Game 54 Blog: Washington Wizards vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
So this is the second night of the ghostwriting (Chris stepped in on Tuesday to cover the loss to the Knicks) and I am excited to get a chance to share my thoughts with everyone.
The Cavs are playing their first game since the 11 player 3 team deal that brought Joe Smith, Wally Szczerbiak, and Delonte West to Cleveland.
Right out of the gate we’re struggling w/o Caron, poor shooting and a few turnovers.
Caron is sorely missed, but the last thing I want to do is rush him back from that hip flexor injury. I had a buddy in college with the exact same injury, and he had to get surgery and miss an entire season b/c he tried to rush back onto the court after that injury.
Despite the poor shooting, we are tied at 9 with 6:22 left in the 1st
DeShawn is no match for LBJ. James just drained a trey ball in his eye.
At the first commercial break we’re up 15-10 and it is encouraging to see us play so well after the long losing streak we’ve had.
Tonight’s game is like a war of attrition. The Wizards have lots of guys missing with injury while the Cavs traded away half their squad on Tuesday three major players are injured.
Word on the street is that they signed a couple guys from the D-League just to have enough guys to fill out the roster tonight.
We are at the second break and the Wizards lead is 2 points. The tempo of the pace of the game is a little slow. It is concerning that we don’t have more energy coming out the gates. We’ve been off since Tuesday and prior to that, we had a four day lay-off.
LBJ just had a strong drive to the bucket. That guy gets to the line a hell of a lot and for the record, he is an absolute FREAK.
But he can shoot free throws..he just missed two! Wizards are still up 2.
They just showed Caron on the bench – he was dressed fresh to death (although I disagree with the imposed dress code) – and he looked so disinterested in the game. I wonder what goes through injured guys minds while on the bench. Can you imagine what Gilbert is thnking — who mind you is absent from tonight’s game – during the games. Well I guess we know his thoughts, he keeps us posted with his daily blog
The pace has picked up just a bit at the end of the fist 1st quarter. The Wizards are up 24-23.
So we are taking an interesting approach to guarding LBJ tonight, we are throwing not only a double team at him, but we’re running waves of defenders at him (at least four per trip.) I am not certain how well the strategy is working, LBJ just went out of the game for the first time and he has 10 of Cleveland’s 27 points.
At the 8:45 mark the Wizards are now up 28-27.
Initially I thought there was bad shooting, a slow pace, and low enrgy to the Wizards 1st half, but as I watch more I’ll say that the Cavs are forcing this slow tempo with tough nosed D.
So, this possession is ridiculous. The Cavs have run the pick & roll three straight times and the Nick Young picked up three straight fouls.
At the 6:32 mark, the Wizards are up 32-30. This is shaping up to be a classic Cavalier style defensive battle.
This summer I hope that Nick works of that Mid rage game and gets more consistent with his long rage shot. He is 1-3 from the field, but I think he misses a lot of shots that should be made.
What the hell?!?!? Brendon Haywood just made s spectacular cross-over move to get to the bucket. I guess if you run that Princeton offense you are expecting your big man to make a move or two away from the bucket. I’m just surprised to see clumsy Brendon being the one to make the move.
2:10 left in the half and we’re tied at 38.
Silky smooth Andray knocks down a nice pull up jumper. You know I can’t resist givng a shout out to Andray at least once during my time on the blog! He is going to be one hell of a ball player in a few years.
With 1:05 left in the half and the Wizards have a two point lead and the ball.
There goes our lead on the freshly mohawked Damon Jones’ three.
What a strange sequence we just had.
-Jamison’s layup put the Wiz up 42-41 with 10 second left in the half.
-Damon Jones comes down to bang a jumper with 1.2 second left.
-On the inbound pass Jamison throws a 20 foot lead pass to a streaking AD who takes the ball in stride and glides in for a dunk, but loses his balance in the air and falls hard on his his and rib.
-AD appeared to be fouled, but none was called AND the basket doesn’t count because AD doesn’t get the shot off in time.
-Wizards end the half with a hurt point guard (AD needed to be helped off the court) and a one point deficit.
This is a strange night for the Wizards offensively. The leading scorer for the half was none other than…Big Baby Brendan
So Antonio is “active” but his body language doesn’t look like he’ll be playing much with his sprained wrist.
What really ticks me off, not just that the basket was no good, but Ilgauskas wasn’t called for the blatant foul.
They call Hockey players tough, well so is AD. He is starting the second half. Moreover, he is not being shy, he takes the ball to the hole and draws contact in order to get to the line.
The injury must be effecting AD, who is normally an 81% free throw shooter misses two – the second one badly.
10:50 and the Wizards are down 46-42.
Wow, when you have Deshawn isolated on LBJ you really are at a disadvantage. LBJ just muscled him down on the block for an easy two.
