WASHINGTON (AP) -- LeBron James found himself in a game of
one-on-three -- not very good odds for a team in the midst of a
James' one-man show was no match for the one-two-three punch of
Gilbert Arenas, Larry Hughes and Antawn Jamison, and the result was
a 119-111 victory Friday night for the Washington Wizards, further
imperiling the Cleveland Cavaliers' postseason hopes.
"It's hard to stop three guys who can get you 20 points every
night," James said. "I'm not disappointed. I'll just keep my head
high and just keep playing the basketball I've been playing."
Arenas made 12 of 16 shots, scored 33 points and had nine
assists, Hughes scored 16 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter
and had five steals, and Jamison had 21 points as the Wizards shot
59 percent and won their third straight in their bid for home-court
advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The victory, coupled with Indiana's 90-86 loss to Philadelphia,
moved the Wizards into position for the No. 5 seed and kept them
one game behind No. 4 Chicago, which beat Orlando 117-77.
James played all 48 minutes and scored 38 points for the
Cavaliers, who are clinging to the East's eighth and final playoff
position. Cleveland lost for the fifth time in seven games, fell
one game behind Philadelphia and had its lead over ninth-place New
Jersey cut to one game with three to play. The Nets beat Toronto
Grasping for a straw of optimism, James said the Cavaliers'
situation was "good" because "New Jersey and Philly are playing
each other on Sunday."
"But we have to play basketball," James added. "I'm going to
say the same thing I've always said every time this happens: We
just have to play good basketball and try to win ballgames."
James made 16 of 33 shots and had six rebounds and six assists,
but Robert Traylor was a distant second in the Cleveland box score
with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Drew Gooden -- who played much of
the game with a hip injury -- scored 13 points on 4-for-16 shooting.
The Cavaliers have lost 15 of 17 on the road.
"He definitely needs some help," Hughes said of James. "You
can't go compete as one against three guys. Tonight he had to
compete one against three. He had 40, but we had 80, so, you know,
he can't win."
Cleveland's only lead in the game was 2-0, although the
Cavaliers tied the game late in the third quarter before wilting
when the Wizards opened the fourth with a 17-9 run. Hughes was the
catalyst, scoring a fast-break three-point play after a steal and a
3-pointer in the spurt that put Washington ahead 102-92 with 5:29
to play. Juan Dixon added eight of his 11 points in the fourth.
The game was marred by four technical fouls, and the Wizards
played the final period coached by assistant Mike O'Koren after
head coach Eddie Jordan had a run-in with an old neighborhood
Jordan was given two technicals and an automatic ejection by
official Luis Grillo with 2:14 to play in the third quarter after
walking far onto the court to argue a series of calls and no-calls.
Grillo lived up the street from Jordan during their childhoods, and
they attended the same Washington, D.C., high school.
"He showed who was boss," Jordan said. "He was the class of
'66. I'm '73. He ran track; I played football, so that tells you."
Even so, Jordan felt he had a legitimate beef.
"I thought LeBron was getting a lot of touch fouls getting to
the basket," Jordan said. "If they were fouls, then Gilbert
deserved to get some fouls going to the basket as well -- and Larry
and Antawn. I didn't see that happening, so I let it be known."
Fans chanted "Ed-die!" as the Wizards turned up the intensity
on behalf of their departed coach.
"He was fighting for us," Arenas said, "so we had to fight
for him and come out with a lot more energy."
The victory gave Washington a 2-1 victory in the season
series, which serves as the first tiebreaker if the teams finish
with the same record. ... Washington's Kwame Brown got a technical
in the first quarter, and Cleveland's Sasha Pavlovic received one
in the second. ... Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas fouled out
with 6:47 to play. ... Gooden hurt his hip in the second quarter
but continued to play. He's not expected to miss a game. ... With
the game taking place on April 15, the Wizards allowed postal
service employees to set up locations throughout the MCI Center
concourse. All tax return envelopes turned in by fans were marked
"received by April 15, 2005." ... The Wizards were on national
television for the second time this week, after making just one
prior appearance all season.