Dwight Howard leads Orlando's magicians into NBA finals

ORLANDO, Florida (May 31) - The Orlando Magic crushed the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-90 on Saturday to claim the Eastern Conference championship and set up an NBA Finals showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Dwight Howard, who likes to be called Superman, played the role to perfection, scoring a playoff-career best 40 points and grabbing 14 rebounds as the Magic won the best-of-seven Eastern series in six games.

"He was incredible," Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy told reporters. "I don't know what else he could have done. He was fantastic."

League MVP LeBron James had 25 points for Cleveland, who posted the NBA's best regular-season record but could not overcome match-up problems with the outside-shooting Magic.

"It seemed like they shot 100 percent from three(-point range) for the whole series; it was tough to guard," Cleveland's Mo Williams added.

"Going into the playoffs, we were confident we were going to the NBA Finals, we were confident we were going to win it. Obviously it hurts inside because you know you had the team to get it done."

James, who had seven rebounds and seven assists, did not talk to reporters after the game, heading instead straight to the team bus, The Plain Dealer of Cleveland reported.

The NBA Finals begin in Los Angeles on Thursday, where the Western Conference champions will make a record 30th Finals appearance. They lost to the Boston Celtics in six games in 2008.

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