- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 20, 2009

No. 1 Cleveland Cavaliers

How they got here: Defeated No. 8 Detroit 4-0; defeated No. 4 Atlanta 4-0

Coach: Mike Brown (fourth year).

Why they will advance: The Cavaliers have dominated in the first two rounds of the playoffs and have homecourt advantage throughout thanks to their 66-16 regular-season record. Orlando will struggle to find a way to slow league MVP LeBron James, who has averaged 32.9 points, 9.8 rebounds and 6.8 assists during the playoffs.

Why they won’t: If there is any chink in the Cavaliers’ armor, it could be rust. They will enter Wednesday night’s opener having not played a game since May 11. The Cavaliers and their coach, Mike Brown, have both said it’s difficult to maintain a rhythm with such extended periods of rest, but at the same time, it keeps them fresh.

No. 3 Orlando Magic

How they got here: Defeated No. 6 Philadelphia 4-2; defeated No. 2 Boston 4-3

Coach: Stan Van Gundy (second year in Orlando, fifth overall)

Why they will advance: It will be tough, but the Magic at least can bank on the fact that they are battle-tested. If Van Gundy gets Dwight Howard the ball, the Cavaliers will have their hands full in the middle.

Why they won’t: Cleveland is such a formidable opponent with the ultimate threat in LeBron James and perimeter threats surrounding him. Orlando struggled to dust off a limited Boston squad and likely will struggle with the Cavaliers as well.

— Mike Jones

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