The Cleveland Cavaliers were down 2 with seconds remaining. Cavalier Nation was in panic mode, thousands certainly afraid to look at their televisions, thousands more certainly on the brink of tears. But this time, a miracolous buzzer beating shot would be more difficult. The Orlando Magic had learned their lesson after letting LeBron James squirt free for a game-winning 3-pointer in Game 2. This time, they put two defenders on him. This time, it seemed like he wouldn’t even get the ball. This time his 38-footer didn’t contain a miracle. This time, there would be no talk of history, no talk of exorcising demons of seasons past. This time, James could not save the Cavs. He hit an absolutely sick 3-pointer from in front of the Orlando bench as his momentum was carrying him out of bounds with 4.1 seconds left, making it a one-point game, but his special powers dried up at the end as his last-gasp shot from just inside midcourt, near the scorer’s table, was off-target.
Dwight Howard scored 10 points in overtime and Orlando, raining down 3-pointers like a Florida thunderstorm, withstood 44 points and the last-second fling by James for a 116-114 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night to take a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference finals. In the 62-year history of the NBA, 190 teams have taken a 3-1 lead in a playoff series. One hundred, eighty-two of them, or 95.6 percent, have won. Even in a series when James has set a conference finals record for points scored through the first four games with 169 (averging 42.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists), he can’t always make the right play — or hit the huge shot. LeBron James has now scored at least 25 points in 15 straight postseason games – (dating back to last postseason) – easily surpassing 13-game streaks by Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal in 2002-03. The last player with a 14-game streak was Michael Jordan in 1992-93. Through the first four games of the Eastern Conference Finals, LeBron is averaging 42.2 points per contest. In 58 career postseason games, the young King has tallied 29.3 ppg – surpassing Jerry West for the third-highest playoff average of all-time.
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