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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 82games.com 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.