Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Place An Ad | Warren Homecoming | All Access E-Edition | Home RSS

No illusion; Magic just better

May 31, 2009
By ED PUSKAS Tribune Chronicle Sports Editor

So it turned out, after all, the Cavaliers' victory in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals was just a delay of the inevitable.

After watching Game 6 on Saturday night, most Cavaliers fans probably wished the series had ended two nights earlier, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers, as they did in three other games in Orlando in the series and two during the regular season, didn't really show up.

Oh, they were there in uniform. But unlike the Magic, who never met a deficit they couldn't overcome in the series, the Cavaliers had nothing left after a brief 8-0 run early in the second half to get within 11 points.

What a disappointing way to end what had been the NBA's feel-good story of the year.

LeBron James apparently was so upset, according to an Associated Press report late Saturday night, that he put on his headphones and walked out of Amway Arena without a word to the media.

If James had anything to say to his teammates, it probably made for an interesting postgame chat. James did everything short of physically turning into Michael Jordan against Orlando, and simply didn't get much help from those teammates.

You have to wonder, after the way it ended, if James is ready to storm out of Cleveland when his contract is up, just as he reportedly stormed out of the arena.

James wants desperately to win, but Orlando's convincing victory should serve as proof the Cavaliers don't have enough complementary talent to win a title. It should be an interesting summer in Cleveland. Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and general manager Danny Ferry are going to have to re-tool the team.

The popular theory was that wasn't going to be necessary. Mo Williams was supposed to be the go-to guy after James, but he was too hot-and-cold when Orlando's Dwight Howard and the Magic's sharpshooters ratcheted up the playoff pressure.

Williams and the Cavaliers' other complementary options didn't make enough big shots and were either too old, too slow or too injured - or all those things - to provide defensive stops when necessary.

The Cavaliers won 66 regular-season games and crushed Detroit and Atlanta in their first two playoff series, but the Magic was the better team.

That's why this loss doesn't seem to have the sting of all the bitter Cleveland defeats to which it was already being compared before Orlando finished it. It was bitter, but there was no heartbreak by late Saturday night, as the Magic partied for most of the fourth quarter.

There was just the realization that these Cavaliers weren't good enough.

James probably realized that at some point during the series, but he couldn't say it. But his departure from the arena spoke volumes.



I am looking for: