When my sister called me later Wednesday night, I was expecting the usual: An obscenity laced critique of my on-air work at WTAP. But instead, she let me know that she had a ticket available for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals in Cleveland. She then told me to tighten up my intros and to stay away from rustling my papers.
For most of my drive in from Marietta to Cleveland, I can tune in the Cleveland-area sports talk radio. The Cavs fans weren't exactly brimming with confidence. Everyone was critical of Coach Mike Brown and his rotations and lack of in-game adjustments. The collective fan base couldn't fathom how a team with the best player in basketball and the most regular season wins could be down 3-1 to a gimmick offensive team like the Orlando Magic.
But the negativity was warranted. The Cavs could have feasibly been swept if LeBron wouldn't of hit his miracle buzzer-beater at the end of game two. The Magic has an answer for every Cavaliers run all series. They looked undaunted as they continued to rain threes down from all over the court. Dwight Howard was a beast in the middle, even punishing the Wine and Gold with adroit post-moves and some accurate free throw shooting (for him). Every move Stan Van Gundy made seemed to pay off. The Cavs were in trouble.
So my sister and I walked into the Quicken Loans Arena just in time for the ridiculous pregame theatrics. The place was a buzz. The Cavs have been almost unbeatable at home all season and their fans are a big reason why. The TNT crew of Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith recently said that it's the best environment in the NBA this season. They fans did not disappoint as the Cavs built a 22-point lead in the first quarter, almost running the Magic out of the building.
But similarly to how the series has gone, the Magic jumped right back in the game. Proceeding to take an eight-point lead in the third quarter. The fans around me
wanted me to sit down were in full blown panic mode, they thought this could be the last game for our beloved Cavs.
Then LeBron took over. What more can be said about the guy and what he's done this season? He's been filling up the stat sheet all series long. Yesterday in the fourth, he either scored or assisted on 35 straight points, helping the Cavs distance themselves down the stretch, and extending the season at least one more game. The place was going bonkers, and I was just happy to be taking it all in and Witnessing the performance.
Will WTAP spring for a trip to Orlando tomorrow night? Let them know that they must!