Someone please put a hand in Damon Jones’ face. The guy has 16 point and has sparked a 7-0 run. 7:27 left in the 3rd and Cleveland is up 53-46. BTW – the Mohawk he and Greg Oden are sporting look horrific. When will that style go away? Thanks for making it popular “Ocho Cinco”
On a side note, have I ever mention I loathe the Wizard’s Gold uniforms? All the cool throwback jerseys we could wear and we wear those shiny clown shirts!
AD just threw a wonderful assist to Brendan. The score is now 58-53 Cleveland with 5:00 to go in the 3rd.
So with 3:30 left we are down 3 and look poised to make a nice run. Cleveland is not shooting well and we are executing rather well on the offensive end. And just like that, DeShawn ties us up at 61.
I think we just got the hardest two points ever earned. Antawn missed two free throws, gets his own rebound, misses a jumper, steals the rebound from Devin Brown and then passes to Andray who makes a lay-up with six hands in his face.
LBJ is super quick with his first step
We clearly have no one that can stay in front of or with him defensively
He is stong as bull – it took two players to hold him from getting his shot off
He does get the benefit of the doubt on a lot of calls
End of the 3rd and the Cavs are up 67-65.
AD really helped keep the game close. He had 8 points and 6 assists in the 3rd. All of that was done on a freshly sprained wrist.
So, we are tied @ 67 with 11:00 to go in the 4th
The Cavs are shooting very poorly (not withstanding Damon Jones’ made three –Cavs now up 70-67) overall and a few
good defensive possessions could mean us stealing a win here in Cleveland.
DeShawn has 12 points, but he has not played particularly well tonight. He’s 4-10 from the field and has his hands full trying to guard LBJ (granted he should get a pass on that last part – no one but Kobe guards LBJ well.)
8:50 left and the Wizards are down 72-71. Brendan is at the line with a chance to give us the lead. We could really use these two. Brendan has really improved his free throw shooting this year.
Can you imagine if Brendan shot free throws as well as Yao Ming or Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who shoot 85% and 82% respectively? He would be so much more valuable to the team. It seems to me that Brendan is always at the line, but his 61% career free throw shooting has not made those trips as fruitful.
Brendan gets 1-2 and we’re now tied at 72. Overall this has been a dismal free throw shooting night for both squads. The Wizards are 9-16 and the Cavs are 8-14.
Darius Songaila completes a three point play to give the Wizards a 76-75 lead with 7:15 to go.
So I just found out that the reason that DeShawn has been less than productive because he has been playing with a swollen knee for the last few WEEKS. Talk about being tough.
Darius is coming up huge off the bench tonight. He has 17 off the bench and just dropped another two to give the Wizards a 78-75 lead.
So the guy is 6-10 from the three point line, yet we leave Damon Jones wide open for a three and what do you know? He nails is. And like that, we are tied at 78.
So despite being down only 3, I feel like the momentum is slipping away from the Wizards. We are not getting easy shots and we are doing a lot of complaining to the refs.
Regardless, Darius just drained two more free throws – he has now matched his Wizards season high – and brought us to within one @ 82-81.
A stat just flashed that showed DeSahwn has a streak going of 8 straight games with 10+ points. I remember that Mike Jordan had a RIDICULIOUS streak of 842 games. I know it is only 5 baskets a night, but damn, 842 straight games?!?!?!
So after a few good offensive possessions we are now up 85-84 with 2:32 left in the 4th. Our biggest asset is the discrepancy in free throw shooting. The Wizards are +10 in free throw shooting.
How about this? It is crunch time here (there is 1:23 left in the game) and it isn’t AD who is running the show, but Roger Mason. I know Roger shoots better than Antonio, but this is a surprise move. I suppose AD’s wrist injury is finally catching up to him.
Last minute of the game and the Wizards are up 89-88 and have possession of the ball. If we can milk this entire shot clock and get a decent look I would say we’ll be leaving Cleveland with a “curly W.” That was my shout out to the Nationals, who started spring training earlier this week – I can’t wait to see a game at the new park.
AD checks back in for this last possession, but we come up empty. I guess Eddie was just showing some confidence in Roger Mason.
I am going to only assume that with 15 seconds left LBJ will get the last shot. And wouldn’t you know it…he gets the “superstar call.” A questionable blocking foul allows LBJ to get two free throws. He makes them both.
7.3 seconds left and the Wizards are down 90-89.
For the last possession of the game we have Antonio on the bench and Roger Mason on the floor.
Our last shot is a driving layup by DeShawn but he comes up a bit short b/c “Big Z” is waiting in the paint for him.
Wizards drop their second straight and 10 of their last 11. We miss you Tuff Juice….
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