is on the line that I simply don’t understand. And while I’m at it: Dwight Howard still doesn’t get enough touches. He only had two 20-point games against the Celtics, and the most shots he got were 16 (Game 6). Advantage: Cavaliers.

What I’d say:
Cavaliers in six. Like I said earlier: I do believe the Magic will cause some trouble, especially with the match-up problems because of Turk, Lewis and Howard, and let’s not forget a decent bench, but the Cavs have been playing at such a high level, Orlando needs more than magic to beat them in a seven-game series. Man, what a lame last sentence. Sorry ‘bout that.


Jameyb said...

what a game 1! watching game 2 now. if Magic win this one, things could get interesting..

-Gerard Himself- said...

yeah, I'm watching Game 2 too. But it's a foul fest so far, which really benefits the Cavs so far. Mo Williams deserved a technical.

Melvin said...

If not for Cleveland taking away game 2, I think the Magic may just have pulled a surprise in this series...

-Gerard Himself- said...

Even though Orlando plays at home tonight, I think it will be a very tough game for the Magic. But I must admit, Orlando has surprised me a lot during these playoffs so far.

Jameyb said...

Orlando almost has to win tonight-I believe that the Cavs were a bit rusty the 1st two games-Orlando had a chance to really put a gap between themselves and Cleveland by going up 2-0 heading home. Now they have to be aware that the Cavs are building momentum again...

-Gerard Himself- said...

that's the thing: momentum. It almost looked like the Cavs were sort of overwhelmed in Game 1. After Game 2? Not so much. I'm looking forward to tonight's game, can't wait.

Jameyb said...

So when do we get a new post Gerard..your fans are waiting!! lol..

-Gerard Himself- said...

Jamey: haha well, the problem is with the playoffs, and especially with only four teams left: the minute you post something, it's outdated. If you write about the Nuggets and the way they are playing, the lose the next night to the Lakers. So I find it hard to squeeze a post in there.... but then again, maybe I shouldn't think so much and just get at it.... stay tuned! ;)