Yup....I was one of those working stiffs rushing to get home for the 6 pm start time. Just as I was getting near my bus stop, Beat It by Michael Jackson came on my ipod....my 'Top 5000 Songs' playlist; I assumed this to be a good sign. I made it in my apartment just in time to see Big Z look like Hakeem Olajuwon before throwing up a fade-away on Haywood heading into a commercial break at the 9 minute mark. 5-4 Wizards.
8:36: Coming out the timeout, DeShawn Stevenson throws up some gar-báge.
Halfway through the first quarter, the Wiz are up 2. I still haven't gotten a feel from this team. I see Caron Butler hustling...Haywood is making some baller moves...but I can't tell if this team wants to win or not. Of course, they've been so inconsistent from quarter to quarter this year....who knows.
The Cleveland crowd seems tame. Stevenson, of course, gets the boo treatment, but it doesn’t seem very strong....maybe the confident attitude of the Cavs has given the fans a sense of complacency. It's in the bag I guess....
4:08: Wow. Caron gets a steal after Wally was lazy in recovering the ball....goes down, looks to travel, definitely got fouled...but the refs give Caron the continuation for the And 1. He was in the act of shooting, but I'm not sure they should have counted that.....even though the foul did cause the travel. I assume the refs made the right call. 16-11 Wizards.
Team - Gilbert < Team + Caron Butler.....for now.
3:54: Oh god, here we go. God damned LeBron James is a sweetheart.
He drives baseline....Darius Songaila obviously fouls him...as both of their arms are locked up....LeBron attempts to pull his arm away and in the process ends up causing Songaila's arm to hit him in the neck/side-face......a complete accident. LeBron acts as if Johnny Lawrence (you probably know him as Billy Zabka) just swept the neck instead of the leg.
Players gather....Anderson Varejao plays instigator and swats Stevenson's arm away for some reason....of course Stevenson overreacts and swats Andy's arm away. Jamison gets heated.
Somehow Wally shoots two techs...still not sure what happened. I know this: LeBron overreacted and the referees overreacted in turn. [Later, video evidence would reveal that LeBron checked where he did not get hit....and he just received the Sylvester Stallone award for bad acting.]
Dan Gilbert's friend (or at least a dude he knows sitting next to him) throws a towel at DeShawn and DOESN'T get kicked out. Essentially, Gilbert tells security not to toss him. Oh really now.....?
In the meantime, the Wizards have been called for two offensive fouls (Songaila and Stevenson)...didn't really see them.
1:55: It's cleared up that Songaila received a tech (that's just crazy)....and Varejao and Stevenson each got techs...which was justifiable.
1:28: Haywood gets called for another offensive foul....no one could argue that it wasn't a flop on Varejao.....terrible officiating thus far. This is unbelievable. Phil Chenier even points out that the Brazilian Spaz flopped the opposite way that Haywood was going.
Somehow the Wizards are up 20-16 with 8 turnovers in the first quarter....of course at least three of those came from offensive fouls.
0:01: Caron Butler nails a smooth three to end the first, his 3rd. And here I was thinking that I was coming home to watch a basketball game. Wizards up 23-16, Caron Butler has 14 points.
Reggie Miller and Marv Albert are absolutely unbelievable....I'm actually disgusted that they are assuming that Songaila intentionally "punched" LeBron. I don't think there is any doubt in Miller's mind that there was a punch there. They actually wanted the refs to review the play and throw Darius out. Perhaps they weren't privy to the same conclusive replays as Comcast....I don't care, they can both still go to hell.
10:28: Unbelievable shot by Caron after losing the ball....I can't even begin to describe what he did..caught the loose rock in the air and then threw the ball in with the clock running down...or something like that. 25-21 Wizards.
I guess the Wiz are winning and stuff....at the next timeout, they are up 30-25. I am still baffled, flabbergasted, shocked at Marv Albert and Reggie Miller. Not only did they think that Darius Songaila's play was a punch, but Albert mocked Eddie Jordan's opinion when the TNT sideline reporter interviewed him about the play.....sarcastically saying something to the effect "Yea, like LeBron James' head went into Darius Songaila's fist." Need I remind everyone that not only does "Marvelous" Marv enjoy wearing women's underwear, but he also has taken part in threesomes involving another dude. Add Marv and Reggie to the list of hack jobs .
