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Game Blog: Wizards @ Cavaliers: 2008 NBA Playoffs Rd. 1 Gm. 1

Two different players. One says he wants to face a team, the other says that he doesn't want to face a team. They both get criticized. Who is right? Barkley for getting on Arenas because he wants to see Cleveland? Or Stephen A. Smith for getting on Nowitzki for not wanting to see the Los Angeles Lakers? It seems obvious that (gulp) the latter talking-head is right and that you'd rather have the former player on your team.

Uh oh....look who's picking the Wizards....yes indeed, our good friend John Hollinger. Considering his record with this team, I'm not so sure this is a good thing. Oh yea, for the series, Stephen A. is taking the Wiz and Jalen Rose is taking LBJ and the Cavs. Rick Carlisle is also reporting that Gil's minutes are going to increase to 30-35 per and that Arenas has had no swelling in his knee for the past two months.

Odd Fact: The last time the Caps and Wizards were both in the playoffs (1988), Kansas won the National Championship. And we all know what the JayHawks did this year. What happened in 88? The Bullets lost to the Pistons in five; Detroit eventually lost to the Lakers in the NBA Finals. Now get this about the Caps, after being down 3-1 to Philly in the first round, went on to win the next three (2 in Philly) to take the series. Unfortunately, the Capitals went down to the underdog New Jersey Devils in 7 games in the next round.

There goes the ringside bell, let's start the show.....

Quarter One

Wally Shizzleback will get the starting nod in the place of Sasha for the Cavs. Go at him Tuff Juice (if he's guarding you).

Before the game even tips, it looks like DeShawn Stevenson has already sweated through his jersey.....uh oh, the Wizards are wearing those gold unis that everyone hates....except me.

11:49: Not sure why Haywood gets caught looking at Wallace guarded by Jamison in the paint...he leaves Ilgauskas wide open for outside points. 2-0 Cavs.

11:30: Butler takes the first shot, a 3....seems a little early to do that.

11:19: Cavs give some backcourt pressure after LeBron's 2 FTs give Cleveland a 4-0 lead.

11:08: Jamison's first shot is an airball....thats okay, just some jitters. LeBron misses his first 3 attempt on the other end.

10:38: AD gets LeBron switched on him. Not sure why he feels the need to take it....bad fadeaway miss.

10:12: Stevenson plays lock down D on James....and he's forced to take bad fadeaway himself.

9:51: Finally...Haywood gets on the board......after AJ tried to take Wallace, he lost the ball and BTH recovered for his version of an outside shot. The baseline jumper is not doing for Haywood on the next offensive possession. 4-2 Cavs.

8:45: Big Z gets another outside jumper in the same place...looks like a bad switch left too much space. 6-2 Cavs.

8:10: Wally World gets on board with a trey.....don't want confidence to build for that guy. 9-2 Cavs.

7:46: Haywood follows up Caron's scoop miss drive with a tip. BTH is the biggest key of the game so far for Washington. 9-4 Cleveland.

7:25: Haywood gets more points with a running baby right hand hook. 11-6 Cavs.

7:00: More tough D by DeShawn as LBJ misses a fader from the FT line.

6:24: Haywood yelling dunk...nice roll and assist from Stevenson. When the Cavs start collapsing, the Wiz better be ready to hit outside shots. Gilbert? 13-8 Cavs.

5:52: AD is left wide open for a moment on the baseline...two Cavs run at him, but leave AJ open in the short corner to receive the rock for a layup. 13-10 Cavs.

5:17: AJ misses his 2nd three. Cleveland takes a timeout on the other end.....probably to make some inside adjustments on D. Haywood has the length over Benny Wallace and the toughness over Ilgauskas. As the discussion goes on the BF game thread, the outside misses are not ideal, but I'm not worried one bit so far. LBJ has been kept in check by the Lock Smith....who is doing an excellent job of moving his feet.

4:55: There go those offensive rebounds. Big Ben cleans up and Big Z gets the hoop. AJ misses another 3 on the other end. C'mon Vet. Gilbert gets set to check in.

4:03: Inside again to Haywood.....he gets great position, a perfectly timed pass and keeps his composure to power the ball in the hoop. 15-12 Cavs.

