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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Cleveland Cavaliers: Today we could witness greatness

Today might be an awesome day for Clevaland Cavalier fans. With Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals tipping off at 3:30 pm ET, we very well may witness one of the best games in Cleveland sports history. In 1989 a young superstar led his rising team into a similar situation. The superstar's name was Jordan and his opponent was the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs were the heavy favorites that year having won 57 games; 10 more than Jordan and the Bulls. The best-of-5 series was tied 2-2 with both teams owning a road victory as Game 5 came back to Cleveland. As many Cleveland fans know, the game ended with "The Shot" as Jordan nailed the game-winner despite Craig Ehlo's hand in his face.

Now there's a new superstar in LeBron James. His late-game performances were questioned during the regular season, but now that he has a few game-winning shots under his belt it seems the media has cooled off and finally given him the respect he deserves. Always under intense scrutiny, James has been an ideal leader at age 21, scoring when needed, but most importantly playing the team game dishing out assists and grabbing rebounds as well. Today could be the day we see the Cavs take the next step and see LeBron force the media and the fans to come up with a new name for a big game-winning shot.

Today we have Game 7 with the winner of this series moving on to face the #2 seed Miami Heat and the loser heading home. While the Cavs will have guard Larry Hughes back after missing three games and sitting out Game 6, those who follow Hughes and the Cavs know he's not 100% healthy. Since Game 3 of the series we have witnessed a defensive battle between the Cavs and Pistons and Hughes is the Cavalier best defender. Having him on the court, even in a minor role, could be huge for the Cavaliers if they want to win today.

A few Game 7 notes:
- The Cavs are 2-0 all-time in Game 7's; 1992 Conference semifinals over Boston and the 1976 semifinals over Washington.
- In the NBA's history, home teams have won 81.7% of Game 7's (76 of 93). Last year home teams went 2-2 in Game 7's while this year home teams are 1-0.

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