Cavs must step up in Orlando tonightPosted by Inside Hoops
After sweeping through the first two rounds of the Playoffs, the Cleveland Cavaliers find themselves in, if not a must-win situation, at least an almost-must-win scenario tonight in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals (8:30 p.m. ET, TNT). The Orlando Magic leads the series 2-1 as it continues its success over Cleveland. In NBA history, only eight teams have been able to wipe out 3-1 deficits to win best-of-seven series. It happened last in 2006 in the first round the Playoffs, as the Phoenix Suns defeated the Los Angeles Lakers after dropping two of the first three games. It’s occurred twice in the conference finals: Washington (vs. San Antonio) in the 1979 Eastern Conference Finals and Boston (vs. Philadelphia) in the 1981 Eastern Conference Finals.
Versus the Cavaliers, Orlando has won 10 of the last 14 games played at home, and three of the last five at Cleveland. Orlando is 5-2 this postseason at Amway Arena and has an all-time postseason home record of 27-18 at home. The Magic finished 32-9 (.780) at home during the regular season, which was the most wins at home since going 37-4 in 1995-96.
After allowing only 78.1 points per game over the first two rounds, the Cavaliers are surrendering 101.0 points per game to Orlando. Five Magic players in this series are averaging double figures in scoring: Dwight Howard (21.3 ppg), Rashard Lewis (20.0 ppg), Hedo Turkoglu (16.3 ppg), Mickael Pietrus (13.0 ppg) and Rafer Alston (11.0 ppg).
In three games against Orlando this postseason, LeBron James is averaging 41.7 points on .531 shooting, 5.7 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.7 steals. In 11 playoff games this year, James is averaging 35.3 points on .531 shooting, 8.8 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.9 steals. James’ 28 career 30-point games is the most in the NBA since he made his playoff debut in 2006. He has seven career 40-point games in the postseason, including three this year, which is also the most in the league since 2006. James is the third player in NBA playoff history to compile at least 300 points, 80 rebounds and 60 assists in the first 10 games of a single postseason. It marks the second time in his career that he amassed these totals in a postseason.
Notable: There have been 19 games this postseason decided by three or fewer points, which ties the mark for most games decided by three points or less in an entire postseason (2006). For the first time in NBA history, the conference finals began with four games decided by three points or less. The 12 2009 first round games decided by three or fewer points tied the mark for most such games in the first round. There were 12 games decided by three or fewer points in the first round in 1984.