NBA, Playoff Blogger Faceoff / May 20, 2009 / 5:59 pm

NBA Playoff Blogger Faceoff: Cavs vs. Magic

Welcome to our first ever NBA Playoff Blogger Faceoff, where we pit our favorite team-related writers against each other to let them tell why the teams they represent will win their first round matchups. We gave them no set format, no style guide – we just told them to do their thing. Check it out and join in the debate in the comments section.

Next up: Cleveland vs. Orlando
Written by Cleveland Frowns

The Playoffs finally start for the Cavaliers tonight.

After breezing through the Pistons and the Hawks the Cavs finally face a squad that could give them a series. In theory. In theory, Orlando presents a difficult matchup for the Cavs, who’ve had trouble defending dominant bigs like Howard and long athletic shooters like Hedo and Rashard Lewis. And that’s how it played out in the regular season, with the Magic being one of only two teams to take the season series from the Cavs.

But the Playoffs are different. And the Cavs have the real Superman. On and off the court, LeBron leads his team like nobody else in today’s NBA. He might as well be Coach. There’s no measure of LeBron’s value, but we can be sure that thanks to him, the rest of the Cavaliers are greater than the sum of their parts.

This leadership and focus is what Orlando lacks, and why they will lose to the Cavs despite having what is likely a more talent-laden roster, top-to-bottom. It would be a mistake to read too much into the Magic beating a broken-down Celtics team that was counting on Glen Davis to hit game winners for them. It would be a mistake to read too much into the Magic winning Game 7 in Boston. There should not have been a Game 7. Or a Game 6.

If you don’t believe us, ask Vegas. They’ve installed the Cavs as 8-1 favorites to win this series. Ask yourself why, if Orlando took two of three from the Cavs and gave them their worst beating of the season, would Vegas be practically begging you to bet on them?

Probably because they know something.

Maybe what they know has something to do with the fact that the Cavs have played roughly half the games that the Magic have so far this postseason? Before the Hawks series we worried that the long layoff would hurt the Cavs — that they would come out rusty. We suppose this was based on the idea that “no man needs a vacation so much as the man who just had one.” But the Cavs weren’t on vacation. They were practicing every day, biding their time, carefully planning the disposition of their next victim, eating home cooked meals, and sleeping in their own hyperbaric chambers, resting their legs juuust enough . . . but not too much. By the time the games started again, LeBron was jumping out of the gym.

See you in the Finals. We’ll face our demons there, Cleveland-style. LeBron vs. the Curse of Chief Wahoo. A truly epic clash.

Cavs in 5. 6 at the most.

By Eddy Rivera of Third Quarter Collapse

It’s going to be really hard.

But I don’t believe that the Cavs are going to romp over the Magic. Orlando matches up very well with Cleveland. Obviously Cleveland’s success thus far in the playoffs has been impressive. But take into account the level of competition they’ve been facing.

Get with this: Orlando matches up really well against Cleveland. They actually can stop the Cavs – at least those guys not named LeBron. To suggest they can’t do it is not fair to the Magic.

A lot of people around here are getting really excited by the past success Orlando has had against Cleveland. We can’t take that too seriously – it was the regular season. The main reason why Orlando has had success against Cleveland is because they’re one of the very few teams that can slow LeBron down a little bit. When he gets in the lane, he sets his sights on the Defensive Player of the Year. That’s intimidating even to LeBron. If Dwight gets in foul trouble, it will be open season for LeBron. LeBron will attack Dwight in the paint. But as Dwight has proven against everyone in the League, he can protect the rim.

Mo Williams and Big Z really struggle defending the pick-and-roll. Rafer and Dwight will definitely exploit that. While Hedo struggles with LeBron, we’ll rely on Rafer and Dwight to get easy baskets off of the pick-and-roll. Rashard has a chance to have a very big series. Anderson Varejao won’t be able to really stop him. I think there are a number of players who also have matchup advantages.

I like Pietrus a lot. My problem was that he was inconsistent during the regular season, so it prevented him to build momentum. Now, he’s peaking at the right time. He’ll be an X factor. He can try to body up LeBron. And offensively, he isn’t gun shy. He has a little bit of a swagger to him. I think that makes him a key cog in the series. If you look back during the regular season, his minutes were up when the Magic played the Cavs.

If Orlando wins one of the two games at the Q, they’ve got a chance. If not, kiss it goodbye. The Magic can beat Cleveland – they’re the best team in the East to do it. I don’t know that they will, but they’ll definitely put up a fight.

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  • Yoooo

    Damn money didnt give Orlando much of a shot. Im sure you werent on anybodys debate team

  • ponky_alolor

    for lebron and dwight, this is leadership time. put up or shut up. just like game 1 of kobe vs melo.

    go cavs.

  • knock knock

    umm you talk about how this is one of the few teams that intimidate lebron?? lmao ALL THE GOOD TEAMS INTIMIDATE LEBRON. that’s why his teams fade away against all elite teams. im calling a win on orlando– mark it down

    *unless lebron gets more than 15+ freethrows. that’s ridiculous specially when they’re all ticky tacky fouls. PRODUCT OF NBA.

