Without question, the city of Cleveland was one second away from sucide watch. With the season on the line, the team turned to the greatest player in Cavaliers history – and it paid off. LeBron James sank what will go down as a miracle three-pointer with one second to go, as the Cavs survived the Magic 96-94 to even up their best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals series at one game apiece.
The shot that blew the roof off the Quicken Loans Arena took place after Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu hit a jumper inside the lane that looked a bit like “The Shot” back in 1988 of Michael Jordan over Craig Ehlo. The shot put a vail of slience on the soldout crowd, as it gave Orlando a 95-93 lead.
Cleveland called a time-out, and Williams threw the heave into James, who threw up a high archer, and the prayer was answered. Upon hitting the bucket, the crowd exploded, and James ran over to the Cavs bench to take part in the celebration with his teammates.
While it was a no doubt that James was well behind the three-point line, the refs did their job to review the bucket, and upon the final review and call that the three was indeed good – the city of Cleveland and likely the Cavs organization breathed a big sigh of relief.
James led the way again for the Cavs with 35 points, and while his teammates helped him more, it was still his MVP performance that got the job done. Williams rebounded to have a solid night with 19 points, and Delonte West and Zydrunas Ilgauskas each had 12.
The Cavs dominated from the start like they did in game one, but again couldn’t hold the lead. They were up early by as many as 14, and lead 30-16 at the end of one. The second quarter saw the domination continue, as they went up by as many as 23 before Orlando came clawing back again.
At the half the team led 56-44, but you knew that the Magic would make a game of it in the second half, and they did. The Magic, like they did in game one, started hitting their three’s and outscored the Cavs by 6 in the quarter to cut the deficit to 75-69.
Orlando finally took their first lead with 5:27 to go, and the teams went back and forth as the tension mounted towards James’ game-winner. “It’s probably the biggest shot I have seen him make in the playoffs,” Mike Brown said.
You can say that again.