|2009 NBA Eastern Conference Finals|
|Series tied, 0-0|
|May 20th, 2009|
|Quicken Loans Arena|
|Rafer Alston||PG||Mo Williams|
|Courtney Lee||SG||Delonte West|
|Hedo Turkoglu||SF||LeBron James|
|Rashard Lewis||PF||Anderson Varejao|
|Dwight Howard||C||Zydrunas Ilgauskas|
Zach McCann of Orlando Magic Daily wrote the following after the Magic knocked off the Boston Celtics in Game 7 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals:
From Jameer Nelson's injury, to frantically plugging Rafer Alston into the lineup, to the late-season slide and continuing slump into the playoffs, to Big Baby's buzzer-beater, to the 13-0 Celtics run in Game 5, to Dwight Howard's public tongue-lashing of his coach, it was anything but a smooth road to get here.
But this team is where it wants to be: 0-0 with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
We've talked about the Eastern Conference Finals all season long. We knew it was a possibility if things fell the right way. Yet Magic fans are so used to being let down, we could kind of sense something was going to go wrong. Being here felt more like a dream than a probability, even after winning 59 games in the regular season. After all, we've been let down pretty much every season since 1995.
Not this year. This team is different. And they're not done yet.
Eloquent and to-the-point, no? Indeed, in spite of all the factors working against them, the Magic are just 4 wins away from their second-ever appearance in the NBA Finals. They KO'd the defending champions--who were admittedly shorthanded--and now must go through the prohibitive favorites to win the title. Cleveland tore the league up this season, and has won all 8 of its playoff games handily.
The Magic, in contrast, have needed 13 mostly hard-fought games to get here. This group has historically played well with its backs against the wall, and with practically nobody believing in it, so the seeds have been sown for an upset victory tonight. However, the Cavs are 39-2 at The Q this season, and one of those losses was a meaningless late-season game in which they sat their three best players. Additionally, they haven't lost a game in which LeBron James has played since April 3rd... which happened to be when the Magic handed them a 116-87 defeat on national television.
Eddy has already gone over the keys to this series, so we'll end on this note: if the Magic are going to win this series, they're going to have to win at least once at The Q. No time like the present, no?
The game tips at 8:30 on TNT.