The day LeBron James drilled a 25-foot buzzer-beater to tie Cleveland’s series with the Orlando Magic
Hedo Türkoğlu: ‘This one really hurts’
As his three teammates on the court ran frantically to their positions, Cleveland Cavalier LeBron James casually took two quick and small hops to the left. Then he planted his left foot and aggressively faked as if he was going to the basket.
It was all a ruse. He put his forearm in Hedo Türkoğlu’s chest, and it was at that point that he made his intentions clear. With the Orlando Magic’s Rashard Lewis standing off the inbounder and James’ other teammates spreading the floor, a clear passing lane formed for James to receive the ball.
One second sat on the clock. The Cleveland Cavaliers were down two points. James caught the sideline inbounds pass, took one hop and elevated himself over Türkoğlu. Lewis tried to come over and help, but it was too late.
From the middle of the arc and 25 feet away from the basket, James rose up to drill a 3-pointer that would give Cleveland the 96-95 victory and tie the Eastern Conference finals at 1-1 on May 22, 2009.
“We just couldn’t afford to go down 0-2 in this series going back to Orlando,” James told reporters after the game. “Rashard [Lewis] hit a game-winner in Game 1, and I matched him with one in Game 2. It was a great shot. Wow.”
This was the second consecutive game in which Cleveland blew a big lead and the game went down to the wire. After amassing a 23-point lead halfway through the second quarter, Cleveland and its faithful watched as Orlando whittled it away just like it had in Game 1.
And in that contest, Lewis made the game-winner with 14.7 seconds left to help the Magic steal one on the road. He tried his hardest in the second game by pouring in 23 points for a Magic team that cut the lead to 12 by the half and six going into the final frame and knotted the action up at 82-82 with 6:54 left in the game.
It looked as if it was about to be a repeat, when Türkoğlu, who had 21 points, hit a pull-up jumper to give Orlando a 95-93 lead with a second left. But James, who followed up his career playoff-high 49 points in Game 1’s defeat and finished with a game-high 35, had other plans that didn’t include the Cavaliers heading to Florida with no victories in the best-of-seven series.
Mo Williams had 19 points, while Delonte West and Zydrunas Ilgauskas contributed 12 points apiece to help James out.
“[James] was trying to go to the lob, I jumped in front and he stepped back and hit a great shot, man,” Türkoğlu said. “You can’t do nothing about that. This one really hurts — you think you have the game turned around and he hits a shot.”