Andray Blatche checks in with Gil....seems like Arenas is getting booed more than Stevenson. AD and Haywood check out. LeBron doesn't look comfortable walking around as Big Z takes a seat.

3:11: Gilbert misses his first attempt...wasn't close at all.

2:48: Timeout #2. Matt from Hardwood Paroxysm sends me a Google IM.....big ups to the man-help D from the Wizards.

Looks like the Wiz have switched to a pseudo-zone coming out the timeout. They get a miss form the corner and AJ draws a foul on the rebound. Is that Jamison's 8th board in the first quarter? Yes it is.

2:20: Arenas....BUCKETS on Boobie, trey ball. 17-15 Cavs.

1:54: The Wizards are sending a couple at LeBron to get the ball out of his hands on this possession. Devin Brown travels.

1:40: Butler takes advantage of Devin Brown and gets a foul on a 3 attempt - makes 2-3, his first points after missing his first two shots. 17-17 tie game.

Mason Jr. checks in for Stevenson. Great sub.

1:25: LeBron misses...I think Blatche bothered him. James stays down on the floor...."OMG!" say Cleveland fans...What part of LeBron is hurt? Meanwhile...the Wizards easily score in transition. What's wrong with baby LeBron? He's holding his mouth. You stayed on the ground for that? You gotta be kidding me. On the replay, Blatche did get LBJ pretty hard. They should have called a foul. 19-17 Wizards.

0:53: Jamison, after getting his 9th board, gets the outside game going with a baseline deuce. 21-17 Wizards.

0:36: LeBron goes to the basket and Andray makes sure to foul him hard again. If Blatche is picking up his fouls per usual, it's good to at least seem him get his money's worth. 1 made FT, good foul. 21-18 Wizards.

0:28: Mase-OFF on his first attempt.

0:11: LeBron drives again....Butler and Arenas kinda run into each other...and Arenas grabs LBJ's arm, not allowing him to get a dunk, much less a shot off. 1 make, 21-19 Wizards.

I was hoping that LBJ would go out after Stevenson went to the bench...nope, that's when he started getting more aggressive in going to the basket...with Caron Butler guarding.

0:01: Giiiil-bert ARENAS for three! Only 10 or 11 feet behind the 3 point line....I belt out an "Oh My God!" The Cavs get the ball but it's not enough time to do anything. And that is the first quarter of the first playoff game of 2008. 24-19 Wizards.

Stat Check:

  1. Jamison has 6 points, 10 boards.
  2. Haywood has 10 points in just over 8 minutes.
  3. LeBron, 0 FGs, 4 points.

Quarter Two

11:16: Blatche goes up and snatches a defensive rebound with intensity.

11:10: Another 3 by Gilbert....everyone (media talking-heads) was talking about LeBron's "face" before the game. But did you see Gilbert's game face after that shot? People don't realize that Gil is all fun and games until he steps on the floor and takes off that warm-up. 27-19 Wizards.

10:36: Get 'em Gil! A trey ball after a pump fake dead in Delonte's face. My yelling has increased...someone will start knocking on my door soon. 30-19 Wizards.

10:19: Cleveland timeout -- "Welcome back boy boy!" Jamison is mic'ed up .

10:08: Big Z ends an almost 7 minute FG drought for the Cavs. 30-21 Wizards.

9:40: The Butler comes calling with a jumper...uh oh. The entire Wizards team is starting to pick it up. 32-21 Wiz.

LeBron checks back in....Cavs fans barely make noise. Shocked, huh?

9:20: Cleveland goes to trying to work Big Z against Andray Blatche. Would it be a good time to get Haywood back in the game? I think so....and Eddie Jordan does so after Zydrunas' first FT make. Stevenson joins. Get subbing by Eddie J folks. Mason, D-Song and Gilbert are still in the game. Have we seen this combo this year? 32-23 Wizards.

9:05: Mason misses his 2nd jumper....he shot it with confidence though. He'll get them to fall.

8:40: Big Z misses an inside shot on offensive rebound for Varejao on D-Song nets Boobie a trey ball. 32-26 Wizards.

7:54: Gilbert again....I think I'll shoot a deuce this time. 34-26 Wiz.

7:41: LBJ gets his first FG on a cut and reverse layup. 34-28 Wizards.

7:22: Gilbert doesn't get a call, he should have, but draws a charge on Andy V. down the court. Jamison checks back in for Roger.

