Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Orlando Magic Game 3 Preview

Cleveland Cavaliers at Orlando Magic 8:30 PM ET Sunday May 24, 2009 on TNT
By Jason Green at

Since this is a pick-em game both the Magic and the Cavaliers are posted at -110.
This best of 7 series is tied 1-1.
Are you kidding me? The Magic should be up 2-0 in the series, but they let LeBron nail a game winning 3-pointer with 1 second left to lose game 2. How can you let King James, who is clutch as they get and the MVP, to take the game winning shot at home? Oh well, the Magic still have home court advantage in this series and they have to get over the fact that they let game 2 slip through their fingers.

Once again the Cavs let a big lead vanish, as in game 2 they were up by as many as 23 points before allowing the Magic to come back. Dwight Howard was not the focal point of the offense in game 2 and they still almost won. Howard did have a monster game on the boards grabbing 18 rebounds, but he only scored 10 points on 3/8 shooting.

The Cleveland defense was not dominant like it was in the regular season, as in game 2 the Magic shot just under 48% and they shot 43.5% from 3-pont land. The Cavs have to figure out a way to defend Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis, who have torched them so far in this series. Tonight in the Sunshine State the Cavs can regain the home court advantage with a win or if they lose they may be in for an uphill battle in this series.

The Cavs won game 2 96-95 on Friday night with a buzzer beating 3-point bomb from LeBron. King James was also the high scorer for the Cavs in game 2 going for 35 points on 12/23 shooting. For the game the Cavs shot 35/77 for a FG% of 45.5%. The high scorer for the Magic in game 2 was Rashard Lewis going for 23 points on 6/15 shooting including going 4/7 from downtown. For the game the Magic shot 34/71 for a FG% of 47.9%.

This season the Magic ranked 4th in scoring (101 ppg) and the Cavaliers ranked 13th (100.3 ppg). On D the Cavaliers were the best in the league ranking 1st in points allowed (91.3 ppg) and the Magic ranked 6th (94.4 ppg). The Cavaliers were a better team on the boards this year, as they had a rebounding differential of +3.3 rpg and the Magic were at +1.1 rpg.

This season the Magic were an NBA best 49-32-1 ATS and Cavs also solid at 48-33-1. In terms of Over/Under games this season the Magic were 41-40-1 and the Cavs were 37-44-1.

On the injury front neither team is reporting any significant injuries.

The Magic have out-played the Cavs in this series and even though LeBron has been stellar he still need help from his supporting cast. Mo Williams did have 19 points in game 2, but he was only 7/21 from the field and only 1/6 from beyond the 3-point arc. Williams has struggled in both games in Cleveland and he needs to start shooting the rock better, as James can’t do it all himself.

The Cavs have to play better perimeter defense, as the Magic have shot lights out from long range.

The big X factor in this series has been reserve SG Mickael Pietrus, who has buried 3 pointers all series long and the Cavs need to put a body on him and not allow him to have open looks.

The Cavs won the battle of the boards in game 2, as they out-rebounded the Magic 38-30. Zydrunas Ilgauskas was solid in game 2 going for 12 points and grabbing 15 boards. He has to play solid defense again on Howard and rebound well for the Cavs to take the lead in this series.

If the Cavs do not get back to their bread and butter, which is relying on their D, they will lose this game. They have to keep the Magic from shooting a high FG% and not let them bomb away from long range.

If Howard can have a better scoring game and they shoot like they have been in the first 2 games in the series they will win this game.

The pressure is on the Cavs in this game, as they are lucky to be tied at 1-1.