One second is an eternity to LeBron James. “For me, a second is a long time for me,” James said. “You know, for others it is very short.” James shocked the basketball world with his 25-foot buzzer-beater in the Cavaliers’ 96-95 victory over Orlando in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals. LeBron James is mobbed by his Cavs teammates after hitting the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against Orlando. He said it felt like when he was a kid shooting in his backyard. “You practice those kinds of moments as a kid,” James said. “As a basketball player, you are sitting in your backyard (or) you are in the gym and you are five, four, three, two, one (buzzer sound). “You don’t have to be in the NBA to know what I’m talking about. Everybody knows those types of moments. To hit a shot like that at the buzzer at home … wow.” Wow is right. Many likened it to Michael Jordan’s “Shot,” which has lived in infamy in Cleveland since he knocked the Cavs out of the 1989 playoffs at the Richfield Coliseum. Many are predicting it’s a shot for the ages. “That’s a shot that you will see for a long time,” James said. “You watch classic games and you see Jordan hit game-winners and you go all the way back, Jerry West hitting game-winners, and Magic Johnson going across the lane and hitting the jump hook against Boston. “It was like watching a movie,” Magic center Dwight Howard said. “He’s the MVP of the league. That’s what he does best.” The 20,562 went absolutely crazy.
So how did the play develop? Well, first off, Cavs Head Coach Mike Brown said, “That’s not what we drew up.” The Cavs wanted to lob the ball to the rim for James to catch for a layup or dunk. That was Option A, an end-of-game play used Feb. 10 at Indiana. But if that wasn’t there, Williams still knew where the ball would end up. “Option B was LeBron. Option C was LeBron. Option D was ?Big Game James,’ ” Williams said. “And that was Option D that you saw.” When the teams huddled during the timeout before the shot, Orlando Head Coach Stan Van Gundy’s mind quickly flashed back to Cavs game tape he’d seen from Feb. 10. “They were looking for the back-door lob to LeBron, same play they ran (at Indiana just before the All-Star break),” Van Gundy said. “… I’ve seen that play. I’ve seen it in one of the craziest games I’ve ever seen in that game with Indiana, back-to-back fouls on guys going for the lob.” That night, questionable foul calls both ways resulted in James’ tying the game on two free throws with four-tenths of a second left before Indiana’s Danny Granger won it with a free throw with a tenth of a second left. Sold on the fact the Cavs were running that again, Van Gundy sent out a defense designed to stop it. “You know, Stan was in our huddle,” Brown joked. “That’s exactly right. We were going for the lob.” Magic defender Hedo Turkoglu instantly reacted when James made what looked to be the start of a cut to the rim from the right side of the paint. “I just jumped in front of him, and he stepped back,” Turkoglu said. By Turkoglu committing himself to stop the lob, James saw he could retreat to the top of the key and get the separation needed to shoot a jumper. James told Williams before the play, “Whatever it takes from me, I’m going to come get the ball.” Van Gundy blames himself for not defending the play differently. He didn’t say what changes he might have made. “It may come up again, so we are not getting into that.” He probably wished he left better help for Turkoglu at the top of the key to prevent James from getting a relatively clean look at the hoop. What Van Gundy didn’t second guess was the decision to put the 6-foot-10 Turkoglu on the 6-8 James. “You really think another guy would have blocked that?” James got incredible lift on the shot. He was well above Turkoglu and a hard-charging Rashard Lewis, who’s also 6-10, when he released with six-tenths of a second left. “And, man, it was crazy watching the ball when he threw it up,” Magic center Dwight Howard said. “It was like watching a movie. The ball was just spinning. It was like watching a real movie.” The Cavs, of course, weren’t surprised. “I kind of expected it, because that’s what he does,” Cavs guard-forward Sasha Pavlovic said. “He makes all kinds of shots in practices.” The little kid in James has never gone away. He’s still hoisting up shots in practice, before practice, after practice ? always imagining it as a game-winner from whatever distance or angle he shoots it. “I’m catching, shooting things that may not happen in a game,” James said, “but, you know, it happened tonight.” Source: News Herald, CantonRep.