6:32: Haywood fails to put a solid body on Big Z twice as he gets two offensive boards. A Wally Szczerbiak long deuce is the end result. 36-30 Wizards.

6:00: Wally charges hard to the hoop on the baseline, draws a BS call on Haywood, his 2nd. The Cleveland crowd wakes up. 36-32 Wizards.

5:50: AD checks in for Gil and Songaila gets an offensive foul called. He had his arm up too high on the Big Haired Flopper. It's a game of runs...this we know.

Another timeout. Meanwhile...the Capitals have dropped the puck. 0-0 with 16 left in the first. The ESPN combo.....not so good. Rick Carlisle is not bad but he is no Hubie Brown.. So now, I'm going to switch the volume over to the local Comcast feed with Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier.

Phil Chenier, the voice of reason. Wizards are upset at a couple non-calls, but "that's gonna happen and you gotta forget about them."

5:39: DeShawn's D on Boobie is not so tough as he let's Gibson get a driving layup. 36-34 Wizards.

5:04: For a change, a Wiz offensive board off a Stevenson miss leads to Jamison points. I think only the 2nd o board of the game for DC. 38-34 Wizards.

4:29: Another Stevenson miss....another Haywood offensive rebound. Points. LBJ gets his 2nd FG of the game on the other end... not on individual creation, rather off a cut in the Cleveland offense. 40-36 Wizards.

3:48: OH my lord....James gets a monster 1-hand alley-oop, off a Wiz turnover (AD lost it, Wally picked it up), that ignites the crowd. LBJ blocks Stevenson's shit on the other end.

3:27: Ben Wallace clobbers Jamison on an offensive board attempt. Benny threw his left arm right into AJ's face...yup, that's a foul.

2:35: Haywood blocks an offensively spastic Andy Varejao. Daniels goes right at LeBron for transition points. How many guards would do that? Not many. I'm glad we have us an Antonio Daniels. Stevenson picks up his 1st foul on the other end and we head to another timeout. 42-38 Wizards.

CAPS GOAL! They had a 5-3 advantage. 1-0 Caps, just over 12 left in the first period. I think ESPN has shown that LeBron alley-oop about nine times now.

2:12: LeBron gets an outside J as Stevenson goes the wrong way around a Big Z screen. 42-40 Wizards.

Chris Miller on the timeout: Eddie Jordan reminds the Wiz not to settle for jump shots.

0:55: Just like that...Caron takes it to the basket and makes the smooth and easy pass to Jamison for the layup. 44-40 Wizards.

0:11: Butler drives again...sets up Stevenson for an open 3. No good, but Jamison bodies Wallace out the way for the board and put back. 46-42 Wizards.

0:01: Uh oh....things get testy. An offensive fouled is called on Haywood for setting a screen on LeBron James. Haywood reels back a little as LeBron goes to the floor....he obviously did not want to foul. Before Brendan can fully catch his balance and get out of the way (and away from standing over LeBron), James loses patience and tries to get up in a funny way though Haywood's 5-hole. 

It's hard to tell who exactly starts it....Haywood took exception to LeBron knocking him as he could have fallen too....the two exchange mini-scuffle pushes. Tempers flare, Ben Wallace and Big Z bum rush the show. Mike Brown scatters over to the fray. Jamison sprints over. Double techs are assessed to Haywood and looks like the refs give Jamison a tech as well.

That's exactly why Amare got suspended last year. ...that's exactly why the rule is in place. Intelligently, no one leaves the bench.

It looks like they gave AJ a tech because he sprinted over when everyone else was just kinda there. Z and Benny Wallace were there first.....just before Mike Brown. Jamison should not have been given a technical....he's a vet and his intention was only to play peacemaker.

0:00: After the buzzer sounds with a LeBron miss, it looks like Haywood tries to go over, or call LeBron over to apologize/make amends. But the Wiz coaches advise him to just head to the locker room. Tie game at 46 heading into the half.

In my opinion, LeBron should have given Haywood the chance to carefully get out of his way. But maybe you can't blame the guy too much after getting fouled on that pick. Has anyone caught their breath yet?

