Todd Porter: One second is plenty of time for LeBron James
You want to know where amazing is happening? Quicken Loans Arena.
LeBron James gave Cleveland a career-defining moment Friday night and breathed life back into his team’s playoff run from 25 feet away. And it happened just when it looked like Orlando had sucked the life out the Cavs’ postseason.
This was our Jordan over Ehlo, albeit just a Game 2 however huge it was.
That’s what winning the lottery -- the NBA Draft lottery -- will do. Remember, hope is never lost when James is on the court for the Cavs.
The Chosen One -- after nights like Game 2 nothing seems like hyperbole – is betraying Cleveland’s history.
With the final second ticking away and hope slipping with it, James shook Hedo Turkoglu inside the foul line before popping out for his shot. The 3-pointer gave the Cavs an improbable 96-95 win and tied the Eastern Conference finals at a game apiece.
“We couldn’t afford to down 0-2 in this series,” James said. “That was a great shot.”
Chants of “MVP! MVP! MVP!” filled The Q as James did a TV interview immediately after “The Shot.” When he finished, the place erupted, and James flashed the boyish smile we’ve seen from him since he was old enough to drive.
After his mother, Gloria, gave him the kind of hug only a mom can, James skipped to the locker room. He pointed around the arena to fans cheering wildly for him.
This is the stuff that Disney was built on.
James has been criticized for not taking that last shot, for passing too often to his teammates. Cavs Head Coach Mike Brown doesn’t doubt James’ mental toughness.
“Just to have the wherewithal to have that type of confidence in yourself, to know there’s one second on the clock and you’re ending this thing right now, and if it doesn’t end right now, I have big enough shoulders to take care of what the outcome is,” Brown said.
Game 2 felt like a replay of Game 1. Cleveland lost a 23-point first-half lead. The Cavs piddled away a 10-point lead late in the third quarter. Then the lead was 6. Then the fourth quarter started. The Cavs were about to find out from what loin they were cut.
Tied at 93 -- uh-oh -- Turkoglu hit a 10-footer with a second left. Beating Orlando is tough. The Magic hit 10 3-pointers. They hit downtown shots like they are throwing pebbles in a pond.
That’s why this is a tough series. Orlando is draining water from its boat with a three-gallon bucket and Cleveland is using a milk jug.
But as the series heads to Florida, Cleveland is flying south with momentum and mystique.
If you are Orlando, what can be done to stop James? Hold his hotel door shut?
Brown juggled the game plan. He worked Sasha Pavlovic into the rotation, and Pavlovic helped defend Rashard Lewis in the first half. It was a brilliant move.
Of course, it was James’ idea after Game 1.
Pavlovic, who’s attention to detail wanders like a grade school kid, was locked in. Guess who talked to him before the game to get his head right?
“I told him to be ready to play, because I think you’re going to get some good minutes,” James said. “He played well.”
Losing two at home would have been devastating. Losing this game would have been downright unfair.
Role players stepped up. Zydrunas Ilgauskas hit the floor for a loose ball. Then there was James. Orlando Head Coach Stan Van Gundy was right. There is no answer for him.
Just sit back and take it in. The scene at The Q was unlike any other in recent Cleveland history. Simply magical.