At halftime of a Game 1 the Orlando Magic weren’t in -- and had no business winning -- Stan Van Gundy walked into his team’s locker room with a message. Orlando’s regular-dude head coach called his players, get this, witnesses. The man knows how to get his team’s attention.

At halftime of a Game 1 the Orlando Magic weren’t in -- and had no business winning -- Stan Van Gundy walked into his team’s locker room with a message.

Orlando’s regular-dude head coach called his players, get this, witnesses. The man knows how to get his team’s attention.

“He told us we were all witnesses,” Magic center Dwight Howard said. “It really motivated us when he said, ‘Y’all are playing like y’all witnesses. You are watching him dunk.’ He has a great way of motivating us. That brought some fire out in us.”

Van Gundy pushed all the right mental buttons. Orlando was being physically beaten, but the Magic never got down mentally.

This isn’t to say Mike Brown was outcoached, but the Cavs head coach easily could have said the same thing to a couple of his player. Delonte West and Mo Williams played like witnesses Wednesday.

They were a combined 10-for-32. West missed a wide-open look in the final seconds that could have won the game.

Cleveland’s offense reverted back to what it used to. Four guys and LeBron James holding the ball, pounding it to the floor and making magic.

James scored 49 points, a postseason career high. He hit 20-of-30 shots. He wasn’t the problem. James held the ball often at times because Williams and West couldn’t be depended on.

The finger pointing for giving away Game 1 doesn’t end with Williams and West. Cleveland’s bench scored 5 points, all from Joe Smith. The only way the Cavs were going to win that game was if LeBron scored 51.

Now the good news.

Williams knows he let his team and Cleveland fans down. These are the biggest games of the season.

“The biggest key to the game was myself,” Williams said. “I have to take pressure off (LeBron).”

Dwight Howard, known as Superman, had a dynamic duo. Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis combined for 37 points. They hit 13-of-24 shots. Lewis hit all five of his fourth-quarter shots.

“Those three guys were terrific,” Williams said. “I was 6-of-19. LeBron was 20-of-30. ... I got 19 shots. It wasn’t (LeBron’s fault).”

Williams seemed to be kicking himself for the way the final possession played out. James went to the paint, was knocked off balance and saw one defender trying to guard both Williams and West.

He did what he should have and passed it to Williams. Then Williams kicked it over to West, who shook his head recalling the sequence.

Game 1 was a wake-up call for the Cavs. Brown probably didn’t say much of anything inspirational at halftime, nor should he have. This is a team that has been a self-starter all season. Cleveland had a 15-point halftime lead. The Cavs expected the Magic to wither away.

Van Gundy made sure that didn’t happen. They were witnesses for a half.

The Cavs were, too, in the second half.

The postseason motto has been one goal. This was one game. Tonight is another.

One game doesn’t win or lose a series. But if Williams and West are witnesses tonight, the Cavs are going to be toast in this series.

The Repository