Player Stats:

  1. 12 points, 10 boards for Jamison.
  2. Haywood set an early tone with 12 and 5.
  3. I hope I didn't jinx Butler, 4 points on 1-4 shooting.
  4. Arenas has 14 points in 9 minutes, 4-4 on 3s.
  5. Blatche leads the Wiz with +14 in 6:23 (thanks to playing with Gil).
  6. Ilgauskas has 14 and 7.
  7. James has 12 on 4-9 shooting, didn't get his 1st FG until 8 left in 2nd.

Team Stats:

  1. FTs: 2-3 for Wiz, 13-15 for Cavs.
  2. Boards: 22-21 Cleveland (one more defensive, 5 offensive for both).
  3. FG%: 44.4 for the Wiz, 35.7 for the Cavs.
  4. The Comcast pivitol play of the game is the scuffle at the end.

Eddie Jordan wired up in the locker room:  "The team D is pretty darn good."

Quarter Three

Gilbert almost looks mad that he has to begin the 3rd on the bench.

11:41: Haywood draws an early foul on Big Z....Wiz certainly need more FTs. 2 makes. 48-46 Wizards.

11:25: James sliced by BTH with 3 fouls and scores the hoop. 48 tie.

11:00: Stevenson misses a 3 with the shot clock running down. It'd be a nice bonus if he could get some points, D-Steve was 0-5 in the first half.

10:54: LeBron drives and draws a foul on Butler. He'll be driving anyway.....should be Cleveland's game plan, but BTH's 3 fouls does not help anchor the D. 1 make, 49-48 Cleveland.

10:27: LBJ drives hard on Stevenson who gives him a tiny bit of space for a pull up J. We know this will happen. The Wiz just need to do their part on offense. 51-48 Cavs.

10:03: AD gets his 2nd hoop with a fader over Delonte. 51-50 Cavs.

My heart is pounding and it's only the beginning of the 3rd quarter.

9:14: Oop to LeBron...great play calling. Stevenson didn't turn his head to look. 53-50 Cavs.

8:56: Just like the grains of sand in an hour glass...the calls go the Cavs way. On the replay, BTH did hook James a little, who easily fell down. Offensive foul and BTH reluctantly sits with 4. But I don't mind D-Song in to guard Big Z so much.

8:35: Caron drives and gets a shooting foul called. That's what the Wiz really need from Butler....drives to the hoop which create something. Even though Caron hasn't gotten off yet, he conveys a patient aura about him. Caron ends up making both FTs. 53-52 Cavs.

The ref (Bob Delaney)  explains the tech to Jamison and why Ilgauskas didn't get one either. It's not the best explanation....something about how Big Z didn't have his hands as involved and that Bob could hold AJ back...but AJ takes it like a true vet.

8:14: Butler steal and fella to pick off LeBron. Wiz take lead, 54-53.

7:57: Zone on the out-under play....the Wiz lose LeBron for the bucket. 55-54 Cavs.

7:48: Caron travels. Steve Buck relates that it's the 8th turnover for the Wizards, which has led to 10 Cleveland points.

ESPN cuts to Gilbert Arenas riding a bike in the corridor....a semi-smile on his face.

6:55: AD makes a careless turnover as he tried to do to much and lost control of the ball...Cavalier dunk. The Wiz are killing themselves with TOs. 59-54 Cavs.

6:35: Caron nets 10 points with a calm J. Gilbert is set to check back in. 59-56 Cavs.

Meanwhile.....the Caps have scored a second goal...didn't see how it went down.

5:49: Butler fakes Wally and gets a baseline J that bounces on the rim a couple times. 61-58 Cavs.

5:25: Stevenson a bad pass to Caron in transition....another turnover. 10 of those for 14 Cleveland points.

Boobie checks in the game.....PLEASE don't lose that dude.

4:12: offensive board and put-back. He's got 14 and 14. AJ's giving Ben Wallace a ton of trouble on the boards. 61-60 Cavs.

3:58: D-Song with a good foul on Ben Wallace, but that's his 3rd. Wallace misses both. Will we see Andray again anytime soon?

3:56: Wallace loses Antawn Jamison on D....transition trey ball. 63-61 Wizards.

3:28: Andy Varejao with spastic attempt...nope. Wiz come down....Gilbert looks open at the three line for a second, but he sees Andy V. running after him. Gil calmly makes a dribble and nails a deuce. Cavalier timeout after the 9-0 Wizards run. 65-61 Wizards.

2:46: Butler with a nose for the ball gets the loosie.....Jamison fought hard to keep it alive. AJ scores in the paint on the less physical Joe Smith. 67-61 Wizards.

2:21: Dammit! Boobie hits a trey. 67-64 Wiz.

2:04: Jamison runner.....the Cavs have no answer for him on offense. Early misses are the only thing that held him back. 69-64 Wizards.

1:45: LeBron drives.....looks to throw his arm out a little....could be a travel (that's what Stevenson wants), but a foul is called. Timeout....looks like LBJ tweaked something as he limps to the bench.

Coming back, ESPN shows LeBron on the ground with the Cavs staff stretching him out. He comes out on the court okay and makes 1 of 2 FTs....but Andy gets the o-board off the 2nd miss....a jump ball is called after a Varejao miss. ESPN's Holly Rowe says LBJ is having cramps. Cavs win the tip.

1:21: Butler steals it from Smith...Wizards run. The ball is loose, spastic Varejao...another jump ball between him and  AJ. Cavs win the tip again.

0:49: Gibson gets Gil on skates...but he doesn't go anywhere....ref eventually calls Boobie for a travel.

Mason Jr. checks in for Stevenson...Mase-ON?

LeBron is still lying on the sidelines...that's why Stevenson was able to come out.

0:06: Arenas misses a three...D-Song gets the board, but misses the jumper at the buzzer. That's the 3rd folks.....and now for a 4th quarter more important that the one in Philly. 69-65 Wizards.

Quick Stats:

  1. Wiz have taken board lead, 31-29.
  2. Washington still shooting much better, 46.8% to 36.2%.
  3. I'm not sure why the Cavs are 19-25 from the FT line why the Wiz are only 6-7. It's been a relatively even called game (a couple no calls should have been whistled on AJ's offensive attempts.) James has been driving a lot though.....he's 6-10 on FTs.

Quarter Four

My heart starts pounding again. LeBron starts the 4th on the sidelines.

The Flyers have gotten on the board with a goal. 2-1 Caps.

10:56: Andray is in playing D on Big Z.....WALK!! More yelling from me. The refs let Ilgauskus shuffle all over in the paint, but a foul is called on Blatches. 2 makes gives Z an 8-8 day from the FT line so far. 70-69 Wizards.

10:30: Eff....the Wizards in the zone....lose track of Boobie who nails a 2, Cleveland gets the lead back. 71-70 Cavs.

Mason, Arenas, Blatche, Songalia, and Jamison in the game for DC.

10:05: Mason misses....0-3. Playoff jitters stay for him.

9:45: Big Z scores on Blatche. Something must be adjusted. Timeout Eddie Jordan. Andray is not strong enough to keep Ilgauskas from getting where he wants to go. Weight room son! 73-70 Cavs.

LeBron is beginning to stretch out a little more. BTH is inserted back in the game, Caron and D-Steve are still on the bench.

9:28: Gil and BTH work the give and go to a roll....Haywood draws a blocking foul on Devin Brown.....makes 1 of 2 FTs. 73-71 Cavs.

9:16: Cavs go right to the Z. He misses the baby hook against Haywood's length. Arenas charges up court and draws contact on Delonte on his mid-range attempt. LeBron waits to check in, as does Caron. Gil makes both, his first FTs of game. Tie game at 73.

8:52: Arenas gets a BS foul called on him, his 4th....Delonte lost his balance and fell at the slightest touch.

8:38: LeBron with a smooth J over Caron. I'd say it's time to put Roger Mason to rest and bring back Stevenson. 75-73 Cavs.

8:04: With the Wizards focusing on Z and James down low. Andy Varejao his a FT line J. 77-73 Cleveland.

7:45: And Roger Mason misses an open 3 from the corner....yup, you gotta get him out pronto.

7:24: A foul is drawn on Big Z....the Wiz are already in the penalty. That is HUGE. Jamison knocks down two FTs. 77-75 Cavs.

7:10: Because of fouls and Big Z down low...the perimeter is open for the Cavs - Delonte West nails a 3. 80-75 Cavs.

6:46: Then again, DeShawn can't buy a basket either. He misses two threes in a row.

