- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 24, 2009


Hedo Turkoglu, please have a seat. Yes, right there next to Mr. Ehlo. Compare notes. You’ll find them remarkably similar.

Long-suffering Cleveland fans (pardon the redundancy) finally have their own last-second shot to celebrate, 20 years after their own Craig Ehlo became a famously unwitting accomplice to an all-time NBA memory.

Now Turkoglu, who has been brilliant for the Orlando Magic during the playoffs, knows the feeling.

He made what appeared to be the winning basket against the Cavaliers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals Friday night. It gave Orlando a 95-93 lead with one second remaining. But he still had to guard LeBron James on the inbounds play.

Turkoglu did it pretty well, denying James a path to the basket for a lob, and stuck reasonably close as LeBron faked and pushed to create a small space north of the circle, beyond the 3-point line. Turkoglu tried to make it up as James, in one motion, caught Mo Williams’ pass and ascended to shoot. Arriving a tad late, Turkoglu extended both arms. James let fly a microsecond before the horn sounded. The shot fell. Cleveland won.

The play conjured visions of Michael Jordan’s victory leap after his winning shot at Cleveland’s Richfield Coliseum on May 7, 1989. He eluded Larry Nance, got a step on Ehlo, who came over to help, went up and hung in the air, hitting a 12-footer over Ehlo’s outstretched hand as time expired. This was after Ehlo made an off-balanced layup to give the Cavaliers a one-point lead with three seconds to go.

Jordan’s shot clinched that playoff series. It sent the Bulls to the next round. The Magic and Cavaliers are just getting started. But in the short term, James’ shot was nearly as important. Top-seeded Cleveland faced a dire situation after blowing through the first two rounds of the playoffs.

Turkoglu still has a chance to do some good things, a chance Ehlo never had. But right now, they’re sitting at the same table.


“I could go out and buy a $10,000 suit, and a lot of other guys would buy a $200 suit, and they’d still look better than I do. That’s just the way it is when you look like me.” — Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy

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