At least the Wizards have seemed to keep their concentration after that absurdity....now I suppose I need to do the same. Marv Albert will not hear the end of this.
[NOTE: I am not whining that a call was made against Songaila....he did foul LeRootyPoo. And while the technical was unjust, I'm not even whining about that. No, I am simply complaining and pointing out the ridiculousness of Reggie Miller and Marv Albert]
Does Gil want to be a Wizard? (TNT Sideline Interview) "Of course...I'd love to come back if they want me to come back."
5:22: DeShawn hits a three....we need him to shut his mouth, play with a chip on his shoulder, use the boos to power him, and step his game up. 37-32 Wiz.
4:44: Empty possession...Mason a runner? Never his shot. Caron misses a fader.
4:21: Stevenson is not feeling his face very well....he nails an open three from the corner....just like you and me, this one was made by penetration. 40-34 Wiz.
3:22: Too many outside shots...Caron takes a bad one, low shot clock though...AJ hustles for a board, gets it out to Stevenson who takes a three himself....miss. The Wiz really need to take advantage of 2nd chances.
TNT is reporting that DeShawn went to a Cleveland mall yesterday with 5 teammates. Why would he do that and why would the Wizards coaching staff allow him to do that? (assuming they knew)....DeShawn Stevenson is not making it easy for me to like him at all. One, what the hell is an NBA player doing at a mall in the first place? Two, DeShawn is doing nothing but looking for trouble.....he's such an idiot. I'd also like to know who went to the mall with him. I'd bet that Antawn Jamison and Antonio Daniels weren't among those who did.
2:26: I seriously can't believe the Wizards have a 42-39 lead.....Cleveland gave some back court pressure and played it tight once the Wiz were in the half court....lack of composure led to turnover #11, shot clock violation.
2:14: But the Cavs make an unforced turnover coming back down the court.
1:55: Turnover again...Butler drives, Haywood rolls, but the pass was too far behind him. The sand paper offense.....not smooth.
1:20: A gimpy AD, who got tripped by Gibson a couple possessions ago, gets a block on Boobie from behind and coasts up court for the layup. He has to check out. 44-39 Wiz.
1:00: Oh my god.....turnovers are crazy....Stevenson got to the basket, passed, and Haywood just bobbled the ball out of bounds.
0:00: Butler misses a trey on LeBron to end the 1st half....it looks like Eddie wanted him to drive as he had plenty of time. Wizards up 45-43 at the half.
- The main thing the Wiz have going for them is hot shooting, 17-33
- The Wizards are also winning the battle of the boards, 16-14 (although the Cavs have 6 offensive to 4 for DC)
- We all know that turnovers are a killer, 13-9 Wizards (although both teams have 9 points off turnovers)
- The Potomac Rainmaker chipped in with 6 points off the bench....and he didn't even attempt a three.
- Caron had 16 points, Stevenson had 11
- Big Z had 12, LeBaby LeTravel LeBoo-Boo LeBron had 10
- Bobble-hands Haywood had a +7
- LeBron James had a -4
10:58: The offense gets AD a long jumper....make...huh? 47-46 Wiz.
10:23: Stevenson hits a tough fade away deuce....two shots I don't like, but they went down so I can't exactly complain. 49-46 Wiz.
9:40: AD gets a runner as ball movement had the Cav D out of position. Cleveland fans seems a little tentative.
9:09: Wow....Caron Butler drives baseline...misses...but tips in his own layup. 53-48 Wiz.
8:28: Stevenson gets a steal after a Butler miss....but takes a trey. Why can't he ever show patience on second chance opportunities?
Stevenson drive....lays it off for BTH, the ball is a little behind him, but he bobbles it anyway - Wiz get the ball back after it goes out of bounds, but DeShawn misses a fade away.
7:38: Jamison misses an open look...I really give it to AD though, he's doing his best to drive the ball into the paint.
7:31: Szczerbiak absolutely BLOWS a layup. I think DeShawn bothered him by not fouling.
6:29: Timeout....play has become sloppy for both teams. The Wizards aren't doing anything post-wise. Would it be too much to ask that they try some looks at Haywood?
6:14: Butler misses an outside jumper.....settling = frustration.
5:51: LeBron bricks a three.
5:42: Daniels misses a wide open deuce...I mean, he had to take it...if Cleveland is going to let you have that one.....Wizards are 0 for the last 8.
5:14: Jamison gets caught on Z....11-0 run for the Cavs. 59-53 Cleveland.
0 for the last 10, 11, 12...finally Jamison makes a put back...and the Wiz get 3 offensive boards on one possession for a change. 8 second chance points, 5 Jamison points, 9 AJ boards. 59-55 Cavs.
4:05: LeBron throws up a bad brick.
The Wiz are starting to get scrappy on the boards, Caron picks up an AJ runner miss. 59-57 Cavs.
Sub-time: AD, MaseOn, Butler, Songaila & AJ vs James, Brazilian Spaz, Boobie, Joe Smith and West.
3:02: Jamison answers a Boobie trey with his own. 62-60 Cavs.
Comcast reports that Mike Brown took a trip to the Italian Alps after last year's NBA finals to learn the European brand of basketball and the art of "hockey" assists.....looks like he learned a lot of flopping and whining from Italian soccer heads too.
1:49: Butler breaks some ice with a trey....now he needs to dominate the inside. He's gotten better at shooting 3s, but I don't want to see him rely on that shot too much. 63 tie game.
1:08: Caron picks up assist #5 to Songaila. 65-63 Wiz.
A Wiz break off a Brazilian Spaz miss leads to FTs for Songaila. 67-63 Wiz.
0:27: LeBron does the takeover move and scores a layup. 67-65.
0:04: Bam! (did I just type 'bam'?) 6-0 run by D-Song...Daniels with more penetration and pops it to D-Song for a long and confident deuce (good god that sounds disgusting).
LeBron misses a trey at the buzzer. 69-65 Wizards heading into the final 12.
11:44: LeBron's jump to pass gets him in trouble - turnover.
TNT breaks down Bron's points. 4 in paint, 9 from 3, 8 from the FT line.
11:32: Caron nails FTs to get a new career playoff high, 25 points.
11:08: Caron plays tough D on LeBron when he tried to bulldog his way through a double...lost the ball....and you can hear the crying - I guess LeBron just expects to power his way between two players and get the call.
10:25: Haywood gets blocked....he needs to step it up....get fouled, something.
9:57: Haywood has the ball inside...and the rock gets knocked away by Bron. C'mon BTH! Get tough!
Jamison checks in for Haywood...small lineup - AD, Mase, Butler, D-song & AJ vs Brown, Bron, Gibson, Big Z and Joey Smith. And Brown hits a three..they forgot about him. 71-68 Wizards.
9:05: Mason his a baseliner after missing his last two attempts in the quarter. 73-68 Wiz.
8:47: LeBron spins....travels.....the refs scramble to break out the red carpet before the other foot comes down...and bucket. 73-70 Wizards.
7:28: We go to timeout as Jamison, Songaila and Butler all have 4 fouls.
8:00: Couple offensive boards...bucket for Big Z.
Wiz get bumped....can't convert...down the court, they are confused on D and leave the lane wide open for a LeBron dunk. 6-0 Cavs run as they take the lead. 74-73 Cleveland. [And later on.....TNT replays show that Big Z gave Songaila a major elbow on this play]
7:28: Timeout Wiz.
7:09: Wiz hold the ball too long and Butler fires a shot and misses. Butler got doubled, but he held onto the ball.....he needs to pass before the D gets there. Keep the ball moving!
6:28: Finally...Haywood gets something done inside. He draws a foul in the paint. Makes both. 76-75 Cavs.
6:07: Devin Brown misses a wide open three set up by LeBron.
5:58: Caron can't convert on two close tries.
5:50: LeBron decides to take it himself...Layup. 78-75 Cavs.
5:35: Jamison draws a foul on a drive. ...he misses both.
5:02: Stevenson drives...and draws a foul. At least it seems like settling for jumpers is unacceptable for the Wizards. He makes both. 78-77 Cavs.
Do the Wiz need to double LeBron more?...he's getting where he wants off the high screens. I understand not wanting to leave anyone open...but they're just letting him do the damn thing. Haywood fouls him and LBJ makes 2. 80-77.
4:38: Again, the Wizards drive...this time Butler earns two FTs. Makes both. 80-79 Cavs.
The Wizards have turned to Wack a Wallace...he misses the first, and the 2nd. Butler gets the board and Wallace fouls him. See ya Ben. He checks out and Z checks in.
Damn, Butler misses the first. I haven't been nervous this whole game and here the Wizards go...making me think they have a chance. Tie game at 80 after the 2nd FT.
4:24: Looks like the Wiz go to double LeBron as Big Z sets a high screen....Stevenson and Haywood out there....unfortunately, Haywood commits a foul on Ilgauskas trying to make sure that the screener stays out of the way. Big Z makes only 1. D-Song comes in for Haywood. 81-80 Cavs.
4:05: Stevenson drives...throws up a crazy runner...Good. 82-81 Wizards.
The Wiz are showing a lot of help on LeBron...he drives...and gets bumped by D-Song. 1 of 2 on FTs...but the Wiz can't control the board...and knock it out of bounds from LeBron as he was going up for a follow shot.
3:25: LeBron tries to split a D team...loses the ball again, but Joe Smith falls on it and Cleveland calls timeout. Haywood checks back in. Game still tied at 82.
3:17: LeBron drives...someone is always open on the baseline...this time Joe Smith is....he misses, but the ball goes out of bounds off the Wizards.
Big Z goes away from setting the pick because he sees the Wiz double team....LeBron tries to take DeShawn 1 on 1, but AD is there to jump in and tie the ball up. LBJ easily wins the tap.
2:48: A Scramble...with 7 seconds to shoot.... Gibson almost travels...goes to shoot, no dice.
Awww No!!! Stop trying to pass to Haywood....AJ drives...ball is knocked away, Cleveland recovers...Wiz turnover.
2:11: LeBron drives on the other end and Haywood picks up a blocking foul, his 6th. Tough call...seems like BTH had some position...LBJ definitely dropped his shoulder....but we'll never get that call. 2 FTs, Cavs up 2. 84-82.
1:47: Down to 1 on 1 moves with Caron on LeBron....tough shot...definite contact from Joe Smith...but the refs would never call that. Cavaliers get the board and fast break.....LeBron gives it to West, layup And 1. Wizards down 5.....doesn’t look good at all.
Wiz are 2-12 from the field in the 4th...can't win with that, can you?
1:41: Songaila gets a reverse layup attempt rejected by Big Z (and Joe Smith)..and Z recovers the ball. Very bad idea D-Song. I'd say it's just about over.
1:17: LeBron misses a trey...baaaaad.
Jamison misses a trey.....Butler gets the board put back. Wiz pressure....(wish Wallace was in the game). Gibson misses a jumper...Daniels fights for the board...and is fouled by Joe Smith. The Wizards are down 87-84.
Tisk, tisk....A real player would've taken it all the way...Bron Bron wanted to pass....Daniel Gibson wanted to miss a three.
0:43: AD makes both FTs...wow. Wiz down 87-86.
I thought all was lost...but now I'm nervous
0:15: LeBron passes again!....Joe smith misses a close one.....the ball is tipped about 4 times and finally Caron Butler snags it.
0:11.2: seconds left...down 1. What do you do?....who knows, I'm just a fan.
Butler drives....and gets the ball to go! (How? I am not sure) 3.9 seconds left. Washington Wizards up 88-87.
My initial thought....you know we're setting ourselves up for heartbreak, right? (I resist typing this on the BF game thread)
0:03.9: I don't think LeBron will be passing this time....do you double him? Good god I don't know...like I said. I'm just a fan.
Comcast relays that Eddie wants to go 1-on-1 ...DeShawn is maning up....LeBron drives....shoots a runner.......NOPE!!!
Songaila had his back turned to LeBron...but held his ground, there was contact....but it was a good no call...it SHOULD have been a no call...but the Cavs want to blame LeBron's miss on anything BUT LeBron missing.
I actually wait for Mike Brown to sit Indian Style (I don't mean that to be racist or anything....maybe I should say cross-legged.....)...in any case, I expect Mike Brown to do this in protest at center court. He doesn't....and we are heading back to the District of Columbia.