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Van Gundy blames himself for Magic's Game 2 loss


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#1 Makaveli

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Posted May 23, 2009 - 04:41 AM

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Stan Van Gundy and the Orlando Magic have already come back from crushing defeats this postseason. They will have to do it one more time.


Orlando was one second away from taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

LeBron James turned that one second into one of the toughest losses in Orlando history. He hit a straightaway 3-pointer at the buzzer for a 96-95 victory Friday night.

Van Gundy blamed himself for allowing James to get off the shot that set off a wild celebration in Quicken Loans Arena.

"I'd like to have that last one back from a coaching standpoint," Van Gundy said. "I should have defended it differently. It's crushing enough to lose as a coach, but when you feel like you're the guy who could've made the difference, it hurts a lot more."

Van Gundy wouldn't divulge what he would do differently, for fear the same situation might arise later in the series. But he described in great detail how the Cavs were trying to set up James for a lob at the basket that could have sent the game into overtime. When Orlando's Hedo Turkoglu took that away before the inbounds pass, James bounced out to the top of the 3-point arc and hit the game-winner.

"Stan was in our huddle," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. "That's exactly right. We were going for the lob, Hedo took it away, so LeBron said, 'I'm going to win it."'

Turkoglu went from being a hero -- his 12-footer in the lane with one second left gave the Magic a 95-93 lead -- to watching James' shot float well over his head.

"It's tough. Now you've got to go home and watch it on TV over and over again," said Orlando's Dwight Howard, who had 10 points and 18 rebounds. "I know I won't be able to sleep and the rest of my teammates won't be able to sleep. But we've got to get over it. The series is tied 1-1 and we know what to do to beat this team."

Orlando has been in this position plenty of times. Of the six games it has lost during these playoffs, four have been in the final seconds.

"It's been a pretty resilient team all year, from tough losses and times where we've gotten blown out," Van Gundy said. "The bottom line is I didn't get it done. I know ... what I could have done on that play tonight. It's hard to take that responsibility and sit up here. That's a tough one.

"We had a great opportunity tonight. I didn't get it done, and now we have to go home and try to take care of business."


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