Orlando Magic @ Cleveland Cavaliers


In a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals, the Orlando Magic will travel to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers.  The Magic defeated the Cavaliers four-games-to-two and advanced to the NBA Finals. LeBron James has been held out for two straight games and has status for Sunday afternoon’s game is up in the air. The Cavaliers dropped both of those contests. Meanwhile, the Magic defeated the New York Knicks 118-103 on Friday night.

These two teams have met three times this season with the Cavaliers leading the season series two games-to-one. Cleveland won the first two games but on both of those occasions, the Magic were playing on the second night of a back-to-back. The Cavs beat the Magic in Orlando 102-93 and in Cleveland 115-106. On February 21st, the Magic defeated the Cavs 101-95 in Orlando.


The Cavs are 61-19 and have locked up home court throughout the playoffs. The Magic are second in the Eastern Conference and tied for the second best record in the NBA with a record 56-23. The Cavs are nearly unbeatable at home – their record in the “Q” is 35-5. The Magic are 23-16 on the road.

Tip-off from Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio is scheduled for 1:00 pm EST. The game will be aired nationally by ABC. As always, if you can’t watch the game, you can listen to it locally on WDBO AM 580 and in Spanish on WONQ AM 1030.

The statuses of Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison are also up in the air.


Orlando Magic

Dwigh Howard
Rashard Lewis
Matt Barnes
Vince Carter
Jameer Nelson

Cleveland Cavaliers

J.J. Hickson
Leon Powe
Jamario Moon
Delonte West
Anthony Parker

The Cavs have had a very potent offense this season. They score 102.5 points per game, rank fourth in offensive rating (111.6) while ranking just 25th in pace (91.3). Defensively, the Cavs rank sixth in defensive rating (104.0) and give up 95.5 points per game.

With Shaquille O’Neal still out and the Cavs’ stars potentially sitting out, it’s hard to see where the offense will come from. James, who will be the runaway league MVP, is averaging 29.7 points, 8.6 assists, and 7.3 rebounds per game. Antawn Jamison is the team’s second leading scorer (16.0 points per game) and leading rebounder (8.0 per game) while Mo Williams is third on the team in scoring (15.8 points per game).

In Friday’s loss to the Pacers, the Cavs got 21 points from J.J. Hickson and Sebastian Telfair. Anthony Parker 17, Jamario Moon 15, and Zydrunas Ilguaskas 14 all scored in double figures as well.

Defense was the problem for the Cavs in their two straight losses. And it could be again. Hickson, Ilguasukas and Anderson Varejao, who were dominated by Dwight Howard in the playoffs last season, will have the challenge of defending the big man again. Indiana’s starting frontcourt scored 62 combined points against Cleveland, lead by Danny Granger’s 36.

It’s hard to predict what will happen in this game because Cavs Coach Mike Brown has not announced who is going to play and believes in resting his players, which is something Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy disagrees with.

“I don’t know what it gains you, quite honestly,” Van Gundy told reporters after the game. “My question would be why? For what reason? These guys have been playing all year. They get days off.

If James plays, obviously everything changes. After Friday’s game, Van Gundy talked about defending James.

“We tried different ways to defend him,” Van Gundy said. It’s quite clear none of them worked.”

This game is more important for the Magic, who still have aspirations of passing the Lakers for the second best record in the NBA. However, whether James plays or not, it will be hard for the teams to match the intensity of their earlier meetings and is by no means a playoff preview.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor on the Fansided Front Page and at Sir Charles In Charge. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here).