  • goonther

    dwight never guards big z actually. he stays on andy v so big z doesnt draw him out of the paint. watch the games …

  • ponky_alolor

    knock knock, u make it sound as if bron doesnt have any game. i do get ur point, it’s just that kobe wade bron use their star status to get calls and get wins. soon enough dwight gets his. so yeah, bron is THE product of the nba, yeah he knows that and he’s using that to his advantage.

  • ponky_alolor

    @ goonther, yup that`s how magic load up on bron. if cavs adjust to this they r fine. if not, its a tough series.

  • Taj

    Although these guys matchup very well with each other, I see Cleveland definately coming out of this one. They haven’t been tested in this years playoff so it’ll be interesting to see how they respond. How will Orlando guard LBJ?? Pietrus has potential to stay with him, but LBJ is too strong and would eat him up in the post. Should be interesting to see which squads gunslingers get the advantage.

  • soccerkimchi

    lol howard just broke the shotclock and overhead cam on his first dunk

  • MAPP

    Funniest part about Dwight pulling down the shot clock: while they were fixing it, Craig Sager was discussing how they would wait til after halftime to put it back up, and how for the time being they just wanted to make it safe for the players. And right after he said it, the whole thing practically crashed to the ground behind him haha.

    Cavs in 5. They’re up double digits rite now and LeBron hasn’t even started trying.

  • QQ

    It’s all about the matchups, and as the blogger says (who I doubt is a Magic fan the way he ‘defended’ the Magic’), Orlando match up VERY well with the Cavs. The Cavs are a great team, but if we can exploit their weaknesses in matching up with us, we will beat them.

    PS: Damn. Right now, we are down by 12. My Magic are getting beat by the best player in the NBA: Referee McReferee.

  • liukz

    hahaha we are already beating the magic and yes im gonna say it : referees are helping us big time ,Lebron can do whatever he wants hahaha i know orlando fans are hating it hahaha. But man thats the way it is ,it was wade, but Lebron is nba’s darling now
    Deal with that! GO CAVS…

  • ponky_alolor

    great dunk by dwight, did a young shaq and destroyed the ring (shot clock). He’s balling no doubt. 18 points. halftime.

    bron 1st half: 26 points with 4 rebounds and 3 dimes for change. 16 points from mid-range out. That’s coming out strong.

  • Big Island

    Mo Williams is cash from 70 feet? Where was I when this happened?

  • Michael

    damn. The cav’s may not lose a game all playoffs. Lebron is going down as the best player ever.

  • ponky_alolor

    great block by lbj on dwight. beasting.

  • Michael

    Never Mind

  • LakeShow84

    GET EM!!!!

    What was that Mike??

  • QQ

    ^LOL @ lakeshow.

    Hmmm… GO MAGIC!!!

  • LakeShow84

    Bet my dollar Lebron either takes this straight to the rim..

  • LakeShow84

    or takes it straight to rim lol

    either way.. welcome to the playoffs Cleveland..

  • LakeShow84

    all the points in the world dont matter if ur bread and butter is bulling cats over..

    Like i said.. 2nd best forsho but he aint there yet.. he will be no doubt.. but not yet..

    damn they still acting injured.. Bet Lebrons doing that fake injury shit for next game..

  • QQ

    MAGIC WINS!!!!!

    ‘Cavs in 5. They’re up double digits rite now and LeBron hasn’t even started trying.’

    ‘damn. The cav’s may not lose a game all playoffs. Lebron is going down as the best player ever.’

    ‘hahaha we are already beating the magic’


    Way to proclaim the win before waiting for the final buzzer to sound, guys. Good job!

    Man, as good as the Celtic series was, this game was DAAAAAAAAAMMMN. A rollercoaster ride, especially in the 4th. It’s good to be a (non-bandwagon) Magic fan right now! HOLLER!!!

  • ponky_alolor

    big shot by rashard. cavs are really in a tough series no doubt. Z needs to step up next game.

    tough loss indeed.

  • bill

    100 million dollar shot lol

  • liukz

    man if the cavs lose with the refs clearly on their side it doesnt look good…Shit! i cant believe orlando won
    Lebron was killing them,this one is hard to swallow. it shakes our teams confidence,cuz orlando played like crap and the refs were killing them and tey still beat us and our man scored almost 50. i dont know somebody else gotta step up, and like i said we cant cry about refs cuz they were actually helping us a lot.

  • UncheckedAggression

    Orlando played like crap, huh? Didn’t they shoot 55% or something?

    The difference was Bron’s teammates. They let him down. You can’t miss that many open shots and expect to win.

  • the_don_mega (representin’ the 3 stars and a sun)

    big game by the magic… gotta give ‘em props for this… cavs bigs are just too darn slow to close out on the magic’s shooters… and yes all of ‘em except bron made their shots… and of course… big stan got the one up on mike brown…

  • Taj

    Interior D let the Cavs down as well as guys not hitting… Lebron coulda had more, i thought he waited a bit to long to make a move when he had the ball…

    Minor adjustments and they’ll be aight.. Only the 3rd game lost at home all season.. And first real test of the playoffs.. Now they know where they sit!!!

  • ponky_alolor

    damn that pick-and-pop with rashard and rafer really was a killer.

  • D Nice

    Magic are for real! About time people realize it!
    Even the refs couldn’t help the Cavs tonight!
    Go Magic!