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Wiz-Cavs 2

Woo! What a game. You don't see the 'Zards involved in a lot of bruising defensive struggles -- it was kind of like old times watching the Knicks, especially with Jeff Van Gundy on hand for commentary. This, it should be said, pretty much cut against everything I've been saying. It was possible to seriously contain King James, that was the key to victory. Worse (for me) Jared Jeffries proved he is a valuable defensive stopper and Antonio Daniels played like crap.

April 25, 2006 | Permalink

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Comments

Drew Gooden was amazing, but his supporting cast let him down. Next year, the Cavs need to find a better sidekick for Gooden than LeBron.
Jared Jeffries made some serious coin for himself this offseason with his Game #2 performance alone. Gooden is in a contract year too, so he'll sleep well tonight.
Gilberto was heroic in the final couple of minutes. Two, count 'em, two brilliant defensive plays down the stretch.
LeBron was one rebound away from an ugly triple double.

Posted by: Petey | Apr 25, 2006 11:08:01 PM

"This, it should be said, pretty much cut against everything I've been saying. It was possible to seriously contain King James"

I pegged this series as Cleveland in 5 because I didn't think the 'zards had the personnel to take LBJ out of his game. And Washington just isn't going to be able to outscore Cleveland if LBJ is left to roam free.

Now the question is if Washington will be able to pull off anything like that again. The Cavs will make adjustments to better deal with Jeffries in Game 3...

Posted by: Petey | Apr 25, 2006 11:18:26 PM

Now the question is if Washington will be able to pull off anything like that again. The Cavs will make adjustments to better deal with Jeffries in Game 3...

Or will the inexperienced Cavs be freaked out by the intimidating road playoff atmosphere at the Verizon center. One Matt Yglesias will be just ten rows back from their bench on Friday, throwing LBJ off his game.


Posted by: Matthew Yglesias | Apr 25, 2006 11:33:41 PM

Whoo boy ... what a game for the Wiz. Some thoughts:
*I'm with you Matt on Jared, but he was key to their defense. If only he had an offensive game.
*I'm tough on Antwan, but he stepped up big time in the 2nd hslf ... I most appreciated that he made BOTH of those tough free throws in the end.
*Gilbert is one of the top players in the NBA. He should get at least a couple of MVP votes (though he won't).
I disagree with Petey ... no way this one is over in 5. But, the Wiz better win in 6 - don't want to play in the Q (love that nickname) in a 7th game.

Posted by: dc2berkeley | Apr 25, 2006 11:34:24 PM

I'm not sure how much the zards had to do with the amplitude of LBJ's sucking - they played well, no doubt, but not that well...methinks he goes for at least 45 in game three, takers?

Posted by: Pooh | Apr 25, 2006 11:47:51 PM

"One Matt Yglesias will be just ten rows back from their bench on Friday, throwing LBJ off his game."

One option would be for you throw a beer at LeBron and get him to charge into the stands after you, thus disqualifying himself from the rest of the series. Sure, you'd have to deal with some legal hassles and the knowledge that you'd been a poor sport. But on the plus side, the resulting publicity would drive your blog traffic absolutely through the roof.

Posted by: Petey | Apr 25, 2006 11:48:48 PM

The New Face of the Angry Left and all that...

Posted by: Pooh | Apr 26, 2006 12:17:30 AM

...costing us Ohio in 2008.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Apr 26, 2006 4:09:48 AM

I must say I find it weird that Chris Sheridan at ESPN is blaming LeBron for passing on the Cavs' last possession, despite being doubled at the top of the 3-point line with Varejao wide open in the middle of the line. Gilbert did make a nice play to strip the ball, but he only had the opportunity because Varejao brought the ball down like a little bitch. Had he displayed any heart at all, he would have at least drawn a foul on that play. I'm not seeing why this particular play was LeBron's fault.

Posted by: Haggai | Apr 26, 2006 9:40:35 AM

Sheridan or one of the other ESPN guys "explained" the other day that when you're as good as LeBron is supposed to be, it's basically okay to criticize you for every single decision that didn't work out whether or not it was the right decision ex ante. This, if LeBron shoots the ball and misses, that shows he should have passed. But if he passes and Varejao screws up and loses it, that shows LeBron should have shot. Apparently, part of being a top-notch basketball player is that you're supposed to possess actual powers clairvoyance rather than making smart plays and accepting that a single person can't control every single event on the floor.

Posted by: Matthew Yglesias | Apr 26, 2006 9:52:32 AM

Sheridan or one of the other ESPN guys "explained" the other day that when you're as good as LeBron is supposed to be, it's basically okay to criticize you for every single decision that didn't work out whether or not it was the right decision ex ante.

Kind of like being a President.

Posted by: Al | Apr 26, 2006 10:27:56 AM

Yes, much like LeBron Bush has been burdened by unreasonably high expectations.

Posted by: Barbar | Apr 26, 2006 10:43:31 AM

LeBron was one rebound away from an ugly triple double.

well if you count his 10 turnovers...

Posted by: Scotty Mac | Apr 26, 2006 7:40:03 PM

I've heard enough about Haywood's foul on James. It was sorta a hard foul, I guess but let's get a grip. I'm sure the ref's are going to be much harder on the zards because everyond keeps making a big deal out of that foul. I mean, let's get a grip here, I've been watching Haywood for years, and he's about as intimadating as my grandmother. Are we talking about the same guy who averages like two boards a game?

Butler is def the man on this team. That guy has no fear and is clearly their most important player defesively.

Posted by: JBark | Apr 27, 2006 2:03:34 PM

I am surprised by the surprise. If anyone paid attention to the regular season games you would know that the Bullets cause serious match-up problems for Cleveland. Cleveland just can't guard the three scorers and on the other end, Washington has enough fouls (Skinny Ninny, Butler, Thomas, and the guy with the bullet shaped head) to keep James off his game if they deploy them effectively. Bullets in 6.

Posted by: dmh | Apr 27, 2006 2:56:54 PM

Long (and hopefully informed) comments below:

Having seen Gooden since he was a freshman at Kansas, I CAN ASSURE YOU that his game two performance is not a good thing for the Cavs. in game 3. He's the type of player who all of a sudden will think "hey, I'm unstoppable" and force three/five bad shots/turnovers as a result. He did that constantly as a soph/junior at KU.

That said, what worries me is how the refs respond to Heywood after game 2. Me thinks two quick fouls in the first half and we'll see Thomas tested by Z (I like Thomas better than Heywood, imho, but it is a worse matchup in this series b/c Heywood's size negates Z a bit).

Also, watch for LeBron to post up more, which might not be the best idea when you consider that the Wizards can put Jeffries -- who is significantly taller than LeBron -- on him. If the Wizards continue to go under on the p/roll when LeBron comes up the court, LeBron's going to have good numbers but it is like when Nash shoots more for the Suns -- it is bad for the Cavs -- no one on the team gets in a rhythm.

If Hughes' thumb affects his game as much as it has for the first two games -- Wizards in 6.

Finally, the one thing people forget about Game Two? 23-8 Cavs after they blew out the Wizards in Game One. Wizards completely out of synch and the crowd was rocking. Here's the sequence: tough Butler layup, steal, Butler guarded 20 footer, Butler forces Cle turnover, Arenas fouled on resulting break, turnover, Butler jumper. Now it's 23-16 and all of a sudden.... my point is no way, NO HOW Hughes does what Butler does in that sequence under those circumstances. He's not as tough.

Posted by: Chris R | Apr 27, 2006 6:32:17 PM

Wiz-Cavs 3

The Cavs stole a game the Wiz by all rights won.

Amazing drive by LBJ for the winning margin.

Hughes completely blew his coverage on Arenas on the final play. It was as bad as Bibby's breakdown on Brent Barry. Arenas was completely open and just couldn't knock it down.

Posted by: Petey | Apr 28, 2006 11:05:12 PM

Game 2: worst performance I've ever seen by Lebron, and I've seen most of them. Don't know if it was the fouls or that he wasn't recognizing the way they were shifting up double and single coverage on him, but boy did he look off. Big surprise to me at least.

Game 3: terrible calls by refs on both teams. Usually you have to count on your superstar to pull you through that, and LBJ is a better superstar than Arenas. Monster game. This year he really understands that when in doubt he needs to attack the basket.

If ANYONE steps up to have a consistent offensive game along with Lebron than the Cavs win this going away. As is, they manage to barely pull it out thanks to Z getting a few extra baskets and Hughes finally managing to hit a couple of jumpers in the 4th.

Key was Cavs stepping up defensive intensity in the second half. Snow is an excellent guy on D.
I continue to think Hughes is an overrated player and the Wiz got much the better end of the bargain by replacing him with Caron Butler. But he is a decent defensive player as well.

Posted by: MQ | Apr 29, 2006 12:32:29 AM

I mean that Hughes is a decent defensive player, important to the Cavs on that end.

Posted by: MQ | Apr 29, 2006 12:34:24 AM

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