After sleepwalking his way through the first three games of the Eastern Conference Finals, Orlando Magic small forward Rashard Lewis provided reporters with further insight into his struggles on Wednesday. Lewis said he has been sick throughout the Magic’s playoff series with the Boston Celtics, explaining that he has a viral infection.

“Overall it affects you,” Lewis told reporters on Wednesday. “I’ve been throwing up. I haven’t been at full strength. I’ve been feeling weak, my legs been feeling weak. I find myself getting tired very fast in the first quarter. You know, when you can’t hold food down you have no energy in your body to go out there and perform.”

Lewis has been criticized harshly since game one of the Eastern Conference finals. Before the All-Star forward scored 13 points in Orlando’s first win of the series on Monday’s 96-92 overtime victory, Lewis had seen his scoring decline in each game of the series from six points in the opener, five points in game two and four points in game three. The entire Magic squad drew much ire from sports critics for a lack of effort in game three’s 94-71 blowout loss, especially Lewis. “I feel like my body shut down on me in game three out there in Boston and a little bit better in game four just because of the fact that I was able to get some IVs right before the game,” Lewis added.

Lewis was expected to receive intravenous fluids for Wednesday’s game five in Orlando. He scored 14 points.

Lewis has been averaging seven points throughout the series while shooting below 30 percent from the field. The highest paid player on Orlando’s roster signed a six-year, $118 million deal in 2007 with an eye to producing results for Orlando’s postseason runs. So far this series, the Magic haven’t been getting a return on their investment.

” regular season, I probably would have sat out,” Lewis told reporters. “Not to make no excuses, it is the playoffs. You just got to go out there and give it 110 percent. It’s the playoffs. I’ve got to drag myself out there if anything.”

Boston leads the best of seven series 3-2.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO