NOTE: Official Bullets Forever Washington Wizards Season Preview below this game blog. Click to check out the Official Truth About It Wizards season preview.
The Comcast SportsNet pregame show had Brendan Haywood calling in from the North Cacalaca.....made an interesting comment, "Right now, from what I've seen, [JaVale McGee] has been the Wizards best post player, he deserves it. You can't worry about the youth, you have to worry about who's playing better, who gives you the best chance to win. Throughout this preseason, JaVale McGee, to me, has played the best out of all the centers."
Take that Etan Thomas! Ok, ok....Brendan didn't exactly say this because of past tension, and you could certainly argue in favor of his statement, as Etan's trying to get this personal swagger back. But still, when the season gets down to business, we all know that Eddie Jordan is going to fall back on his rebounding vets (Etan Thomas and Darius Songaila). Not to say that McGee is not deserving of run, but I'd do the same thing.....at least in terms of who's starting, and ending, games....and that's to go with Etan.
11:27: Cavs move the ball well out of the corner on their first possession and DeShawn essentially choose to leave LeBron James open for three instead of allowing him to swing it to Mo Williams.....LBJ makes 'em pay. 3-0 Cavs.
10:56: Yep, with LeBron, you don't need a traditional PG.....LBJ is at the top of the key and Mo Williams is working DeShawn Stevenson with off-ball movement. Zydrunas sets a screen for Mo on the right wing...and Etan isn't in the right position to help, he seems to be unaware that his man is setting the screen....and DeShawn allowed too much space between him and Mo. Pass from LeBron and 2-point jumper for Williams. 5-0 Cavs.
Meanwhile....the Wiz have a missed Jamison trey and two turnovers on their first three possessions.
10:31: Jamison bad closeout on Z in the corner....he knew Etan got caught out high and couldn't help protect the rim, yet AJ still gave up the baseline to Z for a drive...Benny Wallace gets the pass from Z and a lay-in. 7-0 Cavs.
10:04: LBJ giving Caron Butler some trouble on D, makes him shoot an air ball.
9:36: Next possession, Wiz try to run Butler off an Etan screen at the elbow....Big Z hedges out, LeBron recovers....essentially, they double to get the ball out of Caron's hands and the Wiz are left with a missed, and contested, DeShawn trey from the corner.
9:07: Cavs are packing it in, so with Wallace on Jamison, a dribble by AD off an Etan screen from the corner towards the FT line gets AJ an open trey and the Wizards their first points. 9-3 Cavs.
Caron Butler: I've been wanting him to post when matched against smaller players and then back them down to get points....but that's not really his game. He almost always faces up, and here, he still uses his size advantage to get a step-back J over Delonte West. 9-5 Cavs.
5:13: Big Z gets a post on Jamison. AD sticks his hand in to deter, but turns his head completely away from his man, Delonte West, who waits a second, then cuts down the lane. Etan, who was keeping an eye on the shooter in the opposite corner, is caught out of position, and too far under the basket to defend....easy pass from Z to West for a layup. 17-11 Cavs.
3:59: Not even a close-out recovery.....AD is just not balanced to defend West on the wing. After Delonte receives the first pass of the possession from LeBron up top, he easily gets by AD on his first move and sets up Anderson Varejao for a dunk. 19-15 Cavs. At least AD hits a trey on the other end. 19-17 Cavs.
3:00: You think the Wiz are moving the ball well.....looking for a gap. But when the ball ends up in Butler's hands with 0:04 seconds left on the shot-clock, two men are there and all he can do is throw up a forced shot. Air ball. Good Cavs D.
Varejao is a dirty S.O.B. - Butler fumbles the ball on the baseline, somehow gets it to Etan, who tries to dunk* ON** Varejao.....misses, and an obvious foul. Now, Varejao, and Cavs fans, might contest that Etan put a chop to Andy's neck on the way up (and he did), but Andy grabs hold of Etan's leg while Etan is hanging on the rim by one arm and proceeds to walk in the ref's direction, leg in tow. Etan takes issue and pushes Andy in the back with his free hand. The two hug. Awwww!! Warm and fuzzies. Such pacifism led to Etan missing both FTs.
* Much credit due to Etan for going hard/strong when around the rim...been doing it a lot in the preseason.
