NBA playoffs: Cleveland guard fails to deliver late
By Antonio Gonzalez
ORLANDO, Fla. ó Mo Williams’ Game 4 guarantee blew up like his swollen left eye.
Starting fast and fading late, Williams had 18 points but went scoreless in the fourth quarter and overtime as the Cleveland Cavaliers lost 116-114 on Tuesday night to the Orlando Magic to go down 3-1 in the Eastern Conference finals.
“I’m a leader on this team. Whatever I can do to spark this team and give us confidence, I’ll do,” Williams said. “If I have to take the heat, so be it.”
Cleveland’s only other All-Star provided little help to LeBron James when it counted most. He deferred to the league MVP and clanked the few jumpers he took. Williams finished with five rebounds, two assists and one false proclamation.
“Guarantee we’re going to win the series? Yeah, yeah,” Williams said Monday.
His eye still swollen and stitches concealing the wound from the elbow he took in Game 3 from Orlando’s Anthony Johnson, Williams had 12 points in the first half and then pretty much disappeared.
He finished 5-for-15 from the field, with eight of his points coming on free throws. Williams attempted only two shots after the third period and, like most of the Cavs, he leaned heavily on James.
“I put the ball in LeBron’s hands,” Cavs coach Mike Brown said. “So he didn’t defer. I went small. That’s why he didn’t get a ton of touches.”
Magic point guard Rafer Alston said Williams’ prediction was their biggest motivation.
“I had it in the back of my mind,” Alston said. “I wanted to take it to him, and he wasn’t even guarding me. LeBron was.”