Game 2:Cavaliers vs Wizards Bullet Points

Arenas is expected to play tonight with an injured wrist. It was injured when he fouled LeBron James with 21 seconds remaining in Game 1.

“Arenas did not practice on Sunday, after coming off the bench on Saturday to hit 8 of 16 shots in just under 28 minutes. He did not mention the wrist during his postgame news conference and did not speak to the media on Sunday.”

Bradford Doolittle of Basketball Prospectus on statistics showing the Cavaliers’ are really good in crunch time:
“LeBron James is the league’s top scorer in the last period. A quick glance at the clutch statistics at shows the rest of the story. In those situations, defined as the last five minutes of a game with neither team ahead by more than five points, James averages an incredible 56.0 points per 48 minutes. He leads the league in +/- per 48 clutch minutes and, because of his presence, six of James’ teammates also rank in the top 11 of that category. The strong finishing kick of James is likely the main reason that Cleveland was able to outperform its Pythagorean mark by more than five games, second-most in the NBA. The Cavs were 4-1 in overtime games and won 17 games when trailing after three quarters–five more than any other team. All of this is a backdrop to those numbers playing out on the court on Saturday. Washington got away from the effective double-teaming of James that they’d employed early in the game, leaving DeShawn Stevenson on a very lonely island. That wouldn’t have been so bad, but Washington’s help defense faltered down the stretch as well. On one crucial possession with less than 40 seconds left, James went around Stevenson and got into the lane. The Wizard defender in best position to cut off his path was Antawn Jamison. For whatever reason, Jamison was content to watch as James sank a little floater. The Cavaliers also ratcheted up their defense down the stretch as Washington missed shot after shot with the game on the line, self-professed king of closers Gilbert Arenas included. Washington actually led 84-82 with 4:38 to play but from that point, the Cavs went on an 11-0 run before a meaningless Wizards basket finished the scoring.”

Brian Windhorst of the Akron Beacon-Journal on Leborn’s reaction to game 1:
“The Cavs and Wizards have been at each other’s throats the entire half. In my opinion, LeBron has been way too involved. He needs to cool down, he is the guy who says he doesn’t need trash talk but he’s been more active than anyone. After getting whacked twice in a row by Andray Blatche, LeBron hit him with an elbow after a foul in a play that I think may be turned into a flagrant foul by the NBA after this game. Then at the end of the half he got a technical foul for jumping up and into Brendan Haywood after he stood over him after an offensive foul. At the end of the half, LeBron also said something to DeShawn Stevenson as he walking off the floor. I believe Antawn Jamison and Z got into it as well. My point is, I just mentioned LeBron way too many times. He is the leader, but he’s got to preach control, that is the way the Cavs play.”

Sorry Brian, I don’t agree with you on that. Lebron took a lot of hard hits during the first half. If every team is going to incorporate that strategy then they need to feel those hits too.


Michael Lee of the Washington Post:
“The difficulty for officials is that a light tap on the wrist or elbow won’t do anything to disrupt James’s path to the basket. He really is strong enough to take a shove and keep charging toward the basket. You know the old saying, no harm, no foul. Brown went on to compare James to Shaquille O’Neal in that they are both big guys who take a physical beating each game. Aside from the times Cleveland plays O’Neal, Brown said, he feels ‘sorry for Shaq.’ James said he is built for the physical contact, but added that ‘it’s a difference between a foul, a hard foul and you know LeBron James is coming to the basket and you just hammer him.’ ‘I think we can all notice that now,’ he said.”
Bob Finnan of The News-Herald:

“To ensure further success in their first-round playoff series against the Wizards, the Cavaliers must find a way to slow down power forward Antawn Jamison. The 6-foot-9, 235-pounder had 23 points and 19 rebounds in Game 1. He’s caused many problems for Cavs power forward Ben Wallace, who doesn’t like to wander out of the paint. ‘I want him to make Jamison work as hard as he can,’ Cavs coach Mike Brown said. ‘Jamison is going to score points. We’re not going to shut him down. I want (Wallace) to be physical, contest his shots and not give him any easy looks at all, especially in transition.'”