6:34: Delonte West misses a trey and Caron butler travels the next time down. 12 turnovers for the wizards. Caron has 4 of those. LeBron goes does an misses a bucket.

6:14: Gilbert Arenas explodes to get more FTs. That's what he do. 2 makes. 80-77 Cavs. Ilgauskas sinks a bucket to give the Cavs 82.

5:42: Gilbert slips inside for a layup..they're scared to foul him now. 82-79 Cavs.

5:12: Stevenson shoots it right away with confidence after the ball is swung to him in the corner in just had to fall at some point (on LeBron's head). His 3 ties the game at 82.

4:57: Tuff Juice gets his 3rd steal with the perpetual active hands.

4:41: Agent Zero reverse layup....Really Delonte? You think you can hang? 7-0 Wiz run. Wiz up 84-82.

4:15: Varejao...bad hook, he should never shoot. Big Z misses an easy offensive board tip.

3:46: Varjao misses again...remember when he killed the Cavs at the end of that game in the finals last year?

3:29: Jamison misses a trey, but West misses a J...then Jamison misses another open trey. It's getting cold in here.

2:38: LeBron goes to the hoop and draws foul #5 on Haywood. Timeout. LeBron makes two and Steve Buck relays that the Wiz are shooting 25% in the 4th. good thing they got in the bonus with drives earlier. 2 LBJ FTs tie the game at 84.

Joe Smith comes in for Andy V. because he sucks.

2:20: Caron loses the ball...goes down in the scrum. Haywood alertly calls a timeout with five seconds left on the shot clock. What kind of play will Eddie draw up?

2:11: Gilbert drives and just misses the J...but Jamison with the board.....AJ misses the runner. Aaand Haywood misses a tip. My heart just went into my throat.

1:44: LeBron drives and scores on three Wizards. No double team, huh? 86-84 Cavs.

1:20: The Wiz can't buy a bucket: Arenas misses an open baseline jumper...looks like he could have traveled. Jamison tries a tip....nope. On the other end, DeShawn gets near steal....but LeBron to the hoop (no double to get it out his hands again). Buckets runner. 6-0 LeBron James run. 88-84 Cavs.

DC is 3-16 for the field in the 4th.

0:47: Gilbert drives...loses the ball....close foul, but not much. There's a fight for the ball and it ends up as a jump ball between Arenas and Joe Smith. 

Cavs win the tip and a BS call on Caron Butler. Both he and LeBron were going for the ball, but James just happened to fall. No FTs though since the Cavs aren't in the bonus.

Cleveland timeout. 36.6 left in game, 15 on shot clock. Wiz try for the steal, end up fouling Boobie. He misses the 1st, makes 2nd. 89-84 Cavs.

0:26: Gil goes all the way...and misses a tough layup. That will just about do it. I'm not going to say it was the Cavs defense, the Wizards just could not knock down shots in the 4th. LeBron misses both FTs though.....

0:17: Should Gil just fire a three now? Maybe. Layups aren't working. The smart move would be to go to the basket. The ball ends up in Butler's hands who misses a trey. Jamison fouls West who hits both FTs, 91-84 Cavs.

Unfortunately, the papers are going to tout the Cleveland D...and holding the Wiz to 17 4th quarter points and 4-20 shooting, but that is not the case.

Weird call by the ref....looks like Delonte steals a lazy inbounds pass by Gil.....but they call a double violation? Jump ball at center court.

0:13: The Cavs win yet another jump ball; they won all of them in the game. Gil fouls out....hit the road jack. D-West makes 2 FTs - 93-84 Cavs.

Butler ends an 11-0 run and 10 straight Wizards misses with a layup with 4 seconds left. 93-86 Cleveland is your final.

Comcast ...Carol Maloney kinda gets me heated when she starts talking about the trash talk backfiring. She asks Ron Thompson a stupid question....basically if the trash talk did as such. The answer from Ron is no of course. LeBron James is a good player and just as James himself said, he doesn't need talk to motivate him to do well.

The Wizards did what they needed to do on the boards and the defensive end. The offense just severely sputtered in that 4th quarter. I'll be curious to see the analysis of Jake. It's gonna be a long series.....see ya Monday.

Gilbert Quotes:
"Trash talking started 3 years ago.....4 years ago when Larry was here."
"I wouldn't be surprised if he [DeShawn] talked trash again."