** The debate is on.
1:25: Boobie Gibson one-on-one against DeShawn at the top of the key. Stevenson reaches when the ball is transferred from left to right, Boobie teaches with a drive all the way to the hoop. 25-17 Cleveland.
Andray Blatche and Nick Young check in for Etan and Stevenson with under a minute left. Darius Songaila and Juan Dixon check in for Jamison and Daniels at the next stoppage.
0:02: Mini-Microwave.....Dixon gets Pavlovic on his heels in transition with the seconds ticking away and hits a long two at the buzzer. 25-25 Tie.
In the first, Cleveland scored 14 points in the paint and shot 11/17 from the field.
For the 2nd, Dominic McGuire joins D-Song, Nick, Juan, and 'Dray. Cavs have Varejao, Lorenzen Wright, Pavlovic, Boobie Gibson and Szczerbiak.
10:36: Great D by McGuire on Wally on the baseline....moved his feet, kept his arms extended high, and forced Szczerbiak into a tough shot.....but Andray Blatche, and god this is frustrating....is in front of Lorenzen Wright, but he's not boxing out with his lower body, rather trying to throw an errant chicken wing to keep Lorenzen at bay. Wright easily forces Blatche out of position, gets the offensive board and Andray fouls him.
Typical: Andray is appealing to the ref that he got pushed in the back....and maybe he did....but that NEVER HAPPENS IF YOU BLOCK THE GUY OUT!!!
Cavs side out: Pavlovic misses a pull-up and Andray Blatche tries to REBOUND THE BALL WITH ONE HAND!!!!..... while the other is caressing the waist of Wright. Blatche bobbles the ball, Wright gets it, Andray....for some strange f-ing reason....looks at Dominic McGuire as if it were his fault. And yes, I'm incensed. F-ing Andray Blatche.
Eddie Jordan is not happy and gets Oleksiy Pecherov off the bench....I wonder who he's coming in for. Blatche tries to redeem himself by hitting a jumper and I don't care.
9:15: Timeout Eddie Jordan. Go get some splinters Andray....everyone else stays in.
Neither team's reserves are doing much......
6:57: Songaila sets a nice hard pick to get Young free, and the Red Rooster uses his talent to get in the paint and he hits a nice off-balance jumper. 32-31 Wizards.
JaVale McGee checks in for D-Mac....Pecherov no longer has to play center and immediately yells, "I get buckets son!!!"
6:28: Pecherov also gets assists son....at the 3-point line, he makes the extra pass to Dixon in the corner....trey ball. 35-33 Wizards.
6:11: LeBron just checked back in.....and Pecherov -- Gets contested jumpers son!!! -- LBJ misses.
Caron has joined Juan, Oily, Young (the name which Gilbert Arenas reportedly owns the rights to now) and JaVale.
5:30: Nick Young gets Ben Wallace caught guarding him on the perimeter.....but Nick fails to recognize that Benny is a decent perimeter defender for a big...forces up a bad shot...but Big Oily, with Boobie trying to box him out, makes his way to the paint and gets an offensive board, a foul, and two free-throws. 37-35 Cavs.
The Wiz lineup: Dee Brown, Jamison, Young, Butler, and McGee....intriguing.
3:29: I know LeBron is a train, but Jamison has to do a better job at deterring him from driving the ball from coast to coast. 43-37 Cavs.
Tuff Juice needs some more carbonation....I'm tired of seeing him settle for jumpers.
1:45: Stevenson the point guard.....in for Young, he mishandles the ball in the backcourt, turnover, LeBron is there....as he's always all over the place...foul, free-throws.......49-37 Cavs, 16-2 Cleveland run.
Well, the game was once tied at 35....then the Cavs went on a 24-4 run. With some starters being inserted back into the game, the Wizards looked out-of-sync on both ends. 57-39 at the half.
Hmmm....just noticed Gilbert in the huddle....wearing a blazer/jacket thing that's pretty close to the Cleveland red.
And DeShawn seems very close to wearing the full leggings that Kobe used to wear....yea, thought those were banned. Guess Stevenson gets by with the whole two inches of clearance between sock and legging.
9:52: Etan Thomas' free-throw is.....not very poetic. 2-6 from the line, but still putting working under the rim. 59-43 Cavs.
9:36: Wallace sets a ball screen on Stevenson for Pavlovic....and not sure who's fault it is, DeShawn for not being able to get over the screen, or Jamison for leaving too much room (I blame the latter more), but Pavs splits the D for a bucket. 61-43 Cavs.
