Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
I recently revisited Game 1 of the 2009 NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the Magic and Cavs. Cleveland was hot, and maybe even the team to beat coming into the series. Orlando had other intentions, though. My foggy memory was filled with ideas of a three-point shootout, a lot of LeBron isolation, and a big shot from Rashard Lewis. After revisiting, I realized my memory had failed me.
This was an epic showdown between two superstars — Dwight Howard and LeBron James. More than that, though, it was a showdown between two coaches, two benches, and two sets of roll players. The Magic won in all three of those categories, which meant they would win the game too.
No one on the corner has swagger like us
I remember watching every second of this series. In fact, I remember watching every second of the Cavs’ season. The Mo Williams pick up had me hooked from preseason on, and when LeBron and company arrived in the playoffs, I was convinced nothing could stop them. Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals was no exception. In fact, it probably epitomized that untouchable feeling more than any other game. The way the Cavs took the floor against the Magic was daunting. The Cavs were like a fresh rap group that, even if you didn’t like their song, you had to respect their swagger. LeBron was a man on a mission, and at that point had empowered Mo Williams and Delonte West to their max potential. It did not take long for LeBron to assert himself as a juggernaut, either. Ultimately, there was something special about that Cavs team, and what stopped them (perhaps the only thing that could have stopped them) were Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic.