The Cavaliers ran out to large leads in the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals, but on Sunday night in Orlando, they fell behind early and were never able to recover. LeBron James led everyone with 41 points, but there weren’t any late-game heroics in store for the league’s MVP in the Magic Kingdom as the Wine and Gold dropped a physical 99-89 decision to fall behind, 1-2, in their seven-game series against the Magic. Sunday’s game was marked by a procession to the line by both teams, although the Magic made 51 trips to the stripe – canning 39 free throws, 25 by Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu. Both Cavalier big men – Anderson Varejao and Zydrunas Ilgauskas – fouled out in the fourth quarter. Neither Varejao nor Ilgauskas shot well from the floor – combining to go 4-for-12 from the floor. And the Cavaliers didn’t get much relief from their backcourt. The starting combination of Mo Williams and Delonte West went a combined 10-for-26 from the field.
Mo and LeBron combined to go 4-for-18 from beyond the arc, where the Cavaliers shot less than 20 percent as a team. LeBron was 11-for-28 from the floor and 18-of-24 from the line, adding a game-high nine assists and seven boards to go with two steals and a block. Mo came back from taking four stitches to his eye to notch 15 points and West rounded out the Cavaliers and double-figures with a dozen points. “We’re very confident – I know I am as an individual,” reasoned James. “I make sure our team is. We will get ready for Game 4 and play the same intensity basketball that we played tonight. Hopefully a few shots can go in and a few of theirs can come out.” In five career Eastern Conference Finals games at home, LeBron James is now averaging 32.2 on .495 shooting, 8.2 rebounds and 8.0 assists. This postseason, LeBron surpassed Tracy McGrady for fourth on the all-time postseason scoring list at 28.8 ppg. He now trails only Michael Jordan (33.4), Allen Iverson (29.7) and Jerry West (29.1). In 125 minutes of floor time in the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals, James has scored 125 points.
Photos Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE via Getty Images. Photos by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images, Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images, Sam Greenwood/Getty Images.