Cleveland defense is not giving many looks, forcing long jumpers.....but offensive motion is also stagnant for the Wizards.
6:44: Great run play by Cleveland. LeBron is posting Caron around the right elbow....shoulder fakes, ball fakes, etc.....Antonio Daniels is around, ready to help....pointing, seeing ball and man, ball and man.....LBJ takes a couple back-down dribbles towards the block....AD focuses more attention on, gets closer to, LeBron.....WAIT, who is sneaking behind Daniels? It's Big Z, and he's setting a back screen. Etan is fully entrenched in the lane behind Z. AD gets caught, LeBron makes the pass, Mo Williams nails a wide-open three.
How do you stop that? Well, communication would be nice.....not sure if Etan alerted AD to the screen....and when LeBron is getting that deep, while AD's man, the three point shooter, is fading further and further away, the help needs to come from somewhere else. 69-48 Cleveland.
6:20: Butler settles for a long miss from the corner.....for someone who is such a good free-throw shooter......why?
3:32: LeBron James is strong, yes he is.....but you can't just give it to him. James sets a high ball screen on the wing for Mo. Afraid of letting Williams loose, Butler hedges out high, almost too high (3-4 feet past the 3-point line). AD recovers on Mo and Butler is just a bit slow to get back. LeBron, doing the right thing in turning towards the ball and filling down the lane, is picked up by Stevenson, as Caron circles to get DeShawn's man in the corner. But DeShawn doesn't have the awareness to meet and get in front of LeBron......instead, he's lazy and gets caught behind LBJ....easy pass from Mo to LeBron....lay-up, And 1. 75-55 Cavs.
Like I said, LBJ is strong (and big), so if you get caught behind him, you have absolutely no chance.
2:11: Mini-microwave hits a trey....9 points, 4-4 shooting for Dixon.
2:00: More easy Cleveland offense. Again, LeBron sets the same high ball screen for Williams on the wing. Mo dibbles to top of key, James fills the lane and Jamison is right there to pick him up. Songaila is also showing help on LBJ off Varejao. Butler, as he is recovering, heads straight to LeBron as well. Caron isn't aware of the need to pick up AJ's man, Wally Szczerbiak, who fills in where the initial screen was set. Easy pass from Mo to Wally leads to a trey. 80-57 Cavs. It seems like a simple game for Cleveland.
It's getting ugly. 84-59 Cleveland at the end of three.
Dixon, McGree, McGuire, Songaila, and Antonio in the game to start the 4th.
11:19: Antonio Daniels.....just let him sit the rest of the game. A theme is developing....he is constantly getting himself caught playing bad help defense. The Cavs run Boobie off a couple off-ball screens, but Juan Dixon is a quick guy, so he is able to recover with minimal separation. Boobie receives the pass, but AD still deems it necessary to help. Daniels gets too far away from Tarence Kinsey, who receives the ball, drives down the open lane, as AD gives him the Ole! defense, and scores a bucket. 84-61 Cavs.
Wally Szczerbiak is scoring points in bunches....93-64 Cleveland.
Damn.....during the commercial, some guy Cavalier dance/scream team member went down/was dropped on a stunt.....this leads both teams to pray together.....a stretcher, neck brace, and about a dozen medical staff members are out there.....hopefully the guy is okay. We don't see the replay, but the faces of the players say it all.....guys seem to be holding back tears.
6:52: D-Song is bricking threes.
6:22: D-Mac is fighting for offensive boards and getting put backs.
6:00: Dixon throws McGee a lob in transition that's a little short, but The Choppa gets it, spins like a helicopter, and somehow lays it in. 96-69 Cavs.
Oh yea, Andray Blatche still hasn't gotten back in the game.
4:29: McGee drives, avoids a charge, and hits a running scoop layup....what coordination from that guy.
2:51: Wow....sweetness....McGuire makes a hard drive to the basket, makes sure to protect the ball by shifting it away from the defense....help comes as D-Mac gets closer to the hoop and McGee is there to receive the lay-off and throw down the dunk. 103-75 Cavs.
1:10: Pech hits a three.
And that's it folks.....not a good preseason performance in any way, shape, or form.
108-80 Cleveland Cavaliers over the Washington Wizards
Andray Blatche: three minutes and 49 seconds.
NBA.com Box Score