Magic must fine-tune defense
ORLANDO, Fla. - The Magic are sticking with their undefeated lineup, one that features a 7-year-old girl.
Orlando is 4-0 in the playoffs when little Gina Marie Incandela sings the national anthem, and another one of her stirring renditions is planned before Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals tonight.
"They win when she sings," her mother, Michelle, said yesterday. "It's a wonderful coincidence."
Maybe it is just by chance, but Gina - who suffers from a form of autism - has perhaps become Orlando's lucky charm and is one of the Magic's biggest inspirations.
"She's amazing," Magic center Dwight Howard said.
Amazing, much like the way LeBron James played Thursday, posting a stat line not seen in an NBA playoff game in 46 years.
James had 37 points, 14 rebounds, and 12 assists, and Mo Williams scored 24 as the Cavaliers pulled within 3-2 in the series with a 112-102 victory in Cleveland.
The Magic, trying to reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 1995, overcame a 22-point deficit and had thoughts of hoisting the conference trophy on James's home court.
But Orlando didn't shoot as well as it had in the previous game - and it couldn't stop James in the fourth.
"All LeBron, all the time," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said.
James scored 21 points in the second half - 17 in the fourth quarter - and at one point had a hand in 32 consecutive points by Cleveland, including the first 29 in the final 12 minutes.
Orlando's Hedo Turkoglu scored 29 and Howard had 24 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out with 2:22 left when he tried to stop James on a drive.
"My main job is to stay focused and not worry about some of the calls that tend not to go my way," Howard said. "I want to be on the floor to help my teammates but things happen."
But unfortunately for the Magic, the MVP was again in a league of his own.
"He got his teammates involved and then took over," Orlando's Mickael Pietrus said. "That's what great players do."