Wednesday May 27, 2009 01:11
Did the officials goof? Did Cleveland really beat Orlando to even the East Finals?
For the record, Orlando beat Cleveland 116-114 in overtime Tuesday night to take a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals and the Magic need just one more win in the next three games for their first NBA Finals appearance in 14 years.
But replays of LeBron Jamesâ€™ second free throw to tie the game at 100 and force overtime make it appear that Anderson Varejao reached up and tipped the ball in, which would result in two points not the one point the Cavs were credited for Jamesâ€™ last free throw. If the officials would have credited the Cavs three points for Jamesâ€™ first free throw and a Varejao put back from Jamesâ€™ missed second free throw attempt, the game wouldnâ€™t have gone to overtime. The Cavs would be 101-100 winners to even the East Finals at 2-2.
Instead James was credited with two free throws after his second attempt bounced off the backboard and looked like it was on the way out before somehow falling in with Varejao’s hands at the tip of the basket to tie the game with .05 remaining in regulation. But James, who finished with a game-high 44 points, couldn’t muster up a repeat of Friday’s game-winning trey for the best shot of his career. This time his 3-point attempt hit the lower left side of the backboard as overtime expired for the Cavs to fall to 0-4 in Orlando this season, including two in a row this series.
As the teams huddled for overtime, Cleveland coach Mike Brown credited Varejao for giving the team a chance to pull out the victory. Brown screamed, â€œYouâ€™re the reason weâ€™re in overtime.â€
But if thatâ€™s the case, game over. Cleveland 101, Orlando 100.
Yet Brown never questioned the score and now his team is on the brink of elimination. Only eight teams in the NBAâ€™s 63-year history have rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win a playoff series.
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