Branson Wright of the Plain Dealer:
Stevenson has a plan if he gets into that situation again.
“I’ll play him like I played him, but we’ve got to send him to the free-throw line,” Stevenson said. “He’s not a Ray Allen or someone who will automatically knock down free throws. At the end he missed [three]. We’ve got to use hard fouls — even if that gets us in foul trouble, we’ve got to send him to the line.” Game 2: Just like the past two seasons, the Wizards are down, 0-1, to the Cavaliers. And just like the past two seasons, Monday’s Game 2 is vital to the series.
Bud Shaw of the Plain Dealer:
Wallace’s line Sunday was that he was “sticking to our defensive principles.” Jamison’s points aside, Wallace’s line from Saturday’s game — six rebounds, one steal, one assist, no blocks, 0-for-2 from the free-throw line, no field-goal attempts in 23 minutes — allows for room to stick to Jamison on the boards better than he did. “I want him to make Jamison work as hard as he can,” said Cavs coach Mike Brown. “I want Ben to be physical. I want him to contest his shots. I don’t want him to give Jamison any easy looks at all, especially in transition.


No league action

A league source said Sunday there were no plans in the works to issue any fines or suspensions from the NBA office after the on-court confrontations Saturday, or any upgrades on fouls called or not called. Technical fouls, which James, Brendan Haywood and Antawn Jamison all received, have their own automatic fines.

The Cavs are 6-0 all-time in series when they win Game 1, including 3-0 against the Wizards. In 34 career playoff games, James is averaging 27.4 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. No player in NBA history with at least 20 playoff games has ever averaged even 25 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Lebron James King of Playoffs

Interesting stat Brian Windhorst pointed out in today’s article at the Akron Beacon Journal.

Lebron James is averaging 27.4 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in 34 career playoffs games. No other NBA player with at least 20 playoff games has ever averaged 25 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Michael Jordan in 37 playoff games averaged 36 points, six rebounds and six assists. He averaged 33.4 points per game, 6.4 rebounds and 5.7 assists in 13 playoff seasons.

Billy Thomas – Welcome to Cleveland

Billy Thomas is ready for the Playoffs:

I want to be there when the games matter most. I want the chance to be the guy. (Source: The Kansas City Star January 29, 1998)

The feeling is mutual. After a 2nd 10-day callup bringing Billy from the D-League’s Colorado 14ers to Cleveland, the Cavs extended an offer that includes the 2008 Playoffs and the 2008-2009 season.

Although not even Billy can recite the sequence of events leading up to his most recent callup from the Cavs by heart, his teachers and classmates at Pier Avenue Elementary School in Shreveport, Louisiana, can attest to the journey’s beginning:

“I may have been the first fourth-grader to perfect the finger roll,” Thomas said. “But mostly, I would wander outside, far away from the basket, and I’d shoot. I’d just lay back and launch the ball. I always enjoyed shooting from a long way away.” (Source: The Kansas City Star January 29, 1998)

Plastic bread baskets tacked to trees, Billy and his friends were Michael Jordan and Doctor J. Even then, Billy took up positions 20 or 25 feet behind the basket.

A Shreveport AAU teammate, writing in his blog after seeing Billy on NBA’s Inside Stuff, talks about the early years:

Billy grew up in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Shreveport. Billy was one of the nicest guys on the team. Always smiling, soft spoken, and one of the best pure shooters I’ve ever seen.

Billy worked extremely hard to get out of his family’s financial and domestic woes. Instead of going home and falling into the trouble that many promising Shreveport athletes do, Billy would spend his time at the Lighthouse, a sort of Boys Club for underprivileged youth in the inner city.

Cut to Madison Square Garden, November 1997. NIT semifinals; Arizona State in the lead by a single point. Time is running out for Kansas. Raef LaFrentz and a young Paul Pierce are out of moves. Alone in a deep corner of the Garden stands Billy Thomas, staring at a bread basket the size of Shreveport. Swish. (Source: Mike Vaccaro, The Kansas City Star, January 29, 1998)

Not many NBA players are able to say they were both unrecruited and undrafted before and after college. For all of his talent and hard work, Billy was not a serious recruit his senior year of high school:

While scouting another player, University of Kansas head coach Roy Williams kept noticing Thomas making long jump shots. Thomas had not been a highly recruited player, but Williams saw something special in him and offered Thomas a scholarship. Continue reading “Billy Thomas – Welcome to Cleveland”

Gilbert Arenas left practice with sprained wrist

Gilbert Arenas didn’t practice on Sunday after the Wizards medical staff determined he has a sprained right wrist.

“Before the Wizards practiced this morning, I watched Gilbert Arenas attempt a couple of warm-up shots. They missed everything and he started messing with his right wrist and soon called for the athletic trainers to check him out.”

There is no word on how serious the sprain is but he is expected to play tomorrow.

Source: Wizards Insider Blog

Game 1: James clutch play quiets Wizards

Physical play and hard fouls didn’t stop Lebron in game one against the Wizards. The Wizards wanted to hit James every time he drove to the basket but that only made him stronger and more aggressive.

LeBron James was knocked to the floor twice in the first period after Andray Blatche hit him in the mouth and wasn’t called a foul. James responded with an elbow to Blatche’s head that didn’t draw a whistle either.

Lebron James responded with an elbow to Andray Blatche

Then he was knocked to the floor in the second period after Brendan Haywood fouled him while attempting to set a screen.

He got into a heated exchange with Brendan Haywood, and both drew technical fouls because Haywood, James said, was “standing above me in a very disrespectful manner.”

All that didn’t matter to James. He put up 32 points, including two game-deciding hoops in the stretch run, to carry the Cavs to a 93-86 victory in Game 1.
“I was built for this,” James said “I’m not 6.9, 260 pounds to shoot jumpers. I go to the hole and I create contact.”

“He took over,” Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas said. “There’s really no answer for him.”

“It was definitely an emotional, electrifying play for our team and our fans,” James said with a laugh. “I told Boobie to just throw it anywhere and I’d go get it. He really took that literally. He really threw that ball somewhere I had to go get it.”

James finished the game 12 of 19 from the floor. He attempted 14 free throws, three fewer than the entire Wizards team.

“My play speaks. We’re not the type of team that talks, but we’re not going to back down, either,” James said. “For me as an individual, I can’t go out there and make it an individual challenge because that takes away from our team efforts and what we have at task. It’s never going to be between me and DeShawn, it’s going to be me and my team against Washington.”

Wally Szczerbiak to start against the Wizards

Mike Brown is expected to start Wally Szczerbiak at shooting guard today. Brown wants to keep Devin Brown in a reserve role to deal with the Wizards’ second team.

”It’s interesting for sure,” Szczerbiak said. ”That’s why you have to stay prepared and stay ready for whatever might happen.”

Szczerbiak was a bench player for Seattle and for the Cavaliers since the trade. He started in place of James in the last game of the season against Detroit.

James on Stevenson:

After practice yesterday, Lebron James addressed the media on Stevenson comments for the first time.

Stevenson told the Washington Post last month that his comments and anger at James came from a remark passed along to him by former Cavs forward Drew Gooden. Stevenson said it was both personal and basketball related.

James denied he said something personal:

”I never said anything personal about him, nothing about his family or anything that would tick somebody off like that,” James said. ”I don’t know what was said to him. I’ve never said anything personal about anybody. Now, did I say something about his basketball game? Maybe. About him personally? I don’t go that far.”

Playoffs tickets available on flashseats

The playoffs schedule is out and tickets are now available on

Flash Seats was introduced to Cavaliers season ticket holders in the 2006-07 season. This concept, similar to the e-ticket in the airline industry, allows season ticket holders to manage their season tickets via the Internet. It also gives them the ability to sell, buy and transfer seats through a marketplace endorsed by the Cavaliers.

You can choose any convenient form of electronic ID (credit card, driver’s license, etc.) as your method of getting in to the arena. Your card will be swiped by a Guest Services representative using a hand-held device.

If you are buying tickets through Flash Seats, here are some tips:

– Download the Quicken Loans Arena seat guide form here.

– Find the retail value of your tickets. For example, if you are in Loudville center, the retail value for first round is $57.

– Watch for the “Connection Fee” charged by Flash Seats. When your bid to buy tickets is accepted, Flash Seats adds a connection fee, which is charged to the buyer. The Fee is 20% of the purchase price plus $1.50 per ticket.

– Place a bid below the seller’s ask price. Flash Seats allows you to set an expiration date and time or you can retract your bid anytime before the seller accept your bid.

– Playoffs tickets are hard to get, so don’t expect the seller to sell their tickets below retail value.

– Don’t bid on more than one listing. You might get stuck with both.

If you have any tips on using flashseats, please feel free to share them here. Good luck.

Will Third Time Be The Charm for Wizards?

For the third year in a row, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards will meet in the first round of the playoffs. If playoff games were won by words alone, then the Wizards would already have a 1-0 lead. DeShawn Stevenson said a month ago that LeBron James is “overrated.” Gilbert Arenas recently declared, “I think everybody wants Cleveland in that first round. They’ve been a .500 team ever since they made that trade and everybody wants a chance at that matchup. We want Cleveland for our own reasons, we don’t think they can beat us in the playoffs three years straight.”

The Cavs beat the Wizards in six games in the 2006 playoffs and swept an injury-depleted Wizards team in 2007. The teams split their four regular season games this year. So, on the surface it would seem like there is a lot of history to examine about this matchup but the reality is that these teams have never met-at least, they have never met as they are currently constructed.
Continue reading “Will Third Time Be The Charm for Wizards?”