Game 18 Live Blog: Washington Wizards vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Ok, I was right down to Chinatown for the game tonight. My boy, previous fill-in for the Wiz-Warriors game, #12, Adam, was supposed to come, but unfortunately….Baby + Snow = No. Plus, he’s a nouveau suburbanite. Still, I made him take some notes since I think highly of his basketball opinion (aside from the NBA Dress Code, we’ll get into that later). So, the Wizards game account will consist of his notes from home and mine from the game.
Now let’s start the show….AJ the “stubborn old man” with the call and KB with the color….
Is it really worth it to pump all that smoke in the arena before the game? I know they gotta make it nice for the lasers and all….but really, unless a laser is implanted on the head of a bear or a shark, they just aren’t that interesting to me alone. Besides…the smoke smells bad, lingers around the court, etc…..Damn, I just realized that I sound like my old man.
Cavs win the tip.
11:39 - Jumper is missed by D. Gooden
11:18 - Missed scoop shot by Jamison.
11:06 – Sloppy play by DeShawn leads to a steal and dunk by Shannon Brown
KB [Man, Shannon Brown really got up on that dunk....first points of the game, kinda caught me off guard.]
10:43 – Missed jumper by Caron leads to a fastbreak lay in for Cleveland’s Daniel Gibson.
KB [I'd really like to see Butler develop more of a back to the basket game. He caught it around the elbow, had Aleksandar Pavlovic behind, but was so far out that he couldn't do much. Tuff Juice is, well, tough, but I want to see him muscle some fools a little bit more. He can take Pavlovic...catch it deeper Juice.]
10:21 - Missed free throws by Jamison – Wiz are down 4-0 and can’t seem to find a rhythm.
9:49 – Another drive to the cup by Gooden leads to a foul by Haywood and leads to a 9-4 Cleveland lead.
KB [Damn...seems like Gooden is trying to take over, set a tone....something. Starts off as the #1 scoring option with LeBron out. Beard on Beard tonight by the way....and it looks like Gooden has a strong edge over Dee-Shawn Stevenson.]
8:48 – Nice drive coast-to-coast by A.D. leads to an easy bucket
8:02 - Wiz just got pretty lucky. A.D. misses a wide open 15 footer and Cleveland manages to lose the loose ball out of bounds.
7:01 – Great defense by A.D. leads to an 8 second call.
KB [Yea, Daniels really hounded Shannon Brown on that one. I've been impressed with the energy he's shown so far this game. Even since they moved the backcourt violation seconds from 10 to 8, you just don't see that happen too often in the NBA.]
Here is a batch of bad basketball: the 8 second call on the Cavs, turnover by the Wiz leads to a fastbreak by Cleveland, bad pass by Daniel Gibson leads to a Caron steal and finally Caron drops the ball out of bounds. I guess you get that kind of ball when LBJ, Larry Hughes, and Gil are all not playing.
KB [I kinda like the fact that the Verizon Center crowd is not only small in numbers, but quiet as well. You can hear much more court action. One of the Geico/NBA Cavemen is in the house, wearing a Wizards jersey. He's sitting behind the basket near the Cleveland bench....with some dude and some chick. The dude seems like his "handler"...once guiding Cave-dude away from hamming it up with the crowd/rubbing some old man's head. Not sure of the motivation here...hired by the Wizards? Geico? NBC? Just a cat with time on his hands and a makeup chair?]
5:49 - Cavs lead 13-10. Pretty uneventful basketball thus far.
4:41 – Nice drop step dunk by Brendan. I swear, Brendan’s moves are so slow and methodical, but they are effective.
Sloppy indeed. Low shooting percentages and a bunch of mess.
KB [Agreed...but, and I'm not sure of the numbers, the Wizards do seem like they are doing a good job of securing rebounds. Something you gotta like from this team. The Wiz have been aggressive on offense, getting the rock past half court and into the set 3 or 4 seconds into the shot clock, make or miss by the Cavs. And perhaps a little sloppiness was the result.]
End of the first quarter and here is what I’ve seen thus far: Slow start from both teams and too many turnovers from the Wiz are leading to easy points for the Cavs.
Brendan Haywood is playing very well. He is perfect from the floor and has 10 points. He has actually played very well all year. The guy has really stepped it up since Etan has been out.
The 1st ends and the W
izards are up by one, 22-21. I apologize for the spotty play-by-play, I am watching Imry and typing simultaneously.
KB [No worries homey...let the basketball game babysit the kiddo. Young buck is gettin' some good exposure to the game already. LBJ is on the Cleveland bench, g-suited...and from what I can tell, I don't see any bandages...no nuthin' on his fingers. Suspicious.]
11:42 – We see Andray for the first time tonight and immediately his presence is felt. He drives to the bucket draws a foul, uncharacteristically makes both free throws.
Cleveland struggles w/o LBJ – boy is that an understatement – because they can hardly get the ball across the timeline.
The squad the Wiz have on the floor right now is the true meaning of second team, with the exception of Caron: A.D., Songalia, Roger Mason and Blatche. Be that as it may, the Wiz are able to stretch their lead to 31-23
KB [That Mason, Jr. trey which give the Wiz 29 really helped. DeeeeShawn betta watch his back! And yea, we all know that Antonio Daniels, at this point in his career, is technically a 2nd stringer....but damn he can sure fill in as a quality and dependable 1st stringer. One thing I've noticed about him so far in this game is his effort and hustle; he's been a ball hawk trying to go after all the loosies.]
8:41 – Roger Mason hits a tough step back jumper. That shot right there just showed me how tough the NBA actually is. Roger Mason, a second stringer who is boarder line NBDL, could probably nail that shot 99 out of 100 times in a gym by himself. Imagine how razor thin the difference is between a guy in the NBDL and a 13th man on the Bucks. I guess it is always who you know huh?
KB [I'm telling you son...don't sleep on R-Mase Jr....I really think he can develop into a quality asset of the bench. With about 8 minutes left, Andray faced off on Big Z...a little trickery and then busted a jumper on his dome. Yea, I know AB...the sight of being able to face down Ilgauskus from top of the key would excite just about anyone.]
6:51 – Big Z has two fouls and the Wizards are up 37-25. Cleveland is on the second night of a back-to-back, and it is starting to show.
KB [Nick Young checks in for AD here, I was beginning to wonder about giving Daniels some rest.]
5:19 – Andray just picked up a blocking foul, but I really like his aggressiveness. He has been all over the floor tonight. He has a couple of blocks, some nice deflections of the ball. This just is just a solid player. He may never be an all-star, but his intangibles are going to keep him in the league for a long time.
3:27 – Nice pull up jumper by Young the Rookie puts the Wizards up 43-27.
3:03 – There goes Mister Energy, Andray Blatche out of the game with his second foul. I guess you have to expect that from a guy who is constantly challenging every shot and diving after each loose ball. I’ll take those kinds fouls from him any day.
1:08 – Nick Young’s long jumper puts the Wizards up 20. Young is going to be a heck of a baller. I would have loved to see O.J. Mayo and Nick together on the court. That would have been one of the nastiest backcourts in college.
End of the half and the Wizards are beating the Cavs 53-34. Although I know the Cavs are tired, I am not comfortable with the lead. 1.) We all know every NBA team makes a run and 2.) The Wizards don’t look all that sharp. They’re just enjoying the poor play of the tired Cavs.
KB [A halftime stat I did see while at the game was rebounds. And it was just as I suspected, 27-12 in favor of the Wizards. They may not have looked sharp, but that Hustle-Swag was present.]
11:38 - Brendan misses his first shot pretty bad….air ball jump hook
11:08 – There is Jamison with that funny little runner. If he could teach that to CYO kids around the country he’d be a billionaire. If only I could have learned that shot in high school, I would have been starting small forward at St. John’s as opposed to St. Michael’s.
KB [Adam is right about the Cavs being tired....checking out their body language at the beginning of the 3rd, it doesn't even look like they want to play the 2nd half.]
10:00 – The Wiz have extended their lead to 24. Hopefully it’ll get out of hand to the point where AJ and Caron can rest the majority of the fourth. I’m a bit concerned about Caron and AJ’s stamina. The season can be extremely grueling for guys who have to carry the load every night. If either of those two guys wear down, the Wiz are in serious trouble.
KB [They even extend the lead to 26 with about 9 minutes left....the Wizards better not let up. Ok, now, after a closer look at LeBron, it looks like he is wearing two black strips of tape, holding the middle and index fingers of his left hand together. Speaking of LeBron, I find it curious that he's sitting at the end of the bench. The other two vets in suits, Larry Hughes and Donyell Marshall, are up front, near the coaches, concentrating on the game. LeBron is chewing his nails and giggling with Damon Jones. Not sure what all this means about LBJ. His play, especially this year, has spoken for itself. I'm just curious to analyze his seemingly disinterest in the game. Now that Varejao is coming back...will there be an icy relationship situation?]
7:29 – The Cavs mini run is trying to get started and Eddie calls a wise timeout. Shannon Brown drives coast-to-coast for a lay-in, AD misses three layups and then Shannon comes down and drains a three.
Two thoughts: First, Shannon is a name that should be reserved for people that have a vagina. Second, I think Michigan State is so damn overrated. They lost to Grand Valley State ( I am not even sure if that school is DI or not) and they just barely squeaked past Bradley last night. Big Ten athletics in general stinks, but Michigan State especially.
At the end of the third the Cavs went on the inevitable NBA run and closed the gap to 17.
11:42 – Wiz open the 4th on a bad note with Songaila committing a foul and Drew Gooden completing a three point play. Wiz are on top 79-65.
This is a critical stretch for the Wiz. They are up 13 and have not had a field goal in over two minutes.
KB [Brendan Haywood checks in for Songaila with just under 10 minutes left...now we have the big duo that we all like to see with Haywood and Andray Blatche. Check that, AB misses a shot and then fouls Ira Newble giving him an And-1. So much for that experiment, Jamison checks in for AB after about 30 seconds on the court with Haywood.]
9:12 – Okay, here we go. The lead is down to 10. These are the times when the good teams hold off that run, dig deep on defense, get critical baskets and protect the ball. We’ll see what the Wiz are made of.
7:59 – Great block by Haywood leads to a nice bucket by Nick Young. Wiz needed that possession.
7:31 – What they didn’t need was an offensive rebound by the Cavs which leads to an open three and cuts the lead to 9.
KB [Showing the Dallas Cowboys logo when the Wizards opponent shoots FTs does a couple things: For one, all those true to DC start booing. Obvious. But also, all those fake-ass Cowboys fans start making noise too. Two sets of people making different noises for different reasons all working towards one goal...making the other team miss FTs. Skins and Cowboys fans coming together...whudda thunk?]
5:21 – What a shot by Brendon Haywood. A running scoop shot across the lane.
KB [BTH had 10 points in the 1st quarter, but that's only his second bucket since.....last scored with 7:00 left in the 3rd.]
4:00 - Looks like the Wiz are standing up to the Cav’s challenge. A nice lay-in by Jamison and a silky smooth jumper by Nick puts the Wizards up 13.
KB [I've really been coming around on Nick Young...I don't mind him jacking up a couple shots as long as I get a sense of him, and the team, being in control. I know one thing, the guys in my section love him. Unfortunately, one cat tells his kid...'See, when you get the rock, you gotta shoot the rock.' - Look, you gotta take shots if you are good, but don't cultivate a selfish attitude. I don't sense any selfishness or 'tude from Nick.]
3:30 - Driving dunk by Nicky Young.
KB [Young is definitely becoming more smooth. Hey, if you can score, I guess you can always learn D, right? The more confident he gets in his own game, the less he tries to force it...of course, easy said with a large lead.]
2:27 – Timeout and the Wizards are up 98-83. They just need two more solid offensive possessions and this game is done. Finish strong.
1:45 – A solid night by Jamison. 17 points and 12 boards;. Good production from the two time all-star.
KB [Exactly, when Cleveland cut the lead to that 9, 10 point range...Eddie Jordan brought Jamison the Vet off the bench and in for Andray Blatch aka "Kid Fresh"]
1:12 – The Cavs miss a tough jumper and AD drops a 15 footer and this game appears to be over. Wizards are up 102-83.
0:00 – Time has just about run out on the Cavs. These are the kinds of games that the Wizards have to win with Gilbert out. You can’t lose to a LBJ-less Cleveland. 105-86 is the final. Now it is time to get ready for those Suns.
KB [Nice work AJ....many thanks; we make a great duo. Yea, this is definitely a win that they will look back upon in February/March and say, 'Hey, I'm glad we got that one.' -- And now on to some stats.....]
- The Wiz wrecked ‘em….damn near killed ‘em on the boards – 45-29, and 13 offensive boards to 6. Like to see it.
- 10% more than the Cavs in FG% – 53 to 43
- The Wizards bench players (AB, Nick Young & Rog Mason) were 9-9 from the FT line, the Wiz were